One of the techniques introduced in leadership training this year is the “Five Minute Walk”.
Here’s the concept: a group of three to five people get together to observe an operation or area in the plant. They are together but they remain silent. The goal is to “look” with fresh eyes and to “listen” with fresh ears.
The goal is to “notice” what we usually walk by. To see and to hear the things which may be going bad or good. To notice the things which might be out of synch. To become aware of the little things done well and go unacknowledged.
Each participant makes notes of their observations. The goal is to have matter for a discussion.
At the end, the group gathers. Preferably around a white board. Observations are shared. Recorded. Discussed.
Many times these walks generate a number of “easy” fixes. Small things that maintenance can fix quickly. Training opportunities for rookies. Bad habits that need to be corrected.
Sometimes larger issues are identified. These call for in depth study and discussion.
These walks have a number of outcomes:
It creates learning opportunities. The things that people note illuminate the strengths and insights of the observer. They also raise the awareness of the others. These discussions foster a learning environment.
It creates a bias for action. We get comfortable at times. Comfort fosters complacency. Complacency is the seed of failure. Every one of these meetings should result in action designed for improvement.
Anything we focus on should get better.
I think a five minute walk is good for each person and the company. If you’d like to participate in one, tell your boss. It will give us an edge.