Five Tips for Effective Management Walks

Three weeks ago, I introduced the concept of a layered approach to support your sustain efforts.  This week I want to go into more depth on Effective Management Walks.

First, let’s do a re-cap.  The three layers of support are coaching cards, leader standard work, and management or Gemba walks.  Each layer supports the layer above it.

Operator Coaching Cards

These are elements of standard work that we want team members to complete each day within their work area.  This is a great way to sustain your 6S.  You can put the elements you want to be completed each day on a coaching card.

Leader Standard Work

Often abbreviated LSW leader standard work is just like it sounds.  These are activities that the supervisor or area lead should complete each day.

Management (Gemba) Walks

Gemba means to go to where the value is added.  This is the top-level of the three layers of sustain.

I coach companies to conduct their management walks once a month with the leadership team.  This gets everyone out of the offices and to the shop floor to “see” what is happening.  Here are some tips for effective management walks.


1.  Follow a standard route

The purpose of a management walk is to review the activities in the business, review metrics, discuss any opportunities, and make decisions on-the-spot if possible.

This starts with following a standard route.  Like coaching cards and leader standard work, it’s important for leadership to follow standard work.  For a management walk, that includes following a pre-determined route.

Stops on the route should include each performance board in the company.  Hopefully, you are tracking performance within your office processes and the floor.  I worked with a water meter company and our monthly walks included the departments in the shop, quality, purchasing, engineering, marketing, and then we alternated every other month between accounting, IT, order entry, and customer service.

2.  Start in your PMO

Begin your monthly management walk in your PMO or Project Management Office.  This is the war room that shares all the global company information.  Your True North management system, your overall business metrics, your A3’s and Rapid Improvement Event charters are displayed for everyone to see.

This is a great place to review the overall performance of the business before investigating further.

3.  Have a scribe

Since this is a monthly gathering of the leadership team, have someone take notes as you go through the walk.  Even better, have someone record it on their phone.  That way ideas and action items don’t get lost.

4.  Make decisions

The purpose of visiting the performance boards in the different areas is to assess if any course corrections need to be made to support the overall business performance.  If the performance of an area is not what it should be, review their plan of action.  If decisions need to be made, that can remove roadblocks, or provide support, make them during the walk if you can.

Since the management team is together, you can decide or assign an action item to the leader.

5.  Post the results in the PMO

After you have completed your management walk, return to the PMO, and post any action items or relevant activities that need to be followed up.  This increases transparency within the company and goes a long way to increasing engagement.

As always it is an honor to serve you and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

Follow me on Twitter

Join me on LinkedIn

Listen to the podcast here


Scroll to Top