Coaching A3 Thinking & Creation

Presented By:

David Verble

Learning Objectives:

This workshop will introduce three skills for coaching A3 creators on their A3 thinking, not just the content of their A3s, without taking the problem solving thinking away from them.

  • The first skill is listening to the flow of  A3 stories to hear what is missing or not working in the story and the A3 thinking.
  • The second skill is to restrain ourselves when we want to jump in and help improve A3s by asking how we can assume we know more than the problem owners about the facts in the situation and how they can support their claims.
  • The third skill is using our sense of things that seem to be missing or don’t follow logically in A3 stories to guide us in asking questions that prompt the authors to slow down, step back,  listen and question themselves about the things we are wondering about or feel are assumptions or gaps

Abstract:

Are you are a manager, leader or coach who has to review A3s brought to you by employees or teams?  Do you often see things in the A3s that aren’t clear or don’t make sense based on the facts given? 

One option is to tell employees how to “fix” their A3s based on what you think needs to be changed. That is certainly the fastest way to correct A3s that are on the wrong track or don’t hold together. Downside, however, is that employees will now be trying to tell your problem solving story that they likely don’t fully understand or feel as much ownership in.

A second option is to coach employees by asking rather than telling.  Asking thought-provoking questions can make A3 creators more aware of gaps and leaps in the thinking leading to the solutions they propose.  It also can prompt them to reflect on what they actually know verses what they assume that led to the claims they are making in their A3 about problem situation, cause and solution.

Our tendencies as human beings are to look at others’  problem solving thinking, see the holes in the stories, and tell them what we don’t like, what they need to change, and even what we think are the right solutions.  When we take over the problem solving thinking like this the result is that we become the problem owners as much if not more than the authors.  And employees let us because of our position.

This workshop will introduce three skills for coaching A3 creators on their A3 thinking, not just the content of their A3s, without taking the problem solving thinking away from them.

  • The first skill is listening to the flow of  A3 stories to hear what is missing or not working in the story and the A3 thinking.
  • The second skill is to restrain ourselves when we want to jump in and help improve A3s by asking how we can assume we know more than the problem owners about the facts in the situation and how they can support their claims.
  • The third skill is using our sense of things that seem to be missing or don’t follow logically in A3 stories to guide us in asking questions that prompt the authors to slow down, step back,  listen and question themselves about the things we are wondering about or feel are assumptions or gaps.

Participants will be asked to bring copies of two or three A3s they created or helped create to the workshop. These will be used in exercises and coaching practice activities as the three skills are introduced and demonstrated in the session.  Participants will also be given a skills self-check tool to use in the workshop and after.

Facilitator Bio:

David Verble has been a performance improvement consultant and leadership coach since 2000. Prior to that, he worked for Toyota in North America for 14 years, first as an internal change agent and later as a manager of human resource development at the plant and North American levels.  He has also been workshop faculty and consultant with LEI for 15 years

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