Valuable Information

as you begin the Lean transformation

Executive Leader Standard Work

In last month’s blog, we discussed the importance of Leader Standard Work (LSW) as it applies to the leaders within the location where the value is being added. In this month’s blog, we are going to focus on how leadership from outside of the location should perform their LSW, which we call, “Executive Standard Work.”


Executive Standard Work is an audit of Leader Standard Work occurring at the sites. As with the local leadership, the executive is focused on the health of the business system. It is always conducted on-site (no phone or conference room audits). It is always conducted where the work is performed. Typically, a site visit by an executive would start in the conference room and covers the following items:

  • - Strategic Initiatives update
  • - What one will see in the work areas
  • - What was promised during the last visit (show progress)
  • - What one will see at this visit
  • - Followed by a Focused Plant Visit (not a tour!!!)


During the Focused Plant Visit, all progress from the previous visit is shown. The executive is auditing the system. Any error seen in the system is analyzed to discover more information. The site leader takes notes and does a follow-up. The visit concludes in the conference room, where the executive summarizes the visit in the form of a plus (what went well) and a delta (what should change before the next visit).  The site leader will then forecast improvement to be seen at the next visit.

In general, an executive should note the following:

  • - Does everyone on the team know what the strategic initiatives are?
  • - Can they explain how they contribute to the strategic initiatives?
  • - Can each person see, at a glance, whether or not they are winning or losing (real-time metric awareness/players scoreboard)?
  • - Is there a cadence of accountability?
  • - How often does your supervisor check with you on tactical initiatives (short-term)?
  • - How often does your supervisor check with you on the strategic initiatives (long-term)?
  • - What else do you need to be successful in supporting the strategic initiatives (coaching, training, tools, equipment, instructions, response, etc.)?
  • - Is there a question you wish I had asked?


Ohba said, "When you tell people that it is important to do something but you show them that it isn't important enough for you to check it, they feel you have lied to them and they feel disrespected.  Eventually, they stop doing it, not because they are lazy, but because they know from your actions that it is not important."

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