Team Involvement: Just Half of This Equation

The level of involvement in the change process for the operator on the floor has been an ongoing issue for years.  The operators are less likely to take ownership or even accept the new idea as a solution.  On the other hand, to little involvement of from leadership, project managers, engineers or the operators on the floor (all depending on the scope) can reduced the quality of the solution.  Pamela (Gladwell) Payton illustrates that the effectiveness of the change depends on both all of these factors.

E = S x A

E = Effectiveness of the change

S = Quality of the Solution

A = Acceptance of the solution

This is a great way to illustrate the importance of getting the right people involved.  There was a day when most if not all change came down from above (management).  Some leaders let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction though by letting their teams make decisions that they are not ready to make.  In effect, abdicating their authority.  Many have made this mistake while moving away from authoritarian management towards team empowerment.  There is a balance that needs to be maintained between these extremes.

Engineers, process improvement specialists, leadership (process owners), mechanics, and operators may all need to be involved depending on the nature and complexity of the problem in order to find a quality solution (S).  Their participation in finding a quality solution is also critical to gaining ownership and acceptance (A) of those who must be on your side for implementation.  Yes, this can take longer and be frustrating at times but the quality of the solution will be better and more sustainable.

Lean Leaders get the right people involved throughout the problem solving process.


Here are a few posts on the Deming Cycle (PDCA) and such.  Please leave a comment below if you liked this article. You can also connect on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, subscribe via e-mail (right side bar), retweet, digg, or stumble this article. You can check out my Facebook page and continue the discussion there as well. Your feedback is appreciated.

About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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2 Responses to Team Involvement: Just Half of This Equation

  1. Christian,

    Can you provide me with some examples of Value- added methods and non-value added methods in automotive manufacturing?

    • Bruce,

      Remember that value-added is defined by the customer. One way to look at it is “would the customer pay you to perform a particular step?” Value added activities change the fit, form, or function of the product. A few examples of value-added would be painting or assembly. That’s a bit of a broad stroak though because you’ll find non-value added steps within those processes. Any wasted motion or walking during the process would be non-value added even if some of it is necessary NVA. For example, walking to get paint or parts for assembly would be NVA. The customer doesn’t care how much walking you do nor will they pay for it. Similarly, even reaching for tools to help with assembly would be NVA.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.


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