As Lao Tzu said...

'A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him....But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, "We did it ourselves". '

As Plutarch said....

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited."

Seven Slides in Seven Minutes

Throughout the project, team members are encouraged to research relevant topics and present their findings to the team. Typical topics might be 5S, Total Productive Maintenance, Set-Up Time Reduction, Value Stream Mapping, Team Building etc. A useful discipline is to set a limit of seven minutes and seven Powerpoint slides for the presentation. This ensures that presentations are short and to the point.

Project Facilitation

The role of the facilitator is to guide and assist but not actively direct the process. It is important that the team take responsibility for their own learning. This is the key to Action Learning.

A typical breakdown of how the facilitator spends their time across the phases of the project is:

  • Organising 30%
  • Mentoring 40%
  • Instructing 10%
  • Reporting 20%

Traditional classroom instruction is kept to an absolute minimum. It is preferable to encourage team members to carry out their own research and present their findings to the team. (See Seven Slides, Seven Minutes). However the facilitator still requires a sound working knowledge of Lean principles and tools and their application. The skill is to be able to recognise opportunities to introduce these principles and tools as a natural part of the problem solving process.

The ultimate goal of the facilitator is to render themselves redundant. If the facilitator has done their job well, by the end of the project, the individual will be sufficiently excited and motivated to go on to confidently plan their own learning projects. Likewise the organisation will be sufficiently excited and motivated to make Action Learning an intrinsic part of the culture.

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