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Leader Standard Work

Leader Standard Work is a powerful way to develop leaders, create a consistent leadership experience for employees, boost business performance, and spread proven management practices across the organization.

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“With great power comes great responsibility” has a simple meaning; if you have the ability to do something, make sure that you do it for the good of others.

Defining a framework for leadership is important for all leaders.
How leaders lead, matters.

Leader Standard Work is used by those managing work and leading work teams. It defines the necessary activities for leaders to support and develop their teams, remove barriers and instill a continuous improvement mentality and drive consistent business performance.

Of all the management practices an organization can adopt, leader standard work is one of the most transformative to deploy. It defines and governs how leaders spend their time, based on the priorities appropriate for the role in the organization. 

Leadership is an art and science. The science part of leadership involves standardizing to some degree how a leader spends their time.

How We Can Help

We work with the organization to define and implement a "Framework for Leadership Responsibilities and Activities" best suited for enhancing business performance.
Leadership Responsibilities:  What’s the role of a leader?

Outstanding leaders develop and uphold the purpose, mission, vision, values, and by extension the strategy and annual goals of the organization, business unit, department, or teams they lead. Priorities are set at the top and cascaded in a meaningful way via key performance indicators (KPIs) at each level, all the way to the front lines.

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Outstanding leaders manage process and performance. 

  • They understand key drivers for running their part of the organization and ensure that work systems are designed and in place to meet them. 

  • They measure performance, hold teams accountable, regularly review processes to ensure the right ones are in place and improve them as necessary.   

Outstanding leaders build and foster a culture of excellence, which creates the mindsets and behaviors that align with the purpose and direction of the organization.


In cultures of excellence, every leader and team member prioritize providing value to customers, demonstrating respect for people, practicing relentless continuous improvement, making problems visible, solving problems scientifically, and making fact-based decisions 

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Outstanding leaders have a deep-seated passion for developing people. Most people in an organization have untapped abilities. Effective coaching develops people by providing the what, why, and how to perform, and holding people accountable to these expectations.

Outstanding leaders take great care in building and managing relationships. Think about it... do any of the outstanding leaders you know do it all on their own? Probably not. More likely, they were masterful collaborators and were viewed as trusted partners by their peers, their senior leaders, external stakeholders and their own teams.

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Outstanding leaders learn continuously. These leaders have a tenacious curiosity about the work of the organization. They humbly seek input and ideas from their direct managers, peers and team members, as well as external stakeholders and customers to continuously learn about the business, where and when pivots may need to be made, and to identify areas for improvement.

Leadership Activities:  How should leaders spend their time?

Planning & Preparing: Planning is the process of defining who will achieve what by when. Leaders, at every level, should incorporate planning as part of their Leader Standard Work. They need to set aside time for planning activities that benefit the organization, their teams, and themselves as leaders. Planning shifts a leader who is reactive letting the day, work conditions, and others dictate how they spend their time, to one who is proactive and in control of what’s important. 

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Actively managing daily work: Through a laser focus on process, daily management supports front-line teams allowing them to deliver value to customers, efficiently and effectively. Daily Management Huddles are an excellent way to connect with teams, provide information, and drive problem-solving at the local level.

Go & See where the work occurs: One of the key principles of Lean Management is “Going to the Gemba”. Leaders are more effective when they go and see how the work is being performed on a regular basis. This keeps them current in their understanding about the work, performance gaps, environmental barriers, team needs. 

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Coaching for professional development: Developing people moves them closer and closer to their potential, which leads to deeper engagement and retention. Organizations with strong people-development orientations tend to experience higher quality, greater creativity, reduced risk, greater productivity, healthier work relationships, and better customer experiences.

Leaders have a never-ending responsibility to develop people through coaching. Embracing this important responsibility shifts a leader from being a boss to being a partner in a person’s growth and development. 

Coaching for problem-solving capabilities: Teams often spend more time working around problems than they spend solving them. Outstanding organizations create armies of problem solvers so that everyone, everywhere, every day, can solve problems of all types and sizes that propel the organization ahead.

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Building problem-solving proficiency across an organization takes time, but it’s accelerated when capabilities are built through real-world application and coaching. As problems arise, the coach teaches relevant problem-solving methods such as Plan-Do-Study-Adjust (PDSA) and guides the problem-solvers towards the type of critical thinking required for success.

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Developing and managing relationships: Relationships power business and business outcomes. Strong internal and external relationships lead to better partnerships, better communication, and better collaboration, all of which contribute to results that benefit team members, customers, the organization as a whole, and of course the leader.

Reflecting: Reflection is a powerful tool and an important component of leader standard work. Self-reflection means to acknowledge one's mistakes and pledge improvement. The practice requires, and therefore helps build humility, a necessary leadership trait. It provides the leader with a chance to acknowledge what went well and identify opportunities for improvement that can inform the next round of planning.

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