Leadership, Lean and Continuous Improvement

Leader Standardized Work is for, well, EVERYONE!

I’ve never understood why so few leaders use Leader Standardized Work (LSW).  I’ve found it to be a great tool to help me be a more consistent and effective leader.  I’ve used LSW for years.  For me it’s my little voice reminding me of the most important things I need to do or that I want to do to be successful when leading.  Regardless of your responsibility, there is a certain component of it that is repeatable and therefore LSW is for, well, everyone!

Here’s some key points I found useful when it comes to LSW:

1.  Set-up LSW with a designated section for daily, weekly, monthly and Mid-long term (quarterly, semi-annual) based on frequency of completion of the task.

2.  Place tasks in the LSW that are important to YOU, that you must get done and also the ones that you want to ensure get done, checked, or confirmed because they are important to you or your business.

3.  Set your LSW up on a monthly basis, refreshing it at the beginning of each month.

4.  Have a method within the LSW to indicate which days you are on vacation and differently identified when you are out of the office on business.  This will help you plan more effectively when you complete tasks or provide you the opportunity to delegate if necessary.

5.  LSW should be dynamic, not static.  It’s ok to add and remove items from your LSW.  As priorities change, new systems develop, metrics improve or degrade, you may find that you need to make adjustments as to what you’re doing or what you’re checking and confirming.

6. LSW is for you, not anyone else.  It’s fine to show people your LSW, but I don’t advocate posting it.  It’s more effective if you carry it with you at all times to help you actually execute to it versus showing others.  As a leader, you should be checking your teams LSW periodically as well.

7.  If you’re not getting to something on your LSW, don’t beat yourself up, but rather find the root cause as to why you are not getting it done and determine what you need to do differently to achieve it.  After all, the items on your LSW were put there by you because you either need to get them done as a core responsibility of your job, or they are most important to you.  Use it to improve your self-discipline, motivate you, or to remind you to just do it!

8.  LSW must be an integral part of your personal planning system and routine.  It must be integrated with your schedule, your follow-up system, and your to-do lists.

9. Print out your LSW for the month, update it daily throughout the day as you complete tasks, and “pencil” in additional LSW tasks as you’re thinking of them throughout the month.

10. When you get really busy, that’s when you need your LSW the most.  Don’t abandon it then.  Use it to help you get the most important things done.  In a pinch when you just can’t do everything, use it to make an informed decision as to what will and will not get done.

I use an Excel spreadsheet for my LSW. To make things easier, I’ve added some conditional formatting for visibility of weekends, business travel, or when out on vacation. I prepare the LSW for the month, print it out, and then use it daily by marking tasks using a pen. LSW is an integral part of my daily, weekly, monthly planning system.

I hope you found this helpful. Are there any key points I’ve missed or in your experience you feel are most important?

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