Consultants in Lean Manufacturing Á Manufacturing Strategy

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Team Training & Coaching

The Virtuous Circle of  Team Learning 

TeamworkTraining for Lean Manufacturing teams should cover many areas. Among these are Statistical Process Control, Root Cause Analysis, Team Building, and job skills. As a result of training and application, teams and individuals are more competent. They work better together in many ways. 

  • Destructive, emotional conflict evolves to constructive discussion and rational problem solving.

  • Decisions get made quickly and with consensus

  • Meetings become timely and produce results.

  • People help one another.

  • The work gets done.

Types of Training

Team Process Training

Team process refers to the activities and relationships within the team. It involves communication, conflict resolution, time management and other activities. Team process also refers to the gradual establishments of behavioral norms, team objectives and bonding.

Members do not possess instinctive knowledge of team processes and they are unlikely to learn effective team processes from their cultural environment. Training can help and we recommend at least a full day of training on team process.

Effective teamwork requires a set of specific skills and behaviors that are not inherent in our culture. Communication is one example. Many potential team members are quite good at talking. Few have effective listening skills. Conflict will arise whenever two or more people interact. Teams need skills that resolve conflict and not just bury it or tolerate it. Teams need to manage their own time and learn to hold effective meetings. Training can develop these and other skills.

Task Training

When team members lack the skills to accomplish their tasks, the team experiences frustration and conflict. Adequate task training can reduce this source of frustration in the critical early days.

Teams often need considerable cross training. Cross training helps the team function if a member is temporarily absent. It also gives each member a better appreciation for the difficulties other members may face. In many workcells, cross training is essential for workers to balance their workload.


Training is not enough, however. Most team members have difficulty when they first attempt to apply the principles they learn in the classroom. Coaching bridges this gap. An effective coach helps the team to see where principles and techniques can apply. Much of the learning of team process can only be gained through experience. An effective coach can guide the team through their early experiences and accelerate this learning.

The Virtuous Circle of Team Learning

Virtuous Circle of Team LearningWe all know about "Vicious Circles". Teams are in a "Virtuous Circle" in which actions trigger effects in a cycle that returns to and reinforces the original action. We can trace a virtuous or vicious circle from anywhere on the loop. Let us arbitrarily start at "Training."

Competence engenders pride for both teams and individuals: Pride in their work, skills, and accomplishments. Pride and competence bring high performance: the "Can Do" and "Will Do".

High performance leads to more training as  management sees the benefits. Teams work within their groups to cross-train and assist one another. This renewed training results in higher competence and the Virtuous circle repeats and reinforces. 

This virtuous circle is a powerful motivator. It is, for example, the thing that keeps military units together in the worst of battle. Perceptive managers recognize and utilize this effect as part of their Lean Manufacturing Strategy. 

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