How are Employees Involved in Setting Strategy?

In the fall of 2020, Kaas Tailored hosted a series of Zoom calls unpacking our Daily Management System (DMS). Each month we focused on a different element of our DMS, starting with strategy, then discussing daily huddles, then talking about Visual Management Systems (VMS), and ending with Leader Standard Work. In this post, Jeff shares how employees are involved in setting strategy.

Using Thinking Models to Communicate Strategy 

At Kaas Tailored, we use several thinking models to communicate our strategy with our employees. Thinking models are tools we’ve adopted to help us make sure we can communicate across a diverse group of people to be able to create meaning. Thinking models help speed up the process of understanding, and they create a shared way of communicating so that everyone understands. At Kaas, we use thinking models like “today, tomorrow, day-after-tomorrow,” KRAF, and the Laws to Outcome model. 

Today, Tomorrow, Day-after-Tomorrow 

The “today, tomorrow, day-after-tomorrow” thinking model helps us with the idea of time frame. When we say today, we mean the current operational needs such as production, entering orders, and dealing with escalations. Tomorrow refers to activities related to future business needs, typically in the next 6 days to 6 months, which includes coaching, continuous improvement, and adding capabilities. Day-after-tomorrow activities are focused on the long-term future of the organization, the next 1-10 years, and includes selecting the “music” and identifying future risks and capabilities. 

Who Works in Today? 

Today work is organized and controlled by the team members who’ve been at Kaas for two days or two years. We have an order, we transact that order, and we improve the way that we do that work on a daily basis. These team members will be involved in the improvement activity, meaning the Kata, but they won’t be involved in the direction setting. 

Who Works in Tomorrow? 

The next group of people has authority, and that’s what we say, we don’t call them leaders, just people with authority. They’re focused on tomorrow and today. So they’re overseeing “today,” and they’re trying to connect where we are going “tomorrow” to “today.” 

We want to see Kata conversations happening throughout the business. And the simple version of that is, “Oh, you’re doing something today. What do you hope to learn?” And then the follow up is, “Hey, you did that yesterday. What did you learn? And what curiosity might you have about the next thing you might do?” 

Who Works in Day-after-Tomorrow? 

I live in the “day-after-tomorrow.” It is my job assignment to steer the company. So that input comes from the outside world, conversations with partners, and my own team. I’ve been here for 40 years; I was absolutely not qualified to steer the values of the company when I was here earlier. We think that there’s one decision-maker on this. It’s my job to make that decision, but it is very collaborative. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to implement aDaily Management System within your organization, or more aboutKaizen andContinuous Improvement, consider signing up for a Kaas Tailored Waste Tour