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You unintentionally perform faster than usual when being timed

One of the things that takes some getting used to in a Lean organization is the fact that people are constantly watching each other. Leaders are relentlessly told to go to gemba. Teams participate in a never ending parade of kaizen activity. Employees from other work areas visit to do benchmarking and get ideas for best practices. In a nutshell, if you work in the company with a culture of continuous improvement, you will be on display.

The truth is it does not take long to get used to this sort of openness. After all, everybody is in the same boat. You are the observed person one day and the observer the next.

The issue that lingers, though, is that people have a tendency to change their pace of work when they’re being watched. If you watch someone for only a short time, there is a better than average chance that you are not seeing the work being done as it normally is.


You unintentionally perform faster than usual when being timed.

How this affects you

The Hawthorne Effect is the subconscious tendency people have to improve productivity whenever a condition changes. Having an observer in the area can be one of those changes in conditions that usually results in the first few production cycles being faster than normal.

Action to take

Make sure you record several cycles whenever Standard Work is revised

More information about the Action to Take is available to registered users for most strategies. Sign in to get access to it.

Why this works

The Why this Works section is only available in print copies of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?.


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