Lean class develops center leaders

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Developing Lean leaders is one of many topics addressed as part of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center's Leadership Development Program.

"For Robins to stay competitive we have to have leaders; we can't just have supervisors and managers," said Karl Griffin, Training and Professional Development Division LDP instructor. "We need people who are willing to get out of their comfort zones and be more of a service to their people. This program is another way to grow our leaders."

The six-month program, which began in January, includes five different classes of students who meet throughout the week. One group in the Wednesday class received certificates March 21 for completing the lean leadership portion of the course. The occasion was even marked with a light-hearted graduation ceremony complete with music, provided by class instructor Anthony Murphy.

"It is taking theory and putting it into practice," said Murphy of the program.

Along with 40 hours of training on Lean leadership, students also learn ethics, change management, communication and presentation skills, servant leadership, and strategic planning and thinking.

Lively discussion throughout the last few weeks culminated in a final week of presentations on thinking and problem solving using A3, which is part of the center's Transformation Plan of Care. After learning Lean fundamentals, students spoke on how they applied those principles in their own workplace.

Capt. Holly Jaenz, Precision Attack Element chief, said that as a result of taking the class, she wanted to further her knowledge by completing Six Sigma green belt training by the end of the fiscal year, and enrolling in the Emerging Leaders Program.

"When I started this I didn't know anything about Lean," she said. "I know now that just going to class will not teach me what I need to know. I want to be involved in leading and facilitating some of these process improvement events."

James Lee, a C-130 production supervisor in the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, added he wanted to get more people on his crew involved in Lean.

"What I'd like to do is improve some processes in my shop, and have better training for our mechanics," said Lee.

One way to achieve that goal is to implement a rotating schedule to allow team members to learn other areas.

Senior leaders were invited to last week's presentations, including Ellen Griffith, 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group director.

"I was terribly impre-ssed," she said. "This presents such a great framework for doing problem solving. It gives you a very simple construct to work through an issue, that makes sure you're really getting to the root cause of a problem."

Kevin Smagh, center Financial Management director, shared that students can also take advantage of cost training, which is part of the center's focus on leading the Department of Defense in cost management.

"It will provide you the opportunity, with the problems you are solving, to put a face on the cost aspect," he said. "The idea is not to save money so much as to be aware of the cost aspect of the process you're improving."

"It's a new day at Robins to be able to talk about solving problems and have people in your leadership positions do that proactively when given the tools to do it," he added.