Leader Education, Training, and Development

We develop leaders to handle current and future challenges in their workplaces.  We practice lean thinking, which is deeply rooted in developing people both technically and cognitively.  No responsibility is greater than that of developing our people.  All of our leader development programs carry this emphasis, and we supplement that with a deep technical understanding of principles, practices, tools, and techniques for creating more effective workplaces.  These programs are all customizable for your specific needs.

Programs for Leader Development

Executive Learning Retreat –  Take your key leaders to see what’s possible.

Gemba Walk with ForestryWe build learning retreats around the needs of your team and your business.  These involve travel to go and see both world-class sites and sites working through issues your organization will also need to work through.  We will have lectures, discussions, and activities with well-known experts in fields like lean thinking, systems engineering, logistics and supply chain management, healthcare, design management, environmental sustainability, people development, and organization development depending on your needs. 

Participants will see world class practices and learn how to:

  • Conduct a gemba walk
  • Assess a workplace rapidly
  • Challenge their organizations
  • Create a strategic plan
  • Gain stakeholder buy-in
  • Evaluate performance
  • Coach for improvement  

We offer these trips in North America (particularly Kentucky and the Pacific Northwest), Japan, Australia, Brazil, and Europe.  All of these feature intense learning activities broken up by fun, cultural immersion activities.  These can also be designed as deep reflective retreats with short bursts of intense discussion or activity followed by contemplative time and action planning.  We can accommodate up to 30 people – from one to many organizations, and can tailor them to last from 1 to 14 days.


For more information, request a consultation. 

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StrikeFighter™ Workshop – A unique system-level simulation-based learning event.

This workshop allows participants to see how all the elements of operational excellence and lean systems fit together for an organization and its supply chain.

During three simulation rounds, participants will transform from conventional, or functional thinking, through lean services and manufacturing thinking, to broad-based enterprise-level systems thinking, all in the course of 2 to 4 days.

Each round begins with team preparation and problem solving and ends with a detailed reflection and review period that ties the lessons of the simulation to the participants’ workplace, whether in manufacturing, healthcare, administration, or logistics.

We designed the F35VStrikeFighter simulation from scratch to be flexible and robust.

  • As the featured learning vehicle for executive education, the simulation allows executives the opportunity to develop broad strategies and experiment with lean concepts that can shape the future of their organizations. Packaged with discussions and cases, this workshop becomes a powerful leadership development experience or shapes thinking for discussions of strategy. 
  • As the featured learning vehicle for mid-level managers and leaders, the simulation allows participants to see the impact of their decisions on the performance of the company and on the performance of their people. It exposes complex problems and requires these leaders to collaborate on the development of solutions; building skills vital to the success of any organization.
  • As the featured learning vehicle for operating staff, including supervisors, the simulation builds problem solving skills by focusing on creating flow through work systems and by installing pull systems to regulate that flow. It builds and strengthens team identity by providing a difficult shared experience for participants to overcome.

Hundreds of participants have experienced the StrikeFighter™ in dozens of locations around the world.  Several corporations have used this simulation as part of their executive team development and to gain alignment of purpose for new strategies.  Hundreds more have learned through this practical application the power of a simple problem solving methodology to change the way people feel about work, increasing feelings of engagement and excitement.

The simulation is designed for an audience of 24 but can accommodate as few as 16 and as many as 48.  It travels well and can be set up within an hour in a hotel meeting room, company learning center, or large conference room. 

We organize participants into 4 teams.  Each is responsible for the delivery of a major component.  One team serves as the system integrator, assembling the components into the finished StrikeFighter™ aircraft system.

Despite the obvious assembly focus that comes with Lego™ blocks, the simulation serves as a suitable metaphor for any enterprise.  We have served Healthcare, Services, Software, and Manufacturing organizations, whose observations from participants worldwide include how similar the problems experienced in the simulation are to their real problems at work, regardless of their industry or functional specialty.  When we solve them in the simulation, you can solve them at work.


For more information, request a consultation.

Schedule A Consultation With David

C4™ Workshop – A rigorous problem solving method

No skill is more important for effective leadership than problem solving.  In this customizable workshop, we will learn how to build systems that make seeing and solving problems more effective in any workplace. 

We teach a methodology called the C4 Process.  It is a robust and rigorous system that evolved from the Deming Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) used so effectively by world-class companies like Toyota, but simplifies the stages of the method to make it easier for leaders to teach.

C4 stands for Concern, Cause, Countermeasure, Confirm.  Through each, teams will learn to clearly define a problem (Concern), thoroughly analyze its causes (Cause), develop, test, and evaluate multiple potential solutions (Countermeasure), and rigorously implement the solution, including systems to minimize backsliding (Confirm).

In this workshop, we will:

  • Develop long-term critical thinking skills
  • Solve real problems in your organization with lasting results
  • Increase employee engagement and involvement
  • Potentially save substantial amounts of money in a very short period of time
  • And much, much more.

We offer this workshop in a variety of formats lasting from 2 to 5 days in your facilities.  This workshop will change the way you and your team think about problems in your workplace.


For more information, request a consultation.

Schedule A Consultation With David


FirstLine™ – Focused education and training for leaders at all levels

FirstLine™ is a 40-hour Lean Leader Development Program built from 20 specific learning modules and offered through a site license for organizations to offer on their own to their current and future leaders. (Available in Spring of 2018)

Modules include:

  1. Principles of Lean Systems 1
  2. Principles of Lean Systems 2
  3. Measuring work performance
  4. Problem solving overview
  5. Teams, teamwork, and team leadership
  6. Workplace organization
  7. Seeing problems – value stream mapping
  8. Standardized work 1
  9. Flow and pull
  10.  Standardized work 2
  11.  Intermediate problem solving – Concern and Cause
  12.  Intermediate problem solving – Countermeasure and Confirm
  13.  Visual Management and target setting
  14.  Huddles and meeting management
  15.  Leadership skills and behaviors
  16.  Conflict management and difficult conversations
  17.  Coaching
  18.  Hoshin (Strategic planning and goal deployment)
  19.  Continuous improvement
  20.  Project management

Modules include explanations of key concepts, practical learning activities, and guidelines for projects participants complete in their own workplaces.  We will lead train the trainer sessions then transfer materials and scripted notes for use throughout the organization.  (Licensing Fee for materials applies).  We will conduct periodic review sessions with some coaches to ensure all coaches are training effectively.

For more information, request a consultation.

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Change Agent Certification Series

(Offered in partnership with ILS and Honsha)

This is our most comprehensive educational offering and consists of four 1-week-long sessions delivered over 6 months (one session about every 6 weeks) with cost-saving projects assigned for each session.  Participants are people who will be selected for future leadership roles and to manage significant projects for the company.

  • Week 1 content focuses on Lean systems overview including Daily Management Systems, 5S and Visual Management);
  • Week 2 content focuses on Rigorous Problem Solving (A3 development, PDCA/DMAIC/C4 synthesis, Value Stream Mapping and Analysis, Flow, Cause Analysis);
  • Week 3 content focuses on Standardized Work development and maintenance and total productive maintenance systems;
  • Week 4 content focuses on leadership, coaching, and leadership development, teams and team building, talent and skill building and maintenance, and continuing continual improvement.
  • Optional Week 5:  Content focused on statistics and statistical analysis, hypothesis testing, and design of experiments (Will be integrated into the countermeasure development and evaluation piece of the problem solving process.)
  • Optional Week 6:  Basic overview of business statistics, data collection, and data analysis

For more information, request a consultation.

Schedule A Consultation With David