Professor Sobek received a nice message from a person he corresponded with over a year ago regarding A3 Reports. With permission we decided to post the summary e-mail about the personal experiences of using the A3 model with some of his clients.
About a year ago, you graciously consented to letting me use your A3 Process model with a new client – my first in the health care arena. Though I can’t find your email from that time, I do remember you asking for an update on my usage. This is my attempt to give you a brief update.
I have completed 4 projects in 4 different clinics among the 60+ clinics this group has throughout the state of Iowa. The projects were all successful. My use of the A3 improved dramatically as time passed. I was a reluctant user at first. In fact, when it came to my first meeting with the woman who had hired me to work with the organization, I was wishing I had not introduced the A3 as the mode of communication. I was frustrated with my inability to depict the essence of the projects on that small sheet of paper. It turns out that she, also, was not enamored with the A3 and said so.
“Tim, I really don’t like the A3.” I had sent her A3 reports for each project. I told her I didn’t really like the A3 either, but that if it was good enough for Toyota (who works on much more complex problems than we are working on at this time) it ought to be good enough for us. Then, without thinking, I picked up the four 3-ring binders in which I had all the team meeting records, data printouts, etc., for each project and said, “We’re doing great work in all 4 projects; just look through these notebooks and you will see what great work we are doing.” That convinced both of us that the A3 Report was the way to go.
That moment was key, then, to ‘motivating’ me to utilize the A3 effectively. Fortunately, John Shook’s book “Managing to Learn” came out about that time. I read it and I attended the webinar through LEI. My understanding, and therefore, effective utilization of A3 increased dramatically.
Now I don’t think I can live without using A3.
Edit Note: For clarification Prof. Sobek kindly shared some of his personal workshop materials with Tim before the publication of A3 Thinking. We appreciate the feedback and are glad to hear the tool was useful and that your skill level improved. In case you did not hear both our book A3 Thinking and Managing to Learn by John Shook received Shingo Research Prizes. The awards will be handed out at the upcoming 21st annual Shingo Conference in May.