Visual Workplace Radio

Visual Workplace Basics, Vol. 1

What is a visual workplace—and why is it important? How do you develop workplace visuality in operations and company wide? Tune in while Dr. Galsworth shows you: Why workplace visuality is the glue that holds all other improvement methods together, how it strengthens lean initiatives yet remains its own distinct strategy—and why visuality creates cultural alignment by liberating information and, in the process, liberating the human will.

Complimentary Access to Volume 1 for Beginners

Let the Workplace Speak

What is a visual workplace—and why is it important? How do you develop workplace visuality in operations and company wide? These are just a few of the questions Gwendolyn Galsworth, visual system expert and award-winning author, answers on this week’s show. Tune in while Dr. Galsworth shows you: Why workplace visuality is the glue that holds all other improvement methods together, how it strengthens lean initiatives yet remains its own distinct strategy—and why visuality creates cultural alignment by liberating information and, in the process, liberating the human will. Join Gwendolyn on her premiere show on Voice America/Business and learn how visuality is used to translate information into exact behavior and make the workplace speak. Whether you work in a factory, bank, hospital, engineering office, military depot or open-pit mine, listen and build your knowledge and know-how of visual workplace technologies and the principles and practices that drive them.

Five Things You Should Know About Visuality

Do you mistakenly believe the visual workplace is merely a series of point solutions—helpful, even clever—but not much more? If so, your expectations of visuality are too small for the quantity of information deficits in your company. This week, Gwendolyn Galsworth, your host and visual expert, puts her series on Visual Leadership on pause in order to share five telling perspectives on workplace visuality. This begins with the fact that visuality is a dynamic language, an imbedded vocabulary that makes your operational system reliable and robust. Tune in and learn why Gwendolyn says: 1) Lean does not include visual; 2) Visuality and lean are equal partners in operational excellence; 3) Visuality puts 5S on steroids; 4) visual technologies create a spirited, engaged work culture, even on the executive level; and 5) Visual thinking provides a new core competency that not only reduces waste but also aligns and unifies. Upgrade your expectations—and your results.

We Are Visual Beings

We are visual beings and therefore we live in a visual world—and not the other way around. The world did not teach us how to communicate visually—or why. We taught it. We are sensory beings, equipped and eager to send—and receive—messages. That is why human-based environments are flooded with visual devices. Our roads and highways are only one stunning example. Why not also the workplace? In this week’s show, Gwendolyn Galsworth (your host and visual expert) explains the natural connection between visuality and us—and work. The workplace also needs to be a visual—sense-based— environment because we are a visual, sense-based, beings. Sensory beings. Without visuality at work, we are quite literally lost. We have no navigational anchor. That puts us in a state of risk. Without visuality, work can get complicated and unproductive. We struggle and it shows in our bottom-line and our hearts.

First Visual Building Block: I-Driven Devices

What is Visual Thinking? The ability of a person to recognize motion (the enemy) and the information deficits that cause it—and then to eliminate both through solutions that are visual. A main outcome of a visual conversion is the emergence of a new companywide competency: people who know how to think visually—Visual Thinkers. Such thinkers see workplace problems in a new way and solve them using a set of principles called The Building Blocks of Visual Thinking. Listen as host Gwendolyn Galsworth, visual system expert and award-winning author, introduces the first of these building blocks, sharing the two I-driven questions that power workplace visuality. I-driven is Galsworth’s way to involve all operational levels in creating an enterprise-wide visual language. From operator to CEO, manager to supervisor, engineering office to purchasing and marketing, this is the dynamic that makes visuality rich, robust, relevant, and sustainable—the key to an aligned and empowered work force.

Visual Thinkers Wanted (The 7 Remaining Building Blocks)

How do you become a visual thinker? How do learn to recognize motion (the enemy) and the information deficits that cause it; and then learn to eliminate both through solutions that are visual? The answer is the eight building blocks of visual thinking. In a previous show, your host, Gwendolyn Galsworth (visual system expert and award-winning author), introduced you to the first of these: I-driven. Now she presents the other seven: standards, six core questions, information deficits, motion, work, value field, and motion metrics. Listen as Dr. Galsworth walks you through this logic and shows you how to use it in your work and in your company to create a fully-functioning, sustainable visual work environment and a spirited and engaged workforce. Whether yours is a factory, bank, hospital, dry cleaners, engineering office or military depot, tune in and learn how to think visually and help others do the same!

Take the Muzzle Off: Let the Workplace Speak

What happens when the workplace speaks? What happens when formerly voiceless work stations, equipment, tools, machines, and material communicate freely and precisely with us? What happens when we know vital information—the details of work—at a glance, without speaking a word, without asking (or answering) a single question? What happens when we take the muzzle off? Join us this week at The Visual Workplace where your host and visual expert, Gwendolyn Galsworth, shares how. Learn how to imbed operational intelligence into the landscape of work—intelligence you can see, intelligence that functions. Workplace visuality is rooted in a set of powerful principles that, when systematically applied, create a reliable and highly effective operational environment you can bank on and build on. Tune in and learn why your work environment can speak only if you give it a voice. And you can only find that voice if you can “see” what is there—and more importantly what is not.

Motion Sickness and its Cure

What is the most virulent disease condition that any company can suffer? Is it defects? No! Is it late deliveries? No! Is it runaway costs or unhappy customers or competitive threat? Three times no! The most lethal infection any enterprise can suffer is motion sickness! Listen in as Gwendolyn Galsworth, visual expert and your host, describes in gruesome terms the disorder that lays waste to countless companies since the industrial revolution. In telling detail, she depicts the nearly invisible assault missing information makes on the workplace and those who work there. Missing answers. The nasty thing about information deficits is that you rarely see them. Likes germs that contaminate water. Count yourself lucky if you spot their after effect: motion/moving without working. The cure? Workplace visuality—of course. Listen as Gwendolyn connects motion and visual devices to London’s 1854 cholera epidemic and shares the antidote: her First-Question-Is-Free-Rule.

The Ten Doorways Overview

How do you achieve a fully-functioning visual enterprise? The roadmap for getting there is “The Ten Doorways”—a central framework that matches up specific company groups (managers, associates, CEOs, engineers, supervisors, etc.) with specific visual methods (or functions). Groups take responsibility for specific methods: visual order, visual standards, visual displays, visual metrics, visual problem-solving, visual leadership, visual controls, visual pull systems, and visual guarantees (poka-yoke). It will require more than several shows to cover all ten doorways. This week, your host Gwendolyn Galsworth, leading authority of workplace visuality and award-winning author, introduces you to the overall logic of her ten-door template. Then she delves into “Doorway One: Visual Order/Visual Inventiveness”—a category of visual function many refer to as “5S.” But hold on to your hats! Dr. Galsworth’s definition of 5S is more like “5S on Steroids.” Your comments and questions are welcomed!

Making the Six Core Questions Visual

Who’d argue with the old saw: “There’s no such thing as a dumb question?” Gwendolyn Galsworth, your host at Visual Workplace Radio—that’s who! Recognizing questions exert a powerful pull for information sharing, this week she points out that runaway questions are a BIG workplace problem. The same questions are asked time and again—and their answers exist only in the minds and mouths of others. As a result, the only way we can find out WHAT and HOW MUCH we are supposed to do, HOW and WHEN we are supposed to do it, WHERE the materials/reports/patients are that are part of this—is to find someone and ask them. Sometimes that person has the answer. Far too often he does not. So you ask another person, who may not know either. The questions chain gets longer, spreading like a contagion through the company. Interruptions become a way of life. Info deficits rule the bottom line, instead of profit. Listen as Dr. Galsworth presents the Six Core Questions and tells you how to use them as a cure.

The Visual Workplace versus the Tribal Think

Is the pre-visual workplace really such a bad place? Just because it’s a bit dingy and doesn’t look like the board room doesn’t mean good work can’t happen there, does it? Or so says the tribe. What happens if we like things just as they are—and don’t necessarily think progress means: visually ordered, smart and, well, transparent? Tune in this week when your host and visual expert, Gwendolyn Galsworth, deals with the elephant in the room—the devil we know, the past. How do we persuade others of things we believe are not only true but essential? How do we crack the code on the tribal think? Gwendolyn shares her experiences about this and the kind of logic she has worked over three decades of practice. How do you make the visual workplace appealing before it is launched—and before the corporate mandate pushes the pushback back. “All that work!” says 30-year veterans of your company, “…and for what?” Listen as she shares what she does— what works and what doesn’t.

Visual and Lean: Two Wings of a Bird

Question: Which is more important—visual or lean? Answer: Bad question. Visual and lean share a single outcome: operational excellence by identifying and eliminating waste, relentlessly. Listen this week as Gwendolyn Galsworth, your host and visual expert, shares why and how visual and lean represent a single comprehensive improvement strategy, with only a difference in focus and language. Visual’s name for the enemy is motion. It targets how companies share information and then seeks ways to strengthen and build adherence. On the flipside, lean’s enemy is called waste or non-value adding activity. Its job is to dis-entangle the path that value follows on its way to the customer—and then put pull in place. Why make one powerful improvement paradigm more important than the other? Like the wings of a bird, visual and lean are both separate and equal in impact. If you ask a bird which of its wings is more important, it will simply fly off and let that be your answer.

Visual Management: What It Is Not

Who doesn’t recognize the tremendous power of the visual workplace in operations—color coding, visual standards, kanban, borders, addresses, production boards, poka-yoke systems? These devices are effective because they are visual. And devices from the management side of the visual workplace are also useful: KPIs, LCD monitors, dashboards, and other visible tracking systems. Does it surprise you to hear visual management (VM) referred to as only a part of the visual workplace? If so, you are in good company. This week, your host and visual expert, Gwendolyn Galsworth, will define VM and locate it properly as a subset of workplace visuality. Stuffing the extensive range of visual functions under the single label of visual management is a mistake. Why? Because it keeps you and your company from realizing the full benefit that the visual workplace can contribute to your bottom line—and to growing a vibrant work culture of continuous improvement.

Visual Management versus Visual Performance

Did you know visual management (VM) is a part—only a subset—of the visual workplace? And that there are seven other main categories of visual workplace function besides visual management? Though VM is important (especially to managers and executives), it represents only a small segment of the visual workplace continuum. Join us this week for part two of Gwendolyn Galsworth’s series on visual management. As she states, VM has one over-arching goal: to clarify the corporate intent and connect and align it with: a) corporate-level results, b) site-level results, c) area-level results; and d) value-add level results. How is this done? Visually, through an array of highly-visible but flat 2D formats: charts, schemata, graphs, templates, LCD monitors, KPI dashboards, and so on. But visual management is not visual performance. Don’t stuff all visual workplace functions under the single VM label. Expand your thinking/expand your language.

Cultural Transformation: How Visuality Does It

Lean is capable of improving the operational profile of nearly every company—and fast! But we ask: When lean turn arounds are so rapid, can the culture be transformed as well? While it’s possible, for most companies it is unlikely. And while many techniques impact cultural change, none in the view of your host and visual expert, Gwendolyn Galsworth, is more powerful than the visual workplace in transforming a work culture completely and sustainably. This week Gwendolyn describes: how visuality does it. Tune in and hear how and why her visual approach engenders fierce commitment and very personal expression. Learn exactly how visuality can create connectivity in an enterprise, even tough ones. Understand the power of margin—that slightest bit of internal personal space that can and does liberate our human potential and trigger a spirited, engaged and unified workforce. Learn for yourself, why she says: visuality doesn’t just support an aligned work culture. It creates it.

Depot Improvement Model: Imbedded Info vs. Imbedded Time

Why is it so hard to implement change in military depots? And what can visuality teach us about a better way? This week on Visual Workplace Radio, Gwendolyn Galsworth, your host and visual expert, shares her insights and findings related to implementing improvement in overhaul-and-repair. Success in this venue doesn’t just impact the bottom line. It impacts our military mission because depots refurbish and upgrade military equipment that just left the field of war—and must return there, reliably and with speed. Depots are archetypal low-volume/high-complexity work environments, where intricacy floods a vast physical workplace, with far too many details and barely a trace of flow. Years of effort and tons of money have been invested in an attempt to bring lean principles and practices to depots. Few have succeeded. As Dr. Galsworth explains, the fault is not in the operational goal but in the absence of a visual-lean change protocol customized to the depot setting.

Transformation in a Low-Volume/High Complexity Setting

What is the challenge in transforming operations in a low-volume/high-complexity work environment? Why is progress so hard to come by? Where does lean fit in? And what is visuality’s role? This week on Visual Workplace Radio, Gwendolyn Galsworth, your host and visual expert, extends last week’s discussion on implementing improvement in slo-mo settings. This week she describes how to do it—her HOW. With military depots as a focal point, Dr. Galsworth describes how she calibrates the bottom-line potential of change—by first comparing visual’s likely impact with lean’s. Then, she shares how she determines what to do first and what comes next, usually in close parallel. To help her, she has designed a so-called “3-Column Assessment Protocol,” specifically developed for the low-volume/high-mix setting. The effectiveness of this protocol in accurately assessing change potential is tied precisely to the fact that it deals with visual, lean, and culture separately.

It’s The Start that Stops Us

It is a well-recognized fact that understanding WHAT to do is only half the battle in operational improvement. The other half is HOW—and then doing it. Knowledge + Know-how. In this show, Gwendolyn Galsworth shares the lessons she has taught—and learned—about getting HOW going. If you’ve already cracked this code and learned how to deploy and make it stick, launching another improvement initiative will only strengthen you. But if you are a newcomer (or have a history of “almost-made-its”), the challenge of putting knowledge in place—so it can be and is used—can be a mighty challenge. So much is at stake: 1) promised bottom-line results; 2) cultural growth; 3) hope and confidence; and 4) the reputation of the people who promised success. Your reputation. But few authentic roadmaps exist to help with this subtle, behind-the-scenes process. It’s the start that stops us unless we know that and what to do about it.

It's the Start That Stops Us: Five Factors

Why is getting improvement going so tricky? Why do companies so often bail in the early stages—long before they even have had time to fail? Why is it that the start stops us? Building on her last show when we learned the difference between the HOW of deployment and the WHAT, Gwendolyn Galsworth, maps out five factors that can doom our best efforts to launch successful improvement initiatives. The first factor, recently discussed, is the mistaken pursuit of perfection. Secondly, we are often far too casual about choosing the methodology itself—or it lacks a separate and robust implementation protocol. The third factor that can defeat us is when managers demand results too quickly and, in doing so, rob the organization. Fourth, our trainers begin to train groups for the wrong reasons. Fifth, implementers decide to re-shape the methodology long before they have learned it. It’s the start that stops us.

A Primer: The Kaizen Blitz and How to Use It to Get Visual

Where did the Kaizen Blitz originate? If you say Mother Toyota, you are only partly right. Listen as Gwendolyn Galsworth travels into history and tells you the real story behind when and how the so-called “blitz” (not its real name) arrived on our shores and what happened when it did. Do you know that the first kaizen blitz (not its name at the time) was held in 1986 at Jakes Brakes in Windsor Locks, Connecticut—and it almost closed that site down? Dazzling in reducing flow distance and flow time, that first event surfaced everything that was right with the blitz format—and everything that was wrong, very wrong, with it. And both that right and that wrong were perfect duplications of how Toyota conducted its own blitzes in Japan, with this one difference: never at Mother Toyota, the OEM. The blitz format was use for the supply chain only. Learn about the history that only insiders know but don’t talk about.

The Visual Blitz: Key To Your Visual Transformation

How would you reply if asked whether you held visual workplace blitzes? Would you say: “Sure—someone is always thinking up a new visual device or two when we do our monthly kaizen blitz, sometimes more.”? But this Q&A is at cross purposes. In a visual workplace blitz (“visual blitz” for short), the result is lots of visual devices as well as visual mini-systems. Listen as Gwendolyn defines a visual blitz and maps out its steps, guiding principles, and delights. She also compares and contrasts it with its well-known cousin, the kaizen blitz. How are they the same? What are the telling differences? Listen and learn about the three different blitz levels, how to set them up, how to make sure they are successful, and how to use visual blitz events as a training ground for supervisors as they take on a greater role in the improvement progress of the enterprise.

Your Visual Blitz: Seven Success Elements

In this, the third show on the Visual Workplace Blitz, Gwendolyn Galsworth walks you through the seven elements that can make every blitz a big step forward on an area’s improvement journey. Listen as she describes: ways to keep your blitz focused and well supported; how to inspire people’s improvement vision before, during, and after a blitz; what it means to follow the process as the blitz unfolds—and how photos can be the emotional glue that keep the engagement spirited and connected. But don’t run off just because the hands-on part of your rapid visual improvement event is concluded. Conduct a careful de-brief and follow up and you’ll reap even more remarkable rewards. Done effectively, the visual blitz process can be a powerful training ground for building the habit of visual thinking amongst your value-add associates—and cultivating the improvement leadership of your supervisors and managers.

The Invisible Enemy: Can You Name It?

There is an enemy in your company–and it’s 100% invisible. You can’t see it because it literally is not there. Yet its impact is massive on every level of the enterprise, from board room to marketing to operations to the field staff. And the only way you have even the smallest chance of destroying it is by focusing on what it causes…its footprint. Can you name that enemy? Can you name its footprint? Join us this week as Gwendolyn Galsworth reveals that enemy and shows you how to find it, stalk it, and destroy it. Hint: It takes 8 to 10 minutes to recover from an interruption, any interruption, no matter how long or short? To recover doesn’t merely mean to get back to the task-at-hand. It means: to get back to the level of focus and attention you had before the interruption. And some of us get interrupted so often that we are convinced interruptions are a part of our job description. In some companies, we are called supervisors.

Pink Powder and the Two Primes

Did you know: 50% of our brain function is dedicated to seeing and interpreting visual data? Yes, that’s the way we make sense out of all that we see—and we humans see a great deal. In 1985, the host of this radio show, Gwendolyn Galsworth, had an encounter that revealed this but not in a way she recognized at the time. The players: 1) an operator; 2) an indexed final assembly line at Toyota; 3) an impact wrench; 4) five lug nuts; and 5) a bucket of pink powder. The stage was set. Hidden in plain sight, that pink powder was much more than it seemed—and much more powerful than its fluffiness might suggest. As she slowly realized that that powder was in fact a performance partner in Toyota’s production process—plus key to the perfect quality for which the company was then famous. Listen as Gwendolyn supplies the details of this scenario and describes the two prime principles of visuality that she derived from it (with examples). Tune in/Learn more. Let the workplace speak.

about Visual Thinking

Established by Gwendolyn Galsworth in 1991, Visual Thinking Inc. (formerly Quality Methods International/QMI) is a training and implementation company, specializing in expert knowledge and know-how on workplace visuality. We bring those to you in the form of our books, DVDs, Online Training Systems, implementation protocol, train-the-trainer workshops, and other on-line and on-site services.


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Visual Workplace-Visual Management Guide (pdf)

Thanks for your interest in our Visual Workplace-Visual Management guide, the end-result of a wonderful, local collaboration between Visual Thinking Inc. and Graphic Products in Oregon.

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