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of good communication and a balance of knowledge and power. Our biggest challenge is to instill this philosophy and approach throughout the company. Managers are accustomed to having more control over the processes, but they do not realize they will have much more control over the quality of their products or services if they let go of some of the decision making. Going to the gemba has taught us that letting go is easier than most people dare to think.

We are also learning that managers must look for problems with vigilance, gaining an understanding of the real issues and problems by poring over facts and data. It is a tough job. But once the hidden problems are revealed, managers start to realize that the appearance of a smoothly operating organization can be deceptive. Once they set up a process to find out about concerns and problems below the tip of the iceberg, the gemba becomes a continuous source of information and inspiration for change. It is this process that keeps a company on the urgent edge of continuous improvement.



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