An A3 is typically thought of as a business process related to strategy or problem-solving. An A3 can also be a powerful personal development tool. Let’s walk through how to use an A3 for personal development.
Starting on the left-hand side as usual, think about your leadership actions and behaviors and ask yourself the following questions.
- What things am I doing that really work to engage my team?
- What things am I doing that shut my team down?
- Why is it important for me to start thinking about my leadership activities and behaviors?
- What is my opportunity to become more effective and become a better leader?
- Why do my habits exist? Think of both positive and the things you want to improve upon.
It’s common for people to let organizational problems creep in to their personal A3s. Remember, this A3 is actually about you and how your behaviors impact the organization.
When it is time to move to the right side of your personal A3 here are some questions that you might find helpful:
- What is it I want to do or what is it that I want to do differently?
- What is the experiment that I want to run?
- What is the opportunity statement not the problem-solving statement?
The next step is to start to create the experiments you would like to try and develop your plan. Over the next six months, try three things, then reflect on your progress and try asking others how they think you are doing.
You will need to be patient when running experiments, it can take months to really change your behaviors and get used to new processes. You don’t want this to be perceived as the “flavor of the month.” You need to give staff members time to adjust. It is important to share with your team that you are going to try some new things, so they know what to expect, especially if you plan to ask them for feedback.
After you have collected the information about the experiment and updated your personal A3 you may find that it is time to create another revision of and continue this process. Using an A3 for personal development is a continuous PDSA cycle without an end.
Getting feedback is the hardest part it can be helpful to work with an external coach to observe you at the gemba or where you do your work as they will be equipped and comfortable providing honest feedback. Self-reflection time is another way to get feedback on your personal development.
Focusing on your own behaviors will help cultivate a culture of continuous improvement in your organization. The key is to stick with it and be patient.
Have you started using an A3 for personal development? Share your thoughts on personal development below.
Becoming the Change, by John Toussaint and Kim Barnas