Organizations around the world are adopting the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, and this includes the Leader Standard Work sheet. The Leader Standard Work sheet is a double-sided printed sheet that you carry with you and take notes on throughout the day.

This sheet acts as many things—your daily/weekly/monthly to-do lists, reminder of organizational goals, and coaching notes for your employees. Chances are good that, for better or for worse, you are already doing all of these things in other systems. We all have our to-do lists and upcoming projects reminders. This sheet brings all of those pieces together in a unified format.

The purpose of the Leader Standard Work sheet is to build a framework around your position, improve processes, and to help you become a better leader. If done correctly, you should be able to hand this piece of paper to someone brand new and they would have instant knowledge of what you do. Think of it as preparing notes for your backup when you go on vacation—everything you do is written down in one place.

Unfortunately, the usual template that comes out of the box from your employer usually doesn’t fit the life of a Research Administrator. We have a different sort of daily work that, at times, is inconsistent and 90% variable from day to day. But do not despair, with only a few changes we can turn the standard Leader Standard Work sheet into a useful tool for the world of research leadership.

The most common fields within a Leader Standard Work sheet are generally not applicable to us and what we do. I took the standard form, and created an entirely different form taking inspiration from the Passion Planner, the concept of a bullet journal, and the teachings of the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.

My Leader Standard Work sheet includes the following fields:

  • Monthly Commitments (i.e., Orientation for new researchers)
  • Weekly Commitments (i.e., Tracking proposal development and education communications)
  • Daily Commitments (i.e., Submissions audit, tomorrow’s meeting agendas, to-do list audit, team rounds)
  • Research Proposal Development & Submissions
  • To-Do List
  • Follow-Up Items
  • Projects/Goals On Base (i.e., working on right now)
  • Projects/Goals On Deck (i.e., working on next)
  • Projects/Goals In the Parking Lot (i.e., working on in the future)
  • Cross-Training and Escalations (i.e., for specific direct-report employees/trainees)
  • Professional Development Goals
  • Good Things That Happened
  • Not-To-Do List (i.e., Do not tell trainees what to do-only ask questions and coach them)
  • Personal To-Do List
  • Space of Infinite Possibility (i.e., Quotes, doodle drawings, anything)

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Does your company use the Lean system and the Leader Standard Work sheet? If so, how have you adapted the template to match your needs in research administration?