Gemba walks are an important strategy in management, and they are not only for the elite managers. It’s just as important for you to get out into the field and interact with your principal investigators and their study team. Here is a few ways to get out and get to know your PIs on a more personal level:

  1. Let the PI know you want to learn more about them and their research. Ask if you can come to a team or lab meeting. Ask them where they think the future of their research is taking them–everyone loves to talk about their dreams and hopes for the future.
  2. Get involved with their study team by learning more about what they do and how they do it. Don’t worry about becoming an expert, just get a feel for their goals and the value of the work they are doing.
  3. One way to structure your time is to follow the valuestream–follow all the handoffs between people, departments, and processes. This is often easy to do and people welcome the fact that you are trying to learn more about their processes.
  4. Document what you find and think of how you can improve your own processes.
  5. Incorporate them into your monthly goals. Write it down and actually work on it—review your progress with the people who are involved.