Leadership Skills - Leading Teams to High Performance
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Leadership Skills - Leading Teams to High Performance

Lean Leadership Green Belt Certification in Leading Teams & Continuous Improvement
4.5 (175 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,741 students enrolled
Last updated 8/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $150 Discount: 93% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 14 hours on-demand video
  • 14 Articles
  • 22 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Lead teams in continuous improvement of their processes.
  • To develop high performing teams, team leaders, and team coaches.
  • Motivate and manage the performance of teams and their members.
  • Solve problems in a systematic, fact-based manner.
  • Learn the communication and facilitation skills that are essential to leading people and teams.
View Curriculum
  • The only course requirement is a desire to learn to be a great team leader.

The Challenge:

Note: the course now includes a complete ebook - "Team Kata - The Habits of Continuous Improvement" (see lecture #3).

To succeed as a manager, entrepreneur, or executive, you must have the skills of team leadership. This course provides those skills. It provides the skills of facilitation, communication, problem solving, conflict resolution, process improvement and managing human performance.


This course is structured to facilitate the relationship between the team leader, his or her team, and a coach who may assist in applying the lessons. There are fourteen exercises that ask the student to put the lessons to work with their team or practice with their coach. The instructor employs an "action-learning" model, recognizing that the best learning occurs from applying the lessons to the student's real work situation, and from receiving feedback from a coach. It is intended as a comprehensive model and curriculum for team leaders. 

Recognition and Celebration:

When you complete this course, you will receive a certificate of completion from Udemy. However, this is a demanding course and you are asked to demonstrate competence in managing people, teams and processes. The instructors believes that you deserve more recognition. If you complete the assignments and send a portfolio of completed assignments to the instructor you will be recognized with a Green Belt certification by the Institute for Leadership Excellence; and, the author will send you ebook copies of his three most recent books on coaching, team leadership, and developing lean organization and culture. You deserve it!

Note: this course duplicates much of the material in the instructor's New Manager Skills course. There is about a 50% overlap. This course is intended for current managers while the New Manager course is intended for those about to become or who have recently become new managers. I suggest that you look at the curriculum of each and decide which is most appropriate for you. 

Who is the target audience?
  • All team leaders, those wishing to become leaders or managers.
  • Both management and front line team members and leaders
  • Any manager wishing to improve their skills of leading teams, people and improving processes.
  • Those managers and companies implementing lean management and wishing to institute lean culture.
Curriculum For This Course
88 Lectures
Introduction to Leadership & The Kata of High Performing Teams
2 Lectures 21:15

The team in an organization is like the family in a society. It is the fundamental building block of trust and competence. In the family we develop our earliest habits of communication, problem solving and relationships. Where the family does not function well, there is wasteful and destructive human behavior. As the family is our first learning organization, the natural work team is the primary learning unit for all members of the organization. Lean organizations are a social system, a culture, as well as a technical system. At the heart of that social system is the small work group, the team, both at the front line level and at all levels of management.

Preview 11:14

Principles of Lean Management
4 Lectures 49:42
The Beginning of Lean

The purpose of this Section is to present the basic principles of lean management and Team Kata.


1.To understand the essential philosophy of lean management.

2.Understand the over-arching purpose of Team Kata and how it may be applied to your organization.

3.To understand the coaching-learning cycle.

4.Understand the synthesis of prior methods, theories and practices and how these are incorporated in Team Kata.

Principles of Lean Management - 1

Principles of Lean Management - 2

Principles of Lean Management - 3

Review the principles of lean management.

Principles of Lean Management
5 questions
Organizing Your Team
5 Lectures 35:32

In many organizations, when people think of teams they think about a problem-solving, kaizen, project, or Six Sigma team formed to solve a problem and make a recommendation to managers. While these are useful, these teams are temporary. The culture of the organization, the norms and habits, are not embedded in temporary problem-solving teams. Rather, the culture is embedded in the norms and habits of permanent work groups – frontline teams, management teams and functional teams. These teams are permanent and they own responsibility for performance. How these teams execute that responsibility will determine the performance of the organization. Problem solving groups are responsible for improving some process, but they do not own that process on a
continuing basis. These teams are sometimes formed because the problem wasn’t solved more quickly by those doing the work.

It is very possible that you serve on more than one team. In this age of flexible organizations that is very normal. But, as you go through this course it is important that you are focused on the development on a specific team and you will seek to apply the lessons to that team.

1.Is my team a permanent team with on-going responsibility for a process and performance? What is the process or processes that my team “owns?”

a.Who is the formal leader of this team?

b.What is the relationship of this team to other teams – both horizontally and vertically?

2.Is my team a problem-solving (kaizen, project, etc.) team?

a.What is the exact problem that we are trying to solve?

b.When we develop a solution, who are the “deciders?”

Team Structure


The purpose of this chapter is to help team members reach agreement on their purpose as a team and the principles that will guide their behavior. Your Charter will define your responsibilities and relationships.


1.To engage the team in a discussion about why they are a team and their responsibilities as a team.

2.To have the team develop a charter that will define their work and responsibility as they serve their customers.

3.To have the team establish a code of conduct, or principles to live by.

Writing Your Team's Charter

Roles and Responsibilities on a Team

The Agenda

Writing Your Team's Charter
5 questions

Action Learning Assignment 1: Organize Your Team
Stages of Team and Organization Development
3 Lectures 47:53

The purpose of this chapter is to assist the team to recognize normal patterns of development or stages of maturity that most teams pass through.


1.To recognize the characteristics of a mature and well-functioning team.

2.To recognize the current level of maturity of your team.

3.To identify specific ways that your team may advance to a higher level of maturity and performance.

As every team begins to develop its skills it will pass through stages of growth. Whether you are on a frontline work team or a leadership team you are likely to witness some behavior that you may at times find to be “adolescent” or which you may describe in some other way. It’s OK! Just as your own offspring must go through some stages of exploration, testing, and learning to cooperate, teams go through very similar stages.

Stages of Team Development

Life Cycles of Organizations

Life Cycles of Leadership

Stages of Team Development
5 questions
Clarifying Decision Styles
3 Lectures 25:18

The purpose of this chapter is to clarify who will make what decisions when, and in what style.


1.To clarify how our team will make decisions in different situations.

2.To understand situational decision-making styles – why different styles are effective in different situations.

3.To understand the relationship between decision-making styles and the culture of the organization.


The team will reach an agreement as to which types of decisions within the team will be command, consultative or consensus and who will be involved in or own those decisions.

As you build a lean culture it will be necessary to shift how decisions are made throughout your organization.You will increasingly become a high-trust culture as teams demonstrate their maturity and their ability to improve performance.

This is a normal transition as everyone learns to focus on the process, rather than blaming people, and everyone develops a unity of effort around providing the best possible care to customers.

The reality of most work teams is that each individual is making some decisions every day. We must trust in the responsible nature of employees who operate equipment, interact with customers or do other work on their own. Most work involves making decisions.

Clarifying Decision Styles

How to Reach Consensus

Clarifying Decision Styles
5 questions

Action Learning Assignment 2: Clarify Decision Styles
Keeping Score and Beginning the Improvement Process
7 Lectures 01:02:55
The Performance Cycle

There are three major stages of learning and development within the Team Kata that bring a team to the status of high performance. The Learning/Coaching Kata is how one learns. But, what is the team attempting to learn? What is the behavior, if practiced by every team that will result in high performance for the organization?This illustrates the basic skills and activities of high performing teams. This is the lesson plan, if you wish to think of it that way. Both this book and the accompanying online learning course will teach these skills. It is these skills that your coach should be coaching as you go through the learning process. The skills and activities can be broken into three major categories.

1. Planning and Organizing

2. The Improvement Kata

3. Improving Team Effectiveness

Introduction toThe Improvement Kata and Daily Leadership


Every high performance team has an effective score keeping system. The purpose of this chapter is to help you establish that system for your team.


1.To have the team reach consensus on their 4 to 8 key measures of performance.

2.To understand the importance of a balanced scorecard.

3.To establish a pattern of data collection and visual display.


First, the team will reach consensus on a balanced scorecard with between six and ten items. Second, you will agree on a visual display board and create that display with baseline data on each measure.

This chapter begins the actual cycle of improvement. The development of the scorecard can be viewed as either part of the improvement kata or as part of the getting organized phase. It doesn’t matter. It is both getting organized and an essential component of the improvement cycle. The four major steps of 1) developing a scorecard, 2) setting targets, 3) analyzing and improving, and then 4) recognizing improvement and standardizing the new methods, can be seen as a continuous cycle of improvement.

The scorecard and customer requirements, discussed in the next chapter, are both ways to understand the “current state” of performance. This is the basis for establishing improvement targets and solving problems that are obstacles to achieving those targets.

Developing Your Team Scorecard

When you think about developing your scorecard give consideration to each of the following types of measures:

1.Customer Satisfaction: How do you measure customer satisfaction? Do you conduct an annual survey? Do you conduct telephone surveys and ask for feedback in some other way. It is worth considering how we can measure and track improvements in the satisfaction of our customers.

2.Business Process Measures: These may be measures of the cycle time from input to output of any process. Or, they may be measures of the number of times rework occurs within the process. Or, any other form of waste or errors that may be caught before the product leaves the organization, but results in unnecessary costs.

3.Learning and Development: Every organization must be a learning organization to compete in today’s world. Many organizations have goals for how many hours of training are received by each manager or employee. How can you measure the degree of learning and development? Completing the training modules in this book could be a measure of learning and development.

4.Financial Results: This is obvious at management levels. But, how can we create financial measures at the level of frontline work teams? This is possible. There are costs associated with every work team. The costs of materials, people, space, etc. Those costs can be compared to the percent of revenue attributable to that team. In other words, if a manufacturing plant sold product worth one million dollars a year, and there are one hundred employees in the plant, a team of ten can be considered responsible for that percent of the revenue. Of course, this is not an accurate accounting measure. But, it is a way to give the team a sense of business/financial responsibility for their work.

The Balanced Scorecard

Developing Your Team Scorecard
5 questions

Action Learning Assignment 3: Develop Your Team Scorecard

Targets, Goals and Objectives

MBO & Self-Control

Action Learning Assignment 4: Set Targets & Visual Display
Defining Customer Requirements
3 Lectures 23:32

The purpose of this chapter is to help the team identify their customers and suppliers, know the requirements of their customers, and set broad goals to meet their customers’ needs.


1.To identify those for whom you work, your customers.

2.To identify the types of requirements of your customers.

3.To identify your suppliers and the type of feedback that would help them serve your team better.

4.To reach agreement with your team on your customers and suppliers.


The deliverable for this section is gathering data on customer requirements and defining the key customer requirements this team should focus upon.

Our success is directly related to the degree to which we understand and appreciate the needs and requirements of our customers. For many years the pursuit of quality in either products or services has focused on defining exactly what will please, even delight, those who are on the receiving end of those products or services. We often think we know, but often do not know exactly what it is that creates satisfaction among our customers. During this chapter your team should seek to achieve clarity on those requirements.

There is joy in work when it is done in the spirit of service to someone else. There is joy in work when you feel that you have control over the quality of your work. There is even more joy in work when you know that you are expert and that you are daily striving to improve the quality of your work. All work should have joy. The process of continuous improvement can bring that joy to your work. In this chapter, you will begin to establish those conditions that create joy, or the simple satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your work well.

Defining Customer Requirements & Improvement Targets

The Customer Interview

Defining Customer Requirements
5 questions

Action Learning Assignment 5: Customer Requirements
Solving Problems
13 Lectures 01:44:08
Healthy Attitudes of Problem Solving

Situation Analysis

Root Cause Analysis - the 5 Why's

Action Learning Assignment 6: Root Cause or 5 Why's

Brainstorming Causes

For many years, even before the quality movement or lean management, there were many models of problem-solving. Many writers have defined the five, six, or seven steps to problem-solving. Most of these models include the same or very similar elements. There is no one right model or one best way. All problem-solving processes should include fact finding, brainstorming and investigating the causes of a problem, brainstorming and deciding on solutions, and action planning and follow-up. These are the most critical common elements in all problem-solving models.

When the Total Quality Management process was the primary model improvement model the PDCA(Plan, Do, Check and Act) cycle of problem-solving was very popular. It is also known as the Schewhart Cycle after Walter Schewhart a pioneer in the quality field. However, it was made popular by another quality guru, Dr. Edwards Deming. It was adopted as a common problem-solving model at many companies.

The PDCA cycleis best used for relatively simple problems, although you can place many different methods or steps within these four major steps.

On the next two pages you will see a blank PDCA form you can use, and a form with more detailed steps within each of the four major steps.

·Plan to improve your operations first by finding out what things are going wrong (that is identify the problems), and come up with ideas for solving these problems.

·Do changes designed to solve the problems on a small or experimental scale first. This minimises disruption to routine activity while testing whether the changes will work or not.

·Check (or Study) whether the small scale or experimental changes are achieving the desired result or not. Also, continuously Check key activities (regardless of any experimentation going on) to ensure that you know what the quality of the output is at all times to identify any new problems when they crop up.

·Act to standardize procedures or process and implement changes on a larger scale if the experiment is successful. This means making the changes a routine part of your activity. Also Act to involve other persons (other departments, suppliers, or customers) affected by the changes and whose cooperation you need to implement them onlarger scale, or those who may simply benefit from what you have learned (you may, of course, already have involved these people in the “Do” or trial stage)

PDCA Problem Solving

Solving Problems - the Basics
5 questions

Action Learning Assignment 7

Plan-Do-Check-Act Problem Solving

Use the form provided, along with your team, identify a problem and go through the PDCA problem solving process.

Action Learning Assignment 7: PDCA Problem-Solving

A3 Thinking

The PDCAmodel is simple enough to use on one sheet of paper, and A3sheet that is about the size of these pages. The following model can also be used on one page, but it fits much better on a larger sheet, an A3. These A3 and A4forms will be available from your coaches.

This model can be summarized by the acronym DIMPABAC: Define the problem to be solved; Inquire with all those who have facts regarding the problem to gain different understanding and insight; Measure actual performance on the problem; Principles should be defined that are important to understanding this problem and its solution; Analyze the data and causes of the problem; Brainstorm solutions to the problem; Agree to Act on a solution; Control and standardize the process and evaluate results.

Steps in A3 Problem Solving

Brainstorming has been used for many years since WWII when it was developed to stimulate innovation and creativity in research laboratories. The idea is simple. It is our normal habit, when working in groups, to jump to a solution and to immediately start criticizing or judging a solution or ideas offered by someone else. The big breakthrough in brainstorming is the research-proven idea that we will generate more ideas, and more creative ideas, if we suspend judgment or criticism and focus on generating a lot of ideas. One idea stimulates a second idea, which in turn stimulates a third. There is what feels like a chemical reaction between the minds of the team members when they allow themselves the freedom of brainstorming.

The other, and more scientific way to prioritize, is to do a Pareto Analysis. The above process of prioritizing may be based entirely on how the members of the team “feel” about different causes of the problem. Sometimes those feelings are well grounded, and sometimes they are not.

The Skill of Brainstorming

Pareto Analysis

Action Planning

A3 Problem Solving
5 questions

Action Learning Assignment 8: A3 Problem Solving
Mapping Your Value Stream
4 Lectures 46:10

In this chapter your team will be guided to identify their “core” and “enabling” processes, map the value stream of those processes, and, initiate continuous improvement.Every team should be expert in their process and should be able to visualize the map of that process. This mapping is also at the heart of any kaizen event.


1.To identify the work processes that are the responsibility of your team.

2.To learn methods of analyzing work processes to improve cycle time, reduce costs, and increase reliability and productivity.


When you complete this chapter you should have completed a current state process map and a future or ideal state process map of the process that is owned by your team.

The Value is in the Flow

Continuous Improvement is about the flow of the work, from suppliers to customers, and creating the ideal flow that will add the most value for your customers and contain the least possible waste. The ideal process is so lacking in interruptions that it feels natural - it flows.

High performing teams or individuals appear natural when their performance flows with seemingly little effort. Athletes experience flow, or what they may call, “being in the zone.” A musician may say she is in “the groove.” Flow for an individual is complete focus, absorption in a task, when all energies move with ease and without interruption. Rather than feeling like great exertion, the work feels natural and exhilarating.

Mapping Your Value Stream

Relationship Maps (Who Did What?)

Relationship maps illustrate who did what and in what sequence. In other words, it illustrates the relationship between people and tasks.

The following is a very simple map. This is a process with which we are all familiar. It is a simple work process: making a meal. If you are a good cook (like me!) you know that the order in which you do things is very important. For example, if you are going to make a spaghetti dinner, you don’t start your preparations by sticking the pasta in a pot of cold water, and then thinking about how to prepare the sauce. You begin preparing the sauce long before putting water on to boil for the spaghetti. Order is important in most work processes. It is one of the reasons why you should map your processes. Problems often occur because the order is wrong. Or you have missed a step or have unnecessary steps.

Work Process & Relationship Maps

How to Turn Processes into Flow

Here are some simple steps to follow to create a process map.

1. Clarify Purpose and Goals

The purpose and goals of every process should be clear. You have may have already done this. Just review them here. The purpose should make clear why the process is important and to whom. The goals should not be detailed scorecard goals, but the general goal of the process.

2. Agree on Responsibility

Is the process the responsibility of the entire team, more than one team, or just a few members of the team? The process should be defined by those who “own” the process. Who owns this process?

3. Define Inputs & Outputs

If you have completed the work in the previous chapters, you have already done much the necessary work to be ready to work on process improvement. You should have answers to the following questions

What are the inputs to your work process (include materials, information, capital, people)? What are the requirements for each of these inputs?

·Who are the suppliers who provide input? What capabilities are needed on the part of suppliers in order to meet these requirements?

·What are the feedback loops from your team to your suppliers, and how do they function (speed, quality of information)?

·What are the outputs of your work system?

·Given the above, what are the requirements for your work process?

·What are the feedback loops that inform us of customer satisfaction, and how do they function (speed, quality of information)?

4. Define customer Requirement

If you followed the guidance in the previous chapters, you have this. It is helpful to just put this on a flip chart so the team can see and refer to these requirements as they begin mapping the process.

5. Map the Current State

It is a mistake to start mapping how you think things should be until you have mapped how things actually get done today. This is the “current state” of the process.

It is often true that even people doing the job don’t know how the whole process gets done. People only understand their very narrow piece of the work. You can’t analyze how things can be improved or study the causes of variances if you don’t know how things are currently done. First, map the current state of the process.

6. Identify and Analyze Variances:

A variance is anything in a process that varies from the way things should ideally be done or a result that varies from customer requirements. The next chapter will deal in more depth with analyzing variances.

7. Map the “Ideal” Process

There is no such thing as an ideal process. There is only the most ideal process we can imagine at this time. That ideal will change as we experiment and learn more about our process. But for now, map what you regard to be the ideal process. Start where input comes into the organization and the first step is taken. Go through all the steps you would recommend for a future process. Be sure not to add back in waste or sources of variance that you have eliminated.

8. Implement and Improve

If you have followed all of the steps above, it is now time to implement your new and improved process. However, you may feel that you have more work to do to analyze problems in the process. If this is the case, the next couple of chapters will help you find and make those improvements. Finding improvement and implementing those improvements should be an ongoing process, something you do many times in a year. By finding and implementing improvements to your process, you are doing your job as a high performance team.

9. Measure and Evaluate

If you have developed your team scorecard, you have identified measures of your work process. These are measures that you should be graphing and monitoring on a daily or weekly basis. The improvements you have made in your process should be reflected in these scores.

Steps in the Process

Mapping Your Value Stream
10 questions

Action Learning Assignment 9: Mapping Your Process
Analyzing Variances in Your Process
2 Lectures 32:41

A variance is a problem. It is something that varies from either the standard way of doing things, or from performance that meets the customer’s expectations. In other words, it is a problem. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze your work process to discover and eliminate causes of quality, productivity and cost problems.


1.To understand the costs and causes of variation.

2.To identify variation within our own core work process and seek to reduce the causes of variation.


Your team should produce a variance analysis sing the variance analysis worksheet.

Understanding Variances and Variability


A variance is a problem. It is something that varies from either the standard way of doing things, or from performance that meets the customer’s expectations. In other words, it is a problem. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze your work process to discover and eliminate causes of quality, productivity and cost problems.


1.To understand the costs and causes of variation.

2.To identify variation within our own core work process and seek to reduce the causes of variation.


Your team should produce a variance analysis sing the variance analysis worksheet.

If you are to become a truly lean organization you must become process focused and must continually seek to reduce or eliminate variances.

The term variance refers to a performance that varies from how it should be. A variance is a gap from how things are to how they should be. Variances may be of any of the following types:

·Variances may be quality defects.

·Variances may be from standard operating performance.

·They may be variances from customer satisfaction requirements.

·Variances in costs of production or service delivery.

·They may be variances from our principles.

·Variances in behavior or standard work.

In each of these variances you may discover them simply by observation or by reports from customers. However, they may be observed statistically. It is important to have an understanding of statistical variation.

Variance Analysis

Analyzing Variances
5 questions
9 More Sections
About the Instructor
Lawrence M. Miller
4.4 Average rating
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Best Selling Instructor, Author & Leadership Coach

For the past forty years Lawrence M. Miller has worked to improve the performance of organizations and the skills of their leaders. His expertise is derived from hands on experience creating change in the culture of hundreds of organizations.

He began his work in youth prisons after recognizing that the learning system in the organization had exactly the opposite of its intended effect – increasing, rather than decreasing, dysfunctional behavior. For four years he worked to redesign the prison system by establishing the first free-economy behind prison walls, where each inmate had to pay rent, maintain a checking account, and pay for everything he desired. This was his first application of organizational transformation.

He has been consulting, writing and speaking about business organization and culture since 1973. After ten years with another consulting firm, he formed his own firm, the Miller Howard Consulting Group in 1983. In 1998 he sold his firm to Towers Perrin, an international human resource consulting firm and became a Principal of that firm. In 1999 he left that firm to focus on solo consulting projects.

He and his firm were one of the early proponents of team-based management and worked with many clients to implement Team Management from the senior executive team to include every level and every employee in the organization. The Team Management process created a company of business managers, with every employee focused on continuous improvement of business performance. In addition to directing the overall change process, Mr. Miller personally coached the senior management team of many of his clients.

The implementation of Team Management led to the realization that the whole-system of the organization needed to be redesigned to create alignment so all systems, structure, skills, style and symbols support the same goals and culture. From this realization he developed the process of Whole System Architecture that is a high involvement method of rethinking all of the systems, structures and culture of the organization. Among his consulting clients have been 3M, Corning, Shell Oil Company, Amoco and Texaco, Shell Chemicals, Air Canada and Varig Airlines, Eastman Chemicals, Xerox, Harris Corporation, McDonald's and Chick-fil-A, Merck and Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, United Technologies, Metropolitan Life and Landmark Communications.

Mr. Miller has authored ten books, among them American Spirit: Visions of A New Corporate Culture, which was the text for Honda of America's course on their values and culture; and Barbarians to Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies, which draws on the history of the rise and fall of civilizations to illustrate the patterns of leadership and evolution in corporate cultures. Most recently he authored Getting to Lean – Transformational Change Management that draws on the best change management practices such as socio-technical system design, appreciative inquiry, and systems thinking or learning organizations to provide a road map to transforming organizations. He has also authored Team Kata - Your Guide to Becoming A High Performing Team, the core human process of lean organizations. Most recently he published The Lean Coach that corresponds to his course on Coaching Leaders for Success. He has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, made numerous appearances on CNBC, has written for The New York Times and been the subject of a feature story in Industry Week magazine.