The concept of how structured problem-solving drives engagement is depicted by the Toyota Engagement Equation (TEE). In the graphic below, you will notice that a 3rd dimension of problem-solving has been added.
As you might recall, the 1st dimension of problem-solving is that it follows the PDCA process, which stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act. In short, the PDCA cycle requires a person to develop a plan, test it, review the results, and adjust accordingly.
The 2nd dimension of A3 thinking adds rigor to the PDCA process through 9 detailed steps, which include: defining the problem, studying the current state, establishing a goal, determining the root cause, testing ideas, verifying results, and creating standards for sustaining the improvement made.
The 3rd dimension of problem-solving includes the human factor, detailing how participating in problem-solving helps to develop and engage the individual participating in these exercises. These human factors are referred to as GTS6, which are explained in greater detail below.
GTS1 = Go to See
Go to the Gemba. Be curious. Make problems easy to see. Make it safe to speak up when things aren’t working.
GTS2 = Grasp the Situation
Gather facts on what is happening vs. what should be happening. Narrow your focus by identifying where the gaps are.
GTS3 = Get to Solution
Determine the root cause and formulate an action plan that removes the issue. Generate a list of creative ideas to address the issue.
GTS4 = Get to Standard
Test your ideas, collect feedback, and iterate as needed until a new standard exists.
GTS5 = Get to Sustain
Ensure solutions are supported by robust buy-in and easy-to-understand standard work. Rely on lead measures to ensure improvements are being sustained.
GTS6 = Get to Stretch
Raise the bar and challenge the standard to achieve new performance levels.