Lean: Does it Work? Red Flags to Watch For- Part 3 of 3

The Focus in Part 3 will be to help identify the skill set, either internally or externally, to to lead or support your Lean Transformation and to be aware of some of the ‘red flags’ to keep in mind while deciding on the expertise required.

First, let’s alleviate the misconception, apprehension or anxiety that Lean doesn’t work.  It does work!

The caveat is that you must discover the ‘right’ or proper adaptation of the thinking and concept to  your unique situation!

Once you have acknowledged the above, you can then begin to search for the proper solution and resources to lead your Lean Transformation.

Chances are you will try to find the expert internally first and then if you feel you don’t have the internal expert, or need additional resources or guidance, you will go outside your organization to either hire someone or find a credible consultant.

The problem with trying to select the expert talent is that you may feel a little hesitant as you may not know what to look for (or not look for) in an individual in order to make this important decision.

This decision becomes even more stressful because you know that you get one chance to make the right decision and that if you select the wrong person(s), you alone are responsible for taking your organization down the wrong path and it is extremely difficult to start again.  We acknowledge that much of this confusion has been caused by consultants and trainers that have misguided their clients and/or students and given them the incorrect or incomplete knowledge which in turn the leadership unknowingly uses to select what and who they need to guide them.

So we thought it might be helpful in this post to at least highlight some of the red flags to be aware of when hiring a person(s) to lead the change in your organization and that you are willing to put your reputation on the line for.

Here is a list of some of those Red Flags to keep in mind when deciding on the expertise you are looking to engage:

1)      The transformation costs tons of dollars.

2)      The person doesn’t know the difference between Process and Value Stream Mapping and where both are critical.

3)      They speak about tools instead of cultural change.

4)      They have a solution prior to properly assessing the situation.

5)      They will do it for you – your staff won’t be that involved, the staff only have to utilize the changes once the consultant is done.

6)      They use the word ‘bottleneck’ or project to focus on one area.

7)      They call it Lean Sigma and it is really mostly Six Sigma (a tool).

8)      They use a matrix type chart to determine the priority of projects i.e. the one axis is normally large and little impact and then the other axis is little or most effort.

9)      They give you a long list of projects to assign to staff or themselves with no sequencing analysis.

10)   Their plan requires them to be on-site for, what seems like, an unreasonable length of time.

These are only some of the Red Flags you should keep in mind.  If you ‘see’ any of these types of ‘flags’, take notice and do some additional analysis and research into the credentials and approach.  Doing this analysis properly could save you years of regret, not to mention thousands of dollars, and in the end- frustration and disappointment not just for you but for your entire staff.

Lean does work when implemented properly!  The challenge for you is to choose the distinctive and effective adaptation of the theory that is right for your environment/situation that will not only transform your processes but also transform your culture into a sustainable continuous improvement organization.

For more information, contact us at [email protected].