What To Know Before You Hire A Lean Consultant: Business improvement series

The management consulting industry can be a difficult task, it comes with its disadvantages, but the pros out weigh the cons. In my experience, over 90 percent of the Lean consultants out there don’t know how to transform a culture. The largest need in the small and medium-sized organizations in America relative to Lean is developing the Leadership and culture for the Lean tools to be successful.

Lean requires a set of motives in order to be truly successful:

  • Purpose
  • Empowerment
  • Support
  • Courage
  • Discipline & Accountability
  • Coaching
  • Lean tools

When hiring a Lean consultant, it is important to focus on key details so that your new-hire is successful and driven. Personality and knowledge is key; you need to know your company will enjoy working with your new consultant. Lean consultants need to be motivated to transform a culture and allocate difficult tasks into simple, compelling success for you company.

Here are several things you will want to consider before hiring a Lean consultant:

  • How will they help your organization develop the culture of continuous improvement? If the answer is to do more improvement activities – keep shopping. Their purpose must be to bring others together and support each other as a united team. Being able to work, as team is an absolute must, not everything can be handled by one person alone.
  • What levels within the organization will the consultant be working with? The answer needs to be all for a culture transformation, because leadership defines the culture (intentionally or not). It takes, courage to pursue such a change, and discipline to keep yourself on the right track, being able to hold people accountable for their responsibilities to make sure the job is done right, hopefully the first time.
  • How will your consultant develop Lean Leaders in our organization? Training can’t be the only answer. Training is only 33% effective in most cases. What experience’s do they have? See if they have examples. This is also where coaching comes to play. Coaching is a necessity to leadership skills. A great coach will know how to manage, train, be efficient, and get the job taught and completed right!
  • Will your consultant address the leadership dysfunctions in your organization through all levels? Lean works best in healthy organizations. Hiring a new Lean Consultant gives them the empowerment to create the cultural changes that are required to be successful. Obviously you’ll want someone that qualifies for this type of transition. So, does your consultant bring healthy alternatives to help you make healthier transformations?
  • How does the consultant view the importance of people versus the process side of transforming the organization? How much time does your consultant allocate to people and process? Many consultants recognize the need to work on the people side, but have little to no time planned to actually address the human side of the equation. This is where the client/consultant relationship comes in and why you need to hire a personable consultant. If your using Lean Tools effectively, your consultant will have no problems when it comes to multi-tasking on their daily responsibilities, to clients and your company.

Consultants at Lean Partners get it. Our focus is on developing the leadership, teams, and strategies for the Lean tools to be successful along with applying the tools and teaching them to our clients. We take a balanced approach to transforming our client’s cultures into one where the Lean tools and performance thrives.