Mere Mortal Managers

“Execution” (Page 2 of 5)

Dentists, Consultants, & Lean

When you have a tooth ache do you pull out your cordless drill, some cotton balls, melt down the family silver and fix it yourself? Not likely. You make an appointment with a professional and trust that they have the necessary tools and expertise to relieve your pain and suffering quickly and with much less discomfort than if you were to attempt a “do it yourself root canal”.

Likewise, Lean consultants are professionals who will help you energize and educate your staff, find and alleviate your “pain” very quickly and generally save you hundreds of thousands, if not millions in your Lean transformation process. Each of our consulting team members has worked as full-time “regular employees” in companies as Lean change agents. As regular employees, it took us months, even years, to accomplish what we now do in a few short weeks as consultants. The real trick is to only use consultants that seem like a “good fit” for your company and will satisfy three major criteria:

1. Guarantee Results

Generally speaking most consultants will guarantee (fee contingent), anywhere from two to ten times ROI on their fees. They have a vested interest in helping you succeed very quickly.

2. Communicate Your Vision

Make sure your consultants are promoting your vision of Lean and quote you often. They will go away when their job is done, but while they are serving you they should be extolling your wisdom and virtues as a true “Lean Visionary” for whom they are just doing what they were asked to do. Consultants need no glory.

3. Transfer Training/Expertise to Your Staff

From the first conversation with prospective consultants you need to assess their commitment to transferring training to your staff. They should consider it of utmost importance that they help make Lean experts of your team and be prepared to discuss how long that will take. Hold them to it.

Consultants that attempt to “move-in” are wasting your time. Most managers can move at a snails pace perfectly well on their own—there’s no need to pay someone to help you go slow. Along with attaining immediate visible and dramatic results, the relatively minor expense of consultants is easily justified through speed of implementing cost saving measures, creating momentum for change, and the dollars they generate. It is virtually certain that you will spend and/or waste more money and time by not hiring consultants and choosing to go it alone. This is not for advertising purposes; it is a well-documented fact. Once your Lean team matures, you will rarely need or want consultants around with the exception of occasional “fresh eyes” to evaluate your progress and help you better focus your efforts.