What to Look for in a Lean Consultant

How many times have you heard this kind of comment from friends, colleagues, and business acquaintances- “I just hired a Consultant, and they are the worst ever!”  I would guess more than once, right?

While there’s no question that many so-called ”lean consultants” or ”lean experts” have a less than stellar reputation and deserve it, not paying attention or being sloppy when hiring a lean consultant partner will likely result in less than desired improvements, sometimes even worse results, and mutual frustration - no matter how good or bad the lean partner is.

So, what should you look for in a Lean Consultant to avoid all of the hassles?

I wish I had a well thought out, highly educated, straightforward, one-size-fits-all, Jedi-master level answer to that question, young padawan, but there isn’t one. And, that’s because: It depends!

It depends on the organization's current situation, wants and needs, lean maturity, and overall engagement level to best select a suitable and capable lean partner to enable one’s teams and individuals to attain effective and sustainable results in an aggressive timeline.

Thankfully, not is all lost, even considering there is no such thing as a ”magic pill” approach to selecting the ”best ever” lean consultant partner.

The good news is that by simply following a couple pre-engagement steps, such as performing a thoughtful self-assessment and asking a few questions during the quoting process, most of the hassles of selecting an inadequate lean partner can be minimized and prevented, as follows:

1. Self-assessment:
       • What do I need my lean consultant to help with? Do I have a clear problem statement and targets? What are my needs and wants?
       • Am I being proactive or reactive? In other words, is my organization profitable and just trying to be better or is it bleeding money by the minute?
      • How do I measure and quantify success?
      • Do I have resources available?
      • How should we measure ROI for the lean engagement?
      • Is the proposed lean engagement plan doable and does it makes sense to my organization?
      • What’s next for us? How do we sustain good results and keep improving?

2. Questions for the prospective lean consultant partner:
      • What are your credentials? Can you share some previous engagement attained wins and challenges?
      • Do you have any testimonials and can I network with some of your previous clients?
      • What’s your approach for project delivery, implementation and legacy?
      • Are you a hands-on consultancy firm?
      • What’s your strategy to teach, coach and train my team? How are you planning to engage my team?
      • How often are you planning to follow-up on project milestones with us?

Hopefully those simple steps will help with selecting a great lean consultancy partner, like The Effective Syndicate, to help your organization on your continuous improvement journey. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time!

Beau Groover