Lean Systems Consultancy

Lean Systems ConsultancyA Blue Sky approach to Consultancy

Much of my experience has been around introducing significant change within organisations and has been focused on how to make the changes stick.

When I did my PhD research I did this around why people undertake change, what process they used to introduce change and how to ensure that change becomes part of the structure of the organisation. I was really surprised at what I found:

  1. Many organisations don’t actually think about the process of change
  2. There was an uneducated almost random approach regarding what initiatives would best fit the organisation

For example, many consultants kick off a Lean Systems programme by undertaking a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) exercise – as I often do. However, it is important to discover the needs of the organisation before doing this as a Value Stream Mapping exercise may not actually be required. In fact many organisations and Consultants believe that a Lean Systems approach is only about VSM, whereas mapping is only one of the many tools which support a Lean Systems Approach.

This strongly influenced my approach to Lean Systems Thinking which is initially based upon obtaining a deep understanding of the organisation and what they would like to do.

Once I understand what the organisation wants to achieve then I start to think about the appropriate methodology and process that can help them to achieve their outcomes and also ensure that change is sustainable.

At this stage it is necessary to step back and determine which element(s) of a Lean Systems approach would best support appropriate change within the organisation and how to utilise them effectively.

So. initially it is about undertaking a brief diagnostic review and obtaining an awareness and feel for the organisation without doing anything too structured. It is also about understanding the organisation’s culture; its history and where it wants to go.  It is also about finding the key Movers & Shakers in the organisation and then working with them to determine how to use a Lean Systems approach to initiate appropriate and significant change within the organisation. Only then should typical Lean Systems tools and techniques be considered.

So, my approach is based on what the organisation wants and needs. Only when these are clearly understood should work start with the people to apply appropriate tools and techniques.

The other key factor is that this approach is based around educating the people as the improvement moves forward, rather than “Let’s just do this and show them what we’ve done”. It’s important to encourage people to work with you, and as they’re working with you it is necessary to train, develop and support them to enable them to eventually be able to do it themselves. It is about taking on a coaching approach and being by the side of and supporting and encouraging the implementers when needed.

Using this approach the responsibility for making the changes is given to and owned by the people who have to implement and maintain the improvements.

That’s the key to sustainable change and improvement.

If you want to have a chat about any of the above or Lean in general, please contact Alun.