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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: The culture transformation through personal engagement is the only chance of success for a “lean transformation”

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a comment
The role of the KPO is to launch the lean understanding in the
organization by piloting and proving concepts and then later supporting
the pull from the rest of the leadership for support/mentoring. Ultimately
the KPO is the source of all future leaders in the organization as part of
the organizational development efforts.

I strongly support the idea of all the KPO team members sourced from
within the company and using external coaches to develop this team.  Why?
Because the internal people know the business best and the lean concepts
are not difficult to learn from external coaches. Additionally, this
dramatically reduces the cost of the lean start-up (ok, that is the CFO in
me coming out) and utilizes the capacity freed up through your initial
lean efforts. If you hire into the KPO, these people will expect to be in
the KPO as a careerŠand you will lose the long term benefit of KPO which
is organizational development.

The team will learn and use skills a bit at a time. During this learning,
they will be engaging a greater and greater number of people from within
the organization.  During these early activities, the power of lean change
will be seen.  The top leadership (the managers who report to the CEO)
will either engage at this point, or the effort will fail.

Assuming the top leadership engages, then the KPO serves to be the coaches
to the top leadership and support the strategic efforts of the company.As
this effort gains momentum, the KPO members themselves are pulled into
operational leadership roles and replace with the next generation of stars
who learn lean via the KPO experience.

As an example, over time, the experience in the KPO was a requirement for
all the factory leaders.  Additionally, in my experience now as a
coach/consultant, I find that the greatest leaders of lean tend to be the
managers who have themselves been part of KPO.

The culture transformation through personal engagement is the only chance
of success for a "lean transformation".  If our companies were already
Toyota, I suspect the answer would be different, but for those companies
that are traditionally run companies, the KPO and the coach are key
components.

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