Just because a facilitator speaks does not mean people are being trained?
Lean training is a subject that seems to keep raising its head on a regular basis. How does one identify the best lean training? Well, it’s not so easy today. There are so many people out there doing lean training, it’s almost a crap shoot trying to find the right caliber of trainer. What are the traits of a good Lean facilitator?
For starters, they have to likeable. If they don’t have the type of personality to inspire people, then it’s a waste of the employee’s time and the client’s money. Adult learners look to the facilitator to be a guide, not a lecturer. Facilitators who lecture are talking down to their audience and make themselves the center of attention. Lecturing is primarily a one way communication process, the audience sits passively and listens. Training is a two way communication process because the employees need to actively participate is the process. Another facet of facilitation is creating relationships, this is as important as instructing people to use the lean tools.
I have always said that lean is 90% relationship building and 10% technical capabilities. There are facilitators who are technically brilliant but they suck when it comes to working with people. In fact, I have seen it happen many times where a person is not so brilliant at the technical material but they are great at the relationship stuff. If people like you they will eventually build trust and come to respect you. When this happens they are much more willing to participate in lean training exercises and events.
A facilitator has to be confident with the lean subject matter. No point having a facilitator that can’t answer the questions so they skirt around them. It’s very unsettling to see a facilitator trying to waffle their way out of an embarrassing situation. If they don’t know, they should admit it, not try to make it up as they go along. People will often forgive someone who admits they don’t know because of their honesty. However, they will not do the same for someone who is feeding them BS.
Lean tools can only be taught one way and that is the right way. 5s is always going to be 5S but several facilitator’s will deliver the 5S training differently. The important question is; “Is the audience receiving a standardized 5S methodology?” Also, in what order should a facilitator deliver the training tools? Should Quick Changeover come before Value Stream Mapping? Should Kanban be taught before Heijunka? There has to be an order to implementing the lean tools. I decided to document the order when I developed the “10 Steps to become a Lean Enterprise” model. It is based on the sequence of events in several organizations who successfully implemented Lean principles. Click here to check it out for yourself.