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  • Rebecca Byron Lohk

Why Human changement skills are the crucial thing to look for when recruiting a Lean manager

If you are firing off a lean transformation throughout your company and you need to find a Lean manager who owns the program and makes it happen you stand in front of a larger challenge than you think. Your decision will have a larger effect on the program than any other decision in the future. So think carefully.

Most recruiting managers understand what companies and positions she/he should come from and the technical skills needed on paper. But what type of personality will ensure successful and sustainable change? Most agree moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager can face. It is crucial for both the new manager and the company that it is a strong match. If not a strong match you jeopardize or even derail success. When looking for a Lean manager experience of leading change management is essential and in here the Human changement skills are key. Lack of Human changement skills kills more Lean implementations than any other factor.

4 out 5 Lean programs are not lead by the right leaders

reLean has conducted over 300 expert recruitments in the Nordics and Europe. From our search processes we have interviewed thousands of Lean managers and experts and come to some revealing insights; less than 20% of candidates with lean manager or expert titles actually have the right intrinsic changement skills to successfully drive change for sustained results. Or putting it in another way; 4 out 5 Lean programs are not lead by the right leaders.

And out of this 20% of people, usually only 2% are right for the role depending on the starting point for the organisation (building true people excellence and innovation case, good to great case, not so good to meeting customer expectation case etc.). How do we know what Changement skills to look for? Our team does not only do recruitment, we have also been successfully leading Lean programs in a vast amount of organisations, including Toyota. We have been able to see both what works and what does not.

So, who should you be looking for?

You are looking for someone that will respect those around them and gain the respect from management to shop floor. The person needs to be understanding and firm, a trust building and enthusiastic strongly networking coach. A people’s person with great leadership skills and strong ability to influence and motivate others. A coach that needs to know when to let the players do their thing and when to tell them what to do.

This position requires ability to work as a team member as well as a leader, highly goal-orientated and having a passion for excellence and coaching. A high energy level goes without saying. If the candidate can enthusiast and influence you it's a go. If you put into place a leader with Human changement skills and the ability to present a better vision for the future, people will embrace it.

The Human changement skills to look for in Lean manager/change leaders are:

- High commitment and creativity

- Disarming approach able to build trust to coach others to be idea generators

- Strong desire to learn as well as to share knowledge

- Independence and ability to work as a team member as well as a manager

- Confident and amiable, interactive manner, ability to interact at both top and bottom-line

- Strong leadership skills in combination with a humble tone and respect for the individual

- Highly self-motivated and positive to thrive

- Strong ethics

- Communication skills, able to clearly communicate and influence at all levels in the organisation whilst also ensuring they listen to people

- High portion of a passion for coaching and a strong desire to make it happen

Now you know what to look for. The next challenge you will stand in front of is how to identify and evaluate these skills.

Rebecca Byron Lohk

Partner Operations Executive Search at reLean

Follow reLean on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and the reLean Webpage

reLean is both a Lean consulting and Expert executive Search firm, this way we can evaluate, find and attract the best passive talent on the market. Read more on our website at

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