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Lean Culture Assessment

Critical to getting to where you’d like to go is to find out where you are and establishing the right direction. The best way to do this is to check with the proper map. If you don’t have a map or don’t know where’d you like to go then pretty much any direction you go will do. This is true whether you are on at trip to grandma’s house or on your Lean Journey.

At Key Performance Consulting we believe conducting an assessment periodically along your Lean Journey is a good way to establish your initial direction and to check your progress along the way. We also believe that Lean or any continuous improvement initiative is much more than simply using tools, e.g. 5S, Value Stream Maps, and Standard Work. That said, assessing your organization’s Lean maturity does not need to be overly complicated either.

Our common-sense approach to assessing your organization’s position along its journey emphasizes four critical focus areas:

  1. Culture Focus

  2. Continuous Improvement Focus

  3. Alignment Focus

  4. Customer Focus

Culture Focus

80% of any continuous improvement effort’s success is dependent on culture. Creating a Lean Culture is about getting everyone to see and embrace Lean; to see waste and remove it; to fearlessly question everything they do; to act only on fact and not opinion and work together. The way you row your boat is the way it’s going to go, and culture represents the way your organization rows.

Continuous Improvement Focus

Continuous Improvement is the on-going effort to improve products, services and processes by making small, incremental improvements within a business. It is based on the belief that these incremental changes will add up to major improvements over time and it is as much about tactics (i.e. specific improvements) as it is about strategic focus on opportunities for improvement rather than problems.

Alignment Focus

Do the members of your organization know why the organization exists and do they align their actions accordingly?

  • A clear and meaningful purpose for what they do

  • Clear and visible goals

  • Metrics that define success

  • A practical strategy for achieving those goals

  • Daily (even hourly) plans and priorities that kept members on track toward executing the strategy

Customer Focus

Is the voice of the customer heard throughout the organization? The process of providing customer satisfaction is based on an understanding of what customers want and need. By listening to your customers and acting on their feedback, Customer Focus enables you to build better products and deliver better services than you otherwise would have been able to. If organization members do not know and understand the value they provide to the end user.

Our Six-step Assessment Process

1. Pre-assessment

Scope and focus of the assessment is determined by the client and Key Performance Consulting. Once established and the assessment dates are scheduled the client is asked to ensure the event is well communicated. There should be no surprises when the assessors arrive.

2. Team Grounding Meeting

Upon arrival the assessment team meets with the client sponsor and the point people for the assessment. At this meeting the group will confirm the purpose and scope of the assessment and review the assessment agenda. If possible, a tour of the facility can help the assessment team create context.

  • Purpose of the assessment

  • Review of assessment process and agenda

  • Special Focus and Out of Scope

  • Tour

3. Assessment

The assessment process is straight forward. It is designed to collect qualitative data on an organization’s use of continuous improvement methods and its supporting culture.

The assessors move into the designated areas of the organization. A quick walk-through of the area and its processes is most helpful. Working together or individually the assessors make observations and conduct interviews. A typical interview usually takes about 15 minutes per interviewee. This can vary somewhat as the focus is to get quality data and not on conducting the most interviews. Once the interviews are complete the assessors move on the next venue.

The assessment is designed to collect data in the following domains:

  1. Cultural Enablers

  2. Continuous Improvement Focus

  3. Alignment Focus

  4. Customer Focus

4. Findings Report

The assessment process closes upon submission of the Findings Report. The report is usually in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and accompanying Excel spreadsheet and usually presented at a stakeholders’ meeting specifically scheduled for this purpose.

The Findings Report is the property of the client organization and can be used for any purpose it sees fit.


5. Recommendations

Based on the assessment findings and the assessors’ experience, the assessors may make recommendations on specific areas of focus for your organization along with specific vehicles for improvement.


6. Next Steps & Assessment Close

The assessment team and the client formally conclude the assessment process and next steps are considered.