The lean way, pioneered by Toyota over 50 years ago, adds value for the customer by eliminating waste and identifying “the best way.” Lean is not yet much used for “soft” processes, like learning and development; but those of our clients already using lean for manufacturing see clearly that we have brought lean thinking to human factors and human performance transfer.
Lean, or one of the other ways of systemically and continuously improving any process, is at the heart of most technical development, design and manufacturing today. If done in alignment with enabling values, it is powerful in creating long-term healthy, successful companies. (See this excellent article by Catherine Clothier for more on lean and values: http://philclothier.posterous.com/the-barrett-seven-levels-and-lean. The 5 lean principles are clearly described in her article.)
Business leaders, today more than ever before, need better performance from their teams. Performance is what they are looking for (i.e., what they value …) when they buy people development. Yet typical L&D interventions still yield only 10-30% of the performance boost the business leaders are asking for. This means, in a lean view, 70-90% wastage in the end to end process!
Star Performance Transfer is built around the 5 core principles of lean; principle 1 (know what value means to your customer, i.e., the business leader) and principle 2 (understand the end to end process to eliminate wastage and maximise value) I’ve just alluded to above. At the heart of our process is understanding your internal people development “process” from start to finish. And how it is driven from your strategy (or not, as the case may be … )
Our tetraLD Star Performance Transfer then makes principle 3 easy to use for people development (make the work flow smoothly from end to end, e.g. by eliminating value loss.) Easy to use for all; HR, line managers, participants, etc. So far it has been challenging to apply “lean” thinking to such “soft” processes. Challenging means, only expensive consultants or university professors did this! Now, one of these professors, Ed Holton, has made best practice easy to use by all. We have added everything else you need to truly take what your best people do, cascade that through your organisation, and then improve on that. i.e., use lean healthily for the process of increasing people performance.
Of course, our Star Performance Transfer process is Pull-based (Principle 4), so action is only taken just in time, and only what is vital.
Finally, principle 5, continuous improvement, also requires measurement of the vital signs. For example, return on investment, improvements in job performance, and improvements in job behaviour. The C-suite values most our RoI estimates; but more importantly this data enables and demonstrates continuous improvement as well!
And what could be better for you, if you are in HR in today’s fiscally constrained world, than being able to prove the business benefit of spending on the human factors in performance?