Real Lean Executives vs. Fake Lean Executives

In one of his recent posts, What’s Your Lean Provenance? Bob Emiliani writes about people who like to brag about when they first learned about Lean or who they learned it from.

I’ve met some of these individuals, folks who want to show off how close they  were to the beginning (“I worked at Wiremold directly for Art Byrne”; “I was the second VP hired at TMMK – Georgetown”; “I did 10 kaizen events with Shingijutsu”) and who their teachers were (“Iwata-san was my personal Sensei for three years”; “I studied under John Shook while he was in Japan with Toyota”).

As Bob points out “we do it to distinguish ourselves from a crowded field of Lean practitioners ranging from know-nothing self-proclaimed “experts” to those who have repeatedly created functioning flowlines and with engaged workforces.”

I’ve been particularly successful in recruiting Lean leaders at all levels of the organization for over 20 years. I attribute this success to my unique ability to structure my interview and assessment processes in such a way that allows me to clearly understand each executive’s Lean accomplishments measured against seven proven Lean leadership criteria (of which humility is one of the most important).

It’s interesting to note that in interviews I find candidates who are the most vocal about their Lean experience (and yes, they have multiple certifications to back up their claims) are often the least qualified.

On the other hand, those who eventually wind up in the most interesting, challenging and exciting new Lean roles (from President & COO, to VP Lean, to Director Operations, etc.) demonstrate their worth with the most vividly detailed, personally intimate and almost magical Lean transformation stories – recounted with humility and very clearly based on first-hand experience.

Just another example of Real Lean vs. Fake Lean. Which would you rather have in your organization?

Call me if you want to hire executives who are the real deal.  Adam Zak +1 239.302.3344

3 Responses to Real Lean Executives vs. Fake Lean Executives

  1. Bill Kluck says:

    Well said, Adam! You certainly know how to get to the heart of the matter!

  2. Steve Trudell says:

    To the point Adam. If you are a true practitioner, you should poses a project portfolio of successes. You should be able to provide a true Value Stream Map with identified OFI’s, and the financial results of addressing them.

    • Adam Zak says:

      Yes. But that’s just table stakes. It takes a lot more. And many times the VS Map is not even relevant.

Adam Zak. The Lean Executive Recruiter.
Your trusted partner in recruiting exceptionally talented Lean executive leaders.