Becoming a Lean change agent can bring a serious improvement to your career development and professional growth, and it’s not as complicated as some people make it out to be. In fact, as long as you follow a set of rules for the direction in which you should be developing yourself, you should end up with the right set of skills without too much trouble, and you’ll find yourself at the gates to a whole new world of opportunities.
A Fundamental Understanding of Change
Change as a concept is something that many leaders falsely believe they have a solid grasp of. In fact, it’s quite the deep topic that can take years to properly dig into, and many are barely scratching the surface of the vast amounts of knowledge that exist in this area. In order to become a Lean change agent, one of the fundamental qualities you need to possess is a solid understanding of change and everything related to the concept. This includes knowledge of sustainability and long-term processes, as well as accelerating transitional phases.
An important part of your knowledge about change will be concerned with how organizations typically resist it, and what can be done to remedy those situations. A very common problem in some companies is that a well-intended change is received negatively by the whole team due to a misunderstanding. Communicating the need for those changes properly is very important in those cases, and you’ll also need to develop some strong interpersonal skills in order to handle that correctly.
Dealing with Waste Appropriately
Waste is a word you’ll hear quite often when working in lean environments, and it’s something you’ll want to do your best to avoid at every step of the way. Waste can take many forms in different organizations, and understanding the different kinds of waste in your own line of work is a critical aspect of being a Lean change agent.
Furthermore, you’re going to need to develop strong skills for actually dealing with that waste and preventing it from even developing in the first place. As you’re probably guessing, there are many different methodologies that can be applied to this effect, depending on the type of waste you’re specifically dealing with. Also, keep in mind that preventing waste is often a better idea than dealing with it after it’s already presented itself. However, not many leaders tend to see things like that due to a short-sighted approach to their work.
Communicating Changes More Effectively
We touched on this above, but it’s important to expand on it – communication skills are among the most critical qualities of a good Lean change agent, and you’re going to have to spend a lot of time perfecting yours if you’re suffering in this area. Miscommunication can often set back progress in an organization significantly, leading to the avoidance of something that could have been a positive influence.
Avoiding these situations is not very straightforward though, and you need to always consider all points of view relevant to a situation. When you don’t have enough information about the company’s current structure and internal relationships, this can be a problem.
Becoming a Lean change agent can significantly transform the way you see and do your work, and it can be one of the best positive influences on your working style in your entire career. However, there are some important qualities that you’ll need to watch out for if you want to make sure that you’re realizing your potential as best as possible, and in the end, developing your interpersonal abilities is likely going to be one of the most challenging aspects of this transformation.