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Month: May 2017

THE IMPORTANCE OF CORE PURPOSE IN BUSINESS

Core Purpose, not to be confused with Company Vision or Company Values (which could be considered the “where” and “how”), a company’s core purpose is more about the “why”.  In fact, it could be considered the philosophical component that is often missing in business. Let’s be honest, most of us have asked ourselves at some point, usually on a Monday morning, why am I doing this? or what difference am I making in life?  Not having the answers to these questions can leave us feeling empty and un-motivated, for most of us, having no clear purpose in life can be downright depressing.  So, why would this be any different in our working lives?  After all, we all spend far too much of our lives at work.

A common mistake with core purpose that businesses make is confusing it with what they make or provide to generate revenue streams. For example, “Our core purpose is to make the best widgets in the world”. This doesn’t cover “why”. One could ask why do we even make widgets in the first place?  The problem with this scenario is that there is no ideology involved, and therefore little emotion or passion.  The workforce will continue to turn up each day and make this, or provide that, go home, return the next day and do it all over again.  Even typing these words sends a shiver down my spine.

Providing Continuity

In this world of change, it’s sometimes difficult to establish just how much change we should make.  After all, we keep hearing “change is good”.  This is true, but only to a point.  For example, I know of a business that made a total change in its direction of what it produced, based upon a perceived market opportunity with higher profit margins.  The move was almost disastrous, and a U turn with a lot of painful learnings was made just in time.  The fact is that they attempted to move too far away from what they were about, and what they’d always been the best in the world at. With frequent changes of board members and CEO’s in todays business world, it’s increasingly important to nail down just what the core purpose of the business is.

A better example is a medium size enterprise I know that makes mid to high range food products.  Their core purpose is very clear, “to provide life with a little enjoyment”.  To fully understand the impact and importance of this purpose, you would need to see and feel it from the shop floor to the board room – it is tangible.  They don’t make mass produced cheap products.  They don’t use cheap imported ingredients, and they certainly don’t make health foods.  Not that there’s anything wrong with health foods and cheap mass produced foods, it’s just not “their thing”.  They make products that can be enjoyed as a treat, something that satisfies a basic need in most people.  It has helped them to keep focused upon why they exist, and what they do best and thus achieve good profitability, sustainability and growth.

Relating this to my life was interesting for me.  My eldest son has recently completed a degree in music, and when I asked what the hardest part was, he answered “being constantly asked what job it’s going to get me as if money is everything in life”.  He went on to explain that his purpose in life wasn’t to be a well-paid accountant, or a captain of industry, rather it was to entertain people.  That’s what he’s passionate about, that is what he’s good at, and this is what will make him successful.

LMAC are internationally recognised Lean experts with consultants in Australasia, UK and China. Our strategic Lean thinking approach takes organisations beyond simple ‘Lean tools’. We have extensive experience in many sectors including FMCG, Protein Processing, Manufacturing and Service. If you would like to know more about LMAC and how we could assist your organisation’s Lean implementation Contact us
Lean Consultant

SELECTING THE RIGHT LEAN CONSULTANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Many organisations have been ‘burnt’ by a poor Lean Consultant. Those that come in looking smart, energetic, talking but not listening. The one’s with the smooth PowerPoint sales pitch, claiming to be the best with in the field. You know the type. Then once you have hired them, their lack of interpersonal skills and poor depth of knowledge come to the forefront, and within a few days of them starting to work with your team people are being turned off about the whole notion of Lean. Even at this early stage, your Lean journey is already off on a bad start.

Selecting the right Lean Consultant for your business can be a minefield and is not always easy. Of course, all consultants will claim to have a good level of knowledge of Lean; this is part and parcel of any sales pitch. But as we all know, a Lean consultant that only knows the lean tools is simply not enough.

A good Lean Consultant will have built up a sound working knowledge over a number of years of actual implementation. It’s not enough for a consultant to have two or three successful clients. The implementation of Lean techniques will be different for industry sectors and companies because the business environments vary significantly.

A good Lean Consultant will have successfully implemented Lean in maybe 30 or more companies. They will have honed their skills and been immersed in Lean at a leading Lean organisation like Toyota or Nissan. Not as many claim, gained a degree from a leading university in performance improvement or trained as a ‘black belt’ with some ‘credited organisation’. Becoming a good Lean Consultant takes experience, pure and simple.

In addition to having solid implementation experience, the best consultants will also have good corporate level experience and will be well-grounded in the realities of the business world. A good Lean Consultant will be ready to roll up their sleeves at a moment’s notice and work alongside implementation teams and in the next breath be sitting in the boardroom discussing strategic implementation with the senior team. This type of approach comes with years of practical experience.

Credibility is vital as a good Lean Consultant will spend significant time working at all levels of the organisation. This means he or she must be able to develop a good relationship with the organisation quickly. This is much easier when the consultant has an established level of credibility and a proven track record.  The best Lean Consultants have the skills to convey the message to employees at all levels, from the boardroom to the shop floor.

Lean consulting organisations have different capabilities and come in all sizes and shapes. Similarly to any other profession, generally the best value is not always the least expensive. Low cost consultants may appear to offer value for money, and may be able to implement the basic lean principles and move your business a short distance along it’s Lean journey. But rarely will they be able to think and work at a strategic level. Pushing and challenging your organisation at the right time and in the right places. To truly transform your business practices to world-class operation takes real skill and knowledge. Select your Lean Consultant on what they will add to your Lean journey not on the ticket price.  The reality is it may cost a few thousands more, but the alternative may end up costing you millions in missed opportunities.

In Summary, you should only look for Lean Consultants with the skills and experience to achieve outstanding results. Make sure you choose the right Lean Consultant for the right reasons. This will ensure that you have experts that will truly partner with you, making sure that you gain the maximum strategically from the process and generate substantial returns not only in a short time, but also on an on-going basis, year on year.

LMAC are internationally recognised Lean experts with consultants in Australasia, UK and China. Our strategic Lean thinking approach takes organisations beyond simple ‘Lean tools’. We have extensive experience in many sectors including FMCG, Protein Processing, Manufacturing and Service. If you would like to know more about LMAC and how we could assist your organisation’s Lean implementation Contact us