How a Lean Consulting Firm Can Focus Your Manufacturing Company’s Leadership Development Strategy

lean consulting for leadership development in manufacturing

If “leadership development” seems like a buzzword to you with little actual meaning, maybe you need to look to lean strategies. For manufacturing businesses especially–which are suffering heavily from the brain-drain impact of people retiring during today’s mass Baby Boomer exodus–it’s crucial to identify top talent and onboard new hires that have the potential to really grow the business. However, for many manufacturing businesses, crafting a leadership development strategy can be a challenge. Here’s how lean consulting experts can help manufacturing companies establish a focused long-term leadership development strategy.

Determine Your True North

If you put your managers in a room together and asked them to describe your company’s most important mission or objective in a couple of sentences, would everyone share the same vision? In our experience, the answer to that question is yes in only about 5% of cases. Most of the time, there’s a need for greater clarification and communication around a company’s most important objectives. A lean strategy consultant can lead your firm through a process to help define and crystallize your True North vision. Without a clear roadmap of where you’re going, it’s hard to determine what skills you need to get there or how to invest in shaping and training your team. When your company’s most important mission has been established, this becomes the basis of everything you do from hiring to training to knowledge transfer.

Building a Culture of Problem Solving

At its core, good leadership is about problem solving: the ability to identify, address, and provide solutions to the issues that confront your company and your customers. Yet, many businesses find that their leadership program needs to foster a culture of problem-solving, as even their most talented managers don’t have a natural action orientation. The good news is that it is possible to empower talents at all levels of the organization to become attuned to opportunities for improvement. The right lean strategy consulting partner will take the time to get to know your unique business and the strategic challenges that you’re currently facing. From there, they will systematically assess your team and provide a customized roadmap to foster stronger problem-solving skills. The techniques that you implement can range from providing advanced analytical training to specific individuals to redesigning business processes to more effectively incorporate the insights of your frontline staff.

Developing a Lean Recruiting Strategy

Your future leadership plan is only as good as your talent, and many companies in the manufacturing industry are being forced to recruit new talent as seasoned managers retire. Therefore it is essential that companies have a clear plan in place to build a pipeline of strong candidates. A lean consulting expert who understands the manufacturing space will help your company develop a long-term vision for your talent. From there, it’s possible to develop a recruiting, interview, and onboarding process that helps you attract and retain the talent that you need to make your vision a reality. When your recruiting activities are driven by the experience you want to create for your customers and the support your company needs to get you there, your investments in human capital generate a much higher ROI.

Design Leadership Training Programs

Beyond simply hiring the right people and creating a corporate culture that supports problem-solving, it’s critical that manufacturing companies have long-term leadership development programs in place. A lean leadership development program will use a range of different approaches optimized to your company’s goals and what you’re trying to achieve. For example, many companies are focused on stemming the tide of knowledge lost as leaders retire and have developed a range of solutions to address this. Detailed mentorship programs allocate a high percentage of time to getting senior leaders to coach and interact with younger talent. They may also have new leaders shadow high-level managers to absorb as much as possible. Others may include investing in strategic industry training to help shorten the learning curve and get recent hires up to speed on industry and company best practices as quickly as possible.

Are you a manufacturing executive who is thinking about the future of your business, and wants to invest in developing a leadership development strategy that will take your business into the next decade and beyond? Contact Incito Consulting today to arrange for a personalized consultation and learn how our established team of consultants help manufacturing leaders solve their most important strategic challenges.