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Topic Title: Lean Certification
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Created On: 12/11/2014 05:30 PM
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12/29/2014 02:07 PM
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SabrinaHenry
Sabrina Henry



Based on a reply in a previous thread (thanks Keith Lodahi!) and a tweet I saw yesterday, I am very curious what Lean practitioners think about Lean certification.

- Do you believe certification is required or that is becoming inevitable?
- If you feel it is required, what does certification really mean to an organization and to the individual?
- Where are the best places/what are the best programs to gain certification i.e. most widely recognized?
- If you feel it is not required, why do you hold that opinion?
- What changes could be made to current Lean certification practices and programs that might make certification more acceptable?

Thanks!
01/03/2015 08:50 PM
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JohnPod
John Podlasek



If someone walks into my office and tells me they are certified in Lean, I would ask them to please explain to me what that actually means, and how will that improve my bottom line and organisation. What does it mean to be lean? That question has yet to be answered.
01/03/2015 08:50 PM
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Cath
Catherine Convery



http://www.apmg-international....a/lean-six-sigma.aspx

we are a training provider and both our learners and their employers want a certified course.

Cath
01/07/2015 10:38 AM
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BigDog
Mike Nepean



Speaking from a K-12 education perspective I think a lean certification would be helpful to promote standards (meaning intro lean concepts) and embed lean more purposefully into Career and Technical Education programs. At this point the SME cert process is too difficult to support in K-12, but a pre-lean level that can be completed, documented in high school, and provide a boost toward a currently existing lean cert would be welcome and is needed. That said, the cost to provide the process, documentation, etc. needs to be low enough for schools to participate. Something like Cisco's Network Academy might be a reasonable model -- minimal cost to schools, no cost for students until they test for the full network cert (CCNA, etc), and a complete curriculum and LMS provided.

If you are an active voice within a current lean cert provider (SME, etc.) let me know if you are interested in furthering the conversation. Washington state is supportive of this work and there are several districts and industry partners that would join a project like this.

-- Mike
01/07/2015 10:38 AM
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304369
Keith Lodahl



I delivered many Lean Certificate courses and mentored a number of students through qualifying projects. I didn't know if it was making a difference until one student told the group that he learned more in our nine session certificate program that he could put to use in his business than the learned in his MBA.

The certificate really is meaningless. The learning/understanding is valuable.
01/09/2015 08:07 AM
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PascalChaloyard
Pascal Chaloyard



The ISO 17 024 says that the certification entity must be different that the training compagny. There is a entity called Acadelean providing Lean and Six Sigma Green and Black Belt certification: www.acadelean.com
01/12/2015 06:12 AM
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CFPIMBear
Barry Meyer



I agree Keith.

There are too many "students" seeking degrees or certification, rather than the learning/understanding. I would say one of major differences for this particular student was his level of maturity between the time he "earned" his MBA and took your course.
01/13/2015 03:37 PM
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304369
Keith Lodahl



Originally posted by: CFPIMBear

I agree Keith.



There are too many "students" seeking degrees or certification, rather than the learning/understanding. I would say one of major differences for this particular student was his level of maturity between the time he "earned" his MBA and took your course.


As relatively superficial as our Lean Certificate (8 half days and some coaching) it may also show the level of the MBA course of studies at that institution.

I had a person working for me that had "earned" an on line certification in Lean, and didn't have a clue about any Lean topics. A good use of several thousand dollars.
01/15/2015 03:51 PM
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JavaChief
Ernie Varitimos



Certification is not required to be competent, even exemplary in Lean management. In fact, I would argue there is no better certification that actual experience.

I have hired and directed hundreds of people over the years, many with advanced degrees and certifications, and I have not been able to conclude that degrees or certifications were an advantage. In fact, the most brilliant and productive people I have had the pleasure to work with, often did not have degrees or certifications directly related to the work we did, or at all.

If Taiichi Ohno were alive, and available to work on your project, would you ask him to get certified?
01/15/2015 03:51 PM
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BrianHeil
Brian Heil



I think everyone is missing the point here. People don't get these certifications so they can be better people and sing kumbaya every day. You could say the same exact crap yall are saying for a bachelors or a masters degree. I don't have an MBA, I don't have a lean certification...am I qualified to work at a place where those are required? Who is possibly going to know that? People get these certifications to put it on their resume and make money. It's up to the person interviewing them to know whether they put enough effort into the training or not. And even then its a pretty hard task, but that goes with hiring anyone yall. How are you going to know someone with a Bachelors degree is going to be a better employee than someone with a GED?

Stop blaming the people that did what they had to do to get a seat in your office, and start asking the right questions in your interviews. Or just accept the fact that it's difficult, and in some cases impossible to know how much a person gained from their experiences on their resume.

That person you hired that doesn't know any Lean topics...yea who hired him?...ok that is who you need to blame. I guess there is something to be said about people like that because he got your company to hire him.

I'm just saying for those of us who aren't certified, it's a dog eat dog world out there and guess what, we are going to do whatever it takes, within reason and the justice system, to get a job we want so we can put food on the table and maybe get a few nice things along the way.

-Brian Heil
01/16/2015 01:04 PM
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304369
Keith Lodahl



"That person you hired that doesn't know any Lean topics...yea who hired him?...ok that is who you need to blame. I guess there is something to be said about people like that because he got your company to hire him."

She was hired prior to me starting there, andhad many admirable qualities other than Lean. I was trying to show that a certificate is not the determining factor in one's Lean expertise.

I think many folks get these certificates so they will be considered by companies for hire. A quick read of the want ads and job descriptions should tell you that many companies who are looking for Lean practioners have no real idea what they want.
01/16/2015 01:05 PM
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BrianHeil
Brian Heil



If that is the case, why do companies have requirements for their potential employees to have the certification?

Are you implying there shouldn't be a lean certification? Doesn't having the certification mean something? Take a certification for a forklift...millions of people out there are forklift certified and there a tons of accidents each year caused by dumb people that didn't get the appropriate knowledge out of their training...does that mean companies should get rid of certifying people and just accept the fact that there are dumb people and smart people out there?

And yes, idk who that guy you mentioned is but if I had a job open for someone to be certified in lean it would be stupid of me to hire someone that isn't actually certified. Doesn't matter who it is, there is a reason these things exist and results that prove the success of people being certified...is it 100% bullet proof? Is anything??
01/16/2015 01:08 PM
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kevinkobett
kevin kobett



I was practicing lean five years before my employer started training. I practiced lean at a previous employer. Boss didn't like my efforts. I was at the point where finding a problem to solve was very difficult. My only hope of staying was the new super duper lean manager. I would not be alone anymore. He was a dud. So paranoid he fired a guy for talking to his supervisor. The new guy refused to share opportunities for improvement. I quit.

All my employer had to do is ask all employees for a list of past lean improvements. My list was impressive. I still regret not taking the bull by the horns. Five years of banging my head against a wall took its toll. I did not like my coworkers. Before I left, I tried to conduct a lean meeting. I liked most the employees outside my department. What if one of them was like me?

Long story short, past performance is a good indicator of future performance. Give all employees a chance to submit a list of lean improvements. Non-lean companies do have lean employees. There is your certification. What could possibly be better than untrained employees doing what you want? Same is true for outside hires. Their training is not relevant, their successes are relevant.
01/19/2015 11:05 AM
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JavaChief
Ernie Varitimos



So you wouldn't hire a sensei from Toyota? They aren't certified.
01/19/2015 11:05 AM
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304369
Keith Lodahl



Originally posted by: BrianHeil

If that is the case, why do companies have requirements for their potential employees to have the certification?



Are you implying there shouldn't be a lean certification? Doesn't having the certification mean something? Take a certification for a forklift...millions of people out there are forklift certified and there a tons of accidents each year caused by dumb people that didn't get the appropriate knowledge out of their training...does that mean companies should get rid of certifying people and just accept the fact that there are dumb people and smart people out there?



And yes, idk who that guy you mentioned is but if I had a job open for someone to be certified in lean it would be stupid of me to hire someone that isn't actually certified. Doesn't matter who it is, there is a reason these things exist and results that prove the success of people being certified...is it 100% bullet proof? Is anything??


Apparently you have been fortunate and have not had to seek employment in the last few years. It is truly remarkable how little many hiring managers know about Lean/CI but are convinced that they need to go that way. Fortunately many Lean dead ends are revealed by the language in ads, or early in discussion with leaders. Requirements like a guarantee of 600% ROI on the investment in a Lean effort in the first year. Comments like "If we hire you you will need to make sure all the lean efforts are installed. It is no one else's responsibility." or my favorite "You will stay in your office and work until we are lean."

There are good Lean Certificate programs avaiable, but they are no more a guarantee of good results that a degree is. There are also many that just occupy the candidates time.
01/19/2015 01:46 PM
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JavaChief
Ernie Varitimos



Taiichi Ohno is the inventor of the Toyota Production System and Lean. Toyota does not have Lean certifications. In fact, they laugh at the idea of black belts. So if the creator of Lean scoffs at certification, and certification is no guarantee of qualification, shouldn't there be a better way?
01/23/2015 11:17 AM
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Cath
Catherine Convery



APMG have two certified qualifications in Lean.

As a training organisation we decided to offer them in order to assist with the problem of the lack of certification in the market place.

http://www.apmg-international....a/lean-six-sigma.aspx

They will release more exams at the end of Feb and again we will offer them - though for me anything above green has to have evidence of lean projects on it rather than simply additional knowledge and skills acquisition.
01/26/2015 10:34 AM
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catartic
Irene Johansen



Originally posted by: BrianHeil

"Stop blaming the people that did what they had to do to get a seat in your office, and start asking the right questions in your interviews. Or just accept the fact that it's difficult, and in some cases impossible to know how much a person gained from their experiences on their resume."


Scanning the latest entries on this discussion, it occurs to me that, while many of us know a lot of lean thinking, not so many know about lean hiring. I was privileged to attend a 4-part online workshop with LEI: Creating a Sustainable Lean Culture, with Mike Hoseus ($500, worth every penny). What fascinated me most about this workshop was the amount of time, energy and care devoted to the hiring process, and how critical it is to the successful outcomes the company is looking for. Brian, as colourfully as he puts it, is absolutely correct. If a company is serious about adopting a lean culture, they must get serious about how they hire, as opposed to muddling around on who. Pay attention to one, and two will come as a natural consequence of one. To start, if that is getting senior management and HR together to agree on who they are looking for and the questions they want to ask of them, that is something. A thorough study of Toyota's hiring practices and work on how to adapt them to your business would be the logical next step. It would take time and work, but the results would be astoundingly good.

In the meantime, for those on the hunt for the work, I'd retool your resume to highlight specific work and projects that are good exemplars of lean thinking, whether done under the "lean" rubric or not. Spell out what you know, what you've done, and what you can do. Find a way to make it pop. Be persistent. Be proactive. Look for better ways, every way you can, all the time, to showcase your abilities. Isn't that the lean thing to do?

I add one more tip: "Work Out Loud" (see www.johnstepper.com). As a matter of fact, this forum is one way of doing it. Keep doing it.


Edited: 01/26/2015 at 10:33 AM by Lean Moderator
01/27/2015 09:01 PM
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SabrinaHenry
Sabrina Henry



Thank you to everyone for participating in this discussion. As someone new to Lean, I have found it to be informative and eye-opening. In reading some of the responses, I've come to see a need to distinguish between having a Lean certificate and Lean Certification. Most if not all organizations that provide training will issue a certificate to indicate completion of studies which may or may not include field work. This is not the same as having certification in a particular field. An analogous example would be someone who has an engineering degree but does not have the P.Eng certification. As Pascal Chaloyard said, the organization that does the training should not be the one certifying.

Certification aside, Irene Johansen makes an excellent point with regards to hiring. From my own experience as an HR practitioner, the assessment process needs to be a collaborative one between the Hiring Manager and HR and that goes beyond just the interview process. To build or transform a culture, organizations must understand what they need and figure out how to identify the right people to help them get there. Having HR people who understand lean is a critical requirement for organizations who want to adopt a lean culture.

A book I'd recommend is "Toyota Talent" by Jeffrey Liker and David Meier.
01/27/2015 09:07 PM
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22767
Sam Tomas



John, your comment is right on target. Today, in my opinion, there is no standard definition of Lean. The definition of Lean that a company uses today has turned out to be anything that company wants it to be, as it applies strictly to themselves. Hence, different companies have different definitions.

An article in the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), titled, Will Lean survive the next generation, had this to say:

"It's clear that lean will evolve from an optional "Journey" for those companies wishing to do so, to a mandatory way of operating for organizations that wish to retain their highly valuable Millennial employees. The word "lean" will, in and of itself, have significantly less meaning as companies form new stimulating environments to attract, stimulate, and retain new generations."

I would conclude from that statement that lean will mean different things to different companies since companies operate differently, or else, lean as we know it today will not be a part of their operations.

I would like to suggest that maybe it's time for people to start thinking if development of what I would call, "the next generation of lean" is warranted. As an example, the next generation can emphasize the concept of "efficiency" since no matter which way companies operate, efficiency has to be something they need to succeed.

Sam Tomas
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