Online Training and e-Coaching Tips

Lean All The Way

May 14, 2015 9:00 by
Adam Baker

Photo credit: Adam Baker, published under CC

Here’s a paradox for all you lean trainers. Lean trainers teach kaizen, continuous improvement, yet how often do they improve their own training procedures? In this blog post, you’ll find out how to continuously improve your lean training.

How long have you been delivering the same lean training? When did you last revise your training with the intention to actually improve it? If your trainees consistently rate your training very highly on comparison sites such as, chances are you never did in the last few years. Never change a winning horse and all that, right?

Let’s face it, even the people who teach continuous improvement are tempted to stick with what works best right now.

But what if you’re stuck at a local optimum?  Let me explain that a bit further: even if you were standing at Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in France, you’d still not have achieved scaling the highest mountain on Earth. Sure, there’s a risk in scaling a new mountain: you don’t know the way yet. You may need new gear. You may even have to relearn climbing.

Well, improving your training is not quite so dramatic. Here’s what it involves:

  1. Have your trainees evaluate your lean training: did they feel they learned enough, that it helped them? This is the easiest part, involving happy sheets and other ‘traditional’ means of training evaluation.
  2. Test if they memorized the theoretical parts of the training and actually comprehend lean concepts. This can be done through an actual test. Another way is to ask them to come up with a mini case study, e.g. pertaining to their own company. Keep in mind that you can repeat this part of the evaluation long after the training, sending out tests and evaluations through email. You do that to see how long the theory sticks.
  3. Measure how your trainees are applying their newly acquired skills and knowledge on the job, usually in their capacity as lean consultants. Obviously, this is the hardest part. Here’s what you can do: put some of the tools you have discussed online. There are many lean and six sigma tools readily available on the web or in app stores. Find them and integrate them in your website. Keep track of how often they’re used and by whom.
Ozan Hatipoglu

Photo credit: Ozan Hatipoglu, published under CC

If your company is training large numbers of lean consultants, you can even apply A/B testing to your training. Each new trainee is randomly assigned to either the old training A or the new, improved one, B. Follow the trainees over a longer period of time to see which training is eventually the most effective. This is the only sure way to measure if the new training is actually an improvement over the old one.

In short, keep improving your training based on continuous measurements. That’s lean all the way.

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