Sunday, November 9, 2014

What are the Key Competencies to needed for a KPO position within an Organization?

Hello @thetoyotagal followers,

This post comes to you from with Michael Balle' - The question this month was:

What would you say the most pertinent competencies are for a team member to be promoted to join an internal Lean team (Kaizen Promotion Office) whose responsibility is training and facilitating Kaizen?

This was my response below, for other lean practitioner's viewpoints visit !!  

I like the question and I will try to answer from a duo perspective. One being a person who was hired and developed under specific competencies at Toyota and secondly through the lens of the trainer/leader. You know I think its important to not only look at how you promote into a KPO position but also what is the filtering process to bring team members into an organization before they even have an opportunity for promotions. Think of it as a leading indicator that is predictive for people capability.
In my humble opinion you have a higher rate of success with the development of people if you have the ability to be more selective to begin with. I know it isn’t always feasible just sharing my personal experience.
Before I walked through the turnstiles at the first Toyota plant in North America I had to go through a robust hiring process- I suppose that was necessary when you had 150,000 people wanting 1500 jobs which was the situation in 1987. So the “sifting and sorting” (I like to look at it as the 5S’ing of people), based on the competencies that Toyota wanted in their employees in order to “further” develop them once they were on the team. I found out later when I was in Human Resources training and development that the “initial” hiring competencies were:
  • Listening capabilities
  • Teamwork (working with different personalities and functional areas (silos)
  • Personal Initiative
  • Problem Solving capabilities
  • Leadership qualities

So if scoring well in these areas landed me a position on the most coveted team, then what enabled me to get promoted into leadership and/or training roles within the company such as a KPO or Organizational development group? If we follow true continuous improvement thinking (DAMI- Define the standard – Achieve the standard – Maintain the standard – Improve the standard) then we must always be looking for specific competencies that further develop and enhance our workforce and our cultural infrastructure that supports long-term growth and sustainability.
There are so many facets to people development and the “thinking” behind it that we really have to look at it holistically from a team member to the true north perspective.
Internally at Toyota (after you were hired) they looked at some specific areas/competencies that team members (any level/role) were required to “demonstrate and be evaluated on” that moved the needle for personal development and growth. There were different variables for moving into kaizen support roles but the many of the competencies needed for succession planning were:
  • Accurate information Gathering & Analysis (ability to go and see and separate assumptions and opinions)
  • Unbiased Innovative Thinking (ability to envision the order to customer value stream using leading/lagging indicators and fact based thinking)
  • Coaching and Teaching Problem Solving (TBP)
  • Develop Countermeasures incorporating mid to long term perspective
  • Appropriate decision making based on Business conditions (flexibility to the ever-changing market)
  • Perseverance (ability to overcome barriers and constraints and gather the necessary resources/stakeholders)
  • Allocation of management resources based on Organization’s priorities (ability to direct change management for company priorities)
  • Establish Business Framework and Systems (Values,True North and Culture)
  • Appropriate Assignment and Consistent and fair performance review (ability to understand team member capability and stretch assignments/challenges)
  • People Development
  • Realization of the mission and vision based on the company values
  • Building Mutual Trust and Respect (executives to management to team members)
  • Ability to understand proper Delegation (based on resources and KPI’s)
  • Accurate Self Awareness (ability to see your own gaps in your daily work / line of sight to the company true north)

I feel with competencies such as these in place it can allow you to have the right people in the right place at the right time. I was always told by my Japanese trainers that having good processes in place will give you the results you need. Most organizations do not take the time to develop good thinking processes therefore results are skewed and mediocre at best. Invest in your people and the criteria and standards they work with and what you will find is a slow but advancing progression of thinkers empowered to make a difference not only in a KPO role but every role.
Until next time
Tracey Richardson

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