Unemployment has remained high and job seekers are competing with a nearly unprecedented number of highly qualified individuals.
Management job seekers with no past Lean management experience can set themselves apart by studying Lean management and/or Lean manufacturing. This choice demonstrates to employers that a candidate understands the global economy and the importance of lifelong learning for business success.
Consider these four points in favor of Lean management training for job seekers:
1. Lean management is generating new investment and creating jobs.
As a recent post discussed, GE is investing $432 million in the United States to develop “centers of excellence” that practice Lean manufacturing. If this effort is successful, more big names are likely to implement Lean practices. Lean managers will be in demand for newly created positions around the world. Job seekers who independently seek Lean management training will stand out not only for their skills but for their ability to anticipate a future employer’s needs.
2. Continuing education reduces the negative affect of gaps in a job seeker’s resume.
Employers have always been reluctant to hire an individual who has been unemployed for an extended period. Recently, that phenomenon exploded to the point that some employers refused to consider applications from the unemployed. Most hiring managers will not exclude unemployed applicants, but a period of idleness never reflects well on a candidate.
Many senior managers already hold advanced degrees and cannot return to school to complete another degree during a period of joblessness. Lean management training allows job seekers to avoid resume gaps at a fairly minimal expense, without the need to seek a degree. Junior and mid-level managers can even consider interning with a Lean shop.
3. Lean allows managers to consider accepting a position with a failing company.
In general, job seekers attempt to avoid signing on with a company that is struggling and headed for failure. Lean managers, on the other hand, sometimes actively look for companies with a good idea that are experiencing significant business challenges. With a complete overhaul of manufacturing processes, it may be possible to save a failing company that was abandoned by prior management. Lean management opens another field of opportunities for job seekers qualified for senior executive positions.
4. Process-oriented managers are in high demand where high turnover exists.
The current economy has driven high turnover and staff reductions in many companies. For a people-oriented manager, the loss of experienced employees may prove insurmountable. Lean managers tend to be process-oriented, meaning they focus on developing processes that can create success even when working with a diminished staff.
Lean managers are not necessarily unkind or less interested in individual employees’ success. On the contrary, Lean often helps companies avoid layoffs that would otherwise have been necessary. A process-oriented manager can enter a struggling department and use Lean principles to develop processes that make each person’s job easier and more clearly defined, while preparing the department to weather future turmoil with ease.