Qualities of a Good Process Improvement Person

A few weeks ago there was a great discussion in the AME Group on LinkedIn.  The question asked was, “What are good qualities to have in a process improvement person?”  This is a great question as more and more companies are looking for process improvement people with the change in the business climate.

Based on my experiences, here is what I look for in a process improvement candidate.

A thirst for knowledge – a person who is also looking to learn.  Learn about a process, learn about the business, learn about themselves, learn about new techniques/concepts/tools that can help with process improvement.  A true learner does not use the phrase, “I already know that.”  They may know the concept backwards and forwards and have applied it in several places, but no one place is the same so they will learn about the situation that they believe the concept/tool needs to be applied before applying it.  The person will take time to reflect upon what worked and what didn’t work.  They never stop trying to improve themselves.

Ability to think and push outside the norm – It is not enough to just think outside the norm or “what they have always done”.  The person has to be able to influence ideas that are outside the norm.  The only way to get things to change is to get the idea out in the open and start to challenge people’s thinking.

Fortitude – Once the new idea is out in the open, there may be push back against it.  The person has to be able to present the idea in many different ways in order to get many different people to see and understand the idea.  The person also has to be ready to have their idea completely shot down, but not let that deter them from bringing up a new idea.  No matter how many times ideas are shot down or ignored, they have to keep presenting them.  Eventually, one will break through.  When that happens the next idea will be easier to breakthrough with and so on.

While, it might be good to have someone that already knows the tools and concepts, it isn’t high on my list.  If a person exhibits the first trait (thirst for knowledge), then they will learn the tools and concepts while they are doing the work.

What are some of the qualities that you look for in good process improvement person?

Posted on August 11, 2010, in Leadership, People and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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