Friday, January 24, 2020

Lean Quote: 5 Reasons Why Business Strategy Planning Is Important

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Hope without plans is like a car without wheels. — Terry Mark

Developing strategy takes time and resources. It requires the time and commitment of some of the most highly paid and highly experienced people in your organization. So, if your team isn’t willing to invest what is needed, I recommend that you don’t do it. Poor planning is often worse than no planning at all.

So, why do you need a strategy? Why take time for planning? There are many reasons. But these five reasons are important considerations.

1) To set direction and priorities:

First and foremost, you need a strategy because it sets the direction and establishes priorities for your organization. It defines your organization’s view of success and prioritizes the activities that will make this view your reality. The strategy will help your people know what they should be working on, and what they should be working on first.

Without a clearly defined and articulated strategy, you may very well find that your priority initiatives—the ones that will drive the highest successare being given secondary treatment.

2) To get everyone on the same page:

If you find that you have departments working to achieve different aims, or going in different directions, you need a strategy.

Once you define your strategic direction, you can get operations, sales, marketing, administration, manufacturing, and all other departments moving together to achieve the organization’s goals.

3) To simplify decision-making:

If your leadership team has trouble saying no to new ideas or potential initiatives, you need a strategy. Why? Your strategy will have already prioritized the activities necessary for success. Priorities make it easier to say no to distracting initiatives.

4) To drive alignment:

Many organizations have hard-working people putting their best efforts into areas that have little to no effect on strategic success. They’re essentially majoring in the minors—because their activities aren’t aligned with the priorities. Your strategy serves as the vehicle for answering the question, “How can we better align all our resources to maximize our strategic success?”

5) To communicate the message:

Many leaders walk around with a virtual strategy locked in their heads—they know where their organization needs to be and the key activities that will get it there. Unfortunately, the strategy isn’t down on paper and hasn’t been communicated thoroughly. As a result, few people are acting on it.

When your staff, suppliers, and even customers know where you’re going, you allow even greater opportunities for people to help you maximize your success in getting there.

Planning is essential to the success of any business. When a company has a plan to follow, leaders are better equipped to prepare for the future. A business plan creates a focus for the company, uniting employees toward common goals. When everyone works together, it’s easier to manage time and resources, to position the company for growth.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

9 Leadership Tools To Inspire Employees To Give Their Best

Employee engagement has always been a big deal in business operations. After all, no tool or system can replace the productivity of your workers as they are the core of the organization. The way they function as a team will make or break your hopes of running a profitable company.

However, it seems like 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace. There are many ways to explain such behavior, but it all comes down to one simple fact – the lack of leadership. A genuine business leader has to keep an eye on every member of the team and create preconditions for the successful functioning of the organization.

In this article, we will show you nine leadership tools that can help you to inspire employees to give their best. Let’s take a look!

1. Set Clear Goals
If you want to build a team of highly productive employees, you need to define your expectations. What is it that you want them to do? The most important thing is to answer this question and set clear goals for each member of the group and the team in general.

We recommend you to quantify achievements. That way, employees know exactly where to go and how much they have left. But if you make them wander around without a concrete objective or purpose, rest assured their engagement will decrease steadily.

2. Pay What They Are Worth
We could love or hate our jobs, but in the end, it all comes down to earning enough money to make a decent living. This is exactly why you should pay employees what they are worth. 

According to the report, more than 40% of employees say a higher salary would improve their job satisfaction. Of course, almost all of them would leave the company in case they received higher compensation somewhere else. 

Therefore, a leader should make sure that everybody gets what they deserve. All it takes it to follow the industry average and reward top-performing employees. 

3. Provide Training Opportunities
Do you know that the top factors of greater engagement are job-specific training and career development opportunities? We live in a rapidly-changing world where talented professionals expect you to help them grow and develop new skills. 

If you don’t want to chase them away, you better provide employees with continuous learning opportunities. Organize seminars, training programs, study visits, and all other types of learning sessions that can make the members of your team better and more skilled workers.

4. Be a Role Model 
A true leader is always a role model who inspires subordinates to work better and harder. If you want employees to work overtime, you have to do the same thing. If you want them to communicate clearly and concisely, you have to showcase the same mindset. You are the one they look up to, so don’t forget to act as a genuine role model.

5. Avoid Micromanagement
Another way to prove leadership skills is to avoid micromanagement. In case you don’t know, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes, controls, and reminds the work of his/her subordinates or employees.

It is always a big burden for every worker because they feel like being under surveillance, so it often leads to professional underperformance. If you find yourself micromanaging, remember that you did not hire high school kids but rather full-time professionals who are better than you in their fields of work.

6. Let Them Speak Freely
A manager who doesn’t listen to his/her team members is never a good leader. Although there are times when you have to make big decisions single-handedly, your employees should contribute to decision-making 99% of the time. 

After all, they are most likely talented workers with lots of professional experience, so why wouldn’t you let them speak their minds freely? It will help you to brainstorm alternatives, boost engagement, and improve business results long-term.

7. Show Empathy 
Even the best-performing employees have their ups and downs. No one is able to maintain the highest level of personal productivity day after day because it’s just not how the human mind functions. For this reason, you have to show empathy and understand your colleagues when they make a mistake.

First of all, don’t penalize workers for every little blunder. Secondly, try to talk with them and learn what’s going on in their heads. Sometimes the smallest personal problem can significantly jeopardize professional engagement, but it’s a leader’s duty to discover it and help employees to make it through the hard times.

8. Promote Work-Life Balance
Studies reveal that 40% of people use their computers after 10 PM, while 94% of professionals put in 50+ hours a week. These are only some of the stats that prove how diligent and hard-working a typical employee really is these days. 

However, it is impossible to go on like that year after year. A leader should give employees a break and encourage the balance between life and work. You can do it simply by allowing team members to take a couple of extra days off work or letting them work from home. You can test many little tricks to increase the quality of employees’ personal lives without degrading business performance.

9. Encourage Employees to Exercise
Physical training can do miracles engagement-wise. According to the research, workday exercise doesn’t only improve well-being but also leads to a 72% improvement in time management and workload completed. All it takes is to create a small gym or sponsor training programs for your staff – it will have an excellent impact on the performance of your team.

People are the essence of each company, but the leader is the person in charge who has to make sure that everyone is doing their jobs professionally. If you want to make the most of your team, then you need to utilize state of the art management principles.

In this post, we discussed nine leadership tools that could help you to inspire employees to give their best. Which tactic do you believe to be the best here?

About the Author:
Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at resume writing service. She is interested in education technologies, australian assignment helprush my essay reviewsessay writing help and is always ready to support informative speaking at uk best essaysEdubirdie review. Follow her on Twitter.

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Monday, January 20, 2020


World history has been filled with leaders who have done incredible things. Every one of them has contributed significantly to this world - proving that great leadership comes in many different forms.   
A great leader, for many, is one that inspires action. Whether it's to make a change in the world, chase your dreams, or create a movement.  
Politics or views aside, many of us can agree that individual leaders are indeed the best. Regardless of whether you agree wholeheartedly in the action that they provoke; we can all appreciate the inspirational ways that they invigorate others.   
What makes a great leader?   
To be a great leader, you have to possess specific skills and traits. You have to respect others, be loyal, and maintain a degree of confidence. After all, if you don't believe in yourself, will anybody else?   
Below, we've listed the most influential leaders in the modern age - who have all inspired action.   
1. Nelson Mandela   
Of course, you'll always find Nelson Mandela's name on lists regarding leaders. He truly is not only one of the most inspiring leaders, but people of all time.   
Mandela accomplished what many have not been able to - he inspired generations of people, even after his death. He proved that human resilience and passion is the most powerful tool.   
Mandela has held various titles. He's been a prisoner, activist, revolutionary, and President. That's quite the resume.   
For those that don't know, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. He was sentenced to life for conspiring to overthrow the state. This kind of sentence would understandably break many people, but Mandela stood firm.   
He campaigned vigorously for his freedom and later became the first black President of South Africa. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and received more than 250 honors.   
To this day, he is seen as one of the most influential leaders - and resilient humans.   
The takeaway: We can all adopt Mandela's mindset into our leadership techniques. The struggle shouldn't deter us from trying to achieve our goals. Draw a line under your past, and share your story and dreams.  
2. Marie Curie   
Marie Curie gathered an extensive list of accomplishments during her life. Many have argued that she was one of the leading forces in science.   
She is best known for her discovery of radioactivity. It's this discovery that has led to effective cancer treatments, as well as other world-changing things.   
She was also the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize, the first female professor at the University of Paris, and the first person to ever win a second Nobel Prize.   
While she might not fit the mold of a "leader" that you have in mind - Marie Curie definitely remains one of the greatest leaders. She overcame obstacles.   
Marie Curie broke through in a time when women were not allowed to speak in forums and established herself as a worthy leader.   
She led by her expertise and thoughts and has changed the world.   
The takeaway: Marie Curie had a passion for her work and an insatiable love for learning. As a leader, you should adopt these qualities and let it shine through your work.  
Though it won't be easy and obstacles might arrive, your determination should ultimately trump this.  
3. Martin Luther King, Jr   
MLK was an American activist and humanitarian. He essentially became the figurehead for the African-America Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.   
He is well-known for leading in a nonviolent and civil way. Causing slight disobedience to bring attention to important matters. His work, along with his supporters and allies, changed America for the better.   
Perhaps his most famous accomplishment, as a leader, is his part in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. It's here where he delivered the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.  
MLK also received a Nobel Peace Prize. His leadership qualities included a kind temperament and meaningful action.   
He created a nation-wide movement based on acceptance.   
The takeaway: One of the biggest learning lessons from Dr. King is to know your cause. Believe in what you do, and stand for it.  
Also, persevere, embrace fear, and get everyone around you involved. You may be surprised at who will join you.  
4. Mother Teresa  
Mother Teresa was an Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun. She's well-known for her selfless, revolutionary work. She cared for the poor, orphaned, sick, and dying.  
She proved herself to be a reliable and influential leader - breaking barriers and perceptions of what a leader should be.   
She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. This was a religious congregation that is now active in more than 130 countries.   
In 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified (made a saint) bu the Pope - giving her the title of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.   
Her leadership skills differ from other leaders. She led the way with compassion and thoughtfulness - her one goal to make the world better, with no financial or popularity gain for herself.   
The takeaway: As a leader, it's not always about your personal hopes and dreams. Sometimes, trying to make the world or people around you succeed is more important.  
Your team should be your priority - ensure that they're happy and thriving.  
5. Greta Thunberg   
Regardless of your personal opinions, nobody can deny that Great Thunberg is one of the most influential leaders in the 21st century.   
At such a young age, she has begun international protests and movements that have entirely changed the world. Now, she has become a figurehead for the climate change movement - showcasing the new face of politics and activism.   
She began fighting in her home country, Sweden. Her focus is on freeing the world of pollution, ending climate change, and environmental degradation. She has inspired action amongst students, famous for shaming apathetic adults.   
"At just 16, she has planned an array of student protests and has become an international figure. The reality is, youth activists like Great are doing amazing things. How she has rallied such a significant movement, only shows what a fantastic leader she really is." — Nadine Johnson, anthropologist, and writer at Studicus. 
The takeaway: It might be a little strange to learn leadership qualities from a teenager, but it's still very possible.  
The most important is to practice what you preach. That's the key to a good leader. Always set an example, and lead in a noble and honest way.  
6. Abraham Lincoln   
On the other end of the spectrum (or timelines) sits Abraham Lincoln. He was the President of the United States from 1861, before getting assassinated in 1865.   
Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer before joining the active politics of America. While it is argued that his short time as President was overshadowed by the Civil War, it cannot be debated that he led the way heroically.   
At such a difficult time in US history, Lincoln strengthened the nation and abolished slavery. He also modernized the economy and has become a symbol of equal rights, liberty, and democracy.   
The takeaway: Truly, you have to work to achieve your goals. Things won't just fall into place. He once famously said: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”  

7. Che Guevara   
You'll often see his face during left-wing protests - Che Guevara was a major face of the Cuban Revolution. The fact that he is still a symbol of rebellion and revolution places him on this list.   
Guevara was born in Argentina, he was a Marxist revolutionary, author, guerrilla leader, and diplomat. He saw the conditions that people in South America were living in - saturated with disease and poverty, and decided to make a change.   
He dedicated his life to amend the economic conditions of the people and is well-known for prioritizing others over himself.   
His primary leadership belief was that humans shouldn't be a slave to their situation - instead, they should be able to design their own destiny.   
The takeaway: Though he may be a different kind of leader, he was still a leader.  
His premise in life was that you have to give meaning to all your decisions. Make sure that the path you take is meaningful, and your leadership skills will certainly develop.  

8. Albert Einstein 
Lastly, we have to mention the man who rewrote the laws of nature for the betterment of humanity. He's still one of the most famous scientists and has had an unmatched impact on our understanding of the universe.   
"Einstein is remembered for overcoming adversity - he struggled as a child and even struggled to find work after graduating. His ability to remain positive, regardless of the situation, is why he's considered one of the best leaders." — Ben Larson, a history writer at Trust My Paper and Grab My Essay. 
Now, even after his death, his work and findings are still be used to guide physicists - that's great leadership.   
The takeaway: There's no denying that Einstein was curious. That's what made him so great.  
As you're leading, you should be curious, try new things, and use your imagination. You're more powerful than you realize.  

Which such a diverse group of leaders, you'll notice that they all have different tactics, views, and backgrounds. It becomes clear that being a great leader isn't one-size-fits-all.   
If you're passionate, hard-working, and empathetic, you can inspire generations of people to make a change and invoke action in those around you.  

About the Author: Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at Pick, The Writer, along with several platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. In her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine. 

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Lean Quote: Bias for Action: A Vital Ingredient for Successful Leadership

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it. — Steve Chandler, Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be

Let me guess, you’ve been putting something off recently. 

The human mind is fantastic at coming up with reasons for not taking action. The human brain is designed to keep us safe and to conserve energy. For that reason, we are programmed to look for risks and reduce the amount of work we need to do to in order to survive. When we weigh any potential action, we look for reasons that specific action or activity will fail. At the same time, we look for ways that we can conserve energy and get the same benefit from less effort.

Often managers spot a chance to do something valuable for their company, but for some reason, they cannot get started. Even if they begin the project, they give up when they see the first big hurdle. The inability to take purposeful action seems to be pervasive across companies. Managers tend to ignore or postpone dealing with crucial issues which require reflection, systematic planning, creative thinking, and above all, time.

If you do nothing, nothing changes. Things at rest have a tendency to remain at rest. Be aware of items that stall your action. It's better to have a 50-percent improvement right away than it is to take no action and hope for a 100-percent improvement sometime in the future.

The only cure for inactivity is action. That’s why the first step in creating a successful culture of execution is creating a bias toward action. People who make things happen need to be praised and rewarded. People who don’t should be coached to change, or weeded out. Failure cannot be unduly punished. Unless people feel free to make mistakes, they will not feel free to take bold actions.

Develop a strong bias toward action. Don’t wait. Assemble teams, form action plans, assign roles and responsibilities, track progress, reward success. Simple. Most of all, as a leader offer real support and foster collaborative results. Do it now.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

6 Ways Accelerate Your Lean Journey

Leaders in organizations across industries are always looking to “speed-up” a lean transformation. Most organizations prefer to take small incremental steps away from their current business model and target a set of initiatives that still falls close to their existing position.

The challenge with lean is that, despite its attraction to many executives who want to cut costs and increase productivity, a lean process doesn’t happen overnight. There are plenty of obstacles to overcome.

After 20 years of leading manufacturing operations, implementing lean principles and conducting hundreds of kaizens, there are some basic ways to accelerate your Lean journey.

Develop Culture
Lean is about people. All successful and sustainable business change starts with top management (leadership team). Culture by design requires changing the way that people think and work. That’s difficult to do, because people get comfortable with the way they are. You must establish a foundation so that change can happen. The definition of ‘win’ has to be shared and understood by everyone.

A new lean culture will not develop unless the organization’s leadership team is willing to model and be the examples of the new behaviors.

Leaders have to Lead
Relentless commitment from the leader or leadership is the basic requirement if you are going to have a successful lean conversion. It’s the role of Lean leaders to create an environment that fosters continuous improvement, by asking guiding questions, supporting teams as they test hypotheses, and celebrating improvements, in both performance and process.

Practicing Lean management principles requires a shift in mindset: from that of a supervisor, to that of a teacher and coach. Lean leaders must lead gently, by example, ensuring that Lean principles are being applied with the right goal in mind: To sustainably maximize the delivery of value to the customer.

Kaizen – Develop Internal Capability
Kaizen events are a powerful improvement tool because people are empowered to come up with new ideas to help the business. Employees are isolated from their day-to-day responsibilities and allowed to concentrate all their creativity and time on problem-solving and improvement.

The purpose of kaizen is to involve everyone, everywhere, everyday in making simple improvements. These small improvements add up overtime and result in an extraordinary and never-ending transformation of processes. Companies which use Kaizens have found they generate energy among those who work in the area being improved, and produce immediate gains in productivity and quality.

Kaizen also improves people’s capability for thinking, judgment, and making fact-based decisions. Kaizen teaches leaders how to develop other people so they can help to quickly improve the business.

Bias for Action
If you do nothing, nothing changes. The only cure for inactivity is action. That’s why the first step in creating a successful culture of execution is creating a bias toward action. Get your teams out of the conference room and into the gemba. From there, mandate a fast turnaround time, have them quickly do a value stream map and root cause analysis for their actionable items, and post their successes right away.

Teach Lean to Everyone
The key to implementing any new idea or concept is training. It must be top down training so that everyone is on the same page. The more understanding of what lean manufacturing is all about, why you are implementing it and the expected benefits from it, the more likely you are to get buy-in.

It is very important that everyone in the company become committed to lean culture. In order to make the culture successful, managers and employees need to be aware of waste within the company and be prepared to attack and eliminate it. Making sure that the employees are empowered to do this, not just pushing the job off on someone else, is imperative in the proper function of lean culture.

Ensuring everyone is on the same page will help to avoid conflict. At the same time, it is important to ensure people have the space in which to think about what improvements they think need making.

Focus on Problems and a Few Tools
One of the most common mistakes that companies make when embarking on a Lean transformation is trying to do too much at once. These “boil-the-ocean” initiatives are long, costly and often end up stalling under the weight of their own ambition.

Lean manufacturing consists of many different “tools”. There are a few tools that can and should be used with any lean manufacturing initiative. Some of these tools are 5-S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain), value stream mapping, kanban, takt time, continuous flow, cellular manufacturing, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), SMED (single-minute exchange of die), OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), line balancing, standardized operations, seven wastes (muda), error-proofing, kaizen and root cause problem-solving.

The correct approach to implementing lean manufacturing begins with an analysis of the businesses needs, opportunities and challenges. Once these opportunities are identified, the tools are used which will solve the issues.

It simply wouldn’t be prudent to limit the success of a lean initiative to exclude any tool if it was known to solve the problem at hand.

In other words, the problems identify the tools rather than the tools being forced into the organization.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Suggestions for Creating a Positive Workplace Environment

For most people today, the majority of their time awake is spent at work. It’s quite normal for someone to spend more time with colleagues than with families. With this in mind, it becomes really important to make the workplace a positive and nurturing environment. Studies show that positive workplaces increase productivity, creativity, and happiness. Here are some great suggestions for building a more positive workplace.

1. Gratitude is key

Create a mechanism in your workplace for everyone to express gratitude to their colleagues, thank and appreciate them publicly, and generally respect each other. Doing this once a week can greatly boost morale and set a positive tone for the whole workweek to come. Team members feel valued and respected. Make gratitude a priority in your workplace and organization as a whole.

2. Build a safe environment for all

In a professional workplace, the biggest problem to productivity and positivity is toxicity. IT prevents new ideas and innovation and damages team collaboration. Madeline Hall, an HR manager at Academized and Assignment Services, explains that “to have a safe work environment, do not allow negative personalities to take root, and make sure every person is respected and confident in expressing ideas. Be a leader who is honest and authentic so your employees feel safe and respected.”

3. Finish what you start

If you can’t finish a project you started, for whatever reason, make sure that you have a clear handover, all the files are properly labeled and saved. This means you’re not leaving your mess for someone else and that you value their time as much as yours. By leaving behind a mess, someone has to take time out of their day to look for a missing file or duplicate the work you’ve done. In short, be respectful of your colleagues’ time.

4. Remember the opportunities

If there is a stressful time period in your workplace, take the time to reframe your attitude and see it as an opportunity. Every problem or obstacle is actually a chance to reflect on your process, your strategy, and re-evaluate your next step to always improve. Try to find humor in situations, and work with your colleagues to change the perspective.

5. Be consistent

Workplace culture is changing dramatically these days. More and more companies are moving to flexible hours, remote work, open workspaces, no fixed vacation time, and more. It might seem like a good idea to adopt these ideas, but you need to remember that not every strategy is good for each company. Think about what would work best for your work and your team members, and be sure to remain consistent across the board with the chosen approach. Change is good, but you want to make sure to maintain a healthy and balanced workplace culture.

6. Focus on positive thinking

You want to create a workplace environment where positive thinking is encouraged and there is no place for negativity. Even when something bad is happening, a project is derailed or a deadline is passed, encourage your team to be positive and you will see it becomes easier to find a positive outcome. George Bubbs, a health writer at Revieweal and Essay Services, suggests that you “spend some time as a group to set some positive intentions for each day, week, month, and quarter. This helps you take a step back when you might get stressed or frustrated and change your mindset and the way you’re approaching the situation.”

7. Prioritize

Remember what’s important for a positive work environment and don’t set it aside if something urgent comes up. Urgent shouldn’t necessarily trump important. Prioritize the team meetings or one-on-one interactions so you can focus on making sure everyone is heard and valued. If you delay or cancel your method of regularly communicating with your team, the quality of the business and productivity will go down drastically.

Lean thinking, positivity, good leadership strategies, and consistency are all extremely useful ways to create a positive workplace environment. At the end of the day, what truly matters is making your employees feel respected and safe so they can be as productive and creative as they can without feeling stifled.

 About the Author:

Editor Aimee Laurence works for UK essay writing services and Essayroo Review. She focuses on articles about healthy workspaces, respect for others, and positive leadership. She likes sharing different ways to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Aimee also works for Top assignment writing services VIC as a freelance editor.

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