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Friday, March 24, 2023

Lean Quote: The Power of Checklist

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.

"The checklist is one of the most high powered productivity tool ever discovered.  —  Brian Tracy

You might not think that checklists have a role in the workplace. Often used for simple tasks like creating a grocery list or packing for a vacation, checklists aren’t often thought of as a tool for increasing productivity and efficiency at work. But the power of checklists has been proven time and time again across a variety of professions and industries.

The main purpose of the checklist is to help people stay disciplined in their business processes, follow standard operating procedures, and avoid simple mistakes.

Checklists are best suited to work that's repeated often and in a predictable order.

Repetitive processes within the workday that has many steps that are easy to forget. Knowing who is responsible for each task and a standard operating procedures are being followed.

Checklists help establish habits whether in business or life. Every time you tick off a task it's like giving yourself a gold star the more boxes you check off the more dopamine is produced.

The checklist should be precise, efficient, and easy to use. These key points can make sure checklists can be used as an effective tool for cultivating business standards, sharing knowledge, saving time and reducing errors.

Checklists can help you can achieve.

  • Reducing Errors - Ensure the basics aren’t missed.
  • Knowledge - Share knowledge, free up your mental resources, create and share best practices.
  • Business Standards -Encourage routine, and clear standard process management of tasks.
  • Time Saving - Save critical amounts of time by planning workflow and prevent duplicated tasks.
  • Define Roles - Who’s job it is and when the checklist be used.
  • Prioritizing - Identify what needs to be done first

Checklists can make people better at their jobs, save time and makes people understand their role in the business process or procedure ensuring the best possible outcomes.

Checklists are not set in stone and not always perfect from day one they need constant revision based on how it performing.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

7 Must-Try Employee Engagement Tips for a Positive Workplace

Positive work environments bring out the best in employees. They not only help them work safely and effectively, but they also promote mental wellness. But toxic workplaces are certainly like cancer. They deplete work energy, cause division, and hinder organizational progress. Unfortunately, many modern workplaces are like that. They are filled with nepotism, and unsupportive work measures and besides that, they hamper employee development. 

A positive work environment can make a huge difference in an organization. It not only reduces employee attrition, and absenteeism, but also improves employee engagement, connectivity, and productivity. Healthy workplaces can impact business and employees and also stretch to customer relationships. Precisely, positive workplaces are characterized by a high level of employee engagement. But what is employee engagement and what are some of the must-try employee engagement tips for a positive workplace?

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement refers to the eagerness and emotional dedication that employees feel toward their jobs and the organization at large. It generally takes into account physical, emotional, and mental involvement in work. It also refers to the enthusiasm employees display when given new tasks or their willingness to go the extra mile.

Employees who are emotionally committed to an organization display higher positivity that influences other employees to perform better. However, it should be noted that employee engagement goes beyond accomplishing tasks. Many employees can deliver projects on time when they aren’t engaged. In fact, one study by Gallup found that only 20% of employees are engaged at work. 

Engaged employees don’t need to be forced to work even on a public holiday when required. They are also willing to work without demanding extra pay. So this is enough to offer you a second thought about the way you define employee engagement.

If you’re an HR professional or a team leader you must be concerned about employee engagement. That’s because employee engagement impacts everything streaming from productivity, creativity, and turnover to resource utilization. So, let’s look at some of the best employee engagement tips you can consider to improve your workplace atmosphere;

  1. Check your Onboarding Process

The way new hires feel on the first day of their joining matters a lot. Of course, first impressions offer a lasting impact. Your new hires need to feel welcome, and at home. Effective onboarding practices directly impact employee engagement from the go. When new hires feel left out that directly impacts them psychologically.

However, when HR professionals ensure to include new hires in the company activities like lunches, this boosts their morale. Other tips to consider for smooth onboarding practices include offering new hires a mentor, sending out an announcement, and asking new hires for feedback at the end of the day. This can help them feel more comfortable and valued.

  1. Recognize & Reward Them

Want to improve employee engagement but don’t know where to start? Consider recognizing and rewarding your employees. Employees aren’t machines that are only expected to offer an output. They have feelings and emotions and the way they feel about a job impacts their productivity.

One study by Nectar discovered that over 81% of employees stress that recognition for their contributions improves their engagement. When employees are appreciated, this motivates them to perform even better. They will look for ways to improve their skills in order to meet the set standards.

Some of the ways to recognize and reward employees include offering them gift cards, training them, and conducting physical workout sessions. When employees receive something valuable from an organization besides their salaries, this increases their engagement.

  1. Host Virtual Meetings

The modern corporate world is dimensionally changing ever since the 2020 pandemic. More and more organizations are opting for hybrid work cultures as a way of fostering flexibility. However, hybrid work cultures also come with their own challenges such as disengagement.

Consider holding virtual meetings as a way of improving employee engagement for in-house and remote teams. Virtual meetings can enhance participation and collaboration. With that, managers and HR professionals can consider online meetings as a way of improving employee engagement.

  1. Involve Employees in Decision-Making

At the end of the day, organizational policies and rules are made for employees. So, how about involving them in decision-making processes? Healthy workplaces are governed by transparency and respect. That also includes all-inclusive rules that safeguard all employees' beliefs, well-being, and productivity. With that, it’s essential to involve employees in a company’s decision-making process.

Considering their opinions can help managers create work guidelines that cater to positive workplace culture. It also shows that employees’ opinions are valued and that they matter. Largely, this improves employee morale and dedication.

  1. Foster Belongingness & Inclusion

When employees feel like they belong, they are mentally positioned to offer their best. However, a toxic work environment only paves the way for more ethical issues. Belongingness is a feeling that one is wanted and loved despite social differences. Workplace belongingness is key to inclusion.

In this growing age of diversity, fostering belongingness can help employees feel that they matter. This helps employees concentrate on their work to offer the best. With that, check for diversity in your workplace and find means of ensuring positivity. The presence of bias can negatively impact workplace social relationships. It also prevents employee adherence to workplace guidelines and policies. 

  1. Push for Collaboration

Apart from improving output quality and quantity, collaboration enhances workplace relationships. If anyone wants to be a better leader, he or she must possess good communication and collaboration skills. Collaboration in a workplace builds connections that can improve work skills. Also, it helps employees share ideas, work tips and solve problems better. This all improves employee engagement in the long run.

  1. Offer Feedback Positively   

Constructive feedback helps employees grow. Not all employees are discouraged by negative feedback and in fact, 75% of employees value feedback. Many employees desire to grow and providing feedback whether negative or positive can help them work better. However, it’s crucial for a manager to assess feedback delivery mediums.

Negative feedback that is meant to intimidate and disrespect can discourage employees even if they are at fault. On the other hand, negative feedback which is delivered politely helps employees change and seek self-improvement tips. There are many ways of delivering feedback without hurting an employee’s emotions or professionalism.

This can include speaking politely and offering constructive tips to better themselves. Other considerations include offering them a mentor and recommending training programs. These can improve employee engagement in the workplace.


Employee engagement is very important when it comes to ensuring higher productivity, employee retention, and proper resource utilization. Many managers today understand the importance of employee engagement and the fact that it can impact recruitment costs. Also, employee engagement is no longer fostered by providing good salary perks. Modern employees consider their own well-being a priority and that includes physical, emotional, and psychological health. Therefore, consider these must-try employee engagement tips to create and promote a positive workplace. 

About the Author: 
Jessica Robinson loves to write interesting and knowledgeable blogs regarding business management, education and life to satiate the curiosity of her lovely readers. Currently, she is serving as a content manager at the ‘Speaking Polymath’. Every piece of content that she writes demonstrates her immense love and passion for her profession.

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Monday, March 20, 2023

3 Ways Leaders Can Prevent Stress and Burnout

Image Source: Unsplash

Burnout is an unfortunate reality for many business leaders and their teams. We’re living in a time of high stress in the workplace, with nearly 3 in 5 employees saying they have experienced negative impacts of workplace stress in the last month.

If you’re a leader at your company, burnout can wreak havoc on your team. You might be used to powering through projects to meet deadlines and reach your goals, but you could be doing more harm than good to yourself and those who work for you. As a leader, pushing yourself too hard can make you more indecisive and less confident. You might also start to resent your position and your job, rather than feel passionate about it.

If you’re struggling and starting to burn out, your team is likely to notice and struggle. So, what can you do to prevent stress and burnout in the workplace? How can you maintain creativity, and positivity, and foster a work environment that promotes mental health? Let’s cover a few helpful solutions.

1. Understand the Symptoms

One of the best ways to stop leadership burnout in its tracks is to understand what it looks like. You might be so used to pushing through your stress and ignoring your exhaustion that you’ve lost sight of what your body is telling you. Some of the most common signs of burnout include:


       Feeling distanced from your job;

       Negative emotions associated with your job;



       Lack of motivation.

As a leader, it’s normal to feel like there’s a heavy weight on your shoulders. You’re responsible for your team, and your focus is on supporting everyone else while helping them reach their goals.

But, that doesn’t mean ignoring your own well-being.

If you’ve started to notice some of the signs above, consider making structural, operational, and even philosophical changes to the way you run things. That might include taking a step back from your responsibilities, taking more frequent breaks, or lightening your workload. Not only will you benefit from those changes, but your team is more likely to feel less stressed, too.

2. Have a Plan With a Purpose

It’s easy to get overly stressed when you feel like you don’t have a plan in place. Maybe your team is working on a project-by-project basis and every assignment that comes in requires something different. That can be difficult to manage and keep track of when you’re working on multiple things at a time. It can be even harder when you’re trying to avoid remote work burnout.

It’s hard enough to keep everyone on the same page. When you add in remote work, you add the possibility of different time zones, mediated communication channels, and the illusion of less control. If your team isn’t physically in front of you, it may be hard to feel like you have an eye on their productivity — much less their mental health. However, it’s entirely possible to effectively lead a remote team. Keep tabs on how they’re feeling and:

       Foster a welcoming remote work environment where they can come to you with their struggles;

       Pay attention to when they clock in and clock out, and establish clear working hours and boundaries to help keep them from overworking when stressed;

       Provide remote employees with the tools they need to create a productive home office;

       Encourage cameras on for video calls, and take note of preferences and shifts in demeanor;

       Streamline their remote work plan so that they work smarter, not harder.

One of the best ways to stay on track, establish healthy routines, and create a streamlined process for your team, in-office or out, is to have an overall strategy in place. A dedicated blueprint for everyone to follow will make your work more organized and effective. You’ll have an easier time reaching your goals, and your work will be more influential. Your strategy should:

       Establish your goals;

       Define team member roles;

       Decide the best communication channels to use;

       Delineate task completion steps;

       Establish a priority system for tasks and communication;

       Identify and acquire tools to complete repetitive, mundane tasks;

       Audit and analyze your current efforts.

While the details of your strategy can change with each project, when everyone follows the basic outline of an overarching plan, things will be far more cohesive and less stressful. You’ll also be more confident in your work as you act with a specific purpose and do work that has an impact.

3. Practice Self-care

Leadership and self-care don’t always go hand-in-hand, but they should.

Self-care isn’t selfish, and it doesn’t mean you’re not taking responsibility for your leadership role. Good leaders encourage their employees to prioritize their mental and physical health. You might check in with them frequently, encourage them to take breaks or extra time off, and offer flexible hours so they can have a healthy work-life balance.

If you’re not doing the same things for yourself, you’ll risk burning out quickly.

While self-care looks different for everyone, there are plenty of easy ways to incorporate it into your daily routine, including:

       Cooking healthy meals;



       Organizing your home;

       Practicing mindfulness;

       Prioritizing sleep.

You can also practice self-care in the workplace by delegating more of your responsibilities and tasks. Leadership is about recognizing the best people for certain jobs and putting your trust in them to get the work done. You don’t have to handle everything on your own. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. By delegating certain things, you’ll have more time to focus on the most important tasks on your “to-do” list, and you’ll boost your team’s confidence by showing that you trust and believe in them.

Leaders should be productive and inspiring. The last thing you want is to lose your spark and your passion for your career because of burnout. Keep these tips in mind to keep stress at bay, boost your well-being, and remain a positive influential presence on your team.

About the Author: Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and business topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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Friday, March 17, 2023

Lean Quote: Luck Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity

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.

"I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it.  —  Denzel Washington

It’s often said that some people get lucky in life or just by sheer good luck they land at the right place at the right time. However, just being lucky won’t help you succeed in life. Luck is nothing but being prepared when opportunities knock at your door.

The difference between lucky and unlucky people, we've seen before, is all in our perspective. Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles.

1. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities – Having long term goals will help you to identify good opportunities when they arise! There are multiple steps to achieving goals, the right opportunity can help propel you down that path!

2. They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition – If it seems to good to be true, it usually is. Most “get rich quick” schemes are just that…schemes. With great reward, comes great effort.

3. They create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations – Be realistic about opportunities. Don’t expect one opportunity to change your life. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

4. They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms “bad” luck into good – Having a positive outlook and perspective can be the one thing that changes your life the most! Try to find the silver lining in all situations, even when they don’t go your way. Always remember, if it’s meant to be, it will!

So next time you hear — luck is when preparation meets opportunity — just remind yourself, it is not all that simple. And smile.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

5 Ways to Keep Focused on Lean Productivity Improvement

Admit it or not, all companies face challenges. In today's competitive market, Lean is turning out to be "the solution" to manufacturing industries across the spectrum for survival and success.

Lean manufacturing helps organizations to achieve targeted productivity and more by introduction of easy-to-apply and maintainable techniques and tools. Its focus on waste reduction and elimination enables it to be engrained into organization culture and turns every process into a profit center.

In a nutshell, lean manufacturing is all about driving toward achieving profitability and productivity through continuous improvement and resource waste elimination. With all of the day-to-day tasks folks need to take care of, it is common that productivity improvement takes a backseat despite great intentions. To avoid that, consider some of these methods to spotlight Lean productivity improvement.

Goal alignment: Perhaps the most powerful aspect of goal setting is its potential use in building an aligned workforce, equipped, empowered, and motivated at all levels to work together to achieve its vision for the future. Setting goals can provide purpose and challenge to energize people to apply their efforts in a specific, planned direction. Well-set and monitored goals that are aligned holistically can put your organization on track for increased employee engagement, productivity, and progress toward achieving its vision.

Visual data management: Use visual boards to display its goals, targets, and performance metrics. The look and feel of the visual board should be standard across your system, with each board including the standard metrics as a designated space for discussion and prioritization of improvement ideas. The visual board in each department should be located in an accessible area in the Gemba so that the data and metrics stay in front of everyone.

Daily huddles: Daily huddles take place at the department level and last for about 10 to 15 minutes. Huddles are led by the staff and are attended by all members of the department Huddles take place directly in front of the visual board so that the metrics that are displayed on the board can be discussed and updated as needed.

Problem-solving: It is recognized that staff cannot implement all solutions or process improvement ideas alone and that process changes often involve other departments or functions. For this reason, part of the daily huddles should be dedicated to problem-solving. This portion of the huddle includes a review of improvement ideas submitted by staff, a progress update on ideas that have been selected for implementation, and feedback received from senior leaders on ideas that have been submitted to senior levels for implementation and/or resourcing. Accountability is achieved through review of progress on implemented ideas with use of a simple WWW (What, Who, and When) form. This process of problem-solving (idea generation), reviewing progress, and providing feedback is key to sustaining team engagement.

Employee recognition: The impact of recognizing employees who engage in Lean productivity improvement can't be understated. It is essential for the individual employee and helps cement a culture that values improvement and signals to the entire organization that leaders care deeply about efforts to implement positive change.

Each organization is different and so are the productivity challenges for your company. You’ll find, however, that even the most basic tools can really hone in your organization’s ability to eliminate waste and focus on continuous improvement.

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Monday, March 13, 2023

7 Ways to Inspire Your Team for Peak Performance

In order to achieve great results, you should be constantly thinking about how you can motivate and inspire your team. The ultimate throttle on the growth of a company is the people so keep raising their inspiration and motivation levels. This will ensure a happy energized team always delivering great output.

Here are some ideas to consider:

Set the example

Of course, as a leader it is your responsibility to set the example for your team to follow.  The way you treat everyone is the way your team will treat their direct reports. Attitude is contagious so as a leader you want to set an amazing example of optimism which can radiate throughout the organization. Set an example by leading from the heart, taking calculated risks, treating people well, showing impeccable manners and finally sharing credit with the team always.

Share your vision and set clear expectations

You can only motivate and inspire your team if they know what they are working towards. Make sure your employees are aware of your vision and what your ultimate goals are for the business. This encourages everyone to work together to achieve better results.

Recognize peak performance and effort

This needs to be done at a level where the recognition is seen by others. Everyone likes praise and recognition, and if a good performance is publicly honored, the person shows that individual effort is seen at a higher level. And everyone else sees that too.

Get people to share their ideas and creativity

If people help contribute to something, they are more likely to take ownership and be committed to its successful outcome. So, get input and ideas from people when you are wanting to improve.

Encourage teamwork

Encouraging and promoting teamwork boosts productivity because it makes employees feel less isolated and helps them to feel more engaged with their tasks. You can do this by regularly holding team-building activities and opportunities for your team members to bond and get to know one another.

Give employees the space they need to thrive

A micromanaging boss can quickly stifle creativity. By giving your employees space and autonomy, you clearly show that you trust them the get the work done in their own way. This can inspire individuals to find more efficient or streamlined ways of completing tasks or to discover gaps in their skillset or the department as they work.

Provide opportunities for growth and development

Team members feel more valuable when they are learning and growing. To motivate and inspire your team to achieve great results you should provide your employees with opportunities for growth and development.

These opportunities should be tailored specifically to suit the individual employee and can be in the form of further training, setting challenging targets, inviting an employee to shadow you, or spending your own time teaching and mentoring somebody. Focus on teaching your team transferable skills they could use in different positions and encourage them to set themselves learning goals.

Motivation is an essential part of any workplace and you should be constantly striving to make your employees feel motivated and inspired. If you do this, you’re sure to achieve the results that you need. In the end, your workforce can reach operational excellence.

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Friday, March 10, 2023

Lean Quote: March is a Month of Expectations

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.

"March is a month of expectation.  —  Emily Dickinson

March gets a lot of hype. More sunlight. More green. A more perfect breeze begins to blow. The ground begins to warm. Perhaps we smile more because we have gotten some rest in the winter. Flower faces turn toward the sun. Last year’s cold snap is forgotten. We don’t mind those coming disappointments, of tempting warmth and sun, because that is part of March’s thing. Gently inching us toward summer. Dusting off winter. Moving us toward imagination. Toward creating. From seed to bloom.

Low expectations are all around us and successful leaders know it. One of your challenges as a leader will be in raising the expectations of those around you. People tend to be creatures of habit and can be quite comfortable with the status quo. Challenging for any leader is the ability to cast vision high enough and realistic enough that people can catch on without being overwhelmed. You can raise expectations for a better future by making the case, showing the way, and explaining the advantages. Sometimes people around you settle for what they have because no one has shown them a better way. Your leadership should inspire others to reach for new heights, look beyond their present circumstances, and believe that they can achieve on a higher level. You can raise their expectations as you raise your expectations. Don’t just settle – go higher!

Maybe we can let March be March? Filled with hope and expectation as the birthplace of new life and possibility. Like a new year. I like that idea.

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