Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Edition #9

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #121 - Improve the quality of your meetings in terms of the experience and outcome with these 5 tips. 

Try these 5 tips to improve your meetings:

1.Know the purpose of your meeting. What are we here to do?
2.Clarify what is at stake. What is the price of having a bad meeting?
3.Hook them from the outset. How are you going to engage people?
4.Set aside enough time. It is not about whether you end on time but wether you meet the purpose.
5.Provoke conflict. Seek out opposing views to get all the ideas.

Sourcre Death By Meetings by Patrick Lencioni

Lean Tip #122 - Use the daily check-in meeting to set clear priorities and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

The Daily Check-in (Huddle or Stand-up) meeting requires:

•Members get together face to face
•Standing only, no sitting
•Lasts 5 minutes
•Report on short term (or daily) acitivities.

This help avoid confusion on priorities, keeps things from falling through the cracks, and hels eliminate the need for unnecessary and time consuming emails.

Lean Tip #123 - Start with the lightening round for your weekly tactical meetings.

The lightening round consists of a quick around the table reporting session where everyone indicates their top 2-3 priorities for the week. This should take each person no more than 1 minute to describe what is on their respective plates.

Lean Tip #124 - Your strategic project meetings need to focus one or two critical topics.

Strategic meeting are used to dive into critical issues with more detail. Putting too many items on the agenda dilutes the the quality of debate around the most critical ones. Allow enough time per topic for comfortable engaging open ended conversation and debate.

Lean Tip #125 - An important aspect of running effective meetings is insisting that everyone respects the time allotted.

Start the meeting on time, do not spend time recapping for latecomers, and, when you can, finish on time. Whatever can be done outside the meeting time should be. This includes circulating reports for people to read beforehand, and assigning smaller group meetings to discuss issues relevant to only certain people.

Lean Tip #126 - To learn more about people's goals and values, find out what matters to them.

Goals and values are the internal motives and values that drive behavior. Help employees clarify thier personal goals and values. Possible questions to ask are:

•What do you value and care about most?
•What is important to you in your work and your career?
•What are your career interests and aspirations?
•What gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction and reward?
•What gives you the least amount of satisfaction? Why?

Lean Tip #127 - Connect individuals' development priorities to current and future organization needs.

Share your expectations and the organization's standards or expectations for current and future roles. Success factors comprise the expectations regarding performance and behavior relative to current and future roles and responsibilities, organizational and team objectives, and market and business challenges. Information you might share:

•Clear expectations of performance for the person's current and possible future roles, including skill requirements, required experiences, and educational needs.
•The mission and strategic plan of your organization.
•Pressing issues and goals that face your organization, including internal and external perspectives about industry trends and competition.
•Capabilities in greatest demand in your organizaion, and which of them are expected of this person and in the future.

Lean Tip #128 - If you want to assess someone's abilities all you have to do is ask.

Ask people to describe their abilities. Abilities include their view of their capabilities and performance, especially in relation to what is required of them and what they want to do. Possible questions to ask are:

•How do you view your performance and capabilities?
•What skills are your strength? In what areas are you most likely to offer you expertise to others?
•Where do you need to improve? In what areas do you turnn to others for assistance?

Lean Tip #129 - Give your employees opportunities for them to assess themselves and others.

Help people understand their strengths and development needs by providing opportunities for them to assess themselves and others. Decide on common performance standards so everyone knows what is ecpected. Ask people to develop performance standards for some of their responsibilities. Talk with people in HR to get help from experts; it is not as simple as it looks.

Lean Tip #130 - Create coaching plans for each employee.

Development planning is more successful when the person's manager or coach is invloved. A coaching plan provides a vehicle for organizing what you need to do to help your people. The coaching and development process need to work together.

Lean Tip #131 - Achieving a zero-defect goal requires the implementation of 2 principles.

Two principles are necessary to achieve a zero-defect goal:

1) Visualization
When defects are found, the production line is stopped. The defects are brought to the foreground so that everyone can learn from them.

2) Five Why's
The true cause of defects must be pursured thoroughly and eliminated through continuous improvement.

Lean Tip #132 - Sales forecast lead to overproduction which is wasteful.

Sales forecasts determine the intensity of production. Production takes place under an assumption that every item can be sold in the future, even if they remain in inventory for a while. In a Lean system, market demand determines the necessary items and quantities to produce.

Lean Tip #133 - Not producing items properly can lead to inventory which is wasteful.

It is considered wasteful to:

•Produce items that are assumed to sell
•Produce items in less time than needed
•Produce more items than needed

Overproduction can lead to various wastes other than maintaining inventories, such as an increase in WIP, waste of movement, and waste of transportation.

Lean Tip #134 - Don't give up before you try.

If you think you cannot do it before you even try, you may miss some of life's greatest opportunities. When you have a positive attitude you will be surprised at how much is actually possible to achieve. Always try it first.

Lean Tip #135 - Don't teach your employees everything, let them realize on their own.

Create an environment where your employees are always encouraged to formulate their own solutions through a trial and error process. Take time to guide them through the process on step at a time. If you make all the arrangement for them, they will simply do what they are told and stop participating in the problem solving.

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