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Friday, February 25, 2011

Lean Quote: Catching People Doing Things Right

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 secret is to catch him doing things right. Shine a light on what is right.  It's also very important to catch him doing things better, praise progress (something better) immediately and specifically." — Dave Yardley, Shamu's trainer from Sea World

This is a great quote that comes from a story about training Shamu to do those big tricks you see at Sea World. We aren't training killer whales but this still relates to business. Our job is to build positive relationships, increase people's energy, and improve performance on the job.

Try these steps next time you catch someone doing something right:

1. Pull the person aside immediately after you observe his or her good perfomance - or as soon as practically possible.

2. Tell the person what he or she did right.  Be specific.

3. Tell the person what his or her good performane will contribute to the kind of teamwork that we want to create.

4. Let the person know how good you feel about him or her.  Let your pride and appreciation show.

5. Stop for a moment to let it sink in.

6. Encourage the person to keep it up.  Ask how you can assist him or her to keep it up.  Offer the assistance that you can.

and if you want to create a new culture of doing things right

7.  When you receive praise, respond with a "Thank You."  Encourage the person who "caught you doing things right" to keep noticing. Try to return the favor!

Continually pay attention and observe to catch people doing something right or even better and praise that specifically and immediately.  When attention goes to what is right, energy flows to continue doing more of what is right.  When it's incorrect or mistakes occur, redirect or rechannel the energy so that you can praise progress or what's right specifically and immediately.

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