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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Edition #24

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 #346 - Think Strategically about Your Improvement.

There is nothing worse than optimizing a process and then having the entire system be less than optimal. In order to understand the parts, you must understand the whole. Get your entire team involved, understand the business strategy and goals, and start thinking from a high level. After that you can drill down into the details.

Lean Tip #347 – Leader must ask the right questions.

Ability of leaders to ask the right questions is critical to the success of a project. The type of questions will determine the quality of process improvements. If leaders do not know what to look for, teams would get the message that they can get away with whatever is possible.

Lean Tip #348 - Teams are the engines that deliver successful process improvements.

Teams are the engines that deliver successful process improvements. While there are many traits, the five key characteristics of an effective team for process improvements are:

• Teams should have a clear defined purpose;
• Teams should be cross functional and have representation of all stakeholders of the process;
• Teams should be empowered to take all required decisions;
• All team members should be trained on the improvement methodology;
• Team members should have good change management skills.

Lean Tip #349 - Learn how to use the word “WE”.

Learn how to use the word “WE” among your team members because this gives them confidence and encouragement. It shows that their contribution towards the process improvement is recognized and taken into consideration. It will also enable the team to get more information/ data needed for the process improvement.

Lean Tip #350 - Evaluate your improvement process as a whole.

Once you have put your plan into action and have achieved the results from it, you will need to evaluate your improvement process as a whole. Ask yourselves if the process had its desired effect. Was the process successful? Did it fix the problem? Did it eliminate waste? Did you implement the improvements on time and within budget? All of these factors should be taken into consideration.

Lean Tip #351 – Encourage Your Team Members.

Always try and encourage your team members and be sure that any criticism you give is constructive. Encouragement and constructive criticism is a sure way to promote team work.

Lean Tip #352 - Do Not Hide Your Mistakes.

To err is completely human, so you should not be afraid of the mistakes you may make and of course, you should never hide them. Each mistake you make saves everyone else from repeating it – this is the very case, when you should consider team profit higher than yours. Such lessons do improve team knowledgebase and highlight weak points.

Lean Tip #353 – Teams Require Good Leadership.

For a team to work well together there needs to be a person in the leadership position. Someone who will motivate, inspire, and make sure everyone is moving in the right direction.

Lean Tip #354 - Form Common Skills To Make Your Team More Productive.

Be sure everyone has a common skill base for communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, giving and receiving peer feedback. I find that teams who have these common skill sets are much more productive than teams that don't. Technical expertise is only half of the success quotient.

Lean Tip #355 - Acknowledge Unique Talents and Contributions.

Each team member brings value to the team. Point out or showcase various abilities. Take time in a meeting to recognize one or two members. Be sure everyone receives equal recognition.

Lean Tip #356 – You must believe in your goals to be successful.

You must believe that it is at least possible for you to achieve the goal or you will not be motivated to try. More importantly, it is you who must believe, not others. Also, just because you should believe that the goal is possible does not mean that you must expect it to be easy or even probable. Indeed, some argue that completion of only the most difficult goals will have enduring value to you.

Lean Tip #357 – Make your goals measurable and specific.

Your goals should be measurable and specific enough for you to know unambiguously whether they have been completed yet or not. Makes sure your actions and their timing will satisfy your goals and if not rethink your plan.

Lean Tip #358 - Prioritize your goals but be flexible.

Decide which of your goals (and tasks) are most important and assign your due dates accordingly. Be willing to change due dates or even put a goal on hold for a while if necessary.

Lean Tip #359 – If you get discouraged re-evaluate your expectations.

If you feel discouraged, it's probably the result of not meeting one of your own expectations. Ask yourself, "Was the expectation realistic in the first place?" If not, you have no reason to feel discouraged. Simply create a new goal (or tasks) that you feel are realistic and keep on going.

Lean Tip #360 – Don’t fear failure, if you don’t try, you gain nothing.

Fear of failure is a genuinely scary thing for many people, and often the reason that individuals do not attempt the things they would like to accomplish. But the only true failure is failure to make the attempt. If you don't try, you gain nothing, and life is too short a thing to waste.

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