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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily Lean Tips Edition #31

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 #451 - Always think about the whole system and its processes.

If you want the whole system to work well, you can't just focus on each part and optimize its performance. You have got to consider the implications of how any action will affect the whole system.

Lean Tip #452 - Commitment from management is a “MUST”.

In fact, it is the driving force. Procedures, tools, and database are all useless if the management does not want to see an improvement culture in the organization. The employees of the organization will not care, if the management themselves do not show the attitude to follow the right path.

Lean Tip #453 – Focus on processes with an emphasis on continuous improvement.

Focusing on processes helps everyone understand even further the importance of teamwork and cooperation and the interdependence of their work. It places a premium on implementing the tools that make management and improvement of processes more efficient and effective. The emphasis is on continuous improvement through the use of quality tools to measure process performance and teamwork.

Lean Tip #454 - People function best in a culture where open, honest communication is understood.

You may be surprised how many innovative solutions can be developed when the truth is consistently shared throughout the organization. An important way to encourage truth-telling is by creating a culture where people listen to one another.

Lean Tip #455 - Understand Your Customer’s Needs and Expectation

For any business the customer is the lifeblood. Every process and every action internal or external should ultimately result in the value addition to the customer and the customer’s delight. Therefore it is essential that the customer needs, wants and expectations are identified before you embark on a quality building program.

Lean Tip #456 - Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening.

Being a leader should not be viewed as a license to increase the volume of rhetoric. Rather astute leaders know there is far more to be gained by surrendering the floor than by dominating it.

Lean Tip #457 - The most profound and commonly overlooked aspect of learning is recognizing the necessity of unlearning.

We’ve all acquired knowledge, beliefs or positions that but for the protection of our ego, would easily admit are outdated. I can think of no better definition for a closed mind than someone unwilling to change their opinions. Smart leaders recognize it’s much more valuable to step across mental lines in the sand than to draw them.

Lean Tip #458 - Leadership isn’t about you – it’s about those whom you lead and serve.

There are few things as limiting and frustrating as disconnected leaders. Smart leaders spend their time starting or advancing conversations, not avoiding or ending them. The more you engage others, the better leader you’ll become.

Lean Tip #459 - If you want to improve your station in life, as well as the lives around you – read more.

The greatest leaders throughout history have been nothing short of relentless in their pursuit of knowledge. I believe Michelangelo said it best when he uttered the words “Ancora Imparo” which when translated from the Italian means “I am still learning.” Moreover, the day I stop reading, the day I stop learning – that’s the day I stop leading.

Lean Tip #460 – Empower Excellence through Encouragement

Look around you sometime with this in mind - people are trying their best to do an excellent job at something. People feel better and accomplish more when their leaders take the time to not only notice, but encourage and empower them to be excellent in what they strive toward. Empowering excellence is different than expecting or demanding it because it starts with the ambitions of the led, rather than the leader.

Lean Tip #461 - Keep Learning (and Practicing) New Things

One sure-fire way to become a more effective learner is to simply keep learning. If you want the new information you just learned to stay put, keep practicing and rehearsing it.

Lean Tip #462 - Teach What You've Learned to Another Person

Educators have long noted that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Start by translating the information into your own words. This process alone helps solidify new knowledge in your brain. Next, find some way to share what you’ve learned.

Lean Tip #463 - Utilize Previous Learning to Promote New Learning

Another great way to become a more effective learner is to use relational learning, which involves relating new information to things that you already know. Building on your knowledge and applying it to new opportunities is just another facet of learning.

Lean Tip #464 - Anything you can visualize, you will learn faster and remember longer.

Mind mapping is an ideal way to bring your aspirations and goals into vivid focus. Maps furnish a bird's-eye view that can reveal new connections, prompt new ideas. They give an extra edge when you need to recall your data. A map lights up in the mind more quickly than a list. Because it's a picture.

Lean Tip #465 - Help the Managers Develop Their Own Solutions

People generally know what is the right or appropriate thing to do. Often your job is to draw the answer out of the individual. If you give the person the answer, the manager is less likely to own and fully enroll in the solution or answer. You can provide options and recommend resources. You can give your opinion. You can answer questions, but ultimately, the answer must be the manager's.

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