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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Daily Lean Tips Edition #39

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 #571 – Identify and remove root causes to permanently fix problems.

The root cause is the fundamental, underlying reason for a problem. The root cause is what causes a problem to happen repeatedly. If you do not identify the root cause, you are just putting a bandage on the problem. It will probably happen again. When you remove the cause, you have fixed it permanently.

Lean Tip #572 – Monitor your improvement results to see your target was achieved, not just whether there was a change.

If you didn’t accomplish what you had hoped, three reasons are possible. Your plan may have been poorly executed. You may have developed a poor solution. Or, you may have attacked the wrong cause. Try again if necessary.

Lean Tip #573 – Data collection and analysis tools are critical for monitoring improvement.

Did you accomplish your objectives? When you review the results, ask whether your targets have been achieved. Process analysis and monitoring tools are important for determining whether the overall project goals were met.

Lean Tip #574 – If your solution worked, standardize to lock in the improvement.

Introduce the solution to everyone affected. Make sure whatever changes have been made become routine. Prevent any slipping back into the same old problems. Consider all elements of the new process: people methods, machines, materials, and measurements. Have they all been standardized?

Lean Tip #575- There are several aspects to standardizing an improvement process.

First, “new and improved” won’t do much good unless it is used consistently throughout the organization. Plan to expand your test solution to everywhere it appears. Second, everyone involved in the new proves must know what to do. Formal and informal training is essential to spread a new process throughout the organization. Third, it is critical to identify who owns the improved process, including responsibility for continued tracking of measurement.

Lean Tip #576 - Enable Employees by Setting Clear Goals.

People make more progress when leaders are clear about the link between what they do and what matters to the organization. And successful teams are those that have clear goals, and where people know how their work affects those goals. Help your people gain line of- sight visibility from their work to the team’s goals.

Lean Tip #577 – Help employees break projects, goals, and work assignments into small victories.

Small victories tap into motivation. Achieving is fueled by making small amounts of progress, such as accomplishing a task or solving a problem. Help those that work with you jump into an achievement cycle and experience the benefits and rewards of moving through all five steps.

Lean Tip #578 - Teach people how to manage time and energy wisely.

Coach employees to fully engage in the task at hand, focus on the important rather than the urgent, avoid distractions, and create balance and renewal in the achievement of the goal. Help them learn to say no to urgent requests or terrific ideas that aren’t aligned with the important work of the team.

Lean Tip #579 – Enable employees by committing resources and removing roadblocks.

Enable people to move forward in their work by committing appropriate resources, removing obstacles, helping them work across boundaries, and aligning processes, structure, and systems.

Lean Tip #580 - Help employees engage others.

Encourage those you work with to reach out and engage others with similar goals. Remind them that goals can be created independently, but achieving them almost always requires help and support from others.

Lean Tip #581 - Employees need to be able to trust their managers and company leadership.

Clear communication is a key element of trust. To build trust, monitor how and what you communicate to people around you. Be clear and direct. Manage expectations. Be truthful and as transparent as possible to avoid guesses and assumptions and to prevent rumors and unfounded fears from spreading. In organizations under stress, sometimes it is difficult for leadership to be completely forthcoming. Few people expect everything to be perfect all the time, but uncertainty breeds discontent. Tell employees as much as possible as early as possible, even if it is bad news.

Lean Tip #582 – Leaders Need To Create Connections For Employees

People want to have meaning in all aspects of their lives. If they do not feel the importance of what they do, they disconnect. Therefore, it is important to highlight the connections between things and people. Help employees see the “big picture” of how their role and objectives fit into the organization’s objectives. Encourage others to look at how their actions and performance affect others.

Lean Tip #583 – If You Want Engaged Employees Motivate Them with Appreciation.

Recognition is an important part of motivation and engagement, and it can be as simple as genuine appreciation. Praise where warranted and give credit where credit is due. The best recognition is immediate, specific, and personal. Let the person know specifically what you appreciate about her or what she did, and do so in a way that the individual will appreciate (some people like public praise, others prefer a one-to-one chat).

Lean Tip #584 – Strong Leaders Motivate Others to Be the Best They Can Be

Motivation is our desire or willingness to do something. An organization where people are willing and able to work toward a common goal is stronger than one where people are badgered or threatened or generally reluctant. Leaders with higher degrees of emotional intelligence tend to get better results through inspiration, persuasion, empathy, and integrity. Use your listening, persuasion, and influence skills to inspire and motivate people to work toward a common goal.

Lean Tip #585 - Support Your Employees by Developing Their Growth

There is nothing more demotivating than feeling you’re in a dead-end job. Talk to employees about what direction they’d like to see their career path take, and help them identify opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them achieve those goals. Share with them ideas they can use for their own career management within the organization. Move past any fear you may have of your employees leaving – by caring about their growth and aspirations, you will probably get a more productive, loyal, and longer-term team member than if you don’t have these conversations.

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