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Friday, December 14, 2012

Lean Quote: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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.

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory. Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Actions speak louder than words! An expression where doing what you say you will do is a greater determinant of behavior and character. People can say anything, but when what they say and do are contrary, it’s easier to judge by what is done instead of by what is said. 

Let your team know that you will empower but in proportion to each team member’s ability and the amount each asks for. Err on the side of generosity. Be honest as you empower so that the team members know they need to support each other as they will all have doubts!

Set projects around staff development programs to encourage everyone to try out new ideas. These are assigned to a mentor who champions the ideas set out in the project and encourages follow up. Encourage empowered decisions and innovation by mentioning the ideas in company newsletters, meetings, etc, and by explaining the benefits that have accrued to the organisation. Develop team ownership and rewards by allocating part of the remuneration package to the achievement of departmental/team targets though it should be noted that empowerment should be the reward in itself.

People will usually listen to what you say, but they really pay attention to what you do. You can't say one thing and do another if you want to be effective as a leader. What you say is important. However if your actions are different than your words people will assume the actions are what is true.

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1 comment:

  1. Tim,

    Love the quote. It goes hand-in-hand with the Fujio Cho (Toyota) quote on Lean Leadership a couple weeks ago: "We place the highest value on actual implementation...."

    Best regards,