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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #46

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 #676 - Find the lesson or opportunity within the problem.
There is almost always a good side of a problem. Perhaps it alerts us to a great way to improve our business. Or teaches us how our lives perhaps aren’t as bad as we thought. Finding this more positive part of the problem reduces its negative emotional impact and you may even start to see the situation as a great opportunity for you. When you are faced with a problem ask yourself: How can I use this? What is the good thing about this? What can I learn from this? What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

Lean Tip #677 - Use the 80/20 rule when problem solving.
Use 80 percent of your time to find solutions and only 20 percent to complain, worry and whine. It might not always be easy but focusing your energy, time and thoughts in this way is much more beneficial to you and others than doing the opposite.

Lean Tip #678 - Break down the problem into smaller pieces.
Completing a task or solving a problem can seem overwhelming and impossible if you take it all in at once. To decrease anxiety and think more clearly try to break the problem down. Try to identify the different things and people it consists of. Then figure out one practical solution you can take for each of those pieces. Try those solutions. They may not solve the whole problem immediately. But they might solve a few pieces of it. And then you can keep trying other solutions for the rest of the pieces until there are none left.

Lean Tip #679 - Gather some good knowledge about the problem you are solving.
Information about your problem can often decrease that uncertain anxiety and fear we face when we are challenged with something. Knowledge wisps away the clouds of fear around a problem. And we often find that the problem might not be as bad as we thought.

Lean Tip #680 - Focus on what you can change – the future.
Discussion about what happened in the past and providing examples may be necessary for understanding, but it is not to convince the other person about your rightness or to defend yourself. Hindsight is useful in reflection and learning but not solving the problem.  Focus on what you can change in the future to prevent the problem.

Lean Tip #681 - Ask For Employee Input.
Eliciting experienced viewpoints from various levels within your organization helps you plan effectively. For example, practical consequences that are immediately apparent to employees on the ground might not occur to management.

Lean Tip #682 - Delegate Responsibilities So Employees Are Empowered.
Distributing power gives everyone a stake in the success of a change initiative. Otherwise, employees might feel plowed under and helpless, which could lower worker morale and jeopardize the initiative.

Lean Tip #683 - Acknowledge Your Staff On Their Achievements.
A pat on the back, some words of praise, and giving a note of credit to the employee / staff member at personal level with some form of broad publicity can motivate the staff a lot. Make it a point to mention the staff’s outstanding achievements in official newsletters or organization’s journal. Not only acknowledge the employee with highest contribution, but also acknowledge the employee who meets and over exceeds the targets.

Lean Tip #684 - Give The Employees Learning Opportunities.
Employees should consistently learn new skills on the job. It has been well said by someone that with people hopping jobs more often than required and organizations no longer giving job security to employees, the young blood employees specifically realize that continuing learning is the best way to remain employable. Opportunities should be given to the employees to develop their skills and competencies and to make best use of their skills. Link the staff goals with the organizational goals.

Lean Tip #685 - Set An Example For Your Employees.
Be a role model for your staff. The staff would learn from what you do and not from what you say / claim. The way you interact with your customers and how do you react later after the interaction is over have an impact upon the staff. Employees more closely observe your non-verbal communication (gestures, body language). Being unpunctual, wasting the organization’s capital, mismanaging organization’s physical equipments, asking the staff to do your personal work, etc. all have a negative impact on the staff. Try setting an example for your staff to follow.

Lean Tip #686 - People change for something better rather than to avoid something worse
Threats are fine for determining behavior, but they just don't create real change. Here are two approaches that don't work: "You had better do this, or it's your job." "If we can't figure out how to do this, we'll be out of business." Instead, realize that lasting change comes from within — from the heart, from the spirit. To create lasting organizational change, you must develop a vision of a better work life — a vision that people can really believe in.

Lean Tip #687 - Processes are really just ideas
Most change efforts require changes to organizational processes, and we have some great tools for representing processes. The tools are too good, though — we sometimes forget that processes have no physical manifestation. Processes are just ideas, and ideas exist only in our minds. So if a process is to change, what is in people's minds must change — their ideas about the processes, and how they, as people, relate to the processes and to each other.

Lean Tip #688 - Change your change process
If you get better at making changes in your organization, and if you keep at it, your organization will soon be a top performer. Why? So few organizations succeed at making lasting change, that it doesn't really take much to become a top performer. It looks like it takes a lot, because lasting change is so hard to do. To make change easier to do, invest first in getting better at changing things.

Lean Tip #689 – Space your changes to avoid collisions
If your organization is just beginning to move out of the Chaos of one change effort, and you zap it with a new Foreign Element from another change effort, you'll slow progress on the first change effort. Space things out to give the organization time to integrate and Practice previous changes.

Lean Tip #690 - Expect change to take longer than you expect
Recognize that in your own mind, you've already made the change. You've thought it through, and you know where you want things to go. But nobody else has — well, hardly anybody. Getting everyone to move to where they will want to go will take time. And we always underestimate how long it takes. Always.

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