Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #48

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 #706 – Recognizing the Commitment of People Can Support Lean Adoption
You need to start creating new stories in your organization to replace the old ones. One of the best ways of achieving this is to recognize the commitment of people who have really bought into the concept of Lean. That mean identifying people who have done things that support the adoption of Lean and then telling others what they did.

Lean Tip #707 – The Power of ‘Thank You’ and ‘Well Done’
It is impossible to underestimate the power of the phrases ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ when said with conviction to someone who deserves it. It recognizes that the individual has contributed something of value and also helps to motivate them for further participation.

Lean Tip #708 – Create a Continuous Process Flow to Bring Problems to the Surface.
The idea of flow is to reduce the time that any piece of work, person, or project  spends travelling between stages in the process, or waiting for the next stage in the process to start. The ultimate aim is to reduce this wait time and travel distance to zero.

Lean Tip #709 – Use Visual Controls So No Problems are Hidden
As human beings we react well to visual signals. The aim of this principle is to make the performance of teams visible so that people can see what is going on. This will enable them to see how the changes they make impact the team’s performance.

Lean Tip #710 – Become a Learning Organization Through Relentless Reflection and Continuous Improvement
Nothing is perfect and everything can be improved. We must continuously review how and what we do in order to find better ways of doing it. This means accepting the occasional mistake and having the courage to admit it, along with the strength of mind to find a better way of doing things in the future.

Lean Tip #711 - Find the Middle Ground Between Fear and Comfort
Fear is going to cause a lot of stress and it may even lead to dissent among employees. On the other hand, comfort can lead to decrease in production. Lean leaders must learn to eliminate these two scenarios or at least find the middle ground between them.

Lean Tip #712 – Lean Leaders Must Both Lead and Teach Employees
Many leaders forget the teaching aspect of the role. To become an effective leader, one needs to be able to teach. This is especially necessary when there change is implemented and when there are new techniques and business strategies to be learned. Leaders should not just be experts, instead they should be a resource where employees can go to for assistance.

Lean Tip #713 – Lean Leaders Meet Face-to-Face With Employees Regularly.
Face-to-face communication continues to be the most effective. It allows people to hear you talk. It should also give them an opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification and share opinions with you. In other words, to ensure your face-to-face communication is effective, make it two-way.

Lean Tip #714 – Lean Leaders Encourage People to Make Contributions
Let the members of your team know that you welcome their ideas and expect it. Leaders who encourage involvement from the group find this leads to greater commitment, more creative problem-solving and improved productivity.

Lean Tip #715 – Lean Leaders Build on Employees Strengths.
Everyone focuses on improving weaknesses. However, you can find success by paying particular attention to areas of strength. This builds confidence in your team members and recognizes their contribution. You’ll find this rewarding for you and your team members.

Lean Tip #716 - Choose Where to Focus Your Improvement Efforts.
Leaders are critical in setting an agenda for change. Identify the processes you believe are high priority for improvement. Solicit input from staff and customers to identify processes that are in need of attention and to assess where there is the greatest potential for improvements. The processes selected as targets for improvement efforts should be strategic priorities and/or those for which you feel a “sense of urgency” for improving.

Lean Tip #717 – Leadership Must Articulate a Vision and Goals Describing What They Believe an Excellent Process Should Accomplish.
Provide a clear charge to all layers of management and process improvement team members to work towards this vision, making sure that everyone understands the vision. Work with Lean leaders to set specific goals and a manageable scope for each Lean event. Focus on defining the attributes needed for success and empower the team to develop efficient and effective approaches to accomplish them.

Lean Tip #718 – Leaders Need to Actively Participate in Process Improvement Events.
The involvement and passionate commitment of leaders and senior managers is the most important factor in the long-term success of process improvement efforts. Attend process improvement events in their entirety, and invite additional senior leaders to the report-out presentations. Encourage staff to elevate issues that need resolution, and address those issues promptly. Ensure that all participants in Lean events, including delegates of senior managers, are empowered to make decisions and commitments during the events.

Lean Tip #719 – Management Should Provide Visible Support for Process Improvement Efforts.
Make it clear to people in your organization that you strongly support process improvement efforts, both verbally and through your actions. Following an improvement event, lead by example and implement the new process yourself. Actively participate in follow-up meetings after the event, such as 30-, 60-, and 90-day follow-up meetings, recognizing the team’s progress and reinforcing the importance of continued implementation. Communicate in writing and in meetings why it is important that everyone in the organization commits to supporting and using the new process.

Lean Tip #720 - Clear Obstacles to Successful Implementation.
As new issues and challenges emerge, it is easy to lose focus on the performance and improvement of existing processes. Create time to discuss performance of work processes targeted by improvement efforts (and not just the issue or crisis of the day). Routinely walk around the office/factory to check in with employees at their work stations and ask specific questions about how the process is working, what support is needed, and what challenges are being experienced. Work to remove barriers. Where barriers cannot be removed, work with managers to calibrate goals and strategies to optimize results.

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