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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #49

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 #721 - Reduce information overload to get our message across
Employees can feel deluged by information and it can be a major source of workplace stress for them. In addition, an overload of information means staff may be unable to effectively identify and assimilate important information due to excessive background 'noise'. As new forms of communication have grown, internally communicated messages have to compete with more and more traffic; if there is no appeal, internal communications will simply not be read.

Lean Tip #722 - Find ways to 'listen' and gather feedback 
Listening is an essential part of good communication. Effective communication is not a top-down, one-way exercise, but involves listening and demonstrating an inclination to act in response. 'Listening' can be a real challenge for many leaders. Employee suggestion schemes can encourage ideas but are not always that effective. Other ways to listen include: attending local team meetings, formalized feedback sessions, open forums and of course direct dialogue with employees.

Lean Tip #723 -   Maintain levels of capability and knowledge 
A good knowledge and understanding of products, services and key business processes is essential to developing effective, satisfied staff and delivering good customer service. The next time you roll out a training program, remember, in 30 days people typically forget 80% of what they have learnt if it is not reinforced... Any easy way to reinforce training and measure and raise capability is to use standard work.

Lean Tip #724 - Engage employees by involving them 
Involvement is an important aspect of engagement and commitment to an organization. Find ways to involve employees and allow them to influence some aspects of the business operations. Ensure a process exists for submitting ideas and suggestions, allow employees to solve problems in their own area, as well as contribute to projects and initiatives being run by the wider organization.

Lean Tip #725 - Communicate respectfully to be heard.
Poor communication wastes time, delays decisions, and damages morale. Core values such as respectful communication and integrity cost nothing. Smarter managers empower their employees to work together with respectful communication and leadership approaches that enable them to leverage scarce resources and to do more with less.

Lean Tip #726 - Boost Confidence in Your Team by Focusing on Strengths,
Self-confidence is always a winning quality. Its value is never more evident when welcoming change at the workplace. Focus on individual and team strengths, not weaknesses. There is little that boosts self-confidence more than a sincere “Atta, Boy!” Use individual and team strengths to help staff accept change and implement necessary procedures with a smile, instead of a frown.

Lean Tip #727 – A Good Work-Life Balance Aids in Acceptance to Change.
Most people that have a sense of balance in their lives, between the personal and professional, adapt well to change. It seems that those employees that have other interests, beyond the workplace, deal with change much better than those who are “married” to their jobs. Encourage your staff to have other, meaningful life experiences. Support your employees' getting a real life, hobby, pastime or other interests. Convince them that you understand and encourage a strong work-life balance. Your staff will appreciate your concern and position on this subject. Whether or not they verbalize their need for balance (or even consciously understand that it exists), your staff will appreciate your interest in their total—not just workplace—well-being.

Lean Tip #728 - Show Respect for People’s Natural Creativity.
Employees who are naturally curious tend to embrace change as a new adventure in gaining knowledge, fueling their inherent creativity. Nurturing an employee’s “inner genius” generates and fuels creativity. All staff members have creativity and innovation. Bringing it out can be challenging. Mandating it is impossible. However, publicly displaying your knowledge of and respect for your staff’s individual and collective creativity can make workplace change a highly successful event.

Lean Tip #729 - Take Time to Sharpen Your Collaborative Skills.
There are those who prefer working individually, often alone. Others, however, like collaborating with a team to achieve solutions. These people also often thrive on change. You cannot mandate a collaborative staff. You can, however, influence a team mentality and active sense of collaboration, by showing the value of collaborating to achieve a goal. Design a collaborative environment that rewards employees for helping reach objectives necessary to implement changes.

Lean Tip #730 – People Can Cope With Change Much Easier When You Lighten The Mood.
Inject a sense of humor and levity. People can cope with change much easier when you lighten the mood. You minimize the inevitable stresses and pressures of change, while offering your staff a safe, comfortable “landing spot.” Those who are adaptable, as most creatures become through evolution, deal well with changes. They resist becoming overwhelmed or discouraged. These people simply “go with the flow.” Few techniques exist to better lighten up a dower or stressful situation than some appropriate humor and a spirit of fun.

Lean Tip #731 – Leaders Empower Employees to Move Forward 
Empowering leaders think about how they can help their coworkers move up and grow. They think about ways they can guide people in developing new skills. They delegate important tasks, explain the expectations, and coach them to win. Empowering leaders never blame themselves or others for failure. Rather, they empower people to try new things without being worried about failure, take bigger steps without competing with others, and climb up the ladder in their field without worrying about someone pulling them off the ladder.

By empowering others to do more than they think they can do, you fill the gaps and guarantee success.

Lean Tip #732 – Leaders Encourage Leadership
The ultimate task of an exemplary leader is to develop more exemplary leaders. Therefore, the right plan for employee development aims toward developing future leaders who can influence many in positive ways. Encouraging people to take leadership roles, lead by example, and raise their leadership lid should be on the top of the list of employee development for any organization that wants to reach to the peak of success in the 21st century.

Lean Tip #733 - Effective Leaders Discover People’s Potential and Talents
All people have more energy and ability within them than they could ever imagine. Your job, as a leader, is to discover this truth for the benefit of your organization as well as yourself. When you discover someone’s potential, you can help her develop her potential and become more productive and skillful. There is no service better than helping others to soar to excellence and become better human beings.

Lean Tip #734 - Organizations Suffer Without Development Plans.
Unfortunately, many organizations do not plan properly for the development of their people and teams. People development without proper planning in place normally results in internal and external conflict, which leads to confusion, low productivity, less motivation, and therefore loss in various ways. When the right plan for development is designed based on the employees’ needs, desires, and potential the expected positive outcome will be achieved.

Lean Tip #735 - Challenge Your Employees To Move Out Of Their Comfort Zone.

You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

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