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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #50

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 #736 - Times of Great Difficulty Are Times of Great Opportunity. 
These times may not seem ideal at first, but they usually provide keen insight into ideas of great value.  When you are surrounded by problems, you are simultaneously given an opportunity to provide valuable solutions. When times are good and everything is comfortably in order, it’s easy to become complacent and forget how skillful and resourceful you are capable of being.  Troubled times are necessary evils that push you forward, because they eventually end, and the lessons and strengths you gain from them last a lifetime.

Lean Tip #737 - Involve Employees in Decisions That Affect Their Jobs.
Provide them with opportunities to share what they need in order to be successful at their jobs. Whenever possible, include a representative staff member in major planning projects or initiatives. Encourage employees to share and discuss ideas for improvement.

Lean Tip #738 – Use the Right Tools and Skills for the Job
Regardless of your operation – staff motivation is influenced by the following factors: having the right person in the job who is capable of doing it; equipping them to do the job by giving them the right tools and support and finally setting realistic targets that they believe can be achieved.  This shows the staff that we are responding to the challenges of the marketplace and supporting them in every way we can.

Lean Tip #739 - Training is Always Good, It Keeps People Current and Focused On The Job.
Regular, effective and relevant training is massively important and a great motivator. If you want them to perform properly and consistently then you have to give them the tools to do so. Training is always good, it keeps people up to date and focused on the job at hand, it keeps their skills at the forefront and it will show them that management are obviously concerned with how well they do their job, etc. If they are given good quality training that covers the topics and issues they are faced with then they will respond and to a certain extent motivate themselves to stick with what they learn.

Lean Tip #740 - Provide Challenge and Variety in the Workplace
It is important for employees to be challenged or learning new things in their job.  Too often managers don’t allow their employees to expand beyond their areas of expertise.  Managers are fearful that they will need to expend too much energy on training or reviewing work, that there will be too many mistakes, or that the employees don’t want to have to learn more.  Job sharing, job rotations, special projects, strategic offsites, or even including employees in on key decisions can have a significant and positive impact on long term motivation.

Lean Tip #741 - Change Your Mindset About The Cost of Training.
If you think of training as a business expense, that's what it becomes. However, if you think of training as an investment, that's what it becomes. What would you rather do, pay bills or invest in your team? By thinking of training as an investment, you will also expect a return. This focus guides you in everything from selecting the right training to evaluating its results.

Lean Tip #742 - Engage in Ongoing Employee Skill Development
Managerial training responsibilities extend far beyond simply going over work procedures and sending employees to classes when they need to master a new skill. Effective workforce training is an ongoing process that requires supervisors to engage in ongoing skill development with their employees. Managers must engage in informal training needs assessment on an ongoing basis, paying attention to employees' strengths and weaknesses and identifying gaps that can be overcome through training opportunities.

Lean Tip #743 - Convey "What's in It" for the Trainees
In order for employee training to be successful, trainees must know up front how any educational activity they are asked to participate in is relevant to them. When a training program is announced, be sure to specify what employees are likely to get from participating and reinforce that message with consistency throughout the training. Skilled trainers know that helping employees see "what is in it for them" is essential to success.

Lean Tip #744 – Create a Positive Learning Environment To Encourage Development
Creating a positive learning environment will encourage development and help your employees gain confidence in their new position. Trainers should be relaxed and clearly explain the reasoning behind every new exercise and lesson.
Negativity will only inhibit the learning process, so it's important to be patient, allow for mistakes, and always reward new achievements. This positive feedback will reinforce and affirm the efforts of your new recruits, and encourage them to continue learning.

Lean Tip #745 – It’s Critical to Promote Continuous Learning Throughout Employee’s Career
Proper training should not be reserved for new employees. In order to maintain a staff of trained and well-integrated employees, it's critical to promote continuous learning throughout their careers. There are always new things for employees to learn and the rate of change in the business world demands new skills, fresh perspectives and new ideas. Training should be utilized to ensure that your employees are continually learning and improving.

Lean Tip #746 – Lean Managers Share Their Vision With Employees
Few things cause employees to tune out faster than a management team that keeps the company's future direction to itself. Successful Lean leaders see the larger picture and will share the vision.

Lean Tip #747 – Lean Managers Foster Team-Building
Fostering a connected team is an important practice, but before implementing group events and activities, be sure members of your team won't feel left out. Getting to know your team members is generally an effective way to build collaboration and a sense of joint purpose.

Lean Tip #748 – Lean Managers Provide Training To Their Employees
According to a 2011 report from Accenture, 55% of workers in the U.S. say they are under pressure to develop new skills, but only 21% say their companies have provided training to learn those new skills within the last five years. Training is a lever that changes the rate of improvement you can achieve.

Lean Tip #749 – Lean Managers Follow-Through On Employee Ideas
Most employees like to feel their work has meaning. If they don't get this kind of satisfaction, they lose motivation, according to a number of research studies. One sure way to demean an employee's work is to move them off a project before it's completed. Lean leaders must follow-up on employee ideas.

Lean Tip #750 – Lean Managers Eliminate Fear In The Workplace

Managers who rule through rigid control, negativity, and a climate of anxiety and fear don’t trust that they can get things done any other way. Of course, it backfires in the end because fearful employees won’t bring up new ideas for fear of being attacked and won’t be honest about problems. Moreover, very few great people with options are going to want to work for a fear-based manager.

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