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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #54 (796-810)

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 #796 - Everything is Important But Some Things are More Important than the Others
A cornerstone of Lean Six Sigma is the Pareto-law or 80/20 law. Choosing the right project, focusing the project on the key problems, selecting the main causes of the problem or defining the improvement actions is important. Determine which activities/problems are most important using data, not perceptions.

Lean Tip #797 - Don’t Take on Massive Projects
Massive projects, taking place over long stretches of time, can encourage procrastination – as far-off goals are less motivating – and can be discouraging since your team will feel that they are achieving less. Instead, try to work on smaller and more focused projects, which will be far easier for your team to concentrate on.

Lean Tip #798 - Middle Management is Essential For Motivating Your Team
In order to properly motivate and keep a close eye on your team, Middle Management is essential. Make sure that your project leaders are keeping them in the loop, and they will ensure a smooth and connected working environment.

Lean Tip #799 - Make Sure Your Leaders are Active Teachers

All leaders, and especially senior leaders, have to remain fully engaged. It is their responsibility to ensure that the team successfully improves, through leading process improvement activities. The project and the team will not be successful if leaders delegate their responsibilities to others – this will lead to a lack of strong leadership and possibly failed improvement activities.

Lean Tip #800 - Everyone Can Solve Problems 
Avoid thinking that experts are always needed. Although experts can be essential, on a day to day basis, everyone can use basic six sigma tools and think creatively and practically. Don’t let your team get stuck too often waiting for an expert’s opinion.

Lean Tip #801 - Create Organizing Systems.
Being organized saves tons of time, and you don’t have to be the most ultra-organized person in the world either. Systems aren’t complicated to implement.

Create a filing system for documents. Make sure all items have a place to be stored in your dwelling. Streamline, streamline, streamline.

Lean Tip #802 - Constantly Improve Your Process
Change is good, especially when it translates to getting things done with more efficiency, more expediency, or less cost. Be on the lookout for ways to do things better – it could mean you have an easier time managing your workday.

Lean Tip #803 - Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done.
The pessimist will create all kinds of reasons that something can't be done. The optimistic, forward thinker, on the other hand, knows that "if the why is strong enough, the how will come."

Focus on the outcome. Then, come up with all the ways that the outcome could possibly be accomplished.

Lean Tip #804 - Do not seek perfection. Do it right away even if for only 50% of the target.
If we all waited for perfection, we'd still be reading by candlelight and riding horses to work. Once you get to a certain point (whether it's 50% or 80%, or another number that makes sense), then run with it. In other words, take action. Then, adjust as you go along.

Lean Tip #805 - Kaizen ideas are infinite.
Kaizen is a process of learning and growing, steadily and continually. There are always ways to "tweak" elements of your life in order to improve them. It has been said that life is a journey, not a destination.  And practicing the philosophy of continuous improvement, of kaizen, will help you to make the most of that journey!

Lean Tip #806 - Question Everything. Ask "Why" Five Times.
A brilliantly simple root cause problem-solving tool, asking why five times becomes easier the more you do it. Adopting this as a default way of looking at things will aid, not only your problem solving, but other areas, too.

Lean Tip #807 - Ideas are Infinite. Execution is the Key.
This simple maxim is often overlooked as people get caught up in meetings and so on. You've got to be the change you want to see, not the change you'd like to see. It's the same as not confusing better with best. You want to move to better right away, not take forever working out what "best" looks like.

Lean Tip #808 - Kaizen Starts With Taking a Look at the Actual Place of Work.
Continuous improvement efforts must start with a trip to the gemba. The gemba might often be the factory floor, but people forget about Lean in the office, where half of the work starts out being late! It's easy to see waste on the floor, but it's harder (at first) to see waste in the office or other value streams. Going to the gemba will make it easier.

Lean Tip #809 - Kaizen Requires a Bias for Action.
Get your teams out of the conference room and into the gemba. From there, mandate a fast turnaround time, have them quickly do a value stream map and root cause analysis for their actionable items, and post their successes right away.

Lean Tip #810 - Discard Conventional Fixed Ideas.
Part of problem solving is thinking outside of the box. Encourage people to think this way and not in the same old way that got them into the problem to begin with! Think about how to do it, not why it can't be done. I often hear, "We tried that before and it didn't work." They may have had a good idea, but the chances are that they didn't include the accountability portion. Without accountability, you will not have sustainability.

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