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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #56

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 #826 - Connect Business Objectives And Individual Metrics
Performance metrics should have one goal – to help an organization contribute to overall company success. But too often at the working level, metrics are random and disconnected from strategic imperatives.

Lean Tip #827 - Implement Discipline And A Meaningful Quality Program
Develop a quality program that promotes organizational and individual accountability to drive improvements. Reliable metrics will take out the guesswork and allow for management based on facts – not assumptions. Use the program to establish reward systems and corrective actions to proactively address issues, fine tune training and ensure that the customer remains number one.

Lean Tip #828 – Make Metrics More Actionable
Metrics at the lowest layer of an initiative or organization have the highest actionability. A focus on the most actionable metrics is essential for ‘moving the needle’ of big-picture metrics.

Lean Tip #829 – Too Many Metrics Leads To Too Little Action
It may seem a little obvious, but a large number of companies go to the trouble of designing metrics and buying expensive tools, and then do not actually do very much with the results. Usually it is because too many metrics have been set. So keep it manageable – it is better to have five meaningful metrics that the organization will use than 50 that it won’t.

Lean Tip #830 - Do Not Forget The “Continual” Part Of Improvement
When implementing metrics, don’t forget that the organization will need to revise its metrics from time to time. The process is needed because businesses evolve and changes will surface as time goes by. Make sure the metrics still measure what they intended to measure. After all, if the metrics are out of date, then what is the purpose of retaining them?

The aim of a setting metrics is to improve the business, so set targets that challenge the company. It will provide more value than focusing on something that is easily achievable or is already being achieved and remember, what you can’t measure, you can’t control.

Lean Tip #831 - Point Employees in the Right Direction.
Help your employees understand how their roles play into the company’s ability to succeed. Remind workers that—like members of a football team, for example—each player must focus on doing their best on the on activities within their reach that effectively push the ball closer to the end zone. Again, ensure that workers know where to focus so that they are always contributing effectively on corporate strategies.

Lean Tip # 832 - Don’t Forget to Course-Correct.
Everyone can relate to times when coworkers were heads down on a project that had no real purpose. But in rough economic times, no organization can afford to squander resources on busywork. Every effort expended by your workforce should be purposeful and tied to corporate goals. Prioritize only those activities that are strategically pertinent, and ensure that non-strategic activities don’t creep into the picture. If employees do become sidetracked, refer to cascading goals to pinpoint the problem, and refocus efforts toward tasks that are higher in priority.

Lean Tip #833 - Keep Goals on Track.
No strategy is set in stone, which makes the goal setting process a dynamic endeavor. Consider yourself a coach on the sidelines, continuously referring to playbooks and constantly re-evaluating strategies and players or making adjustments at halftime. Set goals, and execute on them—but be sure to evaluate those goals year-round, not solely during performance reviews. The more you monitor individual objectives, the greater the likelihood that they will be on target and fulfilled.

Lean Tip #834 - Focus Action-Planning on Daily Activities.
Increasingly heard at major corporations is the need to "just show them what to do". Remember that simplicity can quickly alleviate confusion surrounding what employees are now expected to do. There are powerful best practices already in place inside the company—sharing them broadly in employees' own words will go far.

Lean Tip #835 - Communicate Clearly and Collaborate on Goals and Objectives
In too many cases, goals and objectives are finalized by executives without speaking to anyone working in the trenches.  Opening the lines of communication between the c-suite and the ground floor will help to highlight issues and concerns.  It will also give employees a better understanding of the company’s overall strategy and how they fit in.

Lean Tip #836 – The First Step To Improvement Is To Recognize The Problem
Continuous Improvement is the ongoing effort of engaged employees and improvement teams to improve information, materials, products, services or processes.
The first step in establishing a continuous improvement mind set is to recognize the problem. That is, recognize the fact that your organization does not have or could do quite better exhibiting a continuous improvement mind set.

Lean Tip #837 – Establish An Enduring Culture
Adaptability and an action oriented leadership team are inherent components of a continuous improvement culture. Resistance to change exists in all organizations to a degree and it must be recognized for what it is, an impediment to improvement.

Lean Tip #838 – Think Kaizen and Cross the Chasm
Many people advocate Kaizen oriented thinking and behavior where continual small, incremental improvements provide tremendous benefits in performance and end results achieved over time. Others advocate a Crossing the Chasm mind set where drastic change is introduced completely replacing inefficient execution rather than slightly improving upon it. In a continuous improvement culture, there is room for both approaches.

Lean Tip #839 – Facilitate Process-Centric Thinking
Process-centric thinking does not have to be overly complex. Sometimes, all it takes is a thoughtful examination to uncover significant areas for improvement. Rather than tolerating mistakes and repeat errors, facilitate process-centric thinking to continually improve, correct, and overcome execution difficulties.

Lean Tip #840 - Educate The Workplace
Expect and overcome resistance to change with ongoing training, reinforcement of expected behaviors, and recognition of those who are learning and doing.

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