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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #57 (841-855)

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 #841 – Ensure a Penalty-Free Exchange of Ideas
Ensuring a penalty-free exchange of ideas is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver of new ideas and approaches and will ensure a safe two way exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Lean Tip #842 – Use A Consistent Approach For Projects
A consistent and structured approach for project identification and execution will provide the organization with the ability to identify, select, and manage continuous improvement projects. It should also provide post-closing process steps to continually refine the improvement project methodology and to act upon the lessons learn from the project effort.

Lean Tip #843 – Measure and Monitor Key Performance Indicators
It is not possible to improve what is not measured. Determine in advance the approach and techniques to be used in measurements. Scorecards can be useful to monitor the key performance indicators of processes that support capability and performance.

Lean Tip #844 – Ensure Regular Communications to Foster Collaborative Interactions
Ensure regular communications to foster collaborative interactions among leaders, stakeholders, and practitioners at all levels.  Where needed, schedule face to face meetings and where not needed, use the communication and collaboration tools and capabilities of the enterprise to keep all members updated and involved.

Lean Tip #845 – Establish Core Values that Comprise The Continuous Improvement Culture
Establish the core values that comprise the continuous improvement culture such as a focus on supporting the customer, teamwork throughout the extended enterprise, receptivity to evolving continuous improvement concepts and tools. These core values will create a sense of belonging and a common vision for all involved.

Lean Tip #846 - Identify an Internal Change Agent and Gain Commitment From Leadership
The successful implementation of a lean manufacturing program requires the engagement of company leadership to ensure lean doesn't become the company's latest “flavor of the month” program. I recommend identifying an internal “change agent” who will have overall responsibility for driving your lean transformation. Change won't come easy, so this person must be respected, have good communication skills and the ability to turn pushback into idea generation.

Lean Tip #847 - Turn Employees Into Problem Solvers and Improvement Specialists
The most important aspect of lean is to involve employees in developing lean processes. Many times companies create a culture in which the employees don't make the decisions, management does. Then when problems occur, employees are unable to diagnose or solve problems without involving a supervisor. lean reverses that by revolving around employees and looking to them as the improvement specialists.

Lean Tip #848 - Share As Much As You Can
Shared information will help to stop silos emerging and can help to manage the ‘collective expectation’. Furthermore, regular communications and clear messaging explains the benefits to the wider team and will be widely welcomed.

Lean Tip #849 - Devolve Responsibility To Those At The Gemba
Those on the shop floor are vital in that they will be able to spot imperfections and inefficiency.  Don’t just involve them in discussion, but make them experts and give them responsibility.

Lean Tip #850 – Instill Confidence In Your Employees To Suggest Improvements
Instill confidence in your employees so they will feel free to suggest improvements. In the firelight, our cave dwellers could assess and improve their procedures. In one set of drawings, the hunters stand in front of the stampeding herd. Where do you think we would be today if people had not felt free to suggest improvements?

Lean Tip #851 - Empower Them to Think Differently
While it’s important to set clear goals and responsibilities, the key to having a successful business and engaged workforce is to empower all your employees to make decisions on their own. Make sure employees are comfortable and confident asking questions, bringing forward new ideas and even taking a different approach that may fail. Out of that failure will come knowledge and longer-term success.

Lean Tip #852 - Create Opportunities for Employees to Shine
While every company is pleased to have natural-born leaders, others may need a bit more prodding. Empower those employees by providing them with a bit more freedom to pursue to their passions. Then give them the opportunity to demonstrate their work to other employees.

Lean Tip #853 - Listen to Learn and Ask Questions to Provide Guidance
Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them. When an employee brings you a problem to solve, ask, "what do you think you should do to solve this problem?" Or, ask, "what action steps do you recommend?" Employees can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process. Eventually, you will feel comfortable telling the employee that he or she need not ask you about similar situations. You trust their judgment.

Lean Tip #854 - Promote Employee Education.
Provide a means for employees to get whatever training is necessary to their optimal performance so that they can truly master their job responsibilities. Also, show that you are invested in their professional success by arranging for them to attend career development seminars and courses. Not only does this provide for employee empowerment, but it is a great way to gain employee loyalty and improve employee performance.

Lean Tip #855 - Really Listen to What Your Employees are Telling You.
It is hard to know what your employees want and need if you do not truly hear and understand what they are saying. Set aside a designated time to meet one-on-one with each employee at least once a month. During your meeting, actively take notes on what your employee is saying and asking. Your notes will help you to listen more effectively.

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