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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Daily Lean Tips Edition #61 (901-915)

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 #901 - 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 #902 - Establish and Communicate a Clear Message on Lean
Have a plan to communicate the value of lean throughout your organization. It should not only address the benefits of lean to the company and customers, but also how lean can improve the work life of your employees. A clear vision needs to be repeated regularly to show the company's commitment to lean. We highly recommend that company leaders make lean a part of their everyday pulse checks.

Lean Tip #903 - Measure, Audit, Review and Continue to Improve Processes
A common saying with our lean program is, “If you can't measure, you can't improve.” Without a baseline, you will not be able to show improvements, so you must measure virtually every process.

Use audits to not only sustain the improvements from Kaizen, but also expose new problems and resolve them with your employees' involvement and input.

Create a culture that continually looks to improve processes — even ones that aren't broken.

Lean Tip #904 - Empower The People Operating the Process.
The best person to improve a process is the person who carries out the process. Utilize employee’s full skill sets—can someone be doing more? If the process is improved, they will likely have time to take on higher level work.

Lean Tip #905 - Go on Lean Factory Tours
A great way to learn is to see other people’s lean operations in person. Many manufacturers are proud of their efforts and often very open to sharing what they have learned in the form of factory tours. Second best to going in person you can find some good virtual tours. This website also offers links to 300 factory tour videos: www.superfactory.com/content/tours.html

Lean Tip #906 – Encourage Employees by Sharing Information and Numbers
Let them in on what is going on within the company as well as how their jobs contribute to the big picture. When you keep you employees informed they tend to feel a greater sense of worth. Keep communication hopeful and truthful – do not be afraid to share bad news, instead be more strategic about how you deliver it. Improve performance through transparency – By sharing numbers with employees, you can increase employees’ sense of ownership.

Lean Tip #907 – Encourage Employees to Collaborate and Share on Problem Solving
When employees get the idea that their manager or leader is the one who has to solve all the problems, it takes away from their sense of empowerment, and ultimately is likely to decrease engagement over time. Encourage team members to take responsibility, and work through problems or issues on their own, or collaboratively. It’s not the manager’s job to fix everyone else’s problems.

Lean Tip #908 - Empower Each Individual On Your Team.
Every single individual contributes to the bottom line. Empowering them to excel in their role, no matter how large or small, creates a sense of ownership that will lead to meeting and exceeding expectations.

Lean Tip #909 – Encourage Employees By Supporting New Ideas.
When employees come to you with an idea or a solution to a problem they believe is for the betterment of the company, it’s a sign that they care. Supporting new ideas and giving an individual the chance to ‘run with it’ is motivating, whether or not it works out in the end.

Lean Tip #910 – Encourage Employees by With The Right Tools and Skills for the Job
Regardless of whether you are operating during a credit crunch or not – 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. 

Lean Tip #911 - Training is Always Good, It Keeps People Up to Date 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 #912 – Encourage Employees By Acting on Great Ideas
An idea box is useless if nothing ever happens. If an employee's tip leads to a change, publicize the change. Recognize the employee and show the whole company the benefit of her idea. People respect leaders who have the humility to give a subordinate credit for a job well done. When the team sees that its ideas matter, that encourages members to become serious about sharing their tips.

Lean Tip #913 - Establish a Positive Culture.
Establish an organizational culture that encourages the employees to take acceptable risks in pursuing creative ventures and innovative projects. Whatever the outcome – be it positive or negative – let all their decisions serve as learning opportunities for everyone in the company.

Lean Tip #914 - Encourage Teamwork to Achieve Company Goals.
A lot of businesspersons used to make different departments compete with each other in order to make them perform at their best. Instead of making different teams compete, try to encourage them to work together in order to achieve your company’s goals. Conduct meetings that have representatives from all departments and allow them to share knowledge and information with each other.

Lean Tip #915 - Help Employees Succeed to Motivate Others

People go to work to succeed, not fail.  It is your job to understand your employee’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can put them in the best position to succeed.  If, for example, you find out that an employee is lacking in a certain skill set to succeed during a change then provide the coaching and training to make them and your organization successful.  The best managers minimize or eliminate their employees weaknesses and while building on their strengths.  Remove any and all barriers to success.

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