Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Daily Lean Tips Edition #65 (976-990)

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 #976 – Identify and Use Employees Strengths. 
Every person has strengths and tapping in to their unique gifts and capabilities will assist them in adding significant value to your organization whilst feeling important.  There are few things more inspiring than getting the opportunity to show how good you are and doing what you love.  Giving people these opportunities also consolidates the fact that they aren’t all faceless cogs in a large machine, but valuable people who have something positive to offer.

Lean Tip #977 – Give Room for People to Grow.
If you expect people to come in and just do their job day after day like worker bees, then you miss out on the unique opportunity to develop and coach them to greater things.  Some managers are afraid of developing their people in case they leave.  Great leaders understand that people will leave at some stage anyway, so why not position them for better things in the knowledge that they will give you great press as an inspirational leader to work for.  People who are continuing to grow and develop and know that there is value in working for you will give a far greater discretionary effort than hamsters on a wheel.

Lean Tip #978 - Remind Employees of Their Importance. 
If people feel faceless, then they will act accordingly.  However, if you can connect their role to the overall success of your business, they are more likely going to perform with pride and deliver great outcomes. It’s important that your team is aware of their impact on the company. Make sure to show how their efforts help contribute to the organization’s objectives.

Lean Tip #979 - Don’t Let Naysayers Slow You Down
Be a problem solver. There is no such thing as impossible.  If someone says “there really isn’t a way to do that”, don’t take it at face value.  There is always a way.  It just means determining the effort or cost involved.

Lean Tip #980 - Don’t Over Engineer Solutions.
KISS - Keep it Simple and Straightforward. The more you complicated the concept, the harder it will be to gain traction.  You can always add bells & whistles later.  Break features into “Must Have” and “Nice to Have” (and don’t make everything a must have!).

Lean Tip #981 - Listen for Ideas and Empower them to Act
Do you get a steady flow of ideas from your team? Are they pro-actively coming up with ideas for doing things better in your area? for your customers? Though this may take time to develop, the way to get this going is two-fold: 1) demonstrate your interest by listening to all ideas and 2) demonstrate your commitment by implementing the best ones. Take steps to turn their ideas into action as often as you can. And empower your team to act. Give them the latitude to do it themselves.

Lean Tip #982 – Smart Team Leaders Listen for Problems
Every organization has its share of problems. And the front line teams encounter many of these problems daily, up close, and directly. A smart front line leader wants to foster open and lively conversations about these problems, conversations that become more structured and focused on finding solutions. The leader gets the team together and listens to their descriptions of the problems that are identifying. They guide them into a problem solving process, teaching the steps and the tools at a pace that they can absorb. This listening strategy coaches the team to develop into effective problem solvers.

Lean Tip #983 - Teach Employees How to Manage Time and Energy Wisely.
Coach employees to fully engage in the task at hand, focus on the important rather than the urgent, avoid distractions, and create balance and renewal in the achievement of the goal. Help them learn to say no to urgent requests or terrific ideas that aren’t aligned with the important work of the team.

Lean Tip #984 - Help Employees Engage Others.
Encourage those you work with to reach out and engage others with similar goals. Remind them that goals can be created independently, but achieving them almost always requires help and support from others.

Lean Tip #985 - Help Employees Break Projects, Goals, and Work Assignments into Small Victories.
Small victories tap into motivation. Achieving is fueled by making small amounts of progress, such as accomplishing a task or solving a problem. Help those that work with you jump into an achievement cycle and experience the benefits and rewards of moving through all five steps.

Lean Tip #986 - Create an organizational habit for communications.
You know you need to communicate about policies; health and safety; benefits; and how a job should be carried out. But remember that you also need to share information about your organization—what our your objectives? How are you performing? What are your plans and prospects? How can employees help?

Lean Tip #987 - Emphasize face-to-face communications.
Although today's employees may be more tech-savvy than ever, nothing beats human interaction. Most employees want to hear news and information from their supervisors. Managers need to be trained in how to communicate, and they need to have the right tools at hand.

Lean Tip #988 - Lead and Coach Employees to Success.
Without employee performance coaching there can be no sustained employee engagement. Coaching is all about helping employees to become more effective in their roles both strategically, culturally and through performance.

Lean Tip #989 - Live Your Organization’s Core Values
Your organization’s core values should be conducive to creating a work environment that enables active employee engagement and provide employees with opportunities to demonstrate the company’s core values through their daily work.

In high performing organizations, employees and leaders regularly refer to and use their core value statements as a real time compass and positive shaper of both formal environment and work life behaviors.

Lean Tip #990 - See Your Employees as People Not as a Number
Feeling valued, confident, inspired, enthused and empowered are the key emotions that lead to employee engagement. These emotions can’t be fostered unless you build strong relationships with your employees and by seeing them as human beings.


Actively engaged employees are fully aware and secure in the knowledge that their managers really know them and care about them as human beings. Employees thrive when managers really understand and connect with them through the lenses of their personal values, goals and passions.


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