Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daily Lean Tips Edition #70 (1051-1065)

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 #1051 - Ask More Questions
When an employee comes to you and has an issue with the current status quo, take this opportunity to get curious with them and ask questions about why it’s not working, and what they would do to fix it. Maybe a major overhaul isn’t even in order, and it’s a simple adjustment that can make everyone more engaged. These one-on-one opportunities with your team are great ways to, little by little, shift away from the current state of affairs towards something more meaningful.

Lean Tip #1052 - Be Ready to Help the Change
Don’t waste everyone’s energy getting feedback if you’re not going to do anything with the information. There is no quicker way to lower your emotional capital as a leader than to ask for new ideas and then ignore the input. Not only are you setting a false expectation, it might send the message that their ideas aren’t good enough. Both are outcomes that are much worse than sticking with whatever current policy you have now.

Lean Tip #1053 - Ask Productive Questions.
Ask yourself questions that will make a positive difference, such as, “How can I help facilitate the transition?” or “How will I need to adjust my daily schedule to accommodate this new process?” Avoid asking “whys,” and instead learn to move forward by asking questions that will help you become comfortable with the changes.

Lean Tip #1054 - Take Control of Change.
Change is stressful because it threatens a person’s sense of control. Don’t allow a powerless feeling to overwhelm you; face new challenges head-on. Focus on how you can make it work for you. You will feel empowered by your renewed sense of control when you stop allowing change to overcome you, and instead overcome change through hard work and steady determination.

Lean Tip #1055 - Don’t Get Too Comfortable.
While it's important to familiarize and adjust to change, it's fruitless to get so comfortable that you believe things will not change again. Adjust, but do so with the knowledge that nothing lasts forever, and this too may give way to more change in the future.

Lean Tip #1056 - Lay the Foundation Before You Begin Construction. 
In my experience, the most successful teams invest time in laying the foundation to create a common framework for everyone. The building blocks are in the team infrastructure and team dynamics. You may get started by addressing the following: What is the purpose of the team; their function in relation to the business goals; the actual team goal?

Lean Tip #1057 - Push Teamwork Proactivity.
Don't wait until there is conflict to establish a team charter. A charter, generated by team members, should specify guidelines and behavioral boundaries. This will set expectations and clarify what is acceptable and intolerant behavior. Make it clear that the charter can always be amended. Be sure everyone has a copy. Review it on a regular basis and go through it carefully with a new team member.

Lean Tip #1058 - Take Time Out to Have Some Fun With Your Team.
Encourage team activities like potluck lunches or quarterly celebrations. Have a team meeting outdoors if possible. Plan activities that are not connected to work performance. Go off-site for a day and engage in team-building exercises and discussions to build a stronger team.

Lean Tip #1059 - Create a Culture that Values Engagement
Your culture is the unique personality of your company: core values, ethics, the rules that guide behavior. Communicating a clear vision of the future is crucial. Engaged employees require a work culture that is fundamentally stimulating, a return on the investment they are making in your company, and leadership from people they can respect. These three elements will ensure that your employees remain engaged and productive throughout the course of their employment at your company.

Lean Tip #1060 - Reward and Recognize Teamwork
While individual achievements are great, collaborative ideas and practices are what create a team-building culture. Encourage team members to work together to come up with the very best ideas, and reward them when they do.

Lean Tip #1061 - Identify And Fix The Right Root Causes.
Complicated problems have multiple root causes, probably more than you can fix in a reasonable amount of time. Don’t waste time or money on causes that are either insignificant in impact or only peripheral causes of the problem you’re trying to fix.

Lean Tip #1062 - Choose Solutions That Are Effective—And Implement The Solution Completely.
Identifying the right root causes is necessary, but unless you then implement a solution, you still have a problem. Double-check to be sure your solution plan really will eliminate the causes you’ve identified, and then execute the plan. It’s easy to get distracted by other projects once you get to the implementation phase and never finish.

Lean Tip #1063 - Reward Prevention As Well.
Although it’s generally understood that it costs more to deal with crises than to prevent them, many companies do not recognize and reward those who push past the symptoms to the root causes, preventing future occurrences. If you want to focus on prevention, be sure to reward those who do it successfully.

Lean Tip #1064 - Focus On What You Can Change – The Future.
Discussion about what happened in the past and providing examples may be necessary for understanding, but it is not to blame the person. Focus on what you can change and how you can work more productively in the future.

Lean Tip #1065 - Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Although it can be tempting to do so, it’s important not to jump to conclusions when faced with an unexpected problem. No matter how confident you might feel, ensure that you have hard facts and evidence to support your assumptions before taking any action.

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