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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daily Lean Tips Edition #72 (1081-1095)

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 #1081 – Raise Your Employee’s Consciousness of the Vision
Consciously try, on every occasion and in every interaction, to raise the level of your employees’ consciousness -- both individually and collectively. Hold up a vision of what they are capable of doing and becoming and what, as a result of their efforts, the company can become. Do it often enough that it becomes a collective vision, not yours alone.

Lean Tip #1082 - Make Sure Employees Can See First Hand the Value of What They are Doing and the Impact it Has.
The CEO of a hotel chain makes it a practice to invite guests who send in strong testimonials to visit again at their expense and meet the housekeeping staff. The manufacturer of a medical equipment company records grateful statements from patients whose lives have been saved by their devices and shares these video presentations at internal company meetings. Use your creativity to come up with your own methodology; be sure that your method demonstrates the very real value and impact of your employees’ contributions.

Lean Tip #1083 - Ask, Ask, Ask!! If You Want To Know What Motivates Your Employees
I bet you have never done this. Ask each employee who reports to you what is one thing you can do to make their life easier. If at all possible, do it. If not, explain why you cannot and ask for another thing. Do this sincerely and see what a transformative effect this one action can have. Repeat in six months.

Lean Tip #1084 - Promote Creativity In Your Workplace.
Procedures have their place in a bureaucracy but they also keep stultify creative impulses. Examine policies that have become entrenched and ask what would happen if you abolished them. Encourage your employees to suggest what should be eliminated and what should be modified. If this is a sincere effort, energy will flow and engagement will rise.

Lean Tip #1085 - Encourage Participation From All Employees.
Few things energize an employee more than by inviting participation, creating a sense that they genuinely have a say in the conditions of a workplace. Democracy is not only a viable form of political organizing; it is also a great way to make companies thrive. If you don’t make it, learn what you have to fix so you succeed the next time around.

Lean Tip #1086 - Support 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 #1087 - Encourage Friendly Competition.
A competitive environment is a productive environment. Encouraging employees to participate in competitions or challenges is healthy and may actually lead to increased camaraderie.

Lean Tip #1088 - Encourage Learning New Skills.
Times are changing. Ensuring that every willing employee has the opportunity to learn a new skill or brush up on an old skill will benefit everyone involved. I’m always open to new ideas and new methods. Anything new is worth exploration and consideration.

Lean Tip #1089 - Welcome New Methods.
Fighting change is harder than embracing change. The digital age is changing life as we know it. Embracing, rather than avoiding, new methods will ensure your business and employees stay ahead of the competition.

Lean Tip #1090 - Cultivate a Positive Work Environment.
There is no place for negativity if success is to be achieved. A positive work environment is the result of positive leaders. Laughter is contagious, so help spread the joy. A lively work environment promises a good time, but balance is just as important to maintain levels of productivity — and the sanity of coworkers.

Lean Tip #1091 - Encourage Working Smarter, Not Harder.
You have the ability to impart invaluable experience on your employees. If you find yourself regularly uttering something along the lines of, “Let’s work harder,” you may need to re-evaluate your strategy. Give your employees an environment with resources, support, and stimulating challenges – all while emphasizing community and purpose along the way.

Lean Tip #1092 – Build Supportive Teams
Build teams within departments, and throughout the entire company, to allow an open discussion of dreams and obstacles. Remove job descriptions that keep people stuck in a box. Reward employees who help others and contribute to the company as a whole. There are many exercises that can help teams to find their strengths and weaknesses. These exercises can remove barriers and blind spots and move the team forward. The ""we versus they"" attitude must be eliminated in order to make the team work. We don't need to like each other. We do need to respect each other's differences. The most successful teams are the ones with diverse members. They bring in different ideas and a variety of strengths.

Lean Tip #1093 – Empower Employees To Feel Liberated.
Managers and employees need time alone, time to think creatively. Intense and important work requires reflection. Companies that are obsessed with productivity usually have little patience for the quiet time essential for profound creativity. An element of fun lifts morale and increases productivity. Have each employee bring in his or her favorite dessert one day, and listen to the laughter begin. Ask them what they need to do in order to improve morale.

Lean Tip #1094 - Help Employees Feel Comfortable With Change.
Learn how to start over and let go of ideas that may have worked in the past, but are no longer effective today. Remind your team that status quo is the kiss of death. We need to constantly look for new ways of doing business. The minute that someone says how good you are is the minute you need to improve. Companies that fail start believing in their own hype! Confront today's challenges while simultaneously probing new opportunities. Eat change for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Lean Tip #1095 – Insist That Employees Always Keep The Customer In Mind.

You have a lot of competition. Make sure your employees know why customers keep signing your contracts. Realize that curiosity will always lead employees down new paths. Ask employees ""How can we exceed our customers' expectations by knowing their needs, emotions and wants?"" Get employees involved with customers. This way employees feel like part of the team. They will be able to get into the customer's shoes and hear what ""keeps them up at night."" They can take the ideas back to the team and figure out how to go the extra mile to help the customer. An employee with a customer focus will naturally be creative and intuitive.

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