Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #75 (1126-1140)

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 #1126 – Redefine Failure To Find a Solution.
This is important both to handle fear of failure and to get you started trying different solutions without too much hesitation. The definition of failure we are brought up with in society might not be the best and most useful to have. If you look at the most successful people you quickly notice that they have a different response to failure than the more common one. They don´t take failure or rejection that seriously. They know it´s not the end of the world if they fail. Instead they look at each failure and see the good part about: what they can learn from it and improve next time. They have an abundance-mentality. They learn from failure and then they try again. Redefine failure as feedback and as a natural part of a successful life.

Lean Tip #1127 - Keep Your Motivation Up.
It´s easy to be discouraged, especially if you fear failure and your first and second solution to a problem didn´t work. You might feel like just giving up. Then it´s time to give yourself a boost of motivation. Changing your mental state to a brighter, more positive and more motivated one can make all the difference in the world. It will keep you going. Even though you might just a few minutes earlier felt like all hope was gone.

Lean Tip #1128 - Use Parkinson’s Law When Solving Problems.
This law says that a task will expand in time and seeming complexity depending on the time you set aside for it. For instance, if you say to yourself that you´ll come up with a solution within a week then the problem will seem to grow more difficult and you´ll spend more and more time trying to come up with a solution. Combine this law with the 80/20 rule to find solutions quickly. Focus your time on finding solutions. Then just give yourself an hour (instead of the whole day) or the day (instead of the whole week) to solve the problem. This will force your mind to focus on solutions and action.

Lean Tip #1129 - Create Fewer Problems.
A lot of our problems are created by ourselves. You save yourself a lot of trouble by being proactive, thinking before you speak and trying to avoid creating or complicating problems more than necessary.

Lean Tip #1130 - Find the Lesson or Opportunity Within the Problem.
There is almost always a good side of a problem. Perhaps it alerts us to a great way to improve our business. Or teaches us how our lives perhaps aren’t as bad as we thought. Finding this more positive part of the problem reduces its negative emotional impact and you may even start to see the situation as a great opportunity for you. When you are faced with a problem ask yourself: How can I use this? What is the good thing about this? What can I learn from this? What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

Lean Tip #1131 - Management Needs to Listen and React to Employee Feedback
When it comes to leadership skills, employees need to know they’re being heard and respected. Management should work hard to solicit employee feedback and work on the common problems and issues which arise. Employees who see their issues addressed will feel empowered to continue making suggestions. Soon these employees will become leaders in the workplace because they know the organization values their contributions.

Lean Tip #1132 - Empower Employees 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 #1133 – Empower Employees With Clarity and Trust
If management truly wants to empower employees to be leaders, they have to deploy two (often scarce) resources: clarity and trust. Clarity ensures that the employee’s well-intentioned efforts are aligned with management’s goals. Trust is the fuel on which new leaders run. Clarity without trust produces inaction. Trust without clarity produces wasted effort.

Lean Tip #1134 - Give Employees the Authority to Fail
If an employee is not worried that failure will lead to firing, they will take risks. Risk takers, by definition, gain followers — when successful — and having followers is the definition of a leader.

Lean Tip #1135 - 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 #1136 - Implement Structure and Processes
When the team achieves success in a specific area, attempt to implement a structure or process that repeats that success over and over. Creating and adhering to checklists or standard operating procedures (SOPs) will increase the efficiency and success of the team.

Lean Tip #1137 - Recognize and Acknowledge Team Member’s Efforts and Successes
Acknowledge employees when they achieve a success or positively impact the team in an extraordinary way. Recognizing other’s effort gives team members a sense of accomplishment and inspires other employees to go above and beyond their assigned responsibilities. It can be as simple publicly highlighting their accomplishment in a team meeting, presenting a certificate, or offering vacation time. Recognizing employee’s efforts should make the team feel valued and inspire them to work even harder.

Lean Tip #1138 - Promote Open Communication
Gone are the days of the top-down communication structure within companies. The one-way communication, from management down to employees, prevents an opportunity to hear valuable feedback from people who are actually on the front lines. Regularly engage in open dialogue with your team, so they can feel comfortable sharing their ideas, feelings, observations or concerns. This will allow employees to have a greater sense of investment in and commitment to the company.

Lean Tip #1139 - Encourage Safe Failure
It is natural to have a fear of failure. By human nature, most people prefer to avoid risks, especially in the workplace. However, a fear to fail in the office can stunt employees’ growth and inhibit the company from exploring creative, new ideas and strategies. Create opportunities where employees can experiment with new ideas that doesn’t expose the company to any risk, but allows them to learn from their failures and success. This will allow the team to feel comfortable thinking outside of the box.

Lean Tip #1140 – Promote Open Communication

Gone are the days of the top-down communication structure within companies. The one-way communication, from management down to employees, prevents an opportunity to hear valuable feedback from people who are actually on the front lines. Regularly engage in open dialogue with your team, so they can feel comfortable sharing their ideas, feelings, observations or concerns. This will allow employees to have a greater sense of investment in and commitment to the company.

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