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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #78 (1171 - 1185)

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 #1171 - Take Your Time When Doing a VSM
There is a lot to think about when undertaking value stream mapping for the first time so be sure not to rush – create a check list of items that should be included in the map and cross them off as you go along – check out Value stream mapping guide for more information on how to run a VSM program.

Lean Tip #1172 - Don’t be Shy – Visit the Workplace When Mapping
A key element of Value stream mapping is accuracy – an incorrect VSM can lead to wrong conclusions being drawn and can waste valuable time of improvement teams. Spend time at the workplace to ensure that what you map is accurate.

Lean Tip #1173 – Validate Your Map
When you think you’ve got your map complete – validate it with your stakeholders – ensure its representative of what actually happens – use this to iron out any problems with the map. Don’t take this stage for granted – get it wrong and you can find your improvement suggestions shot down in flames as stakeholders rubbish your map!

Lean Tip #1174 - Ask Lots of Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask! – To document the process ensure the team asks stakeholders what happens, why it happens, what are the inputs – what are the results – remember – a value stream mapping program is a data and information gathering exercise.

Lean Tip #1175 – Don’t Do the Current State Map and Future State Map at the Same Time.
Don’t be tempted to produce the “current state” and “future state” maps at the same time – we can all see improvements but capture them (perhaps in a list) and go back to producing your “current state” map. Remember that you may not have the whole picture until the “current state” is complete.

Lean Tip #1176 – Making Mistakes is Part of Improvement
Help employees realize that making mistakes is an acceptable part of becoming Lean. The mantra should be: “Let’s try it. The worst that can happen is we’re wrong.” As this approach is sinking in, help employees understand that unstable systems that allow variation cause most mistakes. Employees are doing their best. If something goes wrong, the idea is to determine the root cause and fix that, not criticize the worker. Understand errors more; punish less. Focus on the tools of mistake-proofing, standard work, poka-yoke, and elf-check to prevent mistakes.

Lean Tip #1177 – Perfection is Not an Impossible Target
If people are told that perfection is the goal, but that it is impossible, they will rightly think that management has not quite thought this one through. They will mistrust much of what else is said. Instead, people should be told that perfection is the goal and we simply don’t know enough at the moment to reach it.

Lean Tip #1178 – Encourage Keeping The Goal Always In Sight
Distractions and setbacks are bound to happen. To prevent them from thwarting your efforts, remind employees (and yourself) of the vision on a regular basis. Have employees consistently survey if what they are doing throughout their work day is moving them towards that desired destination, and if not, re-evaluate their efforts to get back on track. Encourage positive steps taken in the right direction and recognize individuals for making them.

Lean Tip #1179 - Leadership is a Service and Not a Destination.
Sometimes people seek a position of leadership for the position itself. They may desire the power or the acclaim that goes with the position. However, a leader that seeks to serve rather than to be served will always be more effective.

Lean Tip #1180 – Leaders Must Empower Excellence
Look around you sometime with this in mind - people are trying their best to do an excellent job at something. That something may or may not be what you "grade performance" on, but nevertheless, people feel better and accomplish more when their leaders take the time to not only notice, but encourage and empower them to be excellent in what they strive toward. Empowering excellence is different than expecting or demanding it because it starts with the ambitions of the led, rather than the leader.

Lean Tip #1181 – Lean Leaders First Envision Success
Leaders know that every problem has an answer; it just needs to be found. Worrying about the problem gets you nowhere, while working towards the answer will get you everywhere. Leaders control their attitude and focus on results.

Lean Tip #1182 – Lean Leaders Get the Facts
Leaders collect all the facts about the problem because they know that some problems are not as big as they seem. Fact-finding is an analytical, rather than an emotional task, so it is useful in other ways, too. When a follower comes to a leader with a problem, a good leader will start asking questions and gather the facts, rather than engage in an emotional discussion.  Fact-finding is a process and you may have to dig deep to get to the real problem. Leaders are great at asking the right fact-finding questions. They’re also adept at listening to the answers and “hearing” any sub-text that could illuminate the situation.

Lean Tip #1183 – Lean Leaders Follow Through
Effective leaders don’t just implement the solution and turn away. They follow through with making sure necessary team members are also doing their part (if required). And they ask everyone involved how they think the “solution” is working out now that it’s actually being used.

Lean Tip #1184 – Lean Leaders Don’t Just Know How to Solve Problems; They Know How to Find Them
Great leaders can detect smoke, rather than simply trying to fight raging fires. That’s the type of leader you should groom your employees to be. And it’s critical they have a good rapport with their team to encourage them to share bad news, red flags, or concerns with them quickly!

Lean Tip #1185 – Lean Leaders Continually Self-Evaluate
Leaders pick a solution and implement it. They may start with a quick-fix solution and follow up with a more long-lasting fix, but they decide what needs to be done…and they do it. Leaders constantly assess whether the process is going well, if the solutions being discussed make sense, and if they are doing everything they can to solve the issue.

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