Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #80 (1201-1215)

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 #1201 - Don’t Automatically Blame the Tool.
It’s not the hammer’s fault if the person swinging it uses the wrong end. It just won’t work well. Most tools are decent enough, they’re just used incorrectly. Rushing to change a tool because things aren’t working well may be a mistake.

Lean Tip #1202 - Identify Changing Requirements.
Over time your needs will change. You need to stay aware of this, so you can change processes accordingly. Keep a list of your top requirements to help you make better decisions on tools to use.

Lean Tip #1203 - Share More, Not Less.
Even in a small company, silos emerge. A practice of more sharing will help everyone stay in touch with what others are doing, and create a collective expectation. Keeping everyone pointed in the same direction is hard; sharing more about what’s going on, how you’re doing things, reasoning behind decisions, etc. will help.

Lean Tip #1204 - Teach Others What You Learn.
One of the best ways to deepen and solidify your new knowledge is to teach it to others. Give a presentation, run a seminar, teach a class, or volunteer to run a small internal workshop to teach others in your organization what you are learning. Real learning occurs when you share it.

Lean Tip #1205 - Develop Exceptional People And Teams Who Follow Your Company’s Philosophy.
Exceptional people thrive in environments that promote Continuous Improvement; however, organizations that have a powerful culture of CI are not those that demand that employees practice CI. Instead exceptional people are “developed” within the “system dynamics of an organization” – in other words, they work in a place where Continuous Improvement is second-nature.

People must feel secure; feel as though they are part of a team; feel challenged in their job; have some degree of autonomy and feel like they have some control over their work.

Without a culture of respect, where each person is valued for what they contribute to an organization, the chances of developing exceptional people who strive to improve what they do and how they do it every day becomes nearly impossible.

Lean Tip #1206 - Develop Dashboards that Provide Insights to Improve Decision Making and Increase Success.
Decisions are based on information. The more accurate, timely, and relevant the information, the better the decisions. Today’s technology enables organizations to provide customized dashboards that present staff with KPIs critical to their success. When properly designed with business goals in mind, these dashboards can increase transparency by communicating performance to selected stakeholders throughout the organization and alerting decision makers to situations that need immediate attention.

Lean Tip #1207 - Use Collaboration Capabilities to Enhance Teamwork.
Workers are especially interested in collaborative environments where they can share their ideas and feel involved in their organization. Organizations with greater employee engagement realize significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction. Additionally, they enjoy reduced turnover, lower absenteeism and fewer safety incidents. By providing technology that enables employees to participate in multi-way communication, organizations create stronger workforces more personally invested in their employers’ future and success.

Lean Tip #1208 - Employ Digital Teaching Aids to Increase Employee Knowledge and Advance Skills. 
Never before have so many people been connected with so much knowledge. And never before have they felt so motivated to utilize the available resources to improve their work lives. Employers who have realized this are reaping the rewards of computer-based staff training programs that engage and educate. Cost efficiencies are quickly realized as remote staff can learn online, and employee advancement improves through development of new skills.

Lean Tip #1209 - Demonstrate That You Value People
Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. Your facial expression, your body language, and your words express what you are thinking about the people who report to you.

Your goal is to demonstrate your appreciation for each person's unique value. No matter how an employee is performing on his or her current task, your value for the employee as a human being should never falter and always be visible.

Lean Tip #1210 - Solve Problems: Don't Pinpoint Problem People
When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the work system that caused the people to fail, not what is wrong with the people. Worst case response to problems? Seek to identify and punish the guilty. (Thank you, Dr. Deming.)

Lean Tip #1211 - Listen to Learn and Ask Questions to Provide Guidance
Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them.

When an employee brings you a problem to solve, ask, "what do you think you should do to solve this problem?" Or, ask, "what action steps do you recommend?" Employees can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process.

Eventually, you will feel comfortable telling the employee that he or she need not ask you about similar situations. You trust their judgment.

Lean Tip #1212 - Encourage open communication.
Organizations that use a formal top-down communication hierarchy make it difficult for their employees to speak up. Even if they did gather enough guts to share their opinions, they may feel like their input won't matter much. After awhile, these people may give up on speaking up.

Create methods for direct communication. Acknowledge input. Foster an open exchange of ideas. Face facts — every idea isn’t good, but you won’t find the game-changers if you don’t explore new concepts.

Lean Tip #1213 - Provide Plenty of Context.
Be transparent with your employees. Tell them why you make certain decisions and what direction you're planning on taking the company. If we can do a better job of sharing the core values and the important business goals, we can hope to draw out team members’ talents and energy.

Lean Tip #1214 - Require Accountability.
The best way to do this is by discussing setbacks and recognizing extra efforts among your people. Why would someone want to continuously work hard if they don't think that their efforts are appreciated?

Empowered people are confident, knowledgeable, and able to be more productive without being micromanaged or having excessive oversight. They demonstrate initiative and own their work. At the end of the day, this is better for you as their superior and better for the organization as a whole.

Lean Tip #1215 - Give Employee the Chance to Fail -- and a Safe Place to Land When They Do.
Not all employees are risk-takers. Fortunately, the willingness to take risks can be taught -- or at least modeled.

First, stomp out micromanagement in your organization. If your employees feel as if they have to seek approval before making every decision, or if their day-to-day routine is filled with monitoring and correction, they’ll never take initiative.

A manager shouldn’t be a babysitter. Encourage every manager to be a mentor, and give employees opportunities to push out of their comfort zone. If employees fail, train your managers to treat those mistakes as teachable moments. Train your managers to help employees try again -- and to give them the tools and motivation to do so.

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