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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #82 (1231-1245)

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 #1231 - Celebrate Team Successes.
Recognition programs should be set up for both individuals and teams. While individual performance is important, the efforts of a team can deliver exponential results. When it is a group success, recognition needs to be public to let other staffers know their achievements do matter.  Did the team exceed quarterly goals? Don’t wait until the end of the year to celebrate everything, treat each success as its own special accomplishment. When groups are rewarded for their collective success, it creates a sense of unity and fosters an environment of stronger teamwork.

Lean Tip #1232 - Foster a Creative Atmosphere.
Allow team members to question and brainstorm in a non-judgmental framework.  Encourage the team to look at obstacles as being conquerable. Nurture a “can do” company attitude. Ask why, or why not, on a regular basis. One way we cultivate a creative atmosphere at my company is by providing leadership training that encourages character development. We purposefully hire employees who aspire to be and produce their very best.

Lean Tip #1233 - Leverage Team Member Strengths.
Different personality dynamics, skill sets and experiences are present in every team. Position each team member for success by assigning tasks that play to their respective strengths. Reward both individual and team accomplishments regularly.

Lean Tip #1234 – Build Cohesion in Your Team.
Include every person on the team in as many large decisions as possible. Create a means of communicating current work flows to avoid duplication of effort. Initiate daily team huddles where each member shares what they will be accomplishing that day. This keeps everyone on the same playbook and enables team members to re-direct their efforts as needed.

Lean Tip #1235 - Communicate Company Expectations on Collaboration.
Make it clear that collaboration is the minimum standard. Define roles and responsibilities within the team. Every team member should understand their position and what is required of them. In a collaborative environment every team member takes responsibility for good outcomes.

Lean Tip #1236 - Teamwork Increases Accountability.
Teamwork increases the accountability of every member of the organization. No one wants to let each other down. Everyone does his or her best to contribute to the success of the team. The team is rewarded and not the individual. This is not always easy to complete or communicate due to the emphasis our culture places on individual performance and competition.

Lean Tip #1237 – Teamwork Needs Empowerment
When it comes to teamwork, one of the most detrimental forces is a management team that micromanages. A team functions best when they are empowered to make important decisions and complete the critical tasks that move an organization forward.

In some cases, you may need to be overt about empowering your team. Tell them that you expect and encourage them to be self-starters, to take tasks on themselves and to complete things without typical “approvals” (if possible). By doing so, you’re sending a message of trust and respect to everyone on your team.

Lean Tip #1238 - Share Information Within Your Team
No one likes to be kept in the dark, and withholding information from team members is a surefire way to create confusion and resentment among team members. It can also create competitive undercurrents in your organization, which is the antithesis of teamwork.

Be clear with everyone on your team about new information as it relates to your business and your goals. Your staff will appreciate being kept in the loop, and more importantly, it sends the message that you value and respect their place in the organization.

Lean Tip #1239 - Don’t Attribute Blame
You may all be getting on well when things are rosy but as soon as something goes wrong, the fingers start pointing. Attributing blame within a team is never helpful and just lead to resentment and arguments. Deconstruct what happened and where you went wrong but take responsibility for the mistakes as a team rather than laying it on an individual. You would all take credit for any success so you all need to do the same for your failures.
Effective teamwork is no something that is quick and easy to establish. Each member needs to communicate and listen properly while not trying to pull focus. Know what each person’s strengths are and how you can use these for the good of the group. Plan what you intend to do and be prepared to take the blame as a group as well as the credit.

Lean Tip #1240 - The Importance of Communication
Communication is the key to any effective teamwork. If you can’t share ideas and get your point across in a supportive environment then it will be difficult to get anything done. If people don’t agree, or have a problem then need to be able to tell the other members in a constructive manner. Also, each member needs to stay informed about any decisions or progress so that everybody is working together rather than in their own direction.

Lean Tip #1241 - Manage the Work Force But Avoid Micromanagement
It is well known that a large pool of employees does need to be managed, provided direction and given assistance. But with this they must also be trusted, given freedom to operate in their style and adopt measures which they think are the best to deliver results.

  • This freedom to act as they deem fit helps to keep them encouraged, motivated and happy in the belief that they are trusted.
  • Micro management is a human tendency but one that is detrimental to achievement, since it makes mere puppets out of employees, who are expected to toe the boss’ line and not think for themselves.
  • Employees need to think for themselves, analyze the consequences of every decision or action to be able to give their best to their jobs. And the employers must make it possible for their workers to do so.

Lean Tip #1242 - Encourage, Motivate, Reward and Recognize
The employer must ensure that on his part he always has words of encouragement for his staff. Encouraging them helps them move forward and do even better, and makes the worker feel happy. Innovative ways of motivating them spurs them even more. For example, holidays or conferences paid for by the company have been found to motivate employees immensely.

  • Rewarding the hard work put in by employees makes them continue to work in the same fashion, and if the employee feels that his work is not appreciated in words or in material terms, he may gradually stop doing so, since he may feel that others working less are given the same too, so he need not work more.
  • Rewards, and other ways of keeping employees happy makes them feel that their effort is being recognized and that they are needed by the company.
  • Without these, they may soon start looking for greener pastures and new jobs.

Lean Tip #1243 - Ensure that People Enjoy Their Work
The best performing employee is the happy employee, and the employer has to find ways of making his people happy. Besides working conditions and the work culture implemented, he has to devise ways of making the work seem challenging and interesting rather than mundane and boring.

Lean Tip #1244 - Spend Less Time on Meetings and More on Action
The current trend to have more meetings and discussion rather than spending more time working to achieve results, leads to precious productive time loss.

Meetings for reviews and sharing of ideas can be limited and kept short.
Employees should have more time to show results.

Lean Tip #1245 – Provide Learning and Improvement Opportunities

Employees are delighted when they can enhance their skills and get additional learning opportunities sponsored by the employer. This helps them learn, feel indebted for the money being spent on them, which also adds to their resume, and are obliged to perform better by applying all the knowledge gained in these courses.

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