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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #83 (1246-1260)

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 #1246 – Implement a Continuous Learning Strategy
Make it clear to your employees that most learning happens past the initial training. Employees will be less stressed because their development will occur gradually over time, rather than be front-loaded at the start. It also makes it clear that your first priority is their well-being, which translates into higher workforce morale.

Lean Tip #1247 - Foster a Work Environment that Encourages Continuous Learning
Replace the idea of training with capability development. This empowers the employees to be more self-motivated and more likely to want to improve themselves. Build a culture around employee satisfaction and improvement. Integrate continuous learning into daily routines.

Lean Tip #1248 - Offer Consistent Feedback to Employees
Communication is key for finding areas of improvement and adapting to your employees’ needs. Experience-based feedback with actual work context is much more effective than feedback based on rout training. Give your employees concrete goals and paths to improve their work.

Remember that communication goes two-ways. Take feedback from your employees as well, to help improve your own continuous learning strategies.

Lean Tip #1249 - Leverage Technology as a Learning Tool
Use a variety of multimedia options to encourage learning from many different angles. People have different ways of learning, through audio, visuals, text or hands-on approach. Creating multiple solutions for training ensures that employees can learn at their own pace and in a manner they are comfortable with.

Lean Tip #1250 – Continuous Learning Makes Employees Satisfied
Think of continuous learning as smoothing out the bumps and valleys of your employees’ learning curve. A front-loaded strategy has a huge spike right at the beginning that demands a lot out of your employees. This may have a negative effect in their motivation, stress levels and skill proficiency. Implementing continuous learning straightens this curve out.

Lean Tip #1251 – Be Willing to Teach or Mentor Others
I think sometimes we forget how much we know. Maybe we know something so well we do it automatically. Be willing to give others a hand and teach them what you know. Plus something magical happens when you teach someone something—you begin to understand it better yourself and deepen your mastery of that subject.

Lean Tip #1252 – Strive to Learn Something New Each Day
Approach life with a beginner’s mindset and look constantly for one new tidbit or a new way to expand your expertise or knowledge. Be open to learning and at the end of the day reflect on what you learned or sometimes maybe even relearned. Journal, meditate or contemplate the ideas you have learned to help ingrain the lessons learned. Then you can decide how to put it into practice.

Lean Tip #1253 - Follow Your Intuition For Better Learning
Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind. Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

Lean Tip #1254 - Schedule Time for Learning
It is too easy to say that you didn’t have time to partake in some form of development. The best way to find time is to make it. Put aside some time every day, week, month and even year to allocate towards continuous learning and development. Allocated daily time could be 5 minutes every morning to read the latest industry headlines, for instance. Weekly time could be apportioned to catching up with a leading industry periodical or journal. Over the longer term, managers could dedicate a handful of days towards conference or course attendance.

Lean Tip #1255 – Continuous Learning is a Process of Constant Evolution
In any organization, continuous learning means growth through learning events and experiences. It can be applied to individuals, team, and organizations- a process that will help them to achieve their overall objectives.

Undergoing a continuous learning process entails change; one cannot learn and still be the same person, team, or organization. There is a constant evolution in the way we think and act, brought about by new understanding, new knowledge, and new skills.

One of the worst phrases that any person or entity can say is “I already know that” because this can very well destroy any chances of continuous learning. And when there is no learning, there is no growth.

Lean Tip #1256 – Don’t Try to Measure Too Much
It sounds like a contradiction, but measuring too much can actually have an adverse effect on your business operations. There are an intimidating number of ways to measure a business, and trying to measure everything will leave you exhausted and will stop you focusing on what’s important. Think of it like setting out to eat a chocolate mountain – tempting, but eating it in one go will make you sick.  It’s better to take one bite at a time. Pick just one objective for your business to measure in its initial stages as you begin to develop your KPIs.

Lean Tip #1257 - Only Measure What’s Important to Your Organization
There are lots of practices that a business can measure, and as illustrated in Point 1, it’s inefficient to measure absolutely everything. So you need to figure out what the priorities are for your business and thus what KPIs you should set to measure the most important activities within your organization.

Lean Tip#1258 - Don’t Design Business Measures for Somebody Else.
Don’t design measures for a staff member or team without their involvement. The measures will fail unless you involve those people in the process. Work with the people concerned and they will have higher ownership of the measures produced and more buy-in to using them – this will improve the performance of the processes in which they work and will consequently have a positive effect on business results.

Lean Tip #1259 – Good Metrics Should be Actionable
Evaluating the metric should help you make a decision.  This is why metrics work best with a target, so you can clearly see if you have or have not hit your target, and then take appropriate action.

Lean Tip #1260 - Make Metrics Visible.

The best way to connect every member of your team to the company’s metrics in a meaningful, regular way is to make them visible. At my company, each department has an analytics dashboard and scorecard, which display high-level goals and how the organization is performing on the specific tasks that comprise them. Making metrics visible encourages transparency and can dramatically increase motivation.

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