Monday, September 14, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #84 (1261-1275)

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 #1261 - Hold Touch-Point Meetings to Review Metrics.
Metrics are useless if they don’t lead to company adjustments and growth. My organization hosts weekly touch-point meetings where the discussion is driven by a focus on company metrics. These meetings help employees develop the habit of responding regularly and directly to the company’s metrics and using that information while it’s still relevant.

Lean Tip #1262 – Avoid Focusing on People Rather Than Processes
In some cases metrics are being used primarily to assess people performance, rather than process performance. This may lead to data manipulation or underreporting of metrics. If people’s careers are dependent on reported metrics, there is a tendency to hide facts or report incorrect data. Individual performance is important, but the focus of an initiative should be on process performance. This will lead to much wider participation within the organization, and when processes improve in performance, everybody wins.

Lean Tip #1263 – Stay Away From Unrealistic Targets
Many organizations set targets without any thought to current performance, process stability or process capability. Industry benchmarks are helpful, but before applying these benchmarks to an organization, the team should analyze current process performance to ensure that unrealistic targets are not set. Unrealistic targets create resistance within an organization and impact team and people performance. In some cases, they also lead to data manipulation or incorrect reporting.

Before setting any targets, the metrics team should ensure that processes are stable and that process capability can be measured in a reliable manner. Process capability should be measured from the customer’s perspective. If teams do not consult the customers, they may find that clients are still unhappy even when targets are consistently met. Involving customers at each stage of target setting helps teams set realistic and achievable targets that will meet customer’s expectations.

Lean Tip #1264 - Measure Before You Manage
Accountability is fundamental to effective management, but it’s impossible to achieve it without tracking each department and individual progress against very specific, measurable goals and objectives. You first need to determine the right metrics and then make sure you have all the tools you need for measurement.

Lean Tip #1265 - Remember that Accountability Starts at the Top
Business leaders don’t always recognize how closely employees will follow their example. But if you want your workers to take goal-setting seriously, you should be prepared to share your own goals – as well as how you came out on delivering on them at the end of the quarter. Such transparency shows your team that you are in the trenches with them, making every effort to achieve what you set out to do – even if your targets were off.

Lean Tip #1266 – Continually Question, Reevaluate, and Refine Metrics
Keep in mind that you will need to reevaluate and adjust your metrics as your business priorities change. Every week, month, and quarter is a new opportunity to test and refine your ability to set and track metrics that will drive growth. When you invest time and thought into setting, monitoring, sharing, and refining your metrics, you’ll be amazed at how much more in tune you are to the state of your business, and how much more easily you can make the critical decisions that can catapult your business’ success.

Lean Tip #1267 - Create Humiliation-Free Zones.
Performance metrics and reviews should not be intended to “name and shame.” Leaders can provide safe havens in which dialogue can take place without making anyone feel put on the spot, and where difficult issues can be discussed without assigning blame. The goal is to solve problems, not to hurl accusations or tear people down. Creating such a positive climate calls for a matter-of-fact, objective manner: assume that people want to do the right thing and that data help them know what the right thing is.

Lean Tip #1268 - Ask Questions; Stress Inquiry on Goals.
We know that it helps to begin with agreement about goals and then to conduct an inquiry-oriented dialogue: Did you do this, did you try that, and what happened? Questions help people deconstruct the details of performance and consider alternatives without becoming defensive.

Lean Tip #1269 – Leaders Need to Model Accountability.
It builds confidence in leaders when they name problems that everyone knows are there, put performance data on the table for everyone to see, and refuse to shift responsibility to some nameless “them.” When leaders accept responsibility (for example, by sharing their own performance ratings), it helps other people get over their fear of exposure and humiliation.

Lean Tip #1270 - Enable Authority of Team Members.
Give your team and its members the power to make decisions. Though this might seem risky, it's a logical progression once all members' roles are defined. Assuming that each individual is qualified to fulfill his or her role means trusting them to make judgment calls when necessary.

Define performance standards for each team member. When everyone knows what is expected, they know what to aim for. Simultaneously, ask team workers to give each other constructive feedback.

Lean Tip #1271 - Encourage Employee Development.
High-potential employees are not satisfied with the status quo. You want these employees on your team. They are typically ambitious, high performing, and dynamic. They will be the future leaders of your organization if they are given proper guidance in their development. If not, be prepared to lose them to the competition.

Lean Tip #1272 - Create a Development Plan.
Planning is crucial to advancing your learning and development. Help your employees establish goals that are aligned with their strengths, interest and experience and then create a plan to get there. A development plan serves as the roadmap that will take you to your goal. It can be simple or complex but it must include action steps, resources, and deadlines.

Lean Tip #1273 - Pair Your Employee’s With a Mentor.
Once their goals have been established, find someone who is in a similar role to the target position to serve as a mentor. Mentoring enables an organization to use it’s existing talent to impart their knowledge and expertise to one another. Everyone – the organization, the mentor, and the mentee – benefits from the mentoring process.

Lean Tip #1274 – Identify Opportunities to Network for Development.
Having a solid network is imperative to the success of future leaders. A network is a great source of information, advice, support and inspiration. Recommend opportunities within the organization, as well as, networking or professional groups that will help them build strong connections.

Lean Tip #1275 - Challenge Your Employees to Move Out of Their Comfort Zone.

You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

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