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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lean Tip Edition #88 (1321-1335)

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 #1321 – Kaizen Needs a Long Term Commitment
The overriding principles of kaizen is that it is daily, continuous, steady, and it takes the long-term view. Kaizen also requires a commitment and a strong willingness to change. The interesting thing about kaizen is that big, sudden improvements are not necessary. Instead, what is important is that you’re always looking for ideas — including even the smallest of things — that you can build on. Tiny improvements are OK; over the long-term these add up to great improvements. Each journey begins with a single step — this too is a precept inherent in Kaizen. Keep moving forward.

Lean Tip #1322- There is No End to Improvement
There is an old saying that goes “Once you think you have arrived, you have already started your descent.” One must never think they "have arrived." In the US we say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But the spirit of kaizen suggests that there is always something to learn and ways to improve, and that it is also better to prevent problems than to fix them. So, no matter how good things may seem now, there is always room for improvement, and looking to improve every day is what the spirit of kaizen is all about. It’s not about how far you have come or how far you have yet to go, it is only about this moment and being open to seeing the lessons around you, and possessing the capacity and willingness to learn and improve. There are many small things you can do to increase your design mindfulness and skills over time.

Lean Tip #1323 – Always Involve People in the Area in Kaizen
Involve operators and people in the area by notifying them that there will be an event in their designated area. The most basic communication can help prevent confusion. Also, post a flip chart in the area for employees to post ideas before an event takes place. Keep employees informed during events and follow up with operators for evaluation.

Lean Tip #1324 - Facts and Data Will Substantially Improve Your Kaizen Process
Make sure you have solid information before making changes. Facts and data will substantially improve your kaizen process, not only now but in the future. In new Lean implementations, or ones with considerable resistance, every mistake acts as an indictment of Lean. Minimize the ammunition for the naysayers.

Lean Tip #1325 - Think Small and Frequent
Many companies today are only looking for the, “BIG WINS” when it comes to improvements. While big wins are always nice, they really aren’t going to be able to happen very often. A company that identifies small areas of improvement and implements them frequently is going to make much more progress over time than one that ignores the small things and only focuses on bigger issues.

Lean Tip #1326 - Engage the Full Team to Find Improvement Opportunities
Continuous improvement in a facility is almost never going to be made by a single person. This is why you need to have the entire team involved. This starts with the CEO and leadership team and goes all the way to the front line employees. By creating a teamwork environment where everyone is working together to ensure ongoing improvement you will be much more successful in the long run.

Even when employees propose an unrealistic idea it should still be seen as a positive step. Taking all ideas seriously and trying to find ways to implement them if practical can allow employees to have the confidence in the management team that they need to want to bring new ideas up to the team.

Lean Tip #1327 – Lead a Kaizen By Being a Real Team Player
From setting the goals to solving problems and achieving improvements, you and your team members should be equally involved. You should be acting like a teacher for generating ideas from your team members. You will be really blessed if you have a team willed with bright, motivated, and talented people. Otherwise, your success as a Kaizen leader will depend totally upon how well you are able to increase the knowledge, skills, and participation of your team members.

Lean Tip #1328 - Set the Tone and Your Employees Will Follow It.
Leaders need to show, not just tell. If you want your employees to be punctual, make sure you’re there on time -- or even early. If professionalism is a priority, make sure you’re dressed for success, and treat everyone you interact with (both in-person and online) with courtesy. Set the tone and your employees will follow it.

Lean Tip #1329 - A Little Humility Goes a Long Way.
There’s a difference between a leader and a boss. While both are in charge, a leader shares the spotlight and is comfortable crediting others. While it might seem counterintuitive, being humble takes more confidence than basking in glory. Your employees will appreciate it, and your clients will, too.

Lean Tip #1330 - Never Stop Improving.
Great leaders -- indeed, great people -- are constantly learning and always trying to improve themselves. There’s always something that you can work on or a new skill to master. Be sure to keep your mind open to new ideas and possibilities.

Lean Tip #1331 - Make Sure Everyone Understands the Big Picture
If your team isn’t already familiar with the organization’s main goals, then lay them out in plain language.

Show them where they fit within the organizational structure, and why their work moves everyone toward those goals. Make them feel valued, so they’ll have reason to engage with and “own” their jobs.

Lean tip #1332 - Give Employees What They Need
If team members lack the right tools or training, they may not feel capable of or confident about doing the tasks you’ve assigned them. Whether they need training, a new computer, a smartphone, or a better printer, make it happen, so they can move forward with confidence.

If they express a need for something to help them be more productive, and you fail to provide or approve it, they soon will stop coming to you with improvement ideas.

Lean Tip #1333 – Plan Carefully and Get Everyone Involved
Because long-term strategies rarely survive their first brushes with reality, you’ll need to collaborate with your team on how to best achieve them, because they probably know best. Review the plans and get everyone involved in how to proceed.

Give them active, important roles in building those plans, as well as controlling deadlines, scheduling, project management, and scope creep.

Lean Tip #1334 - Be There For Your Team
Lead from the front, ready to smooth the path and provide anything they need to in order to execute. During a crunch time or crisis, roll up your sleeves, and work side-by-side with them until everything’s back to normal.

Lean Tip #1335 - Encourage Creative Thinking.

There are always problems to be solved and better ways to do things, so why not challenge your employees to come up with creative ways to deal with common business issues. Supervising doesn't mean controlling each and every step. It means making sure that all the organizational activities are being implemented at the highest level. Give people the freedom to find their own unique ways of solving issues. Challenge them to think out of the box.

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