Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #92 (1381-1395)

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 #1381 - Continue to Educate and Improve Yourself.
Great leaders demonstrate effective leadership skills, but most importantly, continue to improve themselves in every possible way. The person who thinks he is an expert, has a lot more to learn. Never stop learning. Be receptive to everyone’s perceptions and information from around the world and beyond. Always grow and learn.

Lean Tip #1382 - Set Definitive Goals and Follow Concrete Action Plans.
You have to know where your destination is before you can map out a plan to get there. To improve your leadership skills, first set specific life goals with appropriate timelines. Design your goals by moving backwards from the end of your life to the present week. Then, formulate action plans you can commit to that will get you to where you want to be.

Lean Tip #1383- Make Your Team’s Job Easier, Not Harder.
If you want to maintain good morale and a positive outlook among your staff, be wary of criticizing and controlling their efforts too much. It’s better to support their creative processes—provide them with the tools necessary and help “sell” their work to other departments, if that is needed.

This all serves to remove as many hurdles from their progress as possible, helping them to achieve their goals as fast as possible. It also enhances their confidence, knowing that their manager or superior is behind them and their ideas.

Try to be their advocate in the organization—you have the tools to make their work easier so that they can focus on the project at hand and not worry too much about structural obstacles and issues.

Lean Tip #1384 - Acknowledge Good Work
Don’t be one of these bosses who only provides feedback when you’ve got something to criticize! By providing your staff with positive feedback it will help to build their confidence and encourage them to get more involved in the future, so it’s vital that you acknowledge their achievements and the effort that they are putting in. Encourage creativity and ensure that everyone is clear about what is expected of them.

Lean Tip #1385 - Challenge Thinking and Assumptions. 
Don’t give all the answers to your direct report. Question their current constraints and help them explore new possibilities or new behaviors. Try asking questions such as, How could you look at the situation in a different way? What would happen if you made a change? What other alternatives can you think of?

Lean Tip #1386 –Share Information and Numbers
Let them in on what is going on within the company as well as how their jobs contribute to the big picture. When you keep you employees informed they tend to feel a greater sense of worth. Keep communication hopeful and truthful – do not be afraid to share bad news, instead be more strategic about how you deliver it. Improve performance through transparency – By sharing numbers with employees, you can increase employees’ sense of ownership.

Lean Tip #1387 - Collaborate and Share on Problem-solving
When employees get the idea that their manager or leader is the one who has to solve all the problems, it takes away from their sense of empowerment, and ultimately is likely to decrease engagement over time. Encourage team members to take responsibility, and work through problems or issues on their own, or collaboratively. It’s not the manager’s job to fix everyone else’s problems.

Lean Tip #1388 - Remove Roadblocks that Hinder Achievement
The employees should be given ample attention, and their performance should be monitored from time to time so that the management can identify the issues that the employees are facing in relation to their tasks. This activity will strengthen the internal communication between the employees and the management, which eventually will lead to development of employee skills and will improve their engagement at work.

Lean Tip #1389 - Streamline Workflow. 
Overly-complicated processes, confusing approval procedures, and slow decision-making and communication can really add up and can lead to worker burnout. Leaders should be critical of your current systems: “it’s always been done that way” is not a good enough reason to keep people miserable. Engage your people in eliminating waste, reducing complexity, and streamlining their work. They are closest to the action; get them involved in making their work better, more enjoyable and more effective.

Lean Tip #1390 - Foster a Culture of Gratitude: Recognize Your People. 
In every organization and on every team, all employees have an innate desire to feel appreciated and valued by others – their peers and their leadership. In other words: most employees want to do good work, but most employees want to be noticed for doing good work. Celebrate their accomplishments. Reward and recognize their performance. Sometimes, just say “thank you.” It will reinforce the behaviors and outcomes you want more of, and it will build goodwill with your people – it shows that you noticed and that you care. And it doesn’t have to be cash; in fact, oftentimes the most effective recognition has nothing to do with cash rewards.

Lean Tip #1391 - Hold a Weekly All-Hands Meeting.
By having weekly meetings centered on transparency, you are setting the tone for your company. And by sharing important information to the company in such a candid way, you will promote individuals to do the same.  If you have questions, ask them. If you are not clear about how your goals align to the priorities, ask your manager. Are you contributing to our metrics in a meaningful way or do you have other ideas?

Lean Tip #1392 - Give Your Employees A Suggestion System.
As a leader you need to get as much feedback as possible whether it come in directly or indirectly. It is one thing to ask for feedback, it is another to act on it. Keep in mind, if you are going to encourage and implement a mechanism that asks for feedback, you need to be equally enthusiastic when it comes to embrace that feedback and put a plan in place to act on common themes and trends that emerge.

Lean Tip #1393 - Help People Understand the True Financial Impact of Decisions. 
Get comfortable framing all major decisions in economic terms. If a manager wants to spend money on something – a new piece of equipment, a new employee, a salary increase – she needs to be prepared to explain in financial terms how it will pay off for the company. Employees, too, need to understand the real cost of mistakes or lapses in productivity as well as the potential positive impact of doing things in a new way.

Lean Tip #1394 - Put Mechanisms in Pace for Communicating Vital Issues to Frontline Employees. 
People aren't going to pick up on what leaders want them to know by osmosis. You need to tell them clearly, succinctly, and often. That means putting in place a system, or a series of systems, to ensure that the transparency value gets translated into action.

Lean Tip #1395 - Increase Dialogue With Everyone Involved.
Starting and maintaining a dialogue with people you work with builds trust. It involves a mindful exchange without preconceived agendas. Dialogue is a way of hearing and contributing to a collective wisdom without judgment, a need to win, or a desire to believe you have the answer. In some ways, it’s about thinking together and, in doing so, opening oneself to new possibilities and new voices.

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