Monday, April 11, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #93 (1396-1410)

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 #1396 - Create Sense of Ownership for Employees
Many companies try to use money as the primary factor to drive employee ideas. This usually doesn’t work well. Employees also need the feeling of ownership—a sense that it is their duty and their right to be involved. Taking pride in their company and knowing that their ideas are helping the company succeed are important motivating factors.

Lean Tip #1397 – Let Them Do Their Jobs
Having your hands in every pot is tempting. Don’t micromanage. Offer guidance, but let employees learn how to do their jobs by actually doing them. An autonomous workforce will keep your company running smoothly, and you’ll free up time for yourself to focus on the big picture.

Lean Tip #1398 - Remember That Hands-Off Doesn’t Mean Invisible
Even though you’re determined to let people carry on with their work, that doesn’t mean you should hole up in your office all day every day. Getting in face time with your employees is just as important as letting them get on with their jobs. Get to know them. Find out what inspires them, what makes them tick, what makes them the people they are. Ask them about their families and passions from time to time. It’ll allow you to build on common interests and connect on another level.

Lean Tip #1399 - Challenge and Motivate Employees
As a leader, it’s your job to take your company in the right direction. But you’re only as strong as the weakest member of your team. Challenge employees to be the best they can be. Give them tasks that put them outside their comfort zones every now and again. Then guide and motivate them. It’s not only a good way to keep your employees striving for excellence; it’s also a way for you to see how certain people will react in certain situations.

Lean Tip #1400 - Involve and Work Through People
Avoid being prescriptive with each step of your approach, rather opting to use a facilitated approach to get support and buy in from the teams involved. Always be open to a team using a different approach though still aligned to the overall objectives. Forcing things down people’s throats doesn’t really work well. Good facilitation should allow for a team to reach a pre-conceived conclusion on their own accord. On the same vein, allow the teams to decide what tasks and actions are to be done and offer to help rather than allocate tasks directly to the different people.

Lean Tip #1401 - Be Transparent to Gain Trust
If your company is doing well and goals are being met, let your employees know. Likewise, if the company is lagging behind in a few areas, make sure employees see the big picture. If an employee has questions about his or her standing, be frank. In short, be trustworthy. How can you expect your employees to trust you if you don’t trust them with certain information?

Lean Tip #1402 – Listen To Your Employees
It can be hard to hear what others have to say if you’re constantly touting your accomplishments and barking orders. Listen to your employees’ suggestions, then do something about it. Continue to encourage, support, and implement their ideas whenever possible. You’re a team, after all.

Lean Tip #1403 - Look Beyond Technical Know-How
Skills can be taught. Character can’t. When you’re vetting potential employees, look for those people who can provide additional value to the company. That doesn’t mean you should overlook technical aptitude, though. Encourage current employees to keep learning in order to stay ahead of the technical curve. Keeping their skills sharp and learning new ones won’t only help them do their job now, but will help prepare them for the future.

Lean Tip #1404 - Respect Your Employees’ Ideas
The real expert at a job is the person doing the job. Your employees will often have ideas to improve the product, service or processes that managers may not spot. But this means that managers and senior leaders need to be enthusiastic about the idea and committed to it.

Lean Tip #1405 - Encourage Employees to Collaborate on Ideas
Employee ideas don’t need to be a solo effort, so ensure that your system allows both individual ideas and collaborative ideas. Collaborating on ideas can improve the concept further and generate additional input. However, you need to encourage a culture where employees are enthusiastic about engaging with their co-workers and unafraid to share their ideas.

Lean Tip #1406 – Promote Responsiveness
Along with good listening, organizations should promote responsiveness — to employees, internal and external audiences, leaders, and more — in good times and bad. Open communication and responsiveness, as well as honesty, helps facilitate discourse with employees with issues and working together to fix them.

Lean Tip #1407 – Set Realistic Goals
You can’t build Rome in a day, and you can’t expect your employees to do so, either. Change is implemented gradually and strategically. Setting realistic goals eliminates unnecessary stress that can hinder quality and quantity of work, create unhappy employees and impede progress in your organization.

Lean Tip #1408 – Promote Insatiable Learning
Insatiable hunger for knowledge keeps leaders, employees and companies fresh and cutting edge. Always be open to learning new things and promoting education for all employees, no matter how much you think you or they already know. Webinars and courses to help with operations and teamwork keep your employees engaged and improve your company’s profitability.

Lean Tip #1409 – Embrace Innovation to Grow
Along with being open to learning new things, it’s important to be ready to implement what develops. Embracing change and adapting to new demands not only keeps a company relevant, but also presents exciting challenges for employees that can make work less routine and even boring. Challenges engage and help employees — not just the organization — grow.

Lean Tip #1410 – Make Work Enjoyable

Make sure employees don’t dread work every morning. Generating a comfortable and enjoyable space, physically and mentally, where employees feel welcome and supported by their peers, is crucial to happiness and productivity. While company growth and profitability may be the overarching goals, you should also be invested in helping your employees grow — whether it is to promote them within your own organization or help them move onto bigger opportunities. These employees will be not only grateful, but also productive and loyal.

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