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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #94 (1411-1425)

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 #1411 – Make Suggestions Public
If you have a locked box for suggestions, please take it down. They are a symbol of a failed system from the past and they represent much that is wrong with American suggestion systems. Why locked? To hide participation, to hide ideas, to submit in secrecy, to not share ideas, … Make your Idea System public so participate or lack thereof is visible to all.

Lean Tip #1412 - Focus on Singles not Home Runs
Encourage small ideas that can be implemented quickly by the employee versus large changes that require external resources such as engineering, IT and facilities. While some of these types are inevitable, they need to be balanced with many more that can be completed within the unit.

Lean Tip #1413 - Encourage All Ideas
Don’t limit the number of suggestions by putting too many constraints. Let your employees know that you’re interested in any suggestions that they think will help the organization. As the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling said… “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

Lean Tip #1414 - Show Active Interest in Employee Suggestions
Most employees wouldn’t continue to submit suggestions if their manager didn’t show interest in the suggestions. Showing active interest in their suggestions can encourage your employees to submit more suggestions that can benefit your organization.

Lean Tip #1415 - Share More, Not Less.
Even in a small company, silos emerge. A policy of more sharing will help everyone stay in touch with what others are doing, and create a collective expectation. Keeping everyone pointed in the same direction is hard; sharing more about what’s going on, how you’re doing things, reasoning behind decisions, etc. will help.

Lean Tip #1416 - Don’t Automatically Blame the Tool.
It’s not the hammer’s fault if the person swinging it uses the wrong end. It just won’t work well. Most tools are decent enough, they’re just used incorrectly. Rushing to change a tool because things aren’t working well may be a mistake.

Lean Tip #1417 - Process isn’t a Bad Word.
Lean can certainly get too heavy-handed and top down in its implementation, but without good processes in place your transformation will sputter along instead of hum smoothly. Good processes and a way of continuously improving them serves as a constant, in an environment of frantic change.

Lean Tip #1418 – Leverage Leadership to Create Change
In most organizations, employees follow leadership’s example. To create change, executives, directors, and managers must be the champions of knowledge sharing, transparency, and worker engagement. Dedicated personnel may give advice and direction, such as internal communications managers. But senior execs, department directors, and team managers need to back them up. This has to be a collaborative effort.

Lean Tip #1419 - Encourage Risk-Taking
Give your employees the freedom to experiment, learn from their mistakes, and succeed. Encourage them to take risks and think outside-of-the-box. Supporting your employees for taking risks further encourages them to be creative.

Lean Tip #1420 - Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes
Mistakes help you learn what works and what doesn’t. Let your employees know that it’s totally okay to make a mistake. For many employees, the fear of making a mistake stops them from sharing their ideas or even thinking up great ideas. Letting your employees know that mistakes are okay, encourages them to share the great ideas they may have.
Sure, there will be mistakes. But some of those mistakes will turn into great innovations.

Lean Tip #1421 - Think of How To Do It, Not Why It Cannot Be Done.
The pessimist will create all kinds of reasons that something can't be done. The optimistic, forward thinker, on the other hand, knows that "if the why is strong enough, the how will come."

Focus on the outcome. Then, come up with all the ways that the outcome could possibly be accomplished.

Lean Tip #1422 - Do Not Seek Perfection.
Do it right away even if for only 50% of the target. If we all waited for perfection, we'd still be reading by candlelight and riding horses to work. Once you get to a certain point (whether it's 50% or 80%, or another number that makes sense), then run with it. In other words, take action. Then, adjust as you go along.

Lean Tip #1423 - Ask "Why?" Five Times and Seek Root Causes.
The question "why?" is extremely powerful. If a person has a strong enough "why", he or she can accomplish anything. The question "why?" can serve to either strengthen our conviction about something, or help us to discover that it really wasn't as important as we thought it was. At a minimum, it helps us to get to the root of the issue.

Each time you ask "why?", you reveal a new layer. You go deeper, and deeper. Then, after four or five answers, you'll get to the real one. Try it!

Lean Tip #1424 - Do Not Just Spend Money for Kaizen, Use Your Wisdom.
It is not enough to simply buy a tape set to learn skills, or to merely attend a workshop or seminar. These are wonderful (and essential, in my opinion) first steps, but action is key. Learn, yes. But then take action based on what you have learned.

Lean Tip #1425 - Seek The Wisdom Of Ten People Rather Than The Knowledge
Of One.
Much has been written about the power of group thinking. Whether it involves seeking one or two other people's opinions, holding a meeting with others, or more formal brainstorming or mastermind groups, there is power in numbers.

If you want to find out how to be successful at something, as someone who has already done it. Better yet, gather several people who have already done it. With libraries, the internet, and other resources available today, we have more opportunities than ever to gather the wisdom of others.

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