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Monday, August 15, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #99 (Tips #1486 - 1500)

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 #1486 – Reduce Downtime by Focusing on the Constraint
Every manufacturing process has a constraint, which is the fulcrum (i.e., point of leverage) for the entire process. Measure downtime at the constraint and improve the constraint to ensure that resources are focused where they will have the strongest impact on throughput and profitability.

Lean Tip #1487 - Select Metrics to Drive Desired Behaviors
Metrics that are emphasized and shared are very powerful drivers of behavior. Treat downtime as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and continually reinforce its importance. People love an opportunity to win, so set SMART targets (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Specific) and reward success, even if it's by simple recognition.

Lean Tip #1488 - Make Down Time Visual
Provide clear visuals to indicate when the line is down, and escalate those visuals if the line remains down for an extended period of time. Train team members to react quickly, and provide multiple levels of escalation response (e.g., operator, supervisor, manager). The goal is to prevent small issues from becoming large incidents.

Lean Tip #1489 – Engage Employees in Improvement Initiatives
Engaging employees is important for both short-term and long-term success of initiatives. A powerful technique for engaging employees is creating a shared vision of the future “improved” state of the company – and clearly outlining how it will benefit employees. This will create a strong, broad-ranging motivation to succeed. Another powerful technique is recognizing and rewarding desired behavior. In the context of TPM, this may include providing a monthly rotating trophy for the Best 5S Area or awarding gift certificates each month for the Biggest Kaizen Improvement.

Lean Tip #1490 – Provide Active Leadership
Providing active leadership is one of the primary responsibilities of senior management (up to and including the Plant Manager). It means regularly demonstrating the importance of Lean activities through words and actions. Active leadership combats the natural tendency of employees to drift back into old patterns of behavior and old ways of working. It continually feeds new energy into the initiative, which over time is absorbed by employees in the form of new engrained behaviors.

Lean Tip #1491 - Leaders Lead by Example.
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 #1492 - 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 #1493 – Leaders Communicate Effectively.
Effective communication is imperative, both in the office and in life. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood, but they also know the importance of listening. Communication is a two-way street, and making the most of it will have your company zooming forward instead of pumping the breaks.

Lean Tip #1494 - Keep Meetings Productive.
As the saying goes, time is money. So, of course, you should want to limit tangents and other time wasters during meetings. If you trust your team to do their job, there should be no need for micromanaging, and meetings can run swiftly.

Lean Tip #1495 – Leaders Know Their Limits.
Even the kindest, most caring leader has limits. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Knowing what you will not tolerate can save everyone in the office a lot of frustration, and keeping boundaries clear means there’s no confusion.

Lean Tip #1496- Find a Mentor.
No man is an island, as they say. The best leaders out there know when they need help, and they know where to turn to in order to get it. Nobody can know everything, so finding someone you trust for advice when things get tough can make all of the difference.

Lean Tip #1497 – Leaders Learn From the Past.
To once again quote an adage, those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. History, recent and otherwise, is filled with examples of successful business models and spectacular business failures. Think about what the people you admire do well, and consider what went wrong for those who end their careers mired in scandal or disgrace. Lessons can be found everywhere.

Lean Tip #1498 – Leaders 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 #1499 – Leaders Recognize Their Staff
If you don’t appreciate your staff, they will leave. The U.S. Department of Labor says that the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they “don’t feel appreciated.” Most people receive very little workplace recognition in a given year so it’s vital that you recognize and reward your employees for their efforts at work.

Lean Tip #1500 – Challenge People to Think
The most successful leaders understand their colleagues’ mindsets, capabilities and areas for improvement.  They use this knowledge/insight to challenge their teams to think and stretch them to reach for more.   These types of leaders excel in keeping their people on their toes, never allowing them to get comfortable and enabling them with the tools to grow.

If you are not thinking, you’re not learning new things.  If you’re not learning, you’re not growing – and over time becoming irrelevant in your work.

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