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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #101 (1516 - 1530)

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 #1516 - Challenge Your Employees to Move Out of Their Comfort Zone.
You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Lean Tip #1517 - Pair Employee’s With a Mentor.
Once their goals have been established, find someone who is in a similar role to the target position to serve as a mentor. Mentoring enables an organization to use it’s existing talent to impart their knowledge and expertise to one another. Everyone – the organization, the mentor, and the mentee – benefits from the mentoring process.

Lean Tip #1518 - Offer Opportunities for Individual Growth.
Employees want training. Providing coaching and development activities throughout the year is an employer’s best bet to create a culture of growth within the workplace. To ensure continuous growth and improve productivity, equip employees with the tools they need to function at peak performance.

Lean Tip #1519 – Remove Barriers for Development
Many organizations are rigid in their organizational structure and processes, which can make it challenging to implement some cross-functional development and facilitate dynamic growth and high-performance training. It’s up to leadership to bridge silos, knock down walls, and design a system that encourages a fluid approach to learning and working. Today’s generation of workers are used to change and enjoy open work environments that let them explore. Take the barriers away and watch people flourish.

Lean Tip #1520 - Show Employees You Trust Them
If you want to help employees develop, trust them to do their jobs by getting out of the way. Let them know what your expectations are by modeling the behavior you expect—show them you trust them. This not only lets employees know what they need to succeed and gives them greater ownership, but it also shows them that credibility and trust are important in your organization.

Lean Tip #1521 - Stop Putting Out Fires
A manager who regularly steps in to solve staff's problems isn't doing them (or himself) any favors. He's only training them to bring him the problems, rather than solving them. Coach your staff to develop their confidence and problem-solving ability. This alone will increase organizational efficiency. Sometimes the simple question, "What can you do about it?" will help to uncover a solution.

Lean Tip #1522 - Align Employee Behaviors to Long-term Business Objectives.
All teams, whether on the court or in the workplace, are trying to achieve something greater than themselves and reach big, long-term goals by working together. Great managers understand that, and use this overarching goal to motivate people and get the best performance.

Lean Tip #1523 - Support Teamwork and Leverage Employees' Individual Strengths.
Building a great team means placing each person in the right position based on his or her talents. If you put individuals in the wrong place and they fail, they're not bad athletes or employees — you're a bad coach for not using their strengths. Take an employee-centric view when assigning roles, and hand out tasks that match the individual's skill set.

Lean Tip #1524 - Celebrate the Failure
Remember, most employees are trying to do their best, most of the time. Show appreciation for the well-intentioned action, even if it led to a failure. Talk about what the employee did right, then explain the problem. Always focus on strengths, not weaknesses.

During your discussion with the employee, go over any processes and procedures necessary to get a procedural task done right the next time.

Lean Tip #1525 - Make Feedback Part of Your Team Culture.
Set the tone that feedback is a good thing. You give feedback because you want your employees to be awesome, not because you want them to be punished. Giving feedback regularly and mixing praise with constructive criticism will help enforce that tone.

Lean Tip #1526 - Give Machine Operators Process Ownership.
A number of real-time digital condition monitoring and reporting systems now support the positive trend to operator-driven reliability (ODR). The Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) approach shifts basic maintenance work (and problem notification) to machine operators, freeing up maintenance personnel to work on planned maintenance. The idea is to give workers ownership of their machine and the process, maximize equipment effectiveness, increase employees’ skills and reduce manufacturing costs through continuous monitoring. For their part, the maintenance team should respond to requests within a pre-determined time window.

Lean Tip #1527 - Engineer Machine Improvements for Maintainability and Operability. 
Windows cut into guarding to give easier viewing of gauges will make the daily checks easier to perform and more likely to be completed. Access doors installed on equipment will allow for easier periodic maintenance. Consolidation of lubrication points into a single manifold also contributes to more consistently performed maintenance.

Lean Tip #1528 - Forget About Perfection
Perfection is great, but in reality it is not attainable. Focusing on getting everything 100% perfect every time can be a huge waste of time. Figure out what level of excellence you need to hit for each task, and then make sure to get to that point. Constant improvement can continue, but in the meantime your productivity will go up dramatically if you stop worrying about making sure every tiny detail is perfect.

Lean Tip #1529 - Invest in Training
Having versatile employees improves the overall productivity of the company. This should not translate into a “Jack of All Trades” situation. Investing in training your employees in skills they are not good at will make them better people overall. When employees see you investing in their learning of side skills that improve their core skill, it gives them more encouragement to produce better results for the company.

Lean Tip #1530 - Eliminate Scrap to Increase Productivity and Profitability.

People don’t always understand the true cost when it comes to scrap. If you make a product that must be thrown away, you don’t just lose the materials. You also lose the labor and the opportunity for profit. Even if you can rework a product, you’re still losing out on the labor and cutting into your profit.

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