Monday, February 27, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #106 (1591 - 1605)

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 #1591 - Make Every Team Member Feel Valued
Success as a team can only come when each team member is aware of the importance of their role in the team’s success. Involve all team members by sharing any available information relevant to the goal/project and any deadlines. Assign them with responsibility for specific goals/outcomes and reward all members of the team for achieving them.

Lean Tip #1592 - Incorporate Team-based Problem Solving into Staff Meetings
At each team meeting ask every team member to share a project or task they might feel stuck on, or challenged by, and request that other team members give feedback, provide some mentoring and share their ideas to help resolve the dilemma or impasse. Encourage team brainstorming of solutions.

Lean Tip #1593 - Facilitate Conversation, Idea-sharing and Team Brainstorming
Where possible, set up work areas where team members can get together to easily share ideas, brainstorm or discuss progress on goals/projects. Open office environments don’t always work, so this might mean allocating certain rooms, or even outdoor spaces in the workplace, where team members can work together.

Lean Tip #1594 – Provide Ongoing Coaching and Support to Team Members
Giving team members ongoing learning opportunities and building both individuals’ skills and team skills encourages people to grow and stretch their capabilities. Assign mentors where possible to team members and encourage leaders and managers to develop coaching skills to use within their teams. Or, hire an external professional coach to work with the team leaders, managers, or individual team members, to further develop specific competencies.

Lean Tip #1595 - Recognize and Reward Good Teamwork
Look for ways to acknowledge and consistently reward good teamwork. Also be quick to discipline any team member who engages in gossiping about, bullying, or back-stabbing other team members. Let it be known that your organization will not condone any negative interpersonal behavior.

Lean Tip #1596 – Leaders Focus on Solutions
Although problems can certainly be interesting to discuss, focusing on solutions is more useful. If you catch yourself focusing on a problem or the drama in a situation, or even getting bogged down in detail, re­focus your attention on identifying and planning the way ahead.

Lean Tip #1597 - Be a Positive Role Model
Good mentors are respected by their mentees. A mentee can learn a lot from their mentor simply by watching how their mentor behaves in any particular situation. Good mentors will also look out for experiences, or even create situations in which their mentees can become involved to learn new things, for example, providing a look behind the scenes or a glimpse at how other people live or do things.

Lean Tip #1598 – A Mentor Provides a Fresh Perspective
One of the benefits of working with a mentor is that a good mentor will often provide their mentee with a fresh perspective on an issue. A good mentor will often have the clarity of distance from an issue or problem that's needed to provide objective feedback to their mentee. They can also hold up a 'mirror' to the mentee to, for example, let the mentee see what their behavior looks like to others.

Lean Tip #1599 - Align Around a Shared Vision and Purpose
Collaboration has the benefit of opening up employees’ eyes to the larger role that they play within the organization, but the association also goes the other way. When employees understand the role they play in helping the organization meet its goals, and the role that collaboration plays to advance this purpose, they are more likely to make a meaningful contribution in the team setting.

Lean Tip #1600 - Inspire from the Top Down
The number one thing that any leader can do to improve workplace collaboration is to lead by example. Instead of using mass emails, executives should begin using collaboration tools when communicating with employees. This not only opens up new lines of communication from the bottom up, but also inspires employees to follow along and use these tools for their own projects.

Lean Tip #1601 - Use Kaizen Workshops to Teach and Make Rapid Changes
Use a talented and experienced facilitator who has a deep understanding of lean tools and philosophy but keep training focused on a specific problem. This helps to keep the training relevant to real world situations and ensures that there are tangible outcomes from training activity. The kaizen might have an objective to reduce setup time from 80 minutes to 60 minutes in four days, for instance.

Lean Tip #1602 - Organize Around Value Streams
In most organizations, management is organized by process or function. In other words, managers own certain steps in a process but nobody is responsible for the entire value stream. In the second edition of Lean Thinking (2003), the authors recommend a matrix organization where there are still heads of departments but also value stream managers, similar to Toyota’s chief engineer system. Someone with real leadership skills and a deep understanding of the product and process must be responsible for the process of creating value for customers and must be accountable to the customer.

Lean Tip #1603 - Keep Leadership Focused on Long-Term Learning
A crisis may prompt a lean movement, but may not be enough to turn a company around. Once the crisis has passed it can be all too tempting to go back to business as usual. Company leadership has to stay focused on Lean for the long term – not just to solve one problem.

Lean Tip #1604 - Build on Your Company’s Roots to Develop Your Own "Way"
Toyota has its way. You need to have your way. When Toyota works with companies to teach TPS, they insist that the companies develop their own system. Someone did something right to get you to this point. Build on that. Build on your company’s heritage to identify what you stand for.

Lean will cut across functional/departmental boundaries which will eventually lead to a restructuring of responsibility for the major business processes rather than the current functional ownership of a department’s activity.

Lean Tip #1605 - Leaders Must Thoroughly Understand, Believe In, and Live the Company’s "Way"

All leaders must understand the work in detail and know how to involve people. If the top is not driving the transformation, it will not happen. Then, to keep the results sustainable you must have a system for both result- based and process based performance measurement including measures for velocity of the overall business process and the individual business processes.

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