Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #109 (#1636 - 1650)

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 #1636 - Share & Inspire a Compelling Mission
Great leaders regularly bring people closer to their purpose and the purpose of their work. If the vision for the organization is not inspiring—or is only to make a profit—it is pretty challenging to inspire others and get them to rally around it.

Employee engagement research states that for people to feel a connection with their work, they need to be able to envision themselves achieving purpose at work. An astute leader nurtures alignment among their workforce by linking the key performance indicators of each role in the organization to the overall key performance indicators and objectives of the business.  When people are able to “connect the dots” from what they do each day to how it impacts the customer—and maybe even the world at large—they are much more engaged and concerned for what they do and how well they deliver it.

Lean Tip #1637 - Institutionalize & Perpetuate Guiding Principles and Values
Building guiding principles and core values into the culture is a very powerful way to institutionalize and perpetuate the right behaviors throughout the organization. Leaders who are serious about their core values and guiding principles discipline themselves and their organization to only hire people who are aligned and have the ability to demonstrate those values and principles through the right on-the-job behavior. Behavioral and values-based interviewing is a key component of a values-driven organization’s hiring process. In these same types of companies, leadership development and succession planning programs are created and built on the foundation of the core values and guiding principles.

Lean Tip #1638 - Clearly Articulate Expectations and Intended Outcomes
Organizational objectives and desired outcomes are best achieved when clearly articulated and repeated often. Business leaders often voice frustration because their message in its true intent is not reaching all the ranks. The reality is, most people need to hear things seven times before committing it to memory. Therefore role requirements, goals, and objectives also need to be repeated frequently enough to ensure everyone involved is present to and aware of the game plan and what it looks like to win.  

Some leaders of larger organizations cascade their message to the workforce through their trusted and capable management team. Others design a communication strategy and deliver their message through a series of channels; like individualized emails, the company intranet, daily from the desk of “CEO” thoughts, weekly CEO talks, or monthly town hall meetings and newsletters. 

Lean Tip #1639 - Foster Excitement & Celebrate Forward Momentum
Alignment happens intrinsically when people are gathered together in service of a mission bigger than themselves. They are called forth by the purpose and the mission and then measure their success by milestones and accomplishments along the way. A leader that celebrates forward movement, learning from failures, taking risks, and working collaboratively to remove barriers and advance is a leader who teaches his troops to keep their eyes on the prize.

Lean Tip #1640 - Build Trust Through Open Communication & Clarity
One of the most important components necessary to nurture and grow workforce alignment is for the leader and management to have a strong relationship with their word. Trusting senior leaders and management is a critical driver of employee engagement.  Integrity and open communication is one of the most crucial behaviors of highly effective leaders. People do not trust a leader of an organization who does not follow through on promises or has a reputation as someone who re-negotiates agreements after the fact.  Creating boundaries and agreements as well as honoring those agreements and boundaries is where the rubber meets the road with honoring one’s word. 

Trust is not about being perfect and certainly not about keeping things static and steady. It is about clearly communicating when and why things need to change, and giving people advance notice of those changes and how they can best adapt.

Lean Tip #1641 - Establish an Impeccable Standard of Excellence.
The best way to establish a standard is by modeling the expected behavior yourself. Set high expectations at the outset and raise the bar on any crucial factors. Showcase excellence. When your actions have the potential to affect everyone around you and the bottom line, don't dabble in mediocrity. Reflecting excellence is critical to exercising effective leadership. This is ground zero for establishing influence.

Lean Tip #1642 - Value People and Nurture Relationships. 
Top-notch people skills are vital to sound leadership. Develop premium listening, communication and decision-making skill sets. Demonstrate integrity by being open, honest and fair.

Your transparency will reap clear rewards. If you treat people well, most will be encouraged to return the favor. By elevating the importance of people and relationships, you enhance your ability to relate to others in an authentic and meaningful way.

Lean Tip #1643 - Promote Strategic Cooperation.
People often produce higher quality, more efficient work products when collaborating. Commit to this by actively embracing opportunities for healthy cooperation. Make teamwork an attractive aspect of workplace culture. Less burnout, increased trust among peers and enhanced interpersonal relationships will result.

Lean Tip #1644 - Freely Develop and Support Others.
Professional development is an extraordinary mechanism for facilitating growth. Demonstrate your commitment to expanding your reach and your team's by prioritizing opportunities for enrichment. Allot time and resources to make the process stress free. Challenge yourself and your team to overcome shortcomings at regular intervals throughout the year. Then acknowledge and reward proactive participation to build enthusiasm and encourage continued progress.

Lean Tip #1645 - Listen to Your Team.
As leaders, sometimes we are so consumed with providing directive, giving orders, and, well, talking that we forget to stop and listen. If the recruitment and training engine is functioning well, you should have a whole team of experts to turn to for advice. One sign of good leadership is knowing that you don’t know everything. Listen and get feedback from your team regularly.

Lean Tip #1646 - Praise Improvement, Even Minor Improvements.
Psychologists discovered long ago that when you positively reinforce a desired behavior, people are far more likely to repeat that behavior. Most people want to do the right thing, which means you will find far more success in leading a team if you focus on using positive reinforcement rather than negative actions like threats and fear tactics.

Lean Tip #1647 - Give Honest and Sincere Praise and Appreciation.
All people deeply desire significance. One of the easiest ways you can help fulfill desire that is by offering honest and sincere praise and appreciation whenever possible. This is probably one of the greatest motivational methods you can ever employ.

Lean Tip #1648 - Get Your Hands Dirty.
Do the work and know your trade. You don’t have to be the most advanced technician on the team, but you must have an in-depth understanding of your industry and your business. Leaders have many responsibilities, but it is important to work alongside your team. This is a great way to build trust and continue to develop your own knowledge and skills.

Lean Tip #1649 - Let the Team Do Their Thing.
Stop micromanaging. Communicate the mission, vision, values, and goals. Then step back and let the team innovate. Setting this example for the team will encourage your other managers to do the same.  Always show support for all team members. If someone needs extra guidance, provide it behind closed doors.

Lean Tip #1650 – Inspire and Guide People Toward the Goal
If you wish to be a great leader, make it your focus to serve those whom you would lead. There are a lot of people that want the power, prestige and pay that comes along with leadership positions, but few want to do what it takes to actually be a good and effective leader. Great leadership isn’t about bossing people around; it’s about inspiring and guiding people towards a common goal for everyone’s benefit. Build your team up, give them credit for their work, praise their efforts and reward them when they succeed. There is a saying that states “Be the change that you want to see”, we can adapt that to this discussion by saying “Be the leader that you would want to lead you”.



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