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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #111 (1666-1680)

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 #1666 – Overcome Resistance By Addressing Personal Concerns First
Most organizations justify the need for change by telling their employees—the ultimate users of the change—all of the wonderful things the change will mean for the organization. This is a poor approach to getting audience buyin. When faced with a change, people react first with their own concerns: “What’s in it for me?” “Does this mean I’ll have a different schedule?” “Will this break up our department?” So, first things first. As a change agent, you should deal with the users’ personal concerns first and focus later (if at all) on the organizational benefits.  

Lean Tip #1667 – Improve Communication and Engagement to Prevent Resistance to Change
Communication solves all ills. But a lack of it creates more of them. This is another crucial reason why employees oppose change. How the change process itself is communicated to the employees is very important because it determines how they react. If the process of what needs to be changed, how it needs to be changed and what success would look like cannot be communicated, then resistance should be expected. Employees need to understand why there is a need for change, because if they are just thrown the notion that what they have been used to for a long time is going to be completely renovated, with that will come much backlash.

Lean Tip #1668 – Enable Trust to Overcome Resistance to Change
Trust is a vital tool to have when running a successful business. In organizations where there is a lot of trust in management, there is lower resistance to change. Mutual mistrust between management and employees will lead to the company going into a downward spiral, so trust is a must.

Lean Tip #1669 - Implement Change in Several Stages
Change doesn’t happen all at once. Companies should first prepare for the change, then take action on the change and make a plan for managing the change, and third, support the change and assure that all is going as planned.

Lean Tip #1670 - Do Change Right the First Time
Failed attempts to change aspects of your business process will have a negative effect on how employees view future initiatives. If you’re going to make a change, make sure you’re doing everything in your power to ensure it’s successful and set realistic timelines. Many companies fail to successfully implement change because they overload employees and expect near-immediate gratification. The reality of change management boils down to one fact: It takes time.
Break the initiative down into stages and guide employees through the process to ensure, at each mile marker, adaptations are unfolding correctly to support the next stage of change.

Lean Tip #1671 - Establish an Enduring Culture
Adaptability and an action oriented leadership team are inherent components of a continuous improvement culture. Resistance to change exists in all organizations to a degree and it must be recognized for what it is, an impediment to improvement.

Lean Tip #1672 - Facilitate Process-Centric Thinking
Process-centric thinking does not have to be overly complex. Sometimes, all it takes is a thoughtful examination to uncover significant areas for improvement. Rather than tolerating mistakes and repeat errors, facilitate process-centric thinking to continually improve, correct, and overcome execution difficulties.

Lean Tip #1673 - Ensure a Penalty-free Exchange of Ideas
Ensuring a penalty-free exchange of ideas is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver of new ideas and approaches and will ensure a safe two way exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Lean Tip #1674 – Measure Your Performance
It is not possible to improve what is not measured. Determine in advance the approach and techniques to be used in measurements. Scorecards can be useful to monitor the key performance indicators of processes that support capability and performance.

Lean Tip #1675 - Establish Core Values
Establish the core values that comprise the continuous improvement culture such as a focus on supporting the customer, teamwork throughout the extended enterprise, receptivity to evolving continuous improvement concepts and tools. These core values will create a sense of belonging and a common vision for all involved.

Lean Tip #1676 - Don’t Measure Everything that can be Measured
Don’t measure everything that can be measured and don’t blindly trust an analytics tool to collect the right data. Instead, use the business goals to choose a small amount of metrics that truly help you understand how your product performs. Otherwise you take the risk of wasting time and effort analyzing data that creates little or no insights. In the worst case, you action irrelevant data and make the wrong decisions.

Lean Tip #1677 - Employ Lagging and Leading Indicators
Lagging indicators, such as revenue, profit, and cost, are backward-focused and tell you about the outcome of past actions. Leading indicators help you understand how likely it is that your product will meet a goal in the future. Take product quality as an example. If the code is becoming increasingly complex, then adding new features will become more expensive and require more time. Meeting profit targets and delivery dates will therefore become harder. Using backward and forward-focused indicators allows you to tell you if you have met the business goals and helps you anticipate if the product is likely to meet the goals in the future.

Lean Tip #1678 - Make Only a Few Measures the Priority at any One Time.
Usually you’re measuring a goal or result because you’re NOT currently achieving it to the level you really want or need. And that means that your business or organization doesn’t yet have the innate capability to do it well. When you can’t yet do something well, trying to focus on dozens of things is like trying to learn to swim in a giant washing machine.

The more priorities you have, the fewer of them (if any) you will do justice. Each month or quarter, choose just your 3 to 5 highest performance priorities and give your attention to them first.

Lean Tip #1679 – KPI’s Start at the Top, But Cannot be Imposed
KPI’s should reflect the larger picture of what the business is trying to accomplish, and therefore should be defined top-down. But if the KPI has to be actionable, it has to be measured bottom-up. For a Performance management program to be successful and effective, it undoubtedly needs senior leadership commitment, but it also needs to trickle down through the layers through a focused organizational change management and communication exercise. People should take ownership for the KPI’s, and it will only happen if they also feel that they are part of the KPI creation process. Make it a collaborative exercise. It doesn’t end there. Nothing speaks louder than results. If your performance measurement program starts yielding favorable results (as it should), make sure everybody knows about it; the buy-in will happen automatically.

Lean Tip #1680 - If you Can’t measure, You Can’t Fix

Performance management measures are fairly useless if you have no way to measure and report them. It is also important to determine the correct frequency for reporting. A KPI has to be an invaluable aid in timely decision making. If you are not monitoring it frequently enough, you are not acting soon enough. While I am a great fan of Microsoft Excel, it is not a measurement tool. The process of report preparation in Excel is highly manual, so it can’t be frequent enough, and it is also prone to errors. A good measurement and reporting tool is invaluable in your performance management efforts. With the advent of cloud computing, technology has become ubiquitous. High quality tools are now available at a fraction of the cost. Affordable reporting and BI tools are accessible to businesses of all sizes. Choose a tool that can be easily configured to meet your local requirements.

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