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Monday, September 18, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #114 (1711-1725)

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 #1711 - Involve Employees in the Change Process.
Employees are not so much against change as they are against being changed. Any time managers are going to implement organizational change, there is always a lag between the time the change has been discussed at the management level and the time the change is going to be implemented. The sooner you involve employees in the process, the better off you will be implementing the change. A formal communication channel is more effective at implementing change than a negative informal one.

Lean Tip #1712 - Be Firm, Committed, and Flexible.
As you introduce a change, it is important that you see the change through to completion. Abandoning it halfway through the change process accomplishes two negative impacts. First, it destroys your credibility. Second, it tells every employee that if you take the stance of a dinosaur, the change will pass by, even if you lose your job and become extinct in the process. Remain flexible, because you will have to adapt to situations to successfully implement the changes.

Lean Tip #1713 - Keep a Positive Attitude.
Your attitude as a manager or supervisor will be a major factor in determining what type of climate is exhibited by your employees. Your attitude is the one thing that keeps you in control. Change can be stressful and confusing. Try to remain upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic. Foster motivation in others. During times of transition and change, try to compensate your employees for their extra effort. Write a brief note of encouragement on their paychecks; leave an affirming message on their voice mail; take them aside and tell them what a great job they are doing; listen to their comments and suggestions. Last, try to instill organizational change as a personal challenge that everyone can meet…with success!

Lean Tip #1714 - Ask Employees for Commitment.
Once the change has been announced, it is important that you personally ask for each employee’s commitment to successfully implement the change. It is also important that you assure the employee that if there are problems, you want to hear about them. If a negative employee does not tell you, they will tell other employees why the change will not work.

Lean Tip #1715 - Set the Tone for Change
Many organizations never set the tone for change to occur. Employees fall into a routine, become comfortable in their environment, and feel deceived if changes are on the horizon. Mix things up and challenge employees. Set the tone that the organization is evolving and change is certain.

Lean Tip #1716 - Listen to People Who Work the Front Line
Seek advice and opinions of people in front line positions in your organization. People who interact with outsiders and co-workers on a daily basis will understand what needs to be changed and how it can impact work processes.

Lean Tip #1717 - Celebrate Milestones and Small Wins in the Process.
In today's organizational environment, change is a constant. Even though the vision may be communicated clearly, it is still "out there." If one waits until the vision is achieved before celebrating, then the recognition of success may always be just out of reach. Leaders celebrate small wins and steps in the right direction. This recognition shows that the change is worth the effort and motivates employees to continue striving toward the vision.

Lean Tip #1718 - Effectively Engage Employees
Listen, listen, listen. If there is another piece advice that a company should take, it’s to receive and respond to the feedback that is provided by the employees. They are the ones making sure that all the clients are happy and that all the work gets done, so keeping them in the loop is vital.

Understanding that no two employees are the same is another important tactic to use when trying to understand the employee’s concern. Being able to realize that there are going to be many different reasons for opposition depending on the person is pertinent, because then managers can tailor ways to work out these problems.

Lean Tip #1719 - Break the Change into “Bite-Sized” Pieces.
Smart leaders understand that people need both information about the reason behind the change and time to adjust to it. They also realize that they can’t wait forever to get everyone to commit to the new direction. So, they break down big changes into small pieces that people are most likely to accept quickly. By moving forward in small steps, smart leaders move their organizations with frequent, continual and steady forward progress rather than through periodic big jumps.

Lean Tip #1720 - Build Positive Momentum.
When you break larger changes into smaller, more manageable, bite-sized pieces, smart leaders position themselves to build positive forward momentum. Smart leaders know that an early failure or setback can create more resistance later – even if they do manage to overcome it.

Building a record of quick, early wins helps people accept the upsets that will happen on the way to success. Smart leaders understand the power of momentum – either positive or negative. Break changes into small pieces that improve your odds of success, and then pick the highest probability of success steps as your first move.

Lean Tip #1721 - Establish an Impeccable Standard of Excellence.
Set high expectations at the outset and raise the bar on any crucial factors. The best way to establish a standard is by modeling the expected behavior yourself. 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 #1722 - 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 #1723 - Be Part of the Change.
Adopt an attitude of anticipation and excitement. See change as an opportunity. Get involved in new committees and work teams. Be an influencer and driver of change. That way you will feel empowered and less fearful. See the positive in the way forward.

Lean Tip #1724 - Communicate Effectively to Avoid Fear
During workplace change, many employees probably experience a fear of the unknown. Therefore, effective communication is vital. When the lines of communication malfunction, harmful rumors and rumblings among the workforce can occur. Strive to create an environment where pertinent information about changes is communicated to employees as quickly and completely as possible. Also, establish effective channels for workers to address leaders in order to assuage their fears about changes. 

Lean Tip #1725 - Employee Involvement is Vital
All change efforts should involve employees at some level.

Organizational change, whether large or small, needs to be explained and communicated, specifically changes that affect how employees perform their jobs.

Whether it is changing a work process, improving customer satisfaction or finding ways to reduce costs, employees have experiences that can benefit the change planning and implementation process.

Since employees are typically closest to the process, it is important that they understand the why behind a change and participate in creating the new process.

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