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Monday, November 27, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #117 (1756-1770)

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 #1756 – Set Goals for Alignment and Motivation
For your team to be aligned, they have to be working for a common purpose and with a similar motivation.

The ideal team has come together, with each team member bringing a separate set of skills and expertise. Your team will be aligned when their common goal is known, and when they cooperate together to achieve it.

Goals have the added bonus of increasing motivation. You’ll find that your employees are more motivated when they have something to strive for.

If your team is working well together, and they are aligned with a common goal, you might find they individually exceed your expectations.

Lean Tip #1757 - Define the Responsibilities of Team Members
In order to work toward your common goals, each person on the team should agree to how you’ll meet the goal.

Once that happens, you can set individual responsibilities. These should be well-defined so there is no room for interpretation.

For the good of the team and motivation of all members, keep the individual tasks as evenly distributed as possible.

Lean Tip #1758 - Provide Encouragement To Your Team
As the team leader, your encouragement goes a long way in building your team and keeping members active and engaged.

Make sure that everyone continues to work together and remains aligned in goals and motivation.

Ensure that everyone knows they have a place on the team, and everyone’s opinions and work is valued.

Lean Tip #1759 - Increase Motivation With Realistic Goals
You’ll find that your employees are more motivated when they have something to strive for. Make sure your goals are specific and attainable.

Goals that aren’t reachable are motivation killers. You want your team to be successful, so make sure your goals are realistic.

Generally, you’ll find your team members want to be successful, and your goals will motivate them to reach for excellence.

You can always offer some time of reward if your team meets your goal.

Lean Tip #1760 - Align the Team for Maximum Teamwork
Consider the team who can’t reach its goals unless every member of the team works together, finishing their tasks on time.

This is a team that is aligned with a shared motivation. When your team realizes their goals can only be reached with maximum teamwork, you’ll have a better chance at success.

Lean Tip #1761 - Lead by Example
It is vital that your senior leaders model any change initiatives for your employees. If your senior leaders do not “walk their talk,” employees will quickly stop trying as well. Your staff will think, “Why should I make these extra efforts if the people running the organization aren’t bothering?” Leaders who don’t back up their words with actions lose employee trust. A change initiative requires a team effort, and management should be fostering trust and leading their teams. Senior leaders can introduce a change process, but it’s their active participation that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to change.

Lean Tip #1762 - Communicate Consistently to Avoid Confusion
It’s likely there will be some confusion during a change process. Employees may feel disoriented as your organization lets go of old processes and embraces new procedures. In order to help your staff feel more comfortable, make sure to communicate with them often.

Think of your organization as a sailboat, and you’re simply changing your course. When you turn your boat, the sails often luff or flap as they adjust to the shifting winds. As captain, you can keep your crew from panicking by reassuring them you’re headed in the right direction. Employees will feel safer knowing that someone is at the helm.

Lean Tip #1763 - Provide Education Whenever Possible
Executives usually don’t want to admit that they don’t know what they don’t know. Keep in mind that many leaders, especially those who do not have a manufacturing or engineering background, may not have had much exposure to the lean and Six Sigma tools. So, improvement leaders may need to dedicate some one-on-one time in order to address any deficiencies. Another good tactic is to suggest that all company leaders attend training in order to show their support and to help build a common culture and understanding.

Lean Tip #1764 - Tie Improvement Efforts to Strategic Goals
One of the first company functions that needs to be exposed to the improvement tools and methodologies is the finance group. Many improvements (5S for example) may prove difficult to calculate a hard dollar savings. So, if an improvement team has an accountant type resource as one of the members, they have a better chance to show the business executives that the savings are real. Otherwise, you may be accused of trying to use “smoke and mirrors” to validate the efforts and justify the costs of the training and resources.

Lean Tip #1765 - Empower Employees to Contribute.
Control of their own jobs is one of the five key factors in what employees want from work. So, too, this control aspect follows when you seek to minimize resistance to change. Give the employees control over any aspect of the change that they can manage.

If you have communicated transparently, you have provided the direction, the rationale, the goals, and the parameters that have been set by your organization. Within that framework, your job is to empower the employees to make the change work.

Practice effective delegation and set the critical path points at which you need feedback for the change effort - and get out of the way.

Lean Tip #1766 - Create an Organization-Wide Feedback and Improvement Loop.
You must maintain an open line of communication throughout your organization to make sure that feedback reaches the ears of the employees leading the charge. Changing course or details, continuous improvement, and tweaking is a natural and expected, part of any organizational change. Most changes are not poured in concrete but there must be a willingness to examine the improvement (plan, do, study, take additional action).

Lean Tip #1767 - Listen Deeply and Empathetically to the Employees.
You can expect that the employees will experience the same range of emotions, thoughts, agreement, and disagreement that you experienced when the change was introduced to you or when you participated in creating the change. Never minimize an employee's response to even the most simple change.

You can't know or experience the impact from an individual employee's point of view. Maybe the change seems insignificant to many employees, but the change will seriously impact another employee's favorite task. Hearing the employees out and letting them express their point of view in a non-judgmental environment will reduce resistance to change.

Lean Tip #1768 - Provide Great Training and Equally Great Support
Putting the change in place is just the beginning. There needs to be systems in place to help support your employees and make sure that the change sticks. Most changes don’t fail in the implementation, they fail in their execution. Training and support help ensure the change will last.

Lean Tip #1769 - Show the Results for Positive Reinforcement
Depending on the change, you want to keep some sort of metrics to show the results to everyone in the organization. The more positive results seen by employees, the more enthusiastic they will be about not only this change, but any others that take place down the road. Nothing speaks quite like results!

Lean Tip #1770 - It Pays to Reward Success

Remember, success builds on itself. By rewarding success, you will create internal champions from among those who are higher risk takers and more aware of the value of the new outcomes. They will become your role models and persuaders. Others will follow them more easily.

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