Monday, October 15, 2018

Lean Tips Editions #130 (1946-1960)

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 #1946 - Help the Employees Identify What's in It for Them to Make the Change.
A good portion of the normal resistance to change disappears when employees are clear about the benefits the change brings to them as individuals.

Benefits to the group, the department, and the organization should be stressed, too. But, nothing is more important to an individual employee than to know the positive impact on their own career or job.

Additionally, employees must feel that the time, energy, commitment, and focus necessary to implement the change are compensated equally by the benefits they will attain from making the change.

Happier customers, increased sales, a pay raise, saved time and steps, positive notoriety, recognition from the boss, more effective, productive employees, and an exciting new role or project are examples of ways in which you can help employees feel compensated for the time, energy, focus, change, and challenge that any change requires.


Lean Tip #1947 - Listen Deeply and Empathetically to 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 #1948 - 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 their way.

Lean Tip #1949 - Create an Organization-wide Feedback and Improvement Loop.
Do these steps mean that the change that was made is the right or optimal change? Not necessarily. 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).

If you implement your change in an organizational environment that is employee-oriented, with transparent communication and a high level of trust, you have a huge advantage.

Lean Tip #1950 - Listen First, Talk Second
The first strategy to overcome resistance to change is to communicate. Communication is key — you already knew that. However, try letting your employees initiate the conversation. People want to be heard, and giving them a chance to voice their opinions will help alleviate the frustration they feel over the situation.

What’s more, your employees thoughts, concerns and suggestions will prove wildly valuable to steer your change project. At the very least, understanding them will help you pinpoint the root of employee resistance to change.

Lean Tip #1951 – Make Change About Employees
Change is only possible if your human resources are on board, so make sure changes are approached in terms of the employee. If you are implementing a new software system — plan your project through the lens of user adoption rather than focusing on the technology. It’s not about what the technology can do, it is about what the user can do with the help of this new technology.

Lean Tip #1952 - Encourage Camaraderie
Teams work better when they understand one another on a somewhat personal level. To cultivate a strong company culture and foster deeper connections between employees, create opportunities for your staff to socialize that doesn’t involve work. Happy hours, company-sponsored events and group outings and clubs are excellent ways to bring people together, regardless of age or professional title.

Lean Tip #1953 - Identify the Root Cause of Resistance
There are many telltale signs that staff members are resisting change. They may complain more than usual, miss key meetings or bluntly refuse to participate in new initiatives. It’s important to recognize when resistance is becoming an issue, but it’s even more important to understand why your employees are pushing back in the first place. The most common causes of resistance include:

·        Lack of awareness about why changes are being made
·        Fear of how change will impact job roles
·        Failed attempts at change in the past
·        Lack of visible support and commitment from managers
·        Fear of job loss

By identifying why employees are resisting change, you can better decide how to address resistance head-on. If lack of awareness or fear is the problem, greater communication and discussion groups may help. If change has failed in the past, and employees aren’t confident this time will be different, you can discuss specific ways the organization has learned from its mistakes and how it plans to use this insight to successfully implement new initiatives.

Lean Tip #1954 - Involve Executive Leadership
You cannot successfully implement change without support from all levels of business. Your employees take cues from the executive team, and if leadership doesn’t adhere to the plan for change management, it’s very likely your employees won’t either. Encourage company leaders to set an example, and the rest will follow.

Lean Tip #1955 - 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 #1956 - Innovation: Trust Yourself Enough to Trust Others
Innovation requires breaking down the old rules of thought and creating new ones.  This means each member of the team must become more transparent than ever before.    As such, each member of the team must trust themselves enough to trust each other.    When you can accomplish this trust, you become more patient, a better listener and over time more grateful for the new experiences and relationships that are being formed.

Then, step back and recognize that – with your ability to co-exist with people in ways that form a family bond – the promise of a new workplace culture can be realized.

Lean Tip #1957 - Innovation: Collaborate and Discover
It’s not until you begin to trust yourself and others that real collaboration takes root.  Collaboration is not just about working closely together, but also about taking leaps of faith together to discover new ways of thinking and create greater outcomes.

You never know which idea will take shape into the new innovation that creates impact and influence in the marketplace – whether a new process, product, packaging, piece of knowledge, etc.

Lean Tip #1958 - Innovation: Communicate to Learn
Without strong communication, teams can’t find their rhythm and they certainly won’t find the things they are looking for to build trust and collaborate.  The manner in which you communicate sets the tone and propels thinking in a variety of directions that leads to new innovations.

A team should view themselves as an innovation lab – constantly challenging each other  to learn from each other’s ideas and ideals  and to plant the seeds  for future innovations.

Lean Tip #1959 - Innovation: Be a Courageous Change Agent
For teams to innovate, leaders must challenge each team member to think more critically and see through a lens of continuous improvement.  Looking through this lens requires the mindset of a “courageous enabler” – one who takes charge and embraces the role of a change agent in support of constructive disruption that ultimately makes things operate better and improves performance.

Every leader must become a change agent or face extinction.  As such, their teams must equally be charged to do the same.  Accepting the role of a change agent means taking on an entrepreneurial attitude, embracing risk as the new normal, and beginning to see opportunity in everything. As you do, innovation becomes second nature.

Lean Tip #1960 – Innovation: Course Correct to Perfect
To find the perfect combination of people on a team, leaders must often course correct along the way.  Yes, perfection is utopia but course correction steers you closer to the promise of the culture you are attempting to create. Course correction also keeps people on their toes and teaches them to adapt to new environments, where they can showcase their abilities and skill-sets to new people and personalities in different situations and circumstances.

To effectively course correct – and create and sustain momentum for growth, innovation  and opportunity – I’ve always  believed that every leader must ask themselves the following three questions:  1) What must I keep doing?, 2) What must I stop doing?, and 3) What must I start doing?  Simple questions that we don’t ask ourselves often enough and must hold ourselves accountable to answer.


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