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Monday, January 28, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #135 (#2221 - 2235)

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 #2221 – Get Your Team to Show Appreciation for Each Other
One easy and rewarding thing you can do to create a positive working environment is to actively show appreciation for your team, and encourage them to show appreciation for each other. This can be done in an unstructured way, by just encouraging your employees to be thankful to each other.

Lean Tip #2222 – Celebrate Team Wins
A team that celebrates together, stays together. You will discover that most successes you have in your work are not down to one person, but a whole team. Be sure to celebrate wins in the workplace, no matter how big or small. This will not only help people to feel appreciated but also make them understand that they are having an important impact on the organization too! Get your team to decide on how they would like to celebrate their next win. This will help them feel more invested in their goal.

Lean Tip #2223 – Spend Time Together Not Working
Your employees are human, not resources or man-hours. Take some time to do a non-work related activity together. This can help to rejuvenate the team and also help them to see each other beyond their job title. If your team feels relaxed and comfortable in each other’s presence, this will create a positive and safe working environment.

Lean Tip #2224 – Set Boundaries and Expectations Together
Create a positive and safe environment together by conducting a workshop where your team can set boundaries and expectations together. By creating these commitments together you will avoid team members from feeling that something has been ‘imposed’ on them, and instead they will feel more committed to the team's boundaries and expectations as this is something they have created together.

Lean Tip #2225 – Trust Your Team
As a leader, it is essential that you trust your team. Avoid micromanagement, or taking over tasks that others should be responsible for as this will cause your team to harbor negative feelings. Instead, nurture an environment of trust and give your team freedom (with responsibility, of course) and this will spread positivity throughout your employees.

Lean Tip #2226 – Encourage Your Employees to Chat Face-to-Face
While sending a quick email or chat message to a coworker might seem like a more efficient way of getting an answer, oftentimes it can have the opposite effect, as the subsequent back-and-forth can take longer than a quick face-to-face. Face-to-face interaction really speeds up the process of solving a problem, answering a question, or getting something important clarified.

Lean Tip #2227 – Hold a Daily, 10-Minute Company Meeting
While meetings are generally considered a necessity, they can carry on to the point where they eat away at the work day. Each day gather as a company for a 10-minute meeting called the Daily Huddle. The meeting serves as a firehose of information that keeps everyone in the loop, including a roundup of key performance indicators, the celebration of accomplishments, and the identification of opportunities to improve.

Not only is it a good way to keep all employees up to speed on any new developments within the company, keeping meetings short and sweet forces a streamlined meeting process, and reduces time wasted.

Lean Tip #2228 – Promote a Culture of Open Communication
Encourage your employees to communicate openly. But, that goes beyond the idea of communicating face-to-face to solve problems; do your employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns, or giving feedback on how your company is run?

The best way to improve business efficiency is to encourage feedback, ideas, and communication between departments. You can’t be everywhere at once, nor will you see everything. Your employees may be able to spot an area of your company that could be made more efficient, or a process that could be streamlined. Make sure they feel comfortable voicing their opinions, and offering feedback, especially when it comes to improving efficiency.

Lean Tip #2229 – Communication is King
There's one simple thing that every business can do that, if implemented, would change their business dramatically. That is the communication process between management and employees. Nothing is more effective than creating an efficient system whereby people can easily communicate with anyone in one's company and someone actually responds. More time and energy is wasted by people getting lost in a bureaucracy where employee needs and questions are not met in a timely manner. Fix this and productivity soars!

Lean Tip #2230 – Inspire Employees
Employees are the eyes and ears of your business operations. If there are weak spots in your system, it’s likely employees know about them. It’s also likely they want a better process for completing tasks. But when your staff thinks you’re a “my way or the highway” leader, they usually aren’t motivated to come up with solutions.

Involve your employees in improving business operations. Ask your staff where improvements can be made. Take notes of the flaws that are pointed out and solutions offered. Make sure your employees know their opinions matter and you are open to suggestions. In addition to accelerating your business process improvement, showing your employees that they add value to your small business can take the stress off of your staffing management plan by keeping employee turnover at a minimum. 

Lean Tip #2231 - Don’t Resist Change.
While your gut reaction to change is often refusal, such a response is not productive. Change is inevitable, and you must learn to accept it. The quicker you do, the smoother your transition.

Lean Tip #2232 - Find the Positive in Change.
Even the most difficult changes can produce positive results. Don’t waste time dwelling on what you don’t like. Focus instead on the potential benefits and new opportunities the changes may bring, and your spirits will remain lighter throughout the transition.

Lean Tip #2233 - Focus on One Change at a Time.
While we can learn to accept and manage change, piling numerous changes up all at once can become too overwhelming, even for the most flexible of us. If there are many changes going on in your work life, this is probably not the best time to also start those home renovations. Managing change in one area of your life is easier when you have other areas that remain familiar and comforting.

Lean Tip #2234 - Encourage Flexibility
To transition through workplace change successfully, workers need to be flexible. Encourage employees to embrace change by engaging in new job responsibilities and facing challenges head on. Be a role model to workers in your organization by getting out of your own comfort zone.

Lean Tip #2235 - 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. Managers like to play like an ostrich and believe that they are the only ones who know about the changes that are going to take place. Unfortunately, while their heads are stuck in the sand believing that no one else knows, employees are effectively undermining the future changes with negative informal communication…the company grapevine. 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.

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