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Monday, March 11, 2019

Lean Tips #136 (2251 - 2265)

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 #2251 - Communicate Results. 
It’s critical that results are communicated, especially with lean initiatives. Communication is so much more than just a component of internal controls or a soft skill! Communication allows you to stop operating in secret. Poor communication is often a hallmark of a fear-based culture: we’re afraid we’re going to fail or look silly. But an important part of building a lean and innovative culture is failure because it tells you what needs to change.

Lean Tip #2252 - Empower your Employees
Employees who are closest to the problems on your shop floor are the best-equipped to solve them. They are your greatest assets in your kaizen efforts, so give them the support they need to implement improvements. Developing your team’s abilities through training and support should be as much a part of your continuous improvement program as making improvements to manufacturing processes.

Additionally, engaging team members to identify problems and suggest improvements in their work areas encourages a sense of ownership over their work, which can improve overall motivation, morale, and productivity.

Lean Tip #2253 - Focus on Small Changes
Approach change in small, incremental steps; if you improve by just 1% every day for a year, you’ll be 37 times better than when you started. Test and implement small changes. This increases the speed to improvement and reduces the pressures and risks of implementing a major change.

To this end, focus your improvements on solving the root causes of issues. This allows employees to catch and contain small issues before they become larger and costlier to eliminate, and it prevents the same problems from reoccurring.

Lean Tip #2254 - Standardize Work
In order for improvements to last, they must be standardized and repeatable. Standardizing work is crucial to kaizen because it creates a baseline for improvement. When you make improvements to a process, it’s essential to document the new standard work in order to sustain the improvements and create a new baseline. Standard work also reduces variability in processes and promotes discipline, which is essential for continuous improvement efforts to take root.

Lean Tip #2255 - Enforce Improvements
It’s easy for employees to regress to their old ways. Enforcing the changes you’ve made to your processes is important for the improvements you’ve made to last, and it’s key to sustaining continuous improvement in the long term.

Documenting improvements, making sure standard work is up-to-date, and training employees on new procedures can help sustain the progress you’ve made in your continuous improvement efforts.

Lean Tip #2256 – Leaders Constantly Learn
Great leaders constantly read in order to improve the thoughts and ideas that are produced in their mind. Reading helps to expand your mind and think quickly when forced to make tough decisions. You also will want to take any classes that can help you improve your individual performance and leadership capabilities. Once you stop learning, you not only fail yourself but you also fail your team.

Lean Tip #2257 – Leaders Never Give Up
As a leader, things will get tough. You will have to deal with so many different factors in order to keep your business operating and to provide for your team. It can be a challenge to keep going when no one truly knows what you are dealing with as one person who has to provide for many others. You must remember your vision when you are faced with these tough times, and keep pushing forward despite what you are dealing with.

Lean Tip #2258 - Transform Your Methods When Necessary
Do not be stubborn when your strategy is not working. Know when to pivot and try something different. If you try to push your methods through that are not working, you are hurting both you and your team. Great leaders understand that sometimes you have to try something different from the initial plan in order to produce the successful results.

Lean Tip #2259 – Leaders Learn From Mistakes
Mistakes are opportunities to learn how to lead and operate better. If you are making the same mistakes over and over again, that means you are not learning from them. After a mistake is made, find out why it occurred so that you can know how to avoid making it again when the same situations come back around.

Lean Tip #2260 – Leaders are Accountable
A leader holds themselves accountable for their own actions. This helps their team know what is expected of themselves. When you operate with high standards, your team knows they have to follow your example or risk being seeing as incompetent, which would lead to their dismissal from your team. If you operate without standards, you will find that you have a team who has no discipline or values.

Lean Tip #2261 - Get Out of Your Office.
Come in early to get your work done while things are peaceful. Then, when everyone else arrives, get out of your office and connect with people. It's an efficient way to balance the demands of a leadership role, and people feel good about their team when they can see a leader not only working hard but also being available and accessible. It's a win-win.

Lean Tip #2262 - Encourage Employee Contributions. 
Some of the best ideas can come from employees. They interact with clients and customers every day and have an intimate knowledge of how well practices and procedures are working. Hear them out about ways to make improvements. Make changes that will improve their ability to do their job.

Lean Tip #2263 - Lead by Action and Example
An effective leader never orders anyone to do anything he wouldn’t be willing to do himself. If you’re going to expect certain things of your followers, then it’s imperative that you lead by action and example. You don’t actually have to do everything on your own, but if you occasionally reach down and contribute to mundane tasks and entry-level work, you’ll gain the respect of your employees and possibly even learn a thing or two in the process.

Lean Tip #2264 - Motivate Others
A good leader motivates others. There are many different types of leadership styles-driven, supportive, energetic and low-key, among others. Whatever their management style, good leaders find creative ways to motivate their team members.

One way to motivate people for the long-term is to set up data-driven systems that allow team members to excel in their performance. The right systems help staff members to operate at their maximum potential.

Lean Tip #2265 - Promote Excellence
You should have high expectations and challenge your team to reach their potential. Think about your own experience. Have you ever been to a course or seminar when the teacher or speaker really motivated you? You knew that when you walked out of that program that you were going to be a little bit better in some way. A spark had been ignited, and you were ready to raise the bar on your performance. As the practice leader, you have to provide that spark.

Provide small and large challenges for your team. This allows those individuals to think through problems, grow and mature, and begin to excel in their jobs. Your team will be better for it-and so will your practice.

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