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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #137 (#2266-2280)

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 #2266 - Communicate a Clear Mission, Vision and Goals.
Employees not only need to know how the business is performing but also where it's headed. All employees should understand the goals of the company and how their individual jobs support them. This is essential for employee engagement. Also, by asking for regular feedback about how employees are tracking toward meeting their goals, leadership can get a good idea of the organization’s progress.

Lean Tip #2267 - Promote Learning and Growth at Every Opportunity.
For everyone in a company, from the CEO to the entry-level employee, continuous learning is essential to growing and adapting to dynamic market conditions. Encourage employees to constantly improve their skills and market knowledge. Support employees who want to go back to school, attend training sessions or expand their market knowledge. This can provide tremendous long-term value to a company.

Lean Tip #2268 - Do Not Limit Yourself.
Don’t be afraid to try every single thing that might take you to your goal. In fact, be more concerned about the potential opportunities you might be missing out on when you don’t try something. Opening yourself up to possibilities will enable you to pick up on things which might be fundamental to your success.

Lean Tip #2269 - Go All Out; Work Really Hard.
With every success, comes hard work. Without hard work, you cannot achieve results. People who try to find the easy way out are kidding themselves if they think they can achieve excellence without putting in hard work. If you observe around you, the people who seek out ‘get-rich-quick’ methods are also the very people who don’t achieve much in their lives. Hard work is the universal quality that will pay off in the long-term. Once you invest the due time and effort, the results will start coming in.

Lean Tip #2270 - Never Give Up.
Don’t ever give up. Remember that defeat never occurs unless you accept it as defeat. If a certain problem is too big for you to handle, break it down into smaller pieces so it’s easier for you to tackle them. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually achieve your goal.

Lean Tip #2271 – Don’t Try a Solution before You Really Understand the Problem
You might start out believing you know where the problem is in your processes. You might already have a solution in mind. However, if you start out by changing processes without analyzing the problem, you may find that the problem isn’t what you thought it was. You may even make it worse.

Bring together people with different perspectives on the problem in your process. Talk about what everyone thinks is going wrong and listen to their ideas about solutions. It’s likely you’ll get insight you didn’t anticipate so you can make better solutions.

Lean Tip #2272 – Mapping Can Be an Effective Tool
Mapping your business processes is a formal way to bring together everyone’s insight on the problem. It creates a consensus view of what’s going on in your organization, and allows you to model the impact of solutions on the entire process, not just the problematic step or steps.

Lean Tip #2273 – Tie Process Improvement To Key Objectives
Your employees need to see the connection between their efforts to improve processes and your company’s mission. By linking process improvement strategies to organizational goals, you will be more apt to earn the support of employees across the board.

Lean Tip #2274 – Request Employee Feedback
Your front-line employees are the best embodiment of your company’s processes. They perform the same tasks every day and often have firsthand information regarding procedural strengths and weaknesses. Suggestions and feedback from front-line employees can play an incredibly vital role in improving your processes.

Lean Tip #2275 – Optimize Everyday Operations
Many companies are never able to grow because they spend all of their energy fixing broken processes. While addressing bottlenecks and other problems is an important part of process improvement, a more productive approach is to evaluate procedures that are not broken. Sometimes this can be achieved by making an adjustment that is as small as a minor tweak to the order entry process.

Lean Tip #2276 – Empower Employees With Improvement
By delegating key process improvement responsibilities to your managers and supervisors, you help ensure that key employees remain actively involved. Additionally, managers and supervisors are aware of key problem areas that require sustained attention. Some strategies to empower employees to manage process improvement include the following:

Assign a team of employees to conduct an internal process improvement audit
Establish regular reporting procedures to track results
Delegate responsibility to employees who consistently model process improvement behaviors

Lean Tip #2277 – Focus on Long-Term Success
The most successful process improvement initiatives value future solutions over short-term fixes. You should expect to encounter obstacles as you focus on process improvement and strive to maintain a positive attitude towards process improvement.  Success requires patience and a long-term commitment to documenting strategies and outcomes from start to finish. This allows you to review your execution in detail to determine when and where a process faltered.

Lean Tip #2278 – Share More, Not Less. 
Even in a small company, silos emerge. A policy of more sharing will help everyone stay in touch with what others are doing, and create a collective expectation. Keeping everyone pointed in the same direction is hard; sharing more about what’s going on, how you’re doing things, reasoning behind decisions, etc. will help.

Lean Tip #2279 – 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 business can take the stress off of your staffing management plan by keeping employee turnover at a minimum.

Lean Tip #2280 – Set Time Aside to Reflect
It’s hard not to get caught up in the daily hustle of running a business. But if you forget to stop and look at your business operations, you’ll never know if they’re effective. Take a step back to review your business plan and processes. Schedule time as a part of your workweek to follow through on your evaluation.

As you reflect on the success of your operating efforts, decide which processes work and which need to go. Continue to try new practices to push your business forward.

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