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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #140 (#2311-#2325)

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 #2311 - Let Everyone See What Everyone is Doing
It's hard to lend a hand to your teammates when you don't know what they're doing or where they're overrun with work. Unfortunately, office workers tend to keep track of their own work in email or spreadsheets—places where it can't be seen by their manager or teammates.

With each person's information locked away in their own personal silos, no one has visibility into anyone else's needs.

Fortunately, this problem can be fixed by keeping each person's work information—what they're working on, how much of their bandwidth is being consumed with each assignment, and what they have coming up—in a public space where the whole team can see it.

A whiteboard or a shared Google spreadsheet, for example, are a good way to start doing this.

Lean Tip #2312 - Be Present and Attentive
Teamwork is impossible when people think you don't care about them.

Rather than being that person who tears around the office, constantly absorbed in the next meeting, the next quarter, the next campaign, blind to the human beings in your midst, be that team member who takes time to give their full attention to each conversation.

When team members see you listening to them, they will be more likely to buy into your teamwork-building efforts. As old-fashioned as it may sound, teamwork is the result of a group of people who care enough about each other to work together.

Lean Tip #2313 - Recognize Team Member Accomplishments Consistently
When team members are praised for outstanding performance, they're more likely to stretch themselves in the future to reach their own goals or to help a team member in need.

But be careful with praise and rewards: if they are administered with even a hint of favoritism and arbitrariness, they could engender resentment and skepticism in your team and undermine your efforts to build teamwork.

The only way to effectively give praise and rewards in a way that builds teamwork is to do it i a deliberate, transparent, structured way. Criteria should be clear and indisputable to everyone involved.

Lean Tip #2314 - Communicate Priorities Clearly
When priorities aren't clearly communicated to the whole team, they can feel arbitrary—even when they aren't. So let your team know exactly how you will decide what gets worked on. Publish this information so everyone can refer back to it when necessary and share these priorities with stakeholders.

Lean Tip #2315 - Focus on Creating Business Value
In the course of trying to perform well in the business world, teams can get a little distracted. They can start to think that they exist to outperform the team next door. They can get tricked into thinking they exist to pull off their next promotion or to get public recognition from the CEO.

These ideas are inevitable, but they need to be constantly trimmed to keep teams from getting off track.

Teams that focus on creating value for their company—and clearly demonstrating that value to the company—will always go right. Interestingly, these teams tend to be the ones that also get the recognition, job security, and praise everyone pines for.

So why does your team exist? Plainly put, your team exists to create value for your business.

Lean Tip #2316 - Give The Power To Make Decisions
What's one of the easiest ways to make team members lose faith in teamwork? By restricting their autonomy to make decisions that allow them to accomplish their tasks.

When it comes to decision-making, you often rely on the knowledge of your team members. This is why collaboration is becoming an essential ingredient for success. Collaborative leadership is about skillful management of relationships. This management should enable team members to succeed individually while also accomplishing a shared objective. Giving your team the power to make decisions serves as great motivation for effective teamwork and to bring about radical change.

Lean Tip #2317 - Promote Efficient Team Meetings
According to a survey conducted by Microsoft Office, professionals waste up to 3.8 hours a week on unproductive meetings. No matter what you call them—status updates or team gatherings—these meetings are a waste of time if there is no value in them. Although it's perhaps not reasonable to have teamwork without meetings, making sure these meetings are productive is a step towards effective teamwork in the workplace.

To get the most out of your team meetings, try a meeting checklist. It's an easy tool that helps you plan for upcoming status meetings by providing a list of criteria to reflect on. Through proper preparation, you can save time and turn those dreaded team meetings into success stories. After all, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Lean Tip #2318 - Create Conditions Where Trust Wins
Teamwork frequently brings with it an atmosphere of trepidation rather than trust. Often, employees are scared to share their ideas, fearing that they’ll be misunderstood or criticized.

Leaders can create an atmosphere of psychological safety to promote trust and encourage team members to openly share ideas and perspectives. One way to do this is by opening your workplace up to feedback. Enact a system of regular, structured feedback in which you go around and ask everyone on the team to share something. Appreciate and listen to the feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. This will gradually increase the feeling of trust throughout the team.

Lean Tips #2319 – Foster a Collaborative Environment
Your team requires both an open company culture as well as a physical space that encourages collaboration and creativity. These are the elements of an environment that fosters discussion, idea-sharing and brainstorming among team members. Remind your employees that there are no stupid ideas. Establish trust and make sure they feel comfortable sharing ideas without judgment. In other words, provide the space to brainstorm in a way that embraces your team’s diversity, encourages teamwork and is open and non-judgmental.

Lean Tips #2320 - Make Everyone Feel Important
Most managers know that giving an employee direct responsibilities and making them accountable for a particular project’s success is a great way to motivate individual achievement.  This, however, also works for teams.  Every person on the team should be just as involved as every other member.  This can be accomplished through providing all project information, deadlines, and goals to each individual team member.  Make each of them feel as if the success of the project is dependent on them and every employee will give it their all.

Lean Tip #2321 – Learn How to Coach Your People.
The greatest and strongest leaders know they’re only as good as the teams around them, so they put tremendous emphasis on coaching and supporting their people, helping them grow. It’s important to give each person the attention and feedback that will motivate them to make meaningful contributions.

Lean Tip #2322 – Be Passionate, Enthusiastic, and Positive
As a leader, one of your main responsibilities is to make sure your team reaches their goals. This is really hard to do, though, if there’s a negative energy in your workplace.

You can influence your environment by being passionate, enthusiastic, and positive about your work. Be excited about what you’re doing and the impact your business is having on the world.

Try to conquer problems and setbacks with a positive outlook. Deal with issues with passion. This attitude will spread throughout your team and be inspiring to them.

Lean Tip #2323 – Live through Empathy
Kindness begets kindness.

It's holding the door for someone, making a new pot of coffee, and letting someone into your lane. Putting others ahead of yourself is the practice of courageous leadership. Promote charitable giving and an ethical consciousness in your culture, and your business will have value beyond monetary, for both your customers and your colleagues.

Understand your team too, and treat everyone as an individual. Whether you’re rewarding or reprimanding someone, it’s the role of a leader to know someone well enough to take an approach that best suits the individual. This will help you help them get the most out of work and be the best they can be.

Lean Tip #2324 – Be Constantly Learning
Leadership is movement. You’re going somewhere– or, at least, you’re supposed to be. But if you’re not consistently learning and growing, not only are you going to stay where you’re at, but it’s going to be very difficult to convince others to continue to improve their performance as well when they have something they need to work on.

Learning gives us the ability to improve our productivity and efficiency, see things in a new way that can lead to creative solutions to problems, and maximize results. Whether it’s a regular reading schedule, podcasts, conferences, or something else, make sure you’re constantly upping your own game so that you can not only lead better but keep up with the changes in your space.

Lean Tip #2325 – Practice What You Preach
The things you say are important, but what you do stands out even more. In other words, if you want to be a better leader, implement the qualities you want your team members to have in your own life.

Your employees will see what you do day to day. So be sure you walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.

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