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Monday, September 9, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #143 (2356-2370)

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 #2356 - Be Enthusiastic
Your people will reflect the tone and demeanor that you display. If you are positive, energetic, and enthusiastic, then they will also adopt your demeanor. Don’t accept ongoing negativity. Help people to see the positive in the situation. Explain repeatedly why you are asking them to change some facet of their work, and then be patient.

Lean Tip #2357 - Offer Frequent Encouragement
I have been told repeatedly over the years that, “No news is good news.” In other words, the only time a person’s manager may speak to them is when they have messed up. Don’t let this be said of you. Try to catch people doing the right things, and then recognize and express appreciation for their efforts. When people don’t meet your expectations, take the time to encourage them and tell them that you know that they will do better next time. Help them with any deficiencies they may have and celebrate their efforts when they succeed.

Lean Tip #2358 - Help People to See Their Opportunity
Those who are consumed with negativity don’t often see their own opportunities.  Take the time to identify opportunities that are available to the people who work for you and find or create occasions to share them.  Helping people to understand that they have control over how they feel, how they see the situation, and their actions and reactions, can help them to be responsible for what they create for themselves.

Lean Tip #2359 - Hold People Accountable
If people are dragging their feet or are not embracing the required change, then you need to call them on their behavior. Hold the conversation to reinforce the importance of the needed change, be clear about your expectations, and then do all you can to help them succeed. Don’t let it be said of you that you didn’t provide them with what they needed to be successful. If they refuse to change, then that decision is theirs and not yours. Respectfully help them to see and take responsibility for their actions and attitude in the current situation.

Lean Tip #2360 - Identify The Needs Of The Individual
I think it is safe to assume that most people come to work looking to perform adequately and not intentionally mess something up. When things don’t go as planned, or you don’t get the results that you expected, take that as an opportunity to identify what that person needs to do to be more effective. Doing so reinforces to the individual that you really are committed to their success and development in light of all the new tasks that may be required of them.

Lean Tip #2361 – Facilitate Process-Centric Thinking.
Process-centric thinking does not have to be overly complex. Sometimes, all it takes is a thoughtful examination to uncover significant areas for improvement. Rather than tolerating mistakes and repeat errors, facilitate process-centric thinking to continually improve, correct, and overcome execution difficulties.

Lean Tip #2362 – Educate Your Workplace.
Like any other business strategy, ongoing education of the workplace is critical in establishing awareness, developing skills, and institutionalizing the needed mindset and behaviors to bring about effective change. It is no different with Continuous Improvement. Expect and overcome resistance to change with ongoing training, reinforcement of expected behaviors, and recognition of those who are learning and doing.

Lean Tip #2363 – Ensure a Penalty-free Exchange of Ideas. 
In many organizations, expressing one's opinion on how to do things better may not necessarily be a welcomed activity. Management can feel threatened or pressured to act resulting in immediate resistances. And, those expressing ideas may be viewed as complainers or trouble makers. In such an environment, it doesn't take long for the potential risks of making a suggestion to stifle enthusiasm and participation in improvement oriented thinking. Ensuring a penalty-free exchange of ideas is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver of new ideas and approaches and will ensure a safe two way exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Lean Tip #2364 – Think Kaizen and Cross the Chasm.
Many people advocate Kaizen oriented thinking and behavior where continual small, incremental improvements provide tremendous benefits in performance and end results achieved over time. Others advocate a Crossing the Chasm mind set where drastic change is introduced completely replacing inefficient execution rather than slightly improving upon it. In a continuous improvement culture, there is room for both approaches. And often, after achieving the mega change that is made possible when Crossing the Chasm improvement initiatives are implemented, a Kaizen mind set is required to refine, sustain, and continually improve upon such change.

Lean Tip #2365 – Establish an Enduring Culture.
For continuous improvement to work, there must be a relentless focus on and commitment to getting things right. Adaptability and an action oriented leadership team are inherent components of a continuous improvement culture. Resistance to change exists in all organizations to a degree and it must be recognized for what it is, an impediment to improvement.

Lean Tip #2366 - Get Organizational Buy-in for Kaizen
Make sure your organization understands the importance of the Kaizen event to your business’s bottom line. Gaining buy-in is crucial to the success of your kaizen initiatives. If your organization’s leaders are committed to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement, they will set the tone for the rest of the company.

Further, it’s important that your employees have the support that they need from leadership in order to implement improvements. Otherwise, the team will be operating on a series of isolated efforts.

Lean Tip #2367 - Empower Your Employees With Kaizen
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 #2368 - Create Your Own Kaizen Guidelines
While there are many resources available to guide you through your kaizen efforts, it’s important to personally understand your company’s kaizen journey. Reflecting on your kaizen efforts after improvements have been implemented is an important part of the continuous improvement cycle.

As you reflect on your efforts, develop your own kaizen guidelines. Start by creating guidelines based on your own experiences improving the workplace. Keep in mind that these guidelines should be for your colleagues, your successors, and yourself to understand the problems you have overcome. These guidelines will ultimately help you as you approach your next challenge.

Lean Tip #2369 - Standardize Your Kaizen Improvement
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 #2370 - Enforce Kaizen 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.

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