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Monday, September 23, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #144 (Tip # 2371 - 2385)

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 #2371 - Identify the Results that you Expect.
KPIs should be directly related to your major goals. If you don’t have your goals written out, you should start there.

Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. In other words, stay away from measuring everything that moves. The secret sauce is to focus your effort and resources on collecting and reporting the data that really moves the needle – data that leads to action and drives positive results.

Lean Tip #2372 - Understand the Differences in Lead and Lag Measurements.
According to the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, the idea behind the lead measurement is that in order to get the result you want, you first have to create the measure of a strategic action that, when planned and taken, will have the most impact on your goals. In contrast, lag measurements show you the outcome of past actions.

Lag measures are metrics, while lead measures are actions. Always think in terms of actions. For example, if you want to drive overall sales, you first have to measure the number of leads generated and how well you close sales.

Lean Tip #2373 - Focus on Quantitative, Not Qualitative Measurements.
Focus on quantitative measurements, or hard data that attempts to answer “how much.” Though qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs) help you understand why something has happened, the problem is they tend to be vanity metrics that are not only hard to track, but also too subjective. In fact, qualitative performance measures don’t truly exist.

Lean Tip #2374 - Don’t Measure More than 10 KPIs.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are powerful, yet they come with a cost. That said, it’s critical to keep the list short and sweet so you can invest your time and resources efficiently. The more priorities you have, the fewer of them (if any) you will do justice. When you can’t yet do something well, trying to focus on dozens of things is like trying to learn to swim in a giant washing machine.

Lean Tip #2375 - Measure KPIs Weekly or Monthly.
Depending on the characteristics of each KPI, the measurement frequency can vary. Update and measure your KPIs on a regular basis, either weekly or monthly. Though higher consistency is better for decision-making, choose the frequency that makes senses for your business. In addition, since the ease of data collection is very important, it’s a good idea to start automating your collection process.

Lean Tip #2376 – Follow Through on Established Standards
Part of successful goal alignment is staying true to company values and standards when planning and implementing goals on any level. Lacking consistency on the standards and expectations employees are held to in their day-to-day tasks and especially when carrying out projects, leads goals down the wrong path and contradicts company guidelines. Things like chain of command, standards of quality and amount of workload expected to be completed must be clarified and consistent. 70% of employees who lack confidence in their leadership are disengaged. You’ve established trust with your teams, don’t break that trust with inconsistent standards.

When setting goals, establish standards first, not last, and make sure employees are educated on them before they are assigned goals. Avoid making significant changes once they have been implemented. If change is necessary, for example if key members of the team are leaving the company, carefully outline why the change is happening, how it impacts each person’s job and what will change in the goal process moving forward.

Lean Tip #2377 – Support Employees in Achieving Goals
Upwards of 50% of employees don’t feel their manager helps remove obstacles to doing their job better? For organizational goal alignment to be successful, employees need the right resources, guidance and plan to help them realistically meet goals.

Managers have to be extremely well-versed on the capabilities of their team members, making sure goals are appropriate and, if needed, supported with tools to facilitate success.

Lean Tip #2378 – Assign Accountability Measures
While your performance management system should have a goals dashboard to keep each person accountable for their own responsibilities in the goal alignment process, ensuring those individual goals and deadlines are appropriate is the key to success. Did you know employees are seven times more likely to be engaged when they report that their managers are aware of the tasks and projects that they are working on? In case you skimmed over that, I said seven times more likely.

Avoid keeping your thoughts about the goal setting process to yourself. Share them with colleagues and discuss them with each team member during the goal-setting stage so that everyone is in agreement on the parameters of objectives and deadlines.

Lean Tip #2379 – Encourage Continuous Communication
Often, organizations go through a big, ambitious goal-setting process but then don’t discuss those goals again for a quarter or even a year. Consider leveraging one of the growing numbers of technology solutions available to prevent this from happening in your organization. There are many solutions that automatically send reminders to managers and employees when it is time to update progress toward goals. By systematically checking in on employees, teams, and departments and measuring their progress towards their goals and objectives, you will foster a responsive, engaged work environment and instill a culture of goal-setting and achievement.

Lean Tip #2380 – Learn from Your Mistakes
Not all goals are going to be met. Some may have been set too high on purpose, some may not have been realistic (in hindsight), and some may suffer from unpredictable changes throughout the quarter. That's just the reality of work and the unknowns you have to contend with.

Make sure the team understands it's ok to fail; the goal shouldn't be the be all and end all, it's a way of guiding people's work. Being open to the possibility of failure doesn't mean accepting mediocrity; or that goals don't matter. It simply means no one can guarantee things will succeed. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes: what will we do differently next time? Is there a way this could have been prevented? And move on to do better things.

Lean Tip #2381 – Be a Motivating Coach, Not a Managing Boss
Ditch the boss mentality. Your employees want more than just an order — they want to be advised, coached, and nurtured. We've found that manager coaching can drastically impact employee engagement and performance. This study shows 85 percent of highly disengaged employees think they don't receive enough coaching from their manager. And organizations with employees who receive frequent and effective coaching improve business results by 21 percent.

Lean Tip #2382 – Ask Employees for Advice 
Each of your employees has unique strengths that can help you as a manager. When you ask your team for help, you are acknowledging their strengths and showing your appreciation for them in a way that can't be matched. Consulting your employees will show you respect their opinions and help you make crowd-pleasing decisions. Talk about a win-win employee engagement idea. Make sure you follow up on feedback so employees see their ideas in action and know their voice is truly being heard.

Lean Tip #2383 – Make Your Employees Part of the Bigger Picture
Informing the team is key to running a successful business. In order to have great communication and trust, it’s great to talk about the company’s future and goals for the upcoming months or years. This will make them feel valued and demonstrate to them that their hard work is going towards something great for the company.

Lean Tip #2384 – Support Innovation, Whether Or Not It Works Out
A great way to include your staff in making an impact towards the company as a whole is to allow them to innovate. Try new methods and test run them together. By allowing this, the whole team can learn what works and what doesn’t. It helps them understand their challenges and encourages growth.

Instead of giving strict guidelines, try to allow problem-solving come into play. Create safe environments for employees to express their thoughts and ideas for the company.

Lean Tip #2385 – Celebrate Achievements
You might have heard some pretty inspiring ideas around the office. What about that project that came together so well and had some amazing improvements that no one initially thought of? Find out who came up with that idea. Give them a friendly “Good job!” or recognize them publicly for going the extra mile.

Big or small, they are the solid proof that the work people are putting in has meaning. No one can go through tasks and assignments for months, or even years without burning out. Refill their energy tanks with some recognition and celebrate their hard work. This is also a great way to glue together teams.

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