Monday, December 30, 2019

20 (Lean) Things To Do In 2020 To Improve Your Business


Goal setting is one of the most important activities you can do in your business, regardless of how old your business is, where you are located, how profitable it is, or what you sell. Goals help you stay focused and they can prevent your business from becoming stagnant. Your business goals keep you moving forward and set the stage for ongoing success. 

Although we often think of goal setting as something we do at the start of every year, the truth is that it is extremely important to work on your business goals all year long. You should be setting goals multiple times each year, tracking your progress, and refining the strategies you are following in order to achieve your goals on an ongoing basis. 

To help you get started with your business goals this year, here is a list of goals that have the potential to change your business for the better. Pick one or two that are fitting for your business, turn them into SMART goals (more on that here!) and create a plan to tackle them in the coming months.

1. Planning is the Basic Step for Success.
You won’t know where you are going unless you know where you want to go. Confusing? Well that’s exactly how your business would be, if you do not keep things simple and organized. Planning is the basic step to succeed in business and planning accurately and developing strategies will lead you to a healthy and growing business. That means reframing the top down objectives in your organization. Don’t just work with only the large goal in mind. Set immediate and short term goals that fire up your team. Celebrate achieving those goals and adjust as the culture and needs change… We live in a very fluid business world where things change fast. Create a team that is able to change along with it.

2. Demonstrate Clear Goals & Vision
Creating a successful business is usually a result of clear goals and oftentimes, leaders who achieve such goals have an outstanding vision of new ideas, technologies, and industry specifics. A visionary leader can recognize new, emerging technologies and find ways to apply them in certain areas at early stages of development. This can give a competitive edge to such businesses and may inspire employees to easier gain trust in such leaders and excel in what they do.

3. Communicate the "Why" Behind your Idea.
Regardless of the brilliancy of your vision, your team needs to feel part of it and not that they're merely being told to do something. If you're giving them the opportunity to really understand why the process is happening, you're also hopefully giving them the tools to be able to innovate on that process and drive even more value back to your organization.

4. Become a Better Listener.
Many people don’t know how to truly listen. The good news? Following the lessons we learned in grade school—pay attention, don’t interrupt, don’t be distracted—is all that we need to do to become better listeners.

Of course, listening doesn’t just mean paying attention to the words that your team members are saying. It means understanding the emotions behind those words, as well as the nonverbal cues, including body language, tone of voice, and mannerisms, that speak to your team members’ state of mind. If communication is 80 percent nonverbal, as is popularly claimed, then focusing only on the words being spoken means you’re only getting 20 percent of the message.

5. 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.

6. Instill Confidence Among Employees
A great leader can easily instill confidence among the staff. In order to maintain the positive work atmosphere which inspires creative thinking and new ideas, staff members have to feel confident about their work. A leader that simply nitpicks about everything and demonstrates extremely negative reactions for every mistake made will eventually ruin the positive energy in the work environment and ruin the self-confidence of the majority of staff members. A great and effective leader can inspire staff members to improve their performance and productivity by actively working on their confidence improvements. Publicly acknowledging those who perform well in certain areas can significantly contribute to this cause.

7. Challenge People to Think
If you are not thinking, you’re not learning new things. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing – and over time becoming irrelevant in your work. The most successful leaders understand their colleagues’ mindsets, capabilities and areas for improvement. They use this knowledge/insight to challenge their teams to think and stretch them to reach for more.

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.

8. Cultivate a Culture of Innovation.
Great business leaders drive their teams to step out of the confines of routine and achieve the extraordinary. Building teamwork and rewarding collaboration are key to achieving your goals.
Cultivating a culture that values innovation is one of the most difficult responsibilities a business leader has. Here's how the best nurture innovation in their companies:
•        Proactively introduce mechanisms that naturally boost creative and innovative thinking.
•        Make incremental improvements in the workplace to facilitate out-of-the-box thinking.
•        Use tools to measure how employees spend their time.
•        Encourage practical shuffling of duties and departments to help employees gain a wider perspective of the organization's work.
•        Show employees how they can use time-tested methods of creative idea generation (brainstorming, mind mapping, story boarding, etc.) by organizing and participating in sessions.

9. Take Lots of Leaps of Faith
Making a change requires a leap of faith. Taking that leap of faith is risky, and people will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe – and perhaps more importantly, feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction.  Making a change takes lots of leaps of faith.

10. Reward Successes and Learn From Failures.
Too many leaders don't stop to reward success or recognize employees' outstanding work but are quick to point out what people do wrong. While it's good management to learn from what went right or wrong on a project, it's also important to celebrate achievements.

No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them. Be willing to accept the blame and move on. Use your errors to make adjustments to the way things are done so that the same mistake does not happen again. Constantly be looking for ways to grow and improve.

11. Strive to Learn Something New Every Single Day.
It is easy to get bogged down in the same old, same old. In order to fully realize potential, you’ll have to add knowledge, skills, and experience. Don’t expect your potential to spring forth in a final draft; it takes time to hone your skills and build your confidence. This could come from formal schooling, from the school of hard knocks, or from both. Either way, your education is the house your realized potential will live in. The opportunities for learning are multiplying every day in this information/technology age. Learn at least one new thing every day. Improve your mind and enhance your skills. Never stop learning.

12. Learn More from Reading. 
Far too may business executives believe leadership skills stem from some sort of wondrous epiphany or other such flash of insight. Sure, great ideas can come to any of us, but being a bona fide leader also means study. Read books, attend seminars, and pick the brains of colleagues to see what works for them. Read an article; discuss a new approach with a colleague; research what other organizations are doing on the Web. It can be a long education, but one with rewards that multiply with the more knowledge you have under your belt.

13. Work Smarter Not Harder.
Productivity comes from working smarter, not harder. That is the difference between effectiveness and efficiency. You can be effective without being efficient, but, the key to productivity is to do both. Sometimes, those job inefficiencies are not very obvious. However, if you can specifically identify them, then those inefficiencies can be eliminated and staff can become more productive. By distributing the tasks and responsibilities around, you not only become more flexible and able to respond to changes more quickly, but you involve more people in the improvement process. This can increase work satisfaction as well.

14. Devote Time Each Month to Employee Development.
 Most people want to learn and grow their skills at work. Encourage experimentation and taking reasonable risk to develop employee skills. Get to know them personally. Ask what motivates them. Ask what career objectives they have and are aiming to achieve. You can make their career. In order to get the most from your employees, you need to invest time and resources in their development. Annual performance reviews simply aren’t enough. Make a point to sit down with each employee on a monthly basis (or more frequently, if possible) and provide them with specific feedback and areas of improvement.

15. Show Respect to Everyone
Everyone desires respect. Everyone. Regardless of your position or power, ensure you show everyone respect. Everyone wants to be treated fairly.

Demonstrating respect for people goes beyond just being nice to them. Showing respect in the workplace is all about the relationship we develop with other people and how we value them.

Respect for people means developing employees latent skills in both on the job and off the job training. It is easy to invest money in new technology, software, or equipment. It takes time, effort, and planning to invest in employee skills development.

16. Get Out of Your Office.
When you get bogged down, distracted, or even discouraged rediscover the power of going to see. There is no better way to experience the flow of value (or lack thereof) than taking the same journey that an order, new product, patient or other takes through your processes. Spend as much time as possible with employees and customers. Learn the issues first hand. Expand your focus. Many look primarily at the steps in the value stream and ask how to remove the waste. Reflect first on the purpose of the process. You must ask about the support processes to get the right people to the right place in the value stream at the right time with the right knowledge, materials, and equipment. Work to solve problems when and where they occur. Pay special attention to the way people are engaged in the operation and its improvement.

17. Streamline Your Processes
While you’re assessing your productivity from the past year, start tweaking your processes to help your team better reach its goals.

Analyze each step of your day-to-day processes, and try to figure out where you can save time, money or other resources. If you can save a minute here, or a dollar there, you could end up saving countless hours and thousands of dollars over the course of the next year.

Not only that, but by streamlining your processes and decreasing the amount of “hang-ups” your team faces, your employees will be more apt to dive in and get to work.

18. 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.

19. 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.

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.

20. Be Passionate and Open Minded
If you don’t believe in your company, neither will your employees. Start each day with a positive attitude and show enthusiasm for projects and initiatives. Take pride in the services or products you provide.

Be willing to look at things from a new perspective. Encourage feedback from employees and customers and hear what they have to say. This could ultimately lead to increased efficiency and productivity.

The new year is full of new opportunities for businesses. You know how to take advantage of these opportunities by taking time out to think about where your business is heading. Decide now on what isn’t working out and make the needed changes. Focus on enhancing your customer value and your continuous improvement strategy.


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