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Monday, January 27, 2020

Lean Tips Edition #149 (#2446-2460)

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 #2446 – Allow Time for Big-Picture, Strategic Thinking. 
People tend to try to squeeze strategic planning discussions in between putting out fires and going on much needed vacations. But to create a strategic plan, your team needs time to think big. Do whatever it takes to allow that time for big-picture thinking (including taking your team off-site).

Lean Tip #2447 –Get Full Commitment From Key People in Your Organization on Your Plan. 
You can’t do it alone. If your team doesn’t buy in to the planning process and the resulting strategic plan, you’re dead in the water. Encourage the key people to interact with your customers about their perception of your future and bring those views to the table. 

Lean Tip #2448 – Make Strategy a Habit, Not Just a Retreat. 
Review the strategic plan for performance achievement no less than quarterly and as often as monthly or weekly. Focus on accountability for results and have clear and compelling consequences for unapproved missed deadlines.

Lean Tip #2449 – Communicate The Plan
You simply can’t over-communicate. Communicating the plan has to be done in multiple ways to engage and inform all stakeholders. Everyone should know what the plan is and what their role is in executing it. Find out how your various stakeholders prefer to receive information and try to meet them where they are.

Lean Tip #2450 – Make Plans Realistic, Measurable, and Data-Based.
The three key differences between successful and good strategic plans are:
Having a realistic connection between the intrinsic motivations of employees, organization’s goals, and client outcomes.
Creating accountable, measurable activity at individual, team, division, and group levels.
Continually challenging processes. Decisions should be based on robust, unbiased, intelligent information, not emotion.

People are the ones who get things done. If your plan does not get down to the point of having specific people responsible for initiatives within your plan, then the work will never get done because nobody will have ownership in it.

Your plan must include measurable results. We call them “Performance Measures”. If not, then people will never know when the goal has been achieved.

Lean Tip #2451 – Take a Key Role in Communicating Company Strategy
Have you ever played the children’s game “Telephone”? By the time the message gets to the end of a long line of people, its content has likely been drastically altered beyond recognition. Miscommunication costs businesses more than $37 billion USD each year – you don’t want to add to that total. Be direct, make sure everyone understands your plans, and ensure that you communicate your vision and goals to all staff members.

Lean Tip #2452 – Encourage All Employees to Commit to Your Strategies
The more that your employees engage and interact with your goals, the more likely it is that they will stay committed to them in the long run. During meetings and performance reviews, remember to encourage commitment and remind everyone of goals and their own roles in achieving them.

Lean Tip #2453 – Transparency is Key
Maintaining a sense of transparency throughout your entire organization will allow your employees to see the productivity of their managers and vice versa. Overall transparency can translate to a healthier and more productive work environment for everyone, improving overall engagement.

Lean Tip #2454 – Build Trust When Times Get Tough.
Something beautiful happens in a migrating flock when a bird is sick or wounded: two of the birds drop out of formation to assist, aid and protect their fellow member until the bird can fly again. They are a team, all in it together. A team is a formation of trusted relationships, fostering natural accountability. This is the basis of success.

Unfortunately, many work teams don’t function like this. If one person is struggling, people sometimes gang up on that person and feel “let down” that he is not pulling his weight. They complain about this person to management, and feel burdened to have to take on more of the work.

Instead, when situations arise when one team member is struggling, managers should take time to find out what is happening and why. When people fall short, think of it as an opportunity to build trust and inspire better work. Ask the person what is going on and together discover ways to improve performance. That might mean shifting the person’s role, or inspiring that person to take on more of a leadership role. Working through hardships together builds stronger teams.

Lean Tip #2455 – Everyone Gets Recognized.
In the 2015 Employee Recognition Report by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, 90 percent of the 823 HR professionals surveyed said an employee recognition program positively impacted engagement.

Engagement is essential to keep a company growing and reaching for its vision. When employees aren’t recognized, they lose track of their purpose. But in contrast, when wins are celebrated, employees want to win more.  

A simple expression of gratitude, such as a thank-you note or gift, shows employees that management is paying attention and notices that they are consistently working hard and succeeding at their individual goals.

When recognizing top talent, explain how employees' efforts are pushing the company toward large-scale goals. Show how their performance is meeting and exceeding expectations to encourage more hard work and dedication.

Lean Tip #2456 – Lay Out the Vision for Change
Clearly state what is changing and why. Show employees where you are today and where you intend to be tomorrow. Make sure you show them why this matters to the organization, how it will positively impact their careers and how you plan to measure success.

Lean Tip #2457 – Personalize Tasks For Success.
Make sure the tasks you assign to each person play to their strengths. When people are set up for success, they are more motivated to achieve. Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, nothing will get done if you have a big-picture person working on detail-rich tasks. Be clear with each person about how their work is vital to the outcome. Then set measurable goals and let them know how they will be held accountable. If appropriate, let the individuals take part in defining the work they will be undertaking.

Lean Tip #2458 – Stay Connected with Employees.
Stay connected to ensure that everyone is clear about the mission that they are working toward. Keep an open-door policy as much as possible. If that's not feasible, consider making yourself available via email or during certain hours of the day. It's important that employees let you know when challenges arise. That's not to say you should listen to every gripe and complaint, but you can let everyone know you are empathetic to their concerns and are willing to work with them to find solutions. Further, encourage employees to bring a solution with them when making you aware of a problem.

Lean Tip #2459 – Nip Resistance to Change in the Bud.
Be aggressive in addressing instances where you see resistance. This is important for two reasons. First, small problems have a nasty habit of ballooning into bigger ones. Second, you don't want unhappy employees poisoning the minds of other employees who have already bought in.

Lean Tip #2460 - Be Prepared to Change the Change.
Just as employees resist change, sometimes we fail to realize that our own changes aren't working the way we want them to. Assuming you have the right workers on the right task, solicit their feedback. You have to be prepared to take the advice they give and adjust your own game plan. Sometimes that means midcourse corrections. Other times, it means scrapping the plan and starting from scratch. That's not defeat -- it's the ultimate sign that you value the buy-in your employees have for your ideas.

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