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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Lean Tips Edition #160 (#2611-#2625)

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 #2611 – Communicate Frequently.

Most leaders need to communicate to staff far more often than they think is necessary. Frequent communication reduces fear and uncertainty and ensures that employees have heard the message. While leaders may experience fatigue from repeating core messages, they need to realize team members need to hear these messages multiple times. Different people may need to hear messages in different ways and through different channels.

Lean Tip #2612 – Listen Then Respond. 

Now more than ever, the most important part of communication is listening. Do everything you can to gauge your people’s concerns, questions and opinions so you can feed them into organizational decision-making and reflect them in what you communicate back.

Lean Tip #2613 – Be Honest About What You Don’t Know. 

There’s always a temptation to try and provide people with certainty and reassurance. This comes from a good place, but in such an uncertain situation it is much better to say ‘here are the questions we don’t have an answer to yet’ than say nothing or say more than you can really commit to.

Lean Tip #2614 – Consider Humanity and Empathy When Communicating. 

In difficult times like these, we want to feel close to other people and in touch with our own (and other people’s) humanity. Even the most difficult messages can delivered in a way that reflects this – by being honest with people, by giving time, by being willing to engage, and by seeking to understand. We must remember that people are experiencing fear, loss and anxiety. Being kind in our outlook is the very least that should be expected of us.

Lean Tip #2615 –Communicate With Pace Over Perfection. 

In all but the most sensitive communications, it is better to be communicating in a way that is timely and has gaps in information than polishing every message. Be honest with people that this is what you’re doing and they’ll generally understand and appreciate it.

Lean Tip #2616 – Leaders Mus Own the Change

Now it may seem obvious that if you're leading the change, you already own it. Except you need to ask yourself are you willing to change? If you haven't yet considered how you'll personally need to change for whatever change you're leading to be successful, consider that you don't quite own it yet.

Ownership is personal. Until people see that you really understand the implications of what you're asking, and that you are honestly and courageously facing the change personally, it will be hard to enroll others in taking sincere ownership along with you.

Lean Tip #2617 - Communicate to "We" vs. "They"

All too often a message about change is delivered in a way that leaves people with a lot of reasons why they must change or how they need to change. Remember that when someone isn't the one choosing the change in the first place, resistance is a natural and predictable response.

As in any new endeavor, communication is key, so you must be mindful of your messaging. Anything you say that will be heard as "Why you should or must change" will only fuel the resistance.

Instead, when leading change, focus on making the case for why change will make a difference for us, and what it makes possible for everyone's future if we change together. If you really want to send the message that you're serious, try sharing about how or what you can already see YOU will need to change.

Lean Tip #2618 - Show, Don't Tell

Leading change requires that you show people rather than just tell them about it.

Show them how the path you're proposing can serve what matters to them.

Show them you're committed to change by making changes yourself.

Show those who aren't enrolled by empowering those who own the change with you to create short term wins that demonstrate the importance and power of the change you stand for, to create a better future.

Lean Tip #2619 - Nip Resistance 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 #2620 - 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.

Lean Tip #2621 – Limit Strategic Priorities to a Handful. 

A narrow set of clear objectives indicates that the top leadership team has done the hard work of making trade-offs among competing objectives. This effort of making choices — rather than publishing a laundry list of goals — signals the top leaders’ commitment to those objectives. A handful of strategic priorities makes it easier for external stakeholders to assess what matters most to the company.

Lean Tip #2622 – Provide a Concise Explanation of What a Priority Means. 

Some companies listed short strategic priorities like “invest in infrastructure” or “international expansion” without elaborating on the meaning of these objectives. Other companies, in contrast, provided concise descriptions that fleshed out their priorities.

Lean Tip #2623 – Explain Why a Priority Matters. 

Companies should communicate why their priorities matter strategically and how they will help create and capture value. Clarifying the “why” behind the “what” is particularly important if the priorities do not have an obvious impact on the bottom line in the short term.

Lean Tip #2624 – Describe the Strategic Plan

Explain what barriers may arise that could potentially prevent your organization from achieving its vision, mission, objectives and actions. Remember that all employees have different levels of understanding, so make sure that you not only describe the numerics of the strategic plan, but also what the terms mean and why they are meaningful to understanding the business. Differentiate between signal and noise for your employees to determine relevancy.

Lean Tip #2625 – Have Your Senior Management Team Engaged in Communication

Your senior management team is the face of your strategic plan. Having them on board as strategy ambassadors who are available to quarterback the process and answer questions related to the plan is crucial to the successful achievement of your strategic initiatives. Sending out general, lackluster communications via email or internal monthly newsletters may not cut it for your organization. Get your creative juices flowing, and have your senior management team consistently cascade the enthusiasm, progress, and wins throughout the organization.

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