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Monday, April 26, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #170 (#2761 - 2775)

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 #2761 – Communicate Tasks and Processes Clearly.

Communication is key for any business to run smoothly. It is critical for everyone in the office to understand the rules and processes. A successful business encourages employees to let each other know what they are working on, answer any questions others may have and frequently report to their managers. Without proper communication and discussion, it is easy to think others are accomplishing tasks or working on a project when in reality nobody has touched the project. Communication is critical to ensure all tasks are accomplished and all work is completed.

Lean Tip #2762 – Conduct Frequent Training on Processes.

When employees are intimidated by their workload or a current project, they tend to procrastinate, losing efficiency and productivity. When they are thoroughly trained in the processes of your company, they will feel more comfortable and less intimidated by their work. Even if they receive the same training more than once, it may calm any worries they have and make them more willing to tackle large and difficult projects.

Lean Tip #2763 – Attack Difficult Tasks First.

You cannot do every task at the same time, so it's important to prioritize. Doing the most difficult tasks first will allow you to focus on smaller, less difficult tasks later. At the start of your day, consider ranking each task in a to-do list according to importance and urgency. Put the most important projects at the top of your list, checking them off as you complete them. If a task seems overwhelming, getting rid of it as soon as possible will ease your mind and reduce that feeling of being consumed by numerous tasks.

Lean Tip #2764 – Don’t Lose Focus (Eliminate Interruptions)

Workplace interruptions or distractions come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been interrupted or who interrupts you the most during the day. What matters is how you avoid workplace interruptions and improve your work performance. Remember, workplace interruptions are dangerous. They make you lose focus, waste time, and in the end, disrupt your work management and cause a delay in projects.

If you want to avoid interruptions or distractions at work, then you need to stay away from your phone or email. Turn off the notification and keep your eye on successfully completing the tasks at hand. Also, learn to say “no” when necessary. You can and you must say no to anything or anyone who can interrupt your day. 

Lean Tip #2765 - Acknowledge Your Strengths and Weaknesses

The word “perfect” is too good to be true. There’s no way for you to be perfect in everything. We all have weak spots and it’s important to acknowledge them in order to identify improvement opportunities. Additionally, every individual has his/her own strengths i.e something that they are exceptionally good at. Now, in order to bring improvement to your everyday work performance, you need to cherish your strengths and overcome your weaknesses at the same time.

Never settle for “quite okay” when you can achieve “awesome”. Be your own critic and keep evaluating your performance for potential improvements. If you’re pretty good at something, then do whatever you can to be the best at it.

Lean Tip #2766 – Leaders Should Be Growth-Oriented

As a manager, focus on helping your employees progress – individually and collectively. Get to know your workers on a personal level so you can help them leverage their interests and talents. Find what works and what doesn't, and work on identifying and removing obstacles so your employees can perform at their best.

Consider a development goal that isn't about the business. Have one goal focused on the development of a person (or people) on your team that isn't connected to a business outcome. This could be developing confidence in presenting by sharing work to a big group or learning a new language.

Lean Tip #2767 – Leaders Should Be Excellent Communicators

Communication is a driving force behind nearly everything we do as humans, and being a clear communicator is vital as a manager. You should set clear expectations for your employees, be transparent about important topics, and establish guidelines for giving and receiving feedback.

In order to inspire original thinking, managers should create an inclusive culture where everyone can voice their concerns, opinions and ideas. Encourage authenticity and vulnerability by leading by example. Ask for help. Turn to your team when you're at a loss. Start a conversation, and be open to wherever it leads.

Lean Tip #2768 - Great Leaders Are Personable

Being a leader means working under pressure, trying to balance between personal, company and team objectives. There is always the possibility of getting into incendiary situations especially where responsibility for team members lies with you, and there are deadlines to be met. Being personable, which is just another term for great interpersonal skills, makes it easier to accomplish tasks with help from other team members and improves the support mechanism during these high-pressure situations. It also helps you to interact with, manage and balance the different types of personalities in the office. Moreover, mind the importance of respect in the workplace.

Lean Tip #2769 - Effective Management Means Taking Responsibility

Most new managers find it difficult to assume responsibility when things don’t pan out as they hoped, for example, a late deadline, an undelivered or under-delivered work item, or a project that didn’t go according to plan. Whatever the scenario is, it is crucial that you hold yourself to the same high standards that you hold other team members. If it was a failed team effort, be the first to assume responsibility instead of shifting blame onto others. This will make your employees respect you and also stand up for you in the future.

Lean Tip #2770 - Be at the Forefront of Problem Solving

Being a manager and a leader requires an affinity for solving problems and providing direction at the most crucial times. At an impasse, there is often a tendency by managers to pass on responsibility to employees, especially when things aren’t going as planned. Some go as far as hogging all the glory when positive results come back. Resolving problems requires that you be at the forefront of accountability, even when things are tough.

Lean Tip #2771 - Study the Principles of Management Success

You don’t need to be one of those gurus that have studied hundreds of motivational success books to excel in managing a team. But you do need to be able to at least pick up finer points from those who have gone before you on the management route. This will help you know how to deal with certain situations that arise in the workplace and also how to go the extra mile when it comes to those life-changing projects.

Lean Tip #2772 - Successful Managing Means Letting the Reigns Lose Sometimes

Most managers always try to keep a tight check on things even when they are not in the office. Once you have identified responsible team members and have delegated accordingly, always give them space to carry out the mandate you have trusted them with. You chose them because you trusted their ability to deliver, so now let this play out. At the same time, you also need rest from the high-pressure work environment, so take all breaks and personal quality time seriously. Always maintain a healthy work-life balance if you’re to avoid balking under pressure.

Lean Tip #2773 - Gratitude and Recognition Go a Long Way

Employees really appreciate genuine and specific recognition from managers, senior management, and coworkers. They feel great in their job role and feel appreciated which leads to a happier, more productive employee – which only means a better bottom line.

Think about it, there are some employees out there who work in a job that doesn’t pay that great and the role itself might be mundane but they stay because they love their manager and their coworkers.

Being a good manager means knowing that gratitude and recognition go a long way.

Never underestimate how powerful saying “Thank you” or “Well done,” to an employee really is. It’s a great motivator, sometimes even more than a pay raise or promotion.

Lean Tip #2774 - Welcome New Ideas and Approaches

Most managers are cautious when taking risks and trying new methods and approaches. After all, if anything doesn’t pan out then they’re on the hook. However, welcoming and trying new ideas and approaches is a huge part of being a good manager.

You have to take controlled risks so the company can grow. The most successful companies have managers who are flexible, open to change, can adapt to change and are interested to hear new ideas.

Don’t forget that some of the best ideas out there may very well lie with your employees! After all, they’re in the thick of it each and every day so they usually have great ideas when it comes to improvements or innovations – and it’s important that you listen. By listening to your employees’ ideas, you help employee retention from going south.

Lean Tip #2775 - Practice Consistency.

Following set processes for certain tasks within your organization can yield positive results. Optimized processes allow for repeatability and efficiency, amongst other benefits. But to realize these benefits, you and your staff must be consistent in following these processes. Do your part to ensure everyone on your team understands the processes they should follow. Beyond this, it’s helpful to explain why the processes should be followed and how abiding by them will lead to positive outcomes.


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1 comment:

  1. Lean Tip #2763 – Attack Difficult Tasks First

    This is in stark contrast to the "weighted shortest job first" approach, which is well established in agile. "Difficult" is not per se equivalent to "creating huge value". Starting with difficult tasks comes with a risk to get stuck and achieving nothing.