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Monday, May 10, 2021

5 Way to Motivate Lean Manufacturing Teams

Organizations generally adopt Lean to move the needle on specific indicators. They want to be more productive, improve the health of the organization, or increase revenue.

But the Lean concept isn’t simply about improving metrics; it is about changing the culture. And changing the culture begins with leadership. Everyone from the top down needs to begin re-framing the work, enacting the values, and striving for perfection.

Lean production can only be achieved if the performance of the workers involved are at its highest level. Lean managers, however, must not forget that organizational performance always comes down to the behavior of the workers, which are always determined, by competence and motivation.

Therefore, Lean managers are also tasked to motivate their employees in order for them to internalize the organizational goals and the individual goals of each work unit. Lean leadership is about mentoring, embodying, and inspiring Lean thinking and Lean values throughout your organization.

The following 5 techniques are used by Lean managers to build a motivational culture in the organization.

1. Sense of achievement

Management must create among workers the feeling that they achieve something, both individually and collectively. Recognition must be given for both individual and group achievement. Management must make sure that workers feel that sense of achievement whenever a goal has been reached or when new innovations have been effected. Show team achievements during stand-ups meeting in the morning.

2. Learning and growth

Learning and growing within an organization is a continuous process. It does not end when a worker has mastered the necessary skills of his job. Management must give workers opportunities to learn new skills to enable them to move to different level, possibly a higher one, within the organization. Further education and training opportunities must be made available to workers who have ambition to grow in the organizational hierarchy. Try to organize small training sessions where people share field experience and tips.

3. Stimulating work

Management must create a work environment that will be stimulating to the workers. Continuous improvement culture must stimulate workers to solve small problems, to spot waste, to collaborate and feel responsible for all the achievements of the organization and for the clients.

4. Responsibility and empowerment

Workers are given their individual and collective responsibilities as an individual worker and as a member of the team. Together with the responsibility given comes the empowerment of the same. Workers must be empowered, or given the authority, to carry out their responsibilities.

5. Feeling of being part of something

A worker must never feel that is just one of the many nameless and faceless workers in the organization. He must be given recognition as a contributor to the achievements of the organization. Every single worker must feel that he is part of something important in the organization. He must feel that he is an important cog in the organizational machine.

Lean thinking starts at the top, but also from the inside out. Leaders must cultivate an attitude of respect for others and humility within themselves. They use questions and mentoring to lead employees to discover and enact their own improvements, and support their decisions.

They serve employees by removing obstacles and promoting flow. Over time, these behaviors become learned and practiced by everyone on the team and everyone in the organization.

Lean systems are powerful ways to improve productivity, quality, and profits. But they cannot be simply adopted as quick fixes to target certain metrics; they must be fully adopted, committed to, and practiced daily by everyone in the organization.

A leader has the opportunity to inspire and foster these behaviors or undermine them. Adopting continuous improvement within yourself is the first step.


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