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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #172 (#2791-#2805)

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 #2791 – Reward Innovations and Efficiency to Increase Productivity 

It’s assumed that you hire individuals who have the talent and drive to get the job done to your satisfaction. Let employees know they have your trust and support by giving them the latitude to introduce new methods and seek solutions to boost efficiency, rewarding those who demonstrate true innovation. By encouraging and compensating workers who show independent initiative, you cultivate an environment where workers see a correlation between their own success and that of the company.

Lean Tip #2792 – Supply Professional Development Opportunities

Keep your office up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques by providing expert group-training sessions. Make outside courses and education opportunities available on a voluntary basis, going as far as to offer reimbursement for course work that enhances employees’ ability to do their jobs. You’ll not only be keeping your staff on the cutting edge while developing talent, but also supporting those with the drive and desire to get ahead.

Lean Tip #2793 – Spotlight Excellence Amongst Your Team

As much as you strive to sets high expectations of productivity, you also need to let individuals know when they have done a great job. Take time at monthly meetings or annual events to spotlight and reward staff members who have demonstrated excellence, going beyond individual awards to recognized entire groups when they have met and exceeded goals. Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement, where a simple pat on the back or thank you for all the hard work can go a long way toward building relationships and developing loyal, dedicated employees.

Lean Tip #2794 – Make Your Employees Part of the Bigger Picture

Informing the team is key to running a successful business. In order to have great communication and trust, it’s great to talk about the company’s future and goals for the upcoming months or years. This will make them feel valued and demonstrate to them that their hard work is going towards something great for the company.

Lean Tip #2795 – Make Respect a Priority

There’s a difference between respecting employees only for the work they do and respecting them as individuals … and you can bet your employees can tell the difference. Productive employees are employees who feel respected for the people they are.

It’s a simple but very effective strategy to not only increase employee productivity in the workplace but cultivate employees who won’t think twice about going above and beyond for you. 

Encourage employees to express their opinions in meetings. Don’t talk over them or cut them off. Praise good ideas.

Lean Tip #2796 – Trust Employees to Make Decisions

When important information is accessible, everyone will understand the goals of the company and feel empowered to make better decisions independently. Make sure that high-level priorities are communicated to all team members so everyone understands what they’re working toward.

Lean Tip #2797 – Ask Questions For Transparency

Asking questions demonstrates a sense of humility and transparency because you recognize your need to improve and learn. Asking questions is also a great way of encouraging others to explain what they don't know. This environment creates a learning experience where people share their knowledge with others. Transparency in asking questions reveals any additional training that employees need and the difference in employee knowledge. 

Lean Tip #2798 – Make Face-to-Face Interactions a Priority.

Technology has most definitely broken down the barriers of communication. Thanks to email, Teams, or Skype, you can check-in on how your team members are doing, get everyone on the page, or get to know each better. And, while that’s awesome, nothing beats face-to-face communication. 

Walk around the office and strike up conversations with your staff when they’re not focused on their work. Have lunch with them. And schedule one-on-one meetings with them. Not only does this build up your rapport with your employees, but it also allows you to discuss sensitive issues or exchange ideas in a safe and private environment.

Lean Tip #2799 – Encourage Ownership.

When assigning or delegating responsibilities, you can motivate your team by granting them autonomy. For example, instead of micromanaging your team, let them work however they prefer. If possible, allow for flexible schedules and the opportunity to work wherever they like. It’s a simple way to show that you trust them. And it also lessens your workload.

The key is to ask them what they need to get the job done. It’s then up to you to get them this information and resources and coach them from the sidelines.

Lean Tip #2800 – Act on Feedback.

Speaking of feedback, you need to do more than solicit it. You also need to act on it. The reason? It shows that you’ve listened to your employees. And, even better, it lets them know that you’re actively taking measures to improve processes, systems, or even your leadership style.

Even better, get your employees in on the decision-making process. Discussion about decisions is a great way to empower employees and keep them engaged. You will make better business decisions if you listen to additional information form your team before making your final determination.

Lean Tip #2801 – Understand that Leadership is a Privilege. 

Too many bad bosses look on employee problems as an unwelcome intrusion on their time. They unconsciously wonder why the employee can’t “fix” the problem on their own. Instead, treat each such interaction as an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with that employee and revisit the values you want them to hold to and display.

Lean Tip #2802 – Recognize that Your Employees are Human.

They are individual human beings who are driven by fundamental human urges. They also want to be happy and free from suffering. While you have to ensure that organizational goals are met, do so in the context of each person’s personal learning and growth.  It’s your challenge to foster this — it’s also where you should be spending a good chunk of your time.

Lean Tip #2803 – Promote Creativity. 

Procedures have their place in a bureaucracy but they also keep stultify creative impulses. Examine policies that have become entrenched and ask what would happen if you abolished them. Encourage your employees to suggest what should be eliminated and what should be modified. If this is a sincere effort, energy will flow and engagement will rise.

Lean Tip #2804 – Stop Selling to Your Employees, Show Them How Their Contributions Matter 

Stop selling your employees about why they need to perform better.  Explain why their contributions help solve problems and contribute to the company’s advancement.  Employees are more inclined to step up their game when they know their work can add-value to the healthier whole.

For example, I would always show my team the outcome of their collected efforts.   We would go to the manufacturing plant and watch a new product on the production line or to the stores to see new label designs  on the shelves.   Inspire performance by connecting the dots of your employees’ efforts.

It’s not only about what you are trying to sell, but also what the team is able to solve along the way.

Lean Tip #2805 – It’s About Learning, Not Lecturing

Employees are tired of being told what to do.   They are eager to learn and remain relevant.   But they find it difficult to be inspired by leaders who only inflict fear.    In today’s fast-paced world, people don’t have time for lectures; they want continuous coaching and leaders that are paying attention.  Eager to grow, they want objective feedback.

Simplify the process.  Don’t exhaust your employees through complexity and buzz-words.    People seek direction that is too the point.  Remember, most people have mastered the art of execution.  Let your employee do their jobs well by providing the right tools and support to make them better at carrying out their roles & responsibilities.  Be a great teacher, but quickly shift into facilitator mode.   People are inspired when given the opportunity to learn how to do new things. Stop lecturing and start teaching.

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