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Monday, August 2, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #175 (#2836 - #2850)

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 #2836 – Enable Your Teams To Set Their Own Goals

Separating goal setting from the performance evaluation and rewards process liberates your teams to set ambitious stretch goals based on their specific knowledge of the requirements of a project. If they aren’t tied to a specific target, they are freed from the fear of failure and able to set more ambitious targets aligned to the stretch goals set at the executive level.

Lean Tip #2837 – Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

As a Lean Leader, I’ve facilitated many annual planning meetings.

The planning meeting begins with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we’d break down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

Lean Tip #2838 – Set Goals That Align With Company Objectives

Each employee's goals should be tied to the company's overall growth strategy. When employees understand how their individual role and responsibilities contribute to the bigger picture, they're often more focused and motivated to achieve goals that result in success for both the business and themselves. Consistently communicating strategic business goals (and regularly emphasizing the company mission) can help keep employees engaged in the work they do.

Businesses may choose to link their company performance goals to key strategic objectives, and from there convert those into team-performance goals. As a result, employees may accept increased accountability as they recognize how their individual performance directly impacts the company.

Lean Tip #2839 – Emphasize Attainable Goals

Burdening an employee with an out-of-reach goal can lead to frustration with the process and a resulting lack of motivation for further improvement. They might think, "Why should I even bother if this is an unreasonable goal for anyone to achieve?"

Attainment is an important factor in the SMART goal framework. As mentioned above, goal-setting can fail when the objective is overly ambitious or unrealistic, given the employee's skill set and available resources.

Lean Tip #2840 – Reward Employees Who Achieve Their Goals

It's critical to recognize employees who achieve or exceed set goals. Not only does such a recognition (reward, bonus, certificate, or public acknowledgment at a staff meeting) honor that employee's efforts, but it also demonstrates that the company values this type of commitment and hard work. It may even further incentivize the rest of the workforce to work hard on their own goals. Alternatively, when such hard work goes unnoticed, employees can justifiably feel there's no point in working so hard and may reduce their productivity or even begin looking for a new job elsewhere.

Lean Tip #2841 – Work Closely With Employees Who Fall Short

Not every employee will successfully attain their goals, regardless of how hard they try. Ideally, their manager periodically assesses progress and steps in to provide assistance where needed. In a situation where the agreed-upon deadline arrives and the employee hasn't met their goals, there should be an in-depth discussion about what went wrong, combined with encouragement to try again and address or rework the stated objectives. Working with your employees to set goals helps strengthen a culture of ongoing feedback and open communication. Employees with clearly outlined goals are also in a prime position to push themselves, meet new challenges, and feel aligned to big-picture initiatives.

Lean Tip #2842 – Keep Objectives Simple

Focus on objectives you know you can achieve in the given timeframe. Many employees think they need to contribute to every department objective and end up spreading themselves too thin. Prioritize your objectives according to what the business needs most. Remember, there’s no magic number for how many objectives you should have—it depends how complex they are, as well as the time and resources available.

Lean Tip #2843 – Goals Should Start at the Top

The best way to get an entire organization rowing in unison and in the same direction is to line people up behind a common cause.  If, for example, your top-level goal is to grow profit of the company by 5%, everyone in the organization should be able to identify what they are doing to either help grow sales or reduce costs.  By flowing down goals and key themes from the top of the organization, you are linking the efforts and performance of every employee to the central mission of the entire company.  Whether you have 10 employees or 10,000, a simple alignment of everyone’s actions to the select few strategic objectives is essential.

Lean Tip #2844 – Employees Should Take the First Step…

Once the key areas of focus have been outlined for your staff, ask your employees to identify the ways in which they will each support the mission.  When employees set their own measures, it involves them in the process and lets them set the bar for their performance.  Further, by taking the first step in setting their own performance goals, employees can make a direct link between their efforts and how they contribute to the organization’s success.

Of course, you will likely want to assign additional measures to the employee, but if you simply assign all measures to the employee, you are eliminating them from the process.  Personalized goals can have a powerful effect on things like accountability and morale – they created them, they own them!

Lean Tip #2845 – Support Your Team

For the best results from start to finish, support your team and help them focus on achieving their goals. This is definitely not the time for a laissez-faire management style.

Take the time to:

Make sure they understand what they need to do to achieve their goal 

Give them the tools they need to stay productive 

Define milestones for each goal

Schedule regular individual and team reviews to keep everyone on track 

When you support your team, you give them a better chance of being successful in all they do. 

Lean Tip #2846 – Align Organizational Purpose With Team Goals 

Organizations today need to be dynamic in order to adjust and adapt to the latest developments. Good managers don’t just tell their employees to do tasks; they also tell them why they need to do what they are assigned to do.

Employees who connect their work with the mission of their organization feel their job is more important and their work holds much significance. However, the majority of employees are still unsure about how their work contributes to the “big picture”. Good managers help them understand the value of their work and how it’s vital to achieve organizational goals.

Lean Tip #2847 – Demonstrate Empathy With Their Team

A study shows that empathy is one of the main drivers of overall performance amongst managers. Empathetic managers understand the emotions of their team members. They understand how team members are feeling and this quality enables them to communicate effectively and solve problems right in the bud. As a result, their employees trust them more and managers can build rapport, which fuels team success. Being empathic towards employees equips good managers to form personal bonds with employees and foster long-term relationships with them.

Lean Tip #2848 – Make Communication A Priority

Effective communication is the key to not only maintaining amicable relationships in the workplace but also delivering work successfully. Good managers are the first ones to recognize this, and therefore, invest their time and energy in ensuring a smooth flow of communication throughout the project.

From navigating team meetings with poise to providing people with the right direction in the project – a great project manager ensures that things never slip through the cracks.

Lean Tip #2849 – Set Up The Team For Success

Good managers don’t just inspire their teams to collaborate and work efficiently, they don’t settle until the team reaches the pinnacle of success. To ensure this, they focus on individual performances, while aligning their efforts with the overall team goal.

By bringing together all the aspects of successful team building like communication, collaboration, clarity and trust, they make sure that the team knows the purpose of their efforts. They know that success comes only with collaborative efforts, and that’s exactly what they inspire the team to perform.

Lean Tip #2850 – Inspire At Every Level

A good manager never fails to inspire others. This inspiration comes at many levels; from boosting the morale of the team when things are not going right to talking it out with individuals when they are facing problems in their personal lives.

Good managers know that their role is not limited to only making a productive environment. Rather they have a role to play in building a positive work culture so that  individuals thrive, and continue to strive for betterment at every level. When you are part of a positive work environment, innovation and creativity come out naturally. And, that’s one of the hallmarks of a great team, led by an equally able manager.

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