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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #178 (Tips #2881 - 2895)

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 #2881 – Place Focus On Leadership And Management

It’s hard for innovation to be cultivated within a vacuum. A lot of workplace innovation and creativity comes from the top. Employees look to leaders of the company to set the tone for what is permitted in the workplace. Senior leaders should make efforts daily to encourage employees to take responsibility for new ideas instead of minimizing them.

Lean Tip #2882 – Help Employees Find Meaning And Purpose

Innovation and motivation are heavily personal for individual employees. In one-on-one meetings with employees, try identifying their personal goals for growth. Then, figure out ways to align that growth with the wider team and company goals. This helps foster a more personal connection and create room for greater creativity.

Lean Tip #2883 – Pick Small Projects

We often think that ideas must always be big, transformative, and game-changing. But often, it’s lots of small, novel things that add up to make a huge difference. The benefits to small-scale innovation are huge. Not only do they happen quickly and (most often) without a lot of fuss, they also garner the interest and attention of both your team and organization; thus paving the way for bigger, meatier innovation projects to follow. Try changing lots of small things, like how you sign off your emails, how you reward yourself for good work, or how you kick off meetings.

Lean Tip #2884 – Create Innovation Awareness.

Leaders need to establish the awareness that innovation is actually a combination of real-time creative ideas along with breakthrough ideas. Often, workers are so focused on getting daily work done that they do not think or even consider thinking and to look at creative solutions as they approach their tasks.

Lean Tip #2885 – Encourage Your People To Think About Innovation On a Daily Basis

Innovation shouldn’t be something people think about only during retreats and workshops. If thinking about new ways of doing things is seen only as an occasional exercise, you’ll never be able to access the full potential of your employees’ creativity and imagination. Instead, make room for your staff to consider innovation as part of their daily tasks.

Lean Tip #2886 – Make Productivity Central to Your Culture to Get the Most From Your Team

Asking employees at random to simply work harder will produce shoddy results at best. If you want lasting effects, weave your expectations of work ethic and professionalism into the fabric of your company’s culture. A mantra can be a powerful tool of transformation, so create an inspiring mission statement that employees can rally around. By bringing individuals together around a central theme and common understanding, you instill a pervasive element of pride and accountability.

Lean Tip #2887 – Reward Innovations and Efficiency

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 #2888 – Assign Tasks People Enjoy

It’s no surprise that individuals are more productive working on tasks that they actually enjoy. By taking the time to get to know your employees interests, skill sets, and personal preferences, you can better tailor their workload to maximize production. Don’t be a slave to strictly defined job definitions. If John likes being on the computer, while Jane enjoys customer service, re-balance responsibilities to suit individual strengths.

Lean Tip #2889 – Don’t Forget Employee Morale

Keep your finger on the pulse of your staff in order to identify periods when employees need perking up. Whether you are combating mental fatigue during the busy season or battling the Monday blues, a strategically scheduled breakfast or lunch can provide a mental boost to make even the toughest days more anticipated. Offer your team some rest and relaxation on occasion to recharge the batteries, and renew camaraderie by planning a favorite group activity. Or, just knock off early on a Friday with the expectation that individuals come back on Monday with a full head of steam.

Lean Tip #2890 – Spotlight Excellence

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 #2891 – With Every Change, Explain the “Why” — Value Transparency

Both transparency and authenticity are vital when helping employees embrace change. When senior management is clear and honest about the change process, employees are inevitably more comfortable, stable and secure navigating change.

Throughout the change initiative, take the time to schedule in meetings with employees to openly discuss the change process. Allow employees the time to ask all the questions they need. You should also take this opportunity to be clear on exactly what is happening and — importantly — why.

There is no reason not to keep employees in the loop — whether the change is major or minor. Discuss what the change is about, why it’s essential and what the outcomes will be. You should also keep the dialogue positive. If the rhetoric surrounding the change initiative is exciting, employees are more likely to be excited themselves.

Lean Tip #2892 – Use Employee Feedback as a Springboard for Change

Employees will feel more excited about change if they have a say in it and it stems from what they want and what they have requested. To prevent employees from seeing an initiative as “change for the sake of change”, take the time to highlight where the change originated. If it is the result of employee feedback, employees will feel involved —and more inclined to share their input in future.

Effective organizational change can result from employee feedback — your employees are a goldmine of information. Don’t just ask for feedback once a year. Make sure the exchange of information is frequent and let your employees know their opinions are always welcome. Your reassurance will create a positive cycle of feedback, review, change, implementation and further feedback. Remember, feedback throughout the change is important — you need to know how your employees are adjusting and how you can help them embrace change.

Lean Tip #2893 – Mold Your Company Culture by Rewarding Acceptance

Some employees will be slow to adapt to change, while others will be more proactive and accepting. To develop a company culture that embraces change, start by rewarding acceptance. Publicly reward employees who show they embrace change, have a good attitude and who are trying to make the transition easier for other employees. This move will help to limit resistance — to not only this change but the changes to come — while reinforcing the idea that change can represent positive opportunities.

Lean Tip #2894 – Define the End Goal

Change is good, but to what end? People need to know what the benefits will be at the end of the process otherwise the team are discouraged before they’ve even had a chance to be excited. Make sure you are clear about the results you expect from changing a whole system or upgrading to new technology. If people can see light at the end of the tunnel, they’ll walk towards it even through the hard, tedious stages of change. Be clear from the start so confusion doesn’t work its way in before the change strategy has left the meeting room.

Lean Tip #2895 – Communicate Clearly and Follow-up

Stay connected to ensure that everyone is clear about the mission that they are working toward. Keep an open-door policy as much as possible. If that's not feasible, consider making yourself available via email or during certain hours of the day. It's important that employees let you know when challenges arise. That's not to say you should listen to every gripe and complaint, but you can let everyone know you are empathetic to their concerns and are willing to work with them to find solutions. Further, encourage employees to bring a solution with them when making you aware of a problem.

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