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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Lean Tips Edition #189 (#3046 - #3060)

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 #3046 – Check in With Employees on a Regular Basis.

Checking in with employees is an effective way to make sure communication is strong. Plan in-person or online meetings every few weeks or months. Discuss projects, feedback about leadership, and suggestions for the future. You can also schedule stay interviews or create employee surveys. People want to share their thoughts and opinions. By respecting and listening to your staff, you will improve communication in the workplace.

Lean Tip #3047 – Identify a Common Goal.

Every organization has a common objective that motivates employees to show up every day and do their jobs. By identifying, clarifying, and reinforcing this objective, you’ll strengthen your staff’s productivity because it’s a reminder of why they joined your organization in the first place. Inspire, motivate, and keep teams on track. After all, there’s nothing more important for a team than for everyone to be on the same page.

Lean Tip #3048 – Focus on Company Culture.

Communication should be part of your company culture. It encourages employees to connect with each other and aligns them to your organization’s goals. You can do this by implementing employee engagement ideas into the workplace. Also, promote your core values by branding your intranet, office decor, business documentation, and other places you can represent what your organization stands for.

Lean Tip #3049 – Value Teamwork.

Sometimes with team projects, employees like to get their tasks done individually, with little communication with team members. Some people feel comfortable collaborating, others don’t trust working with other people. How do you get employees to work together? Encourage teamwork with collaboration tools that boosts productivity. The workplace should be a place where employees communicate and work together. Asking your employees to take team-based approaches may cause initial discomfort, but a few minds are always better than one.

Lean Tip #3050 – Welcome Questions.

There is a saying: “If you have a question, ask. If you think it’s silly, ask. If you think you know the answer, ask.” Questions are one of the most fundamental components of effective communication in the workplace. Just as you should be asking questions, so should your employees. Instill that mindset in your organization. Make sure employees are comfortable to reach out with questions to you, managers, or each other.

Lean Tip #3051 – Build Employee Engagement

Collaborative efforts between management and employees can help form stronger relationships. Boost employee engagement by peer-to-peer awards for good work. Another alternative, is to create an ‘ideas leaderboard’ where employees can see or build onto other employee ideas. Through a encouraging, supportive, and engaging environment, your company can help transform these ideas into realities.

Lean Tip #3052 – Involve Employees in Ideas

It’s essential to involve all employees in the idea creation process. Employees have an incredible potential to provide outstanding insights and ideas about organizational practices, customers, and broader business goals. Employees need to be motivated, involved, and participating in the idea process. They shouldn’t have to be forced to reveal their thoughts. Pulling employees into the innovation management process is easier with organizational-wide transparency.

Lean Tip #3053 – 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. For example, manufacturing giant 3M is famous for giving its employees a 15% time allowance every day for constructive daydreaming.

Of course, this doesn’t mean handing out a 15% buffer for employees to just snooze at their desks. You should ask your people to demonstrate the results of these innovation sessions.

Lean Tip #3054 – Accept Failure and Make it the Norm

It’s an unavoidable fact that innovation carries the risk of failure. For every example of world-changing innovation, there’s a whole trash heap of failed ideas.

Rather than running from this fact, companies need to come to peace with it. Acknowledge the possibility of failure, dedramatize it and encourage risky initiatives to help employees approach innovation in a more open and inventive way.

Lean Tip #3055 – Give Employees a Reason to Care

The fact is, if people aren’t feeling connected to your company, there’s little incentive for them to be innovative.

Make sure you keep your team in the loop on your firm’s strategies and challenges, and invite their input.

Employees who are involved early on in processes and plans will be motivated to see them through to completion. Their active participation will fuel more ideas than if they learn of initiatives second-hand.

Lean Tip #3056 – Empower Your Employees to Make Decisions and Take Action

People who are trusted to take safe risks and attempt new ways of doing things just may stumble across that next great business solution.

Be careful about being too critical when things go wrong, though, because employees will take note.

No one wants to be the center of negative attention, and people will hold back on making suggestions if they’re worried about potential consequences.

Lean Tip #3057 – Calm the Naysayers For More Creativity

A key reason people often hesitate to offer fresh proposals is that they worry what others might say. No one wants to have their ideas shot down immediately or become fodder for jokes. Make sure you’re doing all you can to make it safe to brainstorm.

Even if someone makes an unrealistic suggestion, thank the person for thinking creatively. Also make sure that people can offer their recommendations in writing if they’re not comfortable speaking up. Stress to the entire team that you welcome input any way they prefer to share it with you.

Lean Tip #3058 – Remove the Red Tape

You may think that it’s easy for employees to offer their ideas, but is it really?

Consider which internal processes might be stifling innovation.

For instance, it can be demoralizing if recommendations must go through multiple layers of approvals in the organization and take a significant time before they’re implemented, if at all.

Look for ways to streamline the process so people can see their good ideas in action quickly.

Lean Tip #3059 – Be Positive About Every Suggestion

Treat every idea with the same amount of respect. Record or write every idea your team suggests, but try to limit how much time you spend on each idea. This can help encourage your team to continue thinking of new ideas and using previous suggestions as inspiration.

Lean Tip #3060 – Realize That Innovation is Everyone’s Job

A common issue in organizations is to assume that innovation is someone else’s job to figure out. Surely coming up with new ideas is for the creative team/the managers, no one else?

The reality is that no matter where you are in the organization, everyone has ideas. Everyone can, and should, share their unique perspective to help the organization grow and improve.

Getting into the mindset that innovation is everyone’s job can take some adjustment. But by encouraging everyone to contribute and valuing everyone’s ideas equally, you can learn so much from your team.


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