Floor Tape Store

Friday, July 29, 2022

Lean Quote: Great Leaders Should Practice Empathy Towards Their People

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Empathy is being concerned about the human being, not just their output.  —  Simon Sinek, Author and Motivational Speaker

Companies need to fill their organization with the right people, BUT what if it is not just about finding the right people? What if the problem is the company’s environment?

Simon Sinek suggests that companies should have an environment where employees can be at their natural best. Because companies are so quick to fire their struggling employees without knowing what they are going through.

“Why is it that if somebody has performance problems at work, why is it that the company’s instinct is to say… you’re out?”

“We do not practice empathy.”

Here is an example of a lack of empathy:

You walk into someone’s office, someone walks into your office and say: ‘Your numbers are down for the third quarter in a row, you have to pick up your numbers otherwise I cannot guarantee what the future would look like.’

How inspired do you think that person is to come to work the next day?

Now, here’s what empathy looks like:

You walk into someone’s office, someone walks into your office and say: ‘Your numbers are down for the third quarter in a row. Are you okay? I am worried about you. What’s going on?’

The point here is, we all have performance issues. Maybe someone’s kid is sick, maybe someone’s parent is dying — we do not know what is going on with their lives. And of course, it will affect their performance at work.

“Empathy is being concerned about the human being, not just their output.”

Great leaders should practice empathy towards their people (employees), Sinek suggested.

This simply means that leaders should create a good learning environment in which someone feels safe enough to raise their hand and say ‘I need help.’ It’s about helping people to be at their natural best.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Lean Roundup #158 – July, 2022

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of July 2022.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here. 

2 Year Anniversary of “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn” – Katie Anderson reflects on the 5 year journey leading up to her book’s publication and what she’s learned on it’s 2 year anniversary.

The Four Types of Measures and Why Each is Important – John Knotts discusses 4 types of measures to consider in a continuous improvement culture.

Why is Lean So Hard? – Organizational Elements – Pascal Dennis focuses on the personal qualities that makes Lean so hard to sustain.

The 6R Goals of Lean Manufacturing – Christopher Roser looks at the 6R (right product, right place, right time, in the right quantity and quality, and at the right cost) goals of Lean Manufacturing.

Understanding the Many Facets of ‘the A3’ – Patricia Panchak shares guide describing the multiple contexts in which A3 is used.

How to Start the A3 Problem-Solving Process – David Verble tells us how to get started solving problems with A3 problem-solving process.

10 lean leadership lessons from our authors – Roberto Priolo shares the best nuggets of wisdom from authors of Planet Lean.

What is the lean in lean? – Michael Balle and Daniel Jones discuss lesson of thinking which drives behavior and that the behavior of those at the top models the rest of the organization.

When Companies Don’t Learn From “The Beer Game,” Inventory Stock-Outs Turn to Pile-Ups – Mark Graban shares supply chain management lessons from MIT’s “ Beer Game” simulator and relation to current events.

Lean Transformation Steps for Operational Excellence – Morgan Wright describes the five critical steps for a successful Lean transformation.

Lean Manufacturing Principles and Foundational Concepts – Jeff Roussel describes the five central lean manufacturing principles for all to understand.

The Most Significant Benefits of Lean Manufacturing – Elise Miller shares 8 compelling benefits to embracing Lean manufacturing your organization should consider.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Monday, July 25, 2022

Lean Tips Edition #190 (#3061 - #3075)

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 #3061 – Provide Professional Development Opportunities.

You need to know that 87 percent of millennials stated that development is important in a job. All of your employees -- in-house or virtual -- want opportunities to learn and refine skills. They’ll feel relevant and competitive professionally, and it gives your team a chance to embark on a shared experience when they attend workshops or classes together.

Even if your employees are taking individual classes or attending workshops on their own, provide a platform to share what they’ve learned with the rest of your team.

Lean Tip #3062 – Engage the Law of Reciprocity.

If you happily help people first, others automatically will feel a sense of obligation to return the favor. When you have an extra free minute or two ask your co-workers if they need help with anything, or engage in another act of kindness. Maybe your colleagues will reciprocate, and thus improve the way you work together.

Lean Tip #3063 – Celebrate and Reward Great Teamwork.

Unfortunately, most employees won’t go out of their way to work well with others, unless there’s something in it for them, Weisman says. If you’ve already explained to your co-worker how they can benefit from working with you better, and he or she still isn’t doing it, talk to your boss about implementing some type of rewards or recognition program.

Shane believes employers should acknowledge workers regularly for their team efforts and loyalty, both in private and to the entire team.

Lean Tip #3064 – Build Cohesion.

Create a means of communicating that allows for easy workflow, establishes a distinct set of priorities and makes all colleagues feel included. Keeping everyone on the same playbook enables team members to focus and flourish. Jeff Bezos famously established a “two-pizza rule” for the size of teams at Amazon: The number of people on a team was not allowed to exceed what two pizzas could feed. This limit kept the teams at a manageable size, fostering productivity and accountability.

Lean Tip #3065 – Create a Strong Sense of Commitment.

In order to create a strong sense of group commitment in your team, you need to spend some time together to build a relationship. It is much easier to gain a strong sense of group commitment when individual accountabilities and responsibilities are clearly defined for each member of the group. When your team understands the scope of their colleagues’ work, they are able to support each other and hold one another accountable. This is going to create an overall deeper commitment to the group’s decisions and actions.

Lean Tip #3066 – Challenge Your Biases

It’s natural to gravitate toward people who are similar to you, but you’ll learn more when you begin conversations with coworkers outside your inner circle. Talking with colleagues you don’t normally interact with can help you learn different perspectives since you’ll be communicating with people who don’t necessarily share your same problem-solving approaches.

Lean Tip #3067 – Approach Problems From a Different Perspective

Imagine the problem or situation from your team member’s perspective. Ask what experiences have led to a particular conclusion. Even if you don’t reach the same conclusion they did, you’ll have a better understanding of their thought process, which can inform future discussions. Empathy comes with a deeper understanding of what has happened.

Lean Tip #3068 – Practice Empathy, Recognize Feelings.

It is common knowledge that work can stress people out. Some people handle stress better than others. Keep in mind how you speak and react to other people, and take into consideration their workload, and their lives outside of work. Try to always communicate with empathy by expressing respect and kindness, and you will probably get what you need faster. After all, every organization’s best asset is their people.

Lean Tip #3069 – Create a Culture of Teamwork

Empathy at work means understanding that not one person can do their job, without the help of other supporting roles at work. You can come up with a product, sure, but without a marketing team to sell it, or engineering and design teams to create it, you’re not going to get anywhere.

Companies are made up of people. We all depend on each other. We all learn and grow from our experiences, brainstorms, and meetings with our coworkers. Teamwork is the foundation of every great company. And empathetic teamwork—being able to step back and adopt or appreciate someone else’s perspective—well that’s game-changing.

Lean Tip #3070 – Build Empathy In the Workplace By Getting Out of Your Normal Environment

Sometimes as leaders, we get stuck in our day to day. But the only way we can really gain awareness of what’s happening outside of our space is to get out there and see it.

Spend time visiting other teams and leaders in your workplace. If your organization has remote locations that you hardly visit, see if you can get out there and see what challenges they are facing.

Often spending time outside of your normal environment can open your eyes and help you see what others see.

Lean Tip #3071 – Encourage Proactive Communication

A lot of errors can be prevented by proactive communication. If an employee foresees an error or inefficiency in the process, coworkers should realize the impact and act on it quickly. Nurture a work culture that encourages team members to identify and solve problems. Announce incentives to employees for increasing the efficiency of the process.

Proactive communication does not mean restlessly seeking problems and solving them. It is acting on a problem immediately after you identify one.

Lean Tip #3072 – Monitor the Process at Regular Intervals

Assign a process owner if there isn’t one. The process owner is responsible for supervising and maintaining good function of the process. Usually, the process owner is the department head or someone who has clearance to access all data within the process.

Choose regular time intervals after which the process owner analyzes the process. The process should have completed enough cycles to give you enough data on how it has performed. See if all the steps are working at their best efficiency. Identify patterns of errors in the process and find out ways to eliminate them.

Lean Tip #3073 – Start by Mapping Your Process

You have got to visualize your process before you can start making changes to it. Process maps help you visually represent process workflows to understand, interpret, and improve them.

The visual of your processes gives you a clear understanding of your process workflow and its elements such as tasks, accountable employees, systems, tools used, swim lanes, and dependencies. It gets everything out of your head and puts it on paper for you to understand every single detail about your process workflow.

This makes it easy for you to pinpoint problem areas that are affecting the performance of your business process. You know exactly where the problem is, and you can now start taking action to kickstart your process improvement.

Lean Tip #3074 – Ask the Right Questions About Your Process

Sure as a business leader, you have a pretty fair picture of how your processes function. But the people that will know most about your business processes are the ones who are a part of your processes - your employees.

Your next step in improving your processes is to ask your employees questions about the process. Verify the process maps you created with your employees and make sure you have the details right. Ask them whether you have missed out on any details of the process that should be a part of your process map.

The perspective of your employees is critical to your process improvement strategy - it gives you a peek into the unknown.

Lean Tip #3075 – Redesign Your Process Workflow to Fix Gaps

Based on what you observed from your analysis, start listing down the changes that will ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your process. These changes are to fix the gaps in your process and improve the performance of your operations.

Work closely with your process teams and experienced leadership teams to identify the best possible solutions to your process challenge. Brainstorm on creative and effective ideas without ruling out suggestions that may seem minor or uncomfortable, but can prove to be impactful.

Once you have a list of ideas, suggestions, and changes to your process, understand their direct and indirect impact on your process outcomes. Spend time prioritizing them based on the business impact.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel

Friday, July 22, 2022

Lean Quote: Characteristics of Transformational Leadership

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Transformational leadership’s potential to address issues that are relevant in the modern, changing, and uncertain work environment is the main reason for its positive influence.  —  Beng-Chong Lim & Robert E. Ployhart, 2004

Introduced over thirty years ago, transformational leadership is defined as a “meaningful and creative exchange between leaders and their followers resulting in vision-driven change”. Transformational leaders achieve (reforming) goals by getting followers to put aside self-interest to achieve team and organizational goals and optimal performance. It is a radically influencing mindset that if implemented successfully, can yield tremendous results.  Management theories deduce that there are inherently four traits that are synonymous with all transformational leaders, those being:

Characteristics of Transformational Leadership

1. Putting other’s needs before your own

It means that you must be a selfless person. Transformational leaders value the cause they stand for as higher than their personal agendas. They gave up their personal ambition, comfort and luxury in order that the dream they envisioned may come to pass.

Such conviction from these leaders often inspire a huge following and thereby creating power for an idea and a movement. As such, many of the visions of these leaders live on long after their deaths.

2. Challenging the status quo

A transformational leader does not accept the status quo. The leader looks at the current realities and ask what can be better.

They are not satisfied with what they have at the moment. While others will see a status quo and complain about how the status quo is not perfect, a transformational leader courageously challenges it even in the face of opposition.

Many ask, “Why?”; but a transformational leader asks, “Why not?”

3. Inspiring your team

A transformational leader inspires the team with the beauty of the vision. He sees a better future and he articulates this future to the team.

The people who join the transformational leader often do so voluntarily; they are inspired by his vision too and also want to see that vision becoming reality.

4. Being a role model

Being a transformational leader means that you have to have impeccable character standards. While people do follow a vision, people do look at the person that is leading the vision. 

If the leader has a hint of hypocrisy or lack of integrity, the leader will lose his credibility and cause a lot of people to walk away. This is because most people join the leader voluntarily, and they will leave if they stop trusting the leader.

The leader needs to be a role model especially in their integrity and their responsibility. The leader must be true to himself and to others and must be ready to be accountable for all actions.

Whether for good or for worse, transformational leaders have truly changed the face of the world with their work.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Three Most Important Questions in a Continuous Improvement Culture

A few weeks back John Knott’s wrote a post about 3 magical metrics within a continuous improvement culture. He said the three things that you need to measure are: 1) How much work you are doing, 2) How long it takes to do it every time, and 3) How well you do it every time. Similarly, this made me think of the three magical questions a leader should ask in a continuous improvement culture.

The ability of leaders to ask the right questions is critical to the success of a lean culture. The type of questions will determine the quality of process improvements. If leaders do not know what to look for, teams would get the message that they can get away with whatever is possible.

All management should learn to ask these three simple questions:

       1) What is the process?

       2) How can you tell it is working?

       3) What are you doing to improve it (if it is working)?

Nothing sustains itself, certainly not Lean manufacturing or management. So, establish and stick to a routine including regular visits to the Gemba, check the status of visual controls, follow-up on daily accountability assignments, and ask the three simple questions everywhere. Lean management is, as much as anything, a way of thinking.

Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them.

When an employee brings you a problem to solve, ask, "what do you think you should do to solve this problem?" Or, ask, "what action steps do you recommend?" Employees can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process.

If you don't ask the right questions, you won't get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Monday, July 18, 2022

Strategy: Sharpening Your Focus

Recently, Pascal Dennis wrote a post that really resonated with me about strategy deployment. His point is that
strategy is not about doing the important things but rather the process of choosing, the responsibility of leaders to grasp the situation and decide the plan forward.  I always tell others that strategy deployment is a focusing mechanism. This is about sharpening your focus by selecting the vital few breakthrough objectives.

The strategy deployment process identifies and concentrates resources on the vital few stretch achievements that support the vision. It separates those performance issues that require dramatic improvement from the many incremental improvements that can achieved at the local level. All the changes that the leadership believes to be incremental are skimmed out of the strategic plan and addressed through quality in daily work. The remaining category of contribution – the vital few breakthrough achievements – becomes the heart of the strategy deployment process.

One of the hardest parts of being a leader is making critical decisions when multiple tasks are competing for attention. When individuals and teams are confronted by multiple issues, they often try to take them all on… at once. Because they are overwhelmed, they make progress on none of them. The result: inertia and a lack of change.

The job of management is to steer the focus of their organization towards those few vital priorities that will keep or bring the organization into alignment with the demands of its customers. Once these are identified, employees can then pinpoint the group, division, factory, department, or project gaps that must be closed to stay aligned with the strategic direction of your organization.

Leadership must articulate a vision and goals describing what they believe want to accomplish. They must provide a clear charge to all layers of management and process improvement team members to work towards this vision, making sure that everyone understands the vision. Leaders work with others to set specific goals and a manageable scope for each action. Focus on defining the attributes needed for success and empower the team to develop efficient and effective approaches to accomplish them.

Strategy deployment is the system for setting management’s compass toward True North. It is a tool to align people, activities, and performance metrics with strategic priorities. It can be used to communicate direction, coordinate activity, and monitor progress. It enables members of the organization to work together in the most creative way to define and achieve the strategic intent.

If I had to take one lesson from my business experience it is without focus you are lost.  Infinity is not available to us in this life.  Time and money are limited and as such we must utilize these limited resources effectively.  I can see no way to achieve our objectives other than to utilize discretion, prioritization and selection.  For after all, some things are simply more critical and more important. 

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Friday, July 15, 2022

Lean Quote: Be More Proactive To Reach Your Goals

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing.  —  John C. Maxwell

Reactive people wait for a problem to take over, then scramble for a way to fix it. Reactive people don’t plan or take steps toward their goals. Instead, they hope they’ll work on it someday when life is stress-free and they’re brimming with motivation, intelligence, and free time. You don’t wait for the “perfect” time because it doesn’t exist.

An influential leader has the confidence to take ownership of their actions. Especially when they make mistakes, they don’t blame others or deny what happened. Instead, they learn from it and move on to the next step. It’s such an admirable and exceptional quality to have.

Being proactive is about focusing on the things you can control in life and letting the rest go. Besides, you can’t do anything about those things anyway. But if you don’t take responsibility for the things you do, you’ll struggle to do anything worthwhile.

Always keep in mind that if you mess up, it’s okay. Every person you admire has made a mountain of mistakes. But they learned from them and used them to move up in their field. So, if you slip up, don’t worry about it. Instead, learn from it and use it to improve. Otherwise, you might hit the same wall repeatedly until you stop trying.

If you there’s an obstacle on the horizon, plan how you’ll conquer it beforehand. If that method doesn’t work, try something else. Keep trying different strategies until you make it through.

Every simplistic bit of effort will bring you closer to fulfilling your dream, and there’s no one to blame but yourself if you deny yourself that.

After all, no one else can reach your goals for you.

No doubt, being more action-oriented will boosts your productivity and success levels. It’ll make every day more enjoyable.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare