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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.

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