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Monday, October 24, 2022

Lean Tips Edition #194 (#3121 - #3135)

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 #3121 – Connect With Your Team Members.

Leading a group of people requires a mutual sense of trust and understanding between the leader and their team members. To achieve this, leaders should learn to connect.

To build a connection with each of your team members, focus on getting to know their personality, interests, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies and preferences. This can give you insight into their goals and motivations.

Successful leaders allow their teams to develop autonomy and add value according to their own personal strengths. Being able to recognize the strengths of individuals within their team, and allowing them to be responsible and accountable, not only increases employees’ confidence in themselves and their leader, but also increases their performance.

Lean Tip #3122 – Teach Employees Instead of Giving Orders.

An effective leader knows how to show others what is required, rather than simply telling them. If you are controlling people to do certain things in certain ways, you’re not going to get the level of engagement that you’re looking for. Coaching is about helping the people you lead recognize the choices they have in front of them. People will then take a great deal of ownership over the direction of the project.”

As opposed to simply barking orders at team members, good leaders should encourage growth by teaching. People wouldn’t grow if leaders never taught them anything. Leaders need to be teaching so they can grow new leaders to take their place.

Lean Tip #3123 – Be Open to New ideas.

Good leaders have the emotional intelligence to understand and accept that change is inevitable. Instead of trying to maintain a status quo just for the sake of consistency, embrace change and innovation. Be open to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table, and that is something to take advantage of, not discourage.

When solving a problem, encourage team members to provide their insights. When employees feel like they can openly bring new ideas to the table, true innovation, engagement and success can prevail.

Lean Tip #3124 – Learn How to Handle Failure

Failure is a part of life. How you handle it as a leader speaks volumes to your employees. Anger and finger pointing id often counterproductive. Instead, if you want to know how to be a great leader, explore with your team what went wrong and how things could have been done differently to ensure success. Take responsibility for any part you played in the missed goal. Together, identify things that can be improved going forward. And hold employees accountable as needed – with grace.

Lean Tip #3125 – Get Your Hands Dirty

Humility is the lubricant oil that minimizes friction within a team. And “getting your hands dirty” is one of the best ways of staying humble.

Lead by example.

Never ask an employee to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

Serve people before asking for a favor, listen to other people’s ideas, be open-minded, and be willing to admit your mistakes.

People respect leaders who embrace humility.

Lean Tip #3126 – Get Closer to Your Customers

The answer to product market fit and true differentiation is almost always found within your existing or target customer base. Every step you take that gets you and your team closer to your customers is a leap forward in terms of market differentiation and competitive advantage. The best companies know their customers intimately, anticipate their needs and serve them in a personalized and relevant way.

Lean Tip #3127 – Change What You Can Change: Yourself

There is an old saying that too many cooks spoil the soup. Similarly, too many leaders during change can make everything confusing and fragmented. If you are not in a position to formally influence the change, instead of trying to create a leadership role, take the opportunity to change your own attitude, behaviors, and beliefs. You can do this by setting realistic goals for yourself and then eliciting feedback on them from peers, managers, and perhaps even customers. Remember that organizational change and personal change have strong similarities: You must clearly identify what you want to change, what the change looks like, and the specific steps and milestones for meeting them.

Lean Tip #3128 – Celebrate Successes and Failures

The best way of becoming more resilient as a company is getting into a habit of transparency, sharing and learning. Don’t forget to regularly involve the rest of the organization in what you are doing. Share and promote your progress internally regularly, ask for help from different departments and start growing the collaboration spirit.

Lean Tip #3129 – Become an Early Adopter and Ally for Change

Adapting early to change and being an ally for it is one of the simplest and most visible ways of leading change when you are not running the show. This entails wanting change to happen and working toward that goal as soon as you have a logical explanation for a particular alteration or modification.

The nice thing about being an ally and early adopter is that you aren’t seen as someone who is just giving facetime to the change; you are actually doing it and helping to spread enthusiasm among your team members.

Lean Tip #3130 – Help Other Employees Cope with Change

Even if you’re excited about change, not everyone will be. Some team members might find the going to be extremely tough; they might also feel confused, angry, or taken advantage of. You can help make the transition easier for them. First, be on the lookout for signals that someone needs help coping, like absenteeism, depressed or despondent behavior, or attacks on team members. You might want to intervene one-on-one or help steer a bickering session into a change session. You can also help others cope through active listening. Try to act as a sounding board, and make it your goal to help the other person reduce emotionality and increase rational discussion.

Lean Tip #3131 – Encourage Communication Among Your Peers

Remember, the sum of the parts is always greater than individual contribution levels added together. On a regular basis, ask yourself how you can help build a better organization by diffusing confusion, expediting the flow of information, or reaching out to others. Communication between peers and up through management helps make your job easier in a number of ways. It uncovers what is valuable to the business and what is not, it minimizes the amount of time required to achieve goals, and it maximizes productivity.

Lean Tip #3132 – Anticipate Pitfalls of Change.

With any change, there is going to be an adjustment period. There will also likely be negative aspects. It’s important to think through these potential pitfalls ahead of time and come up with ideas to combat them. Skipping this step could leave you unprepared once the initiative is already underway. There is no way to predict everything that could go wrong, but putting real thought into this ahead of time will save a lot of pain later.

Lean Tip #3133 – Choose Change Champions.

It’s important that the change is supported by people throughout all levels of the organization, and not just by those at the top. Even though the directive for any change typically comes from leadership, people are much more likely to buy in to a new initiative if others they work with are, too. For this reason, having champions at all levels who are engaged in the change process is key. Hold focus group meetings to get feedback on what may be difficult about the change and take this feedback seriously.

Lean Tip #3134 – Be Flexible with Change

Change requires high flexibility for it to successful. The sooner you learn how to adapt to any change the greater the chances that you will be successful. If you want to embrace change successfully look at the similarities and leverage the already existing knowledge and make plans to address the shortcoming that come with it. Also think in the same way on how you can appropriate adapt your skills to newly introduced environment.

Lean Tip #3135 – Stay Positive in Your Attitude and Actions

Change can be disruptive and frightening but with the right actions and attitude you will realize that there are far more opportunities that come with change. Learn how to shift your energy from denial and worries, by embracing the change before it kicks you out of the industry. The management also has to be patient when it is driving change in the organization, change should be a continuous process because a wide part of the organization is involved.

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