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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Top 10 Lean Tips From 2022

As 2022 comes to an end and we look toward 2023 I wanted to revisit some tips. The Lean Tips published daily are meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledgeable tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey. Here are the top 10 Lean tips from this past year:

Lean Tip #2970 – Show Employees That You Care

When you listen to their issues and solve it, they believe that you care for them as an employer. When they know you care, then they work harder and aim higher than expected results.

 Employees love to work under leaders who care for them, they do not want to be looked as tools or resources utilized for the success of the organization. Employees always want to have a good relationship where employers listen to their concerns at times of professional hardships.

Lean Tip #2992 – Set the Right Targets to Challenge Your Team

Your team members may not be as unmotivated as you think; they probably don't have the right targets to challenge them.

When tasks are too easy, employees become complacent because they know they'll be fine with the barest minimum. Don't give them impossible tasks just because you want to challenge them. You'll end up killing their morale.

Aim for a balance. The idea is to make them stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones to get the job done. The outcome might surprise you

Lean Tip #3015 – Train the Managers to Coach Effectively

Coaching is one of the greatest methods to build an employee’s confidence level as well as competence. Managers need to know how to apply the right blend of “clarity coaching” and “skills coaching” to their employees, two of the critical elements that organizations need to provide to their managers while training them. Having the ability to coach others is one of the core skills in the 21st century, required by every manager to be regarded as a successful leader. Long gone are those days where the managers used to command and control leadership in order to get their work done. Today, the most effective way for the managers to lead is through coaching and collaboration. If the managers are not skilled enough to coach their employees, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to achieve positive results for the organization or even themselves in the long term.

Lean Tip #3085 – Keep on Keepin’ On

The part of continual process improvement that can feel overwhelming is the continuous aspect. With continuous improvement there is no perfection, and there is no end, but one of the first rules of project management is that every good project should have a start and end date. Where process improvement differs is that there is likely to always be more we can do, and things we can change. Don’t get defeated by this, but see it as a chance to break up the monotony, and keep innovating.

One thing that makes this easier is that there will always be new technology, solutions, software, or cultural changes that enable us to rethink how we do things. This can keep things exciting. The biggest difference with process improvement from your typical project is that there will always be something new for us to consider. If we ignore this, we run the risk of stagnating or falling behind.

Lean Tip #3086 - Start Small.  If Everything is a Priority, Nothing is a Priority

As you delve into a problem, there are many paths for improvement that will open up to explore.  It’s very easy to get distracted from what you set out to accomplish when you start to see all of the potential opportunities for intervention and improvement. It’s imperative to keep your goal front and center and continue to ground yourself in what you are trying to accomplish.

To achieve sustainable, meaningful improvements, rigor (being thorough and accurate) to the process must be maintained. What seems at the surface level to be an “easy fix” requires a thoughtful establishment of the new way of doing things for improvement to truly take hold.

Lean Tip #3098 – Create a Learning Culture

Incorporate learning and growth into your core values and make sure they shine through in your people strategies and business decisions. Talk about career growth throughout the employee lifecycle, beginning with recruitment and onboarding, and continuing during one-on-ones and performance reviews.

Encourage your team members to engage in learning activities during the work day and to share their learnings with their colleagues. Demonstrate the value you place on learning and growth by rewarding your developing team members with recognition, promotions, and raises.

A learning culture enables your employees to grow in their current roles and achieve upward mobility within your organization.

Lean Tip #3119 – Provide Opportunities for Contributing Employees

Opportunities can take many forms. But, all of them are outside of the normal day-to-day requirements of their job plan.

Employees appreciate chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate in a special committee where their talents are noticed. They’d like to lead a team that is pursuing an important objective.

They are happy to attend professional association meetings and proud to represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events. They’d appreciate the green light relative to implementing an idea they have for increasing morale in your workplace.

They are eager to stop doing portions of their job that have become rote in favor of new goals and assignments that stretch their skills and build on their abilities.

Lean Tip #3136 – Organize Your Materials and Parts for Efficient Retrieval

The amount of money (and time) that is wasted through a lack of organization can be staggering.

This particularly true if materials or components are stored at various points in the manufacturing process – with time spent retrieving these items making up a significant portion of your costs.

Making sure your storage and warehouse facility is well organized will improve this “picking” process, which can be further improved through the use of suitable parts or picking bins.

The increased speed at which the parts or components arrive at your manufacturing line will lead to increased productivity, as well as helping to avoid delays and production even stopping whilst waiting for items. This is also true for reducing picking errors, which organization can again help with.

And better organization can also highlight shortages of any stock more quickly, again preventing downtime.

Lean Tip #3151 – Build a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Having a lean and healthy culture requires many components. One of those is instilling an environment of continuous improvement.

Gradual, consistent change that sustains continuous improvement is critical. It doesn’t mean you have to train staff in strict fundamentals. It does mean you need the idea of continuous improvement to be part of everything you do.

Seek out ideas about how to improve production processes. Making everyone part of the change shows that you appreciate their opinions. It can also increase employee engagement and foster a more inclusive environment.

Lean Tip #3168 – Be Grateful for the Person, Not Just Their Output

Cultivating a positive and engaging environment begins with expressing gratitude beyond what people do at your company.

In short, workers should be appreciated for more than accomplishing their day-to-day responsibilities. Instead, focus on expressing gratitude for their unique insights, skills, contributions, and also for their personality.

Expressing gratitude for someone’s “soft” skills like their contagious positive attitude and sense of humor, or keen ability to think critically, is a great way to ensure gratitude is sincere and genuine.

These 10 Lean tips can help you with your journey in 2023. What advice would you share for the New Year?

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