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Monday, May 8, 2023

Lean Tips Edition #203 (#3256 - #3270)

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 #3256 – Make a Plan for the Change

When bringing up a problem to someone, they’re much more likely to be receptive to you if you also bring a solution. Change works similarly. If you want to institute change in your organization, you need to come up with at least a partial plan for enacting that change. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, as the company executives are going to have a say, but if you at least have a framework ready to go, it’ll make implementing the change much easier.

Lean Tip #3257 – 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 #3258 – 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 #3259 – 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 #3260 – 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 #3261 – 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 #3262 – Anticipate Pitfalls.

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 #3263 – Enable Good Communication within the Organization 

A good communication system is very important especially when the organization is facing change. Lack or poor communication with the employees can result to negative impact while positive will ensure that everyone understands what the company is going through hence more likely to embrace it.

From a clear stand point, managers need to have detailed information about the change so that they can access how it is going to affect the organization. Don’t sit back and wait for miracle to happen but talk to your boss and all your co-workers and get them to understand what is happening. When doing this, be warned because the news can be distorting and yield mixed rumors that are not good at the workplace.

Lean Tip #3264 – Follow Through on Plans — But be Flexible

Without commitment and determination, your team won’t get far in shifting to the “new normal” you are asking them to embrace. But you still need to remain flexible. Be ready to alter your strategies, if necessary, to get past bumps in the road.

Change is a process. And, to manage change effectively, you need to be prepared to take detours at times so that, ultimately, your team can stay on course and reach the intended destination.

Lean Tip #3265 – Engagement is Everything

Don’t underestimate the power of engagement here. Change requires engagement to succeed. Highlighting employee strengths and where these can be put to effective use within the change itself will move focus away from resistance towards more positive actions.

Identify any informal leaders within the business and ensure they are a champion for change. You could create an internal campaign to identify those who are quick to adapt to the change and show leadership qualities in their positive adoption.

Lean Tip #3266 – Encourage Collaboration

Create work practices to encourage employees to work together and openly discuss ways to improve. For example:

·        allow job swaps that foster new perspectives from different employees

·        hold process improvement brainstorming sessions with employees from different parts of the business

·        introduce a new ideas or 'what if?' section to your regular meetings

If you can, provide a dedicated area that will promote employee interaction. Ideally, an open space where they can sit and chat in a relaxing environment. Informal discussions often lead to improved employee relationships and trust, which encourages teamwork and leads to innovation.

Lean Tip #3267 – Give Employees Time and Space to Innovate

Be open and approachable to new ideas, and set aside spaces for employees to create and share ideas.

Many large companies often allocate time for their employees to break from routine roles to inspire new thoughts. This could be an employee retreat, allocated time each day or a day out of the office.

You can also support innovation by setting up:

·        meetings to share ideas

·        suggestion boxes

·        a suggestion area on the staff intranet

·        dedicated times or rooms 

Lean Tip #3268 – 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 #3269 – 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 #3270 – Recognize and Reward Successful Innovations

To get the best out of your people when it comes to innovation, you need a way to recognize and reward successful new ideas - especially when they have the potential to save the company money or boost revenue.

This can be as simple as providing public recognition, for example, giving out awards at all-hands meetings. Though, if you also feel like offering flashy rewards, we’re sure your staff won’t mind!

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