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Monday, June 26, 2023

Lean Tips Edition #205 (#3286 - #3300)

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 #3286 – Reward Employees For Their Hard Work

Creating a well-rounded recognition program will take time and energy, but the payoff can mean the difference between stressed and burnt-out employees or a company culture built around engaged employees who feel appreciated beyond their paycheck.

From spot bonuses to anniversary gifts and beyond, these reward opportunities fuel a healthy team dynamic. Rewards offer your employees a chance to rejuvenate outside the office by indulging in a passion, trying something new, or challenging their comfort zones.

Lean Tip #3287 – Greet Your Team

A little hello goes a long way in the workplace. Your team members want to feel and be happy, so give them a little nudge in the morning with a big old smile that says, “I’m happy you are here and I want you to love your job.”

Pop around the office periodically and see how everyone is doing. Ask your team how their weekend was, and check in to see if anyone needs assistance with ongoing projects.

Something as simple as a smile, a token of your appreciation, or a “Good morning!” can be enough to turn anyone’s bad day right around. Being upbeat and genuine in your approach boosts your team’s self-esteem, causing them to be more motivated and reminds them that working with you is pretty great.

Lean Tip #3288 – Make Work Fulfilling

Everyone wants to feel like what they’re doing at work matters.

In order for team members to feel good about the work they are producing, they need to fully understand the company’s mission and purpose. So, it’s your job to make sure they know what that looks like.

Give a rundown of what each department does and why they do it. When employees see the inner-workings of the organization from all angles and perspectives, they feel better connected to the business and therefore more committed to making it a success.

Lean Tip #3289 – Refrain from Micromanaging

Employees who feel trusted and supported, without being hovered over, are statistically more relaxed and confident in the job they do.

I think it’s safe to say that not one working person likes to be micromanaged. If employees feel like they are constantly on their boss’s radar, they are not going to perform the way they normally would, and they will begin to resent their job.

It doesn’t help anyone if half the day is spent recording and reporting what tasks were checked off and which ones weren’t, so, give your team the trust and creative freedom that they deserve by setting clear expectations and fair boundaries.

You are the one who hired your irreplaceable team members. Remember why you hired them and trust that they will make the right decisions without your hovering. Doing so will keep their confidence high, further contributing to the success of your business.

Let a team member lead the next marketing meeting, and give team members the go-ahead to make executive decisions when you aren’t around.

Lean Tip #3290 – Deliver Praise and Recognition Often

Were you aware that feeling underappreciated at work is the #1 reason Americans leave their jobs? Number one! Beating out low salary, limited vacation days and not enough flexibility for life outside of work.

A statistic as powerful as that one needs to be front of mind for managers and leaders.

By offering consistent praise and recognition, your team will be excited and eager to contribute to company-wide initiatives.

Ask team members how they want to be recognized for a job well done. Send out a quick email or commence a team huddle to get their feedback on how they prefer to be recognized or complimented when and where credit is due. For some, it may be a quick “You did it!” shout-out during a meeting. For others, it might be a one-on-one positive feedback session.

The key is to be consistent. If a team member deserves to be recognized for outstanding work, tell them right away: Don’t wait for their “review.” The days of annual reviews are ancient history.

Lean Tip #3291 – Allow for Employee Autonomy

By giving employees autonomy to do their job, you are letting them know that you trust and value them. When your employees enter the workplace, it's to do a job. So, let them do it. You don't need to micromanage people. A recent study found that the higher levels of autonomy a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and well being. The more you allow them to be autonomous, the more productive they become. If an employee is regularly required to get permission to complete tasks or finalize jobs, they won't learn to make important decisions on their own.

Lean Tip #3292 – Assist Your Team Members in Reaching Goals

Setting goals is a good way to hold yourself accountable. Not everyone is adept at setting goals, however. Make sure that you are encouraging your team members to not only set realistic, obtainable goals but also to be specific with those goals. What you don't want are vague goals like " I want to increase sales." Instead, try something like "I want to increase sales by 25% in the next three months." You want to ensure that employees are setting realistic timelines for meeting their goals.

If they don't give themselves enough time, it could cause increased stress, resulting in decreased productivity. On the other hand, offering too much time to reach a goal will not create the momentum needed to increase productivity and success. If team members reach their goals early or better yet exceed their goals, you could celebrate by doing something special for them. Once goals have been reached, it's time to set new ones and start all over again.

Lean Tip #3293 – Encourage Relationships Among Coworkers

When you establish comradery within the office, you'll have fewer employees missing work, and the environment will be pleasant for everyone. If you have certain employees that just don't mesh well together, it's not a bad thing to allow them to work in different departments or areas of the office. You want to make coming in to work enjoyable, and if people are working with their friends, they will feel better about showing up each day.

Even the boss or supervisor should have a good relationship with their employees. You don't want them to hear dead silence the minute they walk into the room. Encourage them to talk with employees about their personal lives, ask them questions about their family, and incorporate laughter or humor in some way. These are great ways to help people feel comfortable talking to their boss.

Lean Tip #3294 – Develop a Routine that Works for You

Workplace efficiency doesn’t just exist in the office – your daily routine can have a huge impact on how you work. Remote workers, hybrid workers and office devotees should all have a good daily routine that inspires productivity. One way of encouraging this is by introducing a flexible workplace so your employees can strike the right balance between themselves and their work.

Your morning routine isn’t just about the basics of grabbing your coffee, brushing your teeth and flying out the door: it’s about creating sustainable habits that set you up for the day. So you’re not a morning person? Lay out your things the night before so you can enjoy an extra 5 minutes in bed before diving into a productive day. Maybe you like to start your morning with a bang – a quick run before your morning shower, an early-morning gym session or some energizing yoga can nourish your mind-body connection before you head to the office.

Embrace your lunchtime stroll, your mid-afternoon coffee break and your go-to commute podcast – all of these things can bring you joy in your personal life, leading to efficiency in the workplace.

Lean Tip #3295 – Strive for Progress Over Perfection

Everyone seeks perfection—but no one ever attains it. One of the most important things to remember when trying to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace is that nothing can ever be perfect. Holding yourself and your employees to unattainable standards is demoralizing, stress-inducing and impractical.

Part of the working world is embracing setbacks and challenges without letting them overwhelm you. If employees are constantly striving for perfection, they will never have a healthy understanding of success and will, therefore, struggle with their work efficiency.

Progress is far more important than perfection – embrace feedback from your colleagues and help them to do the same. Without the weight of perfectionism around our necks, we are much less likely to procrastinate and far more likely to achieve something great.

Lean Tip #3296 – Set Benchmarks and Goals

The best way to set your company up to prosper, continually grow, and exceed customers’ expectations is to set benchmarks, targets for teams to achieve until the ultimate goal is met. Part of the business planning process is breaking down big, major goals into smaller projects and tasks so they can be completed in a timely manner. Remember, responsible business process management is always mindful of all the key players. So, when setting goals and yardsticks for your team, be sure to involve them. Be sure that everything you’re setting for them is doable and realistic.

Lean Tip #3297 – Plan for Success

To maximize your opportunities for business process optimization, create a review team assembled of people from various departments in the company. Their invaluable input will help shape your new processes into plans that will map out the road to success for your company. The main question the team should be asking is: “How can we change things to make us work faster, better, and more effective? Be sure to get input and views from all sides so no team or department is left out. Whatever new processes you come up with should work for everyone in the company. That’s the only way to guarantee long-term success.

Lean Tip #3298 – Target Quality Improvement

The customer may not always be right but a happy customer means they will always choose to spend their money on your company. If you want to create loyal customers and broaden your reach through word of mouth and buyer influence, make the quality of your team’s output one of your focuses. Make sure that everyone in the company understands that quality is not the responsibility of a select few such as the customer-facing teams. Quality is a team effort and this involves everyone in the company. If one link in the chain is weak or breaks, for example, a customer follow-up to a supplier is not closed in time, you can potentially lose repeat business, which means the company, will be at a loss too.

Lean Tip #3299 – Carefully Analyze What Needs to Change

Nearly every process has some form of waste hidden in it, i.e., things that don’t add value. Your primary objective is to identify and eliminate them within your processes to save time and produce better outcomes. This can be overproduction, sitting inventory and defects due to incomplete or inaccurate information.

Consider the following questions to identify the waste within your processes and build a thorough process improvement plan:

  • Which issues are creating problems for your customers or team members?
  • Which steps are creating bottlenecks?
  • Is there any underlying reason behind the increase in costs or decline in quality?
  • Which steps require the most time to complete or cause the most delays? 

Your best bet is to reach out to people directly affected by the process and ask them what they think is wrong and the improvements they suggest.

Lean Tip #3300 – Continuously Monitor Progress

After implementing a process improvement methodology, be sure to monitor progress using applicable process improvement metrics or KPIs.

This way, you can hold staff accountable for the agreed-upon productivity and quality standards and determine whether the implemented changes are helping improve outcomes. Daily monitoring also simplifies implementing changes to improve performance faster as well as fine-tune processes and workflows based on performance comparison to departmental goals.

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