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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Top 10 Lean Tips From 2023

As 2023 comes to an end and we look toward 2024 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 #3195 – Believe in Your Goals and Trust Yourself That You Can Do It

You need to believe in your goals and trust yourself that you can do it. First, you must believe that your goals are possible. And second, you must trust that you can achieve them.

When you truly believe you can achieve your goals, you will do whatever it takes to reach them. Think about why people buy lottery tickets. Well, it is because they believe that they stand a chance to win, right? If you don’t believe you stand a chance to win, you will never bother buying the lottery ticket.

The same goes for your goals. When you believe that you can achieve them, you will do it with a 100% commitment rather than a half-hearted attempt.

Therefore, believe that your goals are possible and trust that you can achieve them.

Lean Tip #3306 – Focus Team and Company on Crucial Tasks

Don’t confuse being busy with being productive – they’re not necessarily related. We all know someone who is always busy, but never seems to get anything done. Where focus goes, energy flows, and it’s crucial to keep your employees focused on just one task or goal at a time. Make it clear what’s most important, and efficiency will follow.

Lean Tip #3196 – Think Positive

You can’t always control life-changing events, but you can control how you respond to them. Rather than dwelling on negative thoughts, accept that change is part of life, and try to see it as an opportunity for personal growth. What can you learn? How will this situation better prepare you for the future? Concentrate on what you ultimately want to achieve, rather than worrying about the obstacles in your way. Try to keep things in perspective, and avoid catastrophizing or feeling helpless or overwhelmed. The more you can face a stressful situation with optimism and positivity, the more resilient you will become – and the better equipped you will be to face the next challenge.

Lean Tip #3208 – Teach Employees Instead of Giving Orders.

An effective leader knows how to show others what is required, rather than simply telling them. Leaders should coach their team members toward a more collaborative, committed work environment – without coaxing 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 #3209 – 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 you’re open to hearing the thoughts of the talent around you is when you truly embrace every possibility and potential. See things through till the end. Understand that there will be errors along the way, but if something doesn’t work, try to figure out why and how before scrapping it.

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 #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 #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 #3279 – Develop A Culture Of Constant Improvement

The most important value that companies can build their culture around is one of constant improvement, both as individuals and as an overall business (and your processes, workflows and the way you handle customers). If members of your team know and understand that the business is always looking to improve itself, then it becomes easier to talk about gaps and areas that may be able to be improved. Be accepting of proposed solutions or changes that are brought to you by employees, and reward them for what they are doing—which is actively working to make your business better. It is hearing these suggestions out and giving them serious thought and discussion rather than brushing them aside that is the ultimate incentivization for employees.

Lean Tip #3285 - Treat Mistakes as an Opportunity to Learn

Inevitably, there will be some mistakes along the way for your team. Depending on the way they are handled, they can become big roadblocks for your team. No one ever responds well if they are called out and criticized harshly for making a mistake or failing to reach a goal. That does not mean you should let mistakes or missing a goal slide as being no big deal. Instead, use these situations as an opportunity to learn what didn’t work this time and to make better plans going forward.

Avoid assigning blame to anyone. Instead, ask questions similar to the following:

•           Is there something the team did (or did not do) that caused the mistake to occur?

•           How can we regroup and move forward to reach our goal next time? Be specific.

•           What can I do to help the team reach the goal next time?

Generally, when a failure occurs, it is not due to one mistake. There are a series of events that occur and the failure is the result. Spending time trying to assign blame takes away from learning how to avoid the same pitfalls next time.

Lean Tip #3212 – Transparency of Ideas is Critical

In fact, ideas submitted to suggestion boxes are occasionally implemented. The problem is that there is often little or no communication with the idea submitter. Hence as far as she knows – nothing has happened to her idea.

Thus, it is critical that any idea generation initiative is transparent, not only during the idea generation phase, but also during the idea review and testing phases. Regular reports to the idea submitters lets them know how their ideas are developing and demonstrates the value that the firm gives to good ideas.

These 10 Lean tips can help you with your journey in 2024. What advice would you share for the New Year?

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