Leaders, it is time to step out of the conference room and help your people solve their real problems and obstacles. Not by telling them what to do, but by helping them to think. That is how you create great products. Remember, your products are made by the people in your organization. Helping them to think outperforms all the improvement activities you can possibly think of. But how do you do that?
Start with telling your people that improvements will never lay off people. And say it again. Also mean it. If people think that improving production would result in less people to do the work, then improvements will risk their job and then they will resist to improve. If improvements would result in fewer people doing the work, then it is up to you as a manager to figure out what the people should do instead, but lay offs should be forbidden or you get stuck in status quo.
You also need to take walks in the production, daily. Power points and meetings does not solve problems. Removing impediments do. Look for bottlenecks and abnormalities in production with your people and help them find ways to fix it. Reward those who find problems. Problems are good, it is like your own gold mine. Do you have the visualisation showing your standard flow and abnormalities?
Build habits around improvements and make experiments to find solutions. Make experiments until you have solved the problem completely and then standardize. Make it fun to solve problems and ask questions to make the people think.
Educate people at the place they work, and train them by you. No external training, the training has to be made in the context of work, otherwise it is useless and they get knowledge they do not need. With external training they also have to translate trainings to their context which is hard. It is better to train in context by letting the people figure out by themselves and correct them when their thinking is not sufficient.
By following these advices you will have much more fun at work, less power pointing and a huge gain in motivation and production.
The hard part is to build this habit. Do you have what it takes?
Znsei specializes in Kaizen, Lean startup, Genba, Agile, Kanban, Scrum, SAFe, Continuous Delivery, DevOps, and Toyota Kata.
Written by Martin Hollstrand - Founder of Zensei.