How to get your team engaged in Lean
Glenn Gooding, managing consultant at Renault-Nissan Consulting explains how you can get your team behind a new Lean strategy.
Lean management can help you engage a team and lead them to success. Whether it’s a department, project or the growth of an entire organisation, it usually takes an army of dedicated people to get the job done, all well informed about the vision and reasons that change is required.
The Lean management philosophy aims to cut wasted resources, improve efficiency and move a business forward. Starting a Lean management drive is relatively simple, getting employees engaged and motivated to take part can be a challenge however. The following four steps will help you when instilling the enthusiasm you might share for Lean in your team.
As any good leader knows, communication is key. Without it, there can be no shared goal and areas of responsibility will not be clearly explained to a team. In order to engage any colleague or member of your business in a Lean management initiative, they must understand ‘why?’
Be transparent and honest about the reasons for creating a culture of Lean within your organisation. Perhaps for your business, the goal is a return to profit after a period of high costs. Maybe you want to streamline the customer journey or purchase process because you have had some complaints. Or perhaps you are a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and you would like to embrace the culture of Lean in every part of your company. Explaining the vision for your Lean project will not only help to engage employees, it will also make achieving that vision more certain.
Once everyone is clear about why they are embarking on a Lean programme, explain the benefits. The philosophies and methodologies can make a vast difference to the fortunes of an organisation. They help to reduce costs, improve performance and efficiency and this all has a knock-on effect on overall success. Explaining the role team members play in this success is vital if they are going to be inspired to join you on the journey.
Members of a team feel more inclined to support a project when they are invested in it. Explain to your employees or colleagues that they will be a valued part of a Lean project and that you need their involvement, insights and contribution.
By making team members feel part of the process and a vital element for success, they will feel more inspired. Equally, if they know what they are doing is important to the company, their successes will be even more satisfying.
Part of engaging a team involves recognising when work is done well. Celebrate wins among team members and you will motivate people to step up and work hard at achieving the goals that are set. You can even assign ‘star players’ for a particular time period or project.
One of the first things to do when beginning a Lean project is allocate responsibilities to team members.
You will have project leads for different areas and departments who will report back to you on various metrics. Making sure this information is clear to everyone is vital when it comes to the success of your Lean management. Not only must you be clear about the roles and responsibilities of leaders, but all team members at every level must be clear about who they are working with or reporting to.
Although it’s fourth on our list, good communication and listening to your team members is a priority for succeeding at Lean management. In fact, feedback from others at different levels and stages can prove vital when it comes to moving forward, making changes and continuously improving.
Make sure that regular catch-ups and meetings are built into your Lean schedule.
Your roadmap to a more efficient business and operational excellence will require constant reviewing and updating. This is only possible if you pay close attention to what is going on in your Lean management project and value the information your team passes on.