Blog Archives

Isn’t Saying ‘Thank You’ Part of Respect for People

A pillar of lean that is discussed regularly across blogs is the respect for people.  Steve Roesler, at All Things Workplace, posted a great blog about just saying ‘thank you.’

Research by UK performance improvement consultants Maritz has found that almost one in five of us (19 per cent) have never been thanked for our efforts at work while more than a third only hear those two little words once or twice a year.

Perhaps not-entirely coincidentally, that’s about the same proportion as another recent survey found have no loyalty towards the organisation they work for and couldn’t care less about their job.

Steve goes on to conclude:

Executives need to start thanking their managers regularly. Then they need to tell them to start thanking their people. Maybe we could get uppity and call it “Building a Culture of Thanks.” Clearly, it would be more effective and less costly than conferences and software.

This is just a part of respecting people.  Too many times, people get taken for granted even when they do great work consistently.

It isn’t hard to say ‘thank you’.  It takes two seconds and it can go along way in showing that you have noticed and you care.  You respect their work and time.

Great Posts on Leadership

A topic that comes up a lot here and around the blog sphere is around leadership and what it looks like in a lean environment.  There are many great perspectives  on leading in a lean organization.

Mark Graban has done a great job breaking down some of Dr. Deming’s view on how to lead a transformation and what the role of a manager of people should be.  Dr. Deming’s teachings still ring true today.  His thoughts and leadership are timeless.

Mark also took some great notes from Art Byrne’s speech at the AME Spring Conference.  Art spoke about why and how to do lean, but the most interesting part was Art’s thoughts on management principles.  It is another great blog post summary of leadership.

Jamie Flinchbaugh wrote a great blog about the difference between tension and stress.  Jamie explains a leader’s role in creating tension.  Knowing you are not where you are supposed to be but understanding the gap and developing a plan to close it.  Jamie does a great job of explaining how stress is not a good thing but tension is very healthy.

Steve Roesler explains how effective coaching as a leader leads to commitment from the employees.  Steve’s ‘what it takes’ and ‘3 to-dos’ is very insightful.

And awhile back Mark Welch wrote a great guest blog for Beyond Lean about being a Servant Leader.  He looks at how Jesus was a servant leader and what we can learn from it for a lean organization.

There are many great blogs about leadership. I encourage you to make copies of a few and refer back to them occasionally.  It is always good to get a refresher.

Blog Carnival Annual Roundup 2011 – All Things Workplace

This is my second review for the 2011 Annual Blog Carnival Roundup as part of the Curious Cat Management Blog.  So far I have reviewed:

Today’s focus is on All Things Workplace.  The blog is written by Steve Roesler.  Steve is a leadership coach and has worked with many organizations.

The blog isn’t necessarily about lean, but Steve talks about many things lean thinkers struggle with.  One of Steve’s most recent post talks about ways to be coachable.  He talks about the characteristics of someone who is coachable.  It is a great insight to understand the roadblocks you may have in coaching someone or shine a light on why you may not be receiving coaching very well.

Lean implementers are leaders of change.  We struggle with change management and the human factor involved in wanting to change to new way to do something.  Here Steve talks about how to prepare people for change.

A characteristic of a good lean leader is the ability to keep learning.  In this post, Steve suggests that smart people are people that keep learning that is why they can do so many things.

I encourage you to read Steve’s blog.  There are a lot of subjects related to lean and leadership there.

Article Roundup

In the spirit of other blog sites, especially the Management Carnival, I thought I would share some links to a few blogs that found very interesting over the last month or so.  I hope you enjoy them.

A Tough Obituary to Write by Bill Waddell – This is a different perspective on the passing of Steve Jobs.  This is a point of view I had thought about writing but Bill beat me to the punch and I didn’t want to redo something he had written so well.

Building Your Personal Value Proposition by Bill Barnett – A great post about understanding yourself and what you are interested in.  Use that knowledge to know where you fit in a company and build your personal value.

Encourage Talent If You Want It To Grow by Steve Roesler – Steve hits on some great points to help grow talent through encouragement.  Even when you feel an employee is doing what they should be doing it is good to encourage them.

Building Manager Standard Work by Jamie Flinchbaugh – This blog will link to his full article at Industry Week.  Don’t but a process in place for something that already has a process like check email every day at lunch.

Planning On Not Knowing by David Kasprzak – We won’t always know what do to next but that shouldn’t stop us from planning.  Plan in spots to review and determine what to do next.

Manufacturing Skills Gap or Management Skills Gap by John Hunter – If the people don’t have the manufacturing skills they need is that their fault?  Or do we have a gap in our management skills?

Assembly Mag Thinks Whirlpool is Lean. Really. by Kevin Meyer – This is about Whirlpool and the fake lean.  It hit home because I grew up in Evansville and watch the decline of Whirpool.

My Continuous Improvement: Outside the Lean Circle

In January, Karen Wilhelm did a blog post for John Hunter’s Management Improvement Blog CarnivalIn the post, Karen talked about setting time aside to learn by reading other blogs.

At the end of the post, Karen pointed out, with a fantastic graphic, how much the lean community is circling back around and reviewing itself over and over again.

I was part of Jamie Flinchbaugh’s Blog Carnival for John’s site and I am very appreciative.  I had been blogging for less then a year and it gave Beyond Lean some more exposure.  But, Karen’s post got me thinking about the blogs I read (and still do) and learning.  If I wanted to expand my learning circle I needed to read some blogs that weren’t lean related.

I found some about business and leadership and decided to give them a try.  A few blogs I didn’t find all that interesting so I moved on to others.  I thought I would share some of the blogs with my readers.  If you want to give them a try…great.  If not, no problem.

All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler – A great blog from an executive management consultant.  There are a lot of posts that relate to the respect for people part of lean.  Practical advice for different situations.

My Flexible Pencil by David Kasprzak – His blog tag line is “Observations of workplace behavior with an eye for waste and value….and anything else that comes to mind.”  David mentions waste and value which lean readers are all over but the blog isn’t about lean.  It is great observations of people and behaviors.  David does a great job of giving examples for his personal life to bring the ideas to life and make them hit home.

SmartBlog on Leadership – The posts are from various people on different aspects of leadership and culture.  The site also posts survey results to some interesting questions like “Does your organization have good alignment?”.  There are some interviews with leaders from companies from time to time also.

Seth’s Blog by Seth Godin – Seth has written a few books about marketing and is well known.  I just finally got around to trying his blog.  His blogs are short and interesting.

Some of these may strike a cord with you or they might not.  It can’t hurt to try new blogs and see what learnings we can get from someone else.

Coaching and Influencing People Around You

The lean philosophy is one that wants to see everyone get valuable and honest feedback in order to improve.  Giving honest feedback to a person shows respect even if the person may not want to hear it.

When coaching this can be very hard to do, but it is needed.  Steve Roesler posted a blog entitled “How to Build Your People.”  In the post, Steve mentions his thoughts on what a coach should do.

I was thinking about the things an executive coach really does–or should be doing. One of the most important is this: Seeing people for who they are, realizing what they can be, and helping to take them there.

I agree with Steve on this point.  Putting it into practice can be a very hard thing to do.  Sometimes people think they already know it all.  They have don’t know what they don’t know, making influence a much harder task to accomplish.

Sometimes the mindset is they got there by doing things the old way so why change.  This can be hard to overcome too, but in my experience these mindsets are easier to overcome.

Here is what Steve has seen:

I see highly motivated people getting performance appraisals that are designed to force rankings on a curve so they never accurately portray an individual’s contribution and worth. I see employees at all levels  getting feedback on the gaps in their performance–and then receiving direction to “close the gaps.” I see the same people then coming to workshops and seminars, hearing theoretical–but good–teaching, only to go back to work and say “what do I actually do with that?”

To me this is a third category of people.  These are people that want to learn and apply but just don’t know where to start.  These are people that can be influenced.

It is not only a task of a coach but also of the individual to let people see their value.  Steve believes that letting people know who you really are is a way to show your value.

If you want your talent to be valued, you’ve got to let people around you know who you really are. Make it impossible for them not to see you clearly.

This goes back to being transparent and honest.  If we want to build the people around us we must know who we are and then understand who the people we are helping are and get them to see it too.