Never Underestimate the Power of TEAMWORK!
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; Involve me and I’ll understand” – Chinese proverb.
Lean leaders are not mavericks. They don’t see themselves as the hero who alone can save the day. They value collaboration and synergy because teamwork is how the detailed tasks of continuous improvement get done.
Understanding that all people have different personal styles
In what ways do you learn best? Do you learn best visually, verbally, logically? How do we develop successful teams with so many different learning styles? Well, all the different learning styles have more influence than you realize.
To have an effective team, you have to bring together people who have different skills, talents, and work styles. Often, it’s a team member’s weakness that gives them a particular strength. For example, we’ve observed that sometimes people who are less verbal than their peers during problem-solving dialogue are the ones who in the end, come up with the best solution. Perhaps this is because they are sending their mental energy listening instead of talking.
Tips For Building An Effective Team:
- Consider both skills and attitude
- Tackle the willingness issue
- Recognize that not everyone is going to contribute the same skills and talents
- Institute a lean team leader
- Determine the roles of each lean leader and how each role relates to each other and the team as a whole
After you have those lean leaders, let’s celebrate…
Make sure to celebrate teamwork when it produces excellent results. As Henry Ford says “Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” Feeling appreciated can make all the difference in the work place. In my work organizations I have yet to find a person who says they are over-appreciated, over- encouraged, or over-praised. Many people feel their effort isn’t acknowledged and go to work every day yearning for the encouragement they have been missing out on.
Drive team members to be self managed and committed to the work
As lean leaders we need to build quality at the source. We need to get work done that makes the coming improvement work successful. Most efficient teams are self managed, but that doesn’t mean they work independent of supervisor observation and participation. Supervisors play a key role by coaching, teaching, and removing roadblocks so team members can solve problems. Think about team work this way: The team members have all the knowledge, and the supervisors have all the authority. Together as lean leaders we are more effective in making changes than if they were working separately. There is something about being able to talk out loud for you to hear your own thoughts that helps drive improvements. There is less time wasted in miscommunication or having to re-do work that doesn’t translate from one department to another.
Share success of teamwork across the organization as best practices
A lean organization also keeps the knowledge it builds by sharing lean best practices. We avoid running into duplication of effort or “reinventing the wheel”, and some cost savings through increased productivity and efficiency. Sharing internal best practices is very important for improvement purposes, many of which focus on identifying and solving problems. If we don’t share success, there is no organizational learning, and sustainment of lean gains will fail.
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