By Denise Le
Process improvement doesn’t just entail the act of making something better once, it is changing your mindset to inspire a culture of continuous improvement within your organization and a drive to exceed customer expectations. This is why Lean thinking is referred to as a business methodology that aims to provide a new way to think about how to organize human activities to deliver more value to your staff and your customers while eliminating waste. Adopting this mindset can assist managers in several ways.
Many managers get caught in a revolving door where they’re dealing with the same problems from their employees day after day. Adopting a process improvement mindset can help you tackle operating problems head on to develop effective, sustainable solutions while continually driving process efficiencies that empower your team and increase productivity.
Getting the most out of organizational improvement requires a high level of commitment and discipline. Process improvement requires you to take a proactive role in leading organizational change and supporting the formation of new habits among your employees. To lead your company to greener fields, you need to be the walking example of what it takes for your employees to become an effective and efficient team.
You can start by installing some simple but powerful process improvement tools to assist your team work towards developing a culture of continuous improvement. Process improvement can significantly enhance your effectiveness at managing your team by enhancing these core skill areas:
- Time management: Process improvement teaches you the importance of value added versus non value added work. Being actively aware of how your team’s time is being spent enables you to help them focus on priorities to hit daily and weekly objectives.
How to get started: Timeblocking is a great technique to build discipline in sticking to schedules and timeframes. Be conscious of where your time and your employees’ time is most valuable, don’t let meetings start or run late, set time constraints for assignments and you’ll quickly notice you and your team’s focus will increase tenfold.
- Communication: Some studies show that managers spend as much as 90 percent of their workday communicating. Make sure you are using these opportunities with your employees to set clear expectations around what needs to be accomplished on a daily and weekly basis. Regularly checking in with your employees is a must to ensure you are providing your team with sufficient support and guidance to meet their targets.
How to get started: Set up a kanban board to increase visibility on priority tasks. Knowing what your employees are working on can also help you manage bottlenecks and redistribute work when necessary.
- Problem solving: Process improvement helps you to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in your processes to determine what your employees need in order to be productive and successful in their jobs.
How to get started: The 5 Whys is a simple and effective tool for managing real-time operating problems. To engage your employees and involve them in process improvement, fishbone diagrams are great for encouraging discussion and forming creative solutions with your team.
If you liked the process improvement tools in this article, check out our Intro to Lean course to learn more about how to incorporate process improvement tools into your day-to-day operations to improve your team’s productivity.