Process improvement doesn’t just entail the act of making something better once – it’s about adopting a continuous improvement mindset and the drive to exceed customer expectations. Adopting Lean thinking provides a new way to think about how to organize human activities to deliver more value to your customers and employees while eliminating waste. This new way of thinking can improve your management ability 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 efficiency that empowers your team and increases productivity.
Getting the most out of process 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 running team.
You can start by installing some simple but powerful process improvement tools to work towards developing a culture of continuous improvement within your organization.
Process improvement can significantly enhance your effectiveness at managing your team by enhancing these core skill areas:
1. 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: Time blocking 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.