The principles that drive lean manufacturing are focused on reducing unnecessary actions and increasing quality and customer satisfaction.
Some businesses focus their “lean and mean” strategy on processes. They can even apply to how you run your meetings.
We’ve discovered the hidden waste of miscommunication in manufacturing is a critical gap to address.
Here are 3 tips to make your meetings ‘lean’ and effective:
1. Mind your meetings.
Meetings can be a major waste of time when not properly managed. Put an agenda in place and send it out in advance. Proactively plan for possible topics that may come into play. Be ready to address them and to encourage group participation.
Being late to a meeting impacts the entire group and affects the group dynamics out of the gate. Being absent reduces the meeting’s success, and can result in reworking whatever was decided. You may also miss an opportunity to provide input.
Ensuring you have the right team in place to address the meeting’s objective is critical.
- Every participant must be informed of the expectations, both as an individual and for the group.
- Be clear about the goal of the meeting, and make sure the person in charge keeps the discussion on track, to avoid wasted time on tangents.
- Pay attention to the group dynamics–everyone needs to have their voice heard.
- Stay aware of a single dominating force and plan in advance a strategy to redirect when needed.
- Be sure action items are assigned with a due date and set another meeting (if needed) prior to closing out.
Meetings for the sake of meetings are a waste of everyone’s valuable time.
2. Listen as a colleague, it’s not a competition.
When you are part of a team, you have your specific responsibilities, based on your strengths, experience, and, yes, even your personality (e.g., outgoing and strong at influencing others is great for a salesperson).
Feeling competitive with colleagues is a waste of time, energy, and resources.
Instead of playing “devil’s advocate” to chip away at a co-worker’s ideas, you can be looking for ways to enhance and implement the concepts and solutions for the best interest of the team and the company objectives.
- Be a problem-solver. Encourage different ideas by listening to others creative input.
- Listen to the opportunities being presented and use your skills to shape them into possibilities and solutions.
- Intellectual sparring is a good thing–when everyone has a voice!
A supportive environment reduces the hidden waste of miscommunication.
3. Broaden the group’s view.
Whom do you include in your meetings? Are you getting a 360-degree view of the situation?
Managers can offer the perspective of upper-level goals, but front-line workers are the true experts and will bring a different perspective, offering up the best solutions when their voice is heard.
Making sure your front line is part of the process creates engaged team members who become part of the solution and results in buy in and adaption.
Not long ago, I wrote about a team approach to problem-solving. Management tried to resolve an equipment problem on the production line. They spent countless hours and far too much money on a consultant, only to later discover that a front-line worker had a $20 fix.
Listen to and implement your front line experts’ ideas! You will be amazed at the results.
Share your tips and results with us on Twitter @LTronCorp.