Lean Success Depends Upon Both Talent and Process

Joe Weinlick
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Lean success focuses on greater operational efficiency, continuous improvement and the elimination of waste. To achieve these goals, businesses have to implement processes to cultivate talented people who will work to make them happen. Hiring top people isn't enough, as managers must place talent in the right positions and coach and train these workers to help them develop professionally.

Lean Success Depends on Knowing Where to Place Top Talent

Companies often want to reward employees for a job well done, and rightly so, because an employee who is satisfied and feels appreciated is much more likely to stick around and contribute greatly to the company. If a particular employee is the best salesperson on a team, he might be rewarded with a promotion to sales manager. But what if the employee doesn't have strong administrative skills or doesn't know how to manage a team of people? After all, his talents have to do with selling products or services to customers. Placing him in charge of salespeople may not be the best use of his skills. Instead, consider offering him incentives that foster employee development. Incorporate coaching and training into management processes to build a greater and more dynamic team.

Lean success is maximized when co-workers have a common goal they want to reach and when they can learn from others with more experience. When recognizing an employee for his superior sales skills, ask him to consider creating a sales training program to help other team members increase their sales. Rather than promoting him to manager and rewarding him with a higher salary, give him a chance to earn an additional commission based on the success of his sales training program. For every salesperson who takes his program and increases her sales numbers, offer him a percentage of the increased sales. This way, you recognize his skills, give him the chance to develop professionally by training others and reward him for his talent. You capitalize on his skills, and he isn't placed in a position that might not be right for him. This salesperson also gets to coordinate his talents with others.

Lean Success Depends on Encouraging Self-Efficacy

Part of the hiring process should involve picking talented workers who have a desire to develop professionally for continuous improvement. Lean success depends on workers who want to improve their skills and continuously look for opportunities for self-development, whether through participation in industry organizations, attendance at workshops or seminars, or the augmentation of leadership skills or other skills with involvement in volunteer organizations or recreational activities. These workers have career goals and plan to build on their strengths rather than focus on their weaknesses.

Lean success can't happen without the participation of your workers and the implementation of processes that adhere to this approach. Placing workers in positions that maximize their talents and help them build better teams strengthens the business and complements other methods of a lean production philosophy.

Photo courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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