A key component of running a successful business is being able to coach and provide feedback for employees. As a leader or manager, providing proper guidance for employees ensures they can succeed in the workplace and continue to improve. In this article, we will provide you with three tips for coaching and providing feedback for your team.
Avoid Using Accusatory Language
Words such as always, should, never, and you or your are all quick to put an employee on the defensive when providing feedback. It’s important to choose words carefully, because more than just providing feedback or worse, venting frustrations with their performance, we want our employees to be open to evaluating themselves openly and improving.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Asking guiding questions tends to lead to more thoughtful and detailed answers. Asking guiding questions allows employees to discover the answers themselves and help them learn and grow the most. The open-ended approach to questioning also encourages more productive coaching conversations to occur in future.
Develop Strong Relationships with Employees
When providing coaching or feedback, your relationship with your employees is incredibly important. If employees don’t understand you and where you’re coming from, they may be unresponsive to your guidance and even be upset by it. It also provides managers with an understanding of employees, their attitude toward work, and their capacity to improve and perform.
Committing to Continuous Improvement
While providing feedback and coaching is essential for helping employees strive for improvement, it is also important as a leader to try to continuously improve as well. Here at Adonis we can help managers, leaders, and employees at all levels through Six Sigma training and coaching get better results by utilizing the Lean & Six Sigma toolkit.
Control charts were originally used in the deployment of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and later on adopted into the Six Sigma framework. Also known as Shewhart charts (after Walter A. Shewhart), these charts look into the process behavior as well as its natural (common) or special (assignable) causes of variation. Control charts set statistical control limits (upper and lower) where most of the process data are expected to fall within. By using control charts, one can identify areas of poor performance or excellence and adapt accordingly. In this article, we will go over the basics of creating a control chart, the four process states within a control chart, and the different ways that these charts can be used.
How to Create a Control Chart
The most common way to create a control chart is by entering data points into Excel and using formulas to create a chart. There are seven different types of control charts you can create depending on the amount and type of available data. More robust tools like SigmaXL or R can also be used to create control charts for both continuous and attribute data.
Identifying the Four Process States in a Control Chart
There should be four process states within a control chart: the ideal state, threshold state, brink of chaos state, and the out of control state. Each of the four process states reveals the stability and predictability of the process and helps identify, through data, whether the process is under control or is becoming increasingly prone to error. Specific rules can be applied to trends, shifts, and out of control process behavior.
Different Uses for Control Charts
Control charts are primarily used as a tool to control, monitor, and improve processes by identifying patterns that develop over time and finding areas that need improvement. Control charts have uses in a variety of contexts such as response time, budgeting, quality control, and beyond, making them a useful tool to learn regardless of the work setting.
How Adonis Can Help
Control charts are a key tool in striving for continuous improvement. Here at Adonis, we provide training in the Lean Six Sigma toolkit that will help you master utilizing control charts and other continuous improvement strategies.
Value stream mapping is a lean tool developed by Toyota to eliminate waste, thereby increasing value for the customer. Value stream mapping typically involves using flowchart documents with various symbols to analyze and design the various workflows in the end to end process. In this article, we want to give you an overview of the steps to utilize value stream mapping in your company.
Create a Team
To create a value stream map, you will need to gather representatives from various departments or processes in your company to enable information to pass between them smoothly and ensure important items aren’t left out. Including outside suppliers in the team can also help gain an outside perspective.
Hold a Kaizen Event
With a team assembled, the next step in creating a value stream map is to hold a Kaizen event. Over the course of the event it will be important to determine the process family, create a template with symbols to use to create the map, and draft a current and future state Value Stream Map.
Draft a Plan
After your team understands the current and future state of the company through mapping, and has identified areas where waste can be eliminated, it’s time to move on to drafting a plan. A good draft should include details about the logistics of the project, such as possible team members, a schedule for events and deliverables, cost estimates, and of course the goals and benefits of the project.
Benefits of Value Stream Mapping
Value Stream Mapping is a lean tool that can help identify inefficiencies in the line of production and even knowledge-based work. Through Adonis’ Continuous Improvement program, we offer Kaizen Event Facilitation and Lean/ Six Sigma Project Execution that will help guide your team through the process of creating value stream mapping, which will help improve your company’s overall bottom line.
Selecting a problem solving approach is one of the most important aspects to continuously improve and create sustainable processes. Having a standard process in place helps resolve problems at a faster pace and it enables your teams to overcome any roadblocks smoothly. In this article, we will go over a few of the common approaches that can help eliminate issues and keep your organization thriving.
Define the Problem
It is essential to define a problem accurately before you enter into the problem-solving lifecycle. A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved. Your team needs to scope the problem and clearly identify the pain points as opposed to rushing to a solution. Do we have a bottleneck in our process? Is your business losing revenue due to competition in the market? Once you’ve defined the problem to be solved, ideally, you can gather some data then shift to solutioning.
Now that the problem has been defined, we must quickly gather data to provide additional context to our problem. That data can be retrieved from internal systems of record such as a human resource management system, financial tracking tool, or dashboards and other metric reporting, such as PowerBI or Tableau reports. Alternatively, you might need to conduct some time and motion studies in order to have a proper picture of the current state.
Leverage Design Thinking
Design Thinking helps you reframe the problem from the perspective of the people involved in the problem - and most importantly, using an empathetic point of view to put yourself in their shoes. It helps you challenge underlying assumptions and generate ideas with a fresh perspective. Advantages with the Design Thinking approach include creating a prototype of the solution and testing it quickly to prevent the risks involved in implementing a big change.
Monitor for Success
After you’ve defined your problem and have strong, data-driven solutions in place, make sure you are monitoring your results so you know whether you are achieving your goals. Use the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle in order to continuously improve by establishing periodic checkpoints to review your progress; this in turn avoids wastes of money and resources.
Problem-solving is an ongoing process of improvement within organizations. It requires time and training, which cannot be provided by a simple overview of problem-solving techniques. Through Adonis’ Continuous Improvement program, we can help your organization tackle its most critical challenges by assisting you to establish such robust problem-solving frameworks.
Tiger teams are formed by assembling cross-functional team members to solve complex issues, often in areas of IT but can be extended to almost any area of the business when there’s an urgent need to bring focus to a challenge. One of the most notable tiger teams was created during the lunar landing of Apollo 13 when a service module malfunctioned. In this article, we will go over how to create a successful tiger team and what pitfalls your business should avoid when creating one.
Identify the Right Team Members
Just as tigers are agile, tiger teams can be used to solve challenges on anything from an application not running properly to addressing an underperforming project to restoring a client’s confidence in your ability to deliver. Because of the flexibility of tiger teams, identifying the right team of experts to tackle the issue at hand is of utmost importance.
Learn from Pilots
Piloting a solution, or small tests, are an important part of helping tiger teams identify the root cause of issues. In addition, pilots can also be a great way to learn what’s working and what’s not working when launching a new product or process. Pilots also help your team avoid making too much of an investment in an unsustainable idea, so don’t be shy in using them throughout the project lifecycle.
Risk Factors and What to Avoid
One major risk factor to consider with tiger teams is scope creep. Scope creep can occur when the team begins to address ideas or issues outside of the original challenge, making the team less efficient. To avoid this, ensure the challenge has been thoroughly identified, write it down, show it to leadership and look at it continuously. Another way to keep focus is to create a dashboard showing your progress. This is an artifact that can be shared with the key leaders and team weekly to manage expectations.
Creating a tiger team can help your organization develop a specialized team of experts to tackle complicated issues with a project or fast-track the resolution to a specific challenge. Here at Adonis, we provide program and project management services that will help you deliver a project on-time, on-budget, and ensure the end result creates value.
Standardization is a process where rules are created and used to govern how people in an organization complete different tasks. In this article, we will go over different types of standardization and the benefits that simple processes have on your business.
Customer Support Standardization
Customer support is one of the most important aspects of running a business, because it provides a direct line of communication between your business and customers. Standardizing how customer service operators should respond to certain requests or issues is one way that standardization leads to higher customer satisfaction. Further, it places less stress on customer support to come up with appropriate responses for customer inquiries.
Standardizing Through Automation Technologies
Whether you are utilizing Business Intelligence (BI) or implementing robotic process automation (RPA), standardization through technology is one of the best ways to standardize work and streamline processes in your business. Automation can also free up employees so that they can focus on more knowledge-based work, creating stronger employee engagement and improving quality throughout your processes.
Advantages of Standardization
Some of the biggest advantages of standardization include producing consistent quality products, increasing productivity, and eliminating the guesswork for employees when trying to figure out how to accomplish a given task. Standardization also reduces waste and increases employee morale. However, simplifying processes can also lead to monotony and a lack of creativity and create the opposite effect, so you may want to consider how to enable “freedom within a framework” such that employees still have some agency in how they approach situations.
Standardization and streamlining processes have business-wide implications and benefits that can help take your organization to the next level and increase efficiency. Here at Adonis, we provide Continuous Improvement services that can help your organization standardize and automate processes through Lean Six Sigma project as well as tools such as RPA.