The Harvard Business Review is a great source of information. A recent article by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer is titled Three Ways to Turn Setbacks into Progress. While this article is aimed at the workplace in general, it is also consistent with Lean Leadership principles. Here are the ways recommended by Amabile & Kramer with some discussion on application at your Lean site:
- Don’t treat setbacks as failures: Setbacks are not failures in a Lean world. You should even expect setbacks as you try new things to improve your process. In fact, the Deming Cycle (PDCA) is based on the fact that things won’t always go as expected on the first try. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Get over it and figure out what to do next. More importantly, give your team the freedom to grow through setbacks.
- Don’t constrain the solution in advance: We often think we know what the problem is and can dictate the solution. This may be the case on occasion but you’d think that someone would have already fixed the problem if it’s that easy. Take the time to understand the issues involved and give the team freedom to explore solutions. Teams have surprised me with great solutions on many occasions.
- Focus on small, achievable wins: A few setbacks won’t seem so bad if you celebrate the success along the way. The spirit of Lean Manufacturing is to make improvements every day (Continuous Improvement). You should go after big projects with big paybacks but you should not ignore the smaller, quicker and easier wins.
Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer provide good advice that fits nicely into a Lean culture. Have you found these techniques to be beneficial? What else have you tried when you or your team have had setbacks? How can you better lead your team today so they are better prepared for a setback in the future?
Written for ConsumersGoodsClub.com
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