I recently read this in the New York Times: “You Don’t Have to Hate Your Job.” The team here at KaiNexus couldn’t agree more. We’re lucky to love our work here, because we’re part of a team that’s building something that matters. It’s creative, interesting, fun work, and we have leaders that encourage and support teamwork and collaboration.
Our customers find that engaging everybody in improvement and innovation increases employee satisfaction scores. This brings lower turnover, better quality and customer / patient satisfaction, and better financial performance.
Some of the tips and advice from Tony Schwartz in the NYT piece line up squarely with our experiences and advice (his words in bold italics).
- Respect and hold the value of every person who works for you, because nothing matters more.
“Respect for people” is a core pillar of the Toyota Way management system and Lean. Leaders start with respect and that drives us to listen to the voices of all of our employees. Respect means we allow them to point out opportunities for improvement and we work with them to drive positive changes in the workplace. Without a baseline of respect for employees, customers, patients, suppliers, etc, we don’t think real lasting innovation and improvement is possible.
- Start measuring people by the value they create, not by the number of hours they work.
Our KaiNexus customers are more easily able to track, categorize, and quantify the value that their employees create by identifying and implementing improvements through our software. Not everything can be quantified or put into financial terms, but results matter. Letting a team know how many improvements they have made and how many of those affect, for example, the patient experience, helps build confidence and enthusiasm for more improvement.
- Support, encourage and reward people for not responding constantly to email, and even for turning it off entirely at selected times, to get their most challenging and important work accomplished.
It’s good advice, in general, to not be chained to email all day long (or all night long). It’s hard to manage improvement work via email. Managing improvements in KaiNexus allows you to shut off email and focus on tasks like reviewing, assigning, and recognizing people for their improvement work.
- Help people build more renewal into their lives, on and off the job.
We all need time to recharge our batteries.
- Actively focus on making people’s jobs matter more. Help them to define their work — whatever it is — in a way that allows them to do more of what they do best. Also, seek to define all jobs in ways that feel meaningful and significant to people, recognizing the desire we all have to contribute to something larger than ourselves.
The most effective leaders don’t just tell people to improve. They constantly remind them WHY the improvement matters.
- The way you behave every day makes a far stronger statement than anything you can ever say.
Yes! Having an improvement methodology and some sort of supporting technology are two legs of the improvement stool, if you will. The third leg of the stool is leadership! The attitudes and behaviors of leaders matter if we want to create a culture of continuous improvement. Leaders need to be consistent and they need to “walk the walk.” We can’t just have a statement on the way that says we respect people and that we continuously improve… we also need the right actions to help people believe and be fully engaged.
With all of these things in place, we can go beyond just not hating our jobs… we can have joy and fulfilment in what we do!
For more information about what you as a leader should be doing to create and sustain a culture of continuous improvement, sign up for our free upcoming webinar today!
Free Upcoming Webinar:
January 27 at 1p EST
In this webinar, you'll learn how to:
- Create (and sustain) a culture of continuous improvement
- Encourage, inspire, and facilitate improvement
- Make sure your voice is heard
Last year, our Dr. Greg Jacobson and Mark Graban gave a webinar entitled, “Leadership Behaviors that Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement” and it was our most popular webinar of the year. They covered 25 behaviors, but that just scratches the surface.
In this new webinar, Greg and Mark will share some additional behaviors, illustrated by real stories from our work with KaiNexus customers.