A Few Weeks back you might have watched a video we titled Single Piece Flow Mastered by Children, In the video a 6 and 8 year old reduce a process time by well over 60% and they have quite a bit of fun while performing the "Kaizen" too. Drive by any school or sit and watch a child play at the park and those children will teach you a little bit about life and how we should live it. But they too learned how to live life from somewhere. Maybe a parent, Maybe a teacher, a good morale leader or just somebody they admire. One way or another they were taught by someone at some point; As we grow older in "experience" and more seasoned with life we transition from School to work and now we must earn a living and we must try to survive in this world. If we take a look back on our life and for just one second and think about our own personal childhood or the children we do our best to teach we can see that those same children are our fellow employers, our bosses, or the people who work for us; It's true "These people are like my Kids."
With that thought in mind, let's ask a question, "what have I taught the people I work with today?" Sometimes in our transition to work we miss a great opportunity to develop the people around us. Like children every experience in life is an opportunity to teach them some principle of life and much the same in our work every experience is a "Call to lead and guide" somebody to learn, improve or perform their Job duty. We're not suggesting that Employees are like children although it may feel this way at times, but we are hinting that there may be some power in seeing our fellow workers in the Same Light as our children.
Communicate often with them
Can you remember every holiday morning when you or your children would wake up excited and ready for the adventures of the day? Probably the first thing you did was go and give your caretaker a hug and all though it might have been early in the morning you just wanted to share your excitement. As leaders and developers of others we should make it one of our days goals to promote that same excitement in those we work with. whether it is a morning huddle or an employee just coming up to say "hello" these are opportunities to give them energy for the day and get to know them. Best of all it can be done in under 5 minutes, but the results will last just as long if not longer than the memories of a holiday morning.
Reflect, then say goodnight
Families all across the world meet at dinner tables, bedside or on couches to catch up and answer the question "How was your day?" One purpose for this universal question is to show that you genuinely care about how somebody's day was. Do we do the same for those that we work with? A simple walk to the Gemba at the end of the day can create a powerful opportunity to Reflect on the day and politely say goodnight. It will also create an opportunity to reveal how there life is going and how you can support them in their tasks at work. Hansei the Japanese practice of Reflection can be very powerful when performed as a team and in a one to one conversation.
Give them Opportunities to Learn and see them as you would see your Children
See them as you would see your Children? That's crazy, right? Maybe, but do you remember the moment you held a little baby in your arms and thought to yourself "What is the most important thing I could teach this Child that will help them succeed?" Like that moment if we give our employees opportunities to learn and skills to be successful, they will inherit a desire to grow in many different ways. Let's take as food for thought the employee who always has something to say. It is a given that person has a desire to talk and to be heard so maybe with a little guidance and coaching that person is the perfect facilitator for your next Kaizen event. Or How about the employee who is always coming to you with "problems," well maybe he's the one who needs to know how to Value Stream Map, Root Cause or Kick off a Charter. When we see people for who they could be much like we see children we in essence define the vision for them which makes it much easier to help guide them in that direction.
Just as Children grow up in the world, fellow employees grow up in Careers. When we take opportunities to teach one another and support daily continued development we create a Culture that makes for a much more productive and fun "Playground Environment." Ponder this idea if you will that we have a responsibility to support and develop one another in the same manner that we develop our children, When we see each other as who we could, can and will be we become true leaders and support the notion that "These people are like my Kids" and I have a responsibility to develop them.