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Lean Leadership – Why you must celebrate those tiny lean successes

I’ve heard it many times from really successful managers. “We’re doing improvement, we’re just not documenting it.”

My eyebrows always raise a bit when I hear this particular phrase. That’s because the manager is missing a fantastic opportunity to energise and motivate their team with the magic of recognition and celebration of success.

As an Operations Manager I get how busy the work day is. Months go by in a flash and we’re buried so deep in the trenches that improvement becomes little more than a check box to tick off on our never ending list of to dos. If we don’t step back and take a breath we will miss opportunities to reinforce and celebrate the behaviour that is ultimately moving us forwards as a company.

I hear many examples of great improvement and encourage people to celebrate these successes within and outside their teams. There are many ways this can be done but the most important thing is that it is done. We encourage the right behaviour by modelling and praising that behaviour. If your team member made a great improvement, you need to make a big deal or even just a little deal about it.

You may not realise it but employees get a lot of fantastic benefits from even the smallest amount of public recognition. Recognition of peers inspires confidence, a sense of belonging. motivation and a desire to keep doing the behaviour.

Sometimes team members are reluctant to document or quantify improvements because they don’t know how to express improvements tangibly. Spending time with them to coach them through this will help them grow in skills and confidence which will ultimately lead to them quantify their own improvements in the future.

As a manager, it’s easy to miss the significance of this seemingly insignificant practice but I guarantee if you start doing this you will hear about more improvements, more often.


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