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All good things take time to build

Have you thought about how much energy and resources it takes to build things? All good things take time to build.

The other day I was watching Youtube and videos about the war in Ukraine. It was like a summary of the situation after two years of terrible events. People are suffering. Russia attacks cities, in violation of the Geneva Convention.

I feel sad and what strikes me is: how much energy and resources it takes to build and create, and how easy it is to destroy.

  • Creating a good, nice and well-educated person with good basic values may take 20 years or more and requires a lot of energy and commitment.
  • Building a sustainable democratic society takes decades, maybe even centuries, of will and hard work.
  • Building a house takes a long time with a lot of thought to figure out what we want it to look like, and then a lot of resources to really build it so it’s as nice as we want it to be.
  • Designing and developing a good computer system requires a lot of thought and takes a long time for many sharp minds to complete.
  • Developing a business so that it operates at high quality, where people are happy and energized, where customers are satisfied and finances are strong, requires methods, knowledge and dedication.
  • And so forth.

It is easy to destroy

  • Killing a human being takes only a moment.
  • Bombing and demolishing a society is quicker than we think.
  • Destroying the house only takes the push of a button on the trigger of an explosive device or an excavator.
  • Disposing of computer systems requires only a click of the mouse to erase the contents of the disk.
  • It is easy to ruin a well-functioning organization if the wrong manager enters the organization and starts managing in his or her own way, without listening to and taking advantage of what already exists.

This fact also makes me sad, but at the same time more focused on actually doing good, building, developing and improving.

And it doesn’t just need me, it needs others. You are needed!

As it is so easy to be destructive, many more of us need to be creative. Thankfully, there are more people who want to build than demolish, even if things look bleak from time to time, like now.

What does all this have to do with our business and our improvement efforts?

You need to be aware of the strength of the destructive forces and also the ease with which it is possible to be destructive. What you work on, when you strive to build, to improve, to develop, it takes time and it takes a lot of energy.

Disagreeing and sowing division in our work is easy and doesn’t require much.

It is always easy to say ‘no’ and ‘I don’t want that’. Being constructive is more difficult.

As an improvement manager, you need to be aware of this. You need to be on guard against these forces.

One way to counter them is to bring them into the light. Because it is immediately more difficult to be the destructive force if you are visible and your intentions are revealed.

  1. Ask them what they mean when they say “no”. What do they think about and how do they justify their ‘no’?
  2. Then ask them to come up with creative solutions on how to move forward and progress.

To know where you are going, and to get a good answer to question 2 above, you need a clear direction. You need a common “why” for what you are going to work on in your improvement work and what you want to achieve. Because without that clarity, you will just spin around in your discussions. You can’t find solutions that move forward if you don’t know what “forward” is.

New trousers for the boy

Concludes with an anecdote about a new pair of pants. My friend Håkan was out shopping with his son. They were looking at a new pair of trousers for a family gathering, where the whole family had to look good. The son was a little less than interested in the whole thing, but still joined in when he realized he needed new pants.

Go to shop 1 and have a look.

– No, I don’t want those pants.

– But what about these pants?” said my friend.

– Well, they’re ugly.

Further into shop 2 to see what they had to offer.

– These pants are nice and would look good on you, said my friend.

– Well, they’re not my style.

– But these are your style, aren’t they? And they match the jacket.

– Nope.

After a few more shops with the same negative attitude, my friend had had enough.

– Johan, we’ve now walked around four or five shops and probably looked at 20-30 pants. You just say “no” to every suggestion I make. I won’t go into another shop without you telling me what kind of pants you want. Not all the ones you don’t want.

This meant that his son had to think about what new trousers he wanted. He needed to be more committed to the task of finding pants, rather than just being negative and saying “no” all the time. The same applies to your improvement work. Get more involved.

All good things take time

When improving, realize that it will take time. All good things take time to build. Be alert to any destructive forces that are negative and get involved to counter them.

Business development requires patience and will always take time. Therefore, start today.

Good luck and have a nice week



PS. I don’t know what happened to the pants. Maybe they are still shopping – like most businesses that whine, complain and say no, no, no…