Last week I talked about how you need to have trust within the business to make it work. It’s not easy. Trust needs to exist between all involved. It is never one-way, because then it will not have the effect you want to achieve.
Trust is incredibly important for a good culture in a business. It is the foundation itself. Without trust, we can’t build a good culture. We see this in societies in our world, where there is no trust between different groups. It becomes a bad culture to build a good society.
And as I said, the same is true within a business.
“Trust is good, but control is better”
When I was studying at the Academy I learned the above quote. I have been thinking about it for many years. Do we really need to control each other for it to work? It sounds so harsh somehow, that the boss has to be there and constantly check if I have done the task I have been assigned.
It also turns out that it is not appreciated by employees.
What we learned was that you can control in different ways. It’s possible to be the one who asks if things are done with a bit of suspicion and accusation in your voice. Or the one who demands an otherwise meaningless report, just to check that things have been done.
It is better to weave control into an issue. You can ask me if there is anything you can do to help me, and in doing so you can also find out where I am in the task at hand. For example:
- How are you doing? Is there anything I can help you with?
- What’s up? What help do you need from me to reach our goal of being ready by Friday.
It opens up the discussion and is less supervisory, while giving you the desired control.
Another way is to have control over the state of the business together, the whole gang. It requires that you have first, again together, worked out what is important in the business.
- When have we done a good job?
- What makes us successful in delivering to the customer, whatever you call them?
- How can we measure and monitor this?
- How should we illustrate these important measurement points and the collected metrics?
Once you have answers to what is important to measure and have worked out how you want to measure it, you also need to set up an environment where, together with the process team, you look at the values in a de-dramatised way, evaluate them, and plan ahead to adjust what needs to be adjusted.
In the training Leading with continuous improvement, which is aimed at those who will act as process leaders, we go through the importance of having regular meetings with your process group.
In these meetings, you look together at the current situation, i.e. momentarily in the business, and together you plan the near future: who will take care of which things, and when they are expected to be finished.
If you have digitised your processes in a way that allows you to run them, i.e. have digital support to drive the process forward and as a conductor ensure that people and IT support interact well. Then you have a golden opportunity to also extract information from this digital control.
This is where the concepts of Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) come into play. You’ll remember I’ve talked about it before, and it’s so important to success that I just have to “nag” no one about it.
By seeing what the value creation flow looks like, in terms of flow, you can easily see crowded sectors, high pressure, or other things that you need to address so that things don’t go wrong in the end.
It’s like a dashboard in a car, but for your business. You wouldn’t feel safe driving a car without a dashboard or a map (GPS) showing how fast you’re going, how much fuel you have, how the engine is doing, where you are in relation to where you’re going, and so on?
Probably not, so why do many choose to run their business that way?
A study first done over 100 years ago, showed that we humans do a better job when we know it’s transparent what we’re doing. This is called the Hawthorne Effect. When we know that others can see the results of our work, and link it to the fact that it was you who did it, you will also be more interested and committed to doing a good job.
Here I’m not talking about having supervision in the form of a time-study man who goes “hmmmm, oh well” while taking notes of what you do. It easily ends up in a bad mood and the time study man might end up like Magnus Härenstam’s character in the film The Rooster; with tar and feathers…
But if you see together, in an open way, what you all achieve in your work, then you feel for each other and a common ownership of doing a good job.
That’s why I teach the importance of having a common, clear and transparent dashboard for the business. This is where you can decide together what needs to be done to succeed together.
It will be so much easier to be a leader of the business if you create the right conditions for joint control of the current situation.
With that, I wish you a good week.
Right now there is the possibility to register for the training
You’ll learn what you need to make your improvement work a success, and also get inspiration from what others have done and how they succeeded. The aforementioned dashboard is one of the things we will go through.
The training takes place in a mixed format, where there is both recorded material and we run online sessions at given times. This allows you to access the material again and again, so you can apply what you have learned to your business in a good way.
In addition, you will also have a private time with me to go through your questions from the perspective of your business. That alone will give you a good start on your next improvement effort.
Click here to read more and register. We start in mid-September.