Listened to a podcast about why Finland has risen to the top of many surveys.
They are the world’s happiest people, have the world’s highest literacy rate, the world’s cleanest air, the world’s best welfare, the world’s most independent judiciary, and on top of that they are the most contented, honest and trusting of all the countries in Europe.
Trust is the word
The word that emerges to explain this is “trust”. They have the most confidence in each other, in the different parts of society and in the fact that things will work out.
It’s easy to see from the countries at the bottom of the list that there’s something in it. There, trust is almost non-existent. You don’t trust anyone. You distrust everyone you don’t know, and maybe even those you do know. You think that everyone is out to make a fool of themselves at someone else’s expense, and so on. You can’t build a good country with low trust.
I think we can take advantage of this knowledge in our activities as well. If we can create a culture where we collectively show that we trust others in the organisation and that we will collectively create the value we exist to create, we will feel much better, deliver much better value and have better finances.
I know that many businesses are at the top because Sweden as a country is also at the top. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that there are challenges with trust anyway. And as the demands continue to increase, as they always do, the organisation needs to keep improving. Trust needs to be strengthened to make you even better.
What about you, do you have trust in the organisation? Can it be better?
Clear picture of value creation
One basis for creating that trust, as I see it, is to also be able to clearly see how we create those values. If instead we feel that we are organised in a vacuum, each thinking more about himself and his own results and budget, we will not achieve trust.
We need to create a “we” feeling in our organisation to succeed, even though we are different as people and have different roles. The best way to do this is to identify and then develop our processes.
We need to see the natural value creation in business. A natural flow that does not care which organisational part owns, controls, leads or has the most resources in the processes.
What about you, do you focus more on the line than on your processes?
Line organisational independence
A process is line organization independent. The customer, whatever you call it, doesn’t care who does what, but is only interested in having their needs met. The process of creating value often crosses organisational boundaries to do what is needed.
It is only when we truly see and understand how value is created that we can also show trust.
Without that understanding, many will instead be suspicious and doubtful about how, and if, value is created in a good way. We don’t become part of a whole, but are more focused on us, us and more us, or maybe even me, me and more me.
A culture of trust in the organisation implies and requires that trust is reciprocal. It is not possible to have trust in the long term if it is only one-way. If it is, trust soon dies out, like a candle flame deprived of oxygen.
- A line manager needs to have confidence that the process manager is leading the process with a focus on delivering value to the customer.
- A process manager needs to trust that the line manager is also focusing his/her organisation to support the value creation flow (processes) as much as possible.
- Employees in the processes need to have confidence that the process manager and line managers are making wise decisions and focusing on the best interests of the customer and the business as a whole.
- Individuals also need to have confidence that colleagues are following the designed process and doing their best to ensure that everything they do is of the right quality.
Another important part, where it is also to have confidence in yourself. Trusting yourself to do the job and to contribute to value creation. Trusting that you can be part of a bigger picture. Many people I meet are very good at their job, but they are very narrow in their focus.
They have put up protective walls around themselves and do what they are good at. Since they do not trust others outside their own group, they do not trust that they themselves could be part of the whole.
And it’s pretty obvious; if you don’t see and understand the whole, you can’t trust it either. If you don’t have faith in the whole, it’s hard to have faith that you can be part of it…that you don’t see or understand…
It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?
A nice ticket
It makes me think of the movie The Polar Express, which we have a tradition of seeing every Christmas. One of the children is called Billy and is insecure and doesn’t trust the others around him. At the end of the film, Billy gets his magic train ticket back after it is cut by the conductor. It says “To” on it.
– To? Billy asks.
– Well, says the conductor, this is a very nice ticket.
Then when Billy turns it on, things are added after the order “to”. The first word is “trust”. Then Billy twists the ticket further. The words “trust” appear and then change to “confidence” as Billy continues to turn it.
– Do you trust us to get you home? asked the conductor.
– Well, me and my friends,” replies Billy.
I think we need to create a culture in our businesses where trust is one of the overarching values. This means that we can be best in class, just as Finland is one of the best countries in the world.
Wishing you a nice summer.