The sun is shining and I’m sitting here thinking about one of the great businesses that I’ve had the privilege to follow for several years now. They started their improvement journey about six or seven years ago.
A slow start
They started a bit tentatively and didn’t really know which process they wanted to improve first. There were several candidates that needed improvement. After we took a holistic approach and made a comprehensive plan, they got clear on where they should start.
Then came some internal resistance. As always, there are people who are not change-oriented. On the one hand, they don’t like the way things are today and like to complain often and loudly about it. But on the other hand, they don’t want to do anything about it themselves. Someone else should make changes, but not you.
It’s a challenge that never really ends. It seems to be deeply ingrained in us humans not to want to change. It’s like in physics, that any change in position costs energy. Energy you don’t want to pay for.
Then it took off for the business and their improvement work. There was a queue of processes that they wanted to improve. However, one thing didn’t really stick and that was getting the technique to liaise with what they wanted to do.
When we started talking about digitisation of entire flows, many people were not quite ready to talk about it. Digitisation was seen as a “hot” topic, but it was not really clear what it meant.
There were different directions and digitisation was in some places more of an end in itself. It was not understood that digitisation must follow the value creation flows.
One of the most important elements of successful digitisation is to ensure that information flows freely between systems. A business can never work faster than the information flows. A business can also never reach a higher quality than the information holds.
This has matured in the business I am thinking of. That’s why they’ve invested heavily in digitising their processes from top to bottom. This has enabled them to receive digital support from start to finish in the process.
And I’m not talking about just another system to input information into, but a whole flow that is controlled and managed digitally.
From ? to !
The result is that nothing falls through the cracks and nothing is duplicated in their processes. Control will be complete on the number of “cases” handled in the process and where they are.
Process management does not happen ad-hoc for long. It has moved from being reactive to being proactive. It achieves its complete control over the flow.
Have you reached the end? No, you haven’t. But they have come a very long way on the journey to improve the business with results such as better working environment, increased value to their customers (mostly property owners), and that the economy is better than before.
Now you have all your processes in your entire business laid out in a structure where you understand how everything is connected. Many of them are not only logical processes, i.e. what we humans follow to understand the flow, but they have also been digitised into so-called executable processes.
That’s what gave them control over the whole business in a fantastic way. As I said, it’s not ready, but with determination you work your way forward.
What’s their summary of all the work they’ve done then? Yes, that it is possible to improve through hard work. That it is now reaping the rewards of all the work it has put in.
I also have two other things in mind. The first is that we always have a cost in running our business. But we can choose how we want to pay it and how high it should be.
Either we pay dearly through poor work environment, sick leave, dissatisfied customers, poor finances, and more. Or we pay by working to improve and also avoid the negative consequences mentioned earlier.
The cost is always lower to work on your improvements and reap the rewards of no negative consequences.
The second is that the winners are those who hold on and persevere. It is only through a serious effort that you can actually get to the point where you can reap the benefits of the good work you have done.
If you give up part way through the work, then only one cost was incurred. If, on the other hand, you invest and make sure that you get a positive outcome, it will be an investment that will pay for itself once you are part way into the work.
It’s quite obvious; to win the game you have to stay in the game.
If you never join in the first place, or if you leave early, then you have lost.
Don’t do that, drive your improvement efforts in a targeted and focused way. Chances are you could use someone to discuss how to set up your improvement initiative and develop your plan, as well as digitise your business. Contact me and we’ll talk: email@example.com or 070-528 52 61.
Good luck this week,