Today I return to the speech that Chalmers researcher Henrik Eriksson gave at Kommek 2022 a few weeks ago.
He listed five pitfalls that you just need to avoid. Since I thought these are so important, I want to let you hear them too, and I add my experiences.
The five points are:
- Not being driven by need and purpose
- Not having value-creating processes and networks
- Not leading
- Not being motivated
- Not to improve
The second pitfall is not having value-creating processes and networks.
First, a process is a repetitive series of interrelated activities that together create value for someone, called the customer. “Customer” can then be called different things in different businesses, such as patient, property owner, vehicle owner, student, guest, visitor, or just customer.
Secondly, a process that is completed should only contain value-adding activities. If it doesn’t, then you need to go through the process again to remove the non-value-adding activities. These are what we call “waste”.
Third, a business always has value-creating flows, whether you see them or not. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to deliver anything to the customer. But, we understand what Henrik means; that we have not documented them, so that we have control over them.
The pitfall is therefore not to have reviewed and designed the value-creating flows in their business, and not to follow them accordingly. In addition, not having control over the networks that exist within and between activities in order to jointly solve recurring problems, such as health care queues or lack of student housing.
Do you know what you’re doing?
If you are able to control the recurring work that takes place in your business, i.e. in your processes, then you are also able to control, manage and improve this flow in a controlled way.
Without seeing and having control over your value creation flows, well then I claim you don’t know what you are doing and how you are doing.
To refer to Edward Deming; “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing”.
It is only when you see the processes that you also have the opportunity to control and lead them. You may have heard me mention the truths about leadership, that “you can’t control what you don’t measure, and you can’t measure what you don’t see”.
So you need to have control, in detail, of what your processes look like, in order to measure and monitor them, and then to control and manage them. Without this, you don’t have control over your value-creating flows.
When you have control over your value creation flows, employees can focus on creating the value you exist for. I hear so many people complaining that they are doing non-value-added work. What they are doing is working on things that could be done better. When they do, they don’t come into their own.
I remember many years ago when we had optimised and streamlined a flow in the environmental field, that those who worked as environmental inspectors exclaimed that “finally we get to work on what we are trained to do”. They now saw how they could focus on the things they were best at and were really motivated to do, where they felt they were contributing.
So, to succeed in delivering high quality, having fun while doing it, and improving your finances, you need to have well-designed value creation flows that you measure and follow up on an ongoing basis.