The sun is shining and the snow covers the branches of the trees so beautifully that everything is mostly white. Very white in the sunshine sparkling in the snow.
I am in Kiruna to assist my son in his new apartment. He is studying to be an aerospace engineer and then Kiruna with LTU’s university and Esrange is a natural place. Here we can talk about “rocket science”… 😉
Kiruna, the town they are now moving to. We were in the new center and it is very nice. Stylish and modern buildings with pleasant pedestrianized streets interspersed with minor roads. Music plays from speakers in one of the city’s new hotel buildings, overlooking the main square. There is also the relocated 60-year-old cast-iron bell tower that used to adorn the old town hall.
There are quite a few people strolling around the exhibition in the square with a variety of beautiful transparent ice figures. Several where you can also go down the slide. A lot of fun.
Moving an entire city is a pretty big project. It takes a lot of planning and commitment to succeed. It’s when I read the large posters posted along the fences of buildings that are still under construction that I think of that effort.
Not only in urban migration
I think it’s quite strange that in some other cases where we want to achieve a transformation, we think that initiatives will just happen by themselves. We don’t think we should have to make an effort, things will probably happen by themselves.
One area where this is the case is improvement work, where you want to transform an activity to be much better than it is today.
Just as buildings are not simply demolished and new ones are built on their own, in a relocating city, activities and people move from the old place to the new. Similarly, improvement will not happen by itself.
- You will not work differently unless you are well prepared for a different way of working.
- No one will follow a workflow that they are not aware of.
- People will continue to do what they have always done unless someone creates the conditions to do things differently.
- Customers, whatever you call them, will never improve if you don’t let go of your inside-out perspective.
- We will not work together if we do not know about each other’s needs and do not understand that together we are essential for success.
And so on…
What is required
Achieving real improvement in an organization requires a willingness to invest in making those improvements. Investment includes creating the right conditions for success.
Prerequisites that include, among others:
Formally launching an improvement initiative, raising the stakes by declaring your intention to improve. Otherwise, no one will notice that there is any work going on, and it is easy to just forget about it over time.
Obtaining and following a proven methodology for your improvement work. Otherwise, people will work in different ways in different parts of the business and will not have a foundation for their work.
Setting aside time for employees to work on creating the desired improvements. Otherwise, employees will be bored as they are torn between their regular duties and developing the business, with the former always winning in the long run.
Putting together a competent and enthusiastic team to lead improvement efforts, design your future value-adding flows and implement them in your business. Otherwise, you won’t get much work done.
Training all staff so they understand what is going on. Otherwise, they will not understand what is going on and they will probably think that it is another empty, pie-in-the-sky project, which can be ignored.
Training the team that will lead and implement the improvement work, so that they can really do their job. Otherwise they will not understand what can really be achieved and will only “map” some processes. Or they get bored pretty quickly when they realize they don’t have the right conditions.
One is similar to the other
Just as it is important for Kiruna that everyone understands that the city is being moved, with all that entails, and that they need to be involved in one way or another. It is equally important that an organization understands that the business is about to be radically improved, and that they need to be involved in some way.
To radically improve an activity, you must also be prepared to invest in achieving your goal. Not doing so will only scratch the surface of the improvement that could have changed everything for the better.
Now is your chance
To pick up on the last point about knowledge, I want to mention that you have an opportunity right now to ensure that you have the right knowledge in your organization. The right knowledge to be able to drive improvement and also to create the business that you so much both need and probably crave.
We will soon launch a new round of the Certified Improvement Manager and Certified Business Designer courses. The two courses run largely in parallel, with the first being slightly more comprehensive.
There are still a few places left, so take the opportunity to apply now.
Take the opportunity now to learn how to drive your improvement efforts. Read more and apply via the links above. If you have any questions, you are always welcome to contact me. You may wonder if you are the right person, if now is the right time, or how extensive the studies are. Again, contact me and I will answer your questions.