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Prioritisation is choosing, and choosing not to

In last week’s letter, I talked about important factors for creating a plan for your improvement work. Unfortunately, too many people “cheat”. You miss or neglect to have a good plan in place. There is a clear risk that with a well-designed and substantiated plan, you will not achieve the effect you could.

The wrong area is prioritised, investments are not made in what would have the greatest impact, important areas are missed because “others shout louder”, and so on.

With a plan, you always have something to refer to and can continuously follow up and make necessary changes.

Key elements to understand

In last week’s letter below, I listed four important elements to keep in mind in order to create a good plan:

  • Understanding the WHY.
  • WHO you are for and what they want and need.
  • What value-adding flows you have that satisfy your customers, whatever you call them.
  • How you prioritise implementing your improvement work.

Number one and number two I have already talked about. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Value-adding flows

It seems almost unnecessary to say; the flows that create value should be based on what the customers, whatever you call them, need.

However, too many organisations have started at the other end, with an inside-out perspective, creating processes based on how they want to organise themselves. It will be wrong and, in this context, it will provide the wrong basis for future priorities.

This means taking an outside-in perspective and seeing what processes you have in place that create the previously identified needs of your customers.

Once you have an understanding of the different needs of your customers, you need to identify what processes you already have in place to create this value. And what processes you need, or adjust, to create value that you may not have previously realised existed.

The latter is often a revelation I see participants have when I lead workshops to plan improvement work. By not taking the time in the past to really understand customer needs, they have also missed a lot of needs that customers have.

In turn, of course, they do not satisfy customers by meeting these needs either. And that, of course, means that they have never bothered to create processes for it.


When you have the three elements mentioned; an understanding of WHY, WHO the customer really is and what they need, as well as an understanding of which processes create the value demanded, then you can make an informed prioritisation.

I write “among other things” above, as there are more things included in the evidence. According to the Shaper of Business Excellence methodology, as many as eight areas are needed to get a good understanding of the business, which provides the necessary basis.

There are basically two ways to prioritise which areas to focus on. One is gut, and the other is methodical. If you go with your gut, just go ahead and prioritise.

However, if you want a more informed methodological prioritisation, you need to compile what you know and then, based on established criteria, weigh these into the final prioritisation.

The Shaper of Business Excellence methodology provides a tool that helps you to prioritise methodically, where you can evaluate different aspects and then get a weighted summary of what you should prioritise, in black and white.

I suggest that we should rather focus on the methodical priority than on the gut feeling. Especially in larger operations, where there are many parties involved and the stakes are higher.

If there are many people who have needs and wishes for improvement, it is safer to be able to rely on a methodical prioritisation where “everyone” agrees on the order in which the work should be improved.

SoBE, phase 1: Planning and organising

This autumn we will start the next round of the Certified Improvement Leader training which is now upgraded with the latest version of the Shaper of Business Excellence improvement methodology.

The first phase of five is to plan and organise your improvement work. These include the four areas I have described in this and last week’s letters.

I meet so many businesses that have not prioritised well and therefore do not have the basis for a good improvement plan. This means that many times it unfortunately breaks down after a while.


Are you interested in learning more about how you could lead and drive your improvement efforts? Then I think you should sign up for the entry list. This means that you will receive more information before it is released to all “others”. I will also be able to answer your specific questions about your improvement work.

Click here to sign up for the entry list. Of course, it is completely unconditional and you have not committed yourself to anything, but only said that you want more information.

Until next time, I wish you a fantastic midsummer week and weekend with sun and warmth.