...And Then It Moved - The Greatest Feeling in the World!

· September 23, 2014

Piano Moving

By Ben Currington, used under Creative Commons

Have you ever tried to lift a piano?

If you have, I bet you’ve had the same experience as me; you go up to the piano, take a good hold, and… nothing. It’s like it’s bolted to the floor, or something (oddly enough, my exact words the first time I tried to lift a piano).

This is impossible. We will never make it. But you get one more guy and then you make another try. Maybe if someone could just slide a mat underneath… And you try again. 1…2…3… and… IT MOVED!

Right there!

That split second is my favorite feeling in the whole world. Trying really hard and getting the first little sign that your efforts are in the right direction. When IT MOVED!

It, of course, doesn’t only apply to pianos or not even physical effort, but that feeling is so tangible there. Let me share something that has nothing to do with physical work, but where this feeling was super strong. It happened today.

In my team, we have been trying to help one part of our organization that struggles. No… you don’t get it. Really struggles. Called “dead” by others in our organization. Been on a downhill streak for about 3 years.

The main problem is the lack of customers. Fewer and fewer people visit the company, meaning that they lose money every day.

We went there about two weeks ago. We employed a few well-directed actions to try to turn the numbers into where we actually made money instead.

We showed everyone on a big board and showed it every day.

We followed up our actions daily. We asked them to only tell us what can be achieved until tomorrow instead of aiming for the stars. Our kanban board only has one column, for aficionados; “Tomorrow”. Here we list the things that will be done tomorrow.

We made motivational speeches (my first ever!) since the staff was totally depressed after being told for years that they suck and the numbers look bad.

We also started a company-wide focus on quality in everything we do. Years of being “sub-standard” has left these poor guys without any feeling for taking care of equipment or each other. Even the simplest fixes are very hard to get done. Just because… really don’t know. But I think it’s because they are not used to do stuff. Especially not stuff that no one told them explicitly to do.

Also here we asked them to do only small, small things. “What have you improved since yesterday” will be asked to each department. I’ll write another blog post about the outcome of that. Too early yet.

And today… IT MOVED!

Progress Diagram

For the first time ever, we broke the “not losing money”-line (red line on this diagram).

And in the process almost beat the “and then some profit too”-line, at 134 customers per day.

The feeling was utter shock from everyone… so we didn’t really celebrate it as we should have. But we’ll do that tomorrow with cake for everyone. And a big long round of applause. And lots of cheering.

IT MOVED! We have done something to make it better. We’re moving in the right direction.

Improvement Photo

And something else happened today. This, to me, is one of the most important photos I’ve ever taken.

Behind this door is a part of the building that is under renovation. No one should go up there if you’re not a construction worker.

See those stones at the bottom? They are the key to this photo.

This door has been flapping open for weeks. Months even. Nobody cared. Today, without someone telling them to do so, someone (I have no idea who) put that stone there. To keep it from flapping up.

Someone thought about having a door flapping up in the face of our customers and… here it comes… did something to improve the situation.

That didn’t happen a few weeks back.



Today (21/10) something amazing happened. We have a very crowded room situation which affects the way we can do business. One of our staff (without any formal authority) saw this problem and the day after at our morning meeting said this:

I saw that it was very crowded for us in this room. This is hindering us to work effectively and slows down for our customers. But we came up with an idea for how to improve this. {Long explanation about how to move 3 or 4 people around in order to make this work}.

… that’s what we think will make this better. I wanted to try this out today. Is that ok?

IT MOVED a little bit more.

Objection, Your Honor

“Hrmf, Marcus, you’re still losing money most days!”

“Yeah… and those stones… really? What kind of crap solution is that? How about locking the door properly?”

No, you didn’t hear me. We are not out of harm’s way. We have a long way to go. Things can still end horribly wrong and bad.

But that doesn’t matter much. Because IT MOVED!

We now know that we can do this. Getting IT to move is the hardest part. Once that’s done we just keep pushing.

We know that now. And that, makes us feel great!

Twitter, Facebook