Last year, while at a conference, I was challenged by delegates! The challenge should I be willing to accept it, was to test whether I really could find ideas and inspiration for process improvement all around me. We were to head out on a short tour of the beautiful city of Lisbon and I was to try and find ways that the tour could relate to process.
I will let you the reader judge how I got on.
Process Relevance: After standing for a while admiring the workmanship, I turned to the gentlemen next to me and wondered out loud "Look at the detail and accuracy, isn't it amazing that all those hundreds of years ago we were able to construct the most complex of structures, using only the simplest of tools. Yet, here we are today talking about process and we seem to need the most complex of tools to do the simplest of things - and we call it progress!
It is a monument to Portugal's Age of Discovery, often serving as a symbol of the country, and UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage monument.
Built in the Manueline style, it incorporates many stonework motifs of the Discoveries, sculptures depicting historical figures such as St. Vincent and an exotic rhinoceros that inspired Dürer's drawing of the beast.
Originally standing proudly in the centre of the river protecting the people of Lisbon, today stands on land and serves as nothing more than a monument to the past.
Process Relevance: Prince Henry (CEO) decided he needed to create a new future, so he learned new skills, and created a Navigation School so as to equip his people people with the skills they needed in order to support this future. In our businesses we tend to try and tell the management what the future should be, and they in turn decline the opportunity for us to meet people and learn new skills. It seems that hundreds of years ago smart CEO's knew that in order to make change happen, they first had to train and educate the work force in the skills required to succeed.
Our last stop was to be the center of the old town, where no surprise, refreshments would be in order! On our way we were told by our guide to expect to see something special and something that most Lisboners fail to see.Of course I was intrigued. What we were shown were hundreds of meters of some of the most ornate pavements All sorts of designs and colors in exquisite patterns. We were then told that the reason that the people of Lisbon don't see them is that they are too close, for the these are simply the routes to walk for their work, or play or perhaps just shopping. It is only when such things are looked at through the eyes of a tourist do people see what is actually happening in front of them.
As I said at the top of this article I will leave it for you to judge whether I succeeded in my challenge. No comments needed about the sadness of seeing work in everything I do, I am fortunate enough to live and work my passion, so in the end work is play.