Having competent, experienced and conscientious people in the right place is a necessary prerequisite for recognising and mastering complexity. Focusing on customer requirements enables SBB to offer a service tailored to actual customer needs, along with sustainable innovations.
Understanding the fundamental interdependencies within complex companies is crucial. Findings derived using tools and calculations must be tested on the basis of knowledge of the business, known cause-and-effect relationships, experience and intuition.
Shared, binding values for all employees together with leadership based on clear principles – one which promotes success-driven achievement, nurtures constructive debate and demands reliability – give SBB a sustainable competitive edge.
Joint objectives have enabled SBB to raise its performance to an even higher level. The objectives must be appealing and convincing to employees. Objectives that are purely profit oriented are no longer sufficient to motivate people nowadays.
Rigorously creating and demanding transparency reveals where action plans need to be made. Identifiable weaknesses and mistakes must be communicated proactively and the reactions to them dealt with appropriately.
Management must strike a balance between the "self"-criticism resulting from the need for action that has been identified, and having the (self)-confidence to believe that the path taken and the measures implemented will meet with success in the medium term or sooner.
At a time when SBB is transforming itself from a government institution to a transport company, working jointly on understanding, action plans, objectives and values means that these can be developed and implemented at the right pace – not too slowly, because potential advances, innovations and productivity improvements need to be exploited, but also not too fast, because the locomotive must not be allowed to run away without the carriages.
The management needs to energise, inspire and motivate, building on a genuine culture of trust which acknowledges good, measurable achievements. It is sometimes necessary to see for yourself that the workforce of a complex company needs steering in the right direction.
10. Successful improvements and good results will engender justifiable pride in the achievements accomplished through these efforts, and provide the strength to go forward in managing tha complex and fascinating railway – SBB.
SBB Swiss Federal Railways Hilfikerstr. 1 3000Bern 65