SPIIEVO

“Agile” is the keyword for a new company context

“Agile” is the keyword for a new company context 1280 854 Spii

If you have read the previous articles about our Journey towards Change, you should have understood something by now: we took it very seriously.

It was an evolution that involved our entire organization, every person had to take part in it and make themselves advocates of Change: there was no space for the DOO (depends on others), only for DOM (depends on me).

We wanted to change, improve, make our company a better place to work and a more innovative solution provider for our clients and partners…

But how? What was our goal, what did we want to become?

Well, we had a pretty clear view of the future we wanted to embrace: our compass was pointing towards “agility” during the whole journey.

What is agility within a company?

Being agile as a Company is the same as for a person: it means that they are swift, flexible, ready to move.

They can jump, change direction, move faster or slower accordingly to the conditions ahead. And most importantly, they are able to quickly step back up when they fall, and to understand the reason that led to failure in order to avoid it in the future.

As Fabio Tognetti wrote us when he introduced the work we would do together during SPII Evolution:

  • being agile means being ready for change, not just adapting to it but also riding it.
  • It means eliminating relational ballast, made up of misunderstandings, distorted communications, unresolved conflicts, to work well together.
  • To be agile means to stop complaining (DOO), and to transform criticism into constructive elements (DOM).
  • Being agile means having a clear idea of what we want to achieve together, and having a clear role to play in this process, showing the necessary flexibility in times of crisis.
  • Ultimately, it means putting the individual first, which is both a huge opportunity and a great responsibility. It means YOU count more, YOU have more influence in decisions; it means working with a purpose, becoming part of something much bigger.

It’s not something you have, it’s something you are: it’s an attitude we all have deep within us, something you can’t buy but you can work on to improve.

We wanted to achieve this kind of organizational model to better manage the complexity of our World. We just needed to understand how.

“How to make SPII agile?” This was the question

It actually was, from the very beginning: this was the title of the workshop we had with Fabio just before we started working in groups to brainstorm and ideate ways to improve the company.

The answer was for everyone to find. Really, everyone!

We only knew what we wanted to achieve:

  • a distributed vision, where every person knows the direction the company is going to and how he or she can contribute;
  • a distributed responsibility, so that everyone knows it is also THEIR job to get there.

SPII Evo is the disruptive medium we decided to use to pursue this evolution. It has been a long, complex and collective brainstorming, to ideate and give structure to projects that could achieve one (or both!) of the above goals.

And the funny thing is that, not only the implementation of the winning projects led to the change expected…it was also the process itself that did it!

Because when you want to become agile, the truth is that you have to start BEING agile. It’s a learning by doing process, where you start exercising the “muscles” you need and eventually realize that they are becoming stronger and stronger.

SPII Evo was designed just for that: starting a process of empowerment of every person, based on accountability and open-feedback, was the first step towards agility.

And once you begin that, it’s like a snowball rolling that starts an avalanche. You can’t stop it, and it will change everything. It affects the whole context of a company, both culture and process.

Is SPII an agile company?

Yes, we are. But it’s not because we have flexible working hours (which we do). Nor because we have a beautiful room dedicated to lunchtime, rest and chat with colleagues (which we have, and it’s one of the ideas born from SPII Evolution: the EVO Room!).

We are agile because we know how to embrace change. We don’t let things happen and then sort them out, we plan, we execute, and we adapt to ever-changing situations.

Our agility is based on our people, “bricks” that are made of responsibility about the result, expertise of what they are in charge of, and the necessary authority to make prompt decisions.
We have regulated what is inside of one’s “brick” and how to understand what is outside, so that we are fully autonomous but also fully interconnected.

This makes us fast and adaptable.

But what definitely makes us agile is the attitude: a mindset we grew day by day since we were born as a company, and especially since we started to purposefully work on it with SPII Evolution.

Would you consider yourself “agile” as well?

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

change spii evo

The story so far. How did SPII Evo change us?

The story so far. How did SPII Evo change us? 1280 853 Spii
change spii evo

This is the story so far.

SPII’s history is a tale of challenges and successes, of change and reinforcement, of will and adaptability.

A story that started decades ago, when a local entrepreneur founded “Studio for Professional Industrial Engineering”.

One that continued from father to son, and then to daughter, mastering the art of resilience in the process.

But even the most adaptable companies need a real change, from time to time. And when SPII most needed it, and wanted to update its processes and resources in order to keep up with an ever changing world, it was time for…an Evolution.

SPII EVO was a process, a journey of change, a long marathon that challenged and shook everything in its path.

But in the aftermath, it was exactly what it needed to be: a real and durable change. The actualization of a process that was already ongoing, that everyone felt deep within, but needed to be explored and expanded into a new shape.

Today, about 5 years down the road, SPII is still the same company. Yet, it’s deeply different.

The aftermath of a (r)evolution

The people who experienced SPII Evolution confirm it: it was a real challenge, that involved everyone, at every level.

It was fun, challenging, engaging, active, and the resulting projects were undoubtedly great.

But beyond the specific details of the winning projects, some very important needs emerged during SPIIEvo:

  1. Better communication and information exchange at all levels;
  2. Greater delegation and more distributed responsibilities;
  3. Digitization of some processes that still took place more traditionally;
  4. And a general desire for more information sharing, in and outward.

After it was all over, the risk was…to go back to the initial situation. So many companies start with the best intentions but then get caught up in the everyday processes, in the demands of production, and slowly slide back to what was before.

SPII didn’t wan’t this to happen – and it didn’t let it.

Not all was implemented at once, clearly. Some changes happened immediately, others later on, within a process of continuous improvement that turned into something far more special: a new mindset.

Communication is the new gold

The greatest desire was clearly for an improved communication, not only at a formal level, but also an informal one. A context that would allow a greater flow of information, new friendships, more opportunities to interact.

One very well received answer to it was the Evo Room, a space for people to rest, eat, chat and enjoy their time. But not only.
Stand up meetings and systematic departmental meetings also started to take place.

For example, every week I hold an “Operation Meeting” to talk about structural issues with all the managers of the Operational functions, with a long term approach“, Silvio Zuffetti told me.

Then, they hold a “Production Meeting” to discuss topics related to production, issues with often a shorter time-frame.
Plus, every day they meet for the so-called Stand Up Meetings: first, 10 minutes each with their own department, then 20 minutes among them
“.

In this way, each manager has it all: short, medium and long term visibility. They share information with their team, after receiving a training on communication and feedback methods, to make communication more effective.

The goal is to have everyone who is interested aware of what is going on. But also to share successes and milestones, such as project kick-offs and production kick-offs every time a new product begins its lifecycle, at the engineering level and then at the production level.

This renewed and more systematic attention to communication, feedback, agility, and overall transparency of all the processes is a great result that emerged partly from SPII Evo, one that today is ingrained in everyone’s mindset and actions.

It’s not only a matter of “knowing”: it is about taking active part in it.

Do you remember the “it depends on me/it depends on others” dichotomy? That’s also why they have recently decided to link the production bonuses directly to the economic results of the company: because its success depends on everyone, quite literally!

An agile way of working

spii evo 5

An agile and transparent company needs to have an agile and transparent organization.

So, after SPII Evo, the organization chart was completely revised, creating Work Teams with well-defined responsibilities and areas of action.

If the success of the company depends on everyone, then everyone has the responsibility to take action.

The Managers of each team now have greater responsibility for the results of their teams, which in turn stimulates them to make the people they work with more responsible. It’s a positive loop, one that enhances proactivity and autonomy.

But also one that is always supported by tons of information, training, growth, as the SPII ACADEMY can testify.

This all was driven also by the digitization of processes and tools, a trend that is ongoing, with more than 10 projects in progress at the moment. New software and methods are always on the way, in a continuous effort to simplify processes and help everyone with work.

Information is real only when shared

What SPII did after SPII Evo, and what it does today, is not just some specific action. It’s an overall tendency towards improvement which, apart from all the communication mechanisms explained above, also expands to the outside.

If you are reading this all, it’s exactly because of that: a desire not only to communicate internally, but also externally.

To use social and traditional media in a really connecting and empowering way, to reach out to a community of train drivers and other stakeholders, whose work is impacted everyday by SPII’s work.

This is exactly how an award-winning product like IntelliArm was born, actually.

It’s a circular process, one that is directed outward, through external communication. And comes back inward, with a greater sense of belonging, of pride and of general knowledge.

Always remembering the one thing that allowed SPII to be still here, still now: its people. At the center, always.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

banane

What SPII EVOLUTION was for real, for us

What SPII EVOLUTION was for real, for us 1024 729 Spii

It was a day like any other, we all got to the office ready to start our jobs…but instead we found stickers and bananas on our desks. We didn’t know what was going on, but it was immediately clear it was going to be different!”.

Valentina had started off her career in Spii just few months before: when she signed her contract, she had no idea the Company she was about to start working for was planning something pretty out of the ordinary.

We have talked a lot, here in these virtual pages, about SPII Evolution in the past months: it was a path we wanted our readers to take with us, because we believe we are a pretty special company, and this adventure surely contributed in shaping who we are today.

But who is “we”?

A Company is made of its people, so it’s only fair to ask them their opinions, don’t you think?

A day unlike any other

spii evo 3

“It all started with stickers and bananas, a giant puzzle and unexpected new signs all around...so the reaction was just a huge question mark on everyone’s face”, Valentina recalls.
Few things had been thrown in earlier as a “hint”, but no one had a real clue about what was going to happen.

At Fabio’s speech, later that day, they understood what it was all about: SPII was about to embark on a journey towards change, and everyone was being asked to take part in it.

“Everyone felt involved, it was very inclusive: for maybe the first time we were all together as ‘SPII’, not ‘this department’ or ‘that other’ – just one big family”, Vale remembers. “I kept thinking: ‘wow that’s cool’. I had heard of team buildings and this kind of activities, but never thought I would experience them”.

The beginning of a path

Sure, someone was worried: after all it was an extra effort the company was asking. But it was clear it was going to be an opportunity for growth, not only on the business side but also at a personal level.

It was a project to carry on within company time, not extra. The grumblers are always there, in any situation, but most of the people, even those who found something to complain about, were happy to have their voice heard, something they may not have felt so strongly before. It was a space for people to express their opinions“, Simona recalls.

The groups were formed randomly, getting together people that worked in the same company, but before that may not even have had a chance to talk, to truly connect.

This was something many people felt, and that’s why among the suggestions that emerged from SPII Evo, one of the first ones to be implemented was the Evo Room – a dining and rest area where everyone could enjoy lunch, a cupo of coffee, or just some chatting. A place to live.

Simo had been there long before SPII Evo, and could definitely see the journey in its whole length.

“It all started from there, it was the moment we began this path of growth and innovation. Surely it was there before and continued after that, but that was the starting point of something more ‘real’.
I’ve been with the company for 8 years now and I’ve noticed this sharp difference, a before and an after. A change in the idea that we had of ourselves before, in the corporate culture”.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

comfort zone sticker

When you visit SPII today, you can feel this vibe.

It may be the giant “comfort zone circles” sticker that meets you on the first floor, at the entrance of the office rooms, a constant reminder of that happy experiment. Or just the way people talk and behave.

What you breath in is the aftermath of SPII Evo, and the path it started.

So how does something like this “emerge”? Was it always there and it just needed some watering to blossom, or it was the project itself which created it?

Simo isn’t sure about the answer.
It wasn’t all immediate: SPII Evo was a first step, something different, that allowed for a change in perspective. It’s not that is wasn’t there before, it’s just that you don’t really feel it within you until you directly experience it.
As I said it was a path: from there, the human-centered vision also started to take form, as a piece of mold that had always been there but no one previously had actually turned into a recognizable shape.
When we all were asked to do so, the whole company was influenced, people felt they were part of this like never before”.

Probably the answer stands in the middle, then.
In everyday life, all caught up by your own things, you don’t even think about suggesting a change. Complaining it’s much easier: it’s always someone else’s fault, someone else’s role. It’s the “depends on me/depends on others” dichotomy.

It’s not an egg: it’s a seed

spii evo 1

Once you force people to take action and responsibility, you push them into a “depends on me” mentality.

That is, you plant a seed, you water it and then you confidently wait: this is how everything changes.

SPII Evolution was a physical space, an actual stage, with everyone listening to you. Really listening.
But also a mental space, a strong, explicit message.
If the management had just asked people to point out what they wanted to change, without the whole experience surrounding it, it would not have happened. It was the whole process that led us here“, Vale eventually suggests.

So the vision was already there: SPII Evo was the medium to make it real, give it structure, and get it across the company, to everyone.

“Ultimately it was a moment when the company said, ‘you are important, help us, we need you‘. It’s not something you can give for granted, ever”, Simo wraps up.

The courage to risk

When the day of the final event came, everyone was ready. Simona was in one of the “Water” groups, Vale instead was a member of “Air”.

And she laughs thinking that, just 6 months after arriving at SPII, she came to her workplace dressed all in yellow, with plastic bags and cleaning gloves on as she didn’t have any yellow piece of garment.

“At the beginning of SPII Evo, none of us would have thought we could ever get on stage dressed like that, in front of all of our colleagues!
But once we got to the final event, it was natural. It felt ok to open up, to laugh, to get to know each other, to put ourselves on the line, to RISK“.

A new way

In the end, there wasn’t just one winning project: many different ideas were born during SPII Evolution and then were applied.

It was a twofold improvement, both with the culture and the operations, such as with the production process.

And then it eventually turned into a new way altogether, a tension towards continuous change and improvement. Recently, for example, they have changed what the Reception looked like, and before that they introduced “break areas”, a water purification system, and so on. Small changes that feel like a continuous improvement.

To date, the process of changing the company, facilitating people, boosting appearance, functionality, etc, is always in progress, and it started from there, Simona is sure about it.

“It could have been something that didn’t really last, or went downhill, but no: despite any initial difficulty, it has continued to grow over time”.

See you next time,
Ilaria

arm wrestling win win

‘Win or lose’ mindset? Change the game

‘Win or lose’ mindset? Change the game 1280 806 Spii
arm wrestling win win

No doubt we live in a hyper-competitive World. We are always encouraged, either explicitly or implicitly, to “be the best“, to crush our competition, to be the first.

We face life like we would face a race: you can win or you can lose, there is no middle ground.

Have you ever had the impression that there is something else, something missing?

We do. We’ve always had.

Our job is a matter of integration: we build pieces and parts that are not stand-alones, they need to integrate with something else, and something else after that, in order to contribute to the creation of something greater.

To move people, to make them feel safe, to put the human being at the center of a technological World.

It’s not a race: it’a a relay race. You only win if you contribute to your team’s success, if you integrate your skills with the ones who come next in line.

It’s an “infinite game“, as Simon Sinek puts it.

As we strongly believed this, we also knew that we needed to ingrain it into our mindset, across all the people at SPII.

So how to do it?

Change the game…of arm wrestling!

If you have read the previous articles about our Journey of Change, you know how we did it during SPII Evolution: playing.

Games are a powerful tool: they allow us to try things out in a playful environment, in fiction (or within a metaphor), but to learn the lesson for real in our lives.

So that when you change the rules of a game you have always given for granted, you change the mindset beneath it.

It’s like arm wrestling: if you partner up with someone, ready for a tug-of-war, your mind gets ready to beat your opponent, be stronger than they are.

But what if you are told that the goal is to achieve the highest score possible, and that each time your opponent’s wrist touches the ground, you gain one point?

Would you begin to see that…they are not your opponents?

That if you cooperate to bring each other’s wrist down as many times as you can…you both win? Your adversary becomes a partner, who can help you achieve your goals, while you help them achieve theirs.

It’s a win-win mindset. It’s cooperation over competition. It’s a completely new game.

One that you want to bring back to your everyday life, of course.

Bring the game into your life

SPII Evo worked on a key question that is broad and open, like “how to create integration?”, “how to create agility?“, or “how to improve the company for the benefit of everyone involved?”.

And it’s meta-work because you’re doing integration while you’re explaining it, you’re practicing agility while you’re creating it, and you are improving the company while you are brainstorming possible solutions.

It’s a powerful, powerful tool, something that can have side effects because it brings out the truth, it’s a litmus test. In fact, it can even be dangerous for a company, if the true intentions of the management are not coherent.

SPII’s desire was to create real CHANGE from within: so we needed to do a check on everyone involved, to see who was willing to see this change and be an active part of it.

Gaining a win-win mindset was essential to this process: we could not keep going forward in the direction we had set, if we were not all going to work towards the same goal.

We could not have the success we were hoping for if we didn’t learn to see 3 possible outcomes for every negotiation: either I win, or you win…or else, we both win.

This is what we should all aim for, always. And this is what we worked on during the months of SPII Evolution, and beyond them.

That is also why it was so important, few years later, to review our Vision and Mission, our Values, and to find new meaning within them.

Playing with it during simulation over simulation, game after game, made exactly this: it created something that got stuck in our minds, forever.

Do you want to try and change the game with us?

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

comfort

One vision: from competition to cooperation

One vision: from competition to cooperation 1024 684 Spii

What do you think is the best way to make people cooperate?

Give them a common goal? Make them feel part of something greater, you say?
Yes, sure, it may work.

But what we found out to work best is something slightly different.
If you want people to truly cooperate at a deeper level you need to…add instead a little bit of competition!

You don’t believe it? Well, look at what happened with SPIIEvo and you will think again.

Divide to unify: the formula of Evolution

We have already told you how with SPIIEvo the whole company was divided into smaller groups, each of them identified by one Element (Water, Air, Earth and Fire). And how they all went separately through a journey of change, in order to find one game-changing idea each to propose to the management.

They would then compete with each other to become the “winning Element” that would offer the most interesting idea to improve the company.

What we didn’t tell you yet is that this all was a well-defined plan to actually make them cooperate at a higher level than ever before!

Every Element would include more than one group: week after week, during every edition of the activity, every one of them would experience the same thing, and they would be evaluated with a grade based on their results.
Water, Air, Earth and Fire 1 each got a grade, then Water, Air, Earth and Fire 2, and 3, and so on…

They were all separated. But really they were all the same, because each Element would then be counted together, as a whole: so the score of the group “Air 1” was added to “Air 2”, and so on. In order to win and gain more points, a transversal cooperation between competing groups was actually essential!

Edition after edition, a ranking of the 4 Elements was generated, to which every single team has given its contribution through its own overall score: this ranking is the basis of the gamification system of a program such as Evolution, which involves, focuses, and unites.

After each edition, the updated rankings are posted throughout the company.

The effect is twofold: on the one hand, the increasing involvement of those who have already participated in the event, and on the other, the increasing expectations of those who have yet to participate and don’t know what is going to happen.

This generates an incredible hype and also a transversal group spirit.
People from one element or another would wear the same colors, the same branded pins, and develop an incredible sense of belonging.
You’re creating not only attachment, but also a growing, exponential sense of expectation – all towards the final event.

But at the same time something special happens. A paradox.

By separating people into 4 different teams and many more groups, you create competition.

But on the other hand you promote identification with the company as a whole, you create a strong and cohesive company culture, based on a common language that can be understood and spoken only by the ones who feel part of it.

Human beings are programmed that way, attachment to the team is inevitable.

And the entire EVOLUTION path leverages exactly this factor: edition after edition, people become more and more attached to the Element of their team, generating a spirit of unity and support.

One vision is all you need to have

So what?

After months of this both playful and serious competition, the day of the final event comes.

The 4 best groups from each edition and Element are on stage, in front of all their colleagues and friends, and have to present their ideas and convince the jury their one is the best.

So you will find yourself with 4 different groups, united under the flag of 4 different elements, competing against each other for the first prize and for the glory.

How can you make it possible for EVERYONE to win, at this stage? How can you keep everybody engaged, actively and purposefully participating?

This is where the real trick is done.

A new rule is introduced: the audience is divided once more into the 4 elements, and then additional points are offered to the element that belongs to those in the audience who find ways to improve on the ideas of those on stage!

Can you see it? This is explosive.
This way:

  • the audience must listen actively to understand and propose new solutions;
  • those who participate feel engaged because they contribute to make their element win;
  • but they ultimately find ways for EVERYONE to win, because it’s good for the company.

This is what you mean when you say “win-win solutions“!

Are you building a cathedral?

Do you see it now?

Competition doesn’t have to be a tool to declare a winner and a loser.
It can be a metaphor, a way to stimulate a company culture that is cohesive and cooperative.

It can transform the way people work, engage and consider themselves within a company.

Have you ever heard the story of the three bricklayers?

A traveler came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing and the man said he was laying bricks.

He asked the second man the same question and he said he was putting up a wall.

When he got to the third man and asked him what he was doing, he said he was building a cathedral.

They were all doing the same thing. The first man had a job. The second man had a career. The third man had a calling.

The path of EVOLUTION that Unreal Training helped us walk by was not only designed to improve our company culture and stimulate new, innovative solutions. It was aimed at building a cathedral, and have everyone on board knowing they were working with a purpose.

Within SPII we all participated in SPIIEvo, everyone had to take part in it; the degree of discretion was with what commitment to do so.
Everyone had to decide which of the 3 workers working on the cathedral to be.

What do you think? Have you ever seen competition in this light?

See you next time,
Ilaria

spii evo 3

The right idea is not enough, it has to be a convincing idea

The right idea is not enough, it has to be a convincing idea 1041 741 Spii

If you truly want to change a company’s culture into one fueled by the knowledge that “it depends on me“, you need two important elements:

  • A management that promotes change, and encourages the people who work for the company to suggest how to achieve it;
  • Engaged people willing to put themselves on the line for the change they envision, offering solutions and new ideas to improve the company;

These are the fuel and the tinder that can start a positive fire, which burns down what is not essential, what doesn’t work properly, and from its ashes builds something beautiful and purposeful.

It is just the beginning, though: because good ideas are not worth much on their own. They need to have someone willing to fight for them, to see them through the good and the bad times.

Great ideas, most of all, need to be convincing: successful ideas are the ones that can be presented as solutions to common problems, with benefits for both the people and the company.

This was the kind of ideas that we wanted to scout for during our change management journey, SPII Evolution.

How do you create a pathway for people to not only gather ideas, but also to advocate and “sell” them successfully to the management? That was Evo’s challenge.

From good ideas to great ideas

The first part was easy. Well, easy if you see it in the perspective of a six-months long project, at least!

It was important to involve everyone in the process, from top to bottom. To create a strong sense of purpose in every participant, a desire to be heard, to give their input. This is why all the colleagues where divided in 4 groups: Water, Air, Fire and Earth.

Each of them was encouraged to build a strong identity as a group, for example finding a battle cry of their element or a motto, building competitiveness and desire to win.

But most of all, SPII Evo leveraged on one of the most important and universal forces that drives any human being: the desire to make a positive impact around us.

Through a set of activities, challenges and situations, we encouraged everyone to take a critical look at their surroundings with a proactive mind, and brainstorm ideas that could positively change the company, impacting both its people and its competitiveness.

And then?

From great ideas to convincing ideas

Once they gathered the best ideas, it was time to turn them into convincing ones.

And how do you do that?

Simple: you make sure people strongly believe in their importance, and then you give them the tools to properly present them.

Do you want a different chair? Do you believe it would benefit you because you would be more comfortable?
Great! But what’s in there for the company?

Does it improve your productivity? Does it reduce the cost of sick days? Does it increase morale?

A convincing idea is one that benefits each of the parts involved equally, one that is mutually beneficial.
One that you can present as a solution to everyone’s problems, that is achievable and convenient.
One you are willing to take responsibility for, because you truly believe it will be for the best of everyone involved.

These are the ideas that SPII wanted to encourage, find and carry out.

From convincing ideas to successful projects

The whole SPII Evo project combined elements of public speaking, negotiation, sales and much more. The goal was to stimulate people not only to find these ideas, but also to properly pitch them during the final event.

An official moment, when everyone felt thrilled and excited to present THEIR big idea in front of a jury and the rest of the company.

A staged event that needed to engage the audience, surprise, entertain and convince the management, and ultimately…result in real and long lasting change.

So when everyone on that great day showed up dressed with the colors of their team’s element, or shouted their battle-cry out loud, or even started playing “One vision” by Queen with an electric guitar…well, that’s when we knew it had worked really well!

Starting from real-life company issues, situations that sometimes weren’t even problematic until we started looking into them, some great ideas, convincing ideas, emerged.

Are you curious to know some of the changes that emerged from this incredible experience? A perfect example is the EVO room.

A dining area born from a need: the desire to get to know each other better within the company.

There are many ways to achieve such a goal: you could set up coffee vending machines, you could organize company events, and so on. But the best one, the one that best fit SPII’s values and its people, was to physically create a space for it.

A dining area where one could rest, meet others, engage with colleagues, eat a home-cooked meal and share it with a friend.

It was not the only right answer, but it surely was the one that best answered to a need that both the company and the people had.
And it was all completely born, raised and developed from the team who originally had it during SPII Evolution.

Because by the time the jury and the management agreed to it, it was already clear: they didn’t just suggest that idea, they had successfully sold it to the company and had become advocates of change.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

spii evo 2

Does change need to start from above?

Does change need to start from above? 1379 729 Spii
spii evo 2

We have mostly been led to believe that “real change starts from the bottom up“. That any important, consistent change needs to originate from the mass, the people, because if it comes from above, from the leaders, then it means it was prompted, induced.

Sure, for it to be true and permanent, change has to be really pursued from the very people that need to endure it.

But we believe that, in a company, this is not enough.
When we want REAL change within an organization, there needs to be harmony, there needs to be cohesion.

This is why we think that some changes need to start from above as well.
We believe that if the management is not the first line fighting for change, actively demonstrating that it CAN happen, it will never actually do.

This is what we learned during the journey of SPII Evolution.

How do you start a change?

Change is not something that happens on its own: like a fire, you need the right tinder and the perfect fuel to start a flame. If you only provide one of the two, you will not gain much.

So when a company wants its people to be directly involved in the improvement, well…it needs to ask them how!

Usually, the contrary happens. Often are those “above”, the management, the ones who decide which change needs to happen, based on their analysis and knowledge, and pass it on to the various people within the company.

This approach may work well in some cases…but what if the management doesn’t have the full picture of what’s going on “below”?

If you think about it, it’s not them who actually move the levers, push the buttons, engage with clients everyday, use software and hardware, etc etc.

Maybe they have surveyed and questioned the people who actually do it, but still, they may not see it all.
They could not even realize if there is discomfort, if something out of their radar is wrong, because it’s not what they deal with every day.

So how can a company have the full picture?
How can the management really understand what kind of change is needed?

Well, it can just ask!

If the management does this, if they really ask for their people’s point of view, and listen to it with passion, curiosity, and critical spirit, something “magical” can happen:

  • People feel empowered and involved, with a real chance to have a say in their company’s direction.
  • It provides the company with hands on consultants, who really see what’s going on because they deal with it every day.
  • It removes every alibi for people not to change: both the management and the staff are bound to change, because no one can say “ehy, it didn’t depend on me“.

This is how you not only encourage change, but also a “depends on me” culture.

Leadership is the perfect tinder to spark change

SPII EVOLUTION was designed since the very beginning as a journey that would engage the top management first.

In order for it to work for the whole company, the leaders had to become both an example and a sponsor.

This brings a powerful message: one of willingness to listen.

Most of all, one of openness to new solutions that can bring real value, to the company and to each of the people who work there. Solutions that will become projects.
Projects that, if good and well structured, will become reality.

How?

With a 5 step program called SPII EVOLUTION, each of them designed to transform the participants into an army of the best consultants a company could wish for; because no one can find more effective solutions than those who know the situation hands on.

During this journey, which spans across months, all of the people working in the company are divided into groups and led through a number of steps designed to brainstorm, define and ideate tangible solutions to improve the organization.
Each group competes with the others in order to find and suggest the best course of action.
And the management listens. It REALLY LISTENS.

It’s a game-changing moment.
You can’t fake it, you can’t pretend to listen and then go on with your own ideas. If you do, you will end up losing this energy that is growing…or worse.

It is a powerful tool, but it can also be dangerous: it takes courage to go with it until the end.
But if you do…then what happens can be incredible.

The incredible power of leaders who sponsor “DDM”

What does all of this lead to?

To a change in the company culture: as we wrote in a previous article, a culture that changes from “it depends on others” (Dipende Dagli Altri or DDA) to “it depends on me” (DDM, Dipende Da Me).

It’s not for everyone to do that kind of training: encouraging the whole population of a company to engage, to bring out, to give input – it is a great challenge.
But if the management dares to ask each and every one of them to propose the most drastic, craziest, dreamiest thing they can imagine, and then listens to those inputs and implements them…it can turn a company around completely“, said Fabio Tognetti about the experience of SPII Evolution.

spii evo 3

Today you can breathe this kind of culture all around SPII.

It starts to turn a wheel of change that falls back on everything: even the newly hired who didn’t actively participate in the program find themselves permeated with it.

Sentences like “if only I had…”, “if it were this way…“, “if it hadn’t been done that way…” are banned from the vocabulary.

They all become one:
“what do I do with what I have? How do I get the best out of it?”.

It’s like getting home late at night, starving, just to find out that your fridge is half empty.
You can start whining, and complain because you didn’t have time to go for shopping.
Or you can take on the challenge and prepare yourself a creative dinner with what’s there.

Bottom up…AND top down!

This is what happens when change is encouraged from the top…and then takes place from the bottom.

That kind of change is really “integrated“, and its impact can resonate through time and space.

This is the power of a leadership style that encourages people to change by becoming advocate for it.

As Paola put it during the final event of SPII Evo, just before she and the rest of the management started listening to the presentation of the different projects:
“that enthusiasm you see in me is more yours than mine, because I am just a mirror”.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

spii evo 4

It depends on me: the strength of a new company culture

It depends on me: the strength of a new company culture 1397 750 Spii
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Fabio Tognetti at SPII Evolution

What would you do, if it all depended on you?

What would you do, if you didn’t have any more excuses such as “it’s out of my control” or “I’ve always said it should have been that way“?

What would you change in your life, in your work, in your city…in the world?

These are daring questions, indeed. Most of us would probably answer “why bother thinking about it? It’s not the case. It does NOT depend on me”.

Well…at SPII we believe in a different approach.

And SPII Evolution, the journey of change management we undertook to move our company from the past to the future, had exactly this as one of its main goals.

SPII Evolution

Who does it depend on?

This was one of the most pressing questions we were facing when we joined the international group that Schaltbau was.

Who does the success of this new venture depend on?

It is easy to think it is someone else. There is always a CEO, a boss, a colleague, a “someone” who takes decisions. Sometimes it’s even fate, luck or destiny.

Truth is, as long as it doesn’t depend on us, life is easier, isn’t it?

Well, in 2016, at the dawn of a new beginning for SPII, we couldn’t afford that.

So the great question we asked ourselves with Fabio Tognetti when crafting the journey of SPIIevo was: how do we make everyone feel that everything changes, now?

There and then, we wanted to dismantle that negative culture that says: “it’s always been done this way“.

We wanted to make people feel and believe that change was not only possible, it was THEIR JOB to make it happen – no one else.

How? Well, easy. Just showing it to them.

So we issued the challenge.

It depends on YOU: the challenge of SPIIevo

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During the keynote at SPII Evolution

DDM or DDA? This was the challenge.

Choosing between two different ideas, two different cultures, two different points of view over life: it “Depends On Others” (DDA is the acronym od “dipende dagli altri” in italian) versus it “Depends On Me” (DDM, “dipende da me”).

We asked all the colleagues to think what would they change, if it depended on them.

And not just to think about it: to actually work on their idea, test it, try it, work on it, champion for it, and then…sell it to the company.

For this challenge, the whole SPII was divided into four groups, four basic elements: fire, water, air, earth.

Each of them would spend months ideating, questioning, testing and preparing, to be the change that they wanted to see in the company.

The final goal was not only to present concrete projects at the final event, in front of a jury, but also to put themselves on the line and implement the winning one, the most interesting for the company.

They had to really sell the idea, to negotiate for it, to convince the management.

Because there is no “depends on others”, it is always a “depends on me”. Even when it does depend on others, if I am able to show the other side the benefits of my idea, it can still turn into a DDM.

There is not a “company that should implement change”.
YOU are the company!
Then, be the change. Do not wait for it, and do not resist it.

It was a challenge aiming for a shift in mindset, to convince people they didn’t just have to suggest ideas, they had to sell them and make themselves advocates of change.

Spii needed to generate awareness, which is something dangerous because it is linked to a very sensible topic: responsibility.

If I don’t know that I can do something, then I may not do it and be good with it. But if I know, and I decide not to do it…then it is my fault.

More than company culture: a personal choice

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The pathway that SPIIevo rolled out in front of everyone at SPII was one of great awareness. A personal choice that is not limited to work, but embraces one’s whole life.

“An experience of evolution”, as Fabio defined it.

Within the company, it surely helped to eradicate the typical culture of fruitless, unproductive whining and moaning.
It’s not up to me, do you know how many times I’ve said it should be done this way?” it’s probably something you will never hear, walking down the halls of SPII in Saronno.

This path, the whole SPII Evolution experience, it’s been a gift to everyone, to carry for a lifetime, even when times get hard and it is difficult to see through the “DDA”.

This is why the prize for the winners was a symbolic one – the dialogue in the dark experience at Milan’s Institute for the Blind.
Because, as Paola explained it: “when you’re in the dark you have to use all your senses to figure out how to find the right way“.

In life and in work, there is not always sunshine: sometimes there is darkness, and it has to be faced. Some things depends on others, it’s true, but it is important to understand that even when the result it’s NOT up to you, it’s still up to you how to react.

What do you choose, then?
Who does it depend on?

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

journey change

A journey called Change

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journey change

Any change process is a long, complex journey: it doesn’t happen in a day, nor in a week. It spans for months, it involves all of ourselves, it challenges our ideas and perceptions. But when it is over, you know: nothing is going to be the same.

When Paola was appointed CEO of SPII, and this company from Saronno became the Center of Competence of the international Schaltbau Group, she had very clear that this kind of change was needed.

It was not just a new signature on official documents and a new logo on the website: the small SPII was now a global centre of expertise, whose products would be shipped all across the World and used to move billions of people…it was an extraordinary opportunity, but also a tremendous challenge.

Within the company, the mood was various: everyone was excited for the news, but some were worried, doubtful: “how will it be? What can we expect? Will this change overwhelm us?“.

It was clearly time for a huge mindset shift: a pathway to a different view of what change is, and how to welcome it with confidence and the willingness to be positively surprised.
It is more than preparing for change, it is inciting proactivity: make others picture the New World ahead, even if they cannot see it. It’s already there, it just depends on us how to reach it.

SPII needed to embark on a journey to cross a challenging sea and reach an unknown port, with its new captain at the wheel. They just needed help tracing the best route.

SPIIevo: a journey towards evolution

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One of the puzzles and clues SPII employees found on the day of the initial keynote

When Paola contacted Fabio Tognetti, she only knew the destination she had in mind. The route was all to find.

The time was right, the chance to really touch and move people was inspiring, the goal was ambitious: it was the beginning of 2016 and they decided to set sail.

The name of the vessel? SPII EVOLUTION.

For friends, SPIIevo!

A true journey for change through months of activities, processes, challenges and games…because only if you play and have fun you can really achieve growth.

The goals were clear:

  • change the mindset of everyone within the company
  • develop responsibility and proactivity
  • reinforce a sense of belonging
  • provide useful skills like negotiation, selling, team work
  • ultimately, turn SPII into an agile company, one that not only doesn’t fear change, but welcomes it.

All of this can’t just be “taught”: it has to be experienced, in a context that is motivating and brings out the best in people.

So, together with Fabio and his team, SPII developed a complete program that would last six months and would challenge everything they thought they knew.

It began with a keynote: not the classic staged speech, but an immersive experience with twists and turns, mental restructuring, challenges and exercises.

The message is loud and clear: change happens, whether we want it to or not; it’s all in how we approach it.
Resisting, accepting or surfing it out are the only three possible responses, that have three very different effects.

During this event, people were presented with the program ahead: the whole company would be divided into smaller groups, and they all would have few months of preparation to come up with a game-changing idea.
Something that was needed, something that would make life/work better, something that could actually be implemented by the company.

At the end of the journey, the different teams would present all their ideas in front of the whole company.
A great, festive event, with the tension that comes with every challenge and the release of energy that emerges when change, finally, explodes.

The winning projects would become reality – the management was listening, change was REALLY possible. It depended on them to make it happen.

Fabio Tognetti presenting SPII EVOLUTION

The DNA of change

Why are people resistant to change?
There are 3 main reasons for it:

  • because they don’t know how to do it
  • because they don’t want to
  • because they can’t

These reasons may be real or they may be all in our heads, but as long as we believe in them, change is impossible.

We need to dismantle every single one of them, one by one. Once they all have fallen, we can see the truth: it depends on us.

SPIIevo wanted to create a playful environment where people could actively dismantle all of the above excuses: they would find within themselves the willingness to change things they didn’t like; they would learn how to pitch their ideas so that they are interesting, engaging and doable; and finally, they would have the concrete chance to make those changes reality.

This is why you need a metaphorical journey to achieve it: real change is not something that happens overnight, you need the time to explore it and the tools to craft it.

And most importantly, you need to learn that you CAN do it, that it is possible even if you thought it wasn’t, if you thought you were already giving all you got. You need to learn there is always space for more.

It’s like when Fabio asked the audience how many one-legged hops they could perform in one minute: people were guessing 30, maybe 60?

But when a whole theater, filled with hundreds of people, started to jump on one foot, they were shocked to discover at first hand how badly they underestimated themselves. How much we all do.

The whole SPII jumping and learning at SPIIevo

How many jumps can you do? How many changes can you face?
Maybe it’s time to find out.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

GAMIFICATION!!!

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We are no more fully alive, more completely ourselves, and more deeply absorbed in something, than when we play.”
(Charles E. Schaefer)

The game is one of our main primal instincts.

That’s why at SPII we have undertaken this challenge: to bring the game into everyday life!

The recreational component applied to daily life facilitates comparison with others, gratification and stimulates the improvement of one’s results.

We’ve known the concept of gamification since 2016 thanks to SPII EVO: an experience that has directed us towards a new way of seeing and experiencing corporate reality.

Companies are made up of people, and in our vision the human being must be at the center.

Over a year ago, to promote the introduction of new ways of operating, the R&D colleagues proposed to challenge each other by playing a game: changing is always difficult, but changing while playing is a little less so.

The creator of this initiative and speaker of the award ceremony was Giovanni Salati, who supported our CEO Paola Foiadelli during the awarding of the winners: Fabio Noseda (Most Reusable Designer) e Mirko Panoscia (One Shot Designer).

Paola Foiadelli, Giovanni Salati, Fabio Noseda
Paola Foiadelli, Giovanni Salati, Mirko Panoscia

Congratulations guys!

Our winners have been awarded a latest generation electric scooter.

The award was chosen thinking to environmental sustainability and electric mobility – in line with the growing role of the Schaltbau group in this area.

We thank the participants who got involved with determination and enthusiasm and the colleagues present at the award ceremony, for the joyfulness of this moment.

Let’s keep it up guys! #WhereverWeCan

Ps.: Being engineers, the winners had to assemble their gifts!

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli