´ What the Mayor of Copenhagen got right
May 25, 2014

People biking in Copenhagen

Until I heard the mayor of Copenhagen talk about bicycles I used to beat myself up a lot. Like lots of people I loved plans and formulating concrete goals. I could spend hours and hours planning things out, trying to get everything right in advance. Every single year when the time for new year’s resolutions rolled around I would again enthusiastically create step-by-step plans to achieve stuff like cleaning my room, exercising regularly and all the other usual suspects. Plans suggest that change is easy. Just break it down and you can’t fail.

Now if you are the kind of person who makes plans, executes them neatly and progresses just as you had planned I think that is wonderful. If you are thinking about working with me let me assure you, that such a straight-forward approach would be a very welcome deviation from the usually more messy process that constitutes change. However you would probably not gain anything from reading this blog post because you have already found what works for you. If on the other hand plans have never quite worked out for you, you might be interested to hear, what the mayor had to say about it.

He said that usually when city planners design cycle lanes they do it while sitting at their desks. Then the street signs get set up accordingly and every cyclist who doesn’t follow the rules will be punished. In Copenhagen they took a different approach: they watched which routes cyclists were using. They noticed that even when people were using ‘illegal’ routes, those turned out to be the most efficient ones. In other words they let the reality of cycling in Copenhagen determine the cycle lanes. This led to one of the most efficient cycling networks in the entire world.

Implementing strengths can actually be a very similar process: instead of beating yourself up, try to understand what you gain from doing things the way you are doing them. Maybe certain working styles are easier for you and instead of trying to re-learn your style, why not take advantage of it? Why not ask yourself how good things have come into your life previously?

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