Saturday, 14 January 2017

Disruption

We've all seen technology completely disrupt certain industries - photographic film, film cameras, music recording, etc.

Sometimes what emerges from this process of disruption is a changed but equally strong industry; but sometimes the disruption is so great and over such a long period that the former industry dies but the new one takes a long time to get established. How many of you have got an electric car?

Internal disruption can be quite unsettling too.  If mis-managed, new initiatives and new ideas can cause disruption to current ways of working but the new form of working takes too long to establish - and customers are disappointed.  The drop in performance might be so huge that it takes months or even years to make up.

So, when making major change - plan, plan and plan - and then make sure you have the skills to execute.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Trump's trade conundrum

Donald Trump aims to 'make America great again' by re-patriating manufacturing and putting Americans back to work.

Laudable aims - but practical?

The second can't happen without the former .... but if he does succeed in bringing outsourced manufacturing back onshore, in the  short term at least, the US is likely to need more labour hours. Evidence of he last 10 years suggests this may come from immigrants rather than the deskilled, dispirited native workforce.

This conflicts with other elements of Trump's avowed policies.

Perhaps Donald will find it isn't as easy as he thought it was.

Welcome to the real world, President Trump!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Resolution

Some of you will have made New year's resolutions.

Well, don't make specific resolutions relating to work and productivity - unless itb is one to revert to 'first principles' and review:

your mission and vision
your critical success factors
your key performance indicators.

So, no quick fixes, magic bullets or panaceas.  Improving productivity takes thought and effort, not the application of some latest fad.


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Is it the NHS?

I make no apology for my continued focus on the UK.

Any government should be looking to increase national productivity - by identifying key areas and key levers they can 'pull'.

In the case of the UK, the National Health Service is such a large part of government spending, that driving efficiency here is essential.  Governments have tried but the NHS is such a behemoth, that it is a difficult exercise.  Changes to one part of the NHS cause difficulties (and unforeseen problems) elsewhere in 'the system'.

So, the secret is to go for a change in attitude and motivation - and let the NHS change itself.

Setting targets can help - but setting a lower budget is politically unacceptable ... the NHS is virtually untouchable - an icon of UK life.  However without some radical changes (such as small charges at the point of use), real change cannot happen,

If we 'grasp the nettle' and manage to make the NHS more productive, we can make a massive impact on GDP and on national productivity.

We cannot afford not to try.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

More UK News

Further to last week's comments on the new UK Productivity Council, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond used the Autumn Statement to pledge new funding for fibre broadband and 5G technologies.

The £400 million investment in fibre, called the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, will be given to broadband providers to expand their networks,

What does this do for UK productivity?

Well, like most infrastructure investments, it creates potential.

Whether organisations build on that potential is up to them - but they can't complain about lack of government support and then refuse to exploit support that is given.


So, in 5 year’s we’ll return to his subject and see if we can determine a return on this investment – at the national productivity level.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

New UK Productivity Council

The UK government is to establish a new, business-led UK productivity council to improve management skills and business productivity - following Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn statement.

The new initiative should encourage start-ups and small businesses to play a key role in narrowing the productivity gap between the UK and other developed nations.

If successful, the Council could unlock up to £100 billion gross value added each year.

Backed by £13m worth of Government seed funding, phased over three years, the new council was proposed following discussions among UK business leaders, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The council will feature an advisory board, a chief executive and a five-strong leadership team, supported by up to 15 staff, drawing on the industry expertise of the business leaders that have contributed to date.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Productivity hacks are a waste of time

There are lots of blogs and magazine articles offering 'productivity hacks'.

What impact do these have on the productivity of an organisation?

Well, most of them are aimed at personal productivity.  They may help some people be marginally more efficient. But their impact on the organisation is almost non-existent since they don't address organisational systems, processes and procedures.

So, ignore them - unless you find them interesting on a personal level.

instead, take a systematic look t your organisation, what it does and how it does it.  In there lies the 'secret' of improved productivity.  Look for waste, opportunities for change, things that should be measured †o show what is happening.

Create your own, organisational 'hacks' - more effective and much more rewarding.