Saturday, 30 December 2017

Listen to this.

We are about to enter a New Year.  Many people at this time make resolutions (personal promises) to change some aspect of their behaviour - like giving up drinking alcohol, going on a diet, managing their temper better, or whatever.

I suggest that instead of concentrating on the personal, you go external and think about the behaviours you can change in those around you.

Though the focus becomes external, almost certainly the only way you can change the behaviours of those around you is to modify your own behaviour first.  This teaches an important lesson about building, developing and improving interpersonal relationships. How people treat you and deal with you depends on how you treat them and deal with them.  The most important thing you can do is to listen - actively listen - to what they are telling you ... and add vision, to see what their body language is adding to what they say.

Active listening is an important but under-used skill. It needs practice. 

Start on January 1st and you might have it mastered in a short time. You will then understand and respond more effectively.  If you do, you will be a better manager, leader and productivity improver.

That must be worth a try - and a little effort.

Good luck!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

What is the problem?

Data over the last decade suggests that labour productivity has been rising in developed countries but overall (or multi-factor) productivity has declined.

This means that people are working harder but 'the system' is letting them down.

We have been saying for 50 years that organisations need to work smarter, not harder.

Now is the time to invest in new technology, up-to-date equipment and machinery (including the Internet of Things) - and in skills for the workforce.

Its worth a try - isn't it? 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

I'll grant you ...

When nations establish productivity campaigns and initiatives, one feature is often financial support for companies (snd perhaps  universities and support agencies).

Firms are encouraged to apply for grant funding for additional resources or for specific support (for advice and consultancy, for example).

Some firms are obviously successful - and some are not.

The problem with such an approach is twofold.

Firstly, it encourages firms to become good at applying for grants - rather than being good at their core competencies.  Firms learn how to play this new game.

Secondly, it can help 'shore up' poorly performing firms - which does little for longer-term national productivity.

So, my recommendation is - don't do it .By all means (I would encourage you to) have a productivity campaign - but don't make grant funding central to it.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

I'd never thought about that.

Sometimes you hear or see something which really surprises you - and makes you think hard about your existing frame of reference.  Take this which I heard on the radio the other day...

A scientist who takes his inspiration for new inventions/innovations from the animal world (sorry, I can't recall his name) suggested that the received wisdom about the wheel being the greatest ever invention was fundamentally flawed.  The result he suggested of this flaw is that we have spent fortunes paving the world.  If we hadn't invented the wheel but had spent our time developing transport that could cope with uneven ground (as animals can), we would have saved all that investment - and had much more flexible transport systems.

What other received wisdom has similar 'flaws?  How can we unlearn and undevelop in ways that will create higher productivity?

Saturday, 2 December 2017

No choice

I saw a piece recently suggesting that India has to choose between its traditional focus on spirituality and morality - and on modern profit-focused business methods.

What say I? I say 'Rubbish!"

There is no dichotomy here.  The two are perfectly in harmony.  Indeed I would argue that morality (but perhaps less so, spirituality) is essential.  Building a mission and vision on a core set of values with a strong moral focus is a good way to engage employees - and have them make a strong, positive contribution.

So there is no choice.  We can - and indeed should -  have both!