Friday, 30 November 2007

A paper exercise

A recent survey from Fujitsu/Siemens suggests that about half the printing that takes place in UK offices goes unread. Half! Where are the lean practises being applied to these offices? What about the Seven Wastes? In an era of service economies, office work is the dominant form of work, yet we seem to let it find its own levels of (in)efficiency.

For once, let's do what we've been saying we've been going to do for the last 10 years ... and reduce the paper mountain - its good for the economy, and its certainly good for business. I'm not suggesting (yet) the mythical paperless office ... but we could make a start and move from our peak back down to base camp.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Further sickbed reflections

Well, the saga continues with hopsitalisation. Nothing too serious but it did give me a chance to see the internal workings of a hospital ward for the first time in a long time. Lots of people working hard - but often to little effect it seemed to me. Little flow. Lots of ad hoc activity. Lots of form filling, little time for 'care'. The staff seemed as frustrated by it all as I was. They look in desperate need of liberating and empowering. The new all-graduate nursing profession has not found its new role - often sometimes acting as 'technicians' rather than 'care workers'.

What is the value of much of the work carried out? How does it help patients? Patients get their treatment - but as a series of scheduled interventions and procedures rather than as an integrated whole.

I would love to be let loose on parts of the health service with a set of simple productivity tools!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Mind the relapse

So. as I climb out of my sick bed (much better, thanks for asking), I remind you that the UK has had its wettest summer for some time and even the late sunshine will not stop many suffering from the 'winter blues'. What can a company do about it ... to ensure no drop in productivity. Well, perhaps as winter starts we need a few 'spirit-uplifting' events or celebrations ... even challenges. Let people know they are important ... not as 'human resources ... but as sentient, feeling, talented, creative human beings. In fact, perhaps we should build a movement to close down HR departments and replace them with 'talent banks'. This is not a 're-branding' exercise but a re-thinking exercise .... give the job to someone with no experience of HR but a passion for people.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Productive doing nothing?

I have been ill now for longer than usual, and certainly longer than I would like ... nothing too serious but debilitating. Consequently, I can manage a few emails, the occasional blog post and perhaps a few other bits and pieces. I am currently therefore rather unproductive.

However, I have had time to think and so some of my longer-term plans will change as a result of reflection and thought. Perhaps if I (and you) did that more often, we might save some of the energy we expend in ad hoc, unplanned actions and move more carefully towards well-planned goals.

Never get activity mixed up with productivity!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Is globalisation good for you?

Well, I suppose it depends on who you are ... but generally the answer is yes. Since economic globalization started in the 1980s, resources have shifted to sectors with competitive advantages; productivity has reached new heights, and innovation has flourished.

In the US, trade now supports nearly one in every five jobs and ....
workers in globally engaged companies earn more than the average;
globalisation has generated an increase in annual income of approximately $10,000 for each American household.

American workers are generally higher-skilled then they were; they achieve greater levels of specialization; and they have become more competitive.

The US seems to have benefited .... anyone want to note any nations that are 'in the red'?