Sunday, 28 September 2008

A hunger to stop hunger

I am still in Africa but now on vacation. What has impressed me by the productivity people I have met is that they see productivity as a means to several ends ... competitiveness, growth and prosperity certainly ... but even these factors are a means to the end of ending hunger, poverty and division.

At the World Productivity Congress I 'preached' the need to address economic, social and environmental productivities ... Africa seems to have 'bitten the bullet' ... what they need is help to build the infrastructure on which they can deliver higher productivity. The will is there and they are making real progress but they know there is a long way to go.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Another one bites the dust

Today, the World Productivity Congress in South Africa closes. Key lessons? Well, from a world event you might not be surprised to find that a key lesson is that many productivity issues are the same the world over, but many are set in a local context. Beware global consultancy organisations that offer pre-packaged solutions; always filter your own knowledge of technical issues through your own knowledge of the location where the issues are being addressed. If you don't have that local context knowledge, find it! Then you might be able to turn your technical knowledge into practical wisdom!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

We have the time!

In a conversation with an African delegate at the World Productivity Congress in South Africa yesterday, I (perhaps slightly rudely) suggested that some of the organisation was a little 'sloppy' ... with things not happening to schedule. His response was ... "God gave you Westerners the clock but he gave us Africans the time. Things happen when it is right that they should happen."

Monday, 22 September 2008

Start of ....

In about 1 hours time, the 15th World Productivity Congress will begin. This is the start of .... well, what exactly. Of course there is a programme of experts offering new insights into productivity theory and practice... but if the event is to be truly effective and significant, there should be a legacy of thought and action that transcends mere dissemination and creates added value. After all this is why we gather together, rather than 'meeting' via email ... I will let you know my thoughts on the event later. For now, I know this is the start of something good ... but it could be the start of something great!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Continuous Improvement?

The UK government is - once again - looking at the future of vocational qualifications. It has taken a decade for industry to 'warm to' the concept of national vocational qualifications (NVQs) but the market (the number of students taking NVQs and being funded by their employers to do so)has been rising steadily.

Just as the market gets used to - and seems to appreciate - the current system, the government steps in with a new initiative.

Now government clearly has a role in reviewing and developing the training infrastructure - and this is a key part of the productivity infrastructure - but sometimes 'continuous improvement' looks more like 'continuous meddling'.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Beat the Crisis

We are all aware of the current global economic slowdown, resulting to a large part from the sub-prime crisis in the US. This is resulting in rising inflation in many countries.

India Inc is taking a fresh look at their HR/pay policies, aiming to increase productivity and redeploy their manpower. Though, many companies have factored in the economic turmoil in their budgets for 2009, the average salary projections for the coming year are lower by only a percentage point at 13.9%. Despite the increased pressure, the year 2008 saw a strong salary increase of 14.8% according to a study by HR consultancy firm, Hewitt Associates.

According to the survey across 150 companies, only 20% are resorting to a slowdown in hiring or a complete freeze. The majority - 57% - are looking to balance the effect of inflation and lower HR budgets by increasing productivity.

Many companies (30%) are also introducing performance linked pay to ensure increased pay is backed by improved performance.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Thanks for the feedback

Regular readers will have seen the comments from Andrew on a recent posting. Thanks, Andrew for a helpful response ... reacting to my own admitted ignorance! All such comments welcome.

Andrew´s was particularly useful ... as it reminds us of why we work better in teams ... we spark off one another and add value to each other´s thoughts ... and it was helpful as it came while I was on vacation ... but, sadly, I am back ón station´ as from tomorrow.... assuming I can get my head back into thinking mode, of course.