Thursday, 29 October 2009

Downward slope

It is day 2 of the European Productivity Conference. Things are going (mostly) very well and I know we have a good social event organised this evening, with the kind support of North East Lincs Council. So, if this afternoon's sessions are as good as this morning's (plenty of 'real people' involved in productivity improvement on a daily basis as part of their day-to-day work), and this evening's event goes as well as I fully expect, I will have a bunch of happy delegates. Then we have a powerful keynote speaker tomorrow and they will all leave informed and inspired ... good value, I think.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

No more planning

This is it. Day 1 of the European Productivity Conference. No panic ... because the team here has done such a good job of planning and preparation, I have confidence that all will be well.

Of course things will go wrong (The best laid plans ...) but the real test of the planing is the contingency plans you have made in anticipation of things going wrong ... and the flexibility and creativity of the team behind the scenes.

So, ask me tomorrow or preferably on Friday when its all over. I expect to give a good report.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The world is changing

Sometimes you hear about things which make it sound as though the world is changing. These are often 'big' announcements and pronouncements (often from politicians and 'futurologists'). However sometimes you are aware of the same issues via small, actual changes.

I had one such experience yesterday. In Lichfield, for the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Management Services, I had lunch in the George hotel and on their 'specials' board announcing additional menu items for lunch, each of the items had a code number (such as FM46) next to it. When I asked the purpose of the codes, I was told it was the 'food miles' figure - representing how far the source of the item was from the hotel.

When this information turns up unannounced in a small hotel in a small English market town, you know the world is changing!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


The first graduates of our M.Sc in Productivity & Innovation come off the production line today - in a small, but hopefully warm, ceremony. They all deserve to be proud of their achievement and we also take some pride in our ability to work with them and deliver what we think is an innovative and enriching course.

New students arrive next week and some of them already have MBAs. They see productivity as being real, directed and focused - and are keen to acquire knowledge and skills of genuine applicability - rendering them more able to 'make a difference'.

Remember productivity increases of just 3% per annum mean that each generation is twice as well off as its parents.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

I leave Jakarta today conscious that as a foreign 'expert' I fly in, offer advice and fly out expecting the locals to pick up implementation. And yet I know this is often the trickiest part. But I don' t have the time to implement and they could'nt afford it. So, as ever, we muddle through together .... and somehow it all works!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Remember the past as you build the future

I am in Indonesia working on a project to increase the export value of fisheries products. Of course the local people are somewhat preoccupied with the effects of the recent earthquakes. Both the past and the future are important. So as I encourage them to look to the future, I learn from them about their individual and collective pasts. I cannot share their pain but I certainly understand and respect it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Nigeria could do better

Dr Paul Bdliya of the Nigerian National Productivity Centre is embarking on a Productivity Awareness Campaign (PAC) in an attempt to institutionalize a productivity culture in the Nigerian people using the mass media as its strategic tool and focusing on jingles, debates, advertisement, press briefing and so on through various media.

According to Paul: “The natural competitiveness that should arise from the industry and entrepreneurship of the Nigerian people is threatened by manifestations of some undesirable elements of work culture -elements, that appear to be washing away whatever competitive advantage our natural inclination for hard work confers.

There is too much evidence of: lateness, absenteeism, indolence, poor time management, culture of waste and profligacy, poor maintenance culture, nepotism cronyism etc. This bad situation is further compounded by low productivity consciousness.

In Nigeria, people are generally ignorant of the true meaning of the concept of productivity. To many of us, productivity is merely working harder- rather than smarter or wiser. Many also believed that being seriously engaged in activities is all about productivity – even if such activities are not result-oriented, or add any value.

To others, the concept has relevance only in terms of physical, tangible goods and not the intangible, service products. All the negative mindsets, needless to say translates to low productivity that single most crucial determinant of a country’s product/service competitiveness and standard of living.”