Saturday, 29 June 2013

Too late for European productivity?

The  financial crisis of the last few years led to the eurozone crisis.  Recently, there have been signs that the EU - and the Eurozone itself - is making progress in terms of solving some of the underlying problems. Certainly in those countries that have received 'bailouts' the conditions of the financial aid have forced them to address macroeconomic issues that have ben holding back productivity development.

The problem is hat Europe is addressing its problems just as public confidence in the European ideal is at an all-time low.  Those undergoing 'austerity' programmes see the EU a being to blame.  Those financing the bailouts see Europe as an expensive planning of a small number of politicians. others are concerned about the lack of accountability for European budgets and spending.

The dream has soured just as the offices of Europe are starting to shape a sustainable economy.

Perhaps the changes are too little, too late.  Perhaps the productivity gaps between the Northern and Southern European nations are too wide to close before the whole edifice comes tumbling down.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

What should I improve?

Do you know which factors of your business are important?

What, if it changed, would have the biggest impact?  A 5% reduction in your material costs, your energy bill, your wage bill, or ...?

If you know which are important, you know where to focus attention and improvement activity.
If you don't, then who is managing your organisation?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Do less

Many people think that raising productivity means doing more things ... but sometimes, it means doing fewer things more effectively.  Some even think the more things they have to do, the more important they are.

However, at a personal level, if people concentrated and focused more they might avoid endless 'email tennis' and cut the size of their Todo list.

The same is true of your organisation.  Make sure it is doing those things which your customers want done. Find out what it is you can stop doing.

So if you feel you are very busy, with lots of varied tasks, try prioritising and delegating.  Make sure your agenda consists of those things that make you money.  leave lesser things to others.  By all means keep a 'watching brief' but if you try to do everything yourself, you will fail to do some of those important things properly and thoroughly.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Tell the Truth

Recently, US Vice President Joe Biden claimed that U.S. workers “are three times as productive as any worker in the world.”  

Of course he was currying favour but it does no good in the longer-term to pretend other than the truth.  

The US is a highly productive nation - but much of that is down to its intellectual assets and its capital performance... labour performance is not bad but it is not outstanding.

So, please Joe .. .tell us the truth.  We can take it ... we might even vote for you ... but we won't  if you treat us like kids who have to be told what you think we want to hear.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

What are the questions?

The world population will rise to 9 billion by 2040 (from the current 7 billion).  This has massive implications for all sorts of human activity and human well-being ... perhaps first and foremost being the questions about how we feed and water that population.

There are all sorts of answers we need if the world is not to go into some kind of 'meltdown' ... but before we start to answer the questions, we need to be sure that we have asked the right questions ... and ALL the right questions.

We need a full discussion amongst the various sets of stakeholders (and who is not a stakeholder in this area) to set the agenda. Only then should we move towards solutions.