Saturday, 28 December 2013

New Year, New ....?

Christmas has gone. we now turn to celebrating the coming of a new year.  This is traditionally the time to make resolutions to affirm values, to set out our new path.

We can, of course, do this at both the personal and the organisational level.

So, take a little time to think through how your work will change this year.  What will you do that is different and/or how will you approach it differently.

Think about others who are affected by what you do - and how you can improve their lot.  Doing 'a good turn' almost always pays dividends.

In productivity terms think through the implications of what you do and how you do it to make it more effective, more efficient and more sustainable.  This is not just good at new year; it is good business practice at any time.

Make 2014 the year you think afresh!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Its Christmas time

Christmas is coming (sounds like the cue for a song!)

Whether or not you are Christian, I am sure you can appreciate the overall Christmas message of 'peace and goodwill'.

It is, however, a little bizarre that we wrap this message up within the biggest commercial period of the year when material presents seem to count for more than good thoughts.

It should do us good to remember that we are part of a 'big society' that extends across and around the globe.  We should refocus our productivity efforts on providing a 'return' to those poorer members of that global society who often underpin our wealth at the expense of their own.

So think what you can do to make that Christmas message a little more practical, a little more 'real' for people in South Sudan, Saskatchewan, Senegal, Sarajevo, Southampton or wherever you have some influence.  

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Gert the basics right

I have seen reports recently that relate to the literacy levels of young people in some of the most developed nations. .. like the UK and Australia.  These reports suggests that these countries are moving in the the wrong direction in international league tables.

Remember we are talking about 'developed' nations with a long history of compulsory schooling.

The problem (it seems to me) is that education has become a 'political football', used for 'social engineering' purposes.  Certainly in the UK, we have tried to create an educational system in which no-one can fail ... and all are 'successful'.

To do this we have 'equalised' to the lowest common denominator.  So, instead of giving every student the education they need to stretch themselves to the best THEY can be, we give everyone a relatively unsophisticated and certainly non-stretching education with assessments they have a very good chance of 'excelling' at.

We are now reaping the results of this policy - finding that recruits to the workforce do not have basic numeracy and literacy levels.  Some of these people are very smart - just not well-educated.

And these things take a long time to turn round.  Who is going to create the high-skilled workforce needed to secure my well-being through old age?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Taking Care of Business

I'm in Mauritius - working!

This is a beautiful place, of course.  But when we look at such island paradises, we sometimes forget they too have to build an economy to look after their citizens.  Of course, tourism is a major focus of economic activity but it isn't enough.  They need other sectors to be productive and contribute to the economy.  This means they also need the infrastructure and support services that other nations have to ensure high productivity.

But, of course, Mauritius is small. Building a full transport and telecommunications infrastructure is a heavy capital expense.  But bit has to be done.  What small countries need to sustain them through the pains ands trials of difficult economic times is a vision - a shared vision that all key stakeholders have signed up to ... to ensure momentum keeps the plan going through the difficult times.

i am  trying to help Mauritius build this shared vision of a highly productive nation - working with the excellent staff of the National Productivity & Competitiveness Council.  My discussions here on this my second visit give me confidence for the future ... but I know there will be plenty of slips along the way to a brighter future.  It is the vision that will keep the plans on track - and the collective efforts of lots of people who share, and believe in, that vision.

I am hoping that in subsequent visits, I see the seeds we have planted starting to sprout and grow ... and that Mauritius has a future as bright as its sunshine.