Saturday, 28 September 2019

Productivity Principles

I have been doing quite a bit of work with Lean approaches and techniques recently.

I like Lean ... not because of the tools and techniques (which are excellent on the whole) ... but because it is based on clear and firm principles. To practise Lean it is much more important to be guided by the principles than to remember the tools and techniques.

For those of you who might have forgotten, I summarise these principles as :

Make the work flow
Eliminate waste 
Respect the People (and especially front line workers.

If a management team ensures that they keep these principles firmly in their minds and allow them to shape all their actions, decisions and behaviours, they will find themselves managing a Lean operation with a positive and productive organisational  culture.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Diverse superteams

The benefits of workforce diversity are well documented. Usually, however, these relate to diversity in race, gender and sexuality. There are also benefits in an age-diverse workforce where the different attitudes and skills that come at different life stages can be used to create balanced, ‘superteams’.
In Western developed countries, this is well known and many older people remain in the workforce well into their ‘mature’ years.
In many developing and emerging economies, things are different. Though many countries in this category revere the wisdom and experience of age, the pressure to provide jobs for the growing younger population often drives older workers out of employment. 
This has to be resisted if the benefits of experience are to be retained.
This in turn requires governments to implement non-discriminatory legislation and employment policies. But it also requires a change in attitude from the young. They often assume that because older people  are often technically illiterate and do not have mobile phones grafted onto their bodies, that they are uninformed and even uneducated.
Similarly, older people should stop seeing the young as ill disciplined and unreliable. 
If we can get these different age groups to ‘meet in the middle’, we might create the potential fir mutual respect, greater cooperation and higher productivity,

Friday, 13 September 2019

Changing behaviours

~It is difficult to change the behaviour of a child who is a fussy eater.

If you try to punish, you reinforce the negative associations of the food they don’t like.

If you try to reward you remind them that the reward is so much better than the food they don’t like.

Sometimes, motivation is difficult. You seem to be forever reinforcing the behaviour you don’t want.

The same can be true of a workforce. You have to think very carefully about ways to successfully change - and maintain - behaviours you want to see.

I’m not giving answers here. The answer depends so much on history and context. I’m just asking you to think before you act, reflect after you have acted and make no assumptions.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Calm down and do better

Many people look to famous entrepreneurs as role models. They see people driven by success, working hard over long hours and completely focused. 

However, they fail to realise that such people might be ‘wired’ differently than the rest of us.  For us mere mortals there are things we can do to improve our abilities without working 24 hours each day. In fact, we are much better working fewer hours, focussing more and being ‘mindful'.

Slow down and put yourself in the present. Forget your emails and other distractions. Just concentrate on now and the task in hand.

Calm down, slow down, think down. Productivity up!