Saturday, 30 November 2019

Less work, more productivity

When we are young and inexperienced, we tend to think that if we work harder we will be more productive.

As we gain experience (and age), we start to realise that this is not true.  Too much of our effort is unproductive.  We slowly learn to work smarter, to prioritise, to  eliminate waste, to think our way to a better solution.

As a manager or leader, you must remember these things. Do not keep exhorting your troops to work longer hours or work harder. It is your job to find (and fund) the smarter ways of working, to eliminate tasks that are not productive, to eliminate distractions and to motivate behaviours that move things forward.

This is not always easy ... but you fail if you don’t try.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

The Chinese are copycats??

I was back in China last week.

The economic miracle of China is well know but many people still think it was, and is, built on cheap labour and ‘copycat’ products.

These people have never been too a modern Chinese gigafactory - lots of automation, just in time manufacturing, good use of AI - all backed up with solid, efficient supply chains.  

Just like the Japanese a few generations ago, the Chinese have taken the best of the West, reviewed and refined it, and employed their improved version to dominating economics impact.

Underestimate Chinese manufacturing at your peril!

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Sporting lessons

I watch quite a bit of sport on TV, including American football. Those of you who know the game will know that each side has virtually 3 teams playing in a match - the offence, the defence and what are called ‘special teams’ who handle kick off, kickoff reception and other isolated events. 

Each of these teams is very well-drilled to deliver specific, pre-planned moves which are part of a strategy to defeat a specific opposing team by exploiting its weaknesses and containing its strengths. Even in a team with poor results, one of these teams might be the best in the league, motivated by being the best defence or whatever. All sides and all sub-teams are ‘in pursuit of excellence’ in terms of strategy, tactics, fitness, motivation and execution.

Business leaders have lessons to learn here such as the importance of creating strong, motivated teams who know their job well and are fully motivated to carry it out. Every team is important and though all share the same ultimate goal (winning), each one can simply try to be the best at whatever they do.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

a nerw model needed

Recently I got caught up in a great commute ... I had to travel into the city centre at the same time as all the other unfortunates that do so at the sane time every day.

It is clear (or it should be) that we need a new model of work, of workplaces, of team working, of synchronicity. Technology can offer us a number of possibilities. Yet our cities are swamped by millions of people swarming in at the same time each day on overcrowded roads and overcrowded trains.

Take a link around your factory, hospital, retail store, office or wherever you work. How many functions and processes are similarly in need of fresh thinking. They work .. but they cause problems. We continue to operate them in the same way because that is how we have always operated them.

Take a look with fresh eyes. Look at the wastes of time, effort, materials involved. Take a little time to dream up possibilities. Then take more time to develop practical solutions. 

You might remove your traffic jam.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Keeping house

Does your organisation practise 5S? 

The answer Is probably ‘No’.  It is a much misunderstood and little used approach., regarded by many as ‘mere housekeeping’. It is, of course, housekeeping but absolutely not ‘mere’ housekeeping.

It improves engagement, productivity and safety ... who doesn’t want to do that?

As an example, think of your home desk. If you clear away the clutter you don’t need on a daily basis, get rid of cables (by routing them properly and using cable clips or ties), organise your computer and peripherals, use the stationery trays you always meant to get, place things like the stapler, scissors and hole punch somewhere close but out if the way, etc. then you should notice a change in your attitude to the desk,

It becomes a place for ‘work’ with fewer distractions, fewer delays, fewer frustrations.

If you maintain that new tidy workspace, your productivity should improve.

Now imagine doing that to a whole workplace!