Saturday, 26 December 2020

Festive Time

I know Christmas day was yesterday, and I know some readers do not celebrate Christmas ... but I send greetings anyway.  

I also remind you that 'festivities' are valuable in  the workplace - to celebrate, and cement, success.

So, take what chances you can to combine seasonal cheer with rewards for effort and success.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Critical Success Factors

Every business - and every manager in that  business - should know what are the critical success factors … what must the company do - and do well - if they are to be successful.  What are the factors that underpin the mission.  

The aim is not to identify lots of these - but the essential (‘critical’) ones.

One probably relates in one way to customer satisfaction or service; another (especially in smaller businesses) might relate to the control of work-in-progress and/or cashflow.

Once these are identified, the business should identify some measure that will tell them how well (or badly) they are doing in relation to each CSF.  These are the organisation’s key performance indicators (KPIs) - and there should be at least one that relates to each CSF.

Finally, they need to identify actions that will make those indicators move in the right direction, showing progress is being made in relation to the CSFs and towards the mission.

We like to think of a form of ‘golden thread’ that runs through everything the organisation does - from establishing the mission, to identifying CSFs, to identifying appropriate KPIs - and establishing acv set of action plans.

The concept is very simple; execution  is harder - but failing to create the golden thread means some important factor may be overlooked.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

The Secret Productivity Weapon

We have all been in situations where we have received efficient, friendly service from someone with a smile.  Efficient AND friendly service is so much more effective at creating customer well-being and customer loyalty than merely efficient service.  

We remember it.  We value it. We react to it.

It must be more than ‘smile training’ or the muttering of phrases such as ‘Have a Nice Day’. It should be genuine pleasure from someone who knows their role, knows how to interact with people - and is aware of the effect their attitude can have on customers.

Some of this can be trained - but some of it depends on hiring those who already have the right attitude, keeping those people informed and engaged - and rewarding the behaviours that delight your customers. 

Of course, friendly service cannot make up for inefficient or poor service.  Efficient service is the bedrock on which friendly service can be built.

It is not rocket science but it is not common to receive such service.

Think about it.  A smile might be your secret weapon to improve customer service and improve productivity.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

I Undderstand The Fear

Lots of workers (in manufacturing) are concerned about losing their jobs to robots, as the inexorable rise of automated machines and AI gathers pace.

One common ‘defence’ is to suggest that robots only take over the drudgery - leaving the humans to take on more skilled, more knowledge-based tasks, and making the workplace safer.

This is a valid argument - unless, of course, you are one of the ‘drudges’ and do not find yourself elevated to the richer, knowledge-based work held out in front of you when the changes were proposed.

Those of you older than 40 in the UK will know that a whole generation has grown up in former mining communities with very few alternative job opportunities.

Once, young unskilled males had the options of mining, manufacturing or military.  Now those options are limited to filling orders in a warehouse, flipping burgers or driving a delivery van  - and automation is set to tackle at least two of those in the coming years.

The dream when I was growing up was that such automation and technological advancement would allow us all to work fewer hours and yet live better lives. In practice technology has made a very small number of people very rich, left many people working much longer hours (or multiple jobs) and left quite a lot of people with no job at all.

We generate more wealth - but we distribute it les equally.

This is a recipe for short-term gain but longer-term unrest.

We need an industrial strategy that is tied to a social strategy - and we need a productivity strategy that addresses all of social, environmental and economic benefit.

Saturday, 28 November 2020


It is amazing how a problem, and especially a disaster, can focus the mind ... focus efforts of individuals and teams ... focus organisations - and even focus nations.

The current pandemic has been very much ‘pan’ - crossing countries and continents. It has seen remarkable global cooperation and collaboration in the search for an effective vaccine, with even the beleaguered WHO (beleaguered thanks to the ex-president of the USA) providing coordination and communication.

The result is a number of potential vaccines being developed and tested in a remarkably short time. - and the first glimmers of hope that the pandemic might soon be under control.

This is a great lesson in facilitating innovation.

Remember those 'C's - cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication. But mainly remember the immense focus placed on the problem - and therefore on potential solutions. 

When seeking innovation, you must have these conditions in place, serving the efforts of a team or teams who are completely focused on an agreed problem. 

Of course this should preferably be done before disaster strikes :)

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Should the CEO worry about employee productivity?

The obvious answer is ‘Yes’ but is that the right answer?

it depends on what you means by ‘worry about’.

The CEO needs to worry about ‘big issues’ - those that directly affect achievement of strategic aims and the overall mission.

Of course, productivity is important.  It is a useful measure of ‘future profit’, of competitiveness.  But is it a big issue?

Yes - but not at the employee level.

Even though the productivity of employees can be aggregated to the level of the organisation  it is not the determining factor of organisational productivity.  What matters is the productivity and effectiveness of the overall ‘system’, of the way various organisational components interact and interplay.

So, productivity is definitely an issue for the CEO - but at the highest levels where it does indeed directly affect achievement of strategic aim and the overall mission. Senior and middle mangers should then address the productivity of the various organisational components - functions, processes, departments, teams - so that productivity is build from the ground (shop floor) up.

The CEO then has no need to worry! 

Saturday, 14 November 2020

A Suitable Platform

Two trends have come together to transform attitudes to technology.

Firstly, hardware (closely followed by software) has become so advanced that many tasks previously thought incapable of being computerised or digitised have now come within application areas

Secondly, people have become used to using technology since they now use their mobile phones for a range of daily tasks.

This means that:

many companies can see opportunities to improve productivity by computerising or adding technology support to a range of processes;

workers are not as frightened of using technology as they might have been even a decade ago.

Of course this is a generalisation.  It is still incumbent on firms to ensure that all employees do, in fact, have the skills they need to work effectively with new technologies.  Firms should also work towards having compatible and complementary software with similar user interfaces and user experiences so that confusion is minimised.

This is often best achieved by adopting a comprehensive, modular technology platform which can be tailored to the company’s needs but maintains a consistent approach across the platform and within all modules.


Saturday, 7 November 2020

Post-Pandemic Policy

A crisis like the one the world is at the moment changes political, economic and business thinking. Long-strategy understandably gives way to survival thinking.... “How can we get through this?”

So, longer (but not that long) issues such as climate change become very much a ‘future nice-to-consider’ rather than an impending issue.

Individual firms (and especially small firms) just have to do what they need to survive the next few months (perhaps, unfortunately, the next few years) and short-term cost savings are more important than considered and balanced thinking.

However, governments have a responsibility to think in the longer-term.  They need to be thinking NOW about the measures they need to take to raise productivity and innovation after the pandemic to raise the revenue to pay off the loans they have taken to pay for their current palliative measures.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Calling All Governments

 Which governments succeeded and which have failed in meeting the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic?  Well - as ever - it depends on your definition of succcess.

There are two main factors against which the future will judge governments: the first is public health and well-being; the second is economic performance.   The first will be judged over the next 1 or 2 years; the second over the next 10 or 20 years.

We can, though, make some suggestions as to how some governments are doing according to their current policies and actions.  I can only comment in any detail on the UK situation but it does seem as though too many governments have been too reactive and have little in the way of strategy governing what they do. Of course, this pandemic is fairly fast-moving and governments must react to developments - but this should be within a strategy/policy framework based on pre-pandemic thinking and scenario planning.  (We knew that some form of pandemic was a possibility based on global experience of SARS, bird-flu, ebola, etc.) 

In terms of economic planning, a downturn in economic activity is generally a time to turn to future planning - and especially manpower planning... reviewing future manpower needs and adjusting education and training accordingly s well as investin g in infrastructure.  I have seen little evidence of this - where is the government drive for training and skills development?  The UK government invested hugely in a ‘furlough’ scheme whereby employee wages were paid by the government to avoid companies having to make those employees redundant.  However, the government could have made such support contingent on those employees undergoing some form of skills development.  This was an opportunity missed to help create the potential for future productivity gains - and to help those employees feel valued.

The pandemic is likely to be with us for some time.  It is not too late to impose some critical and creative thinking and establish some forward strategy in support of a vision for a post-pandemic nation.   

Lobby your government to think before they (re)act.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Keep Moving Backwards

 Many, if not most, companies are looking to improve productivity these days.  They may design single, initiatives or projects to look at key issues or, if they are smart, have an ongoing ‘movement’ that systematically addresses all business processes.

Too often, however, even the smarter companies concentrate on ‘up front’ processes and tasks - the direct-to-customer activity.  This is not necessarily bad - in fact it is an effective starting point.  Howevere, it is also necessaery to work ‘back’ through ancillary and support activities to ensure the commitment to improving productiivty extends throughout the organisation and all it does.

Let’s take a simple example. 

A conmpany might review its manufacturing process and work out ways in which performance can be improved - either in quality or throughput terms.

They then need to work through supporting processes so that logistics activities, warehousing and so on are attuned to the new process. They also neeed to review staff onboarding, training and development processes to ensure staff are prepared to fully contribute to the new process.  Sounds sensible, doesn’t it?

However, in productivity development, the devil is in the detail.  The organisation needs. to think through the full consequencs of all the process and support activity changes.  Are production planning processes fit for (new) purpose.  Are quality assurance and quality control processes still relevant?

Further ... if we have changed onboarding, training and development processes, do we have the administrative processes and skills to make sure those activities are effective and efficient.

The organisation must continue to work ‘backwards’ through support processes and support roles to ‘complete’ the picture and build a truly effective organisation with holistic and comprehensive, productive processes, roles and activities.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Hard Work

Do you want yourvemployees to work hard?  (Yes, we’re starting with the easy questions.)

Well, actually you don’t. If those employees are doing the wrong things, or even doing the right things but in the wrong way, then hard work can, at best, be sub-optimal and ,at worst, counter-productive.

What we want from our employees is  achievment of agreed outcomes, where those outcomes are in support of the organisational mission and move it towards its vision, helping realise the strategic plan.

This can be relatively easy for employees - if there is a current, active plan in support of a shared mission and vision.  So, we sre looling for outcomes, not outputs.

This requires a change of mindset.  

I talked a couple of posts ago about the importance of establishing critical success factors and supporting key performance indicators, and I talked last time abouit the dangers of hsving inappropriater measures of performance.  This post brings both those points into sharper focus.

Ths mission and vision should lead us to the criticsal success factors - those things the organisation should do, and do well, to achieve its mission.  The KPIs follow on, letting us identify whether progress is being made in relation to those CSFs.

So, you need to know not whether your employees are working hard but whether they are ‘moving the needle’ in relation to the KPIs which measure progress on CSFs which detemine success in achieving the mission.  

And, preferably, your employees should know why you are measuring what you are measuring - and why it is important.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

To measure ... or not?

 I am a firm believer in measurement of performance as part of a wider performance management regime.

However, I am also aware of the dangers of inappropriate measurement.

Measurement drives behaviour change. This means. however, that if the measures are ‘wrong’, you will drive behaviour in the wrong direction.

People, understandably, will try to move measures in the direction that  puts them in a  favourable light. If this does not move the organisation closer to its mission, something is clearly wrong. Staff end up playing the measures game, rather than concentrating on real, successful performance improvement.

A simple - but all too common - example is where staff are incentivised to maximise  output.  If they do this at the expense of quality,  they still win but the organisation will lose.

So, review your performance measures and KPIs regularly - and check they are having the desired effect - in both the short and  longer-term.  

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Critical Success Factors

 Every business - and every manager in that  business - should know what are the critical success factors … what must the company do - and do well - if they are to be successful.  What are the factors that underpin the mission.  

The aim is not to identify lots of these - but the essential (‘critical’) ones.

One probably relates in some way to customer satisfaction or service; another (especially in smaller businesses) might relate to the control of work-in-progress and/or cashflow.

Once these are identified, the business should identify some measure that will tell them how well (or badly) they  are doing in relation to each CSF.  These are the organisation’s key performance indicators (KPIs) - and there should be at least one that relates to each CSF.

Finally, they need to identify actions that will make those indicators move in  the right direction, showing progress is being made in relation to the CSFs and towards the mission.

We like to think of a form of ‘golden thread’ that runs through everything the organisation does - from establishing the mission, to identifying CSFs, to identifying appropriate KPIs - and establishing a set of action plans.

The concept is very simple; execution  is harder - but failing to create the golden thread means some important factor may be overlooked.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Efficiency of Home Working

There have been lots of comments about how well the transformation to home working has gone - with many firms claiming that productivity has remained steady or even increased.  Employees seem to value the flexibility and the lack of commuting time. So - a real win-win situation?

More recently the shine seems to be wearing off. Dig below the surface and there is increasing evidence that home working is taking a toll on employees emotionally, as interpersonal contact diminishes and this lack of contact builds anxiety about job insecurity. 

There is also a reasonable probability that some of the productivity gains being claimed  by employers do not actually exist - with employers misjudging positive employee comments for positive contribution and performance.

Research by 451 found that only 11% of employees felt more productive and more engaged with remote work than working from the office. Not surprisingly, these positive respondents tended to be more senior within a company, had prior experience with remote work, and were generally more tech-savvy, said Chris Marsh, a principal research analyst with 451, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So, the good performance by a small number of important employees may have skewed overall views.

This is typical of much change.  There is initial enthusiasm which gives a lift to performance but the novelty soon wears off and ‘the cracks in the surface’ start to emerge and widen.

Some companies will have benefitted from the change - but this is much more likely for certain industries and tasks than others. Lack of regular intra-team and inter-team communication can be very damaging for some tasks and processes.

So, look at the figures - and keep looking over time. Home working may work for your organisation - or for part of it.  But other parts may need to get back to the office.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Balancing Productivity & Privacy

Productivity measurement takes many forms but increasingly it involves monitoring of employee attendance and performance.  So, data entry operators have long had their keystrokes per minute monitored, call centre operatives are used to being judged on the number of calls they handle ... and so on.

Since these operators are being paid by the employer, this mostly seems reasonable... though one might argue that the measures used are naive or incomplete. We want call centre operators to resolve customer problems, for example, not ‘get rid of’ customers quickly.

Does the present situation, where many of these operators are working from home, change the situation?  The operators are in a much more fluid and flexible work situation where the line between ‘presence’ and ‘absence’, and between ‘working' and ‘resting’ are much less clear.  Is it reasonable for an employer to closely monitor the employee in such a situation?  What about the right to privacy? Do we want a surveillance work culture?  Remember, this kind of situation is growing at the same time as people are crying foul over the monitoring of their behaviour by the technology big 4 - Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook.

If employers want the benefits that accrue from more flexible, home working, they must accept the responsibility for maintaining very strong security over the data collected, and show that they respect the right of employees to self-manage their ‘work/home’ regime. Employees who feel respected and trusted are likely to be more productive, more satisfied and more incentivised.  Invasive monitoring and tracking tools will cause frustration snd annoyance - and result in lower performance.

A win-win situation is possible!

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Do you believe it?

83% of employers say that, even after today’s crisis has passed, they plan to put more flexible work policies in place, such as allowing more people to work from home or letting them adjust their schedules.

That’s according to a recent survey of nearly 800 employers by Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm.

I have warned against such surveys before - those that show what the sponsor of the survey wants to hear.  I am not suggesting that those sponsors are faking the results .... just that they ask the right questions in the right way to get the results they require.

But let’s address the claim.

I cannot believe that all, or even the majority of, home workers produce the same level, and quality, of outputs/outcomes that they would have done in their normal office environment. Especially as at the strrt of the pandemic most firms did not have ‘working from home’ protocols, procedures, controls or measures.

So, why do companies plan on more home and flexible working?

I think the truth may be that the savings on office space costs may more than make up for the loss of labour productivity.

I would like to see some robust and rigorous research look at this issue.... until then I’ll stick to my (admittedly personal) view.

The productivity of the workforce has probably dropped ... but total productivity may have risen, when taking into account all cost factors.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Step off the treadmill

 Many businesses are naturally trying to ‘get back on track’ after suffering the effects of the pandemic - uncertain staffing levels, regulations on physical activity, distorted supply chains and so on.  This means that’s the leaders and managers of those companies are working very hard on all sorts of fronts to rebuild an effective and efficient organisation - taking decisions ‘on the hoof’, applying skills they did not know they had, improvising where necessary.

This is exactly the kind of situation where sometimes it is worth taking a little time to stop, reflect, think and plan.  I know lists of necessary tasks with impossible deadlines keep appearing and lengthening but working flat out without a plan is likely to result in poor decisions and ineffective working systems and procedures.

Take a deep breath - or a cup of coffee. Talk to others in the company. Reassess priorities.  Reassess skills. Make a plan.

It will be imperfect ... but the time you take to think, reflect and plan will hold you in good stead when you have to make swift decisions and take fast actions.

You will find yourself on a better treadmill.    

Saturday, 29 August 2020


`When people talk about productivity, they usually mean labour productivity. When this is bad (i.e. declining), they may even blame ‘labour’ for their poor performance.

Yet those of us who understand productivity, know this is rarely the case.  When labour productivity declines, it is much more often the result of a failing ‘system’ which negates the honest efforts of the workforce.  Similarly national productivity may decline because the larger economic system is failing.

So, look beyond the simple productivity figures to understand what is happening ‘on the ground’. Read but then  analyse, interpret, challenge official figures.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Check the messenger

There are lots of blogs and press releases that tell us another productivity ’secret’. The key to success is a healthy building, an employee wellness program, or .....

If you read such an article/blog, make sure you check who issued it ... and the evidence provided. You are likely to find that the issuer is a provider of air conditioning or wellness programs or ..... and that the evidence is a survey of 200 companies.  

Not surprising - and definitely not compelling.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Its what you do AND how you do it.

 Many times, the distinction between effectiveness and efficiency crops up.

“Which should we aim for?” ask executive teams.

But this is not an either/or decision.

Good businesses need both.

They need to be doing the right things (effectiveness) and they need to be doing those things right (efficiency).

One description of an effective business is that everyone is on the same bus, facing the same way and heading in the same direction.  Achieving this is a major function of leadership.   An important refinement is that great (not merely good) leaders as well as getting the right people on the bus, also get the wrong people off the bus (a much more difficult task - and the province of management, rather than leadership.  The management team also oversees the pursuit of efficiency.

So, successful businesses need both good leaders and good managers - one out of two is not enough.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Golf Lessons

I was watching the PGA Championship (one of the major golf championships) on TV today when a thought struck me.

Golf players learn the basics, and then with a combination of coaching and practice, they slowly develop and improve the way they play.  In golf, the margins of error are very fine - a 1 degree off-aim error when striking a drive off the tee can result in a very wayward shot - and a difficult second shot. The aim of all the coaching and practice is to instil consistency in the golf swing, so that, for example, every 6-iron shot is the same as every other 6-iron shot, unless it needs to be different due to prevailing conditions (the lie of the land, the wind and so on). A role of the coach is to observe the golfer in play and identify things that can be worked on with further practice to make small, steady improvements - reducing errors and improving consistency.

All of this seems to me to be like a manufacturing process. The aim of tools and techniques such ad Lean and Six Sigma is to create a reproducible, consistent process that delivers consistent results.  Lean black belts are the coaches that oversee the design of the process. The operatives (and their supervisors) execute the process and get involved with their coach (say, in Kaizen activities) to identify small improvements that can reduce errors and improve consistency.

So, what else might we learn from watching/analysing golf?

Well, players are always reminded to:

avoid slow play (in golf as in manufacturing processes, delay is to be avoided)

replace divots and rake bunkers to avoid problems for following golfers (this ‘mirrors’ the 5S principle of maintaining a tidy, organised workplace)

play to the rules and  in order of who is furthest from the hole (in both golf and manufacturing processes, standard operating procedures should be followed).

be respectful to their playing partners (good teamwork involves mutual respect)  

I am sure you can think of other comparisons.

So, next time you are conducting an improvement investigation, imagine you are playing golf  - and, of course, aim for a sub-par round!

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Do you need a consultant?

If you want to look at your energy efficiency, you might employ an energy consultant whose expert knowledge will hopefully short circuit any investigation or initiative.

However, what that consultant/expert will do is to take a look at your operations and your processes and try to identify where your energy usage and costs are high, and where savings might be made.

This is a bit like a ‘waste walk’ where you go round your plant/factory looking for signs of waste (preferably using ‘waste’ in its wider sense, as in the 7 wastes of Lean).

A waste walk is simply a focused inspection of what the your factory do and how it do it - using direct observation of the work involved.

An ‘energy walk’ can achieve similar results - the very focus on energy can reveal waste or savings opportunities - even without the help of an external expert.

So, why not establish a schedule of such walks with a different focus each time. Observe and talk to operators and supervisors about their views on the focus factor.

You might find you discover quite a lot about your organisation and its productivity - without spending money on consultants or advisers.

What’s have you got to lose?

Saturday, 25 July 2020

User error or omission?

All these remote users working from home during the Covid crisis are putting a strain on company IT services and help desks as the workers try to cope with remote access to corporate systems with their home PCs.  A few companies saw lockdown coming and initiated a programme of specific training and equipment review.

Too few companies. however, had this scenario within their  crisis and continuity planning framework.

As ever, organisations are let down by their omissions, rather than their errors.

It's what we don't think of rather than what we do that dictates how well we face emergencies.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Agriculture as the seed?

In many developing countries, and especially in Africa, nations needs to pay attention to their agricultural productivity.  Rising populations mean that more food must be grown - and yet land is disappearing for bigger towns and citIES, mines, forestry and so on - meaning the percentage of land devoted to agriculture is reducing.

If a government,. perhaps with help from its national productivity organisation, aid agencies, a university or the private sector, can show how targeted action can improve agricultural productivity…. they can demonstrate success and make the case for more targeted productivity initiatives in other sectors.

Nothing succeeds more than demonstrating success.  Quick wins are essential in any longer-term change project. So, choose a sector (agriculture?), initiate a productivity campaign, demonstrate success (by measurement before and after) and watch others climb on board. 

Within an organisation, too, simply replace sectors with processes - and the same model applies.  Show you can do it with one process  - and people want to share the success, extend the success and repeat the success.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Scary experiments

We have heard lockdowns and other measures used to try and contain/control the Coronavirus pandemic referred to as ‘social experiments’.  We do not yet know the longer-term results of these experiments on the physical and mental well-being of the experimental subjects (us!).

Similarly, governments have tried a variety of macroeconomic experiments to try and preserve national economies. Again, we do not know the longer-term consequences of such experiments.  Undoubtedly some will prove to have been more effective than others.

Of course, these two sets of experiments interact.  The well-being of the population is affected by the state of the economy - especially in terms of the confidence with which people face the future, face new challenges and face entrepreneurial  decisions.

So, whatever governments think they are doing with their strategies for coming out of lockdown and revitalising their economies, the future is very much unknown.  All experiments are prone to failure.  Here in the UK, obviously I hope the UK government has taken wise decisions (decisions that look wise with hindsight in a year’s time preferably).  But I am not  holding my breath or investing all-in in a recovery.

Some governments’ experiments and solutions will pay off; others will not.  As I have indicated before, you have to choose your own routes to long-term success, hoping the government has provided an infrastructure and ecosystem that gives you potential.

Good luck!  

The only thing worse than doing the ‘wrong’ thing (something which turns out to be wrong sometime in the future) is to do nothing (and hope things improve). Almost always in these kinds of crises, action beats inaction.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

How do se improve cooperation as we move to the new normal?

Many firms have realised during the pandemic, and the lockdown that went with it, that city centre real estate may be a very expensive means of providing facilities for staff. 

The general consensus is that workers have been quite productive whilst working from home, so minute by minute supervision is unnecessary 

However there are factors that make remote working less effective.  There is, perhaps naturally, a lack of informal cooperation that ’oils the wheels’ of effectiveness. Formal cooperation and communication can take advantage of Zoom, Teams ands other platforms …. but the informal component tends to be missed.  Yet, the informal component of cooperation and communications is what people value - its why they like going to work. It is also how they get simple (but effective) peer support and training.  It is also what helps innovation via the cross-pollenisation of thoughts and ideas.

So, as you start to move towards whatever the new normal will be, you should think about whether, and how, you should bring people together to improve communication and cooperation.

How do you engage workers on a daily and continuing basis? How do you get your company values and culture to permeate across physical barriers?

You might not get all the answers right … but you will get many of them wrong if you don’t even think about it.  

Of course, with luck you can get back to where you were before the pandemic.  But wouldn’t you be better in a more advantageous position, with  more engaged, more cooperative,  more creative workers.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Nothing wrong with accepting help

Many of us think we are very good at what we do for a living. Some are even arrogant enough to think they are ‘the best’.  Companies sometime act as if they have a ‘divine right’ to their market share, or market superiority.

However, the words offenders must be politicians.  They know they are right and act accordingly.  This. can seem patronising or arrogant to the rest of us - even when we share the same, broad political views.  Politicians often take decisions  without apparently thinking things through - rarely seeming to consider the unintended consequences of their decision and subsequent actions.  When some of those consequences become apparent and suggest more thought is necessary, the politicians plough on, taking further actions  and creating more of a mess.  

Remember, when you’re in a hole, stop digging.

In the current pandemic, the UK government decided that some form of contact tracing would be helpful - allowing contact to be made with those that had been in contact with others recently diagnosed with COVID-19. A number of other countries had already implemented technology - via smartphones - to assist with this ... and Google and Apple had already collaborated on the core technology for such an app, leaving governments to add the user interface and tailor the top level to meet their own needs.

Did the NHS (National Health Service) or the British government go with Google/Apple technology?  No, they did not.  they were arrogant enough to think they could do it on their own, and presumably do it better .... even though the record of major computer system implementation in the NHS is one of failure, overspend and scandal.  

Why would you not adopt what is in effect a global standard? ... especially one which had been developed (thanks, presumably to Apple) with privacy in mind.

But no. The UK government and NHS went ahead, trialled their app on the Isle of Wight, found it didn't work  and  then announced a delay in implementation before going ahead with a people-based  (and expensive) track and trace approach.

Sometimes politicians - and companies - just have to accept their limitations and seek help from those better equipped to deliver.