Saturday, 28 March 2020

Reflecting on Coronavirus

Whenever something bad affects your life (like Coronavirus), it is worth taking time occasionally to reflect on the situation an to look for any positives you can find.

Of course, I am reflecting (in this blog post) on the productivity implications of the virus - all of which are negative.

The entire global economy is in disarray. Productivity is not on the agenda for any business or any government.They have too many other worries.

So, where do we find positives.  Well, we could use this situation as a kind of rehearsal for the world we will have to move to as fossil fuels run out.

We are currently seeing little international travel, less national travel, more home working, less electrically-based entertainment - and so on. 

We are also seeing a rebirth of ‘community.  

We are seeing social media used as a force for good.

Are we coping?  Well, yes we are.  Off course we have no choice - but we might learn the kinds of things we have to do to make life tolerable and even enjoyable in a fossil-fuel-free world.

Wise governments - as part of their quantitative easing and general support measures - will invest in infrastructure and will record what is happening to society as various restrictions are put in place.

When this is all over (my guess is in about 9 months time ), they will have ’evidence’ on which to build a better world -a productive world still, but productive in other ways.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

The Future Needs Thought

When we carry out future -gazing or horizon scanning, we can often see likely large-scale changes ahead. For example, self-driving vehicles are coming. We are not sure when but they are coming. What does this mean for those who currently have driving jobs?

Well, many of them will simply lose their jobs. However, take parcel delivery. Someone has to load the van - though not necessarily the ‘driver’. Someone has to carry the parcel to the customer. So the van probably needs some attendant - though this job might be lower-skilled and lower-paid then ‘driver’.

Take school bus drivers. It is unlikely that buses will carry groups of school kids without some form of adult supervision. So, a security guard or supervisor is needed, 

In all future scenarios, the implications of a technological change have to be thought through; the societal and cultural implications must be considered. Change of any magnitude is rarely simple or obvious.

Don’t just think about the future. Consider it with some thought. It will affect how you act in response to the change and the degree to which you will be successful in addressing it.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

The Wrong Decisions ... the wrong rewards

We should be able to assume that most business leaders are aiming to improve the productivity and performance of their organisation.  Yet, not many of them seem to be successful in doing this. This suggests these leaders are doing the wrong things or not doing the right things correctly.

I think many of therm have an incomplete or erroneous view of what drives productivity - especially over the longer-term.

For example, many use cost-cutting to drive profits up .... but they cut those elements that drive productivity growth - like skilled workers.  Using low-skilled, cheap labour might raise profits in this quarter (and earn the leader a bonus) but it damages the fabric of the organisation and lowers its longer-term potential.

And, generally, low-skilled labour is less likely to engage in cultural shifts to support continuous improvement and employee-led problem solving.

Actually, in those statements lie another major problem - reward systems for senior executives. If their remit is long-term strategy, their rewards must be calculated on long-term performance, not short-term profits.

Shareholders need to make business leaders accountable for longer-term decisions and results.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

The same, old routine

A lot of productivity writers and bloggers advocate a morning routine to set you up for the day. 

The problem with routines is that they tend to result in routine thinking. If you want fresh, innovative thinking you need to break out of the straight jacket of your established routines and establish some new routes to success.

Of course, routines have their place but I advocate  an evening routine so that you get full reflection in the current day’s activities but you give your sub conscious time to use that reflection to roam elsewhere, take in other stimuli and perhaps come up with solutions to your problems or identify new opportunities.

Of course you have to arrive at a solution that works for you .., but just for a time move your planning and journaling routine to the evening and see if it makes a difference.

What have you got to lose?