Saturday, 26 February 2022

What did you do today?

Those of us charged with improving productivity can sometime get anxious about our own, personal productivity.  Are we working hard enough? If so, why isn’t the productivity of the organisation higher?

These are the wrong questions to ask.  Beating ourselves up is no way to a better future.

We should ask:

What have I done today?

What have I achieved?

What have I set in motion that will pay productivity benefits in the future?

What have I done to further the organisation’s mission and vision?

Its not about ‘how hard?’ (did I work) but ‘how effectively?’.  This applies to the rest of organisation.

“How do I create more effective systems, processes, procedures, working methods, working practices? What have I done today to work towards that?”


Saturday, 19 February 2022

Training needs to catch up

 Productivity requires employees to be fully trained in all aspects of their work role, preferably  including being aware of the organisation’s declared mission snd overall strategy.

The problem for the organisation is that training can be expensive - especially in terms of taking an employee away from the workplace.

One standard answer is “If you think training is expensive, try ignorance and incompetence”.

But another problem is that too many organisations  have failed to keep up with cultural and technological changes.

Over the last 20 years we have created the ‘video generation’.  People expect to learn things on YouTube rather than in books.  They automatically choose a source with pictures - and preferably moving ones.

Training is still, however, largely done verbally rather than visually.  Going visual, to many trainers, means adding the occasional graphic to their PowerPoint presentation.

Not good enough.

We all have the technology in our phones to take high quality video with sound. Video editing software is available for computers, tablets and even phones. So why aren’t trainers using more video - for workplace  snd even home-based training.

They may not have the skills to create effective materials….. but if they can’t help themselves to develop the necessary skills, what on earth is their credibility as professional trainers?

Physician - heal thyself!

Saturday, 12 February 2022

A simple productivity tip

Many of us have computers at home. We may use them for work-rerated tasks (especially now more of us spend at least some working time at home) or for social/leisure purposes.

We tend to use a small set of applications on a regular basis - a word processor, a spreadsheet app, email, messaging, task management, a calendar, and so on.

We end up with lots of files on our computer (and perhaps additionally in  ‘the cloud’).

Finding those files when we need them can sometimes be tricky - but finding all the files we need for further work on a complex project can be particularly tricky.

The obvious solution - though oner that many people do not practise - is, rather than allowing applications to store folders in their default folder - to create folders relating to a particular task, topic or project.  This takes a little effort at the time  but saves so much time subsequently.  You can , if you wish, use sub-folders to separate files of different types or different sub-topics.

An alternative, if your computer supports it, is to ‘tag’ files with the name of the task, topic or project.

You can then identify and recall all files for your further work on, or updating of, a project.

i am sorry if many of you have found this tip too simple and obvious but I asm sure some readers will have found it useful.  I don’t think i should ever really apologise for simplicity.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Simple Productivity Gains

If you are doing some DIY work at home, say building a new cupboard, you might perform badly when compared to a professional joiner building the same cupboard. He is likely to build a higher quality cupboard and to build it faster.   His productivity is obviously greater.

Why does he outperform you?

Probably for two main reasons. He is likely to have a better set of tools and equipment in his professional toolbag than you do in your home toolbox.

Secondly, he will have been better trained and will have honed his skills through his experience as s professional joiner.  

This is a general lesson.

In companies, employees will perform better if they have the right tools and equipment, and the right skills.

So, regularly review your technology deployment to make sure it is appropriate and ‘up to the job’, and that it is part of an effective processing system.

Then review your processes for skills diagnosis and development.  Do you have the skills you need to operate that technology effectively?  How are those skills likely to change over the next few years?  What must you do to ensure your employees acquire/develop those new or changed skills?

Skills empower employees to deliver better work and to take greater pride in their work.

So, this is a truly win-win situation. You get higher productivity; your employees get greater job satisfaction.