Saturday, 26 March 2022

Decent Work

I have said may times in this blog that expecting higher productivity through exhortation is unlikely to be successful.

Organisations or nations need systematic processes that address the causes of low productivity - and actions to reverse or eliminate those causes.

In addition, though, employees need decent work to do … they need clear tasks which they understand and where they also understand the role of their tasks in the greater scheme of things… i.e. they should understand their role in fulfilling customer needs.  Without this knowledge, they are unlikely to be self-motivating.

Of course they also need the skills to be able to carry out their role effectively.The organisation must make sure these skills are fully developed.

If the organisation can also give employees some understanding of the drivers of high productivity, or the causes of low productivity, so much the better.  They can then be engaged as part of the productivity effort, discussing how their role can be improved - and helping investigate potential changes to working systems, processes and working methods that offer the potential for higher productivity.

The organisation should also help them to set their own targets, secure in the knowledge that those targets are not sub-optimal, causing problems elsewhere.

This is starting to sound complicated but it is actually quite simple.

Give people decent work to do, give them the skills they need and involve them in potential improvements.  Make the changes with them, not to them.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Driving Dangerously

Many governments Introduce productivity or efficiency drives. They aIm to reduce the size of the state not by cutting services but by cutting the cost of those services.

However, few, if any, of those drives have the intended results.


Well, those governments rarely introduce systematic productivity improvement processes, and even more rarely attempt the culture change needed to make any significant change.  There are no targets, no benchmarks.

An aim without a plan is simply a wish … and there are not enough fairies around to make all the wishes come true.

Productivity by exhortation is doomed to failure.

Saturday, 12 March 2022


Many businesses (too many) concentrate on efficiency at the expense of customer service.  We have all waited too long on a customer service call or had difficulty talking to a person we want to rectify a problem.

If we mess with our customers, they may not return.  And they will make negative comments to their friends - and to the wider world on social media.

You have to do the right things before doing them right.  Concentrate on quality AND efficiency.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Platforms for digital communication and collaboration (everything from e-mail through Google Docs to Zoom and Teams) can be very useful.  

The problem is that when organisations use several of these, individuals can lose focus and productivity.

They find they can’t find messages or files because they can’t remember on which platform they originated.  They end up asking colleagues to resend messages or files, making those people also less productive.

Also, different platforms have different user interfaces, search methods and so on - making it difficult to remember how some parts of each application or platform work.

To achieve higher productivity, multiple platforms must be integrated into a comprehensive, cohesive, and frictionless digital workplace.