Saturday, 19 August 2017

What are you mesuring?

France takes the summer off.  many factories close down for a month while workers holiday en masse.

Other European countries also take longer holidays than the UK.

Yet the productivity of these countries is higher.

Can anyone explain this - it is intuitive.

I have voiced my doubts about the way we measure national productivity before.

Each time I note something like this, I become more convinced that we need to take a fresh look at what we measure and compare.

Similarly, you should be careful what you measure and compare in your business.

if you measure the wrong things, you will make the wrong conclusions - and worn decisions.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Don't wait for technology

Over the last 50 years, there is no doubt that technology has made significant contributions to GDP and thus to national productivity. However most technology soon reduces in price and thus any contribution is soon lessened. Worse, we appear to be in a relative technology slump - there has been little true innovation in the last few years.

So, technology is not going to come to our rescue. We have to take the 'low road' and pick up all the small productivity gains we can. We need a systematic, national productivity drive with government addressing policy and infrastructure and companies like yours addessing skills and culture. We can create impact but it's not going to be easy.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Not in your organisation

If your employees were fighting in factions, arguing among themselves and failing to do what you expect them to do, would you continue to pay them?  You might - but presumably you would also initiate disciplinary procedures to try to correct such behaviours.

I suspect, though, that your answer to the question is that you would not tolerate it - or that it wouldn't happen in your well -run organisation.

This is, however, what happens regularly, in politics. Both the US and the UK have exhibited such behaviours recently - infighting and squabbling between Republicans and Democrats - or Conservatives and Labourites.  All we, as the voting public, can do is to sit and watch - and perhaps seethe with anger - and wit until the next election.  These infighters and squabblers would not behave like this in the other compartments of their  life, surely.  But they seem to think this is how they are expected to behave as 'politicians'.

There is an old adage - 'we get the politicians we deserve' - so it must be our fault.

If we want productive government, we must demonstrate productive behaviours in all we do - and set these 'children' some role models.  We should also write to them and remind them of the constructive and productive behaviours we expect from our elected representatives - and we should certainly use our vote to sanction these unruly and unproductive behaviours whenever we get the chance.

As a businessman, you should also lobby whoever you can to put pressure on the political parties to control the worst excesses of their members.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Lost Decade

UK productivity in the first quarter of 2017 was the same as it was in 2010.  This  after relentless if sometimes slow growth over many years.So, not only have we not had the bounce i refereed to last week; we seem to have had a capsize and a sinking.

Successive governments seem to be powerless to do anything about the problem but at leat this current government seem to have recognised the problem - and have set up a new UK Productivity Council to try to do something about it.

Making up for10 years lost growth is probably impossible - but at least we could get growth moving again.

If government can't get things moving, its up to you in the private sector to take charge and build momentum from lots of little improvemente.

Together, we owe it to the next generation to give them some momentum to build on.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

No Bounce!

The Office for National Statistics says that, had productivity in the UK returned to its pre-recession trend, it would be 20% higher than its current level. Britain would be one fifth better off.

The normal pattern is that after a recession, productivity bounces back and we recover (at least most of) what we lost.

However, we have had no bounce since the great financial crisis.

It ts not just the UK - the pattern is remarkably similar around the globe.

The time to wait for the bounce has gone - the UK needs action to recover.

Let's hope the new Productivity Council can pull the trigger.

And, for your business, its up to you.  You have to find and pull your own trigger.... find your own bounce.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Canada's labour productivity rose 1.4% in Q1 2017.

This is not a spectacular result but a solid performance.

Sometimes, slow and steady progress is preferable to high gain, fall-back performance.  (Think 'tortoise and hare'.)

This is exactly why continuous improvement programmes, resulting in a number of evolutionary performance gains, often beat the occasional revolutionary improvement brought about by say, a technology change.

Ideally, of course, you want both - but waiting for the revolution is a bad strategy.  You  need to keep the pressure on your organisation to make the many, small improvements.

Take Canada as your role model!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Should you think or work?

We have been told a few times that what creates success is sheer hard work... the perspiration not the inspiration, and the 10,000 hours.  But many great men (and women) have achieved their greatness by original thought  by avoiding the 10,000 (wasted)  hours.

it seems that both routes might take you to success - and it perhaps depends on the kind of person you are as to what is right for you.

But what about a company.  They can't 'plod on' for 10,000 hours and expect an insight - or the achievement of some kind of superskill.

So, whoever runs the company has to have the insight - about a new product, a changed process, a new way of doing business - to transform the business.

If you are not thinking about how to transform and revolutionise your business -  wha are you doing?  How are you earning your keep?
EvanCarmichael.com