Sunday, 9 December 2018

Stop what you are doing


On a recent business class flight, the guy next to me got out his laptop and worked on if for most of the flight. I ate the meal,had a drink, snoozed a little and did a crossword. 

Who was the most productive?

Well of course, he would claim he was. He got some work done.

But that is like people who confuse productivity with production. Doing more is not necessarily being more productive.

In my relaxed time onboard, I was not doing nothing.  I was contemplating, thinking and reflecting. I went into meetings later that week much better prepared and I am convinced the decisions I took that week were ‘better’.

We get so little time to consider and reflect, it is worth taking the time to stop and do so when you can. In the broader sense, you might get less done ... but your productivity will increase.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Try TRIZ

I only recently cam across TRIZ - a (Russia-originated) problem solving and creativity guide for 'the rest of us' - those who are not creative by nature.  Part of its 'secret' is that it is built 'on the shoulders of giants' - an analysis of past patents and patent applications from which it draws out 'innovative principles'.

So, to solve a problem you simply (?) decide what type of problem it is, find which general category it falls into, see what people have done in the past - and identify the broad category of solution; apply this broad solution to your problem to create your solution, your new product or whatever.

This is a relatively analytical approach to creativity - whoever would have thought that was possible,

Such an approach may or may not suit you and your team - but I recommend you read up and try it. You have little to lose - and you might dramatically improve your creativity.


Saturday, 24 November 2018

You are not a football team

Every week there is commentary in  the US press about the productivity of football (NFL and/or college) teams or individual players.

This is not productivity - it is about performance  ... but fails to use an output/input ratio ... the very essence of productivity.

Player performance is important - but US sport (or sports reporters) uses far too many spurious  statistics - and language that upsets a relative purist - the winningest team and so on.

They cite previous performances ands results between two teams as if it might have some bearing on the current matchup.

I am sure fans find it interesting ... I hope they do because a lot of resource goes into compiling these statistics ... but do they do harm.

I can image in a player on team X saying after a loss to team Y, "Well, its 27 years since we've beaten them - what do you expect?"  If you build a reputation, some players and teams will succumb to it.
Statistics are real - but can be used to motivate if applied and employed correctly.

Think before you apply measures - in football, and in business

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Become a roile nmodel

Do you want an innovative organisation - a creative workforce?

If so, think about when you last had an original (or half original) thought. Not recently?

Well, if you can't think originally, why and how do you expect your staff to do so?

You need to be disciplined about thinking - and about adopting approaches and techniques that encourage creativity. You need to work at it - to practice those techniques and force yourself into situations where you have to think.  (I recommend looking at TRIZ - look  it up!)

When you start thinking, you can start encouraging your staff to do so.

What's it like being a role model? You are about to find out.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Examine the results

I have recently been writing assessments for students on productivity-related courses.  This is one of the more difficult exercises in academic life - and, of course, exceedingly important ...both for the quality of the qualification involved  -  and  for the future life of the students.

One of the advantages is that it makes you think carefully about what you are testing - and therefore about the content and makeup of the course.  Assessment is in some ways a summary of the course - setting out its main purposes.  The big distinction between different types of course is whether, on successful completion, students should know stuff - or be able to do stuff.  This reflects massively in the forms of assessment you can use. Testing 'doing' is much harder than testing 'knowing'.

I am much more interested in the 'doing' - after all I want people to be able to improve productivity, not know about improving productivity in theory.  I think the assessments we use are getting better at testing the 'doing' but our situation, and our testing, is complicated because wev are creating online courses - with online assessments.

I will improve - I review student performance on assessments and try to work out where the flaws in the assessment itself have contributed to poor performance.

What I am trying to do, of course, is to improve my productivity - not in producing more assessments in the same timescale (though that would be nice) but by improving the quality of the assessments - and thus the value offered to customers(students).

Think about this when you train - and assess the effectiveness of your training by formal or informal assessment.

Productivity pops up everywhere, doesn't it!  If you can't improve your own productivity, how can you expect to encourage and urge others how to do it?

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Be unreasonable

I read a blog  the other day (yes, I do read other people’s blogs). It advised people to set reasonable goals. This is similar to most advice on goal setting - goals should be, according to received wisdom, realistic  and attainable.

However, when an organisation is under severe threat, realistic goals may not be enough. They might improve performance but they won’t transform it!Sometimes unrealistic goals are needed- goals which demand revolutionary, innovative thinking .. not more of the same but a little improved.


So, not all the time but occasionally, challenge your teams by setting unreasonable goals which force them to consider the ‘impossible’, the revolutionary. If they can make that attainable, they will be immensely proud and you should be much more productive.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The New Fluoride>


When I was growing up, there was a great controversy about whether fluoride should be added to drinking water to combat tooth decay in children.  In the end, science ’won’ and children’s teeth have been much healthier since.

Now we have a need to combat another problem. Politicians have become very adept at ignoring science and ‘going with their gut instinct’ or, far more likely, political expediency. The Donald is twitterific in his criticism of the press and others who hold opposing views. ‘Fake news’ he asserts, ignoring anything factual or scientifically proven if it conflicts with his personal view.

We desperately need a new fluoride -a magical potion that can combat this ‘truth decay’.

The lesson for your business is to look at the hard data, the facts to see what your performance is like. Don't ignore hard truths, they will only come back later to bite you. There is no fluoride, no magic potion.  its down to you!


EvanCarmichael.com