Saturday, 6 January 2018

Australia's Productivity commission has slated the public sector for its poor productivity. Yet when you read the report what it is really saying is that the public sector, unlike the private sector, fails to measure productivity - and therefore is unable to know whether it is moving in the right direction.

This seems a little harsh.

How does the Australian public sector compare to the US, the UK, Canada or Denmark?

I don't know - but I suspect neither does the Productivity Commission.  Making conclusions on the basis of insufficient information is not what we expect form a body charged with promoting productivity.

So give the public sector a chance. Give them some targets to achieve - and chastise them if they fail to meet them.  But don't criticise them for not achieving unknown targets.

Similarly, in your business, set targets on the basis of sound information - and then hold people to account for those targets.

But holding people to account for targets which don't exist - or are 'built on straw' is simply not fair.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Listen carefully

We are about to enter a New Year.  Many people at this time make resolutions (personal promises) to change some aspect of their behaviour - like giving up drinking alcohol, going on a diet, managing their temper better, or whatever.

I suggest that instead of concentrating on the personal, you go external and think about the behaviours you can change in those around you.

Though the focus becomes external, almost certainly the only way you can change the behaviours of those around you is to modify your own behaviour first.  This teaches an important lesson about building, developing and improving interpersonal relationships. How people treat you and deal with you depends on how you treat them and deal with them.  The most important thing you can do is to listen - actively listen - to what they are telling you ... and add vision, to see what their body language is adding to what they say.

Active listening is an important but under-used skill. It needs practice. 

Start on January 1st and you might have it mastered in a short time. You will then understand and respond more effectively.  If you do, you will be a better manager, leader and productivity improver.

That must be worth a try - and a little effort. You will benefit - and so will your employees , and the business.

Good luck!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Is this your problem?

Data over the last decade suggests that labour productivity has been rising in developed countries but overall (or multi-factor) productivity has declined.

This means that people are working harder but 'the system' is letting them down.

We have been saying for 50 years that organisations need to work smarter, not harder.

Now is the time for companies like yours to invest in new technology, up-to-date equipment and machinery (including the Internet of Things) - and in skills for the workforce.

If enough of you do it, we might have a 'smart revolution' - and rising productivity at last.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

No grants, please

When nations establish productivity campaigns and initiatives, one feature is often financial support for companies (snd perhaps  universities and support agencies).

Firms are encouraged to apply for grant funding for additional resources or for specific support (for advice and consultancy, for example).

Some firms are obviously successful - and some are not.

The problem with such an approach is twofold.

Firstly, it encourages firms to become good at applying for grants - rather than being good at their core competencies.  Firms learn how to play this new game.

Secondly, it can help 'shore up' poorly performing firms - which does little for longer-term national productivity.

The same is true at the level of the firm.  If you start looking for, and applying for, grants, it can take effort and thought away from the core business.

So, my recommendation is - don't do it .By all means (I would encourage you to) have a productivity initiative - but don't make grant funding central to it.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Think differently

Sometimes you hear or see something which really surprises you - and makes you think hard about your existing frame of reference.  Take this which I heard on the radio the other day...

A scientist who takes his inspiration for new inventions/innovations from the animal world (sorry, I can't recall his name) suggested that the received wisdom about the wheel being the greatest ever invention was fundamentally flawed.  The result he suggested of this flaw is that we have spent fortunes paving the world.  If we hadn't invented the wheel but had spent our time developing transport that could cope with uneven ground (as animals can), we would have saved all that investment - and had much more flexible transport systems.

What other received wisdom has similar 'flaws?  How can we unlearn and undevelop in ways that will create higher productivity?

How can you change your mindset in ways which help develop your business?

Saturday, 2 December 2017

There needn't be a choice

I saw a piece recently suggesting that India has to choose between its traditional focus on spirituality and morality - and on modern profit-focused business methods.

What say I? I say 'Rubbish!"

There is no dichotomy here.  The two are perfectly in harmony.  Indeed I would argue that morality (but perhaps less so, spirituality) is essential.  Building a mission and vision on a core set of values with a strong moral focus is a good way to engage your employees - and have them make a strong, positive contribution.

So you do not have to choose.  You can - and indeed should -  have both!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

We expect our staff to work hard and to do their best.  But what is 'best'. I would contend it is something to do with always being aware of the company's mission, vision and values ands always acting in furtherance of the mission and vision whilst acting in accordance with company values ... and wherever and whenever possible doing so pro-actively off their own initiative.

This, of course, begs the question - do your employees know, and understand the company's mission and vision - and are they aware of the core values you expect?  If my 'definition, is right, and they do not know these things, they cannot be expected to do their best.  If they don't, it is your fault, not theirs.
EvanCarmichael.com