Saturday, 29 January 2011

No copies, please

We all get copied into emails that we don't need to see. This is often because we haven't given our staff the confidence (or authority) they need to handle issues without 'backup' from us ... so they copy us in to 'cover their backs'.

So try putting in a rule that says .."All internal emails must be to one addressee only unless prior approval is granted. Approval must be sought from your immediate supervisor in person (not by email)."

Then review this after a week and see if the world has imploded.

(Note that this does allow distribution of messages to formal groups and teams where a single group email - a single addressee - has been set up.)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Learn from the big boys

In the world of the 'big boys' there is a concept known as multi-factor productivity. This means the productivity of the total of an organisation's labour, its capital, its energy, etc.

I introduce this just to remind you that your business also has its complexities ... and if you adopt too simple a measure of how well you are doing, you might miss some important factors.

So think about the range of factors important to you (and your customers) and think about how well you are performing on each one. Temper output with quality and moderate short term profit with longer-term relationship building, and you might have a 'multi-factor' assessment of where you are going.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Think about output

I'm a productivity guy. I want more output for each unit of resource.

But I know that you have to decide what is 'good' output.

A simple example. Ideally I want my mechanics standing around rather than fixing machines ... I don't want those machines out of action. So lots of output for the mechanics = bad news for me.

A more complex example. If we give teachers more students in their class, we get higher productivity ... or do we. What's the output, here?

Before you judge efficiency - and value, think about what you are trying to achieve. That's what you want more of.

Friday, 7 January 2011


Do you look forward to a cup of coffee as a reward for completing a task? ... or a break ... or a (dare I say it) cigarette?

Well then. Think about those who work for you. What are the rewards they get for completing their tasks?

If you can provide simple rewards for them, they might complete faster ... just make sure you don't encourage fast work and higher error rates!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Measures of Success

How do you measure your organisation's performance. By its profits? If so, you have a good indicator of how well you have performed historically. But that tells you little about the future.

You need something that will indicate (because you can't measure it yet) future performance ... levels of investment in new technology & equipment, training given to staff, etc.

Always measure the past and present ... but keep one eye on the future.