Saturday, 29 August 2015


I talked briefly last week about making the choice to invest in skills ... but which skills.  Actually, unless there are obvious technical skills needed for specific jobs, it  doesn't matter too much.

Employees respond positively to most development opportunities.  So let them develop 'core skills' (numeracy and literacy), and employment skills (time management, project management, etc).

They will respond - and you will get more satisfied workers - and more productive workers.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Your choice

All companies have limited funds to invest in new projects. (Well, perhaps Apple has all the money it needs.)

And this inevitably means that those companies have to prioritise certain projects over others.

Unfortunately too many firms seem to concentrate on physical assets -new buildings, new technology, new equipment - and forget about new knowledge and new skills.

Too few business leaders believe what they say when they utter those words "Our people are our greatest asset".

Do you?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Time to invest

Businesses seem to be unwilling to invest in new facilities and even new skills for their employees.

I think part of the reason is that investors have become used to the rollercoaster of the tech boom and bust cycle.

On the one hand, many expect new technology to keep arriving and providing them with relatively cheap productivity gains.

Others are reluctant to invest as they see new tech as a 'fad', rather than as a proper contribution to improved performance.

It is time to see productivity improvement as a 'journey' not a destination. Like all journeys, it needs planning snd preparation ... but above all it needs a clear route. It also needs energy and focus - it won't just happen.  And it needs resourcing - it needs the development of infrastructure and skills, of thought and ideas.

So, its time for you to focus your energies, and your investments, on improving productivity - and make a difference.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Is it counted?

Last week I talked about the problem of national productivity measurement when we fail to count lots of 'intangibles.

Musing further, I got to thinking  about companies like Google and Yahoo who give away many of their services for free (at least to the end user at point of use). Google and Yahoo put lots of energy and resources into these services - and they clearly benefit the US economy - but they don't get counted in the official GDP figure.

This situation clearly affects the US - but also lots of other developed countries.

Does it affect you?  Are there things you put effort into that don't get counted?  If so, beware of taking decisions based on the figures that don't include such factors - you might get misled.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Balance the right mesasures

When coming up with the Balanced Scorecard concept, Kaplan & Norton reminded us of the need for balanced measurement - focusing on a number of important factors.

Yet, most measures used are simple measures of physical output over resources consumed.

In many modern companies, however, physical output is low - the 'productivity' results in ideas. This cis the knowledge-based economy.

We have not yet figured out how best to measure such output.

Yet financiers and investors, when they judge a start-up, do value ideas.  Many 'tech' companies have high valuations - but few physical assets or outputs.

Productivity measurement - measures of 'output' in particular -need to keep pace with this new economy.

In the meantime, in your own company, value the bright young minds you have and the ideas they generate. that is what will create your future wealth.