Saturday, 26 March 2016

Happy workers?

A number of agencies, and even countries, have attempted to create measures of 'happiness' - as an alternative to using GDP to value the work undertaken by people.

This needs further work - but shows some promise. Lots of activity is currently not 'caught' in official GDP figures.  The work of volunteers, for example ... or the work of people that goes into 'free' services.  When you use 'free' apps on your smartphone of tablet, your work might be ,more productive - and this might contribute to a 'better' GDP figure .... but often it won't.

The whole point of productivity is to make people more 'wealthy' - but we need to measure wealth in ways that reflects the priorities of citizens and workers.  If people value leisure time over consumer goods, we might prioritise reduced working hours over increased GDP - and we might prefer to measure something like 'well-being' (or even 'happiness') over simple economic activity.

At the level of your own company, you can determine - to a large degree- how you prioritise 'outputs' and 'value creation' - depending on your own set of values and aspirations. But what do your workforce value? To what do they aspire?  Perhaps you need to consult with them before setting all of tour business priorities.  Perhaps real 'growth' is not just about more output.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Measurement level

The UK Office for National Statistics has just issued time series data for labour productivity across a number of years and for a number of sectors.  Quite interesting (for productivity nerds like me) but ultimately unhelpful in so far as the level of aggregation is so high that it has no effect on behaviour or future performance.

What the government needs to know is ... What do we need to do to make the data move in the right direction?

Interpreting this data - to result in strategy - is difficult.

The old adage - You get what you measure - fails at this level of aggregation.

This is a lesson for your business.  You should measure at a level at which those being measured can influence what iss being done in ways, and to a schedule, which can move the measure,

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Aim to be first.

Some of you will now that I have been in Bahrain for the last week helping prepare for the World Productivity Congress which will be held here in November. (see for details.)

Conversations obviously covered the productivity of Bahrain and its move towards becoming a post-oil economy.  Lots of Bahrainis look at Dubai as a possible model - creating an exciting, vibrant economy without oil revenue.  But Bahrain should not be looking to be a second Dubai - but a first Bahrain.  It has lots of advantages: it is a relatively open, diverse society with a rich history and culture; it has a good technology infrastructure; it has an open economy with no taxes on the movement of capital; most Bahrainis speak English- the international language of business.

What Bahrain has to do now is to find a 'usp' - an area of economic activity that it can make its own.

The same should apply to your organisation.

Don't hope to copy or emulate a competitor. Strike forward with your own vision and strategy for a position  of strength based on a specialism - of product, service, quality, aesthetic, reliability or whatever ... but something that singles you out as being foremost in your field.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Outsource wisely

In my eLearning development role, I have recently been producing a series of video lessons - using a professional voiceover artist.  This is quite an expense - but a necessary one.  When I compare the results with some I made a few years ago using myself or other amateurs, there is no comparison.

'You get what you pay for' applies here.

What is more important is that my client gets what he is paying for - clear commentary to the videos, easily understood with strong, clear messages from my text and a professional voiceover.

Know what you are good at - and know where you need help.

Outsourcing is a key way of adding expertise you and your organisation do not have.