Saturday, 28 May 2016

Comparisons matter

Most developed countries have experienced lower rates of productivity development since the great recession - and nobody seems to know why.

It does seem as though these low growth rates might be with us for some time.

For any one country, this means that the key is to simply have a higher growth rate than your near competitors - and stop worrying about the absolute figure.

Low productivity growth can still create a successful economy - and actually helps employment levels.

This is just as true for businesses. What matters is not your absolute performance - but your performance relative to your main competitors.  Keep your eye on them,  anticipate their moves - and keep one step ahead.

Accept reality and the art of the possible- and work within it.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

The long view!

Most of us want to help our organisations be productive - but we also want to be kind to the environment .  Can these aims be reconciled?

Well, yes! - but sometimes it depends on the timeframe you are looking at.

Take agriculture as an example.

Using pesticides and fertilisers can increase yield (increasing productivity) - but over a long period may have a detrimental effect on the soil leading to lower yields in that longer-term.

Business decisions - especially related to investment can have similar short and longer-term perspectives.

So, if you have a problem about conflicting aims, try to look at the big picture and look at it over an extended period before tasking your decision as to what to prioritise.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Work-life balance is important.  If 'work' takes over, you end up stressed and ineffective.  If 'life' rakes over, you fail to achieve, and many small business owners and entrepreneurs focus too much on the business.

Understandable, but not helpful.

So, how do we achieve 'balance'?

Well, here's a simple tip.

When you create your ToDo list and prioritise tasks, make sure you create entries for both sides - the work and the life - and treat them with equal seriousness.  Assess importance and urgency of both - and think carefully about success criteria.   If you don't achieve the 'life' goals, consider yourself to have failed.

In effect, you are creating a work-life balanced scorecard. And, as you improve your balance, you will find your work achievements rise.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Minimum Wage - how far above are you?

In the UK, as in quite a few other countries, there is a minimum wage set by government.  In  the UK, this has recently risen fuelled by the introduction of what is called the National Living Wage.

(We will ignore, for now, any discussion on whether this means it was impossible to live on the previous minimum wage.)

 The use of these legal impositions on wage rates suggests a low wage economy - and in many sectors - social care, retail, as two examples, this is true.

The problem with low wage economies is that they mitigate against increased productivuty.

Real productivity gains often arise from the substitution of labour by capital - taking away inefficient manual work or assisting it with technology.  In a low wage economy, there is little incentive for firms to make such investments. Why take the risk?

This os one reason why countries like the UK are finding it so hard to climb out of the great economic depression.

Does this apply to your organisation? Are you holding back on potential investments because they wont save you enough money? You might be taking the right decision - for you.  But collective;y, you - and others like you - are creating a national problem.