Saturday, 31 December 2016

Some of you will have made New year's resolutions.

Well, don't make specific resolutions relating to work and productivity - unless it is one to revert to 'first principles' and review:

your mission and vision
your critical success factors
your key performance indicators.

So, no quick fixes, magic bullets or panaceas.  Improving productivity takes thought and effort, not the application of some latest fad.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

What can you learn from the government's difficulties?

I make no apology for my continued focus on the UK.

Any government should be looking to increase national productivity - by identifying key areas and key levers they can 'pull'.

In the case of the UK, the National Health Service is such a large part of government spending, that driving efficiency here is essential.  Governments have tried but the NHS is such a behemoth, that it is a difficult exercise.  Changes to one part of the NHS cause difficulties (and unforeseen problems) elsewhere in 'the system'.

So, the secret is to go for a change in attitude and motivation - and let the NHS change itself.

Setting targets can help - but setting a lower budget is politically unacceptable ... the NHS is virtually untouchable - an icon of UK life.  However without some radical changes (such as small charges at the point of use), real change cannot happen,

If we 'grasp the nettle' and manage to make the NHS more productive, we can make a massive impact on GDP and on national productivity.

So, think how lucky you are to run a relatively small organisation where you can pull the right levers - and predict the effects securely.  You have no excuses for inefficiency.  Stay focused, stay motivated and you should be OK.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

THE UK invests

Further to last week's comments on the new UK Productivity Council, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond used the Autumn Statement to pledge new funding for fibre broadband and 5G technologies.

The £400 million investment in fibre, called the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, will be given to broadband providers to expand their networks,

What does this do for UK productivity?

Well, like most infrastructure investments, it creates potential.

Whether organisations like yours spot and build on on that potential is up to you - but you can't complain about lack of government support and then refuse to exploit support that is given.

So, in 5 year’s we’ll return to his subject and see if we can determine a return on this investment – at the national productivity level.

And we hope you will be able to  show how you have improved your business as a result of this expanded infrastructure.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Will this help you?

The Government is set to fund a business-led initiative designed to improve management skills and business productivity, after Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement within the Autumn Statement 2016.

The new UK Productivity Council will help narrow the “long-standing productivity gap” between the UK and Germany, the USA, France and Italy and encourage start-ups and small businesses to play a key role in improving the UK’s productivity rate.

It’s thought that, should the Council prove successful, the initiative could unlock up to £100bn of gross value added (GVA) each year.

Backed by £13m worth of Government seed funding, phased over three years, the new council was proposed following discussions among UK business leaders, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The council will feature an advisory board, a chief executive and a five-strong leadership team, supported by up to 15 staff, drawing on the industry expertise of the business leaders that have contributed to date.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman, John Lewis Partnership, said: “For many ‘productivity’ is the language of economists, but it’s also critical to a healthy heartbeat for the economy, for wages and for competitiveness.

“While Government has a key role to play in creating the conditions for growth, businesses have to be the prime movers in boosting Britain’s productivity.

“I welcome the Government’s support for a UK Productivity Council which will encourage and support businesses.”

The plans discussed for the Council include:
  • Creating a single point of contact for businesses requiring productivity assistance
  • Building a range of benchmarking tools, in conjunction with the Council’s development partners, to improve productivity overview
  • Creating ‘productivity hubs’ to connect businesses with industry leaders in their area and see what measures work best for other firms
  • Regional employer-driven hubs to promote business productivity through professionals
  • Use of data and analytics to create evidence-based legislation
Greg Clark, Business Secretary, said: “Boosting productivity is a key part of this government’s industrial strategy, making sure the UK economy is fit for the future.

“That’s why last week we announced the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, including £13m for the new UK Productivity Council.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Productivity hacks are a waste of time

There are lots of blogs and magazine articles offering 'productivity hacks'.

What impact do these have on the productivity of an organisation?

Well, most of them are aimed at personal productivity.  They may help some people be marginally more efficient. But their impact on the organisation is almost non-existent since they don't address organisational systems, processes and procedures.

So, ignore them - unless you find them interesting on a personal level.

instead, take a systematic look t your organisation, what it does and how it does it.  In there lies the 'secret' of improved productivity.  Look for waste, opportunities for change, things that should be measured †o show what is happening.

Create your own, organisational 'hacks' - more effective and much more rewarding.