Saturday, 16 June 2018

Exhortation is not enough

We have seen lots of talk over the last few years by various governments about the need for more sustainable development - and less dependence on fossil fuels.

Yet, the rise in the use of fossil fuels goes on - along with the associated pollution and environmental damage.

If most businesses over-promised and under-delivered to the same degree, they would be out of business fairly quickly.

So it must be our fault. we would stop buying from poorly performing companies, yet we continue to support poorly performing governments.

Because, like governments, we talk a lot but do little in the end we vote for what saves the money in our pocket, not what saves the planet.

Policy-makers need to find a way of motivating us to do the right thing.

So it is their fault - they pontificate about environmental performance but should be concentrating on consumer behaviour.  Sort us out - and we'll sort out the planet (if sufficiently motivated by appropriate rewards or penalties.

You, too, in your business need to find ways of motivating your employees to do the right things.  Exhortation is not enough

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Simple answer?

All nations want to increase their productivity.  This makes them more competitive, brings rewards for citizens and allows society to develop.

The problem is that no-one is quite sure how it can be achieved.

There seem to be as many solutions (or strategies) as there are nations.

Is there a simple answer?

No!  It is right that each nation tackles the problem from their own context and their own starting point.

Beyond that there will be obvious similarities - build a macroeconomic environment that supports small businesses, build transport and technology infrastructure, educate and train the workforce, support innovation - all simple in principle but not quite a simple in practice, especially when scaled up to national level.

However, at least (and at last) we are seeing positive efforts to address the issue of productivity.

If you can address it in your organisation - and people like you - the collective effort might bear fruit.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

You can't do it.

Several years ago, Peter Drucker noted that if most organisations increased their productivity by 10% it would double their profits.   At that time, 10% seemed achievable.  Now, firms are lucky to achieve 5% - and nations feel good if they move into positive figures.

What has changed?

Not a lot, actually - but firms seem to have lost the 'secret' to improving productivity.

By 'secret', of course I mean adopting a consistent, structured approach to planning and executing productivity improvement projects.  Where are the industrial engineers and work study engineers of yesteryear?  Gone!  Managers are expected to improve productivity as part of the day job.  But they are busy people - and they are too immersed in what is going on.  They cannot stand back and take a dispassionate view.  They cannot ask themselves the hard questions.

You need an independent expert who has the skills and the time to take the hard view, to ask the questions, to think about solutions, to evaluate those solutions and to draw up implementation plans.  This cannot be done in your spare time - it is too important.