Too UK-centric?

A few of my recent posts have related to U K productivity and challenges.  This is not because the UK faces more challenges than anyone else (though Brexit is  causing some fears).

The UK is going through a ‘bad patch’ but is at least trying to do something about it with new committees and task forces being established.

Will they work?

I doubt it – but they might at least spark a discussion and debate which might release some fresh thinking

So I am relatively optimistic.  I hope you are too  - for your country.

Help generate discussion – that generates ideas.  We need ideas – lots of them. And we need to share them

And whether they relate to the UK – or somewhere else is irrelevant.  good ideas are good ideas wherever they originate.

In your organisation too, find ways of encouraging idea generation.  The more ides you have to choose from – the more success is likely.  If you stop people thinking, you stop creativity and innovation.

Politicians need to grow up

f your employees were fighting in factions, arguing among themselves and failing to do what you expect them to do, would you continue to pay them?  You might – but presumably you would also initiate disciplinary procedures to try to correct such behaviours.

I suspect, though, that your answer to the question is that you would not tolerate it – or that it wouldn’t happen in your well -run organisation.

This is, however, what happens regularly, in politics. Both the US and the UK have exhibited such behaviours recently – infighting and squabbling between Republicans and Democrats – or Conservatives and Labourites.  All we, as the voting public, can do is to sit and watch – and perhaps seethe with anger – and wit until the next election.  These infighters and squabblers would not behave like this in the other compartments of their  life, surely.  But they seem to think this is how they are expected to behave as ‘politicians’.

There is an old adage – ‘we get the politicians we deserve’ – so it must be our fault

If we want productive government, we must demonstrate productive behaviours in all we do – and set these ‘children’ some role models.  We should also write to them and remind them of the constructive and productive behaviours we expect from our elected representatives – and we should certainly use our vote to sanction these unruly and unproductive behaviours whenever we get the chance.

The UK’s lost decade

UK productivity in the first quarter of 2017 was the same as it was in 2007.  This  after relentless if sometimes slow growth over many years.So, not only have we not had the bounce i refereed to last week; we seem to have had a capsize and a sinking.

Successive governments seem to be powerless to do anything about the problem but at leat this current government seem to have recognised the problem – and have set up a new UK Productivity Council to try to do something about it.

Making up for10 years lost growth is probably impossible – but at least we could get growth moving again.

W owe it to the next generation to give them some momentum to build on.

Don’t wait for the bounce

The Offiice for National Statistics says that, had productivity in the UK returned to its pre-recession trend, it would be 20% higher than its current level. Britain would be one fifth better off.


The normal pattern is that after a recession, productivity bounces back and we recover (at least most of)what we lost.


However, we have had no bounce since the great financial crisis.


It ts not just the UK – the pattern is remarkably similar around the globe.


The time to wait for the bounce has gone – the UK needs action to recover.


Let’s hope the new Productivity Council can pull the trigger.

Should Canada be our role model?

Canada’s labour productivity rose 1.4% in Q1 2017.

This is not a spectacular result but a solid performance.

Sometimes, slow and steady progress is preferable to high gain, fall-back performance.  (Think ‘tortoise and hare’.)

This is exactly why continuous improvement programmes, resulting in a number of evolutionary performance gains, often beat the occasional revolutionary improvement brought about by say, a technology change.

Ideally, of course, we want both – but waiting for the revolution is a bad strategy.  We need to keep the pressure on organisations to make the many, small improvements.

Take Canada as your role model!

Think – or strive?

We have been told a few times that what creates success is sheer hard work… the perspiration not the inspiration, and the 10,000 hours.  But many great men (and women) have achieved their greatness by original thought  by avoiding the 10,000 (wasted)  hours.

it seems that both routes might take you to success – and it perhaps depends on the kind of person you are as to what is right for you.

But what about a company.  They can’t ‘plod on’ for 10,000 hours and expect an insight – or the achievement of some kind of superskill.

So, whoever runs the company has to have the insight – about a new product, a changed process, a new way of doing business – to transform the business.

If you are not thinking about how to transform and revolutionise your business –  wha are you doing?  How are you earning your keep?

Do we need a church?

I try to keep up to date with productivity trends and productivity news.

In scanning the airwaves and the twittersphere, I often see governments urging their citizens to be more productive.

At least in religions when people are urged to be more ‘holy’ there are priests and other religious leaders helping prepare them to be more holy – and explaining what being more holy means.

So, who are the productivity priests explaining to these probably confused citizens what they should do – and how they should behave – to be more productive.

What is the body that takes the role of ‘church’?

Paying for political promises

In the UK, we have been through a rather exciting General Election – though as I write this, we have the same government and the same Prime Minister.

In their campaigns, all parties made us promises – of what they would do and deliver – better health care, more jobs, lower taxes, etc.

How would they pay for those promises that cost money- by raising taxes or cutting costs elsewhere.  (Oh yeah, that’s going to happen!)

But how many of the parties mentioned the only real way of paying for the promises – higher productivity.

You guessed it … not one of them.

If politicians looking for solutions don’t realise that productivity is the answer – what hope is there?

Exhortation is not enough

Many nations have realised that the only true long-term key to economic growth is productivity improvement.

The problem is that this realisation is often the end, rather than the start, of the matter.  Governments and their agencies exhort commerce – and perhaps even the population – to improve productivity and to compete – but without understanding their role in making this happen.

Exhortation and hectoring are not enough.  Governments need to provide infrastructure, skills, information and advice – in ways that are accessible – just in time, at just the right level – and at the right cost!

Its not rocket science – but it isn’t easy either!

Robots on the march again

I’ve referred to the subject (threat?) of robots several times in the last year.

Clearly they (robots) are going to have a big impact on many companies and on many people’s jobs – but exactly how, in what ways ,is not yet clear. For some time humans and robots are likely to be co-workers. Skilled workers will survive the longest.

Views on this subject vary – but sometimes writers seem to be scaremongering rather than making reasoned assumptions and predictions. As ever, we will have to wait and see.

However, my reading in this area did throw up a word I wish I had coined - robopocalypse.