Category

Change

High Productivity Toolkit

By Change, Coaching, Productivity

High Productivity Toolkit

In order to assist clients in improving their productivity, we have developed a diagnostic tool that examines and challenges our current practices. It looks at productivity in two areas:

  • Personal Productivity – what could we improve about our own habits, practices and routines?
  • Workplace Productivity – how do our workplaces influence & impact on the way we work and what could we do to improve them?

If you would like us to review your own, or your workplace’s productivity (or both), please contact us at info@futureprooflearning.co.uk

Martin Wolf has this to say of our national productivity challenges and I think this also has much to say about individual and corporate ambition.

“So long as the UK underinvests in physical and human capital, it seems sure to remain a laggard.”

So, let’s not be laggards and act now to raise the bar on productivity.

Tea break’s over – now get back to work

By Change, Leadership & Management, Productivity

Tea break’s over – now get back to work

So, how do we tackle such a thorny, legacy problem? Predictably, given there is little consensus on the causes, there is similarly, little common ground on potential solutions. Does that mean increasing productivity is a lost cause? Probably not, given Martin Wolf’s conclusion that we are so far behind, we have huge potential for improvement.

However, knowing what the problem is and identifying solutions or even first steps towards them are two very different things. Being pessimistic & giving up won’t fix the problem but some cautious realism may light our path a little.

Recent discussion and writing tends to concentrate on two possibilities:

  • Investment in technology and
  • Adapting or improving our workplaces

As outlined above, it is unlikely that investment in technology by itself will create the degree of impact that we need for breakthrough in productivity. However, changes in the way that we buy and use technology at work is leading to improved outputs and lower costs, with the move to agile working and the increased use of flexible, digital platforms as opposed to more traditional, fixed workstations.

The trend for more open, flexible workspaces is already driving those changes in technology as well as creating more dynamic and creative environments to work in.

Don’t blame us – we’re British

By Change, Opinion

Don’t blame us – we’re British

It is a long-term UK problem and is not shared by the other major economies, such as the US, France & Germany whose economies all outstrip ours in productivity. Richard Heys of the Office for National Statistics calls poor productivity “the key economic issue of our age”.

Disappointingly, there is also little consensus on the root cause(s) of such an appalling legacy. Some are cyclical, and others are more persistent underlying reasons, but the following are the main contenders:

  • Labour hoarding – this is a regular complaint. Unemployment is at a 42-year low, which looks good on paper and is heartening for those in employment. However, firms are maintaining labour levels in anticipation of a hoped-for upturn and there is considerable slack and low utilisation.
  • Strength of the labour market – due to a long period of low wage growth (now easing a little), it is comparatively cheap to hire and retain more staff than firms need now. This, it is claimed, has led to higher employment than is desirable or even realistic.
  • Under-investment – this is also a legacy or hangover from the credit crunch. Because of the crisis, labour costs reduced but the cost of capital increased, which led to a prolonged period of low or no investment whilst firms merely kept pace through stockpiling workers, often on a temporary or short-term basis.
  • Zombie businesses being kept afloat – the long-term low cost of borrowing and tightened regulations has perhaps led to low-productivity businesses being nursed along when they might otherwise have gone under through so-called “creative destruction”. This policy position may have led to greater continuing employment but at very low productivity levels when the resources involved could have been invested elsewhere in more dynamic areas.
  • Slow/low innovation – It is believed that the more recent emphasis on innovation being focused on technology will be shorter lived than earlier bursts of innovation and that the potential for this type will not have the same impact as over the last two centuries. This would help to explain why other developed nations have also seen slowing productivity, despite it being less acute than the UK.

Boardroom Behaviours – Future Proof Your Board

By Change, Coaching

Boardroom Behaviours – Future Proof Your Board

Our observations and experience of working with organisations and their leaders has highlighted a number of common themes that Boards are likely to be facing now and in the future:

  • Risk Management: (heightened after recent cyber-attacks)
  • Governance: (brought into focus by the recent Parliamentary Committee work in Scotland and the alleged ill-treatment of Board Members)
  • Performance Review: consideration of performance against targets, both across the business and in specific functions
  • Health: the financial and service effectiveness and efficiency of the business, as well as the contribution made by people
  • Vision and Strategy: review and alignment of the aspirations for the organisation and high-level steps required to achieve them and identification of the resources needed to succeed.

We have created Boardroom Behaviours, a pioneering new approach to board development, to improve the capacity of Boards and how they run their organisations across a range of critical challenges. We have worked extensively with Boards and their members to support their ambitions and help shape their ideas for growth

There are 4 main stages to the approach:

  1. Meet with the Chair &/or CEO to understand the issues, explain the process and plan the review programme.
  2. Introduce the diagnostic tools and materials to support Board Members. Analyse outputs and feed back key findings (individual and group) in advance of the next Board session.
  3. Review and observe the Board meeting, making detailed observations and notes.
  4. Report back to the Chair/CEO and Board with findings, conclusions and recommendations on the gaps identified, how to narrow or eliminate and a plan of interventions to help.

If you would like to find out more, or to book a consultation for your Board or Executive Team, please get in touch with us at info@futureprooflearning.co.uk