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  • 26 Nov 2021 7:46 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Many of us beat ourselves up at the end of the day because we haven’t been able to complete our ToDo list - which just gets longer and longer.

    However instead of bemoaning what we didn’t do, we should recognise and celebrate what we did.  What have been our achievements today? What good things have we done?  What bad things have we stopped happening?

    There might be times and tasks where we need completion and perfection. - but they tend to be few and far between. For most, celebrate progress made.

    Ask yourself, “What three things have I done today that I am proud of? 

    If you change to positivity, you will feel better about yourself - and, ironically, will probably get more done!

  • 17 Nov 2021 8:00 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Many organisations are bringing employees back to the office - perhaps not full-time but maybe on a hybrid working basis.  When they do this there are all sorts of logistical challenges.

    Do we bring everyone back at the same time?

    Do we require returners to have been vaccinated?

    Do we need to maintain social distance?

    Do we need s one-way routing around the site?

    Do we need s testing regime for COVID?

    Do we stagger breaks?

    Do we have enough capacity in restrooms?

    There are lots of questions to answer.

    The problem is the many organisations concentrate exclusively on these questions without addressing the personal/emotional needs of employees.

    How do we allay employee fears?

    How do we rebuild relationships and teams?

    How do get staff to accept ‘the new normal?

    Leaders tend to concentrate on what is in their sphere of experience and their comfort zone.

    Real gains are made when they think outside of of their own box and address the difficult issues.

  • 10 Nov 2021 4:33 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Some organisations concentrate almost exclusively on the numbers, on pushing sales, on improving efficiency and productivity.

    It is good to do this but sometimes those organisations forget the passion.  What drove the business at the start was the passion and belief of the entrepreneurs who started the business.. That passion needs to continue, to underly the consistency of mission and vision, to inspire and motivate staff.

    Don’t throw out the passion when you bring in the logic.  The business needs you to be a good manager but it also needs you to be a strong leader.

  • 04 Nov 2021 8:10 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    There is no one ‘secret’ to improving productivity.  It must be a team effort looking at big things like strategy and culture; and little things like execution and motivation.  None of these can be left out.  

    The leaders of the organisation, set the mission, vision and strategy and are responsible for investment in key factors such as capital equipment, talent and skills.  They also create the underlying culture.  All of these create the potential for high productivity.

    That potential is only realised when the workforce applies their talent snd skills to the execution of the action plans derived from the strategy.  It helps tremendously if they are self motivated because of the supportive culture and effective communication so that everyone knows their value to the organisation and their role in the overall system. 

    So, don’t ask who is responsible for productivity improvement.  You are? Along with everyone else!

  • 27 Oct 2021 10:45 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    The UK government is pouring m ore money in to the National Health Service.

    During the pandemic the NHS has been highly valued but terribly stretched and many of its normal day to day procedures have been cancelled or postponed all activity was focused on those with COVID.

    However, pouring money into the NHS without a longer-term plan is not efficient or effective. Pouring  money into equipment, for example, has no point if the skilled personnel to operate that equipment have not been recruited or trained.  Similarly, however, hiring lots of new staff has no point if the beds and ancillary equipment do not exist.

    Worse than this, pouring money in does not encourage higher productivity.  The NHS is a vast machine and s complex system. It must have many inefficiencies.  It needs an approach to re-evaluating structures, processes, procedures and skills to make it efficient and to create a vision for its future before the money goes in.

    Now which politicians have the courage to propose that, and the determination to carry it through?

  • 20 Oct 2021 11:35 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Electric cars, buses, even planes. They are all coming.  Vehicles are  improving all the time.   As sensors become more efficient, range is extended - and range anxiety is the one factor that puts buyers off electric vehicles.  If, as a driver, you can’t make it to the next charging point, you’re in trouble.  But for a plane?  

    Let's assume the problems of recharging can be solved.

    But where is the electricity coming from to charge all the batteries.

    Few countries seem to be taking a strategic view of their power generation … even those with ambitious targets for their rollout of electric vehicles.

    It is government’s role to set the strategy AND create the infrastructure.  Future productivity and prosperity depend on it.  

    A vision of a a carbon neutral economy is no good without the means of creating, and maintaining it.

  • 14 Oct 2021 8:03 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    There have been many reports that the pandemic has proven the effectiveness and  productivity of home working.

    However, a lot of these reports were based on surveys of employees who say they feel more productive when working from home.

    I can see the advantages for employees of the flexibility that home working brings - the lack of a  commute, the ability to provide childcare, etc. 

    However, the lack of real engagement with work colleagues is bound to harm creativity snd innovation - perhaps not in the short term, but in the longer term, the lack of cross pollenisation of ideas turns off the creativity tap.

    So, organisations will do OK, and maybe even thrive for a while … but they should be aware that new ideas are less likely to emerge and develop on Zoom.

    And, of course, just because employees feel productive, it doesn’t mean they are.

    We need structured research involving proper productivity measures before we can confirm productivity gains or losses from home working.

  • 07 Oct 2021 10:28 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    One useful principle to remember when dealing with incoming mail is to to try and handle everything only once.  Pick something up and deal with it so it needs no further action.  It is so obvious but all too often people sort incoming mail into different piles - according to category or priority.  Each one then has to be looked at again, even though the action needed might be both simple and short.

    The 2 minute rule is broadly similar. If you have a short amount of time available in your day, select a task that can be accomplished within that time period. This also avoids the multi-tasking productivity penalty whereby a continual switching of focus between tasks means you get distracted, confused, tired and unproductive.

    So don’t attempt to bite off a little bit of a large task; eat a whole one in your available 2 minutes (or whatever time is available).

    You will feel a greater sense of accomplishment; and you will be more productive.

  • 29 Sep 2021 11:17 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Mindfulness has been a bit of a buzzword over the last couple of years. It suggests that we should all be aware of who and what we are, and try to focus on the present moment instead of always worrying about what has happened in in the past, or what might happen in the future.

    One way of improving our mindfulness is to use all our senses.  Be aware of the sights, smells and sounds around you. This helps anchor you in the ‘here and now’, thinking of the present location and the present situation.

    If you have a problem worrying you, try to go outside for a (short) walk, to increase the sensations you can observe and the stimulation you receive from the environment.  With luck, while you stay in your ‘here and now’, your subconscious will process your problem - so you kill two birds with one stone. 

    After a couple of weeks of this ‘active sensing’, reflect on whether it has helped. Do you feel different, less stressed, more relaxed, more productive?

  • 22 Sep 2021 10:24 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    There have been quite a few claims over the last five years that artificial intelligence (AI) will result in huge gains in productivity.   These huge gains don’t, though, seem to be arriving any time soon.

    When one looks back at the claims, many have been put out by AI start up companies keen to laud AI and their product in particular. 

    Very few of them, however, have hard data of productivity measurements to back up their claims. 

    I would expect a start up to have confidence in its product but after a year or two in the marketplace, I would expect confident claims to be replaced by case examples with measured, preferably verified, data.

    Until we see such case examples, we have to take the claims with a pinch of salt. We can hope for a productivity revolution, but should expect productivity evolution.  

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