• 05 Jan 2022 8:01 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    If we give our staff a list of objectives to meet or tasks to complete, they will generally do so. After all, most come to work to do a good job and to please their employer.


    If we give them lots of tasks to do, they will need to prioritise.  Their priorities will not necessarily be the same as ours.


    There will be a tendency for them to complete all the quick, short duration tasks as this will make their completed lists look longer.  Unfortunately, this probably means they leave very important, longer-duration tasks at the back of the queue.  


    If not careful, you will hamper long-term success for a few quick wins.


    Prioritisation is too important to leave to them. You must share with them what you believe is really important (and preferably WHY) and what, for example, may be urgent but trivial.


    You need to MANAGE; you can’t leave it to them. 


  • 29 Dec 2021 4:11 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    That headline does not mean we should stop making plans.  Those who don’t plan, don’t succeed.

    It means that we must recognise that a post-pandemic world causes us to rethink some of the old certainties.  The Omicron variant of the virus is resulting in many more people catching the virus, though, luckily, generally with less severe results.


    It does mean, however, that some workforces are decimated by those off with the virus, or self-quarantining because they have been in contact with someone with the virus. The number of people absent from work can change dramatically from day to day.


    Firms have to recognise this and be prepared to adjust plans and schedules at short notice.  In some industries, where a number of job roles may be directly inter-connected, this makes life very difficult.


    But, for now at least, this is ‘the new normal’.


    We should be grateful that the effects of the Omicron virus are less severe but be prepared to deal with whatever it throws at us.


    Those who have effective business continuity plans and can demonstrate resilience will, rightly, emerge from the tunnel with greater success.  If we don't build resilience into our systems and our staffing policies, we end up relying on the resilience of our individual staff; this is not fair on them and no recipe for longer-term success.



  • 22 Dec 2021 7:21 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    When undertaking productivity assignments in some countries, it is surprising to find out how far performance and productivity is from that of the best performing countries snd organisations.


    This in spite of the data that is available on the web, in specialists journals and even in general news.


    One of the benefits of benchmarking is it shows ‘the art of the possible’.


    If you can show organisation A that organisation X, in the same sector and of the same size, is performing much better, it is impossible for organisation A to say ‘it can’t be done’.  You have shown them it can be done.


    So governments should establish some from of international benchmarking to show what their industry should be aspiring to - and then organise benchmarking internally in priority sectors to show lower performing organisations what they should be targeting.


    It’s not rocket science, is it?


  • 22 Dec 2021 7:21 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    When undertaking productivity assignments in some countries, it is surprising to find out how far performance and productivity is from that of the best performing countries snd organisations.


    This in spite of the data that is available on the web, in specialists journals and even in general news.


    One of the benefits of benchmarking is it shows ‘the art of the possible’.


    If you can show organisation A that organisation X, in the same sector and of the same size, is performing much better, it is impossible for organisation A to say ‘it can’t be done’.  You have shown them it can be done.


    So governments should establish some from of international benchmarking to show what their industry should be aspiring to - and then organise benchmarking internally in priority sectors to show lower performing organisations what they should be targeting.


    It’s not rocket science, is it?


  • 15 Dec 2021 7:27 PM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Do you know the real underlying causes of downtime and reasons for employee inactivity?  


    Are you able to act on these causes in time to negate their effects?



    If ‘yes’ to both, you have clearly got your solution and you are on the way to higher productivity.


    If ‘No/‘Yes;, either you’re a liar or you’ve been very lucky.


    If ‘Ye’/‘No’ you are half way there.  You have done the hard bit - understanding the problem.  Now you can work towards a solution.


    If ‘No’ to both, you are in trouble. You need to uncover the real, root causes of downtime before you can fix the problem.  This is more than measurement. It takes subsequent analysis and thought.


    But remember, it is very difficult to solve a problem that you don’t know about. 


  • 10 Dec 2021 8:18 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Managers who hear their employees laughing may be angry at the lack of discipline, art the lack of concentration, at the lack of serious effort.


    Yet, laughter serves a variety of purposes in a work situation.


    It is a good de-stresser, reducing anxiety , worry and tension.


    It serves to bring people together, helping team bonding.


    It helps create a relaxed atmosphere in  which innovation is more likely to thrive.


    It acts as a mindfulness agent, anchoring people in the present in the moment.


    Sp, find ways to make your staff laugh, not all day of course, but for odd moments when the laughter can do its job, cementing your team around the task in hand but relieving any pressure they feel.


  • 02 Dec 2021 11:45 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    When we diet, we usually start with great enthusiasm and we probably have some initial success. We buy new foods and ingredients, try new recipes. We might go to gather gym more often band try out new exercises.


    However, this enthusiasm soon fades and we start to ease up on the diet, the exercise regime starts to get boring and we don’t look forward to the new recipes and new foods.  What started off as being different and exciting is now the everyday, the commonplace.


    We still want to reach our target weight (or size) but find it difficult to maintain the motivation and momentum. to keep the image of ‘the new me’ firmly in our sights.


    Well, productivity is like that.  We often introduce new techniques, new approaches, new consultants and we get excited with the i results.  But then, like diet, maintaining the regime gets boring.


    We need the vision of the new organisation to create an emotional response that can  fuel continuing effort.  The preferred future must be a strong vision snd must be communicated to, and shared by, all in the organisation.  This is what leadership is all about…. ensuring that everyone understands where the organisation is going and what it takes to get there. A shared vision based on shared values will help maintain momentum.


  • 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.


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