Everyday we interact with people. Sometimes lots of people.
Many of the conversations have similarities when people (managers, leaders, workforce) talk about the problems they have.
Productivity - doesn't seem to be getting any better
A view supported by the ONS (Office for National Statistics).
Despite the huge growth in Knowledge Management workers, the pace of improving productivity has certainly eased. We now have many more tools and approaches to business improvement. Are we getting it right? Maybe there's too many?
Re-inventing the wheel
Teams, managers, leaders. All are telling us that they are seeing the same things in the workplace, coming around time and time again. The latest "new approach" was tried about 3-4 years ago. The change of tactics, "were what we were doing 5 years ago."
If you didn't already know, there's a British Standard for collaboration - BS1100! It's now being replaced by the new ISO standard, ISO44001. [note to self - who reckons they using this for Brexit?]
Everyone's trying to get better collaboration. Many consultancies are offering tools and techniques, and even apps - all designed to improve collaboration with between teams, organisations and with customers.
Perhaps we should look the other way? I don't mean ignore it! We need to look at the environment that the lack of collaboration occurs in. Giving people better tools to communicate, will never make them communicate better.... you can lead a horse to water, etc.
In business, we often take a common goal (that the leadership are all bought into), then we subsequently break it down into several sub goals. Unless these are well thought out, they start to create differences within the business, and can contribute significantly to the Silo behaviour.
Why does it always take more people, if we just want to process a little more? Are we really that maxed out, and super efficient that the only way to take on more volume is to have more people?
Change - takes too long
How long does an manager have with a dip in performance, before he's expected to turn it around? How long does a business get to turn a performance around?
There's a real disconnect between the average time to fix something, and the time we have got - especially with some of the standard change approaches deployed by businesses.
No Standard - despite all the standards
Despite that large Volume of standards sat on the shelf, everyone seems to be doing things a different way?
Just by providing someone a tool, (or a written procedure) it doesn't mean they will use it the same way. How many ways can you use a spanner?
We all feel it. That sense of being on the go all the time. No time to stop and think. Just busy, busy, busy.
We're filling in data, creating reports, sorting things out, chasing people, checking on progress, etc, etc. But how much of our time is spent doing what we are really there to do? Have you ever tracked it?
There's a lot that goes on in business which does not provide any benefit to the end customer in any shape or form. Much of it actually benefits no-one, not even the business owners.
Strategies don't get executed
"We have a great strategy. The top team was assembled and created it - and it points us in the right direction. We've created documents, diagrams, presentation, and stood up at town hall sessions. So, why aren't they [the staff], following it?"
A strategy can often be complex - and doesn't relate to what the workforce are doing on a day to day basis. It's not part of frequent conversations, often only being talked about once or twice a year.
A strategy is like a destination when sailing. It's where you want to get to, and you've considered what you need to do to get there. The Tactics are the adjustments that have to be frequently made, like gybing / tacking, changing sails, adjusting course for tides, etc. Without these adjustments, you may never get there, or if you do, it's a whole heap of effort to do so. We have to link the things that we do daily and weekly to the strategy so that we know what adjustments to make. We've figured out a simple but effective way of doing this.
Probably one of the most over used word in business in the last 10 years.
Do you value your job
What's the value in doing that
What's the value of the order
What are your values
What is the value of the service
What's the unit of value
To the uninitiated, it can be a nightmare. To the initiated, it is a nightmare.
I'm not sure if I want to share that with my team. I'll have to decide if I want to take a look at that.
Personal strategies and objectives drive people, at the expense of the long term strategies of a business. Decisions are taken that support the personal, and often short term, perspective.
When I was at school [quite some time ago], we were led to believe that we'd be working a 3 day week! That was 35 years ago. Despite the "help" that all the computers, software, apps and smart phones provide us with - we seem to be busier than ever.
And the competing objectives brought in by complex matrix organisations cause us to spend inordinate amounts of time juggling priorities.