Following my previous three contributions regarding both the requirement to demonstrate increases in productivity and its potential impact on a workforce, I thought I would bring this theme to a close with some thoughts as to how this may link to the potential routes and twisting roads that we may be traveling down to get out of our current economic position of dithering around the edges of a full-blown recession.
Over the summer break, we sat on the beach and by the pool and for the first time since last October when I was last away, I did nothing. It’s a great feeling, that ‘doing nothing’ when all you have to think about is what drink to have next and is 11 am too soon for one! It takes a while to settle into that mindset as humans we are genetically and socially programmed to be doing, in spite of the fact we are human ‘beings’, where ‘being’ should be enough, we should really be called human ‘doings’ because we have to ‘do’ to survive.
All too often I hear or overhear a generic complaint in organisations across all staff in that they feel they are not ‘listened to’, ‘not heard’ or ‘there’s no point in saying anything as nothing ever changes anyway’. It is a common ‘gripe’ and actually comes out of the communication brand of ‘gripes’ that exist in all walks of life and across all organisations. Even in organisations that claim they have got communication nailed, it all too often rears its head as an issue.
As I’m sitting here writing this article, it’s cloudy and wet outside and has been all week, as we have a yellow weather warning for the East Midlands that will continue into the weekend. However, when it’s gorgeous outside and I’m either in the office or working from my dining table at home, the last thing I want to do is remain cooped up inside and so will procrastinate over the work at hand.
Economists regard productivity gains as the most important driver of rising living standards over the long term. However there are ongoing fears that Brexit will be sapping the strength of the UK economy over the next decade. A key measure of growth in the economy is 'output per hour of work' and this slumped in 2018 according to the figures, as the UK managed only a quarter of the rate of productivity growth seen before the financial crisis.
Many people dream of owning and running their own business, being their own boss, not being beholden to the whims and fancies of other people or an other organisation generally. Many people never actually take the step and make the dream a reality, whilst others, you just cannot hold back.
So, you will all have heard of Emotional Intelligence (EI). It’s been around a while now, actually since Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book. However, before this, In 1983, Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduced the idea that traditional types of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully explain cognitive ability.
In my last article, I comprehensively worked through the key components of strategic thinking and how it can operate within an organisational context. Of course, strategic thinking goes nowhere without the ability to strategically plan. In other words, put the thinking into action.
I once worked with a colleague who always put a block in their diary across Monday morning. No one could disturb them, no phone calls got through. The place could be burning down, but they wouldn't leave their office. The door was locked and bolted from the inside (not quite, but you get the idea). in the diary for every Monday morning, it simply stated two words; "Strategic Thinking". On Monday afternoons, they were always in a foul frame of mind. Asked how the morning has gone, the reply was always the same - "dreadful, I've not been able to do anything"! The colleague, made the same mistakes every week for nearly forty-seven weeks a year. By simply blocking time out and calling it the thing they wanted to do, they honestly thought that it would happen, they would be able to think strategically. That's simply not how it works.