Articles

Is there a productivity mindset?

In Productivity mindset, UK productivity, Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 by Tim Aikens

There are always people you meet and work with who are both efficient and effective – all the time.  You can’t quite pin down what it is they do but whatever it is, it makes them different. They are a pleasure to work with, their customers think they are superb and they seem to think and care about their job.

This is what I call the productivity mindset.  It exists in many of us. For some it is really active, for others it lies dormant until brought to life by circumstances or someone who knows how to bring it out.  For others, it sadly does not exist and they may actually think in the opposite direction – improved productivity means that more can be done with less, so fewer jobs, so we had better not be productive if we want to stay employed!  As an argument it does not bear much scrutiny, but it still exists. Happily there are some trades unions who have abandoned this line of thought and take a much more sensible approach.

The big question then for anyone in a position of responsibility  is how can I encourage and make the most of this mindset?  Unfortunately there is an awful lot more to it than I can hope to describe in one blog. So I am going to provide the short answer today and then go through each of the main points over the next few blogs.

There are three sides to the answer:

Firstly it is about unearthing the positive.  This is mostly about getting people out of their ‘fur lined rut’ and starting to think differently. It is also about self belief, that anyone can have this mindset and that everyone has some level of creativity waiting to be harnessed.  In many organisations there are a lot of people who are frustrated at the poor level of productivity and desperate to push forward.  However,  they often do not know how or they do not have a leadership able to move them forward. Turning this around is a vital part of the harnessing the mindset.

The second part is about destroying the negative.  Why should I bother? It’s been tried before and never worked. It will put my job at risk. Why me? My boss doesn’t care. These are all questions and comments I have faced in the past which I have had to deal with through a mix of different activities and events.  In some cases the change is slow, in others refreshingly dramatic.  But one thing is certain. If you do nothing, nothing will change!

The third element is communication. People need to know why the mindset is vital to long-term prosperity. They need to hear about success stories – and failures.  They need to be built up and encouraged.  All of this communication has to come from within the organisation itself.  If the top does not have this mindset it is hardly reasonable to expect the rest of the business to follow something you are not passionate about!

Does this mindset exist in your organisation?  If so how deep does it run – if not why not and how can you turn it around?

I’m going on holiday for a couple of weeks, so updates might be slow. I’ll be back on April 8th!

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