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Jamie, Author at Future Proof Learning
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High Productivity Toolkit

By Change, Coaching, Productivity

High Productivity Toolkit

In order to assist clients in improving their productivity, we have developed a diagnostic tool that examines and challenges our current practices. It looks at productivity in two areas:

  • Personal Productivity – what could we improve about our own habits, practices and routines?
  • Workplace Productivity – how do our workplaces influence & impact on the way we work and what could we do to improve them?

If you would like us to review your own, or your workplace’s productivity (or both), please contact us at info@futureprooflearning.co.uk

Martin Wolf has this to say of our national productivity challenges and I think this also has much to say about individual and corporate ambition.

“So long as the UK underinvests in physical and human capital, it seems sure to remain a laggard.”

So, let’s not be laggards and act now to raise the bar on productivity.

Tea break’s over – now get back to work

By Change, Leadership & Management, Productivity

Tea break’s over – now get back to work

So, how do we tackle such a thorny, legacy problem? Predictably, given there is little consensus on the causes, there is similarly, little common ground on potential solutions. Does that mean increasing productivity is a lost cause? Probably not, given Martin Wolf’s conclusion that we are so far behind, we have huge potential for improvement.

However, knowing what the problem is and identifying solutions or even first steps towards them are two very different things. Being pessimistic & giving up won’t fix the problem but some cautious realism may light our path a little.

Recent discussion and writing tends to concentrate on two possibilities:

  • Investment in technology and
  • Adapting or improving our workplaces

As outlined above, it is unlikely that investment in technology by itself will create the degree of impact that we need for breakthrough in productivity. However, changes in the way that we buy and use technology at work is leading to improved outputs and lower costs, with the move to agile working and the increased use of flexible, digital platforms as opposed to more traditional, fixed workstations.

The trend for more open, flexible workspaces is already driving those changes in technology as well as creating more dynamic and creative environments to work in.

Don’t blame us – we’re British

By Change, Opinion

Don’t blame us – we’re British

It is a long-term UK problem and is not shared by the other major economies, such as the US, France & Germany whose economies all outstrip ours in productivity. Richard Heys of the Office for National Statistics calls poor productivity “the key economic issue of our age”.

Disappointingly, there is also little consensus on the root cause(s) of such an appalling legacy. Some are cyclical, and others are more persistent underlying reasons, but the following are the main contenders:

  • Labour hoarding – this is a regular complaint. Unemployment is at a 42-year low, which looks good on paper and is heartening for those in employment. However, firms are maintaining labour levels in anticipation of a hoped-for upturn and there is considerable slack and low utilisation.
  • Strength of the labour market – due to a long period of low wage growth (now easing a little), it is comparatively cheap to hire and retain more staff than firms need now. This, it is claimed, has led to higher employment than is desirable or even realistic.
  • Under-investment – this is also a legacy or hangover from the credit crunch. Because of the crisis, labour costs reduced but the cost of capital increased, which led to a prolonged period of low or no investment whilst firms merely kept pace through stockpiling workers, often on a temporary or short-term basis.
  • Zombie businesses being kept afloat – the long-term low cost of borrowing and tightened regulations has perhaps led to low-productivity businesses being nursed along when they might otherwise have gone under through so-called “creative destruction”. This policy position may have led to greater continuing employment but at very low productivity levels when the resources involved could have been invested elsewhere in more dynamic areas.
  • Slow/low innovation – It is believed that the more recent emphasis on innovation being focused on technology will be shorter lived than earlier bursts of innovation and that the potential for this type will not have the same impact as over the last two centuries. This would help to explain why other developed nations have also seen slowing productivity, despite it being less acute than the UK.

Increasing Productivity – impossible, or merely elusive?

By Productivity

Increasing Productivity – impossible, or merely elusive?

“Productivity is not everything, but in the long run it is almost everything”

– Paul Krugman.

Productivity has been a continuing concern for Governments and Business Leaders alike for a long time. Not only has this not been solved; the gap is growing wider. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), whilst we saw a 0.9% rise in the 3 months to September 2017, the 10-year rolling average shows that Britain’s performance has been the weakest since official records began.

In the period since the credit crunch, we have all become used to regarding increases of less than 1% in economic growth data as a success indicator. However, it is hardly a cause for celebration and more a sign of our gloomy resignation. It should come as no surprise therefore that productivity is failing to keep even its own modest pace. As defined by the OECD, GDP per hour worked is a measure of labour productivity. It measures how efficiently labour input is combined with other factors of production and used in the production process.

Martin Wolf of the FT said recently “The good news is that productivity levels are so low, relative to the UK’s peers, that the potential for improvement is large. The bad news is that the UK is falling further behind”.

Future Skills Index – Top 10 Skills for the Future

By Interpersonal Skills, Leadership & Management, News

Future Skills Index – Top 10 Skills for the Future

The world of work is changing very rapidly, and we have a lot of catching up to do to match that pace. Since I set up the new business, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the way we are likely to work in the future and in particular, the skills we will need. That may not be the skills we will need most as individuals, but the skills our organisations will require to sustain and improve. This is critical for young (and older) people in the workplace and those about to enter.

With that in mind, we’ve been working on a Future Skills Index that we hope gives some shape to the potential demands our organisations and people face. The list below is drawn from a recent survey of our clients and our wider network.

  1. Collaboration
  2. Digital
  3. Innovation
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Learning
  6. Flexibility
  7. Problem Solving, Social Perceptiveness, People Management, Influence, Service Orientation
  8. Active Listening, Decision Making
  9. Finance, Information Ordering, Time Management
  10. Reading, Writing, Speaking, Science, Operations Analysis, Instructing

We asked people to rate, from a longer list, the 5 most critical skills that their organisations and people needed to acquire, maintain, or develop. Our observations are that some of these are what we would expect in terms of looking to the future, such as: digital & innovation. However, there was a fair degree of support for more “traditional” skills such as: reading, writing & speaking. In addition, it was encouraging to see the emphasis people placed on learning, critical thinking & active listening as well as the inclusion of people management – one that we hope never goes away!

It’s our intention to continue monitoring how trends emerge and develop and to update this at least annually. If you have any favourites, or particular points of emphasis, or even questions about why some things are missing, please get in touch and keep the conversation going.

Are you Intelligent – or Emotionally Intelligent?

By Interpersonal Skills, Leadership & Management

Are you Intelligent – or Emotionally Intelligent?

Research indicates that Emotional Intelligence can account for around 80% of the reasons why people are successful in work & life. We are delighted to announce a new partnership with CCR3, the global diagnostics and people development consultancy. This partnership will offer us access to an even wider range of personality and ability measurement tools, including the EQ Discovery Process. This exciting diagnostic tool enables us to understand how we think and make decisions in both our personal and professional lives. It’s fundamentally important to understand how we actually do this, as it’s the first step to exceptional decision making on a consistent basis.

There are 3 styles of thinking which determine how you view everything. These are: Empathy, Practical and Systemic thinking. The combined scoring of all 3 dimensions that have the appropriate bias will determine how balanced your thinking and decision-making is. The reports that we produce illuminate your thinking and decision-making style to help you become more balanced, and the more balanced you can be in making a decision, the better the decision!

This is known as your Talent Engine and the aim is to get a balance of all three dimensions when thinking and making a decision. If you want to find out more about your own talent or potential for enhancing your decision-making, why not sign up for a free report?

For any enquiries or to complete the EQ Discovery Process, please email us at info@futureprooflearning.co.uk

Boardroom Behaviours – Future Proof Your Board

By Change, Coaching

Boardroom Behaviours – Future Proof Your Board

Our observations and experience of working with organisations and their leaders has highlighted a number of common themes that Boards are likely to be facing now and in the future:

  • Risk Management: (heightened after recent cyber-attacks)
  • Governance: (brought into focus by the recent Parliamentary Committee work in Scotland and the alleged ill-treatment of Board Members)
  • Performance Review: consideration of performance against targets, both across the business and in specific functions
  • Health: the financial and service effectiveness and efficiency of the business, as well as the contribution made by people
  • Vision and Strategy: review and alignment of the aspirations for the organisation and high-level steps required to achieve them and identification of the resources needed to succeed.

We have created Boardroom Behaviours, a pioneering new approach to board development, to improve the capacity of Boards and how they run their organisations across a range of critical challenges. We have worked extensively with Boards and their members to support their ambitions and help shape their ideas for growth

There are 4 main stages to the approach:

  1. Meet with the Chair &/or CEO to understand the issues, explain the process and plan the review programme.
  2. Introduce the diagnostic tools and materials to support Board Members. Analyse outputs and feed back key findings (individual and group) in advance of the next Board session.
  3. Review and observe the Board meeting, making detailed observations and notes.
  4. Report back to the Chair/CEO and Board with findings, conclusions and recommendations on the gaps identified, how to narrow or eliminate and a plan of interventions to help.

If you would like to find out more, or to book a consultation for your Board or Executive Team, please get in touch with us at info@futureprooflearning.co.uk

For information about the other services we provide, please click here