Four things that are killing productivity in your office

What are the biggest barriers to productivity, efficiency and creativity at work?  Which activities absorb the most time for the least return?  In her book, The Innovation Revolution, Melissa Kennedy accuses four key suspects. Meetings.  Typically people in organizations spend 15% of their time in meetings.  For middle managers the figure is 35% and for senior managers it is 50%.  Surveys show... Read More--

The Eight Key Qualities of Great Leaders

John Adair John Adair is a highly influential author on leadership topics.  He identifies key characteristics of leaders as: 1. Enthusiasm. Can you think of any leader who lacks enthusiasm? 2. Integrity.  This is the quality that makes people trust you, and trust is essential in all human relationships. 3. Toughness. Leaders are often demanding people, uncomfortable to have around because their... Read More--

Eleven Reasons for the UK’s Poor Productivity

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK productivity has fallen to levels it held in 2007.  Productivity in the UK has consistently lagged well behind Germany and France and has now been overtaken by many other countries as this OECD chart shows.  This is the key reason why wages, growth and competitive performance are all held back.  Why is this and what can be done about it? ... Read More--

Got a big decision to make? Try the Three by Three method.

    Let’s say you are faced with a tough problem.  You have wrestled with it for a while and now you have to make a decision.  One approach is to use what I call the three by three method. You start by considering many options.  You narrow this down to three choices. Your current best option, the CBO. A sound realistic alternative. An outlandish idea that might just work. This is deliberately... Read More--

13 Great Questions to Choose from for your next Management Meeting

Most management meetings are dull affairs stacked full of short-term urgent problems that need fixing.  Discussions focus on routine operational issues and of course these things have to be addressed.  However, from time to time you and your team should lift your heads and think about a bigger, brighter future.  You should brainstorm strategic and innovative options. The kind of question you ask... Read More--

As the Manager, should you be present in the Brainstorm meeting?

You want to hold a meeting with the team you manage in order to generate some really creative ideas. You would like the group to challenge assumptions, think differently and come up with plenty of radical proposals. Here is the dilemma. You naturally want to lead the meeting but should you be in the room at all? Unfortunately for managers,  your presence in the room can inhibit people. With you there,... Read More--

Can you take Criticism? And was the Reformation really necessary?

‘Someone told me that I am poor at taking on board criticism so I quickly pointed out they were wrong.’ This little witticism is at the core of many a corporate disaster. Martin Luther The Catholic magazine, The Tablet, recently ran an editorial with the intriguing headline ‘Was the Reformation really necessary?’  It points out that Martin Luther and the early Protestants wanted to reform... Read More--

Innovation is not a Game for Juniors

I am often asked to give corporate innovation training workshops. I always request that the senior executives attend but sometimes when I arrive I find a class full of keen young troops and a sprinkling of middle managers. The youngsters are eager, intelligent and motivated. They readily absorb the ideas and the methods. In the interactive modules they generate and select great ideas for the company.... Read More--

Line of Sight Innovation

I sometimes encounter organizations which want to want to become more innovative but whose corporate culture is inimical to agility and innovation.  Such organizations typically display these characteristics: – They have set procedures which are difficult to change. – All decisions are made by committees which meet regularly and require discussion, review and consensus so progress is slow. –... Read More--

Are you Playing too Safe? Review your Innovation Portfolio.

Many companies plough money into innovation projects without a clear strategy for their overall portfolio. Here is a method which gives a framework for sorting and reviewing our innovation initiatives. We can categorise our new product development initiatives into one of four quadrants using the two by two window shown below. On the vertical axis there are markets – the ones we currently occupy and... Read More--