Quest Commercial Consultancy
Branston Street, Birmingham
0121 235 0315
IT continues to present a myriad of opportunities for expansion and as we emerge from recession growth strategies will seek to maximise technological potential and do away with costly staff.
Not all business models however can be automated and for those organisations still heavily dependant on staff and personal productivity here is a little business training on staff management.
A seemingly little known fact is that staff morale increases with productivity. Some organisations pay lip service to this without really embracing the idea of what it means. The DIY enthusiast stripping, revealing and varnishing a long covered banister understands this; many senior executives apparently do not.
The product of an individual should be that measurable outcome of their skill and activity which benefits the organisation and society in turn. Every job should be defined not just in terms of its activity but also in terms of its output. It should also be framed in terms of how that output benefits the organisation.
ISO9001 (a Quality Management Systems set of standards) in its 2000 version placed process management & improvement at its heart but can be criticised for putting too much emphasis on what an individual does and not enough on what they produce as a result.
Productivity should be seen as king, not the process itself.
By defining and measuring real output it becomes much easier to differentiate between productive managers and staff versus those that talk a good game but build careers out of hot air, presentation or manipulation.
To reduce this to a practical level consider the corporate ‘away day’. Staff and managers are removed from the office for a motivational get together. They get talked at, perform exercises and day dream…ask yourself the question, where’s the output? If you can’t measure one then there almost certainly isn’t one.
If every activity is viewed with such a positive light then four things are likely to result.
Efficiency will increase as activities that contribute nothing are removed.
Overall output of the organisation will increase
Staff morale will increase. To be clear, staff morale amongst those staff who want to contribute and are willing to work will increase. Lazy, idol and unproductive staff will scream like banshees.
Unproductive staff, once found out, will start to leave…saving you money.
You can ignore all this and focus on innovative IT solutions to improve effectiveness…but building new IT across inefficient organisations or departments tends to increase cost and complexity long before yielding results. Technology has its place but get the foundations right first and the pay off will be higher and have much greater longevity.
Nick Bonnaud BA(Hons) ACMA
I had a dream a while ago…I was flying a plane and wanted to know my altitude. I looked at the dial which (to my horror) displayed an egg timer and a message telling me that that it would be able to tell me in 35 minutes.
I checked the speed dial which more cheerfully told me that it would have an answer for me in 17 minutes. I looked for fuels levels…90 minutes, direction…47 minutes and was optimistically waiting on my altitude gauge which only had a minute to go when a mountain loomed suddenly out of the could and the co-pilot started to scream.
When I woke up the mountain was gone but the scenario has stuck around in my head as a metaphor of the consequences of measurement systems that don’t work fast enough.
In company terms, annual accounts present a picture of corporate performance for the just ended (actually sometimes it’s the year ‘just ended’ 9 months ago).
No one expects executives to manage their business based on such antiquated data, but is the information that is actually used really much more effective?
In order to steer a large organisation away from trouble towards and towards greater productivity, crises need to spotted as they emerge, resources need to be allocated in response to market opportunities and operational failures need to be corrected straight away.
The idea that corporations are giant ships unable to manoeuvre nimbly is just that, an idea without and real foundation (and one which naturally evokes images of the titanic).
If the corporation has defined its goals and successfully aligned the output of individual departments in support of overall objectives, then measurement and control can become almost instant.
IT systems absolutely have their place in such processes but the never-ending search for technology that will, by itself, overcome organisational failures is forlorn.
Corporate internal reporting structures are increasingly moving away from monthly to quarterly reports. Business Plans are not used dynamically enough to chart and correct the course.
This allows far too much time for situations to arise before being dealt with.
3 months after a crisis has emerged is dangerously late…but often a situation will need to be reported in two consecutive quarters before the executive take it seriously.
Weekly reporting on the other hand ensures immediate control and strong management. Instant reporting is the enemy of overindulgent complexity. Most complexity is built into reporting processes to suit individual executives who are trying to make a point in support of their own career. It has little to do with the achievement of corporate goals and profitability.
A clean organisational structure delivering productivity throughout the productivity throughout the company lends itself to straightforward reporting.
Such reporting also benefits individual employees by giving them an objective assessment of their performance. Rewards can be genuinely to productivity…the only common sense approach.