Posts Tagged ‘Productivity’

What’s in it for me?

Apr 06, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | HR Insights

Picture source: Pulitzer prize winner_Kevin Carter

Picture source: Pulitzer prize winner_Kevin Carter

Many have heard the story of this Pulitzer prize winning picture “The Vulture Photo” and of the late Kevin Carter; a South African photojournalist whom by framing this fateful picture in the South of Sudan in March 1993 won the most coveted prize for photojournalism. Two months later, he committed suicide apparently was overwhelmed by the paradox of joy and guilt – many have asked him the question about the fate of the starving girl in the picture…and he has no answer to it.
His suicide note reads: “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.”

I wonder when he was there with the girl (and the vulture) did this question come to his mind (WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME [to help]?).

“It found that only 19 per cent of Singapore workers are willing to go above and beyond what is expected of them while the remaining 81 per cent show only a little or no ‘discretionary effort’.” – The Straits Times, 26 March 2010.

It didn’t come as a surprise for me when I read the above on ST online breaking news headlines. “What’s in it for me?” – A question that seems to bog the minds of employees across many industries and apparently at many levels across the organisation.

Of course, the question can be disguised from the fundamental concerned, such as:

What’s in it for my job/role/performance?

What’s in it for my promotion/career/livelihood?

What’s in it for my company so that my job/role/performance will..?

What’s in it for us so that my promotion/career/livelihood will be..?

Are your people ready for commitment? Are your people stopping at PRODUCTivity or stretching towards VALUEtivity?

Productivity vs Product-viability

Feb 26, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Change Initiation

Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Toyoda’s apologies:

“In the past few months, our customers have started to feel uncertain about the safety of Toyota’s vehicles…”.

“Toyota has for the past few years been expanding its business rapidly. Quite frankly I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick.”

“…Toyota’s traditional priority of Safety, Quality and Volume became confused and we are not able to Stop, Think and make Improvement…we pursued growth over speed and forgotten the basic stance of listening to our customers…”

Productivity is the buzz word in Singapore since the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC)  study has unveiled ambitious plans aimed at transforming Singapore’s economy over the next decade. Chairman of the ESC, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam told a news conference Monday morning: “Our assessment is that the next 5 to 10 years will provide greater opportunities for growth in the world around us than any decade we have seen in the past… It will require a change in how we work, how we create value.”

I did a brief search on ‘Productivity’ and would like to share with you the following:

Manual (Labor) work productivity, popularized by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the early 1900′s  uses Sciencetific Management – is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows, with the objective of improving labor productivity. Peter Drucker identified better knowledge work productivity as our most important economic need. Manual work is visible, specialized, and stable, whereas knowledge work is invisible, holistic, and ever changing. Unlike manual workers, knowledge workers use their situational knowledge to get things done in a dynamic environment. They are almost always formally educated and are called upon to run and change their functions and organizations simultaneously. Here a quick table comparison:

Frederick Taylor on Manual Work Peter Drucker on Knowledge Work
Define the task Understand the task
Command and control Give Autonomy
Strict standards Continuous innovation
Focus on quantity Focus on quality
Measure performance to strict standard Continuously learn and teach
Minimize cost of workers for a task Treat workers as an asset not a cost
Manual Work Productivity Knowledge Work Productivity
Work is visible Work is invisible
Work is specialized Work is holistic
Work is stable Work is changing
Emphasizes running things Emphasizes changing things
More structure with fewer decisions Less structure with more decisions
Focus on the right answers Focus on the right questions

Source: Reinvent Your Enterprise, by Jack Bergstrand

ConversationCircles recent work with Fonterra Brands (see Fonterra case-study) help our client to identify that their work is changing therefore the entire team need changing mindset to continue adding-value to the work they do.  The team that comprises mainly senior executives were encouraged and focus in asking questions rather than just giving answers.

Talk to us to find out more about how we can help you in Change Initiation with your organisation.