I was asked yesterday for some advice on improving productivity in an office setting. Yet another sad story of exploding “to do” lists and bored chit chat around the coffee machine.
So what is the problem here? The bad news is that these types of problems are not so easy to diagnose. For example, there may be a strategic failure in the company. The underlying idea may not longer be working, let alone engaging. Or the idea might still have some life, but it is not transmitted to staff. So they have no idea why they are there other than to collect a pay check. Or the staff may be regularly assigned “mission impossible”. Things then never really get done or results measured.
This is a long way from Tom Peters ideal setting where the lowest staff position contributes to the strategic dialogue. But the bottom line here is that firms need to move in that direction. Why? Because getting more productivity these days is mainly about getting better collaboration.