Only People can be made to appreciate in value – by improving their productivity.
Productivity continues to challenge organizations and today that challenge is even greater than ever. All the economic and social gains of the 20th Century rests on the achievements and productivity of the “Manual Worker”. We have all heard of concepts as: Task Analysis; Task Management; Scientific Management; Industrial Management; Rationalization, Total Quality Management and Just-In-Time Delivery, all attempting to get at increased production and enhanced performance of organizations and their people.
Impact of The Manual Worker
Historically these approaches were developed in response to the “Manual Worker” organizing principle. In all likelihood, this will continue to be the organizing principle in countries where manual work is the growth sector of society and economy – largely “Third World” or developing countries. However, in developed countries such as Canada and the United States, the central organizing principle has shifted from how to make the “Manual Worker” productive to how to make the “Knowledge Worker” productive. “Knowledge Workers” have and are rapidly becoming the largest single group in the workforce, and may already comprise as much as two-fifths of the workforce, of every developed country including Canada and the US.
This shift in organizing principle will undoubtedly require a shift in our thinking. Up until now economic theory and most business practice have viewed manual workers as a cost. As we all know costs need to be controlled and reduced to affect the bottom line. Contrary to this model, however, “Knowledge Workers”, in order to be productive, must be considered a capital asset. And assets need to be made to grow. This undoubtedly will have its most positive effect on the “Top Line”.
A recent Canadian report on the knowledge economy produced by an expert panel on skills has identified that Canadian employees have excellent technical skills. However finding people who, in addition to their technical know-how, have the ability to communicate effectively, work in teams, and act as managers is difficult for most organizations. According to the report: “Employers have more difficulty recruiting senior level people who combine a solid technical background with experience and management skills such as – project management, strategic planning, marketing and business writing… requirements such as teamwork, problem-solving, and a willingness to learn were difficult to fill.”
Management Challenges for the 21st Century
In his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century Peter Drucker suggests the following six Factors as key to determining “Knowledge-Worker” productivity:
- “Knowledge-Worker” productivity demands that we ask the question: “what is the task?”
- It demands that we impose the responsibility for their productivity on the individual knowledge worker themselves. Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy.
- Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of knowledge workers.
- Knowledge work requires continuous learning on the part of the knowledge worker, but equally continuous teaching on the part of the knowledge worker.
- Productivity of the knowledge worker is not – at least not primarily – a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important.
- Finally, knowledge-worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker is both seen and treated as an “asset” rather than a “cost”. It requires that knowledge workers want to work for the organization in preference to all other opportunities.
We have known for some time that 80 percent or more of each of our success is mental. That is to say; what we achieve is determined primarily by the way we think about our self, our life, and the people around us. As we change the quality of our thinking, we change the quality of everything we do! And there is very little we cannot accomplish once we put our mind to it!”
How organizations respond to this acknowledgement will be a key determinant of their success in growing, to full fruition, the asset that is the “Knowledge Worker”.
Productivity Solution On Purpose
At On Purpose Leadership Inc. our team of seasoned professionals work with clients to create breakthroughs and assist them in moving systematically and decisively towards extraordinary results.
Our facilitated processes create a learning culture that results in maximum growth and a position of strength for the client participant and their organization. Our interactions serve to develop skills and intensify motivation of people at all levels. The bottom line is to positively affect key performance outcomes and sustainable long-term personal, professional and organizational development.
We can take you and your people through a path to success using our proven successful structured programs. Reference:
We will also work with you to tailor-make programs that combine your insight and our world-class training process and methodology.