Aston Distinguished Address - Lord Michael Bichard - Highlights
“Britain’s productivity has stagnated following the financial crisis and is now so far behind other advanced nations that is takes a British worker five days to produce what a German and French worker can do in four.”
With productivity only increasing by 0.1% in the last published quarter, Lord Bichard emphasised how this level of current performance threatens the UK’s ability to build a successful economy post Brexit.
He argues that the UK has failed to focus on measures that will improve productivity such as skills and lifelong learning, citing 43% of young people aged 17-23 do not believe that their education prepared them for the world of work.
The growth of an enterprise culture, academic research, business support and improving the quality of UK management and leadership are areas that require significant attention.
“One of the most important influences on productivity will always be the quality of management and leadership.”
What needs to be done to tackle this deep-rooted problem? Lord Bichard shared ten ideas for improving UK productivity:
Top ten tips for improving UK productivity
1. Taking clear accountability and responsibility
Lord Bichard notes; “It is quite difficult to identify just who is primarily responsible for delivering outcomes. At the same time, clear accountability enhances performance and productivity; therefore, we need to be clearer about individual roles and responsibilities."
2. Having less misguided optimism
We must set and honestly monitor milestones so that any bad news is apparent and tackled quickly and adequately. Bichard comments; “There’s a sense of optimism which is corroding good leadership and good management.”
3. Establishing a clear sense of purpose and direction
Staff members must be given shared ownership on where the company is going otherwise they won’t be bought into the vision and will be unclear of what success looks like for the overall organisation.
4. Valuing and building creativity
Valuing and building creativity can be done by developing a climate where creativity can thrive which will lead to innovation and enhanced productivity. We need to be employing new people with new ideas and rewarding creativity.
5. Avoiding the ‘silo mentality’ in business
Bichard says; “We’re all inclined to work in silos defined by our organisation’s structures, by our professional groupings or by the ways targets are expressed. What can help is if these were instead defined by the needs of clients and our desired outcomes."
6. Realising and capitalising on the digital potential
Understanding the power of how digital will enhance our communications. We must identify the strategic possibilities and master the basics of web design.
7. Being more self-critical of our output
“We have a tendency to over hype the successes, when instead, we must focus on being more self-critical and demanding of our services."
8. Valuing the power of design
We are a nation that has produced some of the world’s greatest designers and must utilise design to reshape services around clients, integrate technology and enhance creativity. Design is not merely an aesthetic, it is a tool that can transform lives and productivity.
9. Ensuring a greater emphasis on the development of talent
Developing talents through lifelong learning and training will continually enhance the value of our workforce.
10. Equipping workers with the skills to improve personally
This will help workers adequately contribute to the overall performance and success
Watch the Aston Distinguished Address talk in full: