Honorary Fellowship for Champion of Affordable Ways of Increasing Productivity

Investigations reveal huge potential for most organisations to boost productivity, transform performance and simultaneously deliver a range of other benefits

“Increasing productivity is a matter of choice rather than a mystery” according to Adaptation chairman Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking after the UK’s 2017 autumn budget statement which downgraded growth forecasts on account of stagnant productivity he pointed out that his research reports provide an affordable route to high performance organisations: “The evidence is clear. Most of the companies examined could quickly increase productivity and performance.”

Coulson-Thomas also outlined his conclusions in a speech on addressing the stagnant productivity challenge faced by the UK at the 2017 AGM of the Institute of Management Services. He was attending the AGM to receive an Honorary Fellowship. According to Coulson-Thomas: “There are much quicker, more affordable and less disruptive routes to high performance organisations than the approaches which many organisations adopt. They can simultaneously deliver multiple objectives. Importantly, they can work with whatever people, corporate cultures, and organisational structures we already have. They can be unaffected by legacy systems.”

The Author of Winning Companies; Winning People has set out in three evidence based research reports with case study examples how applications of performance support in different organisations and sectors can rapidly transform performance, ensure compliance. reduce costs, contain risks and deliver a variety of other improvements for people, organisations and the environment. He stressed: “Too many organisations restructure and adopt programmes that are expensive and time consuming.”

The Professor found: “Traditional approaches to compliance and risk management can increase overhead costs, cause delays and result in key work groups focusing upon compliance rather than customers. Incorporating checks and blockers into support tools can enable responsible risk taking, bespoke responses and the creation of new solutions. They can prevent outputs that would represent commercial, quality, legal or regulatory risks.”

He continued: “Support tools can make it much easier for people to behave in preferred ways. They can make it very difficult or impossible for them to behave in undesired ways. Personalised and relevant support can be made available 24/7, wherever and whenever needed, including when people are on the move. It can be continually updated. It can also be interactive and can incorporate and facilitate social networking.”

Coulson-Thomas has led over twenty investigations leading to research reports that set out critical success factors for activities that are crucial for continuing corporate success, such as winning business, building customer relationships, purchasing, pricing, corporate learning and managing intellectual property. Over 2,000 companies and over 500 professional firms participated in the studies. He discovered: “Even top quartile performers are only very effective at half of the identified critical success factors for an activity such as competitive bidding. The evidence assembled suggests the performance of most companies could be quickly improved.”

The Adaptation chairman explained: “Support tools can capture and share what top performers do differently. They can enable average performers to adopt the winning ways of these higher performing super-stars. The support they provide can reflect our individual understanding. They can learn and be continually updated, for example as offerings and regulations change. They can evolve to match the changing requirements and competences of users.”

Coulson-Thomas concludes: “Performance support tools can quickly deliver large multiple returns on the cost of developing them. They can also address traditional trade-offs such as that between risk and return by both reducing risk and increasing return. At the same time, because checks and balances can be built into them, support tools can set people free to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. Productivity challenges can be addressed at the level of the individual enterprise.”

More widely Coulson-Thomas explained that management services practitioners need new and interdisciplinary approaches as less work is undertaken by people, and their perspectives need to embrace networks and supply and value chains and combinations of people, robots and other machines, AI and other software and digital and disruptive technologies: “Many practitioners have extensive experience of how to improve the productivity of work-groups and teams in certain situations. Increasingly, the challenge is to examine how people, machines and digital technologies can best work together in new contexts and as business models change.”

Details of evidence based research reports by Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas on critical success factors for key corporate activities and quicker, more affordable and less disruptive ways of increasing performance and productivity while simultaneously controlling risk, ensuring compliance, enabling innovation and achieving a range of other objectives can be obtained from Policy Publications: http://www.policypublications.com/