Improving Productivity

I was distracted from my continuing interest in Wikinomics by a headline in Toronto’s Globe and Mail announcing that the Bank of Montreal is going to lay off 1,000 people “to improve productivity”. Will someone tell me how this works? Are the thousand being let go actually hindering productivity? Have our monthly fees been going to waste all this time, as we support these slothful types? This question even became a topic at Sunday dinner. My son’s take on it is that people at the top get very nervous when the workload seems “just right” – when people seem relaxed and happy on the job. Because the head honcho is more frazzled by the coming quarterly report to the shareholders, he somehow thinks that fewer people could actually do the job because the current ones seem so comfortable. But those who are left after the slashing become the losers of the “just right” workload and it is only a matter of time before the company is in further trouble. The “solution” is more downsizing. More productivity ultimately leads to the death of the company.

As a company of one, downsizing is never an issue for me. But change certainly is. Since the beginning of 2007 I have continued with this blog, have acquired a learning site, will acquire wiki software to play with, – all for free. I’ll continue to mine Wikinomics for ideas, because many apply to small and micro organizations in somewhat different ways.

The diagram above is my summary of the design for the future proposed by the authors of the book. It’s a plain vanilla example of a Mind Map – no colour or graphics, – that will become readable if you enlarge it with a click. It has personal notes underneath indicated by the little thumbtack icon, which express some personal observations, challenges and even fears about what this all means. You could take the same approach and document your own.

Back to the BMO and its intention of laying off 1,000 with a memo to the CEO. You’ll need a different thousand in the future. They probably won’t want to work full time for you ever. But you will need their collaborative innovation if you really want to improve productivity.