Sustaining and improving productivity: the right leadership is key

It is a well-known fact that productivity in business here in the UK is not all it should, or indeed could, be. It’s been that way of course for some considerable time. However, since COVID, of course, things have generally got worse and more complicated, due to the ‘work from home/show your face in the office’ debate, which still rages widely. At best, this heated discussion is itself a distraction, and at worst, it is a drain on the very productivity which we all know needs bolstering.

How to raise productivity

If you add mental health issues and global unrest on an unprecedented scale into the commercial mix, it is little wonder that Britain’s business leaders at times feel the strain is too much to bear and give in to the temptation to believe the productivity they are striving for in their workforce is simply not achievable.

I was relieved therefore and also comforted to read recently that productivity can be not only sustained but also massively improved, given the right leadership conditions. To quote Richard Harpin, CEO of HomeServe plc, who referenced an extremely interesting McKinsey report in his Sunday Times column last month on the subject of hiring A-team leaders:

“High-performers are 400 per cent more productive than average ones, while high-performers in complex corporate decision-making roles — the 5 per cent who deliver 95 per cent of the value — are an incredible 800 per cent more productive.”

The right leader is invaluable

I am also indebted to my own portfolio of SME clients where I’ve been fortunate enough to assist in achievement of High Growth on a number of occasions, working closely as a coach with just such an A-team leader. It has been abundantly clear to me that a single individual of the right calibre, mindset and personal qualities has indeed got the capability to increase productivity by a scarcely believable amount, such is the scale of growth achieved.

Improvement way beyond any reasonable or rational expectation is indeed certainly achievable, given the right leader who can harness the latent power and untapped potential of workforce and clients simultaneously and sustainably.

It is good to be reminded from time to time of the real possibility of scaling the mountain when we are just setting out on the lower slopes, trying to maintain our optimism and belief!