Thursday, May 14, 2009

Revising our concepts of productivity (part 1)

In business/work/economics:
Over the years I have experienced, first hand, many work environments where activity (and even better, hyper-activity) was thought of - perceived as productivity as well as other environments where, in the presence of good organisation, the resulting "calm aura" was perceived as lacking in productivity.

In life in general:
Over the years I have experienced many social and other related environments where activity (and even better, hyper-activity) was thought of - perceived as a sign of being active and/or alive or even "sucking the marrow out of life". As well as other environments where, in the presence of good personal and time - task management, the resulting "calm aura" was perceived as missing the "grabbing life by the horns" dimension.

In my opinion, these perceptions result from antiquated concepts and definitions of productivity, even effectiveness, etc.

We are well past the core of the industrial era Taylor theories re (machine/industrial) productivity, since inter alia, most of western economies consist up to 80% of Services.

Other factors that have contributed to these "fast times" systemics are in my opinion the establishment of the "just in time" process in production and logistics (which preceded globalisation by many years), as well as this fuzzy - messy sum of systemics and dynamics that most people refer to globalisation in recent years. Plus, again in my opinion, because of a need for any people to seem rather than actually be productive (in business/work/economics) or happy (in life in general).

Eg I recall when I first started working in the 80's, I would call up some acquaintances and ask them, rather naively, "are you busy, can you talk"? To which the reply almost always was "I am busy, but I will talk to you". Now, that would normally imply a compliment, saying ie that "I may be busy but I consider you such an important friend/collegue/business liaison/etc that I will invest my precious time to talk to you".

In my opinion, in most cases, such a compliment or feeling was not the driving force, it was, and some people actually admitted so when being confronted with this "antic" in more relaxed occassions, the attempt by these people to promote an "air"/aura of productivity and importance about them (assuming.implying that an important person is always busy, an assumptional that actually ran counter-intuitively to the impression I have always held as to the "lifestyle" of an "important" person, but that is another ... post!!! lol)

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BRs
Nick

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