Every 1,000 employees represent £10,671,730 of potential performance improvement

Steven Phillips
Steven Phillips

This link to a paper by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini is worth pursuing, especially if you feel that HR could be showing up more acutely in business performance. In this paper, Gary and Michele have attempted to put a cash figure on the wasted human potential that results in the US.

We’ve taken their maths and applied it to the figures for UK GDP per employee. Our rough calculation shows that per person per annum £10,671.73 of performance potential is currently bound up in unnecessary politics, bureaucracy, indecision and disempowerment.

It caught our attention because so much of our work in leadership, management and organisational development is concerned with developing the practices required to thrive and perform in the VUCA world. As we’ve said before, VUCA is no longer a trendy acronym about what’s coming next; if it isn’t already nibbling at the heels of your business, it is trying to take lumps out of it.

The way that the discomfort, fear and anxiety of the uncertainty and uncontrollability of the VUCA world manifests itself is in more controls, more reporting, more measures, more micromanagement. We see swathes of employees preparing Powerpoint decks for their bosses to take to meetings as part of massive industries of internal ‘stake-holdering’. Apart from the affront to language that this term represents, it has also become completely normalised, in the manner of the oft boiled frogs, such that people believe these kinds of non-value-adding activities to be their work. Politics. Bureaucracy. Stakeholder management. Are these business processes that add-value for your clients or customers? Or might they just be adding to the high levels of work-place stress, burn-out and dissatisfaction that are endemic?

Just to shake things up a bit we have designed a method that equips any organisation to measure (a) just how much of their people’s performance potential is being consumed un-productively, (b) on what and even (c) where in the organisation.

On a related subject we’re also going to be running a free open event on the 27 April in London to explore strategies and tactics to overcome the inertia in leadership, management and organisational development caused by all this stickiness.

Let the simplification begin!