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Workplace Productivity

At the core of  productivity services provided by the  Employment Relations Centre  are a number of proven problem solving and management/decision-making tools. These are tools that are applied logically and systematically to answer three questions that are essential if you are to successfully implement ongoing improvement in any business and especially if you are seeking to change human behaviour:

The three questions that need to be asked are:

  • "What do we need to change?"

  • "What do we need to change to?"

  • "How will we make the change happen?"

Specific uses of these tools have also been applied to significantly enhance vital management outcomes, such as:

  • Win-win conflict resolution

  • Effective communication

  • Team building

  • Delegation

  • Empowerment

TOC Thinking Process tools

It is always critical to acknowledge that there will be a great deal of infrastructure and activity in place that is highly effective for the specific nature of your business. Our proposal is based on the premise that the proper focus of any initiative to increase productivity should not be on what works but should be on the issues that are least desirable and accordingly have the greatest impact on the business as a whole when overcome.

From this foundation we assert that in order to get the greatest leverage on any intiative for change it is necessary to answer the three questions previously identified.

  1. What to change? - Identifying the undesirable rules, policies or behaviours that impact most on the business and that will provide the greatest opportunity for increased productivity.

  2. What to change too? - One of the most critical errors in any change intiative is to begin a process of change without knowing exactly what you are changing too. Without a clear picture of the end state it is easy to end up with new practices that are less effective, costly and negatively impact on those that already work.

  3. How to implement the change? - In order to implement the identified changes with the fastest return on investment the actions that will have the greatest impact on the business as a whole should be delivered first.

Because the rules, policies and behaviours that occur within any business system are inherently interelated and complex, any methodology utilised must have a robust and almost scientific format in order to clearly identify the opportunities that will have the greatest impact.

One of the tools we use allows business people to look at the system of informal rules, policies and behaviours that have developed as the business has grown. It provides an opportunity to examine these rules, policies and behaviours from an objective perspective and more importantly from a perspective aligned with the goal of the business i.e. for any commercial organisation it is to make more money now and in the future (not withstanding that to achieve this objective there are two necessary conditions, satisfied customers and satisfied (happy) staff. The process begins by assisting you as the Director to target the set of undesirable effects in your business and find the core assumptions that directly influence the undesirable symptoms that exist.

How it works

A clear focus and understanding of the things that constrain the business from making more money now and in the future is created through the development of a logical diagrammatic picture (called a Current Reality Tree or CRT) that describes the current situation and links all of the undesirable effects. This picture also becomes a powerful tool to communicate to business partners and senior reports the nature of the situation and an easy method of gaining an understanding of the required actions to overcome the undesirable issues.

Once the core assumptions have been identified you will be in a position to begin the process of developing a set of solutions that will overcome the present obstacles and prepare the business for predictable future obstacles.

To ensure the resolution of the core issues and elimination of many of the undesirable effects a second diagram (called a Future Reality Tree or FRT) is developed that assists to identify the actions and necessary conditions required and thus turn the undesirable symptoms in the business into desirables.

These actions and necessary conditions are further developed into an action plan that can have resources and timeframes applied to it for the purpose of implementation and measuring progress.

A deeper understanding of the tools can be gained by visiting Dr. K. J. Youngman’s “A Guide to Implementing the Theory of Constraints (TOC)” at

Project Brief

Enquire here for a Workplace Productivity Project brief

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