A question posed by The Guardian today. The answer is quite simple, although The Guardian didn’t get it: Teamworking. I saw the problem myself before I was fortunate enough to lose my job and forever be freed from this pernicious fad.
Productivity is the rate of output per unit input, and you don’t need to be a genius to work out that if you employ lazy twats who are more interested in holding meetings and taking part in events which should only appeal to children of nursery school age, you’re going to run into problems. Then add the Unions – who won’t let you increase productivity without going on strike because increasing productivity means doing the same work with less people, doing more work with the same people, or doing any work with less people than union members think you should be – and you’re stuffed. And just to add insult to injury, these days there is also gender and minority bias to contend with, where you’re not allowed to be successful unless you do it only using women and minority groups.
The data show that the UK’s productivity has fallen compared to other G7 countries since the early 1990s – and that was exactly the time that the UK became incontinent over the matter of Teamworking. This is no mere coincidence, believe me. The introduction of Teamworking marks the precise point when any company gives up on productivity and turns itself into a playschool for biological adults with the mental ages of infants – just before it finds itself steadily going out of business.
Big companies like the one I had to put up with manage to stay in business for longer – albeit as the result of being bought out by bigger companies, whilst still trying to maintain that they’re independent, when they’re not. Smaller ones are toast very quickly, though.
The only way you can improve productivity is to run your company yourself, your way, using the best people available irrespective of their gender or cultural background, and not let the shop floor (aka “the team”) do it for you. If the shop floor had a clue, they’d be running their own businesses to start with. This was the fundamental mistake the dickheads I used to work for made, and it explains why they got taken over and are now having to pretend that the brand name is the same as it ever was. It isn’t. They screwed up and paid the price, just like I said they would. In fact, from what I understand, the takeover was typical of the morons who were in control, and resulted in an internal bureaucracy that is ten times more convoluted than the mess they had before as they tried to assimilate two sets of management across two company names. Indeed, they’re currently in the process of trying to lose several hundred head office staff through voluntary redundancy for about the tenth time in 20 years.
You do not get better productivity when you’re spending time and resources farting about with that kind of crap. And you’d think that – after 20 years – they’d have realised that by now.
Incidentally, I see that Asda is currently in a bit of a pickle financially. I note that it spends an inordinate amount of time referring to its staff as “colleagues”, holding “colleague team meetings” and such like, while at the same time making absolutely sure that items which should be in stock on its shelves aren’t. I’ve done a bit of sneaky upside down reading of notes to “colleagues” at checkouts when I’ve been shopping, and it made my blood run cold with memories from my own nightmare days in a “teamworking” environment – on the one hand, you’ve got the requirement to bollock people for not doing their jobs properly, while on the other you’ve got to pretend they’re all equal and call them ‘colleagues’. I can see it now – Asda management will be frantically trying to address the matter of falling sales by holding more and more “colleague meetings” instead of just doing the sodding obvious things management should be doing and putting items on shelves that people want to buy.
As soon as anyone introduces fancy names for staff – colleagues, team members, team leaders, associates, etc. – you know the end is in sight.