According to a recent Telstra Survey improving productivity is one of the top three priorities for leaders and managers in large businesses.

Yet according to the same survey, there is a growing deficit between those leaders who rank productivity as important and those who actually measure it and have thus achieved a significant improvement in the past 12 months.

Why this disconnect between what leaders say is important and what they are actually doing?

My theory is this: no one ‘owns’ productivity.

In any business the finance director, for example, ‘owns’ all matters relating to dollars in and dollars out or the marketing director ‘owns’ all the communication, pricing, distribution and product issues.

To be sure, many HR directors talk about their role in attracting, retaining and developing talent and trying to boost employee engagement.

These are important ways to boost productivity but they only cover the ‘people’ factor.

What about the tools that the employees are using?

Or the return on investment of technology or the lack of collaboration between departments that results in duplication and waste?

Because no one seems to have a direct and holistic responsibility for productivity, improvements will remain a hit-and-miss affair.

My suggestion is that every medium to large business should appoint a Chief Productivity Officer (CPO).

This is a senior leader who champions, measures and continually incites the need to improve productivity.

I suspect that such a person would have an immediate and sustained impact on improving productivity in any business.


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