The last couple of weeks have been, yes you’ve guessed it - very busy. What with Union negotiations, more business planning workshops, supplier visits, board presentations, key customer visits, legal negotiations, exec meetings, coffee with the Chairman and programme kick off meetings - I don’t know what to do with my 'spare time', you’ve got to agree though; I live a Rock and Roll lifestyle. On the subject of time, it’s an interesting time for industrial strife. The postie’s are doing their bit with our mail; in Leeds the bin men haven’t lifted a lid for a good while and who knows who will be next. It stands to reason that an economy that’s grown year in year out for a decade is going to build up some inefficiency and weak management has a tendency to let that happen when the good times are rolling. Consequently, when the economy drops as it did violently in 2008, things have to be readjusted. So, those readjustments are going to be fought all the way by the Unions and so, here we go. Another Winter Of Discontent? – Lets hope not. Happy days.
So last week started with a meeting to agree some training for people who will be doing some high level recruitment and ended with loads of briefing sessions, with some business plan reviews, a conference and a mini workshop in between. Where's that eight-day week when you need it? Wednesday night found me in a hotel near Heathrow unable to get much sleep due to an over enthusiastic couple in the next room; perfect preparation for my meeting the next day - lots of coffee with a sugary sticky bun did the trick, in the end. I listened to a talk given by a (successful and rich) software entrepreneur who said that the two most important things in business were were cash and people. I reckon that ideas and energy need to be on that list because you have to generate money, to have cash and to pay people, so that's ideas, energy, cash and people - easy don't you think?
This week a guy I’ve been working with retired from his job after 46 years continuous service. In today's world of mobility, interim, project based, think-self world that’s an extraordinary achievement. Last month was my '30th anniversary' of the day I first started working (as a trainee assistant buyer) and I felt a twinge of pride and nostalgia. But I’ve had many jobs, with a fair few employers and as a consultant for over ten years I’ve done projects all over the world for stacks of different companies. It takes some serious staying power to stick with one firm for 46 years. Makes you think doesn’t it?
So Gordon has said the 'C word'. Now the process will begin based on the question facing Local Authority Chief Executives and other public sector Chief Officers….. ‘how do I deliver the same service for less money?’ Neat trick if you can pull it off. There's a saying, "carry on doing what you’ve always done and you’ll always get what you always had". So, CX's will need to change the game in order to handle this Earthquake. Hmmm, interesting.
So, there's £175 billion being spent every year in the UK's public sector, by hundreds of different buying departments of different types, sizes, ability and in different places around the country. There are tens of thousands of framework deals to choose from - varying in quality, they are difficult to access and not always that relevant to the needs of the purchaser. That’s OK, 'UK plc' always muddles through with some great practices and some rubbish ones – we’ll be fine. Fine that is until budgets are cut by 25% accompanied by the challenge to deliver the same or more service. Two opposing forces or 'tectonic plates', gliding into each other, that looks like a potential earthquake to me.
Rain, gloom, doom. No, cant, wont. Recession, crunch, grind. Losses, cuts, retrenchment. Don't forget, you cant save yourself rich. If people are fed up, they perform down and if they are revved up, they perform up. My focus is, as ever - to push upwards and onwards. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We are not doomed, this situation is just different.
gadget freak and