Have you ever wondered why it seems that so many companies find it difficult to improve performance or do not even bother?
Experts say all you need is the latest tech or app because they seem to want you to believe that is the problem. But the facts shows us that is not quite true.
Even in the 00’s when the tech was not that bad, research published by Cardiff University showed that only 5% of the things they did in manufacturing added value for customers! It was worse in information-based industries where only 1% of activity added value!! Consider then that in Toyota 20% of activity is value-adding! Wow! Just think what improving from 5% to 20% will do to your company’s performance. The problem really is that many companies are unaware of this enormous potential that there is to improve their performance, whatever sector they are in.
Partially this is due to the massive lack of management training in the UK, which was confirmed by the 2014 Chartered Management Institute report Management 2020. Another significant reason is that too many courses, trainers and consultants tend to speak in jargon or ‘technobabble’ as some call it, which really turns people off. A survey of the information from many professional institutions also revealed how fragmented and partial is the picture of management offered to those seeking to achieve the highest performance.
It is hardly likely that any company is going to commit to spending money on training if it does not understand what it is being offered. This and the incomplete nature of the knowledge is the reason that my co-author, Terry Peterson, and I decided in 2012 to write our e-book Simply Manage. Our aim was and is to provide a more complete and balanced source of the best management practice clearly and simply with the very minimum of technical language. With the help of Worcestershire graphic designer Steve Pitt we also made a point including plenty of graphics.
To make this knowledge readily accessible to today’s managers we decided to use the online publishing platform Leanpub.com, which was an innovation for us! This enables us to offer it as a PDF or readable on Apple or Kindle devices. The additional benefit of Leanpub is that we can offer any updates free of charge, as we have done since Simply Manage was finally published in 2014. The writing of the book was a learning experience itself dealing with a new medium and the technology.
So what are the key messages if you want to begin to achieve higher performance ways of working? Drawing on best management practice, including from the field of continual improvement and innovation, we summarised the knowledge in the Simply Manage Star®.

Alan Clark, Key Business Improvement, alanclark@keybiz.com