Working Smarter improves Productivity

In the last budget we were given figutres for growth the Chancellopr Mr Hammond quoted from his source at the Office for Budget Responsibiloity (OBR). The OBR is an Independent body.

So productivity growth was down to a 1 percent prediction from 1.8 percent. This is per annum!

So what causes this downward forecast? The writer is not sure.

The OBR have been criticised in the past for overly optomistic forecasts on growth and productivity. Are they now being overly pessimistic?

Other forecasters don’t agree with the OBR or suggest that their estimates are at the lower end of a range of forecast on growth and productivity.

Is Brexit a factor?

The OBR may well be considering Brexit has an impact.

What is our view at Zamu? Let’s be clear our job is assisting businesses to grow, work smarter, more efficiently and improve productivity. 

Neil Woodford an award winning Investment Manger agrees with us or should we say we agree with him. Productivity estimates are too low. We read a large research piece done independently pre Brexit . The summary of that report were certain areas will be worse hit than others geographically and certain industries. However, the pessimism stops at the short to medium term of five years pain and then back to business as usual. Woodfords ten-year forecast is 1.6 percent per annum and no adjustment for Brexit.

We think Productivity is a Global issue and not just a UK one. There are steps you can take to assist your business. Work SMART.

Banking and Finance

Banking and Finance

Banking and Finance

Banking On SWIG

Funding at start up or growth can be necessary but perhaps complex.

We look here at what Sam and Kirsty have been doing to help make things simpler for businesses.

Kirsty and Sam recently met with SWIG to review how their offering can assist clients with their business growth. South West Investment Group (SWIG) have been supporting business development for over 30 years with appropriate funding. They mostly assist in situations where the bank consider that you don’t meet their criteria. Zamu wanted to understand how they work in detail so when Zamu put together a funding application we can make the process as simple and effective as possible.

A couple of high street banks have an interesting offer.

Bank account holders can have a free licence to use FreeAgent software. As FreeAgent “experts” Zamu have been using this software for over 8 years and realise how for many clients it is great simplicity for accounts and your accountant can have access to support your business. New businesses can have 18 months free banking, but existing business of course will incur bank fees. Any business looking to borrow in excess of £35,000 or turning over in excess of £400,000 and looking to grow will benefit from having a named experienced relationship manager.

The other offer some clients are utilising is becoming members of the FSB and then utilising free banking. This keeps costs down especially for new start-ups and many find other benefits useful. The only comment Zamu has to say is that the free banking has no automatic bank integration for software.

Co-Creative Working (Part 1)

Co-Creative Working (Part 1)

Co-Creative Working (Part 1)

What Value working collaboratively?

We discuss below what is working collaboratively across organisational boundaries.

The co-creation market is firmly fixed with the considerations of the customer journey to decision and purchase.

Resource cost and lost opportunity cost can make certain activities unsustainable if they impact on your core business activity. Experience and engagement are buzzwords at the present time but understanding how these customer experiences and engagement can be managed by a small business or start up business is important and can provide competitive advantage for new entrants to any particular market. This is worth sharing.

In the writers’ research, he interviewed a toy manufacturer and distributor who were in the process of pivoting their business model to turn themselves into a Co-creative organisation. The management steps including leadership, alignment and activity to engage we will share in future Blog posts here together with examples from the writer’s own work with a Small technological engineering company. Co-creating across organisational boundaries can provide value for internal players, supplier networks and customers if managed and strategy formulated appropriately.

All this depends on talking to these networks in the right way. Customers can be a great source of creativity and innovation.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” – Bill Gates Chairman Microsoft

“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers” – Ross Perot – Retired CEO Perot Systems & Politician

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful” – Jeff Bezos, CEO

“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground”- Jerry Gregoire, CIO, Dell Computers

“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it” – Peter Drucker – Management Consultant

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing” – John Russell, President, Harley Davidson

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends” – Jeff Bezos, CEO




Family a training ground for good leaders?

A new approach to Leadership Training

I received a picture from my wife recently of my two daughters (below). 

I’m a proud Dad. They are lovely young ladies. I mean this from a personality and social environment consideration. They respect others, are motivated and think for themselves. I have hopefully taught them how to be responsibly disobedient. They ask questions and don’t always do what I say. I’m fine with that because I understand they accept our authority as parents “willingly and for the most part with enthusiasm”. I base my understanding on their conduct, the input and leadership of their mother (mostly) and also in part me. 

The perception of me by my daughters is important and I should be aware of it as the old guy in the family who makes some of the important decisions.

Most leadership training is based on training leaders in so called ‘qualities’ that are based on wishful thinking or a delusion that the manager or leader wants and these will commonly be a waste of time. 

Even when the training is based on improving a managers interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence or techniques for empowering team members, the approach is often less effective than it could be. 

If, however, you start from the premise that leadership exists in the minds of the team members then the first thing you need to find out is “what is in their minds” or more precisely “why do team members accept the authority of their manager”. Once a manager knows how their team perceives them and understands the nature of their own authority, they are then highly motivated to learn from any leadership training. Understanding how others see us is a great motivator.

If a team accepts their mangers authority ‘willingly and with enthusiasm’ then the manager is perceived as having ‘leadership’. If the manager is perceived as having ‘leadership’ then the manager is more likely to have a motivated and engaged team. In such a social environment the manager is more likely to bring in innovation, change and improvement with the minimum of resistance. An outcome that should then please both the manager, their senior managers and their followers.

At Zamu we have an enterprise analysis tool on Leadership Unlike our other analysis tools this is a survey. It identifies a team’s perception of the nature of their managers authority (its anonymous). 60 forms of authority are reviewed and described under 12 headings. 

How others see us is a great motivator for change. This survey is an ideal coaching or training instrument for your management and Executives.




Work Life Balance

Making the right decisions in Life & Business.

A client who has been self-employed for a number of years identified a need to change due the nature of their work putting a strain on physical health. Decisions were made to move to a new county for a better work life balance.

The client was instantly accepted by business people, networking, that could support.

A confident, driven person, focused on a future, they found a lot of people offering help, support and guidance at a cost. Even if the support was free there was a lost opportunity cost and the client unfortunately in this instance found no reward and the business was no further forward.

This experience sadly changed the clients mind set. Confidence was lost and who to trust and what is the right decision to move the business forward a question at the forefront of their mind.

The client has worked with one or two support programs to tell her that she should just keep doing what she’s doing despite the health issues that it could cause.

In meeting Zamu, the client encountered a different way of thinking. Genuine care, passion and drive. Results driven with implications of all ideas and actions discussed allowing the business owner to enter into something prepared for and eyes wide open. 

Support has come even just something as simple as attending a Brand packaging workshop with the client “The exciting journey has now started at a realistic pace”. Confidence is growing, and this is really happening. The client is back in control! 

Lesson’s from this is do your homework! Evaluate everything to make informed decisions. Finally, Free may have a cost!