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What does it take to improve our productivity?

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Productivity per capita in New Zealand is very poor, says Jamie Ford, human resource development specialist and facilitator of the University of Auckland Executive Education course Learning Resilience and Optimism. “Looking at the long-term picture, this is the elephant in the room. Since the fifties, when we were doing pretty well, we have slipped back to 32nd in the OECD.”

It’s not just our economy that’s struggling, either. According to a recent McKinsey report, weak productivity growth is raising alarms at a time when advanced economies depend on increased productivity to promote long-term economic growth and prosperity.1

One reason for these poor productivity statistics is that many organisations are not managing the crucial transformation to a more agile way of working. In fact, that same report says, a staggering 74% of transformation projects fail.

Why? Jamie says it is because the organisations’ structure and people cannot adapt to change, accommodate the new world order, and move with the times.

The answer, he says, is for leaders and managers to develop a resilient mindset, and foster this mindset in every individual who works for the organisation.

A resilient mindset can cope with adversity, is adaptable, creative and optimistic. And it has a huge impact on productivity. Extensive evidence-based research into sales productivity shows that resilient sales and marketing professionals outperform the less resilient by significant margins.

So can resilience and optimism be taught? Absolutely, Jamie says. In his course, he explains:

  • What makes up a resilient and optimistic mindset
  • How your current level of resilience has been formed
  • How to develop and enhance your resilience and optimism skills
  • How to apply these skills to your life and work

One participant commented:

“This course taught me that resilience is an essential capability to ensure success in both your personal and professional life. The course covers a range of engaging practical exercises and academic theories when facing adversity and also leveraging your successes. I left feeling stronger within myself and excited for the future.”
Sarah Caro – Candidate Vetting & Onboarding | Payroll – People Solutions Centre at Air New Zealand

Jamie Ford facilitates the Executive Education course Learning resilience and optimism

1.Solving the Productivity Puzzle: the role of demand and the promise of digitization. McKinsey Global Institute, February 2018


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