Dick Smythe was educated at Bolton School, graduated in pure mathematics and statistics at St Andrews University and then took a masters in Operations Research at Birmingham University • He became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, Operational Research Society, Institute of Management Services and the Institute of Physical Distribution Management • His career started with a scholarship from Dorman Long Steel on Teesside, working shifts on blast furnaces and steel mills before graduating and, afterwards, in their OR department – he subsequently moved to London to join the world-famous BISRA OR department, then part of British Steel, and was involved in their corporate planning and cost reduction programmes • During these earlier years, he became an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, serving on their coastal minesweepers, and a wing forward for Rosslyn Park RFC (n'th XV), playing mostly for their famed après-rugby • He was then recruited by Europe's leading consultancy of the day, PA Consulting Group, and went on to set up and grow their Productivity Services Division into a significant part of the business, becoming a PA director and sitting on their UK management consultancy board - whilst there, he led a joint study with the CBI into UK productivity, and presented the results on TV, radio and to the national press with Director General Sir John Banham - The Times leader commented: "It is refreshing to come across something that has its feet firmly planted on the ground" • Since then, he has mixed productivity consultancy work with playing the property and stock markets, skippering his own boat in the Fastnet and many other ocean yacht races and keeping his golf handicap down to single figures • He is happily married, has two sons and two grandchildren to date, and lives either by the Solent or at Marble Arch in London

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Author's posts

Mongrel, not pedigree, leaders needed now

Is there something rotten at the heart of UK (and G7/ EU) leadership quite apart from the lack of good measures and productivity knowhow with which they manage their economies? Indeed, why are their economies apparently so sclerotic these days, especially the UK despite their track record for empire building, starting the Industrial Revolution and …

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Human targets are best

In his book ‘Happiness’, Richard Layard points out that: ” People care most about their income relative to that of other people” i.e. more than the total itself He says most people would even be willing to accept a significant fall in their living standards as long as they could move up compared to other …

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PLG plugs a big productivity gap?

Whilst investment, innovation, competition and luck all play a significant part in the performance of any organisation, public as well as private, it is its management that has the most influence The same applies at national level with government ministers And if managers and ministers, whatever their level, are to do their jobs well they …

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Why only labour productivity?

Why do we measure just labour productivity when it’s the productivity of all costly input resources used together that matters most: Because we always have done – it was relatively easy to count in the old manufacturing days? Because if you produce more per worker, there’s more to share out to each worker – which …

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Happiness at work

Undoubtedly, productivity growth has made a huge difference to the quality of lives of billions of people, first by reducing work negatives – tasks that are dull, dirty, dangerous or difficult – and then increasing work positives by adding many more jobs which are interesting and fulfilling whilst also enhancing social lives with greatly improved …

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