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It’s the rest, not the best, that’s the problem

The Brooking Institute’s Martin Neil Baily and Nicholas Montalbano considered the causes of the current global productivity puzzle recently

“The most promising sign for future growth is that the most productive firms are growing faster than the rest – the frontier is still moving out – but the diffusion of best practices is not pulling the rest of industry along”

Of the many reasons on offer, this could well be the most likely explanation of the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ afflicting most developed nations at present

Lack of cash and/ or confidence and knowhow to improve productivity is preventing some 80% of organisations in any sector and 80% of sectors in any economy from doing the needful to keep up with the best

There’s no doubt that huge (> 20%) productivity improvements could be made if laggards per sector upped their game, for the benefit of all their employees and home nations

They just need help to show them the way and the rewards on offer

However, naysayers believe there’s some hidden law of large populations, as per the normal distribution, which says there will always be a 20% vanguard in any sector and the laggard 80% rest will always perform at significant levels below them

It’s a fact of life that some are more talented, motivated and fitter than others

Fortunately, it’s human instinct to want to climb ladders and do better – and global competition keeps most G7/ G20 private sector managers on their toes

So most in the laggard 80% will not be standing still most of the time

It’s just some people are more ambitious than others

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