This week, I had the pleasure of meeting delegates from another 35 companies at Lancaster University and Bath University Management Schools, supporting the continued roll out of the Productivity through People programme. We considered the UK productivity gap with the other G7 economic powerhouses and tried to work out the puzzle that sits behind behind the 18% gap. We talked about three key issues:

  1. Good management practices – underpinned by good people practices, account for between third and half of variations in business productivity according to global research.
  2. We can learn from each other – Larger businesses, often cross border multinationals (US are the best) have better management practices and productivity, than smaller businesses.
  3. Our SMEs are vital to the UK economy – About half of the UK annual national income is generated by small and medium businesses, and provide 60% of private sector jobs.

I have met over 75 SME leaders so far in the PTP programme and I never cease to be impressed with their tenacity and resilience. I am convinced that we have the solution within ourselves. Sharing best people practice, through collaboration and shared learning between all types and sizes of businesses, supported by expertise from our world class university management schools, will improve bottom line performance. It’s hard work – but the leaders I’ve met so far are not afraid of that.


The PTP programme will continue to cascade regionally throughout the UK in 2018.