Companies missing opportunities to boost workgroup productivity

From: Adaptation Ltd
Published: Sun Mar 04 2007

Almost all boards and management teams are missing exciting opportunities to transform corporate performance by better exploiting know-how and using job support tools to boost productivity. Not one organisation of those visited by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas during the latest stage of a continuing investigation was helping its people to adopt the approaches of high performers.

According to Coulson-Thomas, a Professor at the University of Lincoln, a new generation of practical support tools (see incorporating critical success factors and how high performers operate promise dramatic improvements in both understanding and achievement. Based on the experiences of an A B C D E F of companies as varied as Avaya, B&Q, Cisco, Dana, Eyretel and Friends Provident he believes they represent the next ‘big idea’ in management.

Coulson-Thomas explains: "These pioneers have used knowledge-based support tools to transform business win rates, launch new products and build supply chain quality. They can enable greater delegation and more bespoke responses in complex and regulated areas."

Prof. Coulson-Thomas believes the evidence is compelling: "In relation to winning business, returns of over 20 times an initial investment can be quickly achieved. In addition to higher success rates, orders have been brought forward and dramatic reductions have been made in the number of specialist support staff required to accompany sales teams in the field."

Overall, the Professor believes "Business executives need to ensure effective acquisition, development, sharing and exploitation of information, knowledge, understanding and the approaches of high performers occurs within the areas for which they are responsible, and that their people are supported with appropriate knowledge based tools."

Coulson-Thomas, author of ‘The Knowledge Entrepreneur’ which summarises the investigations main findings suggests: "A designated person should be made personally accountable for corporate effectiveness at acquiring, creating, sharing and exploiting knowledge. Specific opportunities need to be assessed and important workgroups equipped with the support tools they need to do their jobs and achieve their objectives."

Simply providing people with relevant knowledge may not be sufficient. Coulson-Thomas points out "They may also require tools to help them use and apply it. Practical knowledge-based tools can transform workgroup productivity by increasing understanding, incorporating critical success factors, communicating best practice and sharing the essence of how superstars operate."

Coulson-Thomas warns: "In competitive markets companies cannot afford to miss opportunities to boost workgroup productivity. There is an urgent requirement for knowledge entrepreneurs who know how to acquire, develop, package, share, manage and exploit information, knowledge and understanding and introduce related job support tools."

There is little excuse for further inaction. ‘The Knowledge Entrepreneur’ provides lists of possible commercial ventures, along with detailed checklists for identifying and analysing opportunities, exercises for assessing entrepreneurial potential and ‘scoping’ possible knowledge-based services, and guidance on using support tools.

‘The Knowledge Entrepreneur’ by Colin Coulson-Thomas (Kogan Page, £22.50, Hardback, 0 7494 3946 7, 240 pages plus CD-Rom) can be ordered by: Tel. 01903 828800; Fax. 020 7837 6348; E-mail: or from

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas is an active consultant and an experienced chairman of award winning companies. He has reviewed the processes and practices of over 100 companies and helped over 100 boards to improve board and corporate performance. He can be contacted by Tel: +44 (0)1733 361149; Email: or via or
Company: Adaptation Ltd
Contact Name: Colin Coulson-Thomas
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Contact Phone: +44(0)1733361149

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