Business leaders tend to think of "efficiency" and "productivity" as two sides of the same coin. When it comes to strategy, however, efficiency and productivity are very different. At a time when so many companies are starved for growth, leaders must bring a productivity mindset to their business and remove obstacles to workforce productivity. This view differs substantially from the relentless focus on efficiency that has characterised management thinking for most of the past three decades, but it is absolutely essential if companies are going to spur innovation and reignite profitable growth. The common definition of labour efficiency is: "The number of labour hours required to accomplish a given task, relative to an industry standard." The typical way of assessing efficiency is to compare the number of hours it takes to produce a given product or service with those usually required. Improving efficiency is about doing the same with less as companies find ways to reduce the time r...

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