Productivity is a ‘neutral’ measure – it doesn’t come with praise or blame attached.  To understand the reasons behind the figures we have to dig deeper, sometimes much deeper, than the headlines.

For example, we might read that the construction industry has had a poor quarter in terms of measured productivity – but a scratch of the surface might reveal that bad weather caused lots of projects to be delayed and/or mothballed.

Such ‘environmental factors’ are chance events …. or are they.  If we know that every winter the construction industry loses a large part of its productivity, wouldn’t we expect them to do something about it – rather than simply bemoan the fact.

Of course they can’t change the weather … but there are always things that can be done to ameliorate the effects.  Those things might not be cost effective … but a little imagination and ingenuity should identify strategies for coping with cold, wet, frost or whatever.

So, when people (and industries) say , “We’ve been unlucky”,  don’t take it at face value.  Challenge them to make their own luck in future.