Too many executive teams are focused on this quarter’s results – the results that will be pored over by stakeholders and analysts, eager for some sign of development, of improving fortunes, of higher profit potential.

The problem is that this narrow, short-term view tends to drive out the longer-term thinking that true strategic planning needs.

This thinking also encourages a silo mentality whereby each section or department concentrates on its own results – the overall result are therefore not optimised, they just fall out of there collective departmental results.

All of this should, of course, be negated by the connected factory or office as networked technologies provide the links necessary for connected thinking.  However, the technology cannot operate in a vacuum – it requires someone to set up the meaningful connections and to act on the information they produce.

On top of this technology, we need the ‘execution layer’ – a workforce that is recruited and trained to be engaged, participative, cooperative and continually developing.

So, the connected factory needs a connected workforce.  Employees need to engage with the technology and use it to assess their own performance and drive their own improvements.

An organisation that takes a longer-term, view of performance and productivity in pursuit of growth and long-term success  – and then creates an engaged and self-developing workforce – can push productivity and performance to new heights.