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I received many interesting and valuable responses from the people on LinkedIn to the above question, and summarised the most important thoughts below.

One thing is clear: productivity does not depend on a job title or even a C-level position, but is rather a pervasive mind-set in the culture of a business.

Here are the comments:

The responsibility to make sure that time is spent productively lies with the individual but the responsibility to create a space where the individual can be productive lies with his/her manager. (Stephan Pieterse)

I believe if each employee has a space of influence due to their either limited or expanded leadership role, each individual is responsible for productivity. (Hendrik Crafford)

The  responsibility lies with both the senior leadership of the organization and every employee of an organization. The CEO is responsible to create the vision for the organization and a path for it to achieve this vision. Productivity has to be part of this vision and needs to be included as a clearly stated, measurable goal for the organization. This will be an enabler to drive a culture where productivity is at the forefront of the organizations actions.  Once the direction has been set by the senior leadership team it is up to each and every employee (at all levels) to ensure productivity is increased in every function. The above approach highlights the need for a corporate culture where productivity is engrained. Once an organization achieves this level of integration there is not need for someone with the title of CPO as each employee becomes a CPO of the organization. (Hauke Schupp)

Making one person responsible for an objective tends to create an environment where other people feel less responsible for that objective. If managing productivity is identified as a strategic objective, then the CEO needs to get all his business leaders to make it their responsibility. (Glen Hurlow)

With any system (and every business is a system), the two main contributors to the productivity of that system are the PROCESSES and the PEOPLE. At the process level, it is a necessity that proper processes are built, implemented, adhered to, and continuously improved. For all processes, it is required that a ‘process owner’ (typically a senior-level executive) be responsible for that process. However, even with systems/processes that are in perfect working order the overall productivity of an organization is highly dependent on the ability of co-workers to stay out of busyness and to perform the required work in a productive manner. (Brad Semp)

Who has the responsibility for increasing productivity? I believe that everyone does. Top management has the responsibility for setting the productivity goals that they want. Employees all have the responsibility for trying to meet the productivity goals set by top management, utilizing the methods designed by the productivity engineering group. (Yuri Tan)

I think the CPO has merit. It must be a C-level position filled by a person who can speak truth to power.  In small companies…perhaps a coach or consultant under contract as the CPO would work better.  In larger companies the constraints can be systemic. Focus and authority by a C-level executive trained in change management and modern productivity concepts could be the catalyst needed to take that next step (or leap depending on the opportunity). (Jeff Roblyer)

If it the assembly line, the assembly line manager is responsible. If it is in sales, the sales manager is in charge. If it is a small business, the owner is responsible. (Harry Husted)

In my opinion, bottom-line responsibility starts at the top with management clearly defining the roles, responsibilities and expectations. (Lori Cohen)

Every manager, no matter what position or area of expertise, has 3 responsibilities:

1. To increase sales.

2. To cut costs.

3. To improve margins.

Every single task should be measured against those 3 objectives. If it doesn’t contribute to at least one item, then the question should be asked if it is worth doing. I still think that is some of the best advice that could be given to anyone in business.   I would also say that I think staff could also be encouraged to think along those lines. (Anthony Sutcliffe)

In my view every Business/ Department/ Unit Manager has the responsibility for increasing productivity in their department. (Judy Hojel)

CEO. (Mick Fynn)

And an interesting view from Les DeGroff:  Engineers and machinery salesmen, You want increasing productivity, automate the people out of the system, use energy and machines to multiply capabilities….”any color as long as it’s primer grey”.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed!

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