Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To err is human!

To err is certainly human, however, to continually err is also primarily a human trait.

I recently picked up a copy of the December 09 edition of the Arabian Business International that had the words "25 smartest banks" noted on its cover. I wondered, would people consider it an oxymoron? Would the publishers have it there to generate interest or controversy? Would the reasoning be the lowest common denominator, more sales = more $'s?

I think about the financial sector and contemplate the same about the Auto Industry and try to dissect what has happened. I remain conflicted!

As a realist I must confess, I understand the logic behind the bailout's and the safeguards in places for these behemoth's, however, as an academic I remain at odds. The humanist in me would support saving these white elephants to ensure the people associated with them do not lose all they have, however, the economic theorist and philosopher in me would talk about self-correction or quite simply, the survival of the fittest.

The capitalist economy is built on self-correction and as we continually see the rise and fall of a variety of companies, industries and ways of doing business, so should we in these cases, right? If the organizations do not cater to the needs of the here and now, would it be any better to invest further into them, when I would suggest their fall may pave the way for a better more agile organization?

I would go as far as even proposing that saving these corporates keeps the economy stagnant as their change making capabilities would be insignificant in relative comparison to the current economic climate. This would basically dig us further into a hole, as we would have leveraged the public sector into a private sector black hole.

The humanist in me quarrels with this ideology as it wants to see people safe in their homes and then I ask, are we being fair? Large failing corporates are being provided with financial support, saving at the very least a %age of the jobs that could have been lost due to their bankruptcy; what about the countless others, SMB's and home businesses alike, that have had to shut down due to a limping purchasing capacity. Are we to decide who's life is worth more saving? Yes, I do recognize there are tax cuts and other such financial aids being introduced simultaneously, however, when does it filter down to the common man or woman?

Self-correction in the economy is required. It is the way this economic profile has been built. To try and bolster it with monies, only prolongs what we already know needs to happen. GM has started cutting itself down, so has parts of the financial sectors with M&A's and overall integrated portfolio's, however, its slow. Would a quick shift over have been better? What would be the short vs. long term horizons for each?

There are a lot smarter people than I out there making these decisions, but to them I ask, if we do this now, what does that say about the foundations of an economic system that cannot self-sustain itself? Is it flawed as well?

And on that note, I do apologize for the unplanned hiatus, however, I hope to continue blogging, now that I can do so with my additional appendage, the infernal berry, of course!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Leadership vs. Management; People vs. Staff

Is it just me or are we all getting tired of these various nomenclatures? People vs. Staff, Leadership vs. Management, Coaching & Mentoring vs. Directing, etc. etc. Are we doing ourselves any favours?

I would argue that, no matter what words tend to make up the styles that are brought to the workforce, they need to be on behalf and in benefit of the organization and the people within it. I have said this before and I will say it again, People are the strongest resource of the organization and they are the weakest. They can make or break the organization.

Manager's from varying cultures, diverse groups, across sectors & varying industries alike, need to recognize that the people that work in these organizations are just that, people! Why do we tend to forget that, when we go into the office? People need to be recognized, need to be valued and need to have pride developed into their work. They are all contributing members of the workforce and should be recognized as such.

People tend to lose focus, lose interest and tend to have the punch card mentality we so often detest. Yet, we (the collective "we" - Manager's) do very little to find out what the issues are, what the collective wisdom is, what the solutions are, etc. Why is it so difficult for Leader's to collaborate? Wait, let me rephrase that - Why is it so difficult for Leader's to collaborate with their own people, not always individuals they would consider in the higher echelon's and/or within their own rank and file? We talk a big game, teach our up and coming Manager's the same, but do we really put actions behind those words? I would suggest not.

Every great king had a successful knight; every great President, a successful Minister; similarly every great Manager, a successful employee. After all, people who lead successful people are inherently successful. It says something about a leader and/or a manager, who has the capacity and the capability to lead an army of intelligent, hard working shining stars.

The day we stop talking and the day we start walking the talk, is the day we can hope for a better environment for the people that work for & with us. This is an interesting topic and I hope to discuss it further along the lines of the various theories bouncing around my head:
- The Manager - The rise & fall
- The Employee - The new styles
- The Union - The word that no one utters
- The Leader - Dictator or Mentor?
- ...

Stay tuned.. More to come on this as the thoughts percolate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lucy no more, Here comes Ida

So, I see Google has changed their page today to reflect the latest find in our anthropological gene pool that speaks to our ancestry. Or does it?

I have to say, I am not one to get into a debate about Darwinism vs. Religion, however, you do have to wonder, if we really did evolve from our furry friends, whatever happened to us as we moved forward.

Humanity is the evolved species, the animal on the top of the food chain, not to mention the one that sticks out in the primordial soup. Are we that evolved though? We walk upright, we have opposable thumbs, we can eat almost any other animal or plant, etc. etc. Does that qualify us as the evolved species?

I sometimes wonder. Each day I find out new reasons as to why humanity is not what its all cracked up to be. How can a living being, that has no sense or thought for its fellow being and can commit such horrific atrocities be on top of any chain? Its awkward and quite egotistical of us to think that just because we speak in a certain way and can bully our way through mother nature, we are it.

Let's not get preachy, this blog was never intended to do that, and I am no saint, but I wonder sometimes and I hope, we are evolved enough to be humbled by the fact that we are in an abyss and the thirst of knowledge should drive us further, reaching out to new vistas and exploring our visions, well beyond our limited focal points of view. I hope we recognize the complexities in the simplicities of life, and take pleasure in the beauty that surrounds us.

Smell the roses folks, and if you don't like roses, find something else that suits your fancy.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
- Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, May 15, 2009

What's in a name?

So, why this name? Why a blog? Why now?

If you can't beat it, join it! I have yet to buy into the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon and am yet to be sold on this form of communication, however, here I am. The concept of managing information in this medium is lost to say the least, let alone the random content that at times now receives prominence in an already crowded world tends to be questionable at best.

The argument of the open nature of this medium is well made, i.e. literature, broadcast media, freedom of speech, etc. etc. have taken a new form. Content is king (or queen)! The problem I have however is, that the quality of the content, in my humble opinion, has gone down. Again, that's not fair either, as I would suggest that the quality of the rich content never actually went down, only got lost in the world, we now know as the web, which has a rooming house, a boarding house, a dorm, or even a shoe sized box for any tom, dick or harry (why those names, I never understood!).

So.. Why am I here? What can you expect from me? And more specifically, what can you expect from me through this interface? Well, if you know me and have met me, you probably know of my quirky nature of being a straight shooter. Well, here it is folks; the straight shooter is going virtual and is bringing his thoughts in a wider forum for everyone's consumption. Random musings, random thoughts, from literature to culture, from politics to bureaucracy, from public to private, join me in my exploration of the depths of nothingness to the heights of infinity.

Oh and if you are asking, why the name? Well, its funny; blogspot has a lot of names already taken and the one's I preferred, are no longer available and then I happened by Ideo Locator. It caught my attention, spoke to my ego and prefaced what I wanted to say. For those of you not in the know, Ideo Locator is what we know as the "you are here" arrow on traditional maps.

A couple of quick administrivia items; this blog can be sent to you over e-mail (I'm a traditionalist and still believe in that good ol form, however, most people I know, would throw my BlackBerry out the closest window), commentary is moderated (are you surprised, with some of the stuff that gets posted these days) and this is a work in progress.

Finally, welcome to my blog, or should I say a blog that I am now vacationing in, and will decide on the permanent residence when the time is right.