Month: August 2013
British and European investors are having a bad case of the jitters since it has become clear (well not explicit but I think clear nonetheless) that the US, UK & possibly France are going to get themselves involved in another Mid-East conflict. The FTSE100 fell 51 points on Tuesday 27th Aug. & a further 38 points on Wednesday 28th Aug. European markets also took a dip at the same time and the Dow fell 0.9%. All because the politicians just love a war.
The escalating tensions between those countries who want a military strike against the Assad regime and those opposed is being blamed for the stock markets unrest. Traders are concerned about the international free flow of goods and services and how any conflict might interrupt the flow. But spare a thought for the Mid-East markets, the Dubai general index fell 7% on the back of conflict fears.
All those pensions!
And anyone who thinks conflict offers an opportunity, think again. Oil production in Libya has fallen by over 60% since liberation! And the reason, continuing tensions and rivalries in country, strikes and increase security issues. Yup that was a worthwhile conflict. No peace, massively reduced economic activity, a generation lost to education, and the rest of the world will end up propping up a fallen nation.
So the lesson to be learnt surely is avoid the conflict. At least from an economic perspective.
So what might the other effects might be?
Well I suppose a military strike made without firm evidence of who might be responsible for any chemical attack within Syria could just confirm the view held in certain areas of the world that the West are without principal or resolve to do the right thing. They just don’t follow their own rules, yes that’s right the ones they expect everyone else to follow, the very same.
The real worry is the driving force behind this latest rattling of sabers is one David Cameron, UK PM. Yes, leader of the conservatives, that political party who are pro-business? Not only that but he does seem to dragging US President Obama along with him on the ‘need to do something’ train.
And the military strategy; surprise perhaps? No, press release after press release telling the world at large what they are thinking (planning) on doing. The military logic is astonishing. And what might happen, maybe the targets might move away from the targeted areas? I’ll leave you to figure it out.
So do I think that these threats might make Mr. Assad step down from office? No.
I’ve no doubt that the atrocities taking place daily in Syria will horrify most but, the duty to take action to stop such atrocities is qualified by the duty to ensure that any such action does not make matters even worse, that there is a clear strategic goal in mind and that such action is most likely to be in the best interests of those undertaking it. But this proposed strike at Syria meets not one of these conditions for responsible military action.
I wonder, are we to honestly believe that the proposed action is in any way to the benefit of the Syrian people, to the benefit of the Mid-East generally and to the benefit of international trade?
- Bombing Syria would make US pilots ‘Al-Qaeda’s air force’ – Kucinich (rt.com)
- How action over Syria risks unsettling fragile balance of power in the Middle East (independent.co.uk)
- UK PM Backs Down on ‘Urgent’ Syria Strikes Amid Growing Revolt (goldenageofgaia.com)
- UK political wrangling delays key vote on Syria strike (worldnews.nbcnews.com)
- U.S. Preparing for Syria Intervention (intlaffair.wordpress.com)
Success is funny kind of thing, we all want it but I have to ask do we actually know what it actually is?
The horse has probably bolted but it is perhaps important to realize that 1 in 6 employees in the UK suffers from stress, anxiety or depression at some point in their working lives. And what does this mean to the workplace? Well, disengaged employees is what it means and lots of time away from the workplace, or worse still lots of people in work under-performing is what it means.
The Third Metric is a term dreamt-up by the Huffington Post and it looks to be the next big topic of discussion. The term is related to how we measure success which previously has been power and money of variations thereof.
But if you think beyond money then the Third Metric is a valid metric. Its concerned with those factors of success beyond power and money, business leaders are encouraged to make smarter decisions aimed at making employees feel more valued and that they have a sustainable career nonetheless.
So how to define the Third Metric success factors:
The list gives an indication of those things that are affected either positively or negatively by work. They are affected by the consequences of work and feed-back into the quality of life of the employee.
Health is by no mistake the most important, #1 factor on the list. Good health is the platform on which power and income generation is based. Prolonged poor health invariably leads to time off work in treatment and recovery so success will almost with exception be affected, and often badly.
Businesses through the Third Metric may seek to address this by, for example giving discounted or even free gym membership or private medical insurance so that when the worst does happen that the employee is treated in better then state provided surroundings and consequently will feel valued. The pay-back should seem obvious albeit not measured in power and money terms.
The Future, The Third Metric
The workplace will change, that is an inevitability regardless of the macro economic situation. Innovations in treatments & therapies will mean quicker recovery times. Those businesses that address the issue of success and how it is measured through the lens of the Third Metric may well find that when the economics change that they are among those best placed to take best advantage.
- Arianna Huffington: Burnout: The Disease of Our Civilization (huffingtonpost.com)
- How do YOU Define Success? (zania.net)
- Taking the Third Metric Abroad: Redefining Success Goes Global (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
A long time ago I counted myself as an Anarchist. I marched under the banner of the black flag, considered myself to be a member of ClassWar and participated in Animal Liberation activities. Of course I was young and idealistic but nonetheless I still hold dear the idea that;
There is no authority other than my own.
Modern anarchist’s differ little to my understanding of what anarchy actually means to those who genuinely believe it is an alternative. Albeit I have modified my previous views to take account of the 62 million+ people presently living in Britain and how they might best live together in harmony (well at least without too much harm being done to one-another at any rate).
Anarchy is almost always incorrectly framed in the mass media. News broadcasts of rioters (could be anywhere on the planet) are frequently referenced as anarchists. This is simply a falsehood. Some may be anarchists but many are there just for trouble and have no particular political leaning, I’d probably call them nihilists.
Anarchy simply put is about bringing about social order without the imposition of rules. A high minded ideal, yes but nonetheless achievable in small like minded groups.
However, it is my honest view that employees and business can learn;
Employees should be encouraged to think for themselves. We are all conditioned from birth that there is an authority which must be obeyed. Well those who abandon this pattern can be the source of great innovation and improvements. Encourage it!
People who wish to change their world (the bit they can actually affect that is) have got to understand that they have to change themselves, change the way they think.
I’m quite certain that the loss of illusion will in some cases be quite terrifying, their minds will have to adapt, to learn to trust in their own thoughts. Never mourn the loss of chains, the only power that your boss has is the power you allow them to have. He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior (Confucius – and he knew a thing or two).
So… I say have authority over yourself, encourage others to have authority over themselves and work together for the good of all.
The Huffington Post has published a list of Inspirational Women. I’m a big, big, fan of women and I honestly believe that more women in the workplace would be a great thing, but probably just as importantly more women in the top jobs too.
Tina Fey: HuffPost UK Comedy Editor Andrea Mann picks the brilliant Tina Fey, adding: “She’s proof that women are just as funny and smart – and can be just as powerful – as men.”
Pussy Riot: Pussy Riot, not just the 3 members who were put on trial last year and imprisoned (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich) — but all of them. They are young, determined and are a demonstration of courage (although I doubt you would say fearless).
Mid and Long term growth is not something that will happen by simply taking an opportunistic approach to business. The profitability axiom applies: If you want to serve the customer with uniform Excellence, then you must FIRST effectively and faithfully serve those who serve the customer—i.e., our employees, via maximizing tools and professional development.
Simply put; regardless of the economic environment and cycle you find yourself in the #1 priority has got to be development of human capital! The only plausible strategy for higher wage businesses (those based in Europe and the USA I’m willing to speculate) is CHANGE, IMAGINATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP that will to stay ahead through product, service and process development and change rather than simply under-cutting through employment of low (nil) cost workforce’s. Somebody once said that necessity is the mother of invention.
Ask any of your cohorts, especially the CEO or CFO and I speculate that they see IT and equipment investment as a strategic necessity but training as a necessary evil. This as a strategic standpoint is simply unsustainable in the mid/long-term. All you have to understand is that military generals, sports coaches, symphony conductors…. well they obsess about training.
Its probably true that its much more satisfying and ego buffing to have your picture taken stood next to a shiny new machine but the attitude and ability of the operator is what drives profitability.
I’m not for one moment suggesting that the new machine isn’t important but the budget should address the human element, the cost and therefore benefit of training. And when they are trained, they should have a growth strategy in place. Every single person should be developed with the aim of leadership in mind, this after all is how the military, police, fire service and sports organisations function, so why not yours?
And while we’re at it, given that we ceaselessly lament the “leadership deficit,” it is an imperative, and just plain common sense, that we maximize the rate of development of women leaders at every level—little if anything has a higher priority. It is quite simply an outrage that this has not been the case until now—and is still not the case in far too many institutions.
The rapidly aging population additionally offers fantastic potential for development. The pool of skills, abilities and knowledge is almost immeasurable.
Sergeants run the army is a common enough phrase used in many management schools and training events, and so taking the logic of crowds it becomes obvious that development of the 1st-line manager or supervisor should be the de-facto starting point. The #1 priority for human capital development.
Over the coming years the nature of work which is already changing at a pace will nonetheless change even more rapidly and in ways previously un-thought. The vagueness of the near-present is almost upon us if not here already. So creativity of the innovative response is the only way to deal with the unknown.