The Human Factor

man-fingers-crossed

Businesses that don’t under the value of their human capital resources are in error.  In spite of the power of technology and automation, it takes people power to make business operations work.  Failing to understand this reality will leave an organization vulnerable to their competition. This week we will cover human factor buy-in, the last element in socio-technical systems.  

Organizations must shift their paradigm to viewing workers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives. Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, maintain that managers have a responsibility to effectively oversee their human resources which includes the people involved in the creation and distribution of goods and services. [1] Given this reality, the ability of managers to leverage their talent is crucial.  

Talent management is the process through which employers anticipate and meet the needs for human capital.[2]  Peter Cappelli, author of Talent Management, explains how mismanaging employees in organizations is problematic for an organization’s sustainable success:  “The failures in talent management includes mismatches between  supply and demand on the one hand, having too many employees, leading to layoffs and restructuring, and on the other hand, having too little talent, leading to talent shortage. [3] 

In the United States, talent management miscues fall into the following categories:  (a) Do Nothing Mode – makes no attempt to anticipate human resource needs and develops no plans for addressing them and (b) Reactive Mode – relies on outside hiring to meet human capital needs, but this approach has begun to fail now that the surplus of management talent has eroded. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTMs3hp-LFU

Trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationships in organizations.  Yet, many employees do not trust their organizations due to the lack of employment security in most companies.  According to a USA Today poll, nearly half of those interviewed said that corporations can be trusted only a little, or not at all, when it involves looking out for the best interest of employees.[4] 

Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson, authors of Leadership: A Communication Perspectives, argue that a leader’s credibility is directly related to the quality of his relationship with followers.[5] Marios Katsioloudes, a researcher specializing in Socio-technical analysis, explains that as profitability of mechanization increases, the importance of technology is implied while there is a devaluation of the workers. U.S. businesses cannot point to the lack of employee performance on a global front for mismanagement errors.[6]

Japan, a long-time benchmark for American companies, is being defeated by American employees; today, the average U.S. worker puts in 36 more hours per year than Japanese workers (1,825 vs. 1,789). 

Over the last two decades, balancing work and home life have been difficult since Americans have added 200 hours to their annual work schedule.[7] Employees want to be valued. 

Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of The Human Equation, acknowledges that organization success is directly related to implementation, and this capacity comes from the workers, how they are treated, their skills, and their efforts as it relates to the organization.[8] 

Leaders should see followers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives. Managers assume that giving employees new technology is enough to keep them happy. Likewise, leaders should view followers as a vital component of the socio-technical system. 

Discuss the concept of human factor buy-in for today’s organizations.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green                                    

 


[1] Contemporary Management by Gareth Jones and Jennifer George

[2] Talent Management by Peter Cappelli

[3] Talent Management by Peter Cappelli

[4] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[5] Leadership: A Communication Perspectives by Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson

[6] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[7] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[8] The Human Equation by Jeffrey Pfeffer

 

Technology Relevancy

Components of Technology

We can’t survive without technology.  Are we too dependent on it?  When the computer network is down in our office, it’s a pretty wasted day because we are paperless.  Yet, you won’t find many modern organizations that can operate when their technology malfunctions. 

This week we will focus on technology relevancy as part of the three practical applications (i.e. value modeling, technology relevancy, and human factor buy-in) in socio-technical systems.  

Organizations must understand that technology needs to be relevant as it relates to benefiting the whole socio-technical system.  Technology relates to the combination of skills and equipment that managers use in the design, production, and distribution of goods and services.[1]   

Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, argue the significance of technology forces on organizations:  “Technological forces can have profound implications for managers and organizations. Technological change can make established products obsolete….”  The graveyard of many businesses is littered with numerous failed opportunities of senior executives to understand market shifts and technology opportunities.   

As an engineer myself, we are taught to use theory in order to build, design, and operate technical systems, whether mechanical, digital, or otherwise. Sometimes this creates a technical superiority over the other components of this socio-technical system. 

Organizations should obtain input from employees to ensure that the organization has not only the best technology for its operations but the right technology.[2]  This sharing of information can only come with mutual trust of leaders and followers.  Gary Yukl, author of Leadership in Organizations, notes, “Empowerment is more feasible when there is a high level of mutual trust…Leaders can affect the psychological employment of followers in many ways, and participative leadership and delegation are only two of the relevant behaviors .”[3] 

There have been numerous cases where organizations have purchased new technology to solve a problem or to become more efficient when a simple conversation with impacted employees would have produced better results at a lower cost. Therefore, organizations should invest their time in identifying the relevant technologies for their socio-technical system in a participatory manner.    

Discuss the concept of technology relevancy for today’s organizations. 

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green                                    


[1] Jones, G.  & George, J. (2009). Contemporary Management

[2] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[3]Leadership in Organizations by Gary Yukl

 

 

Guest Blogger – To Walk the Global Walk, Talk the Global Talk

blind-leading-blind 

The Walk  

The ‘walk’ refers to global development process that precedes communication. Leaders know how to attract followers.  It is the hope that they are able to lead effectively, especially leading those within their own organization, in their home countries.  But what happens when the boundaries expand abroad?  Does the level or type of leadership change?  Indeed it does. 

A key leadership attribute of the twenty-first century leader will be the ability to see the world and the workplaces with a global mindset[1]. There is a principle of relativity in culture; experience is something people project on the outside world as they gain it in a culturally determined form[2]

Leaders of organizations must learn to be global leaders when making the efforts to expand beyond the home country.  Research needs to be done; they should educate themselves about the area of interest and their cultural practices.  Having that knowledge can give a global leader the winning edge when developing staff in other areas of the world. 

With the lack of knowledge, come challenges.  Sometimes global leadership is not successful due to the minimal research and information acquired prior to organizational expansion.  It is wise for global leaders to be mindful of these potential barriers.

Acquiring personal literacy can give the global leader aggressive insight on key cultural behaviors[3]. The global leader should understand the culture to the point where he/she can almost walk in the shoes of a person who lives in the country abroad.  The global leader should: 

1)    Immerse oneself in the target culture

2)    Train future leaders as global citizens, and

3)    Involve everybody in the organization’s global strategy at the right time[4]

The Talk  

Culture is communication and communication is culture[5].  There are several modes of communication from which a global leader can choose and determine is most effective.  If the global leader is very familiar with the cultural practices of the partner country it may be easier for them to decide what works and what does not. 

For the global leader who is experiencing global outreach to a specific country for the first time, further research and opportunities to understand the culture may be required; additionally, learning through trial and error may become the platform from which the global leaders will acquire which communication strategies are most effective. 

The most important thing is to ensure that the message spoken is equivalent to the message received.  As mentioned previously, people of other countries can misconstrue the language of Westerners.  Global leaders must be aware of how receptive others are to active (direct) or passive (indirect) speech. 

Sometimes the direct speech Westerners often have is taken as rude and disrespectful in, for example, Asian cultures.  Global leaders must talk the same talk of the people in the country in which they plan to expand; otherwise, organizational failure is imminent. 

All of this to say, global leaders should learn effective ways to communicate with remote agencies in countries that are different from that of the home country.  When leaders are presented with organizational goals that are used to build or expand the organization, it becomes a greater challenge when achieve those goals may require remote modes of communication. 

Whether written, spoken or non-verbal, types and modes of communication are influenced by the culture in which we communicate. Global leaders must recognize the appropriate global walk or processes needed to maintain effective global leadership.  Also, they must utilize different ways to communicate to ensure that their businesses and organizational processes are running smoothly.  In order for leaders to walk the global walk, they have to also talk the global talk! 

What are some other ways organizations can be successful as they cross global boundaries?

ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER

JaniceArmstrong_headshot_WEB 

 Dr. Janice A. Armstrong is a leadership consultant, lifestyle coach, and owner of LiHK Consulting, LLC, based in the Washington, D.C. area. She received her Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, with a focus in Leadership Coaching, from Regent University.  Her background in counseling psychology and leadership development fostered her love for leadership and lifestyle coaching. 

Dr. Armstrong provides a wealth of personal and professional development information that has been built over 18 years of training, professional, and organizational development experience. She has shared her knowledge and experiences in her book, “From the Street to the Executive Suite: Remixing Street Smarts and Life Lessons into Leadership Success.”

 

© 2013 LiHK Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.


[1] Marquardt, M.J. & Berger, N.O. (2000). Global Leaders for the 21st century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, p. 19

[2] Hall, E.T. (1959), p. 187

[3] Rosen, R., Digh, P, Singer, M., Phillips, C. () Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures. New York: Simon & Schuster, p. 61.

[4] Zweifel, T.D. (2003). Culture Clash: Managing the Global High-Performance Team. New York: SelectBooks, p. 72-73.

[5] Hall, E.T. (1959). The Silent Language. New York: Random House, p. 186

Leveraging Talent Advantages During Disrupted Change

talent-management-photo

In his book 32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business, Earvin “Magic” Johnson notes how he developed his entrepreneurial spirit, took advantage of business opportunities, and used his economic power as a force for social change.

As a megastar with the Los Angele Lakers in the 80’s, Magic soon established himself as one of the best to ever play in the NBA.  Unlike other super-athletes who failed to make the transition from superdom after their prime, Magic used his athletic platform to give him access to some of the most successful business leaders in the world.

Loaded with the internal business drive he inherited from his father, Magic began to use his athletic instincts to his advantage in the business world.  Magic found power in building on his core strengths, not being consumed with his weaknesses:  “Rarely can you turn a weakness into a strength. Greatness is achieved by building on strengths and managing your weaknesses so they do not matter.”

Sadly, many professionals are also succumbed by their weaknesses too.  Rev. Joe Tolbert, a dynamic motivational speaker, warns about how culture influences our personal perceptions:  “The world teaches us to focus on weaknesses rather than strengths.” Given the tremendous financial turbulence in the world, today’s leaders need to focus on their talent management if they are to survive.  In this blog, I will examine the concept of talent management.

Talent management is a critical asset for high-performing organizations in a global economy. In fact, finding the best talent and retaining the best people in a business will eventually overtake many other advantages such as technology and capital.  Talent power will rule the future economy.

Talent management is defined as the process through which employers anticipate and meet their needs of human capital.  Yet, employees cannot dismiss talent management as only an employer’s duty.

Since the post-World War II era, workers have enjoyed a lifetime employment model where workers were assured of financial stability.  That is not the case today where younger workers can expect to change jobs frequently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRjNHIGlykk

Peter Cappelli, author of Talent on Demand, outlines the dangers of poor talent management. In the past, with a good economy, American businesses could afford to mismanage their talent pool.  Today’s businesses often are short-sided and do not want to develop internal talent; instead, they are depending on others for their talent.

Cappelli explains, “Relying on outside hiring seems to fly in the face of the imperative that organizations should be engaged in knowledge management practices that capture and organize what they know about their operations to improve performance.”  However, these failures in managing this talent pool are often negative.  For example, having too many employees leads to layoffs and restructuring, while having to too few talented people leads to talent shortages.

John Wiedmer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer, authors of America’s Bubble Economy, wisely forecasted the bursting of America’s bubble in 2008 while other economists were predicting economic fortune for all.  In fact, the authors now predict that an even bigger financial cliff is ahead for the world.  However, they advocate the importance of talent management: “The fall of America’s Bubble Economy will shake up many industries, drive businesses into bankruptcy, derail countless careers, and force dramatic numbers of workers into temporary unemployment.  It will also create thousands of successful companies that don’t currently exist, lead all sorts of people to rethink their life’s work, and make many entrepreneurs and investors fabulously wealthy.”

Most firms would prefer to invest in technology and automation to reduce their labor cost or outsource their labor needs abroad to obtain cheaper resources.  In the case of talent management, these short-term gains can be fatal.  Cappelli further argues for strengthening talent management in organizations: “Growing competition in product markets further weakens the traditional talent management model by sharply increasing the uncertainty associated with planning.”  Therefore, talent management becomes a vital component of corporate strategies for businesses that desire sustainable growth.

Discuss the concepts of talent management for today’s businesses.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Globalization’s Unintended Consequences for Americans

global-sourcing-man-strategy

Even in fun, you should see the obvious.  Last fall, my wife and I went on a cruise to the Caribbean.  During this seven day adventure, we visited several countries that catered to our whims as Americans. 

Yet, the impacts of globalization were obvious on the cruise ship.  Both the passengers and the cruise staff appeared to operate within their own cultural preferences when not having to succumb to the dominant culture.  

There were several occasions where there was multiple languages being spoken in the same area which provided a different backdrop to me as an American.  We were all interconnected but yet apart. 

Global forces continue to change business operations and society as a whole.  The results of globalization mean that countries, businesses, and people become interdependent.  Organizations typically pass through four stages to international commerce: The domestic stage, the international stage, the multi-national stage, and the global stage. In search of more profitability, companies send many of their business functions abroad in an attempt to obtain cheaper resources (i.e. labor) for products or services.  

Should globalization change our thinking as Americans too? In the 1960s, the United States was a megastar internationally, accounting for 66.3% of worldwide foreign direct investments. As globalization began to open barriers to the free flow of commerce, non-U.S. firms sought to increase production activities to establish a presence in major foreign markets.  

Given these changes, things started happening.  In 2009, non-U.S. firms accounted for 14.1% of the stock foreign investments with the majority of these firms based in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, India, and China.  Charles Hill, author of International Business, notes:  “The world may be moving toward a more global economic system, but globalization is not inevitable. Countries may pull back from their recent commitment to liberal economic ideology if their experiences do not match their expectations.”

 

Of course, globalization is not all good. America was once the center of all important business transactions internationally.  However, now there is an emergence of other key global partners.  Brazil, Russia, India, and China are becoming dominate providers of products and services abroad. 

With the threat of outsourcings, many Americans are worried about job opportunities.   Richard Daft, author of Management, further argued about the impacts of globalization: “For today’s managers, the whole world is a source of business threats and opportunities.” Should U.S. parents worry about their children’s future given the declining role of the United States in the global environment? 

Today’s American students are not doing better than their parents as it relates to education.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranks fourth worst among 29 developed countries for children obtaining a higher level of education than their parents.  

Only 21.6% of those 25 to 34 years old achieved a higher level of education than their parents in the United States. That compares to an OECD average of 36.8%.  Consequently, current and future U.S. workers will be vulnerable to the consequences of globalization.  Unfortunately, many politicians, executives, and media pundits do not have a long-term perspective about the opportunities and threats related to globalization.  They should! 

Discuss the opportunities and threats associated with globalizations and how emerging leaders can compete.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Global Human Capital

 

I watch and listened. Industry Leader Yasir Abdulrahman was sharing with my undergraduate class an overview of cross cultural interests as it relates to operating a business in the Middle East. Yasir explained how some managers from the U.S. had gone abroad without understanding cultural sensitivity.  It was a fatal mistake.  

Companies cannot afford to make these kinds of errors in a global environment.  After Yasir’s dynamic presentations, I knew that emerging U.S. leaders would need a broader global perspective in order to achieve future business success. 

Across the world, there is a search for talented and gifted employees.  Some companies hope they may hire the next Steve Jobs of Apple. In fact, having the right management strategy can elevate a country’s financial well-being. India and China flecks their mighty muscle due to the dominance of their outsourcing efforts.  

Countries attempt to invest more in their own educational system in order to better manage their own talented management system.  Countries seek to find strategic gaps. For example, foreign countries now hold more than $12 trillion in U.S. assets, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and more financial elements.[1] 

In fact, Japan and China are very motivated to support the American dollar so that Americans will continue to buy their goods, thus keeping their citizens working.  At a low scale, companies attempt to search for this talent with a lens of also attracting more cheap labor.

Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, explains that even with over 23 million people unemployed, companies argue they cannot find qualified workers.  According to the Manpower Group analysis, 52% of U.S. employers state they have a difficult time filling positions because of the talent shortage.[2] 

Cappelli suggest that employers are making unrealistic expectations in the process:  “Many people, especially pundits in the business press, seem to have what we might call a Home Depot view of the hiring process, in which filling a job vacancy is seen as akin to replacing a part in a washing machine….Like a replacement part, job requirements have very precise specifications. Job candidates must fit them perfectly or the job won’t be filled and the business can’t operate.”[3]

However, people aren’t machine. They aren’t perfect.  Yet, organizations maintain this Home Depot mentality and allow job positions to be unfilled until the arrival of that perfect candidate.

Human Resource Management (HRM) requires that organizations manage their workforce strategically.  Charles Hill, author of International Business, explains, “Irrespective of the desire of managers in many multinationals to build a truly global enterprise with a global workforce, the reality is the HRM practices still have to be modified.”[4]

With the significant differences between countries in labor markets, economic systems, legal systems, and other perimeters, managers must adapt their operations with an international perspective.  Consequently, staffing policies must be adjusted in order to select the right employees for the jobs that best fits the specific countries, whether a domestic employee who is being transferred or by hiring locally. 

In both cases, organizations must seek to ingrain their corporate culture even on foreign soil. John Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer, author of America’s Bubble Economy, sees an opportunity for individuals who understand the economic climate: “The fall of America’s Bubble Economy will shake up many industries, drive businesses into bankruptcy, derail countless careers, and force dramatic numbers of workers into temporary unemployment. It will also create thousands of successful companies that don’t currently exist, lead all sorts of people to rethink their life’s work, and make many, many alert entrepreneurs and investors fabulously wealthy.”[5] Therefore, organizations that can effectively recruit, manage, and retain a global workforce will have a clear advantage in the marketplace.

What does talent management mean in a global environment? How do individuals capitalize on the global trend for talent? 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green                                    


[1] America’s Bubble Economy by John Wedemer, Robert Wedemer, and Cindy Spitzer

[2] Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli

[3] Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli

[4] International Business by Charles Hills

[5] America’s Bubble Economy by John Wedemer, Robert Wedemer, and Cindy Spitzer

Emerging Markets

I remember listening to Kenny Rogers sing “The Gambler” growing up in my community.  As many of you know, Rogers is a country artist.  I was well aware that if my friends knew I listened to country music, I would have lost my ‘cool card’ among my rapped-crazed peers.  Today, the lyrics of “The Gambler” still guide my business strategy. 

“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done
Every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep” 
 

If most senior leaders would guide themselves with this simple lyric, their organizations would be better off.  For example, you find a good spot in the lake where there are an abundance of fish.  You keep this secret, but then start sharing it with a few friends. Sadly, the word gets out about your special spot.  

Finally, you find yourself squeezed out from your favorite spot.  It’s a hot spot now.  The fish are being topped out.  Yet, people continue to fish there despite obtaining less fish and requiring more time to get the same results.  Even though you love the spot and have a sentimental connection with this area, you abandon this location and move to another unknown location that shows plenty of potential.  You moved not because you wanted to move; you moved because you are a fisherman who loves catching fish. 

Likewise, today’s businesses are operating abroad in order to catch more fish and obtain more profitability.  U.S. multinational companies, like Coke Cola and McDonalds, realize that America’s market is pretty saturated and riddled with hypercompetitions.  

How many more burgers or cokes can Americans continue to consume?  Additionally, companies hope to lower their costs by searching for a lower cost labor force.  Charles Hill, author of International Business, suggests that outsourcing is systematic:  “By doing this, companies hope to lower their overall cost structure or improve the quality or functionality of their product offering, thereby allowing them to compete more effectively.”[1] Therefore, emerging markets become more attractive. 

The fragility of today’s world’s economies demands that businesses act more prudently and decisively about their market strategies. Emerging markets, which were once stigmatized with the name ‘Third World’ markets, will be a dominate player in the world’s future economy.

 

The top four emerging markets include China, Brazil, India, and Russia.  According to Goldman Sach’s projects, these countries will overtake the seven largest industrialized countries (United States, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, and Canada) by 2040.  Antoine va Agtmael, author of The Emerging Markets Century, argues that the prominent role of emerging markets is in future commerce.   

He predicts revolutionary changes due to these emerging markets and equates these changes to the second industrial revolution.  Some of the key success factors for these emerging companies are the following: (1) an obsessive focus on quality and design, (2) brand building, (3) logistics, (4) being ahead of competitors in adapting to changing market trends, (5) acquisition savvy, (6) sustaining an edge on competition in information technology, (7) clever niche strategies, and (8) unconventional thinking.[2]  

Additionally, these companies have a hunger to compete since their success will improve their way of life. Sadly, many Americans do not understand the level of poverty that motivates these countries. Agtmael further notes: “A new breed of companies will play a critical role in producing this shift; a select number of which truly deserve to be regarded as world class. 

In the face of these firms’ vigorous emergence on the world stage, there will be a temptation to go into protective mode….”[3]  However, globalization makes retreating a passive signal of being defeated in a world market.  Therefore, U.S. companies like IBM and Google may see themselves fighting to keep their dominance from unrecognized firms from these emerging countries with a hunger to topple established U.S. businesses. 

Discuss how U.S. companies can effectively address the competition from firms located in emerging markets. 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green


[1] International Business by Charles Hills

[2]The Emerging Markets by Antoine va Agtmael

[3]The Emerging Markets by Antoine va Agtmael

Bubble Watching

I knew something bad would eventually happen.  As a young boy in Shreveport, we would regularly ignite fireworks without adult supervision. Often these fireworks were loaded as if we were going to war. Being boys with unlimited courage (or foolishness), we would deviate from the prescribed manufacturer’s guidelines (there were none). 

Typically, we would get the most potent firecracker a/k/a Black Cats.  We would light the firecracker and release it at the last minute.  Of course, someone would attempt to be most courageous and wait even longer.  Yes, you may guess it.  Someone would eventually get hurt. However, we dared not to let an adult know.  

Likewise, our financial situation is in a crisis across the globe.  Yet, most business institutions continue to act in an unwise behavior which eventually will get them into trouble, a/k/a a bubble burst.   

A bubble can be defined as “whenever an asset’s perceived or psychological value exceeds its real economic value.”  It’s not rocket science in understanding bubbles. For example, people purchased overpriced homes that they could not continue to pay for.  The housing market’s bubble burst.  Millions of dollars came tumbling down with this bubble.  Therefore, bubbles can be toxic.    

Some bubbles are easier to see than others.  For example, Europe may be looking at a very rocky financial future.  In its book Beyond Austerity: A Path to Economic Growth and Renewal in Europe, the McKinsey Global Institute outlines the trouble that Europe faces: “The challenges Europe faces are serious-more so for some economies than others.”  

Europe’s political will is unable to change its social model.[1]  In 2009, EU-15’s productivity rates were 15% lower than the United States. In fact, Europeans work, on average, 5 weeks less than workers in the U.S. (U.S. workers are among the best in the world in productivity).  

Their seasoned citizens (ages 55-64 –years old) do not actively participate in work activities compared with the senior population in America. Many of their social services are provided by the government which puts a heavier burden on resources. Europeans are reluctant to change their current social model that is driving them into an economic ditch.  Consequently, a bubble will eventually burst. 

However, America cannot believe it’s immune to a bubble crisis like Europe.  John Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer, authors of America’s Bubble Economy, correctly predicted the 2008 economic crisis several years before it happened. 

 

Additionally, they predicted that America is headed for an even worse economic crisis, regardless of the political parties in charge.  They understand the power of understanding bubble trends:  “…the bursting of America’s bubble economy will create a temporary Bubblequake of shockwaves here and around the world, depressing stock and real estate values, driving up interest and inflation, and throwing the U.S. and other economies into temporary global recessions.”[2]  The following elements are what the authors saw as bubble busters for the American economy before the 2008 bubble burst:

  • Huge international trade deficits that just keep getting bigger.
  • An astronomical $8 trillion federal government debt, heavily financed by foreign capital.
  • Ever-expanding consumer debt with no equal rise in consumer income.
  • The lowest savings rates in America’s history.
  • A national housing market that has climbed 80% in the last several years while income rose only 2%.
  • An economy that is now heavily dependent on historically low interest rates and low inflation rates that require massive foreign capital to maintain.

 Clearly, those predictions were made for 2008.  However, has anything changed since then as it relates to these elements?  Consequently, those organizations that watch bubbling trends, analyze them, and act accordingly have the greatest opportunities for sustainable success. 

Discuss a potential bubble in your industry and how an organization or individual can leverage this problem into an opportunity? 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green


[1] Beyond Austerity: A Path to Economic Growth and Renewal in Europe by the McKinsey Global Institute

[2] America’s Bubble Economy by John Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer

Following the Path of Globalization

Why should I care what happens across the globe?  I have a mortgage to pay, a family to feed, and a job I hate. Who cares about globalization?  We should all be concerned about globalization.  It impacts us…and we do not even recognize it. 

Global disruptions plague most financial institutions.   For example, Europe offered a bailout package of up to (euro) 100 billion ($125 billion U.S.) to help secure the country’s banks. 

Spain became the fourth and largest European country to request financial help. Seventeen countries from the eurozone sent a statement explaining that this funding would go directly to a Spanish fund set up to recapitalize its banks.  

Nevertheless, the economic crisis in Europe worries financial experts in America because trading and commerce interlock countries together.   Therefore, America will not be able to escape any global financial crisis. 

As I teach international business, I often hear students state that they do not have any international experience. Yet, they do not understand that social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube make them global. 

In fact, Facebook continues to dominate the virtual landscape with 500-million-users. It is transforming how the world communicates.  If Facebook was a country, it would be the world’s third largest country. Therefore, Facebook represents a serious way individual citizens can be a part of this global community. 

More importantly, individuals need to understand that globalization is reshaping society and how we live as people.  Charles Hill, author of International Business, suggests that most people cannot avoid the impacts of globalization:  “As the world shifts toward a truly integrated global economy, more firms, large and small, are becoming international businesses.” 

 

Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat, further outlined the interconnectivity of economies with his concept of flattening. Friedman states that Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 were driven primarily by European and American influences. However, Globalization 3.0 was being driven by more inclusive and diverse forces. 

Friedman explains, “…the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 – the force that gives it its unique character – is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally.” 

Therefore, individuals do not need to wait on their countries or businesses to ‘go global.’ Individuals can build their own personal brands globally with social media platforms like Facebook.

How can academic institutions in America best serve students in understanding the ramifications of globalization?  Feel free to use your personal experiences as examples.

 © 2012 by Daryl D. Green

Guest Blogger – The Retirement of the Baby Boomers….real or fantasy?

My initial thoughts on the pending dilemma of retiring Baby Boomers within my industry were that of alarm.  The knowledge and skill set that would be lost is an  issue that most US institutions face daily.  My background is in the engineering field where I have always worked with the Utility, Industrial, and Government markets.

 Therefore, when I work for a company that averages 36% of their workforce being Baby Boomers, I find myself cringing.  Anyone who works in a diverse age group of people (or to be politically correct, we’ll call it a “multigenerational” workforce) know that these work environments can breed misunderstanding and conflict and may compromise growth.

And as I begun thinking this dilemma through, a few points cropped in this crazy blonde brain of mine….that’s right, I do have real moments of clarity at times!

  1. With the financial and economic crisis these past few years, many soon-to-be retirees are choosing to stay employed.
  2. The trend of salaries for Baby Boomers is significantly higher than that of entry level employees.  Therefore, my company is noticing a decrease in project awards due to the fact we are out pricing ourselves with our competitors.
  3. With the Baby Boomers continuing to work longer, we are not bringing in younger employees to mentor out of college.  The employee pool is becoming stagnant. 

So what is the answer?  Is the issue of retiring Baby Boomers really a crisis or is it just an adjustment period for employers to incorporate new blood?  Dave Bernard of U.S. News stated that retirement can be a time to explore creative new avenues, and put the skills you have cultivated throughout your career to work in new ways (June, 2012). 

He is dead on when I notice that many retirees are returning back into the engineering field as “consultants” or they are reducing their hours to continue their insurance coverage and reducing their pace a little.

However, the demands on today’s knowledge workers are more mental than physical. Many baby boomers, who have already begun to reach age 65, are far from physically exhausted and often have much more to give (Bernard, 2012).  

Whatever happens, the baby boom retirement crisis is bound to have its unexpected turns. As they age, they’ll surely continue to change the economy, though the effects are hard to predict (Gelinas, 2011).   Employers today must strategize on how to best incorporate the knowledge skills from these employees through Mentoring programs or Internships. 

Ultimately, we must stay competitive in the marketplace to keep the jobs here at home.  

References:

Bernard, D. (2012, June).  Baby Boomers Search for Second Careers.  U.S. News.  (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/On-Retirement/2012/06/01/baby-boomers-search-for-second-careers).  

Gelinas, N. (2011, November).  As baby boomers retire, the times will be a-changin.’   The Los Angeles Times.  (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/06/opinion/la-oe-gelinas-baby-boomers-retire-20111106).

Please share your comments with this industry leader.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 

Brandi Reilly currently works for Mesa Associates, Inc., a multidiscipline engineering design firm based out of Knoxville, TN.   Her experience spans 16 years in engineering, project management, and consulting services.  She graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and recently completed her MBA at Lincoln Memorial University in 2011.  She has completed her Project Management Professional (PMP) accreditation and is currently pursuing her Professional Engineering (PE) license.  

(c) 2012 by Dr. Daryl D. Green