Thursday, December 30, 2010

More on Global Management

Global Planning, eh? Did anyone tell the other guy?

Okay, now you are getting ready to plan globally. You are going to discuss:

Strategic Planning
Team Building
Market Penetration
The Visioning Process
Consensus Building
Project Management
and so on.

You will also consider financing, information technology, cloud computing, virtual servers, capital investment. You will achieve consensus the way others achieve nirvana. You will plan your work and work your plan.

You will fail.


You forgot to tell the other guy.

Read on.

Too many of our efforts are designed to fail. We make great plans, however we fail to understand that what we want to do and the way we want to do it is not the way things are done globally. Also, the global landscape is changing faster than we are.

The best analogy I can come up with in such short time is this:

"If you are going hunting, you get up, get dressed, get your gear, and go out into the field. If you are being hunted, you move more quickly." Slim Fairview

Others are on the move. China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, and so on.

Some have not been emerging nations in many years. Then there are the emerging nations. Who will be doing business with whom?

In too many nations, horizontal management does not exist. And there is a reason for this. If you want to debate the causes, effects and remedies, you will be spinning your wheels. Other people don't want to talk about it.

In this country, we are charmed by the promises of horizontal management. In addition, we are always delighted to talk about it. You don't believe me?

Consult. Syn. Confer with, confer, confabulate, confab, and chew the fat.*

We are hunting for business globally. What about people in other nations? Well, what about people in other nations?

In other nations, those being hunted by poverty, disease, unrest, and a fierce competition for food, have found that things move along more quickly with a vertical management style.

People with very limited resources do share with those among them who have equally limited resources. They are not about to share with you.

MicroFinance $10.00 to the road to prosperity

Then there are those in the global community who are coming into their own in a big way. Imagine Russia becoming a capitalist country; China, dominating global manufacturing, sales, finance, currency; India a powerhouse of technology. Just don't sit around letting your imagination run amok.

Our business culture has been transmogrified. The change is the difference between the ideologue and the technocrat. (Do not confuse the technocrat with the techno-pimple. He is more focuses on pedantry.)

Transmogrified: Altered, transformed, or mutated into a form that is grotesque or amusing
The solution, however, is the problem. That is, as we look to solutions we find that the advise we get is descriptive (see above) and not prescriptive. The articles for we are told to read tell us what the problem is. Some go a step further. Some tell us:

This is what you did wrong.
This is what you should have done.
This is what you should do next time.

The tone:

Client: "But I'm in a jam now!"

Consultant: "What do you want me to do? Solve your problems for you?

The aforementioned bulleted list

Strategic Planning
Team Building
Market Penetration
The Visioning Process
Consensus Building
Project Management

has to be handled from a different viewpoint--many different viewpoints. It is necessary to engage many people in the discussions--in the many different discussion.

The expression "The Friendly Way" has been too often interpreted as promoting collusion. People who want to do business with you don't want to compete with you. They want to cooperate with you. (Hint: it takes at least two to cooperate.)

Team building may mean bringing people to agreement. It may also mean bringing agreeable people together. The friendly way would suggest that agreeable people means people who know what they are doing. There won't be consensus building because the goal has been spelled out and each person knows what he or she is responsible for doing.

The visioning process. There is no nice way to say "baloney" unless the word sandwich is attached.

Too often, the visioning process is used to bring different ideas to the fore. The ideas can be discussed. People can agree. Everyone can take his or her share of ownership in the project. This builds commitment to the project and to achieving the goal. (I not only heard this stuff before people started saying it, I heard this stuff before the people who are saying it ever heard it in the first place.)

There is a temptation to believe that people in other nations are naive. However, you are not going to convince them that they were the ones who thought up your idea and therefore should want to work to make it happen.

In this country, when other people listen, we tend to think that they like what we are saying. In other countries, when people listen, it is possible that they are merely being polite. I know this because my parents taught me to be polite.

Instead of the visioning process and shared goals, think in terms of finding out what other people want, the steps necessary to achieve this outcome, and how to make it mutually beneficial.

I am not now purporting to know all the answers. I am merely setting an agenda for action (as opposed to an agenda for discussion) so corporate executives can assign people to the tasks necessary to do business globally.



Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Leadership and/or Management

Leadership is innate. Project management can be perfected, perhaps through practise; however, we all know those who have done things badly for most of their lives and careers.

Perfecting project management skills is a job. You have to work at it. However, those with innate leadership abilities, (...the dunces shall rise up in a confederacy...) will improve their project management skills over time by their viewpoint.

I tend to work best when working alone. I have been looked to, to solve a problem or two, which I did. So much of it is common sense. The rest is in a book. (You can download 300 free project management templates) You can fill in the blanks.

However, the real problem with any project is that it involves dealing with many people each with his or her agenda. Too often, that agenda only includes achieving the goal rather than being focused on achieving the goal.

Consultants and committees seem to be the way to go. To the former, I reference Bob Dylan: "You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns who did tricks for you." The latter I refute with one word. Congress.



Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GE still talking up idea of bringing home manufacturing. I hope it works.

GE still talking up idea of bringing home manufacturing. I hope it works.

Did the CEO give you a consumer breakdown, or marketing numbers? (I assume we are going beyond washers and dryers, however...for the purposes of discussion...)

How many buyers want innovation?
How many buyers want product differentiation?
What is the cost?
(What about price?)
How long will it take to begin to make a profit?

Any thoughts on market penetration with the new, innovative, and differentiated products?

Brand loyalty?

Having broken even, they are now where they were 10 years ago. Do they have the money to invest?

What innovations have taken place over the past ten years?
Does the public want these innovations or did they buy the item based on price, brand loyalty, pre-approved credit, or other considerations?

Whose idea was it to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.?

Now we delve into the empirical method of analysis:

Did that person do the study and arrive at the conclusion that this will have a positive effect. (More opposed to running the company down and causing more people to lose their jobs?)

Did that person come up with an idea, is now trying to sell the idea, and is out seeking the metaphorical "yes men" to supply the company with the numbers they want to see?

(Did they hire a consultant? :-p) lol


Slim Mail:

ps. just for fun: GE wants to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.

Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Innovation! Again?

All I've read recently about innovation discusses a myriad of subtopics and views. With one exception: Adaptation.

Innovation can be changing a product to improve it. It can be changing the way we do things. It can involve where we do things.

Topics like these are sometimes linked to basic principles in economics: Time/place utility, form utility, and so on.

However, in every article I've read about innovation, competitiveness, even in my own writings, what has been omitted seems not to be conspicuous by its absence.

A new boss once said, in his hello speech, "The ability to adapt is a sign of intelligence." What he really meant is that we would have to recognise the fact that he is the boss now, not the other guy, and that we would have to do things his way. Fair enough.

However, the first thought that came to my mind was this: Intelligent people have the ability to change their environment.

Humanity did not survive based on the ability to grow fur to adapt to the cold. We either migrated or learned to build shelters with a heat source in order to survive the cold. However, I said nothing. I did not want to be pedantic and I did not want to be fired.

As nations go global to do business with others, the question of adapting arises.

First, and foremost, we want to adapt to the environment: Business, Financial, Economic, Social, Cultural, Legal, and so on. However, if there is no adapting by others, this will create a lopsided form of change. True, we can use the term evolve. We can suggest that others will evolve. However, that is condescending, patronising, and rude. The method, subject to much spirited debate, is that others must be aware of the fact that they too must adapt.

Change, for the sake of change, may not satisfy the demands of a new market, culture, customer needs. If we use the word innovate as interchangeable with change we are missing the point. In addition, how much change can we expect will be accepted by a broad range of markets, cultures, and customer needs?

Henceforce, let's relegate the word "innovation" to the same scrap heap of linguistic legerdemain as the term, "strategic planning". Let's use the word adapt. Let's be clear about what the adaptation involves. Then, we can move forward from a different perspective with a different view, and better results.



Copyright (c) Slim Fairview

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fall and Rise of Empires

Empires rise and fall. The Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and before The Soviet Union was called the Evil empire, Russia had an empire extending down into what is now Poland.

Correct my history if necessary. Russia was beaten back by the emergence of the Polish empire, which extended toward Western Europe. They were driven back by the rise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed with WW I.

However, in each case, the empire, as it grew to include vast and divergent territories, became not merely too large to manage, but too fractious. What played well in Italy, closest to Rome, did not play well in France. Less so in Egypt and England.

In addition, we all remember, The Sun never set on the British Empire. I always wondered how that Sceptred isle set in a silver sea managed to dominate the world. India, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada...It may well have been the delegation of authority.

The Evil Empire collapsed because Eastern Europeans grew weary of a system that destroyed what they had spent centuries to build. The U.S. however, never really had an empire. Too often, we've been isolationist. We have not been networking.

Wouldn't it be lovely if nations had Linkedin accts and Facebook pages? Germany could ask Portugal to join its network on Linkedin. China could friend Brazil on Facebook. Japan could friend India. Pakistan could friend Canada.

Our problem lies not in the empire we don't have. Our problem is conspicuous: our problem is our lack of allies. Our lack of metaphorical Facebook friends. We still have an isolationist mentality.

The delegation of authority? We can't even accept the concept of the 10th Amendment in The Bill of Rights, the concept of States Rights.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

With apologies to Charles de Gaulle:

It's a good thing we have only three political parties. We have only three kinds of cheese.*



* [American, Cheddar, and Cream]

Coipyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monograph on the Population Shift to Cities in Emerging Nations

GLOBALLY, the population is moving to urban areas. Food and Jobs are two topics that arise for discussion. This suggests that by talking about it we will solve the problem. Which problem? The problems suffered by the people who move from rural areas to urban areas. Abolishing farm subsidies in Western countries is not the solution.

Farming is a job. In addition, it is hard work. Moreover, it doesn't pay well even under the best of circumstances. Then, when the population increases, it gets harder because plots get smaller. What helped the decline of Russia was the absence of primogeniture.

Cities had to start somewhere. England and France were emerging nations at one time in history.

The rural populations is moving to cities rather than building cities.

The affluent leave the cities and move to rural areas because they can afford to escape the cities.

Cities are indeed vibrant areas of creativity. This even in emerging nations. (We don't need a new world big city to have creativity. The WSJ published an article:
Why Some Islanders Build Better Crab Traps (about the creativity in commerce of emerging communities. It is well worth reading.

There is a very unpleasant step between reduced subsidies making cheap food available in emerging nations, and farmers in emerging nations becoming 1. Self-sufficient and 2. Being able to produce a sufficient amount of food to feed the large numbers of people.

That unpleasant step is where abolishing subsidies comes up against phasing out subsidies.

(The banning of DDT was a positive environmental move that created the unpleasant step of increased deaths due to the spread of malaria.)

One trendy catch phrase used by the media vis-à-vis our current governmental conundrums is "unintended consequences." That phrase has the moral equivalent of a little boy outside church on a Sunday morning tossing a hand-full of change into the air and saying what God wants he'll take and the rest belongs to me.

There really are no unintended consequences.

True, globally, people are moving en-mass into urban areas. There is no work in rural areas and there are no jobs in cities. Migrations to European countries confound the migrants. "How come in such a wealthy nation the government cannot provide 300,000 jobs?"

However, abolishing subsidies will have consequences. If our leaders stop referring to unpleasant consequences as unintended consequences, they may start to focus on solving the problem--micro finance was one of the solutions propounded by an economist in an emerging nation. That earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.




Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

The Next Generation: Better Than Brand New!

When I was at University, I was having an informal discussion with a dorm mate about the "youth movement" du jour. I said, it wasn't going to change anything. I went on to say, "they will graduate, get jobs, get married, have children--and everything will go on as it has."

The Resident Assistant ( A law student) argued with me. "No, no, no. This is a new generation, we have new ideas, we're going to change everything...and so on."

That was 37 years ago.

Jerry Rubin, the Yippie, became a stock-broker; Sonny Bono, and Tom Hayden ran for Congress, and Jane Fonda ("H*ll no, we won't go.") became a fitness guru and changed her mantra: "One, two, three, four, make another million more....two, three, four, make another million more."

More to the point, even those who are anti-establishment are part of the establishment.

The Hippies became Yuppies, the Yuppies, became the Me Generation, the Me Generation became Gen X and so on.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.




Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GE Wants to Bring Manufacturing Back to the US


We are very susceptible to gimmicks. I just adopted a free-range cat. When he first started hanging around, he would eat whatever was put out for him. After I brought him inside, he remained consistent. Then, he became choosy.

If he left what had been put down, I would simply pick it up, stir it a bit with a fork and put it back down. Then he would eat it. I don't expect that to last too long. He still remembers being skin and bones, as it were. He will forget.

We watched Bill Clinton's Presidential campaign. When he appeared on MTV his hair was brown. When he addressed the AARP his hair was grey. This was noted in the press. It didn't matter. People saw what they wanted to see.

"If people like you, they will overlook your faults. If people don't like you, they will overlook your virtues." -- Slim Fairview

We used to teach reading with phonics. Children learned to read. Now, with apologies to Meredith Willson who wrote, The Music Man....

"You've got trouble here, right here in River City, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for phonics. Yes, my friends, you've got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, vowels in the alphabet. With 21 consonants that give you 9 billion, 63 million, aught '9 COMBINATIONS. No wonder Billy can't read trying to remember all that.

"You don't need to know phonics to speak do you? You just think of a word and say it. That is the whole language approach to reading is the think-method to speaking."

We've fallen for every gimmick imaginable in educating our youngsters. (The character of Harold Hill, in the Music Man is what is known in Americana as the lovable rogue. We know he's a crook, but we love him anyway.)

And it is not simply a question of older employees. Having served on committees in organisations whose functions included the "new hire" problem, consensus is that young people lack basic skills. They cannot add, subtract, multiply, divide, or use simple tools: micrometers, calipers, or even rulers.

In addition, at the initial stages of education, the fundamentals are necessary--crucial.

I am good at math because I memorised the times tables. I didn't want to, it took me longer than my classmates because I didn't want to, but I did it (because I had to).

That, coupled with one small tool in math, 3(a+b) = 3a + 3b, means that I can instantly determine the cost of several cans of green beans in a supermarket and do a cost analysis of 3 small cans v. two large cans. Not important? No, the VP Finance is not buying green beans to bring a covered dish to the next board meeting. However, as he, or she learned this (probably in the 5th grade) the concept was learned along with it.

When it comes to teaching youngsters how to think, not what to think, there is a point in time where analysis will come into play.

GE will need young people who can do what I can do. If they haven't memorised the times tables, they won't be able to do much analysis.

While there may be more than a few youngsters coming out of school who are fluent in technology, that won't meet the demand. Hence, the influx of people from countries who value education highly and apply themselves as a means to financial success and social elevation.

No doubt, the technologically literate will run things in this country through a combination of immigrants and outsourcing, and the rest of the students will be taking jobs that pay just enough to hang out at clubs and party.

BTW: The equation above: The distributive property of multiplication (over addition). I actually had to Google the term to be sure I remembered what it was called accurately. That information I can Google. The ability to use that skill cannot be Googled.

We have become victims of our own success. Good luck to GE if they are using the old business model.

If they want to build it here with workers there. It isn't going to work.

If the want to build it here with workers from there, that won't put the unemployed to work.

It will be interesting to see how Harold Hill explains GE's plan to the people of River City. OOPS, I mean to the shareholders and the stakeholders.




Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Friday, December 10, 2010

Innovation and Crisis

In answer to the question about whether or not we innovate more during a crisis, I pose the following answer.

Yes. We do.

Assume for a moment that there is no crisis. Innovation requires a budget. There will be measurables to achieve. We really don't know what needs innovation without some form of market study. Our resources must be allocated in a manner that will be most cost effective. If we have additional funds, would those funds not be better spent on upgrades, marketing, sales, and so on.

If we have a crisis, we know exactly where to devote our precious funds. We know what we must focus on, and we have some indication of what we must achieve. In addition, the group knows we must achieve these goals to avoid becoming victims of the crisis.



Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Thursday, December 9, 2010

City of Hope: A Children's Story:

I received the following email from a friend.


On Capriole's site, a Non-Profit production company, there is a Pay Pal link asking only for tax deductive donations from $1.00 to $ 10.00. or whatever moves people. (Click the "title link" to go to Capriole Productions)

With that stated: IQ2011 we will travel to BR to shoot a 30 minute short, updating the plight of the BR favela kids [street urchins] whose plight has escalated to 1) drug distribution, 2) sex enslaved kids from 6 to 12, 3) murder-for-hire and so forth. This IS A JUST CAUSE. Our footage from the nineties is tremendously outdated and the numbers of kids caught up in this mess has increased radically.

"City of Hope: A Children's Story" is one of good news. Not only is BR's democracy gaining on the drug lords, but faith-based organizations [NGOs] have increased exponentially as have community watch groups and private contributors.

Most remarkable is the Recovered children are now taking the GOOD NEWS back into their own favelas to open their own 'schools of recovery'.

Any amounts are welcome and all showings ,ticket sales, after expenses to locally use Brazilian film people, will be returned into the community.

Won't you help? Any help, either financial or your experienced advice is greatly appreciated.

Sincere thanks,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Decline of Science As a Way to Make a Quick Buck

Where is Clyde Crashcup when we need him most?

The latest trend in education is to lament the lack of science performance. (Soon it will be declaimed that this is the result of not spending enough money.)

Science requires focus on a goal, attention over a long period of time, and does not offer instant gratification so much craved by young people. Science means enjoying the process.

We will not improve in science until we learn to delay gratification, focus on the problem we are trying to solve, and be able to offer our attention (span) over a long period of time.



ps. Oh, yeah. Science is empirical as well as methodical--and precise.

e.g. In math, 10 x 10 = 100. 99 is not 99% correct. 99 is 100% wrong. Something some people can't seem to deal with. Desole :-(


Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Cut of His Jib

The Business Decision Making Curve:

In finance we studied the Sharp-Markowitz efficiency curve. The trade-off between risk and return. (Mayonnaise jar, no risk, no return. The fast horse, high risk, high return.)

There seems to be an unspoken curve in business. It is not only a cost curve.

Do we train the guy we've got, hoping he'll be a good manager, or do we hire a good manager who knows little about our operation?

Do we pay for safety upgrades on a hazzard with little potential for disaster, or do we take a chance and simply pay out on the accident?

Do we hire someone safe, with credentials and show little concern for his potential, or do we hire someone with a great potential (or track record) and assume the risks of hiring someone without the bursars stamp on his resume showing he paid his library fines?

The business trade-off seems to be falling on the side of safety the past 30 to 40 years.

When was the last time you ever heard anyone say, "I hired him because I like the cut of his jib?"


Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Monday, December 6, 2010

Slim Fairview's Powerpoint Presentations

The G20 in Good Times and Bad. (The Future of the G20)

Global Management: A Shift in the Paradigm of Corporate America

Fairviews: The Quotations of Slim Fairview.

Click the Title for a direct e-link.



Sincerest regards,


Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Friday, December 3, 2010

JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A DECENT SORT TRYING TO HELP. TAKE A LOOK AT: City of Hope: A Children’s Story documents the stark life of Brazil’s favela (slums) children, and is a feature-length documentary capturing the lives of displaced children caught in a seemingly unending web of drugs, violence, prostitution, sexual slavery and deliberate acts to exterminate these unwanted children. In a country with an enlightened government, it is also a film of hope and salvation as both government and Brazil’s affluent private sector work to save these children.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Having Problems With the Hiring Process? I Wonder Why?


A burst of inspiration. It was there right in front of me all the time, hiding in plain sight: "...the hiring PROCESS" op. cit. my remarks on committees and the paradox of management.

We are, and have been for a while, more focused on the process than on the results. Hiring has become a process. Therein lies the rub.

No doubt a consultant came in and convinced the Big Boss that he could solve the problems he didn't have until he had a solution for them (Remember Professor Harold Hill?) simply by engaging a consultant to help his employees understand The Process; The Shared Vision; Team Building; Consensus Building.

Those on the committee told the Consultant what he wanted to hear. The consultant reported to the Big Boss that he (The Big Boss) was indeed a visionary (Does that sound like "Ceo the Executive or The Executive's New Clothes"*?) The Big Boss, not unlike Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, " surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking "prose" all his life..." ca change, plus la meme chose.



* Ceo the Executive or The Executive's New Clothes located here on Slimviews.

Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview