Monday, February 28, 2011

Collective Bargaining and Kansachusetts

Collective Bargaining is Good.

Now, does anyone see a similarity between the strategy of the Governor of Wisconsin and the strategy of Moammar Gadhafi? I am not talking about individuals. I am talking about strategies.

The Teachers' Union will make concessions. The Government will relent on bargaining. The only problem is that the government has to create a problem. I am guessing that the bigger problem the government creates, the bigger the solution it appears to implement.

What started out as a dispute between teachers in Wisconsin has grown to a national labour movement. Enough said?

To Understand the issues, let's look at a similar problem in my home state of Kansachusetts. There, Governor Odious Bilgewater stated the case very simply.

Lesterville is poor. Morgan's Farm is affluent. If there is collective bargaining, Morgan's Farm taxpayers can handle the bill. Lesterville taxpayers can't.

Now let's deal with that in a logical fashion.

If we get rid of collective bargaining, Lesterville will have little money. The really good teachers will all go to Morgan's Farm. In Lesterville, the poor children will continue to suffer.

When handing out state aid, Governor Bilgewater always gave more money to Morgan's Farm Schools. This has been ruled unfair by the courts. Governor Bilgewater could index state aid by income level and per student expenditures. No. That would be too simple. Too effective. It would make too much sense.

Governor Bilgewater wants to get rid of LIFO. Last Hired First Fired. He said, "The problem in our schools comes from too many bad teachers."


It was only a few weeks ago that parents were saying that the reason their children aren't getting an education is due to the lack of experienced teachers. In response to that, governor Bilgewater wants to get rid of experienced teachers.

Who will determine whether one of the new teachers is better than one of the experienced teachers?

The experienced teachers went to school back in the day when students learned to read. Then came the decline in education and reading skills. Do you really want to get rid of experienced teachers?

Well, what if you have a bad teacher. As the system is now, it is virtually impossible to fire one bad teacher. So what does governor Bilgewater suggest? Get rid of more experienced teachers. (I guess that way the one bad teacher won't feel bad by being singled out.)

Governor Bilgewater really kicked the hornets nest, didn't he?

However, as Governor Bilgewater said, "You can have action without planning; but planning without action is a waste of time. And time is what we don't have. Therefore, this is not a time to come up with a plan. This is a time for action." Kansachusetts: The State We All Live In The Honorable Odious Bilgewater--Governor.




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Will the FB Revolution Spread to China? Part 2--Credentialism

Will the Facebook Revolution Spread to China? Part 2--Credentialism

Today, everyone has credentials. Things are not visibly better, but the experts have credentials to explain the problems they were not able to foresee, to prevent, or to fix.

Much of that comes from what is easily discernible: much of what they write is descriptive and not prescriptive. Why do they write it? As Samuel Johnson once said, "None but a blockhead writes except for money."

Now, why talk about credentials? It is a follow up to my monograph entitled "Distortions of graphic proportions." The posting includes a bar graph that purports to show how images are used to distort the facts. This monograph will explain how the exclusion of some facts is used to distort others.

Case in point.

The pundits (experts) have said that what happened in Egypt could happen in China. They said that the Chinese government is worried. Other experts pointed out that the difference in the per capita income between China and Egypt made a Facebook revolution unlikely. Then came the unpleasant situation in Bahrain.

Now the experts are saying that the high per capita income in Bahrain repudiates those who said a Facebook revolution in China is unlikely. Their reasoning? The per capita income in Bahrain. And that is where the substance of their reasoned argument ends.

First of all, consensus among the pundits is that in Bahrain you have a majority group living in a nation governed by a minority group. To put that in U.S. terms: Imagine a nation where 8 million Methodists are governed by 2 Million Lutherans.

This situation does not exist in China. The Chinese people are Chinese. Full stop.

Second, you have the type of money as well as the amount of money to consider. Here is a metaphor.

Pretend I own a 10-unit apartment building in a modest community. I rent each out for $500 a month. I live in one of the units. I make $4,500 a month. Pretend you are an architect. You get hired by a development company to gentrify my community. My property goes up in value. I now rent out my apartments for $1,500 a month. In addition, I moved into one of the fancy new apartment buildings. I now receive $15,000 a month in income. I pay $3,000 a month rent
in an upscale building and receive $12,000 a month in income.

You, however, as an architect earn about $80,000 a year. You are not satisfied with your earnings. You decide to renegotiate your contract. While that is happening, you are not working. While you are not working, 100 bricklayers are not working. If they don't work, they don't eat.

The owner of the building has two choices. Fire you and put 100 bricklayers back to work, or negotiate with you while 100 bricklayers have nothing to do and nothing to eat. Guess what? You lose your job.

You make an income by doing what you do. I make an income by what I own. I make an increased income by what you do. If you stop doing your job, my income stagnates but the bricklayers' income ceases.

Now, let's go to China. China's wealth arises from the efforts of the Chinese people. The Chinese people make a higher per capita income than the Egyptian people. The Chinese people make a higher per capita income by the way the Chinese people earn their income.

Back to my apartment building. If we assume that I have a history of being my own superintendent; mowing the lawn, fixing leaky faucets, vacuuming the carpets, polishing the floor in the lobby, I can cut my operating expenses and increase my earnings. However, when the value of my building goes up, I can hire a superintendent to do the work for me. I can still make an increased income. You, as an architect, must continue to be an architect to continue earning a living.

Will the Facebook revolution extend to China? Probably not. The question of per capita income is only a part of the consideration. The source of the income is also a consideration. The demographics are a third consideration.




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Non-verbal Cues in the Virtual World

Non-verbal cues are often subjective.

"Perceptual information signs accompanying the words used in speech. "

Perceived is the perception of the receiver, not the transmitter. This is subjective. Thus, open to interpretation.

If everything is done (for the purpose of this discussion) on a computer, there would be no non-verbal cues to take into account. Thus, the only inferences one could make would be on the manner in which information is presented.

Now, case in point. Assumptions:

"For example, someone who asks a lot of questions may be [may be] extremely skilled and decisive. In fact they could be [could be] someone who is highly analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on."

This person, by way of metaphor, sent you a non-verbal clue by asking a lot of questions. That non-verbal clue you've taken into account is that "the person is highly analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on" [quotes mine for distinction] Again, for the purposes of this discussion, the non-verbal clue I perceived is that this person lacks confidence, based on his real or imaginary lack of subject matter knowledge.

To distinguish this, we may have to rely on other members of the group. If you and I are on the same team, you tell the leader that "Bill is analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on." I tell the team leader that Bill is an impediment. He prevents the group from moving on.

The leader now must assess whether Bill is qualified or not. Bill sent each of us non-verbal clues. Each of us came to a different conclusion. The team leader now must look for non-verbal clues. Is Cathy a sensitive and supportive team member who likes Bill's quest for answers? Is Cathy insecure and relies on Bill to provide a subterfuge? Also: Is Slim a goal oriented individual who finds Bill an impediment to productivity? Is Slim a rash and impulsive individual who may have a negative impact on the other members of the group by being brusque?

Well, Susan ( another member of the team) sees Slim as too theory X and feels intimidated. While Lorraine is fed up with Bill and is glad that Slim finally spoke up and put Bill in his place.

This is what really goes on in a group. And it doesn't matter whether we are co-located or virtual.

From the Quotations of Slim Fairview: "Did you ever notice, when people say, "you don't understand," what they really mean is, "you don't agree with me."

Sincerest regards,



Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Food Crisis in India: The Price is the Crisis

Food: The Price is the Crisis

At the risk of sounding trite, the law of supply and demand still functions. To solve the price crisis in India, supply must be increased. This is a matter of "time place utility"; "form utility"; "economies to scale"; and direct foreign investment. I mention the last consideration because the advice to some can also be considered advice to another. In short, if you know where and how people are being advised to invest, you can position yourself to be the where and the how.

I've included "Having Problems with Foreign Direct Investment?" to give insight into what investors can look for. This can also give insight into those who want to benefit from the investors. I've included The Marketing of India. I've included a metaphor: Starving Nations and Food Equations: A metaphor. This is not to be interpreted as reference to people actually dying. It is to discuss the economics of agriculture.

Having Problems with Foreign Direct Investment?

What are some of the barriers?



It is easy to see that start up costs in some countries are much lower than start up costs in another. If the other country does not have the physical plant for example, it will be cheaper to build that plant in the other country.

Currency considerations are another factor

Incentives from a country with little industry are greater than they are from a country where you will compete with the locals.

Market penetration. Would people in countries in the region be more inclined to buy from countries in the region or from western nations.

Partnering. It is easier to partner with business in some countries where western technology is not readily available by making that technology available.

Just a few thoughts.




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

The Marketing of India

Find a need and fill it.

Who has a need for what you can produce?
Partner with that (nation's) companies.

In addition to the profits, offer a minority interest in the company. (This will give investors an incentive to succeed.)

Offer a profit share to the suppliers. (This will give the farmers(?) an incentive to join in the venture.

In addition to money, offer other incentives. [Prestige]. For example: Build schools in the areas where the people are most enthusiastic.

If one or two small companies cannot find the funding (through govt. funding--a bad idea) go to the marketplace.

Economies to scale.

Create a marketing group for the several smaller companies, so they can pool their resources.

In Vermont there is a joke:

Q: "Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?"
A: "Not if they're in cans."

If produce spoils before it hits the market, set up a joint effort to can the produce at the source.

Roads are a government responsibility.

Just a few ideas. (Call me old-fashioned)

Anyone care to amplify, amend, or correct?

Sincerest regards,


PS. Read The Caste Busters article in the NY Times:


Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Starving Nations and Food Equations: A Metaphor

[This metaphor does not refer to people actually dying. This refers to the discordance in the economy of agriculture specifically and in the economy as a whole.]

If one person in the group does not have enough food to eat, he may die.

For a while, that means more food for the rest of the group. However, that also means one less person to work the farm. That means less food to eat. Less food to eat means someone will die.

For a while, that means more food for the rest of the group. However, that also means one less person to work the farm. That means less food to eat. Less food to eat means someone will die.

Soon, there won't be enough people to work the farm. That means there won't be enough food to eat.

Get the idea?



Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Plus ca change, plus ca change!

Plus ca change, plus ca change!

Today: "How do you over come the fear of change?" Tomorrow: How do you overcome the change of fear?"
"It's too late to act as if it were today. We must act as if it is tomorrow"
“On To Netopia: New world order--a world without borders. Passwords, not passports.”


From the Quotations of Slim Fairview © 2010-2011-Slim Fairview

Oppressed People Can't Revolt

"Oppressed people can't revolt: They are oppressed. Only freed people can revolt. That freedom came with the Internet: Facebook, Twitter, et. al" Slim Fairview




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monographs: Understanding the Future of the Middle East

To Cover the Subject of The Middle East

For a better understanding of what is going on in the Middle East, ask the question: "Will the Facebook Revolution Spread to China? Probably Not."

However, there is more to understanding the shift in the paradigm of Global Affairs with respect to the Middle East.

Transnational Business: From Distopistan to Netopistan.

What is to Come in The Middle East

Egypt and the Failure of Global Diplomacy

The Business of Egypt is Business




Copyright (c) Slim Fairview 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Will the Facebook Revolution Spread to China? Probably Not

Will the Facebook revolution spread to China? My guess, probably not.

1. What you are seeing in the Middle East is a reaction not a response, to a reaction. Kings were overthrown by military dictators and the people suffered not just a civil rights oppression but also an economic oppression.

2. In China, there was a technology revolution fueled by the Chinese government to move China into the 21st century with a great leap.

3. In the Middle East, there was an equality of suffering with the exception of a few "friends of the dictators".

4. In China, the old axiom (New by Chinese standards) "When the tide comes in, all the ships in the harbour rise,” is being played out in large numbers. Yes, there may be pockets of poverty. However, they are in a manner of speaking diffuse. Also, not "connected".

5. This brings us to: There is a techno-class. In the same way the intelligentsia was self-removed from the class-contretemps of Europe's social revolution over a century ago, the tech people are focused too fiercely on technology. "If then: go to."

6. There appear to be "tribal or religious" disconnects among the different tribal and religious segments of Middle Eastern society. In China, the Chinese people are Chinese. Full Stop.

7. There is a great deal of anti-American and anti-western sentiments in the Middle East. While there may be Chinese people who like and Chinese people who may not like some or many westerners, there is not a history of exploitation. In addition, China has the means, the methods, and the will to compete on the global stage, in the global arena, playing the same game everyone else plays. For the lack of a better term, I shall call it, Economics.

The West has a rather remarkable view of the Middle East. We preach democracy, we promote democracy, we aid and abet democracy, and we work well with those countries that are and have been democracies. In the Middle East, democracy seems to be a new thing. They will have democracy. They will vote. They will elect representatives and leaders. Then what? That is the conundrum for the US.

What happens when they vote not to establish alliances with the west? They are free to choose. With that freedom comes the freedom to choose not to be our friends. That is a possibility we are not prepared to accept.

With China, we do business. China does business with us. We've never done business with the people of the Middle East. We've done business to the people of the Middle East.

Let's move quickly to mend some fences.




Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview

Friday, February 18, 2011

Having Problems with Foreign Direct Investment?

Having Problems with Foreign Direct Investment?

What are some of the barriers?

Leverage. ROI.

It is easy to see that start up costs in some countries are much lower than start up costs in another.

If the other country does not have the physical plant for example, it will be cheaper to build that plant in the other country.

Currency considerations are another factor

Incentives from a country with little industry are greater than they are from a country where you will compete with the locals.

Market penetration. Would people in countries in the region be more inclined to buy from countries in the region or from western nations.

Partnering. It is easier to partner with business in some countries where western technology is not readily available by making that technology available.

Just a few thoughts.




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Virtually a Real Person

"I have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Linkedin account and a Blog. At last. Finally I feel like a virtual person. For a while, I didn't think I was going to make it." -- Slim Fairview


Strategic Thinking

"Why are supermarket executives men, when supermarket shoppers are women? I'll bet a man came up with that idea." -- Slim Fairview

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Transnational Business: From Distopistan to Netopistan

To: Fellow Linkedin member:

Perhaps Mr. _________ is seeking the collective input to help him to address the changes he will have to make in his strategy as a consultant in Egypt. He can, if he chooses, find opportunities here for Business leaders who did not read my ppt. presentation Global Management, a shift in the paradigm of corporate America.

More to the point, We will create a metaphor.

Hey, Mr. Big American Company Guy, you can no longer rely on the Big Company Guys of Distopistan who are protected by the Distopistanian Army because the King of Distopistan makes big bucks (through private transactions) via The Big Company of Distopistan.

Distopistan is in the midst of change. Tomorrow, the King of Distopistan will be gone. Tomorrow the country will be Netopistan. The Netopian Nation is now an ally. To do business in Netopistan (Formerly Distopistan) you will have to connect with the Netopian people.

"How do we do that?" asks the Big American Company Guy.


Meet with _________ _________. He will teach you how to do business in the New World Order. A world without borders. (unabashedly lifted from and alluding to my blog which coincidentally goes by the url



P.S. Mr. ________. Carpe Punctum. And good luck.

Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

The Shared Vision: A process all right.

.............................THE PLAYER [A One Act Play]...........................

Here we not only read The Player's mind, we are also that fly on the wall.


The Player [speaking to self.] "I have no clue what's going on. I know what I can do. I will get on a team. I will embrace the concept of horizontal management. I will say how much we need a committee. I will get on that committee."

[Now, for those of you who are really "into" metaphors:]

Team Leader: "Okay, group, does anyone have any ideas?" [Think outside the box; there are no stupid ideas, questions, etc. Only the stupidity of not saying anything; shared vision; there is no "I" in team; etc.]

The Player: "Yes. The world is not round, like this orange. The world is round like this plate!"
[Stolen from a Smothers Brother's skit.]

Team Leader: "Really? I would like you to share your feelings on that idea. I think we can all benefit from the discussion even if some on the committee respectfully disagree!"

The Player: "I heard it on the Smothers Brothers show!"

Team Leader: "Would anyone else like to comment or share viewpoints? [As long as we are all sitting around wasting the company's time and money.]

Other Members: "Blah, blah, blah..."

The Player: "You know, after listening to the other members of the team, I believe that the world really is round like this orange. This team approach to problem solving really works."

Team Leader: "Good for you! You see! The team method really works. We now have a shared vision.! Each of us "owns" the project. We have a shared goal. I will now go upstairs to tell Mr. Big, how well the members of the team worked together. [And how well his idea worked.]

Everyone: [privately to himself or to herself] "At first we thought he was a real jerk. But we can now see he that he is a team player. We can see that he is open to accepting the ideas of the other members of the group. That he is not too bright, thus not much of a threat. That we won't be challenged to come up with anything substantive.]

Team Leader [to The Big Boss] "At first I thought he was a real jerk. However, you were right, Sir. This shared vision thing really works. He is a team player willing to embrace a shared vision and to see the other members' points of view."

The Big Boss: "Great! I always knew I was a great Executive with great Leadership Skills! I am not only pleased with myself, I am please with you for implementing my vision and viewpoint."

The End

* Anon. A word often used in literary plays. [Ed. note: We don't want the audience to feel cheated.]




copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is to Come in the Middle East

What is to come in the Middle East.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Santayana

Those who never learned history are doomed—period. Slim Fairview

What is going on?

We’ve watched history unfold by way of anamnesis.

Most of us can remember, “The Sun never sets on the British Empire”. It collapsed for various reasons, but collapsed non-the-less. India, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, National Public Television, Scotland….

We watched what Ronald Reagan once referred to as the Evil Empire collapse. Actually, one-by-one, two-by-two, Eastern block satellite-nations fell from orbit.

At first, the British expanded their empire. Then, those who lived under the British Raj, along with others living in nations of the empire, evolved to a metaphorical awareness analogous to the awareness made available by the internet today. They freed themselves from foreign rule.

After World War II, the Soviet Union expanded into Eastern Europe. Soon: five-hundred million people ground beneath the boot-heel of communist military occupation. It wasn’t long before the people of Eastern Europe liberated themselves—the result of watching the Soviet influence wither. Today, even Russia is no longer occupied by the communists’ forces.

Today, we have the internet. First, the Tunisian people rose up. Then, the Egyptian people rose up. All throughout the Middle East, we can see the events of change unfolding before our eyes. Still, we discuss the events rather than acknowledge them. Just as Iran extolled the actions of the people of Egypt, is it impossible that people in Arab nations saw large tea party demonstrations? Is it impossible that people in Arab nations were aware of the change in our House of Representatives? A change heralded as the largest shift in power in 39 years.

To understand what other people understand, it is necessary to understand propaganda. Do you remember Antigone, heralded, perhaps, by Sophocles? She was put to death for burying her brother in defiance of the law. However, do you remember Antigone, heralded by Anouilh? She was the spirit of the French resistance when France was occupied by the Nazis. During occupation, books had to be approved by the Nazi censors before they could be published. Why did the Nazi censors approve the publishing of Antigone? To show the people what happens to those who defy authority. What was the result? There are no unintended consequences. Only unwanted consequences.

World leaders, who may have extolled the Tea-Party movement as an example of unrest in America prompted by the peoples’ dissatisfaction with America’s government, with the American way of living, could not have predicted what would come. People who’ve extolled the Egyptian people for their rising up against their government, an ally of the United States, probably did not predict that their own people would say, “Hey, I’ve got an idea.”

Then, there is the internet. The Blogosphere. Netopia. Not Laptopistan as is was referred to in the New York Times. Laptopistan refers to the people with their laptops. Netopia refers to a virtual land that really does exist. Like the wind, you cannot see it. You can only see and feel its effects.




Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview

How to Motivate an Underperforming Team

The capable team is under-performing. What do you do?

Capable on what basis?

If the team is under-performing than the team is not capable. Perhaps the individuals are capable.

Review the goals, yourself. Alone. Establish what has been accomplished, the timetable, the deliverables as some call them, then interview each member of the team for a programme review update. Perhaps to "help you prepare your report".

This should help you uncover which individuals are under-performing.

Here are some hints:

The self-appointed leader. He decides that he can help other people do their jobs better and keeps "taking charge of the situation".

The expert. He confuses being belligerent, argumentative, and rude with constructive dialogue (or spirited debate.)

The theorist. Enabler, Empowerment and dignity person. This individual will sidetrack the individual or the group by shifting emphasis to team members feeling good about themselves. (This done to compensate for the lack of self-esteem.) By focusing on how individuals feel is supposed to make them better team members. It also shifts emphasis from the goal to the individual.

The fact checker. This individual will impede the group's performance with constant attention to detail and review. (Important? To an extent. Not to the extent that nothing gets accomplished.)

The "discusser". This individual feels that anything and everything that comes up should be thoroughly discussed.

The Boss who doesn't want to remove people from the group because he

a. doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings;

b. doesn't want other members of the group to feel insecure about their position;

c. doesn't want to appear harsh; but mostly

d. is afraid his boss will wonder about his competence if he had to remove someone he chose to be a member of the team.

Good luck.



Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Business of Egypt is Business

Yesterday, the business of Egypt was Egypt. Today, the business of Egypt is business.

For the revolution to be a lasting success, the Egyptian people have to focus on the economy, on jobs, on education, and on the infrastructure: Electricity, roads, trains, broadcasting, and a stable government.

This is not accomplished by embracing ideology.

For a start: "Free Enterprise. It works when you do."

Egypt: Now looking for global management specialists, business development specialists, new market developers, (dare I say it) Human Resources Managers, R&D Specialist, IT managers.

The Egyptian people need jobs!

Let's hope The Egyptians promotes from within before they are exploited by carpetbaggers. 'You gotta know the territory...’

Did anyone say, Professor Harold Hill?

Bon chance,



Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview

Friday, February 11, 2011

Change in the Company? Change in the Company!

Change in the Company? Change in the Company!
Change seems a bit bold. Think transformation.

As new people come on board, they will influence the company. Change or transformation will occur.
As new clients come on board, the company will have to adjust. When you start selling to Bluetopia, you will begin selling blue widgets. If no one knows how to mix up a batch of blue stuff, the company will have to hire people who can mix up batches of blue stuff.

All of this happens without a committee being assigned to study change, transformation, strategic planning, or even have to miss a three-martini lunch.



copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Monday, February 7, 2011

Egypt and the Failure of Global Diplomacy

Egypt and the Failure of Global Diplomacy

It is simplistic to say that the situation in Egypt is for the Egyptians to resolve. This, because we are global community. To complicate matters, different countries have different cultural norms. To complicate matters further, efforts to understand the cultural norms of other countries routinely involve explaining “our” culture to others rather than asking others to offer us insight into their cultures.

Now, to diplomacy.

The Egyptian people have called for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. They have stated their resolve not to leave The Square until he resigns. They have issued a fait accompli.

President Mubarak has stated he will not resign as President. In effect, he has issued a fait accompli.

We have called for President Mubarak to step down. We did so publicly.

We can focus on the Egyptian Constitution and the constraints it places on all parties. We can also focus on the remarks by the pundits and analysts to the effect that our failure to support President Mubarak will cause other allies to be concerned about our fidelity. No one, however, has addressed the issue of “loss of face”.

For the Egyptian people to recant their demands, they will suffer what the world knows to be “loss of face”. For President Mubarak to capitulate to the demands of the protestors will result in his suffering “loss of face”. Then there is the American position—stated publicly.

We became Pontius Pilate the moment we entered the fracas.

If the Egyptian people do not prevail, there will be bitterness among the Egyptian people. By extension, if this is attributed to our support for President Mubarak, there will also be a bitterness shared by all who looked to us as a symbol of freedom.

However, if the Egyptian people do prevail, if President Mubarak does step down, it will do more that cause concern among our allies with respect to our willingness to support them. 1.3 billion Chinese people will see that we have caused President Mubarak to lose face. 1.3 billion Chinese will wonder when we will cause their leader to lose face. This question will be asked by people all around the world.

Rather than regard America as supporters of the Egyptian people, people around the world will see America as the betrayer of the Egyptian peoples’ leader. This, notwithstanding the call by the Egyptian people for President Mubarak to resign.

Lastly, if we recant our position, our global status and stature will suffer.

What to do?

The best possible way to resolve the problem is for the United States to defer to a neutral third party nation who will meet, PRIVATELY, with both the leaders of the Egyptian people and with the Egyptian leaders. Yes, there is a difference. This is not to suggest that the U.S. should not be present at the table. After all, Egypt and The United States are allies and have been for a long time. However, we should not head this delegation.

This neutral third party nation will be able to help both the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government under President Mubarak, to resolve the contretemps in a matter that will avoid humiliation and mitigate rather than propagate enmities.




Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Watching the Process

The Process

Management, Project Management, Process Management, each a process. Can you isolate the moment you realised that?

I was in the second grade. We were out in the playground for recess. We were playing kickball.

Recess was unstructured. There was no micromanagement of children then.

The two usual classmates were captains. This was SOP. Then, one day, one of the teams had a co-captain.

While some of the other boys in my class complained, “Why do they always get to be captains?” “They always pick their friends. That’s not fair,” I observed the process.

The captains were the natural leaders. This was because they were good at the game and good at picking players. (Athletes will routinely hang out with athletes. Question: Are they picking their friends, or good athletes, or both? Answer: both.)

We root for the underdogs; but we want to run with the winners. Good at sports or bad at sports, each of us wants to be on a winning team.

However, we now had co-captains. I was less concerned with why. I simply wanted to be on a winning team. That was over 50 years ago. I still remember the day. However, we never stop learning. It was only a few weeks ago when I thought about that day that I realised something.

If you are a good athlete, and I am a good athlete, and we have three powerful players in the class; Tom, Dick, and Harry, and we toss a coin for first pick, the following are the possible results:

You have three power players: I have two power players.

I have three power players: you have two power players.

It comes down to the toss of a coin.

Plan B. I have a co-captain. It doesn’t matter who wins the toss. Either way, I have three power players on my team and you have two on your team.

Now, that was not the end of the lesson. That was the beginning.

1. We learned not only about leadership, but also about followship.

2. We learned the art of negotiation and the result of having good leaders.

3. We also learned how to get along without being micromanaged by parents.

4. There was a lesson in conflict resolution and the value of cooperation.

It went on from there.

Some of my classmates complained. They, however, had no viable alternative. They also had no appreciation for the objective assessment of what was happening.

Some had inflated views of their own skills. (If he can do it, so can I.) Yet, none ever explained why others never gravitated to them as leaders.

There was more to be learned by watching the process.

1. How did some classmates interact with others?

2. How did some interact with the teacher?

3. How did the teacher interact with some students as opposed to others?

For the last one, I can offer some insight. If the objective is to encourage a student to participate, the teacher calls on the quiet one. If the objective is to teach the class how to solve a problem, the teacher calls on the student most likely to have the correct answer.

There is much to be said for participation. There is little to be said for sitting on the sidelines. However, as Yogi Berra once said, “You can see a lot by just watching.” To which I shall add, “You can hear a lot by just listening.”

What does this have to do with project management?

Perhaps you shouldn’t be managing projects.




Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview