Sunday, 8 December 2013

What is Climate Change?

It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing because it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing, because obviously it is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2 alone, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of this warming to the disastrous natural catastrophes that appear increasingly frequent in their occurence.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Crabby Australian Retailers and an Incompetent Government

Australia! Known for it's vast landscapes of natural beauty and a world-leading public health care system (cost of basic health insurance is more expensive than the other 16 leading countries), Australians actually pay top dollar for beer, cigarettes, iPhones (any apple product), luxury items, apparel, movie tickets, flowers and pretty much everything you can think of! Being a high-wage country is also an insufficient trade-off given the insanely high cost of living. Australia ranks third as the most expensive country to live in, after France and Singapore. In any case, high wages are a cost to businesses that must be passed on to customers as higher prices. Businesses in Australia also pay high commercial rents thanks to planning restrictions and the high cost of land/real-estate. The tyranny of distance has not gone away being from 'a land downunder' (we are only 7 hours and 44 minutes from the South Pole). It is also ridiculously more expensive to ship goods to Australia and then further transport to specific states/suburbs. So at a time when our budget is at an irretrievable deficit (surplus is not forecasted until >2018), the Federal Government has all too willingly sided with the National Retail Association to lowering the GST threshold on online purchases which was originally $1,000 to almost zero. Lowering the GST threshold will not alleviate the immense financial pressures facing an increasingly struggling industry that would not greatly benefit from the implementation of such a regime anyway. What the industry fails to see is the cost associated in administering such a change which outweigh any forseeable benefit that would lead to retention of employment for Australian retail workers. How does the government anticipate on financing the labour to open each individual parcel from Amazon and e-Bay to assess the GST applicability. Any smart online shopper would know that even purchasing an item that falls within the <$1k threshold would still prove to be cheaper than purchasing the same item from a major Australian retailer who would price the item at a ridiculous 700% mark-up. The ambitious forecaste of a $1B yield from implementation of this proposal will do little to the industry and for the states that currently hold a AA rating. Basically, I would still buy a pair of Nike kicks online for $150 as opposed to in store at DJ's for $300. It will take much more than a 10% price increase to change the mindsets of a generation of online consumers.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Technology & Politics

We only need government until it is phased out by technology I'll give an example that should leave no doubt in your mind, and if it's not enough tell me and I'll add more on top of that later. Let's step back about a couple of centuries to 1763. You go to the local butcher. "Gimmie 3 Kg of chicken breast please!" The butcher "does his thing" and put some chicken breast in a bag. He assesses the weight of the bag in his hand, adjusting the amount of chicken breast until he 'thinks' it is 3 Kg. Then he hands it over to you. "Hmmm ... That feels a little light to me ..." So you argue a little, and bring in a third "neutral" person to judge. The neutral person smiles at the butcher and weights the bag: "3 Kg it is!" hmmmm ... Why did he smile at the butcher? And why did he announced it with such emotion? Now YOU question that person's integrity. Is he really neutral? How can you know FOR SURE he is not making a scheme with the butcher and gets his "cut" of the profit later? You go home, share the story with friends and family, spread it around and you all decide to chip in one dollar a day and pay someone to walk around the market and solve disputes of weight. You follow? So you just produced the NEED for another job. So we, as a community, have one less hunter/fisherman/etc to our disposal. Basically, we elected a representative to "solve problems" (disputes on trade of goods). You see how wasteful this is, and how this is susceptible to corruption? Not to mention that this person we elected won't be 100% correct all the time. But that is the best that we could do at the time. Then one day, someone comes and "invents" the scale! 1. (almost) 100% accurate ALL THE TIME 2. Not susceptible to corruption 3. FULLY AUTOMATED (no HUMAN required to operate) Take a second to let this sink in. By introducing new technology, we solve the INITIAL problem that MADE us NEED a "government official" (the person that got elected for the job) And this is how we gradually phase out government. Technology can solve MUCH MORE PROBLEMS than politicians.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Reward & Recognition - Performance Management and the integral role of Managers in organisational and employee development.

Most companies have yet to arrive at the realisation of understanding the importance of appointing to management, capable employees who are talented in and committed to managing people well. Many fail to realise the accountability of poor performance at lower levels actually sits with managers, this means ensuring supervisors themselves are well-managed and engaged. Middle-management definitely needs more love. Achieveable by implementing a functional employee engagement strategy as opposed to tackling a range of problems caused by the lack of that overall strategy. Research shows that australians have been known to respond exceptionally well to great management, a 'cool culture', meaningful recognition and opportunities to take on new challenges. The overall employee output and the intensity of this output can be directly measured by the level of investment an employer makes in improving that overall experience at work. In other words, you get the engagement and performance you deserve. Nothing, absoloutely nothing is more important and more intstrumental than an awesome manager who has the ability to individualise the company's approach on behalf of that employee. And yet, only 9% of employees strongly agree their managers understand them, one in two employees think their manager is incompetent (hahaha). Yes, comical but this is derived from a 2013 Hewitt study of employee engagement. The relationship an employee holds with their direct manager is the most important. They serve as an intemediary between the employee and the wider organisation. Helping the employee understand and make sense of what changes are taking place in the wider business, and how this affects the employee. And when it comes to helping those who are interested to progress with their careers either within their roles or beyond, the immediate manager should act as a sponsor or a mentor, someone who connects people with opportunities and can secure the right resources and approval to make it possible. The concept CLEARLY DEFINING performance expectations is equally important. Making sure that general divisional teams and processes are aligned with objectives, managing cooperative relationships within cross-functional teams and providing people adequate resources and necessary support to kick goals necessary to do their job and push boundaries where possible. This all forms part of the BASICS of effectively managing people but what is equally important is the responsibility of middle management towards fostering an environment that enables high performance (ie HP>D not HP

Utterly confused head space, stagnant career - normal part of human development?

At a time when most teenagers (and, let’s face it, those of us in our mid-twenties aswel) are struggling just to get out of bed, the story of a courageous and adventurous nineteen year old is being aired on prime time television. A fearless individual with nothing to lose and only everything to gain, speaks of the importance of believing in your passion and the courage to pursue it. “You gotta take it as it is, and do it”. Thanks, ‘Flyin Ryan’. "All of our lives we spend listening to everybody else, we want to please them, we want them to approve whatever we’ve done its almost a caged feeling. LEARN TO SAY NO!" - Alicia Keys. Two remarkable and deeply inspiring stories aired on sixty Minutes tonight. Which have only built on the existing notion of wanting to break free from my own ‘caged feeling’ once again. Self-actualization is a continuous process of human development and a core component in human development, as proven by Abraham Maslow. "What a man can be, he must be”. This quotation forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person's full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. According to Maslow, to achieve this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs (morality, creativity, spontaneity and lack of prejudice) but master them.