StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – America’s Oil Addiction

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcasts examine the unnecessary marketplace uncertainty created by today’s headline events and the actions business leaders should take to ensure their organizations succeed under these circumstances.

In America’s Oil Addiction, we are joined by Lewis Reynolds, author of America the Prisoner: The Implications of Foreign Oil Addiction and a Realistic Plan to End It. Lewis shares his thoughts on America’s seemingly endless need for foreign oil and the actions business leaders should take to strengthen their organizations while helping to end our addiction, including:

  • the significant issues America’s oil addiction brings with it
  • actions that should be taken to end America’s addiction to foreign oil from a national perspective
  • actions business leaders should take that will serve to both end America’s oil addiction and help improve their organization’s bottom line
  • specific business sectors and offerings representing business opportunities that leaders should consider pursuing in light of America’s effort to reduce its oil consumption

Additional Information

In addition to the invaluable insights Lewis shares in America the Prisoner and this StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast are the resources accessible from his website, www.AmericaThePrisoner.com.   Lewis’s book, America the Prisoner, can be purchased by clicking here.

Information related to America’s oil addition as discussed during our conversation are available from the following sources:


“The term Peak Oil refers to the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognizing that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion.”

Colin Campbell, PhD
Founder and Honorary Chairman
Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas


Energy Sources and Consumption

  • Annual Energy Outlook, 2010 by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (released May 11, 2010)
  • Annual Energy Review, 2009 by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (published August 2010)

Peak Oil Projections

An impressive representation of the peak oil concept has been captured by The Oil Age Poster.

Final Request…

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Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast!


About the Author

Lewis Reynolds is author of America the Prisoner: The Implications of Foreign Oil Addiction and a Realistic Plan to End It. Lewis has spent years as a financial advisor and consultant to a wide range of companies, particularly in the energy industry. His billions of dollars worth of transaction and advisory experience, background in economics, and passionate desire to help renew America’s promise provide unique perspective on our energy dilemma. Working with pioneer energy companies, he has gained inside knowledge of the technologies that can change our world. To read Lewis’s full biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Reengineering Healthcare

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcasts examine the unnecessary marketplace uncertainty created by today’s headline events and the actions business leaders should take to ensure their organizations succeed under these circumstances.

In Reengineering Healthcare, we are joined by Jim Champy, author of Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery. Jim shares his thoughts on the recently enacted healthcare law and what business leaders can do to help promote better health and wellness among their workforce, including:

  • the fundamental issues with our current healthcare system and whether the recently passed healthcare reforms will adequately address these challenges
  • how reengineering can lead to more efficient, safer delivery of healthcare services
  • the role business leaders should play in reengineering the healthcare system
  • methods leaders can use to promote wellness within their workforce

Final Request…

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective PodcastThe strength in our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us and sharing your perspectives regarding the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast on iTunes by clicking here. Sharing your thoughts improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast!


About the Author

Jim Champy, author of Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery, is Chairman Emeritus of Consulting at Dell Services. He is recognized throughout the world for his work on leadership and management issues and on organizational change and business reengineering. Jim’s first book, Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, sold more than 3 million copies and spent more than a year on The New York Times best seller list. He also authored the best seller, Reengineering Management: The Mandate for New Leadership, which was recognized by Business Week as one of the top ten best business books of 1995. His columns and articles appear in such magazines a Forbes, ComputerWorld, Sales and Marketing Management, Leader to Leader, and Baseline. To read Jim’s full biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Expanding Uncertainty in the U.S. Financial Sector, part 3

Major changes in any established regulation cause great uncertainty and the recent revisions made to the financial industry’s governance are no exception. Indeed, the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell estimates that 243 new rules will be developed by 11 different government agencies as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.1 What is misleading, however, is the notion that the act focuses only on the financial services industry. In reality, this ‘financial reform’ represents a Washington power grab that extends far beyond the confines of Wall Street and will undoubtedly affect almost all Americans.

StrategyDriven questions whether these intrusions into non-financial sector areas will really help prevent future meltdowns like that which took place in 2008. The fact that other sectors are included simply broadens the span of government control and scope of market uncertainty which will further hinder economic recovery and growth as these other sectors must now also come to grips with the regulatory changes; changes that are not likely to be defined for years to come.

Service Providers

While StrategyDriven has already spoken out against the quota system enacted under Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, we have not yet discussed the breadth of organizations covered by this rule. Under this provision, Congress and the President extended the regulation not only to financial institutions but to the many organizations providing services to these institutions. Service organizations named within this section of the regulation include accountants and providers of legal services.2

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act also increases the legal liability of service providers; assigning them vicarious liability for the legal wrongdoings of their regulated financial institution customers. Specifically, the act:

  • imposes vicarious liability on any service provider processing consumer financial transactions as ‘aiders and abettors’ for operational support in some cases
  • encourages employees of shared service centers and outsourcers to file claims of violation so that they can reap a bounty in an enforcement case
  • makes mere ‘recklessness’ the equivalent of a ‘knowing’ violation of 1) the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, 2) the Investment Company Act, and 3) the Investment Advisers Act of 1940
  • extends the extraterritorial jurisdiction of U.S. courts in enforcement of U.S. securities laws3

Non-Depository Institutions

In its attempt to be all inclusive in financial matters, Congress and the President provided the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection regulatory authority over non-depository organizations such as payday lenders, debt collectors, and consumer reporting agencies. In these cases, the Bureau is provided the authority to prevent unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices although the Dodd-Frank Act is vague about what this actually means. The Bureau also has the authority to “require reports, conduct examinations, require certain record-keeping requirements, prescribe other rules to ensure that such entities are legitimate entities and are able to perform their obligations to consumers.”4

It is of particular interest to note that several non-depository institutions and activities having at least an equally significant financial impact to consumers were expressly excluded from this regulatory oversight including real estate brokerage activities, accountants, and tax preparers.5

Publicly Traded Companies

Congress and the President reached far beyond the financial sector with the executive compensation regulations contained within the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Many of these provisions appear to continue the Obama Administration’s challenge to the fairness of executive compensation. New rules regarding executive compensation include:

  • Say-on-Pay
  • Compensation Committee Adviser Independence
  • Compensation Committee Member Independence
  • Pay Disparity Disclosure
  • Pay versus Performance
  • Clawback6

It goes without saying that greater transparency contributes to greater accountability and that is a good thing. However, StrategyDriven questions whether employees in general or members of Congress and the President would themselves be willing to be held to these standards; particularly the say-on-pay, pay versus performance, and clawback provisions. It is also worth noting that no provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act directly address the awarding of large ‘golden parachute’ payouts to failed executives upon their departure.

StrategyDriven Recommended Practices

The significant marketplace uncertainty created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will not end anytime soon – the need to define 243 new rules will see to that. It is clear the impact of this law extends well beyond the boundaries of Wall Street and that it is important for all company leaders to understand how their organization may be affected. In addition to our previously recommended actions, StrategyDriven suggests organization leaders:

  • Assess the new and heightened liabilities and administrative costs associated with their financial industry work against the rewards resulting from this work, particularly if they are service providers to the financial services industry; making adjustments to their businesses as appropriate.
  • Consider how the new executive compensation provisions will impact the organization’s ability to attract and retain top executive talent.
  • Evaluate the need to adjust the compensation structure of the entire executive team and potentially that of all employees in order to maintain overall equity and balance given the new executive compensation rules.

Final Thoughts…

While the purpose of this editorial was to focus on the non-financial sector institutions included in the so-called ‘financial reform’ act we would be remiss for not identifying the unconscionable absence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from this legislation. These two institutions played such a significant role in the financial collapse of 2008 that it is unreasonable to think Washington politicians wouldn’t conclude that some change in the regulation of these mortgage giants was needed. The fact that payday lenders and debt collectors are included in the Dodd-Frank Act and Fannie and Freddie excluded from meaningful regulatory change (Fannie and Freddie received two minor mentions in the 1,500 page Dodd-Frank Act)7 suggests Congress and the President are either not serious about preventing a future financial system meltdown or had their interests better served by the omission. Either way, the American public lost in this deal – $135 billion in outstanding debt to the American taxpayer as of this editorial’s publication.8

In the coming editions of the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective, we’ll look at the potential impacts of several provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act including:

  • impacts of ‘too large to fail’ provisions on market risk
  • proportionately larger burden of the new law on small companies

As always, we’ll provide our thoughts on how business leaders can best prepare for the implementation of the financial reform law and weather the storm in the long-term. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts, lessons learned, and recommended resources with us and the StrategyDriven audience.

Final Request…

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective PodcastThe strength in our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us and sharing your perspectives regarding the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast on iTunes by clicking here. Sharing your thoughts improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast!

Sources

  1. “Summary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Enacted into Law on July 21, 2010,” Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, July 21, 2010 (http://www.davispolk.com/files/Publication/efb94428-9911-4472-b5dd-006e9c6185bb/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/efd835f6-2014-4a48-832d-00aa2a4e3fdd/070910_Financial_Reform_Summary.pdf)
  2. “Racial quotas as financial services reform?,” Horace Cooper, The Washington Times, July 15, 2010 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2010/jul/15/racial-quotas-financial-services-reform/)
  3. “Dodd-Frank Financial Reform: New “Systemic Risks” for the BPO Industry,” Bierce & Kenerson, P.C., Outsourcing Law, July 30, 2010 (http://www.outsourcing-law.com/2010/07/dodd-frank-new-risks-for-bpo/)
  4. “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – Scope of Coverage of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, August 6, 2010 (http://www.kilpatrickstockton.com/en/Knowledge%20Center/Alerts%20and%20Podcasts/Legal%20Alerts/2010/08/Dodd%20Frank%20Wall%20Street%20Reform%20and%20Consumer%20Protection%20Act%20Scope%20of%20Coverage.aspx)
  5. ibid
  6. “Some Dodd-Frank Executive Compensation Action Items,” Jeremy L. Goldstein, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, August 12, 2010 (http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/corpgov/2010/08/12/some-dodd-frank-executive-compensation-action-items/)
  7. “Housing Policy’s Third Rail,” Gretchen Morgenson, The New York Times, August 7, 2010 (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08gret.html?_r=1)
  8. “Bailout Recipients,” ProPublica, August 22, 2010 (http://bailout.propublica.org/list/index)

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Expanding Uncertainty in the U.S. Financial Sector, part 2

Common sense suggests that individuals and organizations would only seek to borrow or be lent money that they could with reasonable assurance repay. In the wake of the housing market crash of 2008, we learned that financial institutions frequently provided mortgage loans to those they knew could not afford to repay them. Common sense certainly did not prevail and, in this case, contributed to the devastating economic conditions we now face.

Armed with this knowledge and experience, reasonable people would seek to avoid creating conditions that could lead the recurrence of such reckless lending and place at risk our entire financial system and economy. Indeed, only a little common sense is required. It would appear, though, that common sense is in short supply in Washington D.C.

Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act sign into law on July 21, 2010 by President Obama directs Federal regulators to allocate credit by race and gender rather than on a systematic evaluation of risk and financial soundness.1,2,3 Race and gender are simply not financial qualifiers. Thus, this dubious approach to lending will either result in the loan applications of qualified non-covered individuals being rejected or the extension of funds to covered individuals who cannot afford to repay the loans. The credit market will subsequently become too tight, stifling economic growth or too loose, creating a similar set of circumstances that caused the financial meltdown this legislation is intended to prevent.

StrategyDriven Recommended Practices

The significant marketplace uncertainty created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will not end anytime soon. It is clear that the law itself will create conditions that threaten the future stability of the U.S. financial markets. In addition to our previously recommended actions, StrategyDriven suggests organization leaders:

  • Monitor the market for indications of continued, extensive sub-prime lending and the use of other potentially new financial vehicles that provide individuals and companies with funds they cannot afford to repay.
  • Critically assess your organization’s financial standing and the risk involved with projects and ongoing operations; limiting borrowing to that which is reasonably prudent.
  • Be mindful of your organization’s portfolio of liabilities – lines of credits from suppliers, loans from financial institutions, bonds issued to stakeholders – when evaluating your company’s financial standing and the prudency of expanding is overall liabilities.
  • Honestly evaluate your customer’s ability to repay loans or lines of credit so to not place them and your company in a position of excessive financial risk.
  • Provide employees with financial advisory services benefits so to help them understand how to borrow responsibly.

Final Thoughts…

We cannot leave this topic without first addressing the issues of discrimination the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act creates. In a letter to Senate leaders, several members of the United States Commission on Civil Rights cite their belief that “the likelihood [this act] will in fact promote discrimination is overwhelming.” 4 And we at agree. Directing the establishment and reinforcement of quotas based on race and gender runs counter to our nation’s founding principle that all people are created equal. It puts in place a system by which people are judged based on their race and gender rather than on their capabilities, achievements, and the quality of their character.


“It would be unadvised to attempt to set up any one race above another, or one religion above another, or prescribe any on account of race, color or creed.” 5
 
Frederick Douglass
Our Composite Nationality
delivered December 7, 1869
Boston, Massachusetts


StrategyDriven believes only those societies and businesses embracing diversity and inclusion will realize great success. It is our assertion that all leaders should support the behaviors, systems, and policies that promote greater diversity and inclusion within society and its member organizations. In our opinion, quotas do not serve to promote diversity and inclusion but rather serve to create discrimination and divisiveness. It is simply not humanly possible to divine a quota that ensures all individuals will be treated equally according to his or her abilities, achievements, and character. Quotas therefore establish conditions where individuals from either the covered or non-covered class are not afforded equal opportunities which itself is discriminatory and engenders a resentment within those so discriminated that promotes a divisive environment. Thus, we believe Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will serve to further divide our nation and our business community rather than ensure the fair inclusion of all individuals in the financial markets as was intended.

Again, StrategyDriven strongly believes in the power and strength of a diverse and inclusive marketplace and is committed to furthering its promotion. We hope you’ll take time to read our many Diversity and Inclusion articles to better understand what it means to be a truly diverse and inclusive business and promote such practices within your organization.

In the coming editions of the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective, we’ll look at the potential impacts of several provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act including:

  • extension of government control beyond direct players in the financial market
  • impacts of ‘too large to fail’ provisions on market risk
  • proportionately larger burden of the new law on small companies

As always, we’ll provide our thoughts on how business leaders can best prepare for the implementation of the financial reform law and weather the storm in the long-term. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts, lessons learned, and recommended resources with us and the StrategyDriven audience.

Final Request…

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective PodcastThe strength in our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us and sharing your perspectives regarding the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast on iTunes by clicking here. Sharing your thoughts improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast!

Sources

  1. “Politicizing the Fed: Congress seeks more control over the 12 regional banks,” The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2010 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704575304575297130299281828.html)
  2. “Racial quotas as financial services reform?,” Horace Cooper, The Washington Times, July 15, 2010 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2010/jul/15/racial-quotas-financial-services-reform/)
  3. “Race, Sex, and the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation Bill,” Roger Clegg, The Federalist Society, July 12, 2010 (http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/pubid.1912/pub_detail.asp)
  4. “U.S. Commission on Civil Rights demands changes to Democrats’ financial reform bill,” Caroline May, The Daily Caller, July 14, 2010 (http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/14/u-s-commission-on-civil-rights-demands-changes-to-democrats-financial-reform-bill/)
  5. “Our Composite Nationality,” Frederick Douglass, TeachingAmericanHistory.org, December 7, 1869 (http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=2464)

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Expanding Uncertainty in the U.S. Financial Sector, part 1

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law a sweeping financial reform bill that creates massive uncertainty and inequity in the marketplace; positioning the United States for yet more turmoil and future catastrophic financial collapse. In this and future StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective articles, we’ll examine various aspects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and as always, we’ll provide our perspective on the actions business leaders can take to help ensure their organizations survive this ill-conceived legislation.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act enacts 243 new rules governing the financial sector, far more than the 16 rules and 6 studies required by the post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.1 Provisions of the law provide for creation of a number of new government organizations and expansion of government authority including:

  • creation of a new consumer watchdog organization, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • establishment of a new financial early warning system, the Financial Services Oversight Council
  • bestows new corporate breakup authority to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • mandates tighter controls over financial firms and
  • directs mortgage finance reforms, though does not address the issues related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; organizations that significantly contributed to the financial meltdown in the first place2

“No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”
 
Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut)
on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act3


We agree with Senator Dodd. No one could possibly know or be able to anticipate fully how this massive reform bill will impact not just the financial marketplace but the American business landscape as a whole. It is in part because of this massive, self-induced, and unnecessary marketplace uncertainty that we believe this bill is so utterly wrong.

Reforms are needed but can be put into place in a more incremental fashion that allows for an understanding of the ramifications of the acts taken. The hundreds of rules mandated by this law will likely take years to write and still more years for companies to understand and comply with – all driving increased uncertainty and turmoil in an already fragile and depressed economy for a long time to come.

StrategyDriven Recommended Practices

The great marketplace uncertainty created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will not end anytime soon. Therefore, StrategyDriven recommends organization leaders take the following actions:

  • Seek a reputable assessment of the financial reform’s impact on your organization. Before substantive definition to the hundreds of new regulations is developed, it will be difficult to identify specific impacts to any particular organization. However, experts in the field can provide some insight based on historic precedents as they relate to current market circumstances. One such firm already providing such insight is Deloitte Consulting LLP in their recent publication: Assessing the Impact of U.S. Financial Regulatory Reform.
  • Establish a business posture that positions your organization to rapidly and flexibly respond as regulations become defined. Again, precedents will suggest the direction government agencies will take when defining the new regulations. Ensuring your organization has a programmatic foundation allowing it to move in the direction of the new regulations while still being flexible enough to respond to the nuanced details that will be defined in the coming months and years positions your company for success over those not making such preparations.
  • Monitor the regulations as they are developed. Being watchful of the government’s positions during the regulatory definition phase allows for ongoing adjustments to be made to the foundational programs previously recommended. This will minimize the scope and scale of adjustments that will need to be made once the regulations are finalized.
  • Monitor the marketplace for impacts and shifts associated with the new financial reforms. Inevitably, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will impact many businesses and reshape consumerism. Changes in the marketplace will create new and eliminate existing business opportunities. Maintaining a watchful eye on the market will better enable your business to take advantage of these changes while simultaneously avoiding the risks.

Final Thought…

In the coming editions of the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective, we’ll look at the potential impacts of several provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act including:

  • risks created through establishment of minority and gender quotas
  • extension of government control beyond direct players in the financial market
  • impacts of ‘too big to fail’ provisions on market risk
  • proportionately larger burden of the new law on small companies

As always, we’ll provide our thoughts on how business leaders can best prepare for the implementation of the financial reform law and weather the storm in the long-term. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts, lessons learned, and recommended resources with us and the StrategyDriven audience.

Final Request…

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective PodcastThe strength in our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us and sharing your perspectives regarding the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast on iTunes by clicking here. Sharing your thoughts improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast!

Sources

  1. “Obama signs sweeping bank-reform bill into law,” Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch, July 21, 2010 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-signs-sweeping-bank-reform-bill-into-law-2010-07-21-12200)
  2. “Financial reform law: What’s in it and how does it work?,” Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2010 (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0721/Financial-reform-law-What-s-in-it-and-how-does-it-work)
  3. “Lawmakers guide Dodd-Frank bill for Wall Street reform into homestretch,” David Cho, Jia Lynn Yang, and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post, June 26, 2010 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675_pf.html)