Capitalism at the Crossroads – Mapping the Terrain

From Obligation to Opportunity

Having grown up in western New York in the 1950s and ’60s, I have memories of family vacations spent at destinations like Niagara Falls. Although the Falls themselves were indeed magnificent, equally memorable for a 10-year-old was the soot from nearby factories that accumulated on the porch furniture, requiring that we cleaned the furniture daily, lest we ruin our clothes. The accompanying stench was also something to experience. I still remember asking why, in a place of such natural beauty and splendor, did it have to be so polluted? The answer, accepted wisdom in those days, was that this was “the smell of money.” If we were going to have economic prosperity, then we would have to put up with some minor inconveniences, such as soot, stench, rivers that catch fire, and mountains of waste. It was the cost of progress. I remember being singularly unsatisfied by this response.

Fast-forward to 1974. As a freshly minted college graduate headed to Yale for graduate work in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, I was convinced that corporations were the “enemy” and that the only way to deal effectively with environmental problems was to “make them pay” through regulation—to internalize their externalities, in the jargon of economics. This was probably a correct perception at that point in history: Large corporations, by and large, had been unresponsive to environmental issues, and it appeared that the only way to deal with the problem was to force them to clean up the messes they were making. The Environmental Protection Agency and scores of other regulatory agencies were created precisely for this purpose. A mountain of command-and-control regulation was passed during the decade of the 1970s, aimed at forcing companies to mitigate their negative impacts.


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About the Author

Stuart L. Hart, author of Capitalism at the Crossroads, is the Samuel C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management. Professor Hart is one of the world’s top authorities on the implications of sustainable development and environmentalism for business strategy. He has published over 50 papers and authored or edited five books. His article “Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World” won the McKinsey Award for Best Article in the Harvard Business Review for 1997 and helped launch the movement for corporate sustainability. To read Stuart’s complete biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 44a – An Interview with David Parmenter, author of Key Performance Indicators, part 1 of 2

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 44a – An Interview with David Parmenter, author of Key Performance Indicators, part 1 of 2 explores how to create a winning key performance indicator system that transforms these reports into decision-making tools supporting achievement of superior bottom line results. During our discussion, David Parmenter, author of Key Performance Indicators: Developing, Implementing, and Using Winning KPIs shares with us his insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • differences and relationships between key performance indicators, key results indicators, performance indicators, and results indicators
  • characteristics of key performance indicators that makes them both unique and powerful measures of performance
  • dangers associated with treating all performance measures as key performance indicators

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights David shares in Key Performance Indicators and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from his website, www.DavidParmenter.com.   David’s book, Key Performance Indicators, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

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About the Author

David Parmenter is author of Key Performance Indicators: Developing, Implementing, and Using Winning KPIs. David is an internationally renowned speaker, author, and advisor known for his work in the development of performance measurement systems that transforms these reports into a decision-making tool. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and has delivered workshops to thousands of executives and managers around the world. To read David’s complete biography, click here.

Leveraging “Fifth Screen” Affordability To Improve Customer Engagement

It started with the silver screen, over a century ago. And while the advent of TV, personal computers and mobile devices as the second, third and fourth major screen technologies have clearly changed life as we know it, Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) technology – the “fifth screen”, as it’s known – has created amazingly influential opportunities of its own.

Today’s digital networks are easier to design, present and deploy than ever before, in part because of the price drop in flat panel displays and Content Management Systems (CMS). We’re also seeing an increase in education and technology advancements, as well as manufacturers and suppliers taking a more holistic approach in supporting those who want to get into the DOOH business.


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About the Author

Steve Acquista – CTS ([email protected]) is a 20-year industry veteran and the Director of Digital Signage at Black Box, a world leader and provider of comprehensive communications and data infrastructure solutions. In addition to designing, installing and maintaining unified communications networks throughout the world, the company offers more than 118,000 networking and infrastructure products. To learn more about Black Box, visit: www.blackbox.com/go/icompel.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 43b – An Interview with Diane Katz, author of Win at Work!, part 2 of 2

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 43b – An Interview with Diane Katz, author of Win at Work!, part 2 of 2 examines how to deal with workplace conflict in a non-confrontational manner that enables everyone involved to win and the organization to function more productively. During our discussion, Diane Katz, author of Win at Work!: The Everybody Wins Approach to Conflict Resolution shares with us her insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • the masculine and feminine approach to handling conflict and the aspects of each that should be used to approach conflict resolution constructively
  • an 8-step, non-confrontational method for resolving conflict in the workplace – The Working Circle
  • actions leaders should take to improve their conflict resolution skills
  • additional actions leaders should take to help their peers and employees better handle conflict

Additional Information

In addition to the invaluable insights Diane shares in Win at Work! and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from her website, www.TheWorkingCircle.com.   Diane’s book, Win at Work!, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

The strength of our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us on iTunes by clicking here. Rating the StrategyDriven Podcast and providing your comments online 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 Podcast!


About the Author

Diane Katz is author of Win at Work! and President of The Working Circle, a management consultancy providing organizational development, human resources, and team building training and coaching. For over 15 years, Diane has helped executives and managers in manufacturing, construction, technology, healthcare, government, and nonprofits better deal with workplace conflict using her unique, 8-step non-confrontational method, The Working Circle. To read Diane’s complete biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Podcast Series

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)