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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Global Business Corruption: Biggest Impediment to Sustainable Living

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2008 at 4:31 am

Corruption is not only the biggest obstacle to development and economic growth, but also a major risk to companies as recent stories have demonstrated. Many corporate leaders today have assumed responsibility and implemented effective programmes to address the issue within their own context and in collaboration with others. The joint publication of the four major global anti-corruption initiatives working with the private sector to effectively address the issue provides a “first-of its” kind summary on why companies must take a stance, and how they can do so.

This is an important and timely piece, because the implications are far reaching.  For example, in the United States, despite our laws, corruption tends to preclude young upstarts from winning government contracts because qualified firms often do not know the “right” people.  This is problematic because often times the firms winning are in fact unqualified and/or do not have the capacity to delivery.  This Global Business Corruption report, which is the first of it’s kind provides a helpful and relevant blue print for U.S. companies and government officials to review. 

Here is what honest, hard working business people are up against:

  • Estimates show that the cost of corruption equals more than 5% of global GDP (US $2.6 trillion), with
    over US $1 trillion paid in bribes each year.
  • Corruption adds up to 10% to the total cost of doing business globally, and up to 25% to the cost of
    procurement contracts in developing countries.
  • Moving business from a country with a low level of corruption to a country with medium or high levels of corruption is found to be equivalent to a 20% tax on foreign business.

This is often what happens to small business owners in the United States because so-called community leaders want a cut of your deal or in the case of national figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, it is called the “shake down“.  So, while the global business corruption report is out, it would be interesting to calculate the impact and ultimate damage to business owners who have to pay for “access”.  This is why it is important to keep special interest money. 

TED | Talks | Bill Strickland: Rebuilding America, one slide show at a time (video)

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Something for the weekend! Inspiration, exciting, motivating, powerful and something to make you think about what we can do and how we can help others who may not be as fortunate. Have a great weekend!

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.ted.com posted with vodpod

Poor People Have Poor Ways: Poverty Czar is NOT Answer

In Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0, poverty, social networking, Uncategorized on April 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

What is poverty? According to American Heritage Dictionary, it is “The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.” Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton spoke today about creating a cabinet level position in which the primary purpose would be to end poverty in the United States. Mrs. Clinton gave her support to an idea long advocated by the King family, a cabinet position that she said would be “solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it, that will focus the attention of our nation on this issue and never let it go.”

I am not so sure that a cabinet level position would fundamentally change the condition of people who experience poverty and those that experience extreme poverty in this country. Let’s look at some facts and recent illustrations of what I refer to as “poor people having poor ways” which underscores the mindset and behavior of people who tend to experience poverty.

Currently roughly 12% of the U.S. population fall below the federal poverty threshold. There is however some controversy regarding the federal poverty line, arguing that it either understates or overstates the problem of poverty. According to the United Nations, which defines poverty among high-income OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ) countries as those earning less than 50% of the median, 17% of Americans lived in poverty between 1999 and 2002, the second highest percentage of any high-income OECD country.

human_poverty.png
Human Poverty

Poverty is not just a financial state. Being poor affects life in many ways. The human poverty index uses indicators that capture non-financial elements of poverty, such as life expectancy, adult literacy, water quality, and children that are underweight. The 30 territories of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development use a different index which includes income and long-term unemployment; and not water quality or underweight children. This implies that the poor in richer territories are materially better off. This is clearly not the case. Otherwise, we would not need to create a cabinet post for a poverty czar.

Nearly half the African-Americans in a recent study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite. Further, the United States still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion in the fully industrialized world.

We could cite many more illustrations to be fair. But not until we change our mental models about how we view people, getting away from being judgmental, helping others without compensation and doing so unconditionally is the way out of poverty. What I am afraid of is that some national figure will get nominated who is well connected, Congress would deliberate and ultimately approve the nominee, then a bunch of high-priced consultants who know little about poverty will be hired and create a national report on poverty with recommendations. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This issue has to be taken to the streets like presidential candidate Barack Obama has done. Use of social networking in a vigorous and relentless way. Providing tools like PCs (not old machines), for educational attainment, free high-speed Internet access, communicating with people via text messaging to remind of certain events and activities, creating “Meetups” weekly that engage, involve and excite people to change their mindset and their behaviors. Instead of going to the club, pool together talents of parents to conduct tutoring sessions. For example, if one parent is a math whiz, one is an english prodigy, and the like, have sessions in the home where it is safe and compelling to learn sans the television and side conversations. This the framework for the poverty czar to get things done because there are 196,000 search results for “poverty in america” so the work is already done. It is now time to execute much like what Obama has done to change the collective minds of people across America. It’s time for a different pace of action with fresh faces and relevant ideas and the willingness to change course.

 

 

 

Weighing the high cost of cancer care

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2008 at 4:55 am
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Take a moment to look at these pictures.  Now, ask yourself, does the woman on the left have the right to live a healthy life for medical treatment if she is unable to afford it?  Now, ask yourself the same question of the young boy receiving antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV from becoming full blown AIDS and ending his life before the age of 6?

The woman on the left is well-insured, but had to scramble to find the money to cover the high cost of her anti-cancer pills when her coverage was changed. Should she choose between personal financial ruin and homelessness potentially to cover the cost of paying for the medicine she needs?  Should the government intervene?  What would the Republicans think of this woman’s life?  Should living be the right of the few people in the United States or countries who are wealthy enough to afford to continue living rather than being a “burden” on the so-called system?

The young boy on the right has no say in the quality of his life because he was dealt a “bad” hand from birth.  His opportunities are limited because of the environmental and geo-political aspects of the region in Africa where he lives.  These pictures are worlds apart but both people face the same challenges, the same worries and concerns each day.  Their lives, to be sure, are both worth just as much to their families and to the world. 

Drug prices are a growing issue for every disease, especially for people who are uninsured. But cancer sticker shock is hitting hard now, as a list of more advanced biotech drugs have made treatment rounds costing $100,000, or even more, no longer a rarity. Also, patients are living longer, good news but meaning they need treatment for longer periods.

How would the Democrats attack this issue regarding healthcare?  How would the presumptive nominee of the Republican party who has experienced a personal battle with cancer address this pressing concern?  This is what the election should be about as well as other important issues.

Weighing the high cost of cancer care – Cancer- msnbc.com

Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba’s President

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2008 at 12:36 pm

This is an important day for Cuban’s.  Much like what we are experiencing with the campaign of Barack Obama, the time is now in Cuba for a younger set of leaders with whom the United States can work.  Some of the basic privileges that includes the ability to purchase a car, participate in commerce (as a non-tourist) free speech and much more is constricted or forbidden by the government.  This is where a presidential hopeful like Barack Obama could have a tremendous and relevant impact to his presidency, assuming he beats McCain in the general election.  As it was aptly stated at a recent McCain gathering, the audience was made up of old, white men.  Nothing wrong with that, but that is precisely what Fidel Castro is sans the ethnic bloodline of being Cuban.   As Barry White said, in one of his songs entitled: “It’s Time”.  Thus, it is now time for communism in Cuba to go, as it has left the eastern bloc and other regions of the world. 

Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba’s President – New York Times

Nerica: Open Source Rice to Save Lives in Africa

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2007 at 12:58 am

The seeds are a marvel, producing bountiful, aromatic rice crops resistant to drought, pests and disease. But a decade after their introduction, they have spread to only a tiny fraction of the land here in West Africa where they could help millions of farming families escape poverty.

Developed with financing from wealthy countries and private foundations, the New Rices for Africa, or Nericas, are unpatented and freely cultivable by anyone. Yet there is a severe shortage of them in a region where both the private and agricultural sectors are woefully undeveloped.

As I read this, I thought, wow…open source agriculture with the hassles of violating some patent. Yet, problems remain to achieve sustainable growth to feed little bellies.

Finding a sustainable way to supply farmers with seed, he said, “is emerging as the holy grail for agricultural development.”

If this were a business school case study, what should we do?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Always Believe in Yourself. Period!

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2007 at 3:04 am

I was moved, touched and energized after watching this video.  Self-confidence and assuredness are so fragile for people in this hyper-critical world we live.  When we are not quite sure, we might talk louder to gain attention.  Others, don’t make eye contact.  But let me tell you, when you believe in your purpose and you possess personal integrity, then nothing can stop you.  No matter how a person looks on the outside, we have no room to judge, but to evaluate their abilities, their qualities and what comes from them.  Have a terrific weekend!

Wondering about Michelle Wie: She’s Not a Whole Golfer Yet

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Says Pia Nilsson, who coaches several players including Sorenstam: “Michelle’s physical and technical is really good, but she seems so young in the mental, emotional and social components. To become a great player, she needs to find joy and motivation. There’s been so much going on with her from age 13, people pulling her, so you don’t know if she loves it. There are signs that it’s not in her. The people around her have to take that seriously and find a way to keep her growing in the game and in life. Or she will rebel.”

This analysis is very similar to how children are evaluated using the “whole child concept”. There are four areas to consider, which are: physical, social, emotional and intellectual. Educators and physicians are quick to tell you that children do things when they are ready, whether it is taking their first steps, potty training, reading, sharing and so forth.

If you take Ms. Nilsson’s analysis and apply the “whole child concept” the conclusion is simple: Michelle Wie should not be playing professional golf at this point in her life. This was the same conclusion we reached last year when we gave our son the gift of time by delaying is entry to kindergarten. He could clearly do the work and physically he’s a great athlete. But emotionally, and socially being the youngest in his class since pre-school kinda beats you down because you are always trying to keep up and have not gained the confidence required to be successful. Our son is now in kindergarten and he is a little leader now and extremely confident in his abilities. Unfortunately, Michelle Wie’s parents cannot say the same for their daughter. The accountable party at this point are the parents of Michelle Wie. We may never know or witness how great Michelle could become.

The solution: go to college, get a boyfriend, cram for exams, go to Spring break and bring your clothes home for mom to wash just like all great kids. Golf, forget about it for now. Just be a college student and enjoy the experience because in 10 years, nobody wants to hear Michelle say, “I wish I had given college a chance and enjoyed myself.” The time is now to make the smart decision.

read more | digg story

How Good are You at Collaboration and Influence

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2007 at 3:59 pm

The most powerful competency high performing consultants need to make dynamic impacts with clients and internally with peers. This is especially true with more established enterprises where geographic boundaries and roles become multi-purpose, virtual teams to get things done.

read more | digg story

Never Listen to People Who Lie

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2007 at 4:55 am

I’ll keep this brief. The president of Iran is doing what children five, six, seven year olds do. They lie about things or taunt just because with no basis. This is why the Iranian President should simply be ignored. If someone said slavery never existed or the attack of the World Trade Center Towers was a publicity stunt, you shouldn’t even waste your breath arguing. The same applies here.

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Aid to Africa is Like Women on Welfare

In marketing, Uncategorized on September 12, 2007 at 3:24 am

How many success stories do we read about when it comes to countries accelerating educational opportunities or creating new jobs, or feeding families because of foreign aid? Not many to be sure. The same applies to people in the United States who continue to receive welfare through federally funded programs. These programs both abroad and in the U.S. cripple people who are typically poor, lower educated, and tend to be ethnic minorities in the U.S. and people in Africa.

One of the most dynamic strategies that could help these countries is to actually purchase direct from entrepreneurs who design and sell, what I call “third world innovations”. The concept is simple, provide a platform like an Amazon or eBay that allows for “free of charge marketing”. If a man lives on less than $2-3 dollars a day can generate income by enjoying free marketing and earn $20 dollars a day, the bellies of children are full and they can attend school. What do you think?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Simple Pleasures without Video Games and TV

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2007 at 11:24 pm

The video is of Alex, my son.  When I shot this, I didn’t realize how soothing it was to looking at months after I shot it.  I hope you enjoy this and hopefully bring a smile and a laugh to those who watch. The video explains it all. Remember those days when we didn’t have a care in the world and video games and cable TV?