I am more concerned about bad ethics and honesty. I want internal watchdogs whose duty is to assure that the corporaton is ethical, honest, good citizens, provides safe products, etc. The watch dogs must report directly to the board, bypassing all management.
we should start an international policing force to monitor the activities of multi-national corporations..with today's access to info . we could do it..just start a site for shareholders of all the S&P companies and involve them all including shareholders who also work for the respective companies..a sort of self-help board of shareholders ..I think it is the only way forward that we should all have a voice but a concerted one where we will exercise our votes against what we feel are bad decisions..
www..running out of energy ! thought u are still kept on your toes with 5 bossy women in house..
well, I still want to be there fighting ..when I am 88..my kids get so embarrassed when I make public appeals or argue with salespersons or dim people doing a lousy job and I sure ahte traffic wardens all over!!
My dream is to be able to start some form of self-policing watchdog among shareholders of public companies made upof retired lawyers, bankers and professionals who understand the workings and the flaws of large public corporations . This group will attend all the AGMs be a sort of public nuisance if need be to make these fat cats do their job more thoroughly..a sort of outside whistle blower..
always fighting for lost causes ..that is what gives me the real buzz..
Well my way of serving as a watch dog is to attend AGM as a shareholder whenever I could but the last time I went to one of these meetings I found I was the only sole shareholder there and I spent a long time making them answer pertinent questions that they could not give me a valid reply at all..but unfortunately no shareholder was there to hear my case and so all I said just got registered in the Minute book and that is the sad part about public companies today..their main shareholders are institutional clients who are just happy to rub each other's backs ..and there are little true checks as to what goes on behind the scene especially when they start appointing each other on to boards of companies to enjoy the perks that come with being on board..I just want to be that torn in the flesh till someone gets fed up and put me on their board ...to silent me..
Without doing the proper research, I would have to guess that fewer than 1% of the managers in large corporations are decent managers. They are usually finance or salespeople who know nothing about leadership and real management of people. Most feel they are gods, that the company is theirs, and do not realize that their real job is to serve the workers in the company and the stockholders.
Apparently Sam Walton was an example of a good manager, and I can name a couple more, but that is all that I know about.
But again, I haven't really studied them all. Yes, Enron, etc. are horrible examples of bad managers - crooks actually.
What is really funny/sad is that the only people really schooled in leadership and judged on their leadership skills are the military leaders. Now, does it make any sense to have CEO's and COO's with no leadership skills or training?
I also think that all candidates for such offices need to be evaluated by shrinks and detectives for untreated personality disorders, ethics, honesty, etc. before being given the position. Privates in the army with sensitive jobs have to have extensive background checks, but not CEO, CFO, or COO's. Its nuts.
Finally we are definitely seeing eye to eye in this area ..Science and engineering is basically there to solve problems and managers to facilitate that process and not to add to the bureacratic difficulties which often happen with people management..
The wastage that goes on with loss of time in solving people problems is often invisible and yet time consuming.. also info sieving for the right answers amidst tons of irrelevant info. in this day of instant avalanche of info..is an art and a science..
Good managers with a pragmatic head are hard to find..yet these guys at the top are paid top dollars even when they do a bad job...that is when I feel the sleeping shareholders esp individuals and not instituional ones have to educate themselves and do something about that..see all the downfall of Emron etc..it is the overpaid fat cats up there that are ripping shareholders off doing a lousy job..till it is too late..We want value for our money..as consumers, as shareholders , as the ultimate victim of bad management..we are at the bottom end of the food chain and the command chain who are the real victims...are we starting a revolution here?? lol
Bonnie" "But today alot of the savvy young engineers are pursuing MBA degrees to become managers with technical skills"
Yes, I did that too. It doesn't work. There is not enough time in the week to manage and keep up with designs and technology. Just keeping up with technology takes about 15-30 hours per week, in additon to your real duties.
Also, by studying management, you realize that upper level management knows little about modern management, so that often just makes you even more unhappy with them.
Within a few years after graduation, a engineer has lost most of his technical skills; becomes obsolete, unless he continues to read and understand the trade developments. In fact, you learn more out of school that you ever would learn in school because schools are usually several years behind the state of the art. Few managers have the time.
Generally speaking, most managers in engineering companies were people that were not great engineers, even if they had the degree. In other words, if you can't be a good engineer, at least you can be a manager. This is especially true in the government.
www..agreed with what you say about the dichotomy in management and technical staff. But today alot of the savvy young engineers are pursuing MBA degrees to become managers with technical skills..and they are in high demand.. I am very keen that the school curriculum give more attention to the hard sciences here in UK . Historically British society have been one that respects men of letters rather than sciences..hence engineers are never as well paid as managers..but today there is a growing demand for both skills and there are never enough of men who are good at both..it has to do with the school curriculum which has failed to adddress that issue.
Problem solving has to do with experience and training. All the degrees in the world won't help unless they are able to solve problems using all the skills they have mastered. Unfortunately problem solving skill is rarely taught well at school which often tend to only provide set information and fact for regurgitation to pass exams. The true test of all work force is not just discipline, hardwork but also creativity , initiative and intelligence in solving problems and delivering the goods.. A highly professional labor force is the invisible oil in the economic machinery of successful enterprise. Read 'The seven cultures of Capitalism'- a thorough book on management culture in 7 developed countries and how capitalism as an ideology is defined in these different countries.
There is even a bigger problem in almost all major corporations and governments than those stated in previous posts.
It is the lack of a dual career path - 1. Technical, 2. Managerial.
When computer technology was young, good technical experts made much more money than their "managers", and respect went with the pay. A manager did not tell the technical experts how to design or program, etc. The managers were really administrative and project managers, not command and control managers.
This changed later, such that the manager had all of the decision making power, ever over technical issues for which he was not qualified. In the beginning, the management role was to support the technical effort by providing organizational skills, gather resources and facilities, administrative support, project management and coordination, etc to enable the technical people to accomplish their tasks.
When the dual career path disappeared, many projects and products became worthless or not cost effective . The same thing happened at NASA. I have seen over $300 million wasted when the manager decided the most knowledgeable technical experts were wrong. Apparently it happens almost everywhere in government and in almost every large corporation. There needs to be technical decision makers at every level in the organization, in charge of technical issues, with a side by side working relationship with the ADMINISTRATIVE manager at that level. The savings would be worth 10-100 times the extra cost from my experience.
No manager will ever want to share power with a technical wenie, so the board of directors, etc. must force the issue.
My son has been learning Spanish. But I think Chineese would be better. I think the Chineese will be much more productive on a Global scale quicker than Mexico or the rest of South America. I believe it is the Chineese nature...hard workers, go getters.
I completely agree with you 5w's re: having a mix of old & new experience in order to prevent the "reinventing the wheel" syndrome which is not cost effection to a company.
Approximately 12-15 yrs ago, the British Columbia Provincial Govt. got involved with the Oil & Gas industry. A deal was being made to begin exploration & drilling in a tarsand area. An Alberta company that had a small interest in this area offered their 20 yrs of expertise. The B.C. government refused and said they were capable of doing it themselves. They went about reinventing the wheel. After 5 yrs they came back asking for the expert knowledge. I'm sure had they taken it 5 yrs earlier, they would have saved millions of dollars. It's extremely expensive to produce bitumen...it's thick like cold molasses & doesn't just flow out of the ground the way it does in Texas. It requires being heated.
Sometimes people can only learn the hard way.
You need a mix, of the young and old. The older should be mentors, advisors, and consultants to the young with the high energy. _______________________________________
wwwww..agreed with you absolutely on that basis but not many of the older echelon are willing learners like you..the Chinese politburo was full of these geriatics and there are still some of them around who are so resistant to any change and there is no retirement age for them , so the country had to wait till they die before any change could be implemented..
I agree about the mix of old and young provided the old are not fixed in their rigid ways insisting on being at the top and being the decision makers..the role of mentoring and advisor is sometimes lost to those at the top who are used to having their power to decide ..the charity I help is suffering from just that aging syndrome where none of them could contribute effectively but insist on being there doing and contributing little..and that could frustrate the younger members who eventually will just drop out..knowing when to take a back seat gracefully is important.
As for Sharp's friend- the Chinese agenda today has always been to replace the Westerner as soon as possible for control sake and they are prepared to learn thru mistakes some of which could be expensive.
Most of my Singapore friends have been headhunted for the top jobs which use to be a Westerner's position. They are all well trained abroad and have had years of experience working in all the large centers in the West.
In the next half of this century , the Chinese will be investing abroad and that is when they will take on the local Westerner to run their companies if they trust them..a sort of reverse cycle will happen and is already happening in various EU and US centers..so it would be useful for Americans and Europeans to start their kids on Chinese .The Australians are the only one who have included Chinese and Japanese as their second languages in their schools
Sharp: "Considering he had an Electrical Engineering degree and 25+ yrs of experience I was surprised that the Chinese would replace everyone...after all how many of their workers could have degrees and that length of experience to fill all the jobs?"
Your friend and for that matter everyone today in the labour force is dispensable, disposable and replaceable..it is the new philosophy not just in china but the entire world
I see this everywhere also, but they are making a big mistake. While its true that some people with lots of years of experience may be inflexible, they are easy to spot.
Experience can keep you from making really bad mistakes that would a younger person, with their optimism would never think about. The possible downside is important.
I entered the computer field when I was 22 and really was only reaching my peak usefulness when I decided to retire. I did keep up with technology all of those years, so I had experience plus 30 years of learning under my belt. I can't tell you how many times I saw people repeat a mistake that I saw 5 or 10 years previously. Without experience, you invent the wheel over and over. That is a waste.
You need a mix, of the young and old. The older should be mentors, advisors, and consultants to the young with the high energy. They should guide, step in on really critical decisions - with a veto if necessary, and sit back and watch the fun begin. This is not happening.
good time to tell a chinese tale here:
A great cook made a delicious duck soup and invited his neighbor to come taste it..he went a way and told another neighbor and he came and ask for some..he then went a way and told a friend about the soup and the friend came to ask to try some, and it was still so good that he went away and told another friend..this went on for a while.the cook was running out of soup so he kept adding water to his pot of soup...and finally the umpteenth friend who is now a stranger comes to the cook and ask to try some of this wonderful soup and told the cook that it was a friend of a friend of a friend who ask him to come and ask for this soup...he tasted it and found it was completely tasteless and asked why the soup is so tasteless..the cook replied: 'Oh, this is the soup of the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck..'
Moral of the story: Chinese are hospitable to all but their hospitality is dictated by proximity and blood relation..a chinese official once told me: 'There is no corruption only connection here in China..' GUANXI is a chinese word for that intimate relationship that could only be nurtured through time and trust and is not built in a single day but through years of deep friendship, hardship and sacrifice..
When I draft a chinese agreement my job is to reduce 500 pages of English legalese to a 5 page document..trust is not written in ink but in the heart when dealing with the Chinese..and that is really tough for me as an English trained lawyer..
Your friend and for that matter everyone today in the labour force is dispensable, disposable and replaceable..it is the new philosophy not just in china but the entire world..our kids will need to be multi-skilled and should expect not to be in the same job for life since their jobs could be replaced oneday by a cheaper labor source somewhere in the world or by machines..hence it is vital that they be drummed with the work ethos that they need to be flexible, trainable at any age,willing to change and retrain anytime and anywhere to keep up with new demands in their job or other jobs that they may need to take on..
'Change is the only constant factor in life..' v wise Buddhist saying..if we fail to change with the times we become defunct and extinct like dinosaurs which could not cope with the demands of their own environment...human resource is the only resource that is possibly the most untapped and flexible resource in the world..and yet the leaders of this world is so totally blind to that fact.
The mind is the most unexplored territory that will remain the main catalyst for change..
Your friend may have 25 years of experience but the question is whether that experience is relevant or does it make him too resistant to change?
Betty Friedan , one of US first feminist has done an indepth study at Harvard with gerontologists on the new revolution she expects from the greying community ..that they are an untapped source of experience which has been isolated from the mainstream community..she advocates that society re-examine how these people (which include us baby-boomers) need to be reintegrated and be a useful source to the community rather than be isolated behind gated retirement homes..our generation will have to lead this revolution if we are to give ourselves a relevant and useful role in th larger community..will our experience be of relevance to a changing world?
good idea to start a new thread here...lol
Thank you Bonnie. All that information is extremely interesting. Is it just me or is China changing rapidly? I used to have a friend that worked in the Technology sector and was based in Singapore for 3 yrs. Then suddenly he was given 3 mos. notice that he would be returning back to Stockholm because the Chineese were capable of doing his job now. All outsiders were relieved, and positions were filled with the Chineese. Considering he had an Electrical Engineering degree and 25+ yrs of experience I was surprised that the Chineese would replace everyone...after all how many of their workers could have degrees and that length of experience to fill all the jobs? It seemed overnight they had the qualified people.