Zombies are all the entertainment rage. They’re terrifying, but only if there is a mass of them in pursuit. Mindless, they keep coming despite the flame-thrower and Gatling gun fired at them. They are easy targets once they reveal themselves.
Facing them are our human heroes. Outnumbered, they nevertheless prevail because they are agile and constantly learning. They adapt as they assess situations—seeing problems, developing new schemes—solving problems, to clobber the zombie hoards.
It’s not just TV that has plodding zombies massed against agile, adaptive people. Organizations also display either zombie or agile hero qualities. In zombie organizations, engineers, doctors, nurses, mechanics or managers encounter problems like missing information, missing documentation, unclear assignments, missing materials or even missing colleagues. Yet, not really seeing them as abnormalities, they don’t solve them, unrelenting when something is amiss, not pausing to investigate and develop solutions. Read More »
The U.S. government is arguably the largest financial institution in the world. If you add the outstanding stock of government loans, loan guarantees, pension insurance, deposit insurance and the guarantees made by federal entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you get to about $18 trillion of government-backed credit. Through those activities, the government has a first-order effect on the allocation of capital and risk in the economy. Read More »
A lot of discussion in the media recently has focused on whether or not entrepreneurs should spend valuable time and money pursuing an MBA degree versus gaining experience on the front lines of a startup. Some commentators such as Vivek Wadhwa even insist that an MBA subtracts from a candidate’s value. Read More »
A few years ago I was working with a small consulting firm, and one of our up and coming salespeople left for a competitor. No big deal. It happens. But several months later, the management team noticed a disturbing trend. The company kept losing bids for new business to this very same competitor. It had happened four times in a row when finally we realized that we’d forgotten to turn off the former employee’s network access. He had been logging into our network, stealing our information, and then undercutting us. Read More »
From off-shoring good jobs to the great and growing income divide, finance-driven decision-making has long been at the core of many of our economic problems. It’s not that financial analysts and operatives are necessarily evil or uncaring – rather, they believe they have a fiduciary responsibility to generate maximum returns for their funds, even when the results have worker and society-unfriendly consequences.
Changing this mindset has proven a tough nut to crack even for union pension fund managers, who are aware of the social consequences of investment decisions. But there are glimmers of hope and interest. On June 7, for example, some of the nation’s largest institutional investors and the biggest single pension fund investor – the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALpers) — will hold a conference to explore ways to transform socially and environmentally sustainable investment criteria from a perceived liability to an asset. CALpers has a commitment to responsible investing – for example, it calls for neutrality in union organizing – but it has never figured out how to make such policies systemic. Read More »