Global Warming – the wrong argument

Franz Josef Glacier, NZ
For a ‘greenie’ I am incredibly unsupportive of the global warming movement and ETS etc.


Simply because I feel it is the wrong argument.

As any ethicist or theoretician will tell you – it is easier to prove what exists than what doesn’t. The proof of the cause of global warming will always be elusive despite the slick presentations of Al Gore and others -there are just too many variables.

For my mind the campaign should be based on two things we can prove:

• As a race we use and engage in a lot of stuff we don’t need to, and

• The resources we consume to produce those goods or services are not used wisely

The current ploys are based largely on fear and bludgeoning, not very 21st century at all.

How much more progress would we make if the focus was on educating people about proper use and alternatives, and educating industry about production and scarcity? No one could argue with either platform, and the academics might be engaged in practical science rather than speculation in the guise of science. Further this would mean we don’t automatically penalise emerging economies and create artificial and somewhat cynical trade barriers.

Of course Global Warming is not alone in this. We often find ourselves campaigning on the wrong road because we didn’t check the alternatives, or we just did what everyone else seemed to be doing. James Surowiecki’s book the The Wisdom of Crowds provides great insight to this phenomenon.

How can we avoid the trap of the wrong argument?

Clearly there will be many alternatives but some thoughts to get you started:

  • If the program isn’t paying dividends go back to the drawing board.
  • If the solution isn’t obvious, maybe you’ve asked the wrong question.
  • If your staff turnover is high, I’ll tell you now it is not the staff who are at fault.
  • Do you cut costs or increase revenue? (The answer is both but many try to only cut costs).

    Check your reasoning and make sure you’re having the right arguments.

Change is not an option

Into your future?
As a leader, if you’re not creating change you are inviting certain extinction of both your role and your company.

As a Change Manager I realised ‘Change’ was a redundant qualifier.

If you are managing or leading, even a conservative role, you must constantly be looking for what needs to change.

Be nimble: change-ready and active.

Sadly however the number of leaders and managers I seeing being nimble are too few, even fewer if you required them to be pro-actively nimble.

You need to be changing yourself, changing the organisation and encouraging, supporting and cheering on everyone else to do the same.

If someone in your organisation is not changing you need to rethink your strategy, make some decisions and kick things into action.

Stuck in the mud is dead in the water.

Ideas to promote change:

Celebrate failure. You want change to be guaranteed? Sorry you won’t be nimble enough often enough.

Crash the car. Put a team on dismantling a service or product and seeing how they might build it from scratch.

Break up successful teams. Use your best when you need to, but if they really are good then ‘share the love’. Inject their skills and enthusiasm into the gaps. Elite is unproductive.

Mea culpa. Admit your mistakes, show your willingness to try, to invent, to explore, but don’t hide from the things that don’t work. Do it without shame.

Take an axe to the suggestion box. If you can’t talk to your managers and they can’t talk to their teams, then you’re nowhere near where ideas will thrive and change will be a way of life. Like an extra steering wheel in your car – the suggestion box looks like it could be handy but it only invites chaos.

Rethink quality systems. If they don’t foster change they’re unsustainable, change them, NOW!

And of course…Celebrate success.

No thank-queue

The Ghost of customers past

Ever been pleased to be in line?

Not likely.

Hospital surgery waiting lists are a rare example where queues have a benefit – in this case priority treatment, though renaming them ordering lists may be appropriate.

Ironically the most obvious example of frustrating queues is the doctors’ surgery.

For example – If a patient at the doctors is kept waiting for 10 minutes and this continues throughout the day (4 patients an hour for 8 hours), this totals 5 hours and 20 minutes of client waiting time , daily per doctor.

No wonder we are called Patients!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of giving extra time to clients when you think you have a bit to spare, but the point is – you don’t – and certainly your ‘other’ clients don’t!

The twist is – the problem is often phasing (you got behind once) not supply (Doctors) or demand (Patients).

Re-modelling the doctors’ surgery;

You ensure the first client finishes on time, the next client is quick saving you 5 minutes, the third client who could do with a bit more got 20 minutes as you got underway early, you still finish on time.

And so it goes; at the end of the day probably everyone got what they wanted, got what they needed and many will be delighted, no-one actually waited for their appointment.

It’s the same practice, clients, length of day; just a truly customer centric model. I’d go back to this one and tell my friends.

Where is the waiting room in your company?

• Unanswered phones?
• Orders not fulfilled or taken?
• Calls not returned?
• Queues?
• Appointments not honoured?
• Customers waiting for an update?
• Customers who don’t know you care?

Find your bottlenecks. Address them and you may well create a supply and demand problem!

The remedy is seldom as difficult as you think.


Innovation or exclusion?

In a recent discussion I was asked how I harness innovation.

My immediate thought – How long is infinity?

A quick internet search shows many countries and many companies claiming to have the upper hand in this domain. For example Periora Innovation has an interesting article targeted for small to medium enterprises, which reflects much of the thinking out there:

• A better-informed team
• A rewarded team
• A better-informed customer
• A high-tech (college) partner

An original original
This ‘systematic ’ approach helps close a loop, for me though this is too stiff.

Business has only two functions – Marketing and Innovation
Peter Drucker

Many articles also talked about the difference with Creative’s, how to manage Geeks for the best return etc. – and here is the central point of this blog –

Everyone has an inner geek, a lingering creative, an innovator par excellence; and as leaders it’s your job to find it and keep it alive.

Supporting Innovation isn’t a separate part of the role it is an integral part of your role.

As leaders we must believe and acknowledge that innovation and creativity lurks in everyone. It is not the exclusive domain of the gifted, the super-intelligent or the ones with the brightest colours or the fastest computer.

If you had 200 employees will you progress further by each making a small innovation, a small gain, or by placing all your bets on the ‘smart ones’?

Allowing innovation to come through is about all the little things, about your agility as a leader and an organisation, about how you listen, and how you respond.

The devil doesn’t need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.
Seth Godin Creativity

What processes and practices in your company suppress innovation by unintentionally sidelining the myriad of champions in the cheaper seats?

What can we do to encourage the ‘meek’ to be brave?

Less is More

Starting with a cliché may not seem like a great place to start but I’m not always one for convention.

Reviewing contemporary management systems it occurs to me one of the key messages keeps getting lost – the end goal is less not more:

  • Less waste
  • Fewer steps
  • Less rework
  • Fewer errors
  • Less intervention
  • Fewer ‘things’ to keep an eye on

A healthy system: looks after itself; responds in time; adapts as necessary; looks ahead; learns and understands what is critical to its survival.

Our businesses won’t thrive when they are weighed down with protective systems which shift responsibility and cover so much risk that the main risk is the system itself.  ISO often led to systems defeating the very purpose they were meant to serve – to drive fewer errors, greater reliability, and greater customer assurance.

Hard work is constantly playing catch-up and getting worn down.

Great work is working hard on what really matters.

The talk now, as through the 90’s with the more enlightened, is about Lean principles. Lean is great and the rigour of Six Sigma has plenty to offer. Unfortunately it seems too few are applying these methodologies, which are hardly new.Why?

Have businesses lost sight of the critical few and been caught out by celebrating the manly pursuits of huge quality manuals, board papers and mind boggling financial reports?

How Lean is your organisation?

What could go today?

Who’s leading the charge?

Where is collaboration?

And if this isn’t happening is it because they’ve taken the easy way out – the notion that more is easier, despite all the evidence that less is more?

Will the recent financial crisis lead to even more cumbersome systems?

And the kicker! How does this impact on the way we manage?

Thoughts anyone?