Deregulation, Trump and Being Careful What You Ask For!


Pittsburgh: One reason regulations were developed.

Regulation: A rule or directive enforced by an authority.

Trump has started rolling back regulation because proponents argue regulation costs jobs. Like most things it’s never really so simple e.g. rolling back the Clean Water Provisions allowing Kentucky coal miners to pollute streams and water tables impacts negatively on the communities the miners live in and those downstream. Many miners need the work and if the job bump happens then they and other members of the community will also need to endure the negative impacts, which will come later. It is also likely to see lower standards in any new mines and that comes with a hefty public cost – refer to Mining is Transient.  In the end, the mining community will still need to face the problem that the amount of coal mined will reduce, and the number of jobs will reduce.

Why regulations?: Business doesn’t generally like regulations. And it’s true there is a history of bad, outdated and poorly implemented regulations that do need reform. There are also good, well structured and implemented regulations that act to protect us and that includes business.

Regulations are generally assumed to be negative for business and a cost and (in the case of the USA particularly) they can be presented as unnecessary government interference/intrusion. The exceptions are when regulations help maintain a business’s competitive position e.g. stopping or limiting others entering their market. Then a  Continue reading

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Mining & Resources: Behind The Political Rhetoric


From Queensland Mining and Energy Journal

Can Australia be ‘open for business’ and more strategic about the extraction and use of it’s resources at the same time? And does it really need to limit public scrutiny and make mining protections and applications easier to get through? Mining and resource extraction is absolutely essential to our industrial society. However the mining sector is powerful and influences government in ways that distort good economic and social policy.

It’s Transient:  Use public transport or a smart phone and you’re using a multitude of mined products. It takes a lot of money to do and a lot of money is made. Also keep in mind that all mining and resource extraction is transient though some projects are more transient than others. In any location it comes and it goes. It’s important when considering any project e.g. coal seam gas (CSG) extraction with it’s thousands of transient sites (4,489 Queensland sites in 2011) and environmental and social impacts. Income from any particular CSG site is relatively short lived 5 to 20 years.

Hidden Costs and Industry Strategy: Besides the potential to leave behind a very Continue reading

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Bullies, Full Frontal Shock & Awe And The Suffocation of Rationalism

A second post for the post-truth era. There’s a minor edit regarding Trump though this was written for other reasons – mostly frustration. Shock and Awe may just be what Trump supporters wanted. The difficulty is we all know how it worked out last time.  

It’s supposed to be a conversation however it doesn’t feel like it anymore. You’re being overwhelmed and it’s bullying. It becomes clear the person wants to appear tough-minded (the softer version), if not just tough (the harder version). They are so confident of their opinions they leave no handle for doubt. In the ‘soft version’ the person may suggest they are a ‘straight talker’ or perhaps claim they are speaking ‘common sense’. They can be populist and even charismatic. It’s like meeting a radio shock-jock in person. Regardless, they don’t want to hear what you think or know, they just want your approval, for you to recognise their dominance or authority.  And in some cases your capitulation and compliance. They ask no questions unless rhetorical. They prefer your silence and surprise. While their confidence can be engaging, here the problem is that you are aware the person is so shatteringly, eye-watering uninformed, misrepresenting or wrong that you can barely make out where to begin. And Continue reading

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The Tough Meme: “Telling It The Way It Is.”


The changing political discourse around the world and the election of a new “Leader of The Free World” made me go looking for some thought bubbles I had written on people who like to present a tough face to the world. Here’s one:

There are people who define themselves* as blunt, direct, telling it the way it is, etcetera. They have the ‘tough’ meme and just as often it’s associated memes that assist in shaping their behaviour.  There are several possibilities to look for when explaining their behaviour. One is that they are  a little sociopathic and really don’t care what you think. A second is that they are low on ‘Agreeability’, one of the big five personality factors. Or perhaps you consider they have low ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and just don’t get how discussion works and generally screw up Continue reading

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The Unethical Reflex: Beyond the Cult of Personality

The not so clean VW Diesel.

All of us lie and cheat … at least a bit (The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, Dan Ariely) and more than we care to admit. And it seems the things people learn about lying and cheating prepares them well for business and government. A part of the trick is determining just how far we will go. Regardless, it should be no surprise then that the reflex position of business is, ‘Ethics cost money and are therefore optional’. And despite the rhetoric, leadership training, policy and values statements and a few optional ethics classes in business schools, it would be reasonable to suggest that the business status quo is not about to change soon. That doesn’t mean we should give up but we do need to understand it better and explore new ways to deal with it.

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Science #4, The Prime Minister & ‘The Fixer’

Malcolm explains to Christopher what you can do with a disc.

Malcolm explains to Christopher what you can do with a disc.

Australia has a new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.  Turnbull shows signs of being a political progressive and not at all technologically and science phobic. The later being defining platforms for the previous right wing, conservative Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Under Abbott the University sector and relations with business remained in their kind of stagnant, patronising limbo. That is, we know we need an education system and some science, particularly if it serves business however, we really want you all to be compliant and not change things too much or challenge the values, status, power and wealth growth of those that already have it. This is not a formula for a happy, entrepreneurial and prosperous Australian future. Continue reading

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Business Strategy – 4 Reasons for more discussion!

presentation1-7-638You don’t have to look far to find high flying, hyper-successful, mega remunerated executives doing things they were warned not to do in Business School 101 – that is, acting stupidly. The VW or Glencore case studies come to mind immediately. A less public (not always) and less obvious act of stupidity occurs when it comes to sharing a businesses strategy. Despite years of experience senior executives very often miss opportunities to generate, communicate and implement strategy effectively (another way of saying they make rookie errors). Instead, they come off looking disengaged to the other employees of the enterprise, less intellectually competent than their resumé might suggest and less in control than they would like. Here are 4 reasons why: Continue reading

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