31 Jan, 2010 | by
Topics: Economy, Politics

democratsrepublicans1

I tend to shy away from politically focused posts as the feedback is generally overly intense, sometimes irrational and usually futile.  It’s almost as bad as trying to discuss the perennially hot topic of religion.  The discussion always begins amicably enough, but it inevitably seems to devolve into senseless argument.  I think Oscar Wilde said it best:  “Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing”. 

After watching the recent State of the Union address (embedded below; please watch it if you have not…It’s worth it) I felt compelled to share a few thoughts, given that much of the  focus of the speech is centered on the economy.  A harsh reality is that politics and business are firmly joined at the hip, whether you want to believe that or not.  A clear example of this would be the special bond between corporate entities and career politicians.  How many times have you heard of “gray-area” reciprocities that have transpired over the past few decades alone?  You know what I mean – transactions that just didn’t seem to pass the common sense test.  Remember the cozy relationship between Halliburton and former Vice President Dick Cheney?  Wiki “Political scandals of the United States,” and you’ll get a flavor of just how extensive the list is. 

I know, I know … you’re probably thinking I’m heading down the path of “all politicians are criminals” stereotype.  That’s really not my intention here, so please bear with me.  We all know that political malfeasance is much more commonplace then it should be.  When was the last time you had that following thought running through your head after news of a scandal broke:  “Wow, I can’t believe he or she would do something like that”?  It’s almost expected these days.  The only questions are:  “How egregious is the act?” and “Will the public ultimately accept the indiscretion for what it was?”  It’s that simple; however, variables that dictate the public’s appetite for forgiveness is not.  Blagojevich = Bad, Clinton = Not so bad or even good.  Go figure. continue reading »

19 Jan, 2009 | by

I wrote this 70 days before Inauguration Day

Will the downturn persuade British business people to learn from Barack Obama and the Germans?

German white collar workers who are not sent on at least 2 weeks training a year fear that they must be on the redundancy short list and will soon face the chop. (Their company is not investing in them – so they must be on their way out!). Their British counterparts (with some exceptions) consider that an offer of training implies a personal or professional deficiency and gingerly start checking the post for their P45. 

Is this the British fondness for the effortless amateur – the smooth-but-not-stirred James Bond? HR and PR departments are patronised with “I have 20 years experience giving speeches old boy – no need for training!” More like 1 years experience – repeated 20 times. 

Practice and preparation are the absolute life-blood of a good performance – even those in the Public Speaking Premier League like Winston Churchill and William Hague.

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