Challenge for Business– Minimalism Vs. Maximalism: The Great Struggle– Less is More Vs. More is More…

One of greatest joys in life is the feeling of carrying everything you need to survive in your backpack; that is minimalism at its finest… It’s being a step (or more ) removed from the norm of society… In the business world minimalism is a reaction to overkill and pretentiousness of conventional management; it’s moderation and (less) intrusion… The beauty, elegance are the austerity… According to one of the great minimalist minds, Henry David Thoreau; [management] is best which [manages] least… Minimalism is making decisions– more consciously, more deliberately…

Clear away the noise so you can concentrate on creative thinking… However, minimalism can be taken ‘too far’; and ‘too far’ means something different to everyone… it’s about limits and boundaries. According to Leo Babauta; minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important; it’s that which gives meaning and purpose, that which gives value and delight… Clear away distractions so as to create something incredible… 

In the article The Power of Minimalist Management by Robert Callan writes: When is ‘good enough’, good enough? How do you know when you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns? And perhaps more importantly, how do you know when you are doing too much? Minimalist management focuses on reducing the number of ‘non-value-add’ managerial activities to zero. For example, if a manager inherits a department where lengthy, frequent, confusing meetings are the norm, then focus on holding fewer but more effective meetings…

Minimalist requires management and employees to engage in activities that really matter. It about thinking long and hard about strategy. It thinking long and hard about talent and management practices. It requires a large amount of reflection, which translates to fewer but truly more powerful activities… Minimalist in business is hard; it requires courage, trust, self-confidence…

In the article Minimalist Road To Success by Annie Mueller writes: A common refrain in minimalist literature is the burden of ‘more’– more stuff, more people, more organization… But sometimes what’s needed is not ‘more’ but ‘less’: Pare down and focus on what matters… The application of this concept to business should be pretty clear to over-worked, overwhelmed managers and employees… You cannot do everything yourself, no matter how great your skills. So you have two options: either leave it undone, or get somebody else to do it…

Much of daily work that is mindlessly done can be undone, most of the time, without any real damage. But it’s when you stay in a rut with head-down, simply mindlessly doing things that becomes the real issue. Take time to eliminate the pointless, the superfluous, the questionable… Then decide what you can hire-out or delegate… and focus your work on activities for most impact on the organization…

In the article Minimalist Economy by Joshua Becker writes: A modern economy is based on ‘consumption’, and that means consumers must spend more and more to grow the economy… But then the dilemma; when consumers spend more (maximalist) to grow the economy, they often go into debt… and when consumers spend less (minimalist), they typically stay out of debt, but then the economy slows…

This economy is built on the premise that people (consumers) must go into debt to sustain it… How long can that last? Can minimalism and a maximalism economy co-exist? Some experts say that an economy based on free-market principles, over time, would adjust and reinvent itself and find new way to grow the economy… Hence, best of all options– growing economy and efficiency of minimalism…

In the article Minimalist Management– Less is More by Ross Smith writes: The hardest part of minimalism is knowing when– enough is enough; whether creating business plan, or designing business website, or initiate customer engagements… The most difficult management task is to know when to just– step back, trust, empower, delegate… According to David Risley; idea here is to simplify the process, trim the fat, make the business lean and flexible... business doesn’t need to be complicated in order to grow; keep things simple, nimble and the business will thrive… According to Thoreau; life is frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify…

Minimalism is philosophy of– doing more with less… and that means radically reducing the amount of stuff that organizations– manage, own, sell… However many experts have a different view and they say; minimalism is a feel-good vibe and as you go deeper, it slowly becomes more dangerous, destructive, particularly for business… And ultimately, they say– minimalism is the squandering of opportunity…

According to Peter Shallard; minimalism makes people complacent, and it actually encourages people to reduce their ambition… Instead of winning at the rat race of business, minimalism would have you drop out completely.  Minimalism encourages short-term thinking, which is destructive over time… It’s toxic because it encourages you to only focus on having what you need– which means rejecting longer-term opportunities that are critical to sustain any organization…

But in reality minimalism is mindset; think of it as pursuit of freedom… According to Neil Patel; growing a business is one of the best paths to minimalism; when you are do more with less, you create freedom that gives– purpose, independence… freedom is ability to organize, apply resources, pursue activities, provide fulfillment… But minimalism isn’t only about ‘less’; it’s also about ‘freedom’ in management…

Although management may seem like an enemy of minimalism with its schedules, calendars, requirements… these are not stuffs of freedom… But there are ways of managing with minimalist mindset… According to Annie Mueller; take time to identify the– superfluous, questionable, pointless… figure out what things in the organization that you– should not be doing, or don’t want to do, or cannot do effectively, or you simply want to get rid of… then decide what can be eliminated or delegated…

Focus on the work that only you can do, that you can do best, and that you can do for the most impact on your organization... Your mind is your greatest asset, and by freeing yourself of unproductive activities you are taking one of the most valuable steps toward minimalism... Minimalism is a journey, not a destination…

Who is Tracking Your Smartphone– Every Move, Every Stroke, Nowhere To Hide: Its Big Brother in the 21st Century…

Big brother is watching you: Right now there’s a good chance that someone or something is tracking your smartphone, tracking your location, keeping tabs on your every move, every search, every call… And that’s just the beginning;  According to Becca Caddy; we all know that smartphones are smart and they can do many things, and that’s because they are packed full of great technology and a whole lot of sensors… Sensors that can watches your smartphones every move…

According to Becca Caddy; it’s important to know that the sensors inside your smartphone are just tools in the hardware, but it’s how and when smartphone manufacturers or app developers tap into these sensors that is important… Knowing what they can do, and when they can do it, with/without your permission is critical for your safety and piece of mind… There’s irony here, i.e.; most people want smartphones to be smaller, smarter, and more capable of doing cool stuff… but then there are unintended consequences– some good, others not so good… 

In the article Tracking Your Smartphone by Steve Bell writes: There are so many organizations keen on getting your personal data that it might be more pertinent to ask who isn’t tracking your smartphone? It’s a long list, e.g.; third-party data agents, app creators, retailers, social networks, organizations, governments, hackers, snoopers… And ironically most people don’t even know it’s happening…

These predators are out there and they are watching you like ‘big brother’. In George Orwell’s infamous dystopian 1984 novel there is line that says; Nothing is your own except for a few cubic centimeters inside your skull… This could aptly sum-up the way we live in today’s smartphone world; while smartphones are powerful tools and very useful for all sorts of things, they are also capable of tracking your every move and scoop-up reams of personal information…

Your smart phone can automatically track movements if you have geo-location switched on. With smartphones now constantly hooked-up to Internet via mobile signal, smartphone owners can be tracked to within feet of their actual location… It might seem intrusive but this sort of thing goes on all the time, probably without you even being aware of it… A study by Wall Street Journal revealed that many smartphone apps are constantly monitoring users and sending all types of data back to apps, and potentially in the hands of some bad characters… One aim of this ‘furtive’ behavior is to track movements, behavior, and sell this ‘personal’ information to the highest bidder…

According to Ben Edelman; mobile apps are of special concern because smartphones tend to get highly personal data about the user, e.g.; where you travel, what you search on the Internet, who you call, who calls you, what games you play… the flow of personal information is endless. Individually, all  this data might seem unimportant but adding-up millions of users, over months and years– it’s portrait of humanity… Never before is so much data being collected about so many people.

In the article Consumers In-store Tracking Your Smartphone by Erin Griffith writes: A whole new category of technology has sprung-up to serve ‘omnichannel’ retailers, that combine online analytics with in-store sales. They do it by tracking consumers smartphones while they are in-store, and then aggravating that data with their online analytics… According to OpinionLab survey; 77% of consumers find in-store tracking unacceptable, 81% said they don’t trust retailers to keep data private and secure…

Prior to smartphones, it wasn’t technologically possible to find out much about consumers in-store behavior until they actually bought items… And even then they had to buy with credit card, offer email address, or loyalty account to be identified. But now with technology, such as; geofencing, WiFi, Bluetooth… and smartphones; businesses are able to track to customers by identifying smartphone signals… The goal is to engage customers as they enter a store (or relatively near a store), and ‘push’ product/service notifications using their smartphones… 

According to Jonathan Levitt; consumer sentiment suggests that retailers need to tread lightly when tracking shopper’s smartphones. There is a ton of suspicion around in-store tracking, but if it’s going to happen consumers must be informed and agree to opt-in with explicit consent… Retailers must also acknowledge the possibility of data breaches, and up-the-game on privacy and security. The good news is that there is an opportunity for brands that are transparent about collecting data with an opt-in approach works for the benefit of both business and consumers… In fact, business should be able to show consumers that these promotion and engagement programs can translate into real value…

According to Mike Feibus; the big question is whether we all should be feeding into surveillance paranoia… and do we have reason to worry about the personal data that’s being collected by growing number of sensors in smartphones... The general consensus by many experts is that there’s little reason to be too concerned, right now… but that assumes you don’t mind people/organizations tracking your every movement trying to sell you stuff, or sell your information to others, based on where you are located…

Current smartphone technology is just the tip of the iceberg… as smartphones get smarter and use more sensors, it’s going to be more challenging to separate data that you don’t mind being stored/shared, from data that you really don’t want getting into wrong hands, e.g.; health data… As more people use smartphones with biometric sensors to monitor health related functions, such as; heartbeat, pulse… there is high risk that this data might be sold/share to bad characters…

So be very vigilant and protect your smartphone, which means: Know how your smartphone is configured. Be careful with all permissions you grant. Disable location tracking when not in use. Turn-off all apps that track in the background. Free apps are not free, assume they will use your information. Close/log-off all apps when not in use. Check the data collection policy on all apps before download…

AI– Boom or Bust– Time To Get Real About Artificial Intelligence (AI): Cutting Through the Hype, Hope, Confusion of AI…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is hot, and every company worth its stock price is talking about how this magical potion will change everything, much like– ‘the cloud’, ‘big data’, ‘machine learning’… But the term ‘artificial intelligence’ has been hijacked by marketers and media so that its unrecognizable… So, What is AI, really? When asking experts to define the term the only answer they all seem to agree on is that AI is technology that tries to imitate/augment human intelligence…

According to Mitch De Felice; there are many discussions in the blogosphere predicting the doom and gloom of the inevitable rise of artificial intelligence (AI). There are theories on everything from how it will result in massive layoffs to the ultimate downfall of humanity itself… Some prominent names, such as; Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, to name a few… have put forth ominous warnings of dangers that AI could have on mankind…

Others so-called experts suggest that AI is the silver bullet that will cure-all ills of the world… According to Babak Hodjat; it’s all just hype and confusion about what AI is, and what is realistically possible in this modern era… According to CB Insights; it’s clear that 9 of 10 investors have very little idea what AI is, so if you are a founder raising money, you should sprinkle AI in your presentation… Pitch decks and headlines today are filed with references to artificial intelligence and machine learning… But what do the terms really mean? Having at least passing knowledge of what you are talking about is a good first step…

In the article Hype Is About ‘AI’, But Real Action Is ‘IA’ by Anupam Rastogi writes: The philosophical war between artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence augmentation (IA) has been waged for more than half a century, with the focus shifting between the two as each has made important strides… Classically ‘IA’ refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human capabilities. Whereas, ‘AI’ is increasingly being used to broadly describe machines that mimic human functions, such as; learning, problem solving… 

On one side, ‘AI’ camp believes the future of computing is autonomous systems that can be taught to imitate and replace human cognitive functions. A recent example is Google’s autonomous car, where the machine completely replaces human intervention and interaction… On other side, the ‘IA’ folks believe that information technology can supplement and support human thinking, analysis, planning… but leave humans at the center of human-computer interaction (HCI).

Consider a car collision avoidance system that can help a driver prevent an accident, but doesn’t actually remove the driver from the picture… While AI will play a larger role, it’s not a panacea. AI-based solutions work best in structured environments where all relevant information can be considered and where the goals of the system are clearly defined, e.g.; ordering a pizza, setting a meeting, playing chess…

In all these cases, while the number of possible outcomes that must be considered may be enormous, the outcome can be predicted with a high degree of confidence… This is exactly the situation where a powerful computer has an advantage over the human mind… On the other hand, ‘AI’ is not well suited to situations where goals and inputs are not well-defined; it’s here where ‘IA’ will continue to play major role. So, the AI vs. IA war isn’t a war after all.  They both have an important roles to play in the future…

In the article Get Real About Artificial Intelligence by Adam Lashinsky writes: Like many hyped subjects before it, artificial intelligence (AI) won’t do all everyone expects it to… And it won’t make money for everyone who slaps the buzzword on latest project… According to Jerry Kaplan; ‘AI’ has become a misnomer, at least in how most people understand it; it’s not so much about machines becoming intelligent and dominating humans… it’s about the continuation of longstanding efforts to automate tasks, dating back to start of industrial revolution, and beyond…

The fact of the matter is that AI already enables many products and services, hence it’s better to start understanding more about how AI works, than to believe the Hollywood-style hype about the futuristic scenarios. According to Mitch DeFelice; AI systems that predicts facts or even plays games is one thing but having ability, e.g.; to understand ‘sarcasm’… well, that is what separates humans from machine…

In the article Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark writes: Everything about civilization is a product of intelligence, hence amplifying human intelligence with artificial intelligence has potential of helping civilization flourish like never before– as long as technology is effectively managed… A captivating conversation is taking place about future of artificial intelligence and what it will/should mean for humanity…

There are fascinating controversies where world’s leading experts disagree, such as: AI’s future impact on job market; if/when human-level AI will be developed; whether this will lead to an intelligence explosion; and whether this is something we should welcome or fear… But there are many examples of pseudo-controversies caused by people misunderstanding AI and talking past each other. And many AI researchers roll their eyes when seeing headlines, like: Stephen Hawking warns that rise of robots is disastrous for mankind… 

When it comes to the potential of IA breakthroughs there is in spite of the hype much to be excited about., e.g.; there is vast and growing amount of mostly– unmined, unrefined, unmonetized data available related to critical problems, and IA ability to augment humans in the analysis of data so as to make; more intelligent, bias-free, decisions.

According to Om Malik; emphasis should be on augmentation, which helps humans interact and deal with the increasingly complex digital world… Augmented intelligence offers the possibility of winnowing an increasing number of inputs and options in a way that humans cannot possibly manage without a helping hand…

But the ultimate success or failure of AI and IA depends on whether developed as business solutions not science projects… Successful organizations hinge on market opportunities, productization, solving problems, rather than just implementation and study of interesting algorithms… Just as a great technology is necessary but an insufficient condition to create a successful organization… so is a great technology in absence of a viable business value proposition unlikely to become anything more than a science project…

Invisible Crisis, Cruel Reality– Displacement of Low-to-Middle Skilled Workers by Automation: Are You Dispensable?

Nearly one-half (47%) of all work will be automated by year 2034. Then question is: Which half? It’s an invisible force that goes by many names, e.g.; automation, artificial intelligence, technology, innovation, robots… Whatever name you prefer, it’s killing traditional jobs… Innovation has always resulted in job losses, but usually economies have eventually been able to develop new roles for workers to compensate… But the velocity of change this time around appears to be unprecedented, and the result is a huge amount of uncertainty about where next generation is going to find work…

According to David Autor; it’s a force that is ‘hollowing out’ the low-to-middle skilled workforce… And this is just tip of iceberg. According to Sebastian Thrun; recent developments in– artificial intelligence, machine learning… puts a large share of employment across wide range of occupations at risk… According to Jerry Kaplan; automation is ‘blind to color of your collar’, i.e., blue-collar, white-collar, no collar… According to Martin Ford; most jobs can be broken down into a series of routine tasks, and more of these tasks can be done by machines…

In the article Where Have All the Good Paying Jobs Gone? by Michael Collins writes: We finally have recovered most of the jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. Politicians and public-policy makers are celebrating the fact that unemployment is under 5%… However, the Great Recession primarily wiped out mid-wage jobs, and the strongest growth during the recovery has been in low-wage jobs… 

According to The National Employment Law Project; in 2012, 58% of the recovered jobs were in low-wage occupations, with median hourly wages from $7.69 to $13.83 an hour. Mid-wage occupations, with median hourly wages from to $13.84 an hour to $21.13 per hour, were the big losers– 60% of all jobs lost in the recession. The higher wage jobs from $21.14 to $54.55 per hour, lost 19% in recession but 20% have recovered and are doing well…

But in essence this economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows; there are 7.9 million people still unemployed. And another 2.1 million are long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), while 1.7 million people are considered marginally attached to labor force, and 6.1 million people are involuntary part–time workers. So is the economy really recovering?

Five percent unemployment sounds great but when you add it up, 17.8 million people need a job or want a better job… This trend of low-wage jobs growing faster than mid-wage jobs is not just bad for middle-class workers, it’s bad for the economy… The big lesson here is that there are no simple answers to complex economic problems. The simple idea that low-interest rates would lead to economic growth was a simple answer that was accepted by many pundits for years, but apparently they were wrong…

The psychologist Paul Ginnetty calls this type of reasoning; ‘the potent narcotic of reassuring simplicity’… Politicians will always take advantage of people’s addiction to simplistic answers for their own benefit by simply telling people what they want to hear. Remember, it’s not only the quantity of jobs needed but also the quality, those that pay  decent wages…

In the article  Is Your Work ‘Routine’? If So, It’s Probably Disappearing by Josh Zumbrun writes: The labor markets and middle-class was built on– ‘routine’ workers who showed-up at factories and offices, took their places on assembly line, or paper-pushing chain, and did the same task over and over and then went home… Research by Henry Siu and Nir Jaimovich show; the world of ‘routine’ work has collapsed: Over the course of the last two recessions and recoveries, a period beginning in 2001, the economy’s job growth has come entirely from ‘non-routine’ work…

Most research classifies work by whether the task is ‘routine or non-routine’, and whether the work is ‘cognitive or manual’, e.g.; the ‘routine manual’ work includes rules-based and physical tasks, such as; factory workers who operate welding, or metal-press machines, or forklifts, or home appliance repairers… Whereas, ‘routine cognitive’ work includes tasks done by clerical secretaries, bookkeepers, filing clerks, bank tellers… 

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics; U-1 (Unemployment-1) is the narrowest definition of unemployment and U-6 is the broadest measure of unemployment. U-6 includes all classes of unemployed even those who are considered marginally attached and/or part-time for varies economic reasons. In other words, those who would like a full-time job but can only find part-time work. Or perhaps those who were working a full-time job and employer cut their hours rather than actually laying-off employees…

Economists consider U-6 the ‘real’ unemployment rate, although U-3 is generally accepted and commonly quoted Unemployment Rate... According to Randall W. Forsyth; if you are not in the labor market, i.e.; looking for work… then you are not officially unemployed… Current U-6  Unemployment Rate for December 2016 is: 9.1% (up from 9.0% in November)… The Gallup equivalent to U-6 (or ‘Under-employment Rate’) is: 13.7% up from 12.7% in October and 13.0% in November…

In the article How Technology Is Destroying Jobs by David Rotman writes: Advances in technology– from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services… are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. According to Erik Brynjolfsson; new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, retail work… but also in professions such as; law, financial services, education, medicine… The fact that robots, automation, technology… can replace people is increasing a reality in the workplace…

But more troubling is that the velocity of change by technology is destroying traditional jobs faster than creating replacements, which is contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality. According to  ­Brynjolfsson, McAfee; rapid acceleration of technology, innovation has greatly widened gap between economic winners, losers and income inequalities…

Technologies tend to favor ‘superstars’, e.g.; someone who creates a software to automate tax preparation and then they might earn millions or billions of dollars while eliminating need for thousands of accountants… New technologies are encroaching into human skills in a way that is completely unprecedented, and many middle-class workers are right in the bull’s-eye; and even relatively high-skill workers, e.g.; education, law, medicine… are affected…

Hence, the middle-class is becoming dispensable, and the top and bottom class are clearly getting farther apart… Many economists believed that by improving productivity, the economy will do just fine… Yes, productivity was the single most important economic statistic. But that’s no longer true…

One dirty little secret of economics is that– technology does grow the economy and it does create more wealth… but there is no economic law that says everyone will benefit: In other words, in the race against the machine, technology, automation, robot… some workers will win, while many others will lose…

Psychology of Ownership – Workplace Motivation, Empowerment: Feelings of Possession, Perception of Influence…

Ownership in the workplace means taking pride in work… Ownership means caring about success of the organization… Ownership means responsibility, accountability, commitment, and placing value on the quality of work… Ownership means you give a damn… Ownership is a feeling of possession, e.g.; it’s– my desk, my workplace, my organization, my project…

The psychology of ownership need not be tied to actual legal ownership, e.g.; an employee may feel that a cubicle at work is theirs, but the actual legal ownership of the cubicle belongs to the organization. According to Helen Campbell Pickford; psychology of ownership is about employee control, responsibility, accountability. According to Atif Aijaz; highest degree of workplace engagement is when employees feel they have real or perceived sense of ownership over ‘something of value’ within the organization…

Management can foster employees sense of ownership by enabling increased autonomy and control over work assignment, information sharing, increase role in decision-making, encouraging creativity. The state of psychology of ownership is not only cognitive, but it’s affective; simply by calling something ‘mine’, suggests an emotional connection to it… Studies show– when employees feel strong sense of ownership, they are more inclined to embrace positive behavior, engagement, attitude, accountability…

In the article Motivating Employees Is Feelings Of Ownership by Robert Bullock writes: Simply increasing the ‘feeling’ of ownership that employees experience– regardless of whether employees have any actual ownership– improves employees engagement, lowers turnover, and increases financial performance… just the feeling of ownership matters a great deal when it came to predicting attitudes and behaviors. In other words, even the most well-conceived stock ownership plan for employees are less likely to succeed in motivating employees, unless it gives employees a greater feelings of ownership towards the– job, organization, customers…

It’s ownership (either, real or perceived) where employees feel as though the organization is part of their self-identity… Many studies have shown how important the feeling of ownership is for employees; and simply changing structure of a job, offering more autonomy, task identity… make a huge difference in employees’ feelings of ownership, which can ripple throughout the organization impacting things such as; productivity and organization’s overall financial performance…

In the article Psychological Ownership and Feelings of Possession by Linn Van Dyne and Jon L. Pierce write: The psychology of possession is core of psychology of ownership. Feelings of possessiveness are ubiquitous, and it can refer to tangible or intangible objects, which can occur based on legal ownership, or absence of legal ownership… People tend to equate ‘feelings of possession’ with ‘feelings of ownership’…

The psychology of possession suggests that feelings of ownership cause people to view tangible and intangible possessions as part of their extended self, i.e.; linking ‘mine’ and ‘me’… According to Sartre; totality of my possessions reflects the totality of my being– I am what I have. Thus feeling of possessions and psychology of ownership becomes linked to concept of ‘self’. According to Beaglehole, Furby; feeling of ownership triggers a sense of being responsible, accountable for an entity…

In the article Ownership and Motivation by Ownership Associates writes: The power of ownership seems to arise from harnessing both financial and non-financial aspects of employee ownership. The data suggest that at its most effective ownership gives employees not just a financial reason to perform, but a reason to belong. One study on the psychology of ownership suggests that cultural and behavioral conceptions of ownership may not coincide explicitly with legalistic conceptions, but they are just as effective…

However it’s not legal definition but ‘living definition’ of ownership that affect employee perceptions of their role, or of the organization… In other words, the primary association with ownership can be any one of a vast array of meanings, e.g.; participation in decision-making, benefit plan, camaraderie, financial payoff… Companies typically use compensation schemes to promote feelings of ownership, or other techniques, such as; increasing employee’s authority at work may be equally likely to elicit a sense of ownership…

On the other hand, there are many organizations that do not expect or want employees to feel like owners. They may want nothing more than ways to motivate employees to be more productive… And they implement various incentive plans, both financial and non-financial, expecting employees to become motivated as a result of these plans. However, in actual practice the implementation of incentives do not necessarily translate into changed motivation or improved productivity. And in the view of many experts– there is nothing that can replace the sense of ownership to motivate employees work performance…  

In the article Accountability and Ownership by Lisa Haneberg writes: Management cannot force ownership to happen but they can create an environment where it’s more likely to flourish… Elements of the ideal environment include: • Challenging work and interesting problems to solve. • Connection to the work, team, organization: Stronger connections are those that bring people together. • A feeling of being cared for: Management that shows they care and make employees feel special will encourage more employee ownership.

• Collaboration and partnership: When people work together to seize an opportunity or solve a problem, they tend to engage and feel more ownership for their work. • Opportunities to grow as a person and in a profession: Employees want to feel like they are expanding skills, staying up-to-date in chosen field. • Autonomy to make choices that affect their work. • A feeling that their work has meaning and is important to organization. • Work and workplaces that are fun, lighthearted…

Management can improve ownership by creating a workplace that is intrinsically motivating; small but sincere gestures of care and concern go a long way toward showing employees how important they are to the organization… When employees take ownership, they treat the organization as their own; they make decisions more thoughtfully, responsibly… They are more driven, motivated, and have more initiative… seeking creative, innovative ways to improve, develop their responsibilities…

Employees who take ownership create a more positive, fulfilling working environment for everyone… In workplaces that achieve workforce of owner-minded employees, often habitually step outside their role for the sake of an organization’s overall objectives. These cultures adapt faster to change and develop innovative ideas that lead to a more sustainable organization…

Elusive Calendar Reform– Time to Overhaul 2000 Year Old Calendar Used Daily: Illogical, Clumsy, Not for 21st Century…

A calendar is an artificial construct whose fundamental purpose is to be synchronizing and coordinating operating system for human society by keeping accurate track of natural cycles in time, and most commonly to keep track of passing of days and years… More than four centuries ago Pope Gregory XIII designed the calendar we use today as a fix to the Julian Calendar, which had miscalculated the number of days it takes for the Earth to revolve around the sun…

But for 2000 years, which includes its predecessor the Julian Calendar, perceptions fostered by the unconscious acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar are taken as the unshakable bedrock of nature and reality…  According to Jose Arguelles; of all the unexamined assumptions and criteria upon which people base and gauge their daily lives by far the greatest and most profoundly unquestioned is the instrument and institution known as the Gregorian Calendar…

According to Broughton Richmond; if the Gregorian Calendar was offered as a new device for measuring time in today’s world, it would be rejected as utterly impractical, lacking harmony and order, unbalanced and irregular, too clumsy a calendar… However, all current beliefs– economic, political, scientific… are actually products of the underlying perceptions promoted by this calendar, which have no reality apart from the beliefs about time that the calendar engenders…

In the  article Geopolitics of the Gregorian Calendar by Stratfor writes: The systems used by mankind to track, organize, manipulate ‘time’ have often been arbitrary, uneven and disruptive, especially when designed poorly or foisted upon an unwilling society. The history of calendrical reform has been shaped by the egos of emperors, disputes among churches, the insights of astronomers and mathematicians, and immutable geopolitical realities…

Attempts at improvements have sparked political and commercial turmoil, and seemingly rational changes have consistently failed to take root… As we enter the 432nd year guided by Gregorian Calendar, reform advocates argue the calendar’s peculiarities and inaccuracies continue to do widespread damage each year. They say this system unnecessarily subject business to numerous calendar-generated financial complications, confusion and reporting inconsistencies…

Most reform proposals have failed to supplant the Gregorian system not because they failed to improve upon the status quo altogether, but because they either do not preserve the Sabbath, they disrupt the seven-day week (only a five-day week would fit neatly into a 365-day calendar without necessitating leap weeks or years) or they stray from the seasonal cycle…

In the book The Law of Time in Human Affairs by Jose Arguelles writes: A calendar, any calendar, is commonly understood as a system for dividing time over extended periods. The ‘day’ is the base unit of a calendar, and the solar year is the base extended period… The length of the solar year is currently reckoned at 365.242199 days.

The Gregorian Calendar divides this duration into twelve uneven months– four months of 30 days, seven of 31 days, and one of 28 days. On the Gregorian calendar the accrued quarter day is handled by inserting February 29th every four years. This is not necessarily most logical, nor only way of handling the accrued quarter day…

 Recall the folk rhyme– 30 days hath September, April, June, and November; all the rest have 31; except for February which has 28… which underscores the illogical nature of the Gregorian Calendar. By contrast, far easier and more logical way to divide the solar year would  be by thirteen 28-day months with one extra free day. The 13-month, 28-day alternative has been in use on this planet for more than 6000 years.

In prehistoric India and China, and throughout South America it was standard time-keeping system. The Essenes, Egyptians, Polynesians, Maya, Inca, Lakota, Cherokee used 13-month, 28-day calendar. The Celtic knowledge of the Druids is based on the Tree Calendar, also a 13-month, 28-day calendar. Today many cultures are still using their traditional 13-month calendar system…

Hence the point is this: there is no logical or scientific relationship between the exact length of the year and the use of the Gregorian Calendar to measure and divide that length… this calendar is an irregular standard of measurement; its units of measure don’t correspond. This calendar represents an institutionalization of disorder and entropy… Nonetheless, Gregorian Calendar is in use worldwide as official standard and prevails throughout most of the planet…

In the article Simplified Calendar and No Time Zones by Shireen Gonzaga writes: Imagine living in a world where Christmas always falls on a Monday, or there are no more February 29 every four years, or it’s the same time everywhere in the world… And a new date must be found for Halloween, since October 31 will no longer exist… Also, say goodbye to Friday 13th because in a new calendar, the 13th of the month only falls on Saturday, Monday or Wednesday.

Time-keeping can get quite confusing. The world is divided into time zones because traditionally we kept time by sun’s position in the sky. Today, time zones are set in reference to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), and expressed as plus or minus 1 to 12 hours from UTC. Some countries also have Daylight Saving Time from Spring to Fall so there’s an extra hour of daylight in the evenings... Also while time zones are generally track with Earth’s longitude, they are set politically, not geographically…

Calendar reform is ‘not’ a new crazy idea: It’s important to remember that during the first half of the 20th century, a vigorous and well-organized calendar reform movement flourished. George Eastman of Eastman Kodak organized a campaign on behalf of a particular 13-month, 28-day calendar– The International Fixed Calendar…

This calendar is a perpetual calendar (same every year) with 13 equal months of exactly 4 weeks (28 days) each, comprising 364 days, and with the final 365th day held not in any week or month, often known as a ‘Null Day’ or ‘Zero Day’, so that the first day of the year is always the first day of the week, a Sunday... In U.S. alone, hundreds of industries adopted a 13-month, 28-day perpetual calendar…  

Still another proposal was the Hanke–Henry Permanent Calendar (HHPC), which is one of many examples of leap ‘week’ calendars. These are calendars that maintain synchronization with the solar year by intercalating entire weeks rather than single days. It’s a modification of Common-Civil-Calendar-and-Time (CCC&T)… The HHPC adheres to the most basic tenet of a fixed (read: permanent) calendar– each year, each date falls on the same day of the week; in this case, every year begins on Sunday, January 1; the year is then divided into four three-month quarters.

Each month begins on the same day (and date) each year. The first two months of each quarter are made up of 30 days; the third is made up of 31 days… So each quarter contains 91 days, resulting in a 364 day year that is composed of 52 seven-day weeks. This is vital feature of HHPC, because by preserving the seven-day Sabbath cycle, the HHPC avoids a major complaints from religious leaders that have doomed all other attempts at calendar reform…

The multiplicity of calendars can be explained by variety of scientific, cultural, economic, and religious factors. But it underscores the fact that no calendar has been able to fully address all issues associated with measuring and organizing the passing of time… The ‘calendar’ is the organizing principle of the way world works. It programs societal culture with daily, weekly, monthly and annual customs and habits…

Therefore, to change the calendar is to participate in one of most subtle and profound forms of revolution happening on the planet today… Nonetheless, a change to something as long-established as the calendar is not unthinkable, primarily because it has happened several times before… In other words, calendrical change is possible; it just tends to happen in– fits and starts, lurching through history as each era refines, tinkers and adds its contributions to make a better system… 

Cities Shifting Global Economic Power– New Growth Engines of 21st Century: Changing World Order to Create Wealth…

Cities (urban centers) are main creators of economic wealth, generating over 70% of world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to United Nations Report. Most industries and businesses are located in or within immediate vicinity of urban areas… Urban regions are the engines of national economies; in U.S., eight out of ten people live in one of 330 urban areas and more than half live in 39 areas with populations of one million or more…

Urban economies account for 83% of national income and virtually all employment in the advanced technical and service sectors… Cities are great democratizers of society, where people of different cultures, languages, religions… meet, mix, work together. Urban areas provide the energy where creativity and intellectual ferment develops, they are the foundation– where science and technology, art and fashion, banks and finance, music and entertainment, research and higher education… can flourish.

However, in order to harness the economic benefits of urbanization, policy-makers and private sector must do more effective planning and attract sustained investment in infrastructures, e.g.; railroads, highways, bridges, airports, ports, water, power, communications, energy… Urban centers face critical challenges, and it’s essential that government and business form partnerships to make urban areas more competitive, sustainable, resilient…

In the article Competitive Cities by John S. Ratcliffe writes: There is general recognition that 21st century is the century of cities. Cities are moving center stage, and both commercial and cultural worlds increasingly are characterized by cities rather than by countries… Cities are fast coming to function as the basic motors of the global economy… Indeed, it’s argued that there is a new form of global ‘city-centric’ capitalism where cities operate as territorial platforms for much of contemporary economic activity, and as important staging posts for the operations of multi-national corporations.

Urban centers (cities) thrive on creativity, productivity, innovation, and as multifaceted urban milieu that are simultaneously embedded in worldwide business networks… And a common challenge for cities across the world is competitiveness and the key to competitiveness is entrepreneurship. Successful cities engender an environment in which creative and innovative individuals and organizations can gather, grow, thrive… According to Jane Jacobs; the basic idea is to use whatever commercial, political strengths, resources that a locality (urban center) already has, but which it may have neglected, wasted, overlooked…

In the article Hyper-Connected Cities Are Taking Over the World by Tanvi Misra writes: We are moving toward a new era where insular, political boundaries are no longer as relevant. More people are identifying as ‘global citizens’, and that’s because more people are more connected than ever before… According to Parag Khanna; change is taking place in the world today in which cities– not nations– are the key global players… where the new maxim is ‘connectivity is destiny’… 

Urban areas are building physical and institutional connectivity among each other, and growing demographic and economic power; they are the drivers of new world order. They are power centers of global commerce,  social, environmental… engagements. Urban areas are key element in the evolution of world change for many reasons:

First, the world is urban; if you want to understand where people are, people are in urban areas… Second, most of the world’s economic power is concentrated in urban areas, and therefore they become the pivotal entities you need to analyze to understand the new world economy. Third, urban areas are increasingly connecting to each other; they are forging their own diplomatic networks….

According to McKinsey Global Institute: The urban world is shifting. Today only 600 urban centers generate about 60% of global GDP. While 600 urban centers  will continue to account for the same share of global GDP in 2025, this group of 600 will evolve into a very different membership. Over the next 15 years, the center of gravity of the urban world will move South and, even more decisively, East… Today major urban areas in developed-regions are without doubt economic giants:

Half of global GDP in 2007 came from 380 urban areas in developed-regions, with more than 20% of global GDP coming from 190 North American cities alone. The 220 largest urban areas in developing-regions contributed another 10%… But by 2025, one-third of these developed-market urban areas will no longer make the top 600; and one out of every 20 cities in emerging-markets is likely to see its rank drop out of the top 600. By 2025, 136 new urban areas are expected to enter the top 600, all of them overwhelmingly from developing world, e.g.; 100 new urban areas from China

Urbanization is essential part of a nation’s economic development towards a stronger and more stable future…  Most of the world’s largest cities are in the world’s largest economies, which is further evidence of this link between economic wealth and cities. Cities and towns have important roles in social transformation. They are the centers of artistic, scientific and technology innovations, of culture and education…

The history of cities and towns is inexorably linked to that of civilization in general… They attract talents and skilled labor that allow specialization in knowledge, skills, and management capabilities possible, and they can achieve economies of scale, agglomeration and urbanization… Cities are the driving force for economic development, and economic growth also stimulates urbanization… These positive and evolving relationships are a reality in most countries…

Throughout the world, the integration of the global marketplace is causing a fundamental shift in the way nations think about urban economies. The global economies are increasingly system of urban-centered regional economies that transcend municipal boundaries. We used to think of countries as homogeneous with all of its regions rising or falling together with the national economic tide…

But no longer;  today it makes more sense to think of ‘common markets’ of urban area economies… These urban area regions, although strongly interdependent, compete with one another and other urban centers throughout the world. Hence the ability of nations to prosper in today’s highly competitive global economy is highly dependent upon economic performance of its urban regions, and upon the health and vitality of the cities at their core…

Subtle Shifts in Business, Leadership, Management, Organization, Strategy, Innovation– Bring Big Results…

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