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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
The Straits Times, March 6, 2016
 

The recent G-20 meeting of finance ministers in Shanghai would have us all investing in new businesses and getting down to productive work, creating goods and turning over real cash. But the simple answer is we are all different and inclined to different aspects of travail.

A strong insight comes from a group of Cambridge academics who assessed managers and derived role characteristics based on their observed behaviour, such as the Ideas Person, the Team Worker, the Chairman and so on.

All in all, they found nine prominent roles within the Team Role theory. The analysts led by Dr Meredith Belbin said that with suitable training, most of us could carry out any management role. But like round pegs in square holes, wrongly placed individuals would fall by the wayside.

The best proposition is to follow our two strongest roles and be aware of our weaker roles. It is a pervasive theory that is proven worldwide.

Coupled with the knowledge that early learning at home and in school and colleges shapes our culture and technical skills, we could be on our way to designing "dream teams". But the workplace is messy and such teams do not often arise.

However, we are entering a new phase of global development.

In many nations, birth rates are falling along with their working populations. People are living longer, with the elderly becoming a greater burden on carers, be that the state or their children.

The pace of technological advancement in simple engineering spheres like robotisation, or via sophisticated software incorporating artificial intelligence algorithms, will see machines of one sort or another taking over from workers.

Once this did not matter.

Economist John Maynard Keynes said in 1930: "We are being afflicted with a new disease of which we will hear a great deal of in the years to come, namely, technological unemployment… "This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour." He understood that in an expanding world, in economic terms, there would be other work for displaced persons.

That may come about, but it is not the case at present, when some estimates put it that 50 per cent of jobs are at risk of being computerised across all economic sectors.

There is a need for the human resources personnel to look closely at the composition of an organisation's staff and deploy them better with a good understanding of their psychometric traits and innate talent.

Could some staff be Ideas Generators, or Ideas Evaluators, who are presently forced to undertake the more mundane teamwork stuff - necessary of course, but stultifying for mismatched persons.

Across G-20 economies, firms are in lockdown due to ageing staff, reduced cash flows and a death of productive investments, as too much money is banked in low rates of return, even negative rates.

The G-20 ministers call for entrepreneurship, but not all of us are both risk-takers supporting ideas generation and blessed with good implementation skills.

Most of us, in fact, are "team members" willing to follow orders, but our roles are now at risk from computers that will follow orders even better than the most assiduous of staff, working 24/7 with no holidays and no union to call a strike. What can be done?

One way forward for the G-20 and other finance ministers would be to relax labour laws and labour taxation, and so free up staffing. If firms can sack and re-employ others, they might be able to create their "dream teams" easily.Staff need not fear redundancy, as other jobs would be available soon in an expanding economy, as Mr Keynes reminded us.

In any case, a declining workforce worldwide in developed nations should mean enough jobs for humans even when computers take over many roles. Managers might be able to create and dissolve intrapreneur teams which, protected from the full rigours of an external world, can be charged with finding new solutions to issues not yet seen within the firm.

Staff need not always be in a high-powered skunk works role, but may move into suitable managerial roles as time passes.

I have often thought modern companies squander too many bright people because we sit them in dreary tasks, though someone or some machine needs to pass the firm's data along.

Sadly, even the best of managers do not know the full characteristics of their staff, and too many still employ and deploy via first impressions.

If we are courageous and serious about "fitting the person to the task", we may be able to better unleash talent to unblock economies. Freed-up labour regulations (while protecting human rights) allow creativity to flourish. Then perhaps the G-20 pleas may work, raising the global economy through the forthcoming technological revolution while maintaining humanity in the workplace.

The writer is founder of Horasis, a global visioning community. Its inaugural Horasis Global Meeting will be held in Liverpool on June 13-14 as part of Britain's International Festival for Business.

 


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