The Link Between Public Sector Reforms and a Thriving Private Sector

Creating and sustaining a public sector that is transparent, inclusive and accountable is the ultimate goal of government reform initiatives, both in developing nations and world powers. One area where this is particularly important, but where a fine line must be walked, is with the private sector.

There’s a push/pull force at work on this front.

Regulatory reform that touches the business sector must, on the one hand, be responsive and do the job of facilitating the interests and needs of the business community. Too much regulation – or regulations that are too onerous – will effectively make it harder to do business. That may stifle business spending, investment, employment and economic growth in total.

But those interests must be balanced against the public good. Regulations that may serve the financial interests of a particular sector but compromise the quality of life of a nation’s people – think air and water pollution, for example – will not measure up to world standards.

That balancing act has made business-oriented policies and regulations an ongoing focus of reform projects, and not just in developing countries. There are lessons to be learned on this front that are critical to any forward-thinking government. The World Bank has funded various such initiatives through the years. Three of the case studies it outlines in its Doing Business 2018 and 2017 reports provide helpful food for thought.

Information transparency at business registries

New regulations on the transparency of business information reflect growing concerns over how some take advantage of obscure company ownership structures to move money illicitly around the world. Allowing disclosure of beneficial business ownership (those who receive equity benefits even if they’re not legal owners), for example, makes it easier to identify suspected money launderers and potential sources of terrorist financing. Furthermore, greater transparency strengthens public confidence in businesses and institutions, helps to better manage financial exposure and makes for more stable markets, the report found.

Facilitating access to business credit

Modern secured transaction laws are being increasingly adopted by developing countries. It’s one way to help make the business environment more secure for smaller companies. Collateral-related reforms are key to the process. Expanding the scope of what small and mid-sized businesses can use as collateral also expands their access to finance. One reform approach is to establish a collateral registry for all sorts of movable assets – digitally-based, accessible to the public and searchable. Ghana opened the first such registry in Africa, where $1.3 billion was issued in financing for small businesses and $12 billion for businesses overall.

Reforming insolvency laws

When a viable business is in financial stress, if procedures for restructuring and reorganization aren’t efficient, the price can be steep – loss of the business itself, its contribution to the economy (like employment and taxes) and losses that creditors can’t recoup. A strengthened framework for insolvency policies, studies have shown, can result in reduced cost and level of credit and lower interest rates on large loans. One example is France, whose 2005 insolvency reforms featured a new restructuring tool – a “safeguard procedure.” This allowed struggling firms to apply for court protection while they negotiated a restructuring plan with creditors. This was refined in 2008 and again in 2011, eventually resulting in business survival in three out of four cases initiated.

All about the Sovereign of the Seas and the Sovereign Ship Model

Modelled on the “Sovereign of the Seas,” the sovereign ship model is truly a collector’s delight! Possessing a piece is a matter of extreme pride, whether you are a first-time collectors or an avid collector. A true representation of artistry, elegance and craftsmanship, the sovereign models are crafted to recreate history in its splendour. The best models are made from the highest quality materials, built to perfection to exactly the same standards as those in historical museum displays.

Sovereign of the Seas and the Sovereign Ship Model

The largest ship ever built, The Sovereign of the Seas (1638) inspires the Sovereign ship model. The original ship was constructed in the Royal Dockyard, Chatham, by Phineas Pett, on the orders of King Charles I. Several thousands of craftsmen were said to have laboured on the ship for over three years to build it. A masterpiece of its period, the ship stood at a height of 75 ft, with a keel length 127 ft and overall length of 215 ft. It measured 48 feet in the beam, 168 feet along the gun deck and with 1141 burden tonnage.

The ship had taken part in several wars, including the second and third Dutch Wars from 1652 to 1692 and the battles of Beachy Head in 1690 and Barfleur in 1692 (when the Royal Navy fought with the Dutch). Rebuilt in 1660 and 1692, the ship met an abrupt end in 1696 when it was burnt accidentally at Chatham.

Here are some interesting facts about a typical sovereign ship model:

  • Available as full hull models with 100 guns and three full gun decks, they are crafted to the best specifications.
  • Time- and effort-intensive works of art, the intricate ship model is handmade to the finest quality and excellent craftsmanship.
  • It has hand carved decorations with embroidered flags, accurate deck details, fitting and handmade sails.
  • Built to 1:48 scale, these are mounted on the original baseboards and have three stump masts.
  • Like the original ship, the best models are richly decorated and done in boxwood to extremely high standards. Hull, deck, carvings, and mast varnished to perfect, striking finish
  • It features exact replicas of flags from King Charles I’s reign
  • Sails are also made of hand sewn weathered lines.
  • Wooden pieces of figurines, figureheads and decorations are meticulously hand carve, and built to the finest detail
  • Culverins and cannons are made of brass with each one turned using a lathe.
  • Rigging is hand laid, with several rigging thicknesses used for natural representation of the original ship rigging. It uses special wax treated rigging for presentation and durability.
  • Uses wooden plank on frame; several thin planks are mounted on an inner series of frames, over which a second layer of fine planks are used.

The price of a sovereign ship model varies, depending on its size, detailing and craftsmanship. Its sizes may range from very large models available at about 3 meters in length (made on custom order) to small ones 65 cm in length (best used as centrepiece displays).

Order your Sovereign ship model from one of the most renowned online suppliers of wooden model ships – Premier Ship Models. Here you will get the best prices for the highest quality models.

A Look into Racial Discrimination in the US

According to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, an overwhelming 87% of black Americans say black people face a lot of discrimination in the United States, but only 49% of white Americans agree with this. This statistic clearly indicates that America is not only divided according to race, but it is divided by opinions on race discrimination as well, according to an article published by CNN in August 2017.

No matter what the opinion on race discrimination might be, the reality is that this evil does still exist, quite evident from the large number of claims against employers for harassment and hostile work environments, based on the employee’s ethnicity.

However, according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Texas Labor Code, employees and applicants of all races, including African American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterner and more, are protected from employment discrimination based their race. Moreover, Title VII and the Texas Labor Code protect employees and applicants of all national origins from employment discrimination based their national origin, explain national origin & color discrimination lawyer at The Law Office of Texas Discrimination Attorney, a leading firm of race discrimination attorneys in Austin and Houston, Texas (TX).

What is Racial Discrimination?

A person is said to be racially discriminated against when s/he is treated unequally or less favorably than another person in a similar situation because of their color, race, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status. Such discrimination can be direct or indirect. What’s worse is that sometimes, indirect race discrimination can be permitted if the employer or organization is able to present a good reason for the discrimination. 

Causes of Racism in America

In the US, systemic discrimination continues to thrive. In this world’s biggest economy, there is a strong association between poverty and race, where people belonging to some races face a disadvantage at the workplace, which keeps them less privileged in society.

People belonging to minority groups are not easily considered for certain jobs, while others can become victims of workplace discrimination, facing racist comments from employers and co-workers, and being constantly being passed up for promotions due to race.

Leading psychologists have explained that racism persists when we think of ourselves as being different from other people. In general, racists think of themselves as being superior to others, who are seen as being lower in status or capability than them. Such a mindset develops from childhood and has a lot to do with upbringing.

Racial discrimination can be easily avoided at the workplace, if the employer wishes it. They can create an ethnically and racially diverse environment, while educating their employees about the importance of thinking beyond race, color and national origin to succeed in their job and in life.

If your workplace is encouraging racial discrimination, it is advisable to seek help from a national origin & color discrimination lawyer or employment law attorney, such as those in Austin and Houston, Texas (TX).

The Connected Supply Chain: Get Positioned Now to Play

Game changing.

That’s the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) technology may have on Supply Chain Management generally, and inventory management and demand forecasting specifically. And it’s happening now.

Through 2025, according to projections by DHL and Cisco Consulting Services, the IoT can be expected to generate some $1.9 trillion in value driven by supply chain and logistics applications. By 2020, the firms also estimate that the number of devices connected to the Internet will explode to 50 billion from 2015’s 15 billion.

Supply Chain Management at its simplest involves managing the flow of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption and all the stops in between. A supply chain that’s “connected” stands to yield any number of operational efficiencies. But, at the same time, there will be challenges – not the least of which is bringing businesses current with IoT technology, given the number of outdated legacy systems being used alongside new technologies and assets that are both connected and unconnected.

Among the efficiencies a connected supply chain can create:

· Far better tracking of assets and at incredibly granular levels. The IoT poses substantive advantages by expanding the existing application of RFID and GPS sensors that will track products from floor to store or more. In addition, deeper data dives will be possible on things like storage temperature or length of time on retailers’ shelves. All of this improved data will combine to improve quality control, delivery performance and forecasting.

· Having better data on assets can lead to improved production schedules and also give companies a better perspective on vendor performance. That’s important when up to 65 percent of the value of an organization’s products or services stems from its suppliers. Having a better understanding of how they’re handling supplies and product is a bonus.

· IoT monitoring programs for forecasting and inventory planning purposes are a lot more accurate than what humans can do. Still, data collection can be haphazard, not necessarily providing a good baseline for analyzing product performance and predicting failures. MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, though, has developed an algorithm that builds IoT failure data directly into the equation. It not only helps predict future inventory needs, but has been shown to help reduce stock by 6 percent to 10, a considerable bottom-line impact

The drive to create a connected supply chain is not going to be easy, however. And it’s not just the question of investing in the technology and in the skills that people will need to develop to make it work.

The IoT-connected supply chain is going to result in exponentially larger amounts of data. Simply collecting it won’t be enough. It’s knowing what to do with all the disparate data that will be produced, when much of it will be incomplete, insufficient and inaccurate. This data will need to be accounted for and properly managed in order to lead to the sophisticated analytics that provide insights for smarter decisions. Sound analytics processes, along with the right people and technology need to be put in place.

Without question the IoT is changing the supply chain game. But as this game is a work in progress, your best bet is to start positioning yourself now to be a player.

Norma Walton, Not Your Parents’ Workforce

One of our businesses was growing and we were looking for someone to work 16 hours every weekend. I had been doing the work myself while growing the business, but the business had become busy enough that it could afford to pay someone to do that work.

First I chatted with my friend’s husband. He works during the week and is saving up for an apartment for his young family so was keen on weekend work to supplement what he earned from his regular job. He is 27 years old. He did an excellent job for me for a few weekends then told me that he had decided he could no longer work after 5 pm…ever.

Next, I chatted with a hard working woman with whom I work from time to time and I mentioned that we had this position available. She told me her son Mitch was desperate to make money and that she was sure he would love to do it. Mitch is a nice single 35-year old guy whom I knew and liked. I immediately offered the work to him. He thanked me for thinking of him but explained that he never worked on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The third was a 32-year old Uber driver named Nur whom I met when he drove me home. A former fighter pilot, he had emigrated from Afghanistan via America. He told me he needed to make money. He did the work one weekend, collected his money, then he just didn’t show up for work the next weekend. It was obviously beneath him. I haven’t heard from him since.

Fourth time lucky. The fellow who now works with me on the weekends is from Barbados. He emigrated to Canada a year ago because it was impossible to make a good life in Barbados unless you were a member of the police or the military and he didn’t qualify for either. He loves Canada because if you work hard, you can create a decent life for yourself. He came here a year ago. He has found opportunities through keenness. He obtained his forklift truck driver’s license. He then started working for an agency each week while working to upgrade his license. He works with me on the weekend and is saving up to secure his own studio apartment near York University and then to afford a car. He is 27 and so far very reliable.

Back when I was a teenager into my early 20s, I was always interested in making money if I could fit it into my school and sports schedule. I began working when I was 13 years old and secured my license the day I turned 16. I was not unusual among my peer group. We all wanted to make money, play sports, drive cars and get our own place. Leisure time was what you grabbed late at night or over a couple of hours on the weekend, if you were lucky and had finished all your chores at home.

In my (now dinosaur-like) experience, if you wanted to make extra money, you needed to work evenings, weekends, nights, mornings, afternoons – basically, anytime anyone would pay you. You needed to show up for work when you were required. Keenness was critical. Asking for more work was important. Basically, everything else in your life took a back seat to making that extra money you wanted so you could accomplish whatever objective you had at that time.

The type of work was not as relevant as how much you were being paid per hour and how many hours you could secure. Being fulfilled at work was not even a consideration. I remember working three summers in a row on the line at Ford putting hood covers on because 27 years ago they paid $25 an hour. I can still do that specific job in my sleep because I put 60 hood covers on every hour for 48 hours a week for three summers in a row…138,240 hood covers. The job was mind-numbing but that money helped put me through school and paid for my car expenses. Needless to say, I had very little leisure time those summers.

My values are no longer prevalent. In seeking to fill this weekend position, it became apparent to me that the workforce has changed since I was a girl. Work-life balance in your 20s and 30s is now valued far more than money. People say they want to make extra money, but they mean only if it does not inconvenience them in living their best life. Hence a lot of people in their 20s and 30s are living with their parents, with siblings or with roommates. They don’t drive. They value leisure time more than making money.

For better or worse, while trying to hire someone for weekend work, I realized that this is not my or my parents’ workforce.

The Importance of Matching Responsibilities with Skill Sets In Team Management

From my experience in managing and leading teams, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that, as a team leader, it’s imperative to provide a good match between the responsibilities assigned to a team member and their skill set. If you delegate responsibilities to a team member who lacks the required skills or, just as important, feels unprepared to take on the assigned tasks, you will end up with a dissatisfied team member who produces suboptimal work.

It’s always worth the time it takes, as a team leader, to understand the skill sets of your team members, and sometimes it takes a different mindset, as a leader, to achieve the right results.

Thinking about tasks and responsibilities in a functional way

Team managers will often assign work and responsibilities based solely on their understanding of certain pre-existing roles on the team. For example, client or customer service interactions might be delegated to someone who occupies a sales role, since that person has experience with those types of responsibilities. This type of delegation follows the pattern of assigning work according to position title or organizational culture and norms.

However, in assigning responsibilities, a team leader should also consider the scope of the work that needs to be done on a project or an initiative, and, from that understanding, find the best match of skill set and division of duties to accomplish that work.

If there is a member of your team who would provide a great fit between skill set and responsibility, you should consider assigning that team member to the task, even if that person might not have been customarily assigned to that role previously. This is a more functional way of thinking about the delegation of work and the assignment of duties.

Analyzing the skill sets on your team

There are different methods you can use to understand the skill sets of your team members. One way to do this is through formal assessment and through tests and skill analyses. Through assessment, you can inventory the skills and knowledge that your team members possess and gain valuable data regarding the areas in which your staff might need additional training. This can also help you decide how to delegate work in such a way that you align your team members’ skill sets with the responsibilities they are assigned.

Behavioral interviewing (conversations) may also be useful. This technique involves asking your team members to discuss a situation when they executed their work using certain skills. For example, you might ask a team member about how they resolve a complex problem to better understand their critical thinking skills, or how they collaborated with colleagues to achieve success under pressure. These types of questions can reveal much about a team member’s skills and capabilities.

In my experience, properly matching the skill sets of team members with their assigned responsibilities can increase productivity and lead to higher levels of team cooperation and confidence.

Start-ups: reward over risk

There are many tales of entrepreneurs who started their business in their bedroom or garage and grew them to be multimillion dollar companies. However, they didn’t just get there by luck. It was down to incredibly hard work, long hours, and an unswerving belief that their original business idea was going to work.

In many ways, it’s easy to start your own business, but you will face challenges that larger and more established organizations don’t have to worry about. Your resources will be limited at the start, and you won’t yet have a reputation. Your cash flow is likely to be a concern at the beginning, and unless you have done some effective, targeted research, you might be uncertain about your target demographics.

There are plenty of risks for a start-up, but always remember that the big, successful businesses all had to start somewhere before they became flourishing entities. There’s no reason why you can’t look forward to reaping the rewards of your own entrepreneurship.

Why start a business?

A word of warning to begin with: many businesses go under in the first few years, not because they were bad ideas but often because the planning was not done properly or sometimes because economic downturns have affected the market.

With that little caveat out of the way, you can start to think through the positive things that come from owning your own business and what you need to do to get it up and running.

Despite the hard work ahead and often uncertainty about what’s going to happen in the future, running your own business gives you tremendous independence, both financially and in terms of operation. Initially, it’s you that will be making the decisions on something that you are passionate about, and as you grow, you will have people in place who share your vision and want to help you make your company grow.

Being your own boss is a liberating experience – in a way, it’s you against the world, but a world that you can persuade to buy your goods and services. It’s exciting as you work your way through the many things that you need to put in place, and especially satisfying as you see the risks that you’ve taken gradually turning into a business with a burgeoning and positive reputation and hard cash coming into the coffers.

Imagine, you could be someone like David Kiger, who started the global logistics company Worldwide Express from his spare bedroom with only a few thousand dollars of start-up money, building it into the largest logistics company of its type in the US.

Advantages of start-ups

When you’re a small business, you can move much more quickly than big companies if there is a shift or disruption in the market, a new competitor, or a new technological development. Big businesses have structures that can be cumbersome, not always allowing them to react quickly to changes. You, on the other hand, will have a structure, but you don’t have to stick to it if circumstances become different. You can move rapidly, change direction if required, and be ready to rebuild from the ground up if necessary.

Bureaucracy is frequently the hallmark of large companies, where decisions have to go through painstaking evaluation by many people in many different departments, slowing decision-making down to a crawl. Naturally, it’s important to have safeguards in place, but the wheels of bureaucracy tend to grind very slowly. You, on the other hand, will have some firm rules in place together with formal processes, but without the layers of management your start-up can be considerably more agile, making decisions faster and working more efficiently because of that freedom.

Planning ahead

A business plan is only as good as its implementation, so even if you’ve done your market research, sourced initial finance, done your strategic vision, and pulled a realistic budget together, don’t put it on a shelf and ignore it. Business plans evolve depending on the circumstances, whether it’s economic downturn, financial constraints, the need for capital investment, or a requirement to expand the number of employees. You should regularly revisit your business plan to ensure that things are on track or to change emphasis where needed.

In the end, your start-up will be as successful as you want to make it, together with your working colleagues. There is no harm in being imaginative and go-getting. That way, you can not only enthuse your employees but also, down the line, your clients and customers.

Ed Rempel CFS

Ed Rempel Top Key Note Speaker at The Canadian Financial Summit

Ed Rempel is a well known Canadian “Financial” Keynote Speaker and shares his enthusiasm and many years of experience to primed financial audiences that want, need and deserve more and better insight and information. Join Ed Rempel a senior financial industry expert with a host of other top speakers at the Canadian Financial Summit. September 13-16 Online Event.



Why Conscious Leaders Inspire Enhanced Productivity

The workplace is rapidly evolving and it’s more important than ever to ensure your employees are content. A happy employee, after all, is a more productive employee. Research has proven that when staff is actively engaged in their work, companies benefit as workers accomplish more and perform more effectively. They are also more likely to come up with innovative solutions to problems, as they feel personally invested in the organization’s success.

So, the question for employers is how do you keep your workforce engaged so they give you their best effort?

One answer is to strive to be a conscious leader, one who inspires their employees to go above and beyond average effort to exceeding expectations every time.

Before you can be a conscious leader, you need to understand the concept. A conscious leader is always thinking about how their supporters perceive them, and they work to ensure that perception remains positive. They acknowledge that they have strengths and weaknesses, and that others may have knowledge and skill sets they may not possess. They listen actively when others speak, and are open to new ideas. They treat those in their employ as people, not robots, and they understand that people at all levels are the heart of any organization.

In short, conscious leaders know and understand that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Not every executive is a conscious leader, but with practice, they can transform themselves into one.

Perhaps the most important step leaders can take is to understand the employee experience from the worker’s perspective. This requires a high level of objectivity on the part of organizational leaders, but it’s an essential first step. If leaders don’t understand how a workforce views their jobs or the organizational leadership, it’s impossible to improve the staff’s unique situations and subsequent performance. One has to be willing to come down from the safety of the executive suite and look at your company through the eyes of everyone working there. No role is too small to consider, as everyone plays a part in the success of a business.

A conscious leader is also increasingly self-aware. They regularly take personal inventories of their own goals and accomplishments, and allow themselves to honestly assess their own shortcomings. They’re not afraid to consult others for help or advice, and they don’t hesitate to transform their leadership styles when needed. In fact, many conscious leaders may work regularly with a professional coach.

Conscious leaders are likeable people who establish a corporate culture where their employees can thrive. They exude positivity and they encourage others to achieve and excel. They incentivize performance by offering appropriate rewards, and provide opportunities for their employees to grow and advance in their careers. They understand the value of investing in their workforce, whether it’s through specialized training or professional development.

A conscious leader is more than a capable manager, they’re an inspirational force that drives their company’s success.