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I am an honours graduate (BSc. Hons. Strath-Glasgow) coupled with an MBA-ICG (Paris) , experienced, Metallurgist - Materials Scientist and Engineer & Manager turned Consultant & Blogger. I specialised in Superalloys (aero-engine_Seminal Work peer reviewed & published IOM3_MST, Feb.1985, the 2nd issue of this now well known journal dedicated to the fundamental aspects in our multidisciplinary subject area ) My experience over a wide range of Special Alloys is extensive. (Cryogenic,Controlled Expansion-Dilatometric,Magnetic, Corrosion Resistant Grades and finally HSLA-Aircraft Undercarriage. (Great Stuff-I was lucky) My responibilities were especially in Melting & Refining to 1st Forming stage. Responsibilities include QC,QA & Accounting, Melt/Remelt Process  & Products, R&D.  Bilingual English-French. 
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Friday, 28 November 2008

Modern Management and The World in 2009, The old year out, the new year in.

The Economist has issued it’s latest online forecast edition: In Modern Management and The World in 2009. Before the ink was dry the terrible news of events in India fell.

All news and comments taking a rear-seat in comparison with the very sad news of these events. The Economist reacted immediately with a very timely, thoughtful and well-balanced article in The Economist online .

In spite of this and an Airbus flight trial crash with more irreversible losses, I still wish to bring my readers attention to the earlier Economist leader “Modern Management and The World in 2009.” Although their previsions are doleful, they are yet far from the seriousness of the above events.

On the contrary, in spite of the pain announced for 2009 the ironic style and humour of the journalist are both a warning to all concerned and a source of inspiration and hope to fight the worst effects.

I know of no more succinct crash course in modern management, summary of recent managerial trends over the last two or three decades with a short-term projection. (NB not a fact nor an event)

To quote outrageously from The Economist

I. Modern management: Lesson I A-Z: All you need is cash.

"Lately, the guiding principle for managers everywhere has been to gather up whatever cash they can find, and then do their damnedest to keep as much of it as possible for as long as possible. This increasingly desperate search is changing modern management—not always for the better.

The increasingly desperate search for the stuff is changing modern management—not always for the better

SELDOM has corporate strategy been turned on its head so quickly:
-Barely a year ago, cash was a dangerous thing to accumulate: activist investors stalked companies, urging boards to return it to investors, to pay special dividends or to buy back shares.
-Ever since the 1980s the fashion had been to make companies as lean as possible, outsourcing all but your core competencies, expanding your just-in-time supplier system around the globe, loading up with debt to “leverage” your balance-sheet. Old-style defensive conglomerates, such as Arnold Weinstock’s General Electric Company, were dismantled. Companies that hoarded cash—even ones as good as Toyota and Microsoft—were viewed with suspicion.

-No longer! For many big American companies, the day of reckoning came two months ago when the deepening financial crisis brought about the abrupt closure of the overnight commercial-paper market. This briefly sent even the most solid companies into a desperate scramble to find money to meet such basic obligations as paying their staff. Since then, the guiding principle for managers everywhere has been to gather up whatever cash they can find, and then do their damnedest to keep as much of it as possible for as long as possible.

All you need is cash

II. The World in 2009: The year of the CFO - Chief Financial Officer.

Is due to the inimitable, entertaining Lucy Kellaway in Nov 19th 2008 From The World in 2009 print edition, courtesy of The Economist online. Ref & Link below

"Prepare for the year of the finance director. In 2009 the world will find out just how bad corporate balance sheets really are, and companies—most of which escaped the early effects of the credit crunch—will start to find it trickier to raise money. Add to that the upward push in costs and downward slide in demand, and the chief financial officer (CFO) will be called upon to shore up the P&L –(profit and losses) , too.
Corporate life won’t be funny

There will be a shift in the balance of power in the boardroom, which will affect how companies are managed, what it feels like to work in them, the culture of business and even its language. More »

Thinking outside the box (an over-rated activity at the best of times) will not be celebrated. Ticking boxes will be
No one will talk of EQ (“emotional intelligence quotient”) any more. It will be EVA (“economic value added”)
Goodbye “talent”, hello “staff”
Prepare for the year of the finance director. CFO –Chief Financial Officer Up DRH down
“Yet being a corporate foot-soldier in 2009 is not going to be enjoyable.”

And concludes
The firm financial leadership will be welcome in that it will help companies survive, yet being a corporate foot-soldier in 2009 is not going to be enjoyable.
-Moaning will be on the rise as inexorably as expenses will be on the decline.
-There will be less foreign travel, which will make work more efficient but duller.
-There will be no more free champagne in first class—it will be steerage only.
-Expense-account lunches and subsidised health clubs will be slashed, and stationery cupboards will be thinly stocked.
One blessed thing will be cut: weekend off-site meetings in luxury hotels.
-If managers feel the need to bond at all it will be more likely over a quick cup of tea from the vending machine.
-There will be no more laughter workshops led by an outsourced facilitator
—but then in the new world of 2009 there is not going to be a lot to laugh about.

The World in 2009: The year of the CFO - Chief Financial Officer.