Ignoring the Death of our Planet

These are sad days. The president, the business community, and the religious establishment have all turn their backs on Life on Earth.
Now Al Gore wants to save the world, with a powerpoint slideshow (and a movie).
At least he’s doing something.
The oil lobby has already come out with anti-Gore attack ads defending Carbon Dioxide (and their profits). Yay!
America, when did we lose the ability to think? At what point did we decide that the future doesn’t matter any more?

What Would Jesus Do to Save the Planet? Play bingo? Drive an SUV? Hint: He kicked the money lenders out of the temple…

Mark Hollander: Life is not a Meritocracy

Mark Hollander reminds us that life is not a meritocracy.

According to Hollander, your success depends upon a combination of:
– Who you know
– How good you are at what you do
– How many people know that you’re that good
– Luck

I tend to agree with Mark, but there’s a huge difference across countries.
In the US, we’re talking about success. In other countries, we could be talking about survival.

Countries in which cultural and religious traditions dominate are even less likely to be meritocracies. My prime example is India. You can’t make it in India without “connections.” I know people who have left India to achieve success and then went back and set up successful businesses. Had they not left India for the meritocracies of the West, they would not have succeeded.

The question I have is where do meritocracies flourish? What are the conditions necessary for a meritocracy to take hold in business? in public office?
It all hinges on performance. If performance becomes the key driver of sucess, like it does in sports, for example, then meritocracy should be the rule. And to a large extent it is.

But even in sports, success is not assured. A superstar performer has to learn how to play with his teammates, even the ones who are jealous and want him to fail.
What astounds me is that we are so petty. Across the globe, pettiness trumps sound decision-making almost every time. From politics to sports, it is our social ability or “people skills” which makes all the difference. And these skills can be taught. As a society, we’ve got to be careful about what we’re teaching our kids.

Kissing-up is one of those surprisingly important skills they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School.

Thank goodness I work for myself. I failed “Butt-Kissing 101″…

The Meaning-Driven Business

Does your business have meaning? A purpose beyond the purpose of making money?
See Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of the Start” clip below (hat-tip to Dominic Basulto from businessinnovationinsider.com)

Funny thing – we must find a way to do what we love, or we are wasting our lives:
Dr. K. Anders Ericsson’s research on performance suggests that when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don’t love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don’t like to do things they aren’t “good” at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don’t possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better…
– from the NYTimes article by the Freakonomics nerds – read the article at soccer blog >>


Now we have the President of Iran lecturing Bush on morality… in the language of the 12th century.
Oh, great – the neo-cons have dragged America (and the world) into the New Dark Ages.
How far have we fallen? Condi Rice shows her diplomatic skills are still far below world class.
Should we be surprised by our incompetence? At the wolf at our door?
Here’s a song to cheer us up:

Meanwhile, the family values we are so caught up with in the US don’t translate to action. The US ranks 32nd out of 33 industrialized countries when it comes to newborn mortality. Is this the “culture of life” our “religious” leaders talk about?
Here’s the list of newborn deaths per 1,000 live births in the top 33 industrialised countries. They are grouped from A to F. Each group is listed alphabetically.
A – Japan 1.8/1000
B – Czech Rep 2/1000
B – Finland 2/1000
B – Iceland 2/1000
B – Norway 2/1000
C – Austria 3/1000
C – France 3/1000
C – Germany 3/1000
C – Israel 3/1000
C – Italy 3/1000
C – Luxembourg 3/1000
C – Portugal 3/1000
C – Slovenia 3/1000
C – Spain 3/1000
D – Australia 4/1000
D – Belgium 4/1000
D – Canada 4/1000
D – Denmark 4/1000
D – Estonia 4/1000
D – Greece 4/1000
D – Ireland 4/1000
D – Lithuania 4/1000
D – Netherlands 4/1000
D – New Zealand 4/1000
D – Switzerland 4/1000
D – United Kingdom 4/1000
E – Hungary 5/1000
E – Malta 5/1000
E – Poland 5/1000
E – Slovakia 5/1000
E – USA – 5/1000
F – Latvia 6/1000
We have no shame… Have a nice day.