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Fully Formed adults come up Trumps!

Stuart White


For a while I really started to believe that Donald Trump could win the US presidential election in November. As I write this today that is looking increasingly unlikely and although I am conscious that it’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings’ and how poorly I predicted Brexit, my money is now firmly on Hillary and even though I shouldn’t really care. But somehow I feel relieved that in this instance the people of the United States will have chosen the better candidate. Like many, I have watched the two presidential debates, incredulously wondering how this racist, rude, arrogant misogynist could even make it to the final scene of what must surely be America’s finest political soap opera.

Up until about a fortnight ago Hillary and Trump were neck and neck in the race despite Trump’s multitude of diplomatic blunders, incomprehensible untruths and scandalous behaviour, all of which clearly highlighted his obvious poor fit for the role of president. Up until last week Trump’s unsuitability appeared to be blatantly ignored by almost half of America, if the polls are to believed. It’s as if to the American public, it really does not matter if such a person got the world’s top political position. If that happened you have to wonder what damage could be done and as Hillary Clinton warned someone with Trump’s temperament should never have access to the nuclear codes. “It’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin”, she said. So a potential disaster like World War 3 may have been averted but hopefully there are other learnings for America’s people and the Republican Party which might be don’t let idiots get to the final stage of the selection process and weed them out early on in the process.

Recently when I was helping a client make a decision on whom to place in a senior position in their organisation, he told me that it didn’t really matter who they appointed. It appeared that it was inconsequential whether candidate A or B or even C got the job.  I need to point out that in this case it was not as if all candidates were equal as some were very clearly more unequal than others and arguably completely unsuitable for the job and appointing them would have without question (in my opinion) have had negative consequences. You might find this laissez-faire approach surprising but in fact such cavalier attitudes to hiring are common and something that I see on a regular basis. In many organizations managers can use whatever excuse they want to screen out candidates, ignore that what they don’t like and in other instances progress them up the recruitment ladder.

So how accountable are managers for the hiring decisions? Not enough in my view. I believe it is imperative that hiring correctly and by that I mean competent people and the best people, should be on each Manager’s scorecard yet I have rarely seen this in any of the companies I have consulted with. The easiest thing a manger can do badly and get away with it is to recruit the wrong person. Rarely does anyone point a finger at the recruiting panel or manager and say “you got that wrong”. Mostly, the blame is directed towards the hire as if it is solely their fault. It’s never a case of they shouldn’t have been given the job but the blame is diverted to label the hire a bad employee. This shift in thinking and responsibility needs to happen if we hope to see managers taking recruitment and selection more seriously.

Whilst hiring the wrong person in business may not have the same high stakes as nuclear war,  we know that from studies that there is a cost and it’s a high one. The average hiring mistakes according to ghSMART, costs fifteen times an employee’s basic salary in hard costs and productivity loss. So if we tease that out it means that a P400k a year employee can cost a company P6 million or more. And if a business is making even just 10 such mistakes a year, it is flushing P60million plus down the toilet. And it is not just that: If you get the right and best people everything else becomes easier, a lot easier.

We all want high performing companies……that’s why we are in business in the first place and the single most important contributing factor to that is people and culture.  “The best thing you can do for employees—a perk better than football or free sushi—is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else” – so said Patty McCord when she was at Netlix. The work that she did there on culture and values became a new model for corporate culture. Millions of people download Netfix’s employee manifesto off the internet because it is so fresh.

For example one of their principles is to only “Hire, Reward, and Tolerate Only Fully Formed Adults”.  As McCord says “over the years we learned that if we asked people to rely on logic and common sense instead of on formal policies, most of the time we would get better results, and at lower cost. If you’re careful to hire people who will put the company’s interests first, who understand and support the desire for a high-performance workplace, 97% of your employees will do the right thing. Most companies spend endless time and money writing and enforcing HR policies to deal with problems the other 3% might cause”. At Netflix they try really hard not to hire those 3% of people, and will let them go if it turned out they had made a hiring mistake. To Netflix, adult-like behavior means talking openly about issues with your boss, your colleagues, and your subordinates. It means recognizing that even in companies with reams of HR policies, those policies are frequently skirted as managers and their reports work out what makes sense on a case-by-case basis.

Sadly, the savvy McCord was not recruited early on in the Republican selection process or she might have been able to find a more fully-formed adult candidate to trump the Trump.  Only in America…


You might find this laissez-faire approach surprising but in fact such cavalier attitudes to hiring are common and something that I see on a regular basis. In many organizations managers can use whatever excuse they want to screen out candidates, ignore that what they don’t like and in other instances progress them up the recruitment ladder.


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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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