Friday Five February 26 2016

One of the main sources of frustration for any manager in any organization is knowing how to hold people accountable for their work performance. This article from HBR gives five elements you should engage in order to ensure your accountability efforts are effective. I would add a sixth: Clearly Realistic. How they plan to achieve their goals must be realistic – or if it is a stretch goal – it must fall within the realm of realistic possibilities. I like this article. I like how it emphasizes that you, as a manager, must first assess your team’s ability to achieve their goals, whether or not they are resourced properly and if the measurements in place are clear and understood by everyone in the room.

Staying with HBR, this article gives you some practical nuggets to use when you need to diffuse growing tension in a relationship.

So, you want a cheap, but accredited MBA? Try Western Governors University. Only $13K. Fully accredited. Assessment based, not classroom based, so your experience will help you get through the assessments faster. The only one that is cheaper that I’ve been able to find is the University of South Africa – looks to be around $8K, depending on the exchange rate.

As of February 24, 2016, our national debt stands at $19,054,164,528,762.98. Since January 1st of this year, we have amassed $131B of new debt. That’s an average increase per day of $2.4 billion dollars, or an average increase per hour of $99,989,999, or an average increase per second of $27,774. At the time of this writing, our population stands at 323,067,560 people. This means that if the debt were to be spread out evenly across every man, woman and child in the US, each person would owe $58,978.

For comparisons, go back 10 years to July 1, 2006. Our national debt on that day was $ 8,420,041,947,892.19. Our population was 299,398,484. Hence, the debt per person was $28,132. So, in 10 years, our population has grown by 7.3% while our debt has grown by a staggering 55.8%. The next President is going to have a debt crisis on their hands. Keynesian economics won’t help this time around. There won’t be any more money to spend.

Last, but not least, real gross domestic product — the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes — increased at a pathetic annual rate of 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.0 percent.

The jobless and growthless recovery continues. Signs are on the horizon that we’re due for another recession – right when the people are electing the next President.

Here’s the value add for the day – a sixth topic in my Friday Five. It has been noted by a Presidential candidate that as the government grows larger, so must our core companies in order to maintain some level of power balance between the Federal Government and the Fortune 100 companies. The Apple iPhone debacle with the FBI asking for them to hack their own phone is a prime example. Could you imagine if Appel was 25% the size that it is today? The FBI would walk all over them.

There is a phrase that people like to use: “too big to fail”. The follow-on phrase is “too big to jail”. I have a third phrase: “too big to sail”. I think companies that have 100K or more employees – or agencies of the Federal government that have several hundred thousand working for them – these institutions are too big to succeed – IOW, too bit to sail. The President has over 2,000,000 people reporting to him. There’s no way he can succeed in any agreeable way because 2 million people are too many to manage. Our Federal government is too big to sail.

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