Gimme Some Respect

It’s a word we have been hearing a lot about lately but is it in short supply?. CNN journalist Jim Acosta was accused of disrespecting the office of the president at president elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the election race.

Although at same press conference many commentators said Trump had brought the office of president into disrepute because of his barracking style. Trump supporters and detractors, Brexit leavers and remainders, student unions and MP’s to name a few have all been accused of being disrespectful.

Lets examine what the dictionary meaning of the word respect is it’s :

“An admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities”. Also:

“I have respect for his ideas, although I do not agree with them although many others do”.

There’s not much respect going on on either side of the debate in my previous examples

Many who accuse others of disrespect are being disrespectful themselves but refuse to accept this fact. It’s a mad world but of course it always has been and their will always be those who think that their opinion is right and everyone else is wrong. So it’s OK for them to be disrespectful in their minds.

In business relationships we need people to be respectful but questioning and on occasion challenging both are very important life skills. If we can’t debate and sometimes agree to disagree but still work together on other projects and issues then we will fail to learn and grow.

What has dismayed me over the past year is that people on either side of many debates I thought were level headed, reflective thinkers who used reason, logic and debate. Have shown a side of themselves I have never seen and its not a nice side. They have become argumentative, sulky, bullying, disrespectful and worse. Maybe it’s time we all looked in the mirror and found our self respect and respect for others. Hopefully then we can have useful discussion and argument that engages and is productive.

I do hope that 2017 ends up creative, energetic and productive and not more divisive and disrespectful. I live in hope. Well that’s a rap and I’ll leave it to the kids to teach the adults.

The Respect Rap

Trump Berates CNN Reporter

Meaning of the word respect

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Business Rocks Update Jan 2017

 

BR 2016 achieved its objectives The event trended 2nd on twitter all around the world for a couple of weeks only the Queens birthday and Prince’s death kept it from the top slot. Saying there was no marketing budget that was pretty remarkable. It also shows the passion people had for the event.

 

For BR 2017 which takes place on May 3 & 4th at Manchester Central SKY Swipe will be covering the event, the start-up pitch battle cash has increased to £100,000. The number of stages increases from 5 to 8 with a dedicated music stage, Also a virtual reality and thought leadership stage. The event will hold 5000 delegates compared to last years 2000.

 

The top Virtual Reality developers and those who design Batman comics are flying in. On the thought leadership stage junior developers can rub shoulders with and run ideas by CEO’s and government strategy tech advisor’s

 

Last year as a new and untested start-up BR founder Jonny Cadden said we were unbackable from a city perspective. After a successful event we now are and we are getting more regional backing and support from the council. The head of innovation for one of the major banks had said he didn’t understand the music piece in BR. But he attended SLUSH in Belgium which is their biggest tech festival with 16000 delegates attending, and when it starts it’s like a rave. He came back and said I now get it and it works.

 

We are trying to get creativity and entrepreneurship and get those at the top to inspire those further down and the next generation of tech innovators. In addition 500 Generation Z kids from 8 -19 old years from across the UK will be here designing apps, being inspired and learning what diverse careers are open to them in the Tech sector. It’s a cool world working in the tech space and especially in Manchester as we do things differently here.

We concluded the January update with a truly inspiring and uplifting song from Mica Paris which sums up the ethos of Business Rocks.

Mica Paris – Contribution

One world united all shades invited, we all have a contribution to a tech revolution.

 

How will Cyber Monday Fair And Were You Ethical??

Maybe they should rename Black Friday to Cyber Friday as it was a success for online retailers with Amazon selling six million items on the day. That’s up 500,000 on last year, but the high street and superstores didn’t fair as well. Many opened early and drafted in extra staff and security for the expected hordes which didn’t materialise.

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Adsa which championed Black Friday in the UK didn’t participate but did reduce the price of petrol.

So why did it turn into a damp squib for stores? Certainly scenes of carnage and fighting over items in 2014 put many people off, they stayed in the comfort and warmth of their homes and shopped online. Many people have been taking the advice of money saving expert Martin Lewis and only buying things if they need them and not because they are cheap. Finally people are wise to the marketing hype.

Sitting in the comfort of your home you can compare prices across retailers to get the best deal. You can also do this historically and find out if the item on offer is really a bargain or just a ploy to get you to part with your hard earned cash.

I get regular newsletters from several retailers and items that have caught my attention throughout the year were on my mind on Black Friday. Guess what of the items I had looked at only one was cheaper and only by 10%. The others were either the same price or dearer, yet all were advertised as bargains. That’s because for the 14 days running up to Black Friday the price had been hiked up then brought down for the sale. For most of the year the items had been the same as the Black Friday price. Yes there were bargains to be had at all those retailers, but there’s also sleight of hand happening here.

That is probably the single biggest reason people stayed away and shopped on line. Your less likely to make an impulse purchase if you can take your time and compare current and historical prices. You also realise that not everything a retailer tells you is true and this should be a cause for concern for businesses. Many of these practises may be standard industry practises, but they are slightly deceitful and underhand. For businesses trying to build customer loyalty and trust tricking them into thinking they are getting a bargain is not the way to go. It’s not ethical and no matter what the marketing department tell you it’s not clever.

If you say your an ethical business and that’s part of your pitch to potential employees what’s the impact on them and current employees. Why should your employees be loyal, ethical and trustworthy if your perceived as not being?

Maybe Asda realised the negative affect Black Friday could have on a business as well as the short term financial gain. Then decided that short term financial gain was not worth the loss of customer and employee loyalty and trust. Cause and Effect. It will be interesting to see companies approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2106.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday – The Telegraph

Cyber Monday Shopping – The Guardian

Trust Within Organisations and Social Trust

 

What can business learn from the Rugby World Cup?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few weeks you’ll know that England is hosting the Rugby World Cup. Maybe your not at all interested and indeed I posed the question “ The Rugby World Cup. Does it matter?” on Salford City Radio’s Sportszone programme recently. We’ll come back to that a little later.

Even if your not into Rugby Union here are some statistics from the 2015 Rugby World Cup that should interest anyone in business. These are from the IRB report from Ernst & Young. The Economic impact of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Plus my own research.

  • The RWC is the 3rd biggest global sporting event after the Olympics and Football World Cup
  • In Single sport events only the football world cup has a bigger paying number attending
  • 95 Countries have been involved in 2015 RWC. Rugby is now played in 119 countries, supporting an estimated 6.6m players worldwide
  • The sport is the national game for many of these countries, Fiji, Samoa etc in context Samoa – Population 190,372 (Salford 218, 000) Fiji – Population 881,065 (Manchester 2.6M) – New Zealand 4.5M (North West England 7M)
  • Rugby World Cup 2015 is expected to attract around 466,000 foreign visitors to Britain
  • Visitor spend on matches and visiting tourist attractions of approx £869M
  • Investment in infrastructure for the Tournament is around £85 million, bringing lasting benefits to the Host Cities
  • In total, Rugby World Cup 2015 is expected to deliver £2.2 billion in output to the economy, translating into an additional £982 million of value added to Britain’s GDP
  • The number of jobs created approx 41,000
  • Global TV audience is estimated to be 800Million – 1.2 Billion
  • In the first two weeks of the tournament almost a million people attended matches

If your business is in one of the host cities for the RWC has it benefited? If not maybe you should be asking why and look at your marketing plan as there are some pretty impressive statistics in that list.

Regardless of England being the first host nation who have failed to get out of the group stages the International Rugby Board (IRB) can claim with confidence that the RWC has lived up to expectations both on and off the pitch.

The marketing has been superb and creative. The use of worldwide local rugby clubs and celebrities from different industries to tell stories to enhance the experience before matches has been masterful. As has taking the sport from it’s traditional southern heartland and bringing it north. Also the connections with local communities to engage them in health initiatives and the support for local businesses looks like it will bring lasting rewards.

It’s also helped that their has been some fantastic moments on the pitch. Are their negatives of course their are. Here are a few.

  • Tickets are extremely expensive and freeze out those on lower incomes
  • Not enough matches have been played north of the M25
  • Many foreigners have been dismayed by the lack of public transport co-ordination – although it did get
  • Some games should have been played at larger stadiums
  • Did the head coach pick the right team – that one will run and run

The IRB has been working on those and other issues as the tournament has progressed and managed to resolve some of them. Others will be worked on post world cup and it will remain to be seen if the team make an impact in the next 6 nations competition.

So what can business learn from this if anything?

First that planning is everything and even then things won’t go to plan and you have to be flexible and fast enough to implement fixes on the fly. Even if they are temporary and held together with sticking plaster.

Second your marketing and communication has to create a buzz around the event. So that even those who don’t necessarily want to partake at least take notice and remember your product/service/name.

Third create a spectacle for your product/service/event. Make it memorable. Enlist local celebrates to endorse you.

Finally when the event is over whether it was successful or not go through the steps and see what worked and what didn’t and why. This will give you great base information to use for future events.

So what was the result of the Sportszone question “ The Rugby World Cup. Does it matter?” arguing the yes case were rugby union supporters Lewis Hughes and I. In the no corner were football supporter Colin James and Rugby League supporter Rob Parkinson.

We had a lively and interesting debate but didn’t persuade Colin and Rob to become RU supporters. But they agreed it was a spectacle and that it has so far been a success and Colin even went to a game. So you can persuade people to become customers if only for a specific event or promotion.

If that’s left you feeling nostalgic here’s a couple of videos from the world cup to sing your heart out too.

Ella Eyre–Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Paloma Faith – The World in Union

Sportszone – Discussion “ The Rugby World Cup. Does it matter?”

Hott Fuzz – The Psychological Contract

Those of you who work in HR will be familiar with the psychological contract for everyone else here’s a condensed version of it when applied to employer, employee relations.

It is defined as ‘…the perceptions of the two parties, employee and employer, of what their mutual obligations are towards each other’. These obligations will often be informal and imprecise: they may be inferred from actions or from what has happened in the past, as well as from statements made by the employer. Some obligations may be seen as ‘promises’ and others as ‘expectations’. The important thing is that they are believed by the employee to be part of the relationship with the employer.

So what’s that got to do with our boys & girls in blue? A similar contract applies between the police and the public. Something which seems to have escaped the attention of Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs Council this week.

The Chief Constable said that we shouldn’t expect a police officer to turn up to a domestic burglary. Because of budget cuts police needed to focus on real threat and harm such as terrorism, cyber crime and sexual offences which are on the rise.

If her intention was to spark debate then she has hit the mark. But in reality is it a feasible stance to take? Whilst acts of terror and national sex abuse scandals are a sad reality. None of these will happen to the majority of people in their lifetime. But most people know someone who has been burgled or subjected to constant anti-social behaviour. These things are also more likely to happen to people in their lifetime.

The fear of terrorism as such may be high but for most what’s going on in their own neighbourhood and town can be a cause of much more fear. This is what chief constable Thornton has forgotten, we pay for the police and we give them considerable powers. In return we expect support and protection. That is the psychological contract between police and public.

At the inception of the police force Sir Robert Peel set out Principles by which the police would operate. The first two sate that: “The basic mission for which police exist is to prevent crime and disorder as an alternative to the repression of crime and disorder by military force and severity of legal punishment”. Secondly that “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, actions, behaviour and the ability of the police to secure and maintain public respect.

The police are under pressure from cuts and serious crimes but when planning where to deploy limited resources chief constables need to have Peel’s principles and the psychological contract with the public firmly in mind.

Luckily some common sense prevails in the head of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor. Who had made it clear that “It is unsustainable for any police force to decline to attend and properly investigate crimes of a serious nature, such as burglary or domestic violence.”

Let’s hope that view prevails and support our police forces in retaining it.

References

Sir Robert Peel’s Principles of Law

The Psychological Contract

Telegraph Article- What’s the Point of Them

Daily Mail Article – Public Expectation Needs to Change

Chief Constable Sara Thornton on crime

What are the Worst Paid Jobs in the UK?

HR Grapevine recently had a feature article “The 10 worst paid jobs in the UK” the statistics came from the ONS and reproduced by the TUC. The list featured jobs that that you would probably expect and revealed that one in five UK workers earned less than the living wage.

The top 10 worst paid jobs in the UK (average wage p.a.) were as follows:

  • Waiters and Waitresses – £12,507
  • Bar staff – £12,948
  • Hairdressers and Barbers – £13,373
  • Kitchen and catering assistants – £13,396
  • Launderers,dry cleaners and pressers – £13,767
  • Retail cashiers and check-out operators – £13,911
  • Playworkers – £14,023
  • Cleaners and Domestics – £14,164
  • Nursery nurses and assistants – £14,305
  • Other elementary services occupations – £14,575

But that’s not the whole story as their are a lot more people not covered by this survey who are in the same position or even worse earn less than the minimum wage. This survey only covers those in employment and low paid self employment is on the increase as is the number of carers.

I am not just talking about those who have had full employment, taken redundancy and used this to become self employed. Many replies to this article bore out what had become apparent to me through many conversations with budding musicians, poet’s, artists and author’s. That is that this group often earn less than those in the TUC survey. Anyone who has decided to be a carer will know how little you get to survive on.

Not included in the survey:

  • Musician, Artist, Poet, Writer – £11.875
  • Newly Self Employed – £14.350
  • Carer – £10.400

This survey is a useful indicator but like many surveys what it leaves out gives a whole other story and picture. How many other groups are their to add to this list? And those working part time who can’t find full time work are a whole other question.

If you add them all together it’s hard to see where the promised good life by politicians of all persuasions will come from for people in these groups should you vote for them at the general election.

One thing I will add is that the majority of people in these groups I have met seem to be happier than people I meet in relatively well paid jobs. Go figure, maybe it’s because they are doing what they want to?

Links

The Ten Worst paid jobs in the UK

Rising Inequalities not Inevitable

Who is the economic sunshine shining on?

It’s an election year and the politicians are promising us all the earth again, whoever you are whatever you want they will deliver it. Old allegiances are coming out and those well worn sayings like “You have to vote labour if you want to save the NHS” and “You can only vote conservative if you want to reduce the deficit and improve our  economic outlook”.

It may come as a shock to many that governments don’t actually have control of the economy. They would like us to think they have but global economics eats governments and spits them out as Greece has found to it’s cost.

As with all economies we have some good some bad and some conflicting and even confusing economic indicators. Will these change significantly if there’s a change of government? For Britain as a whole we have “the best of times and the worst of times”

I worry that a conservative government on it’s present course if its re elected would continue some of it’s harsher policies against groups in society in should support more. However I worry if labour get in they will revert to tax and spend. Neither of these are good for the country and cohesion in the long-term. Of course if we end up with another coalition that may give more uncertainty for business and individuals.

We have fractured groups in society there are many at the top like Malcolm Rifkind who think they deserve everything because they have worked hard. There’s another group at the bottom who believe they should be able to do what they want when they want to and the rest of us should pay for it. Both groups sense of entitlement is unjustified and a little disgusting.

Some want an economic model that relies on the free market without minimum wages where the majority of us scramble for what we are thrown. Some want salaries and benefits that they are not skilled to attain. We have debacles over zero hours contracts and charities paying below the living wage. Many in work on reasonably good salaries struggle with debt whilst small business owners struggle with mountains of bureaucracy.

Whoever gets into power they need to be mindful of the squeezed middle they are educated and starting to realise the current system is actually working against many of them. The next five years will be interesting politically and economically. Will wealth continue to trickle upward or will trickle down finally begin to happen and make society a little more equal? Government can have put vehicles in place to support this but will they?

The great divergence identified by economists and academics has been talked about by President Obama. This divergence is gaining in momentum here and even some of the super rich see that business as usual cannot continue if people do not have the disposable income to buy goods and services. Long term I believe this will ultimately drive economies downward. As super rich Nick Hanauer says he may earn 200 times more per hour than the average employee but he doesn’t go on two hundred holidays, buy 200 houses or pairs of jeans. So he is not spreading or trickling down his wealth.

Is their a different way?

According to the Billionaire governor of Minnesota there is and he isn’t just saying it he has proved it. The previous governor didn’t raise taxes as he said businesses and people would leave and the state would become bankrupt. Exactly the opposite has happened it has attracted more businesses and has substantially increased the numbers of rich and super rich living there. For those on average incomes they have gone up around 10% and employers in the state pay above the minimum wage.

Whoever ends up in government here for the next term maybe they should give Minnesota governor Mark Dayton a call. They might just learn something useful.

Whilst you ponder here’s a happy ditty about money and one about the economy courtesy of Peter Cook at The Academy of Rock

Fiscal Cliff  –  A Hard Rock song about Hard Times and the Hard Road to Revovery