Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas coming randomly from my experiences

Posts Tagged ‘growth

Reinvent ourselves.

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Confiance et douteRecently, I was listening to the news on the radio, about the employment market. My country like probably others has to face with a lack of talents. Indeed, despite the fact that the unemployment level amounted around 12%, there are available jobs that can be filled due to a mismatching between the requested skills and competences, and the available talent on the market. Mismatching, but also lack of talents on the market. These last decades, the market and the related needs is changing faster, and the talents need to follow the same evolution. But this in theory, but practically, the gap remains.

The economical environment has a huge impact on the work market and on the career evolution.  It was not unusual to have people having the same position during a big part of their career, with an indexed salary each year.  And it was not impossible to see young people starting their career, earning a lower salary to do the same job.  Such situation today is not sustainable anymore for companies.  The competition is always harder and each invested penny has to provide a good return, not only in term of financial return, but also in term of quality, productivity and growth.

Does it mean that for seniors, the chances to find a job are low, because they are too old? I don’t believe so, but it is obvious that today, you cannot just do the same job all your life. There are always possibilities, and the acquired experience is an asset you have to use for future challenges. Such evolution implies an appropriate evolution in your career. Such evolution is an asset for companies and organizations, but is also positive for people.  This career evolution implies a permanent education, a permanent acquisition process of new competences and skills. The combination of new skills and your experience is a useful innovation tool, and innovation is an essential key to develop successful and sustainable organizations. Definitively, these are people who make the organizations.

The development of the organizations and the technologies create specific needs, niches of specific competences. To fill these needs, we need talent. Talent means people with specific and added value skills, but also with strong experiences.  Here is a major point, the specificity of what you can deliver to the organization. What will be your difference criteria, and what will be the factor making that people will work with you and not with another?  To be able to answer to that need, you need to see a matching between the needs and trends of the market, and your acquired skills, but also with complementary skills you could acquire.  For instance, people working in finance and accounting departments offers financial services, but combining this with strong IT skills, they can build powerful tools and deliver added valued solutions for the organization. This combination of skills will make you as unique.  The added value provided by such combination of skills is higher than the sum of each skill.

By growing your skills and capacities, you give you the chance to open new doors to new opportunities.  And each opportunity gives you the chance to learn new things, to live new experiences.  Such process is successful if it is initiated and driven by passion. Passion and talent will make that you will offer the best of yourself, and in the mean time you will convince people to contract your services, your talent.  By subscribing to such process, you will certainly meet success, but it will impact positively your wellness and self confidence. The feeling to be useful and to still have an active place in the society has a positive impact on your physical and psychological health.  All this things will make that you will fill yourself as a creative actor of the society and not to be a slave.

Do what you are passionate by, reinvent yourself each day. It’s good for you, it’s good for your future, it’s good for the community.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

July 26, 2013 at 07:29

Development, a sustainable way of growth.

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BP's oil spill, an ecological disaster.

The United States of America are facing the worst ecological disaster since more than a month with the BP’s offshore platform accident. The flow was already categorized as the largest offshore oil spill in the American nation’s history, but the new figures are much higher than the previous estimates. President Barack Obama pronounced a speech, saying it is time to develop the field of new and renewable energies, cleaner for the environment.

But the question is to know if there is really a will to develop such energy field? There is a debate and different mind regarding oil reserves. The extraction of oil becomes more complicated as we have to extract it deeper. The development of more sophisticated extraction techniques shows that we are able to find new oil reserves. But this has a cost, not only on an operational level but also on the ecological level. Money is spend to develop more sophisticated extraction techniques, but have we the full control of the process in case of accident, and are the safety measures always followed? The present situation in the Mexican gulf seems to show it is not the case. As often, companies are focused on short-term profit, forgetting the risk management. Oil generates appreciable profits, but in the Gulf oil spill, the ecological and economical cost is probably much higher for the country, compared to the generated profits on the same period. The balance of such disaster is clearly negative, as the estimated cost amounts to 1 billion usd. This oil spill will have short and long term effects on an economical and ecological point of view.

I would like to make the following comment. Often, ecology and economy are considered as two distinct things, incompatible and with no links between. This is a wrong point of view. Each natural and ecological disaster generates re-construction costs and no added value. In the case of the gulf oil spill, it would have been more interesting to spend the lost money to the development of renewable energy technologies. Research and innovation are an economical motor. The development of sustainable and renewable energies resources provides long terms economical and ecological benefits.

In order to develop a sustainable economy, it is important to analyze the benefits and the risk of each choice, each alternative, but we have also to distinct the difference between growth and development. Let us take an easy example: the growth of the pharmaceutical industry in a country is a good deal for the economical statistics, but it means that the consumption of medicine is increasing, which means that people are not in good health. This is not a really positive situation. On the other side, if the building industry growth is increasing because you build new schools and empowered the education system, this growth contributes to development with future long term economical and social benefits.

Development is the key of sustainable growth. Each crisis we met is destroying values, and the time and energy we spent to recover the lost value, to be again on the start point is a pure waste. A growth based on sustainable value contributes to a long term development, where each step contributes to the next one. It means also that in a development process, each component needs to be taken into account, not only the economical side, but also the social and environmental components, and all these components need to be integrated on a long term view.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 20, 2010 at 10:27

Growth or innovation ?

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Apple Headquarter

Nearly each week, we can hear about merge or acquisitions of companies through the media. The acquisition race seems to be unavoidable if you want to develop or preserve a company or your business. Really? Everybody does not seem to agree with this fact. It is true, with Mr. Peter Mandelson, First Secretary of State in U.K., who declared in “The Guardian” that it is not a secret to say that during these last twenty years, the fusions and acquisitions did not create value on a long term basis, except for consultants”. Mr. Mandelson said these words in the context of the Cadbury takeover by Kraft.  Is it true or is it wrong?

As financial consultant, I was confronted with some business cases where the supposed financial setting-up did not produce the expected results, and finally represented a charge and not a benefit for the corporation, because the business was not running as expected or because some legal or tax rules changed. Was it predictable? Difficult to say, but a conclusion which could be done is that financial or business structure can produce positive effects, if we take all the parameters into accounts, and if these do not change afterwards.

Each business case is different. Most of companies are announcing merges or acquisitions because they found synergies between both businesses. Normally, when a company is acquiring another one, she is acquiring or consolidating business segment, new customers. We could believe that normally, one plus one makes two. There is of course some jobs cutting in order to suppress duplicate functions, but what we notice sometimes, is a lot of people laid off. In this case, it seems that the goal of such acquisition is purely for financial purposes.

Are the acquisitions an absolute necessity in order to survive in a competitive environment? This kind of operations arises always a level of risk, and the history shows sometimes these operations as unsuccessful. General motors for instance, acquired other automotive marks like Saab, Daewoo. We know what happened to this corporation. To take another example in the automotive industry, the merge between Daimler and Chrysler in 1998 was not a success and the two entities demerged in 2007. Where was the mistake? To big to fail does not seems to be a reality, but maybe to big to be managed with short term view is a good answer.

Is the size of a company an asset to stay alive? Is the size the only criteria to maintain or increase the revenues? Let’s talk about companies which make some acquisitions for strategic reasons, which are operating in businesses where they have not the most important market share. If we take the example of Apple Inc, this company has a much lower market share of the computer industry, compared to the other computer manufacturer running with Microsoft Windows operating systems. But why this company is still competitive and why the Apple products are still successful? A part of the answer is in the question. Apple is always focused on the product development. Apple creates hardware with original design and efficient technology. But on top of creating quality products, Apple builds a brand image. When you buy an Apple laptop, you do not buy only a computer, you buy a concept, a philosophy. In one word, Apple is innovating on an ongoing basis. Innovation means that you have a long term vision and that you need to have ideas or project in advance. The innovation is probably the best guarantee you have to get a sustainable business. It is probably why a slogan of Apple is “Think Different”.

It should be wrong to conclude that acquisitions are useless operations, but they have to be done in a long term perspective, which is a difficult exercise in a fast changing economical environment. Let’s think that maybe quality is still better than quantity.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

March 31, 2010 at 21:15

Posted in Business

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