Diversity

Hungary to be stripped of its EU voting rights?

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The EU is voting to strip Hungary of its EU voting rights for consistent failure to heed their values, including migrant quotas. Last year an apathetic turnout to a referendum held on the subject said 98.4% of Hungarians were against forced migrant quotas. Putting to one side the altruism of the EU, trying to force a member state to tow the line is absurd, not so much for the country but the migrants.

Let’s not forget this is the EU making up for Merkel’s single-handed poorly executed thought bubble in the first place. She put forward a come one come all rhetoric on her own.

In a sense the EU can rant on all it likes about humanitarism (although 80% are economic refugees (i.e. not fleeing war zones) according to figures by Eurostat) but forcing asylum seekers into a country that doesn’t want them doesn’t seem optimal. We can snigger at Hungary and call them bigoted, racist or worse but the fact of the  matter is migrants on the whole won’t be welcome.

The EU forcing unwanted guests to a Hungarian dinner table has obvious consequences. The embittered host is likely to ruin the goulash and spoil the palatschinke in an attempt to get the visitors to leave.  Many are unaware the third largest political party in Hungary is Jobbik (won 21% of seats in the 2014 election) which has all the hallmarks of Roehm’s SA, right down to the uniforms. Jobbik has a record of roughing up Jews, Gypsies and Roma so before Brussels tells Budapest it must accept migrant quotas perhaps an assessment of the reality would be wise. Jobbik is left to do its ruffian business and Hungarian authorities turn a blind eye. That is the bigger issue at sort before imposing quotas.

Surely if refugees were asked Hungary is the last place they want to go after leaving their homeland. Refugees aren’t cattle but the EU is treating them so. Aren’t they surprised when the majority seek Germany as the end destination because of the relative generosity? Do the EU authorities think these migrants don’t have excellent internal information networks? Of course they do.

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To rachet this down a notch what are EU values anyway? The Brits are leaving because they don’t agree with EU values. The Greeks are being trodden on for refusing to accept EU austerity values. The Austrians were threatened with sanctions and punishment if they democratically voted in a right wing president. Are these worthy values? The Swiss handed back a 30 year free pass to join the EU presumably because they didn’t believe in EU values. The list goes on.

Sometimes it is had not to think of the EU as the Gallactic Senate from Star Wars trying to get aliens from different galaxies to agree on everything.

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We all know how unwelcome visitors are treated in the Star Wars Bar when different backgrounds and cultures literally don’t see eye to eye. The EU would do well to respect the diversity of its members, which includes diversity of thought and culture. It is not to say the EU doesn’t have a point from time to time they are dreadful executors of it.

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Why Alan Joyce didn’t take one for the team

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While getting smacked in the face with a pie was uncalled for, the decision by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to press charges against the perpetrator is over the top and actually harms the cause he chooses to enslave his own employees by. Had he chosen to laugh at it and make light of the situation he would have not only taken the moral high ground but showed he was above it. In the process show that those for it aren’t so brittle and fragile. Still Joyce couldn’t resist the opportunity to press charges when the only damage was done to his tailor’s heart! Jeremy Clarkson showed the right way how to deal with being pied. He could have turned it to a massive advantage which is now an own goal.

I’ve written before that I think his use of Qantas as a way to publicize marriage equality is dead wrong. One of his stunts was to get staff to wear ‘acceptance’ rings and distribute them to passengers as a way to promote it. I said it was wrong. I suppose were someone to politely decline to wear one they’d undoubtedly be branded homophobic, bigoted and summarily ostracized for such expressing such views. That they may indeed support gay marriage but not feel it important enough in their list of priorities (mortgages, job security, kid’s school, health etc) to do more. That is a conscious choice. Fail to wear the ring and perhaps your career takes a turn for the worse all because you don’t want to be forced to outwardly express your political views. Yet if you feel forced to wear one that makes you a slave.

Corporations should keep their political views to themselves. If Alan Joyce wants to go on a personally crusade to fight for the cause he can do it on his own time not on the shareholders clock. If CEOs feel so passionately about politics maybe they should come down from their multi-million dollar ivory towers and run for office for a fraction of the pay. Now that IS the best way to show you truly back the cause (of course assuming people would vote you into office).

Here I was thinking the Irish had a sense of hunour? In the case Mr Joyce you didn’t take one for the team! What a place he could have shown it – a speech on why leadership matters.

Trudeau is literally a paper tiger

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I honestly can’t see how Trudeau can win the next election. Acting Opposition leader Rona Ambrose took great pleasure into cutting the PM down to size after he had his department make $1,900 worth life size cut outs of him to be placed in the Canadian Embassy in Washington and ten consulates in the United States. His answer was that he spends too much time in the House of Commons. Such is his vanity, even the Speaker of the House had a good chuckle. The Global Affairs department told civil servants to stop ordering them. Ontario MP John Brassard said,  “A life-size, two-dimensional cut-out is probably a perfect metaphor for everything that Justin Trudeau represents… You’ve got the shallow facade, and yet there’s very little in the way of depth or substance there.” 

Look up Rona Ambrose vs Justin Trudeau in question time and watch the bloodbath. She makes mincemeat out of the Canadian PM every time and exposes that behind the looks there is little substance and his poll numbers are reflecting that.

Australia needs to see a shrink ASAP

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Australia is officially in need of therapy.  Primary school principal Jeff Lyon ­revealed instead of Mothers Day “I believe celebrating International Day of Families is a more inclusive way of celebrating the richness, diversity and complexity of living and loving as a family in the modern world,”  Ironically the opposition leader’s daughter attends the school in question and had the principal reverse the decision.

Schools have no place espousing identity politics or any other politics for that matter. The idea of Mother’s Day is to show respect. I’m guessing at least 99% of the mothers with kids that attend the school physically gave birth to them. I’m sure they love their kids and want to instill best behaviours not have some school principal enforce his own set of identity politics on them. They are mothers FFS.

The Safe Schools project in Victoria  has been all about gender fluidity and sexual indoctrination not anti- bullying education. It’s chief architect Roz Ward, a self proclaimed LGBT Marxist, openly admitted it isn’t about anti-bullying but shoving sexual identity politics down kids throats. It promotes cross dressing days to teach kids what it is like to be the opposite sex as one example. Another example of the sex education is to get kids to role play a 17yo girl who is bi-curious, has had 15 sexual partners, most of which were encounters where unprotected sex occurred because she was paralytically drunk as if that is the ‘norm’

In a twist of irony, Ward was forced to step down from the government panel on safe schools for physically attacking a Trump supporter when he won the White House.

In any event, Australia has lost the plot. Where I commended Shorten yesterday on ignoring identity politics for a change, the media backlash has caused him to climb down and apologize. For what? Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young claimed it was insulting to migrants. No wonder the Greens are sliding into irrelevance.

In the face of a rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation, the risk of a credit rating cut, a slowing China and a property bubble about to burst with people up to their eyeballs in debt our politicians are focused on the trivial and apologizing for the off chance they might hurt someone’s feelings. Time to slam a can of “toughen up”

Good on Bill Shorten (for a change)

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For once I’m going to pat Bill Shorten on the back. I’m not a fan of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) or the current Turnbull Coalition to be honest but Shorten’s ad is harmless. What is it with the regressive left that has to mock those in the ad? Instantly it gets the identity politics treatment. Because they’re all white. Assuming they put some other ‘colours’ in the ad then the next level of identity would come into play. How many LGBT were used? Then if that had been checked off then how many religions were represented? You can’t win. What if those ‘whites’ in the ad are LGBT, Buddhists or Muslims? It would be a bigger outrage if one was a Jew! We don’t know but by pure deduction we see memes accusing him of the ‘White Australia Policy”. Bill Shorten is a dyed in the wool trade unionist but the only thing he really shares with former Prime Minister Billy Hughes is the name. When will society grow up? If we have to check off boxes to guarantee inclusion then we set off the exact triggers for victimology to run riot. Why can’t merit decide who gets selected? Pathetic.

Gillian Triggs’ Free Speech award summed up in one cartoon

IMG_9764.JPGIf there is one cartoon (above) that typifies the joke that is the Voltaire Award for free speech given to Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) President Gillian Triggs it is this one from Bill Leak, a man indeed persecuted in a witch hunt conducted by her. The award is even more farcical than Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize some 6 minutes into his presidency.

The AHRC has been tainted by scandal after scandal. It encouraged people to file complaints (which it’s commissioner Tim Soutphommosane later denied)  against Bill Leak who drew a cartoon exposing a sorry truth about neglectful parenting among Aboriginal communities.

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How can one honestly think the AHRC has a vested interest in impartiality when it seeks to advertise people to attack a cartoonist for expressing ‘free speech.’?

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The AHRC was also behind a 3-yr secret trial to persecute three Queensland University of Technology students for the most trivial of matters which ended up doing serious damage to their reputation. In the end the court case was thrown out on such futile grounds but once again free speech was put to the stake.

Such is the level of incompetence of the AHRC that another Leak cartoon perfectly summed up their novice credentials.

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As columnist Andrew Bolt wrote,

“Gillian Triggs, president of the Human Rights Commission, waited until the Liberals were in power and actually emptying detention centres before calling an inquiry into children in detention. Gillian Triggs gave conflicting evidence on whether she did or didn’t discuss with Labor ministers whether she should delay an inquiry. Gillian Triggs, waited until the boats were stopped and no more people were drowning before launching a full-on assault on the management of our borders. Gillian Triggs presided over an inquiry making inflammatory and inaccurate claims about suicides in detention and armed guards. Gillian Triggs verballed the Immigration Minister in her report, falsely claiming he’d admitted detaining children had no part in stopping the boats. Gillian Triggs in her report at times presented allegations of sexual abuse of children in detention as proven. Gillian Triggs claimed she’d been asked by the Government to quit when in fact she herself had asked the Government if it had confidence in her. Gillian Triggs gave misleading evidence about what she claimed was an “inducement” to quit – a job the Government claims she had herself suggested (and she denies). Gillian Triggs falsely linked the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to the Government’s border policies. Gillian Triggs has recommended record amounts of compensation, including $350,000 to a PNG “refugee” held in detention who’d beaten his Australian wife to death with a bicycle.”

To sum up this free speech award is downright laughable. Then again in so many quarters these days identity politics and victimology go hand in hand. Free speech? Hmmmm

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Why don’t firms hire staff like they’d choose a heart surgeon?

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How many times have I heard over my career senior management talk incessantly about the need for new blood yet when it comes to doing anything about it with regards to new hires 99% of the time  the safe cookie cutter is favoured over the left field choice. It is ever more so the truth in the post GFC world. Managers seem afraid to take calculated risks because the left-field candidate may jeopardize their own positions if he/she fails.

As an example managers in finance often fall foul of hiring exclusively within the industry. The level of inferiority complex can be so overwhelming that they fawn at the idea a Goldman Sachs employee will work for them for some ridiculous sum. Invariably they forget that Goldman hires duds too and usually those that get cast off are in that bucket. If you are properly good, there is no incentive to leave Goldman as the salaries, opportunities and product capabilities are too wonderful vs peers.

Yet many financial firms set upon trying to change the firm into a wannabe Goldman Sachs. They forget that their clients can already deal with Goldman directly should they feel the urge. Why on earth would they choose to deal with a wannabe copy? Surely each firm has a unique selling property that is of value to clients. Why not invest and promote that rather than overlook the talent within. Who honestly values flattery? Besides, there are so many cautionary tales with hiring ex-bulge bracket employees who are so used to being spoon fed every possible product line that they struggle immensely when they are required to actually put elbow grease into the job. It is uncanny.

Some firms occasionally hire from outside the industry with huge success. Instead of financial analysts pontificating about a stock, someone who has worked within the industry has a far better feel for cycles, internal decision processes and strategy that formulates under different points in the cycle. Clients glean that value. They couldn’t care less about the stock target or valuation metrics because that ultimately is the investor’s job. Besides the history of brokers behind the curve is etched in stone. Unique context and perspective trumps commoditization every time.

Some financial (and other) professionals have such checkered histories that one wonders how on earth they get rehired. If companies viewed their hiring decisions as akin to selecting a heart surgeon for a life threatening operation, many of these people would never make the cut (no pun intended) given the body count from previous poor execution. Yet many firms continue to put quacks in their ‘surgeries’ with expected disastrous results. Generally hiring managers run interference on these bad choices to cover their own mistakes.

Many HR surveys (including Harvard) show that bad hires end up costing way more than the salary when the cost of onboarding is included. Not only do companies potentially have to foot the cost of a headhunter (25-30% of salary is a standard fee) , what follows is poorer output, the potential for incumbent employees to become disgruntled at the new hire’s lack of ability and most worryingly an increase in dissatisfied customers. If they land a toxic employee that can damage team productivity to such an extent the best performers will seek challenges elsewhere.

So in a world that is getting harder and harder to succeed in, on what basis does conventional thinking bring anything to the table but more of the same? What does hiring a competitor do other than bring similar tactics? In fact, the more telling question is if they were knocking the lights out their success would permeate within their current employer. Unseating happy employees requires dynamite way over and above what they can probably afford.  What hirers often forget is the extent to which internal human capital plays a part. How awful does one’s human capital creation have to be to consider jumping ship?

That is where the left field choice comes into its own when hiring. A person genuinely looking for career change may well be doing it because they’ve tired of several decades of the same industry. They’ll likely come full of fresh ideas, out of the box solutions and lessons from a completely different background with the passion of a new graduate.

Many companies fail to adapt because the stupid questions don’t get asked by the incumbent staff for fear of ridicule. Yet someone eager to learn may ask the most basic of questions and ask “does it work?” One company I consult had a new boss join from HQ and he questioned why staff had meetings on such trivial matters? One staff member said “we’ve been doing it for 15 years!” When the boss said “does it work?” all replied ‘not really”. Yet they offered little in the way of proposals to change what was broken.

In a sense I see many businesses that operate in status quo mode where change if ever happens on a trivial or traumatic basis not through consistent due diligence and proactive leadership.

Think of it like asking an elderly person “if you had one more day to live what would you do?” “Well I’d play golf, take my wife to an expensive dinner and drive a Ferrari” If you asked Athenia”why don’t you do it now” the response would be “well I’m not dead yet!”

Look at the successful businesses around the world today and invariably the corporate culture is likely to be open and flexible. Bosses are prepared to hire people more qualified than them because they want to learn. Show me a company where inferior staff are hired to protect a manager and I’ll show you a dud business.

Which then goes back to the most important ingredient in a tech savvy smartphone world. Analog relationships. Look at the latest recruitment sites which ask candidates to fill in fields where a computer will sift through algorithms to screen. These systems remove the most important skill in selecting good candidates – gut feel. A good recruiter can understand a client’s needs far better than a computer. Besides if a computer is searching for terms fixated on what you’ve done and not what you want to do it will screen you out every time. What a wasted opportunity!

Human nature is uncanny. Risk taking is inevitable but instead of most people becoming  victims of change only a mere few will end up being agents of it and there will be no second guessing who dares wins! So instead of screening for the textbook definition of identity based diversity how about focus on diversity of thought!