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Recent View from the Prairie Articles

February 2023

Collaborative Management

News channels are full of the "back to the office" push. Yet, in the rush to go back to "the good old ways of business", many managers may do the effort in the wrong way generating more resentment and quitting. The push needs to be clearly needs based and done with the goal of furthering the mission of the business. A new and collaborative method of management may be needed.


Fraud Not Detected

Now that the Federal Reserve is trying to stop the party, a lot of managers will be trying to keep the party going. Many will be tempted to "fudge" things to cover up how bad business really is. Over time, these efforts could lead them into outright fraud. The amount of fraud can be surprising. One estimate is that up to 10 percent of public corporations commit misrepresentations or fraud in any given year and 40% commit some kind of accounting violation.


January 2023

Separate or Together?

Many people quit their job and go off on their own only later to get a board of advisors, join networking groups and trade associations. Britain left the European Union but a number of other countries are trying to join. The Texas Republicans voted to leave the US but thousands of others are trying to get in. Methodist churches are leaving the denomination. Separate or together, which is better? That all depends on what you value. "Network Effects" also play a role.



After years of drought, California is finally getting some rain. Some might say too much rain. Those who had adapted to the drought conditions watch their preparations float away. There are those who are destroyed by events and those who pivot, dance, and find a way out no matter what happened. Resilience is far more than having good defenses against calamity. Resilience is the ability to find a way forward through any and all circumstances.


December 2022

Offer Hope

When the days are darkest, hope is the more needed commodity. Offer hope.
Many in this country see dark days ahead. Many feel as if they have been abandoned by institutions and their way of life is being destroyed. Many a small town is watching town life ebb away drip by drip. The insatiable appetite of the seemingly faceless forces seems unstoppable. Offer hope.
Yet, businesses do well when they offer hope to their customers.


Universal Social Media

At one time, AOL was the way people got email and its cheerful saying "You've got mail" was well known. AOL stock flew high. Today, it is a shadow of what it once was. Email became universal and we can get it from many places. The same will happen with social media. Social media will become universal like email and Twitter will suffer the same fate as AOL did.


November 2022

Stop; Look; and Listen

On many a rural road, there is a lonely rail road crossing marked by an X sign with the words, "Stop, Look and Listen" written on them. Most times, there is nothing to see or hear as few trains come by. But when one does, it can crush anything on the tracks.
The message on the sign can be a slogan for our own times. In our busy lives, we can get caught up in events, reacting to situations, and unable to relax enough to learn anything new. Under the crush of work, many of us find ourselves narrowing our focus till we are living in a small bubble of work, eat, and sleep. In many cases, we do better if we stop, look, and listen.


Trust and Productivity

Recently, the productivity index was released and it showed a sharp drop in productivity. When the pandemic hit and many people started working from home, the productivity index hit some new highs. Recently, managers have been requiring people to come back to the office and productivity dropped instead of rising further. Part of the issue is trust. In general, people are more productive when trusted. .


October 2022

Leave Work at the Office

Are you awake at night worrying about work? Or taking work on vacations? One famous business person has sent out tweets to his staff at 2 AM and expected responses. Answering emails / instant messages / tweets at all hours of the night. Being on call from midnight to 5 AM and yet expected to do a full day's work. Sleeping in the spare office. These are all signs of how work has been invading personal time. Americans work some of the longest hours of any "first world" nation. Yet, the pressure to take on more keeps coming. This pressure is not helping our productivity. At some point, we need to start shedding work. The pressure to work more hours does not help our productivity."


It Always Takes More Time

Many a young programmer has looked at a problem and confidently asserted that they could write a program in a short time to fix it. Sometimes, months later, that project is gently killed having badly overrun the time estimate and produced only a bug-ridden mess. They ran into the problem that has been described as "Those who plan on winning a short war often lose a long war." Nearly every development project that does not consider all the aspects of delivery has run well over the estimate. We often jump into problems without fully understanding them.


September 2022

Do No Harm

Can business operate on the concept of "do no harm"? At one point, a major corporation had that concept in their motto, but dropped it in the face of a constant drumbeat to make more profit. It is a challenge to commit to making the community better and yet not do harm. Because change may include some destruction, the community decides what is harm and what is not. We want to be doing more building than destruction. At its core, Capitalism has the concept of "creative destruction"


Constructive Response

As business people, we get inundated with events and requests. It can be overwhelming and many people find themselves responding "reactively". Media and political parties attempt to get all of us to respond reactively in ways that give them more money and power. It can greatly benefit us all to figure out different responses. Some of the worst examples of bad responses occur when we respond reactively


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