Posts Tagged ‘Aquatennial’

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THE “OHH-AHHS” and MORE

July 22, 2013

Great conversation and catch-up as a few friends gathered at my house for the traditional viewing of the Aquatennial Fireworks Saturday night…and for the first time in several years, I did not help out with a USACE open house at the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in the afternoon so I had sufficient energy to prepare a meal and then sit back and enjoy some good conversation and catch-up.

And then at 10, there we were on the kitchen balcony for another spectacular show to close out the ten-day Aquatennial celebration in Minneapolis-a nice way to spend an evening with friends- being “awed”.

MN RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Friday night, I listened to three potential candidates on Almanac who are all currently contemplating running for Governor of Minnesota.  Today I can’t remember any of their names nor who said what as they all blended together without an original thought among them. They seemed like nice guys but what I do remember is that I felt like I was in a time warp that took me back to the 1980s.  The questions from Kathy and the milk toast answers may have been appropriate to that time gone by, but seemed to lack a touch of reality in today’s world.

Frankly, I was dismayed with their position on infrastructure and extreme negativity towards the Met Council.  I know it does little good for this discussion to take place wrapped in Republican vs. Democrat posturing for votes in an election, so I won’t even go there.

Instead, I channel  my thoughts to creative city-making, current theories of urban revitalization, and ALL projections of population mix and values by 2040 and one more time, recognize “THRIVE MSP 2040” seemed simply to be incompressible to these guys because they are still clinging to 40 year old ideas for comfort and perhaps because they do not like the reality before us.

 2040 is only 25 years away, folks.  That’s why posturing around 1960-1990 theories and examples and holding fast to what worked in 1988 is so foolish.  Think of the changes from then until today; recognize in the digital world that the rate of change in next 25 years will increase exponentially.  Remember the IBM first computers and the brash relatively new start-up Apple; or better yet, the cumbersome “car phones” that some carried in their cars?  We are not going back-so you all need to come forward!

The only way we as individuals, cities, states or a country will be prepared for the world around us in 2040 is to put aside the political discussions, compile the facts and projections, listen to experts imagine what that will mean to all of us and participate in bipartisan collaborative sharing of that scenario.

In the words of the president of the Kresge Foundation, recently here in Minneapolis : 

“…in these wickedly difficult and complicated times, creative placemaking is a clarion call for a creativity that is rooted in place and engaged with community to actively engage the defining issues of our time. It is also a call for a different way of working… [we} will occasionally need to leave the safe and secure moorings our institutions have come to know.  Sometimes, we will pivot just a bit, and get it right.  Atother times, however, we’ll have to expand our range of motion to embrace a level of risk and uncertainty commensurate with the magnitude of the challenges we face.”

ONLY THEN can we solicit potential solutions and ideas; ONLY THEN should opposing political viewpoints come into play.

MAYBE by then, both parties will recognize that to move forward, we must share ideas and collaborate on developing equitable potential solutions that can be monitored and adjusted along the way.

Not to do this leads us along an oft-repeated path prevalent long before the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, or the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle  Ages, the British in the 18- 19th centururies and the Third Reich and the Soviet Union in the 20th century.

Let’s remember what made the US unique and able to rise to world leadership is not just personal freedoms protected in our Constitution but a system designed for discussion of opposing viewpoints that allowed for bipartisan consensus. 

In the Olden Days, that was called compromise-which conjures up an image of each side “giving up” something for the good of the whole.  In today’s world to survive, we must learn to listen to all sides and build a solution that is better than any single perspective…that is called collaboration!

AND SPEAKING OF CHANGE; WHAT ABOUT THE CHANGING WORLD OF BUSINESS?

I am not sure what I think about the current trend of increased temp and contract work in the business world today.  Sometimes I I react negatively thinking we are seeing business “take advantage” because they “can” in a time of economic uncertainty; and sometimes I see it only as one more example of a changing world that is impacting businesses as well as individuals- a change that could be very positive.

I am reminded of my own career path.  After 25 years of increasing success in the corporate world and with no burning desire to OWN MY OWN business, I did just that:  I left Corporate America recognizing some things about myself.

 I was not motivated by a specific industry; I relished the exposure to all industries and perspectives that I had known in my life at BI/CMG.  I was also tired of traveling – even though much of it was to be envied as that travel took me around the world.  At the time, I wanted to be responsible for one person only – me- and not an unwieldy number of employees.  To select an opportunity in any one industry would be far too confining; and so what choice did I have but to pick what I liked BEST about that 25 year history of a diverse business life?

 And so, I narrowed in on events that deliver desired outcomes which  primarily take place locally so I never had to get on another airplane; spend hours in that awful world of airports; nor spend another night in a hotel room – unless I wanted to! 

At the time, that seemed to indicate I become an independent consultant or start my own business. I chose to open a small business and have been the principle of Creative Events by Kranz with no permanent employees ever since – with hopes I will continue until I reach another 25 year milestone.

And so I read the pros-cons of the Strib article the other day about the “surge in temp jobs in Minnesota” with some mixed feelings.

I understand the motivation of business to hire temps-both because of a slow economy and the healthcare cost impact. 

I understand and- in a past life-participated in the practice of using contract workers/temps to ultimately hire better employees for organizations I represented.

SoI am not sure that although most likely motivated by thoughts of Obamacare, that this trend today is a negative.  Perhaps it is a sign of corporations thinking smarter and managing fluctuating need and costs more efficiently.  It certainly also reflects current trends in flextime and flex office space-depending on current needs.

Most importantly, it allows savvy organizations to match needs to skills rather than “make do” with skills and talents already being harbored within a business organization.

If we look at the Great Recession as a wake up call and opportunity to “reset” for a more sustainable future, this all makes much more sense.  But what is still needed as we observe this trend is to understand the pros/cons and monitor the business world as they transition.

I fear they may be getting more benefits from this approach, but are still thinking “take advantage” financially as their loyalty to stockholders trumps loyalty to those that create their success.  I sense there is still a bit of the ‘robber baron” influence of personal greed lurking in the background – not to mention a loyalty to those that have never been loyal to them – their funding source-the stockholders.

As I think about my past life in the corporate world, our guideline way back then was to budget each new FTE at 1.5 times the salary paid to cover not only “employee benefits” but also the cost of space, supplies, equipment and all those other overhead expenses that increase as each new employee is added.

Personally, I lean toward the theory that ten years from now, corporations will transition to workforce strategies based on usage of a more flexible workforce.  That will be a good thing as long as we don’t forget that extra 50% of expense that is potentially being eliminated. 

Salaries should not be based on “temp” models of the 20th century but on some model that adjusts for elimination of overhead expense as well. 

For instance, using the old 1980s formula I used, a $50,000 base pay plus 50% results not in $24 per hour but $36 per hour.  We cannot sit by and idly watch corporations pocket that additional $12 an hour (or est. $25K annually per person) they just saved  by using contractors.

Companies that succeed in the future will understand that and adjust.  Those that don’t may flounder due to lack of talent…until all the Boomer executives retire and a new generation takes over running the corporate world.   Unfortunately right now, we are too heavily influenced by Boomers with 20th century attitudes but the world…it is a changin’…one more time.