Can economic giants move forward?

Buzzwords such as change and agility are very popular these days – how to create an environment that identifies a demand for change and then act ahead of time.

As my writings have illustrated, this is far easier said than done. Microsoft continues to disappoint with nothing truly revolutionary coming out of its r&d centres for years. Cadbury’s has fallen to a takeover from Kraft. And many of us are involved with or work for organisations that often cannot see the obvious straight in front of them.

There are exceptions. I have the pleasure of cooperating with an Israeli franchise group that has perfected their commercial model in the local market. After due research, it realises that its key unique selling points are applicable abroad, which is becoming the new company focus.

What is interesting is that these issues are also relevant at a macro level. Just listen to Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF.

Mr Johnson called the G7 (countries) a “fundamentally useless organisation” for not reacting quick enough to the problem (of European debt) and for remaining in an out-of-date mindset.

“The G7 countries are completely asleep at the wheel. I looked at the information they put out from their meeting I was absolutely shocked.”

“They seem to show no awareness at all that much of Europe is facing a serious crisis and it’s not limited to Spain, Greece and Portugal, it’s also going to include Ireland.”

That is cause for concern, big concern.

In Israel, the economic focus is different. The key factors, which brought on the global recession, were dealt with painfully some years ago. Yet despite predictions for good growth in 2010 and 2011, the financial mandarins are still looking for improvement.

Ministry of Finance Director General, Haim Shani, observed at a conference last week that “If Israel could bring the Arab and ultra orthodox sectors into the labor market, we would benefit twice over. We would close wealth gaps and offer them opportunities on the one hand; and we would profit from their enterprise on the other.”

Change and ability – running an economy or a company – we all need to face it.

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