THE BUSINESS AUDIT
The rise of pension funds as dominant
owners represents one of the most starting shifts in economic history.
Even the largest U.S. pension fund
holds too small a fraction of any one company's capital to control it. Not being
businesses, the funds have no access to in-depth commercial or business
information. They are not business-focused, nor could they be. They are asset
managers. Yet they need in-depth business analysis of the companies they
collectively own. And they need an institutional structure in which management
accountability is embedded.
I suspect that in the end we shall
develop a formal business-audit practice, analogous perhaps to the
financial-audit practice of independent professional accounting firms. For while
the business audit need not be conducted every year-every three years may be
enough in most cases-it needs to be based upon predetermined standards and go
through a systematic evaluation of business performance: starting with mission
and strategy, through marketing, innovation, productivity, people development,
community relations, all the way to profitability.
ACTION POINT: do you know what pension
funds are big shareholders in your organization? What system do they have for
getting information about your organization?
INFLATION VERSUS UNEMPLOYMENT
Inflation is the greatest threat to
retired people on pensions.
Ever since the great depression,
unemployment has been seen as both the endemic and the most dangerous disease of
modern society and economy. Under pension-fund socialism, inflation can be
expected to take over both roles instead. Inflation is the greatest threat to
the retired people on pensions, and an equally great one to the workers over
fifty with an increasing stake in the future purchasing power of their
retirement benefits. Together, these two groups constitute a near-majority of
the adult population. These two groups, as a result of pension-fund socialism,
have a far greater interest in preventing inflation than ever existed before. A
substantial constituency of this kind, sharing a common concern, is by
definition a major "interest group" in the American political system
and a potent political force. At the same time unemployment is far less of a
threat, if a threat at all, for the "constituency" of the pension
funds, that is, retired people and older workers.
ACTION POINT: Do you agree that
inflation is a bigger problem than unemployment?
INNOVATIONS FOR MAXIMUM OPPORTUNITIES
What is lacking to make effective what
is already possible?
The characteristic of the innovator is
the ability to envisage as a system what to other are unrelated, separate
elements. It is the successful attempt to find and to provide the smallest
missing part that will convert already existing elements. To find areas where
innovation would create maximum opportunities, one asks: "what is lacking
to make effective what is already possible? What one small step would transform
our economic results? What small change would alter the capacity of the whole of
To describe the need is not to satisfy
it. But describing the need gives a specification for the desirable results.
Whether they are likely to be obtained can be decided. Innovation is applicable
to finding business potential and to making the future.
ACTION POINT: ask yourself the three
If you think you can win, you can win.
Faith is necessary to victory.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, British critic, poet and
The value you add comes from the values
When spider webs unite, they can tie up
Technology is like a bus. If it goes in
the direction you want to go, you take it.
RENZO PIANO, Italian architect.
A single arrow is easily broken, but
not ten in a bundle.
If you can't manage your own time well,
how can you expect to manage others'?
To win without risk is to triumph
PIERRE CORNEILLE, French poet and dramatist.
Clapping with the right hand only will
not produce a noise.
Early to bed, early to rise, work like
hell, and advertise.
TED TURNER, American media proprietor, CEO of
Friendship is tested in the thick years
of success rather than in the thin years of struggle.
BARRY HUMPHRIES, Australian humorist. Attrib.
Success is the flip side of failure.
I plan for the future by focusing
exclusively on the present.
DONALD TRUMP, American entrepreneur, developer
If you want good service, serve
Time and tide wait for no man.
Knowledge is always accompanied with
accessories of emotion and purpose.
A.N. WHITEHEAD, British mathematician,
philosopher, professor of philosophy at Harvard University and author.
Consumers want information and they
want it fast.
FAITH POPCORN, American business consultant,
co-founder and CEO of BrainReserve, and author.
Paint makes the image, but painting
makes the picture.
CHARLES BLACKMAN, Australian artist.
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea,
when it is the only idea we have.
ALAIN, French philosopher, teacher and essayist.
There are two things to aim at in life;
first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it.
LOGAN PEARSALL SMITH, American-born British
scholar and author.
You can't rise unless you set goals
that make you stretch.
TOM HOPKINS, American sales trainer, motivator