Monday, January 16, 2006

The changing role of women worldwide

In recent weeks we have seen several events which symbolize the changing role of women. In global politics, on three continents, we have seen South America, in chile, elect its first woman President who did not take over from a dead husband. In Africa, Liberia inaugurated the first elected woman leader on the continent, while Finland re-elected a woman President, and Germany's first woman Chancellor visited Washington.

We continue to see women make more steps in business. Norway's law requiring that at least 40% of Board members of public companies be women, seems to be very successful. Countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel and many others have had women leaders. This will continue to increase over the next decade, and provides role models for many of our daughters, as well as affirmations for women of all ages.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The need to eliminate bureaucracy

Ironically, many of the poorest countries in the world have the greatest bureaucracy. In most developed economies, the need to streamline government and business is recognized. In many of the poor ones, the need to maintain unionized jobs or keep doing things the old way is given priority. Visa processes discourage vistitors and investors. Even getting a passport can be daunting. Setting up a business is a challenge and buying a cell phone is penalized.

Most poor countries would benefit from an almost complete elimination of bureaucracy, and allowing the natural energy of the people to flourish.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Transportation in developing countries.

India suffers from poor transportation. Railroads are slow and cumbersome, the road system is primitive and air travel is far less convenient and reliable than in the West. The road system is currently being transformed by a new plan to build a national network of highways, privately owned airlines are proving much better than government ones, but airportw are still inefficent. Britain buld an empire through control of the seas, and later railroads. The US Interstate Highway system enabled an enormous expansion of commerce. China has committed to a great modernization of its air and road transportation system - Chinese airports are a generation ahead of Indian ones in facilities and user friendliness.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Comments from my travels

Over the past six months, I have been fortunate enough to travel to Europe, Asia and Latin America. As a result, I have a number of observations about these areas relating to business there. I will be commenting on several of these in posts to come, but am listing a few of the topics I will cover:
The importance of transportation in developing economies
The need to minimize bureaucracy
Why a wide perspective is needed to be successful
How managers in different countries see many things very differently