If Australia was a company, it would be a case study for the need for a coherent strategy as the basis for commercial sustainability. As it is, the place is a shambles, the Directors are held in contempt, clearly they are not listening to management, and have no ideas themselves beyond short term self preservation, and are simply wasting the proceeds of our collective good fortune.
Lets consider some of the characteristics of an enterprise that is successfully meeting the needs of its stakeholders, while building the foundations of long term prosperity.
- The board has articulated a clear, simple purpose for the business to exist, and a strategy that is well understood throughout the business, and by outside stakeholders. Where individuals, or groups have a divergent view, they see that there has been a transparent “due process” undertaken, so they do not feel, as if their voice is irrelevant, or unheard. Contrast that to Australia’s current “board” in Canberra. There is no coherent articulation of the values we hold dear, but when it suits, hypocrisy and expediency with the truth are paraded out as virtues.
- In a corporation, available resources are allocated across a portfolio of needs, from overheads necessary to keep the place running to projects that will build the foundations for continuing prosperity, and those that are needed to address more short term challenges. Contrast that to the poll driven expediency of our current board, and total lack of any management skill, project or otherwise.
- In a corporation, once priorities have been agreed, resultant activities are driven by the desire for simplicity and consistency in the manner in which the contributions to the outcomes are measured and equated. Consider the inconsistency of the introduction today of the carbon tax. The objective is to, supposedly, make a start to a carbon neutral future, give a fillip to carbon reduction technology, and so on, but at the same time subsidies are being given to the Aluminum smelter in Geelong to keep 600 jobs, while the smelter continues to take 15% of the electricity consumed in Victoria, generated from brown coal. Inconsistent??? If the logic holds, Fairfax and News Corp should be in line for massive assistance. After all, they are semi redundant industries laying off 2,000 workers, so they must warrant assistance, right? Hell might freeze over.
- In a corporation we would get the best people we could to head the functional responsibilities, and they would faced the discipline of the bottom line, and delivery of objectives. Here we get, with a few notable exceptions on both sides, political hacks, deal-doers, and “operators” who have served their time in parties whose membership is small enough to fit in a phone box, and who will do and say anything with impunity, if their skin is thick enough. As a result, Australians have lost faith in their integrity, and ability to deliver anything of value.
- Oh, and by the way, we can put directors who lie to shareholders in gaol, although they usually just get a whopping fine, and are banned from being a director again. This is not just a shot at the current prime Ministers whopper about carbon imposition of a tax, but at the whole body politic who seem to be impervious to the truth, use data in highly selective and misleading ways, and squirm at any notion of transparency and accountability. The same lot however, will legislate to outlaw their behavior when others copy them. Is it any wonder that we have lost all respect for them