Extractive summaries of and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision making | Week 226|January 7-13, 2022
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Economists are agreeing with each other more
The Economist | January 8, 2022
Observers have long poked fun at the inability of the economics profession to make up its mind. “If parliament were to ask six economists for an opinion, seven would come back,” runs one version of an old joke. Yet the gibes may be losing their force. A new paper, by Doris Geide-Stevenson and Alvaro La Parra Perez of Weber State University, finds that economists are agreeing with each other more on a number of policy-related questions.
The paper publishes the results of the latest wave of a survey of economists that has been conducted roughly once a decade since 1976 (though the results of the first wave are not entirely comparable with later ones). Members of the American Economic Association were asked whether they agreed with a number of propositions, ranging from the economic impact of minimum-wage increases to the desirability of universal health insurance. The results suggest that the extent of consensus has risen significantly. Economists were in strong agreement on about a third of the propositions in the latest wave, compared with around 15% in 2011 and less than 10% in 1990. Respondents were more united on their diagnosis of economic problems. And, strikingly, more of them were convinced of the need for muscular policy.
Inequality was a growing concern. The share of respondents who wholly or somewhat agreed that the distribution of income in America should be more equal rose from 68% in 2000 to 86% in 2020-21. Fully 85% thought corporate power was too concentrated. Another worry was climate change, which most agreed posed a big risk to the economy. Unsurprisingly, given their views on market power, respondents’ support for a vigorous use of antitrust policy has increased markedly over the past two decades. Another notable change was in the enthusiasm for fiscal activism. More economists were keener on a bigger role for government to manage the business cycle. More of them also agreed that fiscal policy could have important economic effects, both during downturns and over the long term. The dismal science has not become entirely harmonious, though. Economists were slightly more split on the consequences of lowering income and capital-gains taxes in the latest wave.
3 key takeaways from the article
- A new paper, by Doris Geide-Stevenson and Alvaro La Parra Perez of Weber State University, finds that economists are agreeing with each other more on a number of policy-related questions.
- There was convergence on increased concerns for increased inequality, belief that corporate power was too concentrated, most agreed that climate change posed a big risk to the economy, support for a vigorous use of antitrust policy, keener on a bigger role for government to manage the business cycle, and agreed that fiscal policy could have important economic effects, both during downturns and over the long term.
- The economists were slightly more split on the consequences of lowering income and capital-gains taxes in the latest wave.
Topics: Global Economy, Economics, Economists
Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, November 2021
Published by McKinsey & Company | On December 6, 2021
Most global indicators of economic activity show positive momentum; gains in industrial output were measured in September and October, trade momentum was sustained, and the near-term outlooks in manufacturing and services, as indicated by global and individual purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs), were almost uniformly positive. The global PMIs, for example, edged up for manufacturing, to 54.3, while for services the PMI jumped to 55.6. In China, industrial activity improved to 3.5% year over year in October (3.1% in September). This pace is still somewhat slower than pre-pandemic norms, but improvements were measured in all major sectors, including mining (6.0%), manufacturing (2.5%), and utilities (11.1%). Notable resilience was demonstrated in both the US and eurozone economies in November, when the manufacturing PMIs again recorded faster expansion, with respective readings of 59.1 and 58.6 (versus 58.4 and 58.3 in October).
In the United States and the eurozone, where the pace of expansion in manufacturing has been the fastest, some industry moderation was measured in October as the effects of inflation took hold. Consumer inflation accelerated in both economies, climbing above 6% in the United States and 4% in the eurozone year over year.
Prices remain elevated across categories, however. The prices of energy and agricultural products continued to rise, while industrial-metals prices leveled off in October. Oil prices exceeded $80 per barrel (Brent) as rising demand outpaced production. Prices did experience higher volatility at the end of November as renewed pandemic fears were reflected in markets. Consumer-confidence indicators were lower in October, but retail sales improved, especially in the United States.
In October, the unemployment rate was stable in China (4.9%); it has lately trended downward in the United States (4.6%), the eurozone (7.4%), Russia (4.3%), and even Brazil, where, however, it is still very high at 13.2%.
Equity markets have been somewhat volatile, and performance has been mixed across surveyed economies in October and early November. Currencies in developing economies lately strengthened against the dollar, while the euro has weakened. Volatility indexes for equities and gold climbed in October and November, while bond yields in most markets have been on the rise.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Most global indicators of economic activity show positive momentum; gains in industrial output were measured in September and October, trade momentum was sustained, and the near-term outlooks in manufacturing and services, as indicated by global and individual purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs), were almost uniformly positive.
- The prices of energy and agricultural products continued to rise, while industrial-metals prices leveled off in October.
- Equity markets have been somewhat volatile, and performance has been mixed across surveyed economies in October and early November. Currencies in developing economies lately strengthened against the dollar, while the euro has weakened.
Topics: Global Economy, Manufacturing, Services
How to Sell Your Ideas up the Chain of Command
By Ethan Burris | Harvard Business Review | From the Magazine (January–February 2022)
Despite abundant research on the value of bottom-up innovation and problem-solving, many workers still feel stifled in giving their bosses feedback or making suggestions. While pitching your idea consider the following 5 considerations:
- Understand Your Manager’s Insecurities. Being the boss comes with heavy expectations. Leaders are supposed to be well-informed and know what to do all or most of the time. That can make them feel insecure and leave them less open to subordinates’ ideas. So, when possible, approach your manager in private rather than publicly. Ideally, when you propose an idea to higher-ups, you’ll have already laid the groundwork by building trust and goodwill. Managers pay attention to whether their employees tend to help themselves or help others. By routinely supporting your peers, you send signals that your suggestions are designed to improve the organization as a whole—and your manager’s standing. Finally, try to frame your suggestions in a way that links them to the company’s stated goals.
- Avoid Mixed Messages. When selling an idea, people often frame it by combining two messages: the benefits of doing something new and the risk of inaction. This is a mistake. Across five studies with executives from dozens of industries, the author and his colleagues learned that managers are more likely to endorse messages that focus on either an opportunity or a threat; a combination of the two garners the least support.
- Make Implementation Easy. Even when managers see the merit in an idea, there’s no guarantee they’ll back it amid myriad challenges and competing priorities. So it’s helpful to anticipate potential obstacles and explain how they might be overcome. In making your pitch, describe how budgets and people could be redeployed to your idea without putting undue stress on other projects or parts of the business. Discuss which allies you’d need to enlist, and volunteer to help bring them on board. And don’t forget to highlight how your idea aligns with the organization’s values and strategy—and why supporting it is worthwhile for your manager.
- Leverage Colleagues. Many voices are obviously more persuasive than just one, and allies give you credibility. Before approaching your boss, share your thoughts with your coworkers, take counsel on how to improve your pitch, and ask if you can mention their support or if they’d be willing to join you in presenting the idea. You might even consider asking a well-positioned coworker to present your idea for you.
- Pitch to the Right Person. It is pointless to continually raise issues with a boss who lacks the power or authority to address them. In such cases, a much better approach is to enlist your boss as an ally in selling your idea to the right department or up the chain of command. Approach your manager as a collaborator and coconspirator, and ask for help in crafting your suggestion in a way that will resonate with more-senior executives.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Despite abundant research on the value of bottom-up innovation and problem-solving, many workers still feel stifled in giving their bosses feedback or making suggestions.
- While pitching your idea consider the following 5 considerations: understand your manager’s insecurities, focus on either an opportunity or a threat, make implementation easy, leverage colleagues, and pitch to the right person.
- In spreading the word, try to find opportunities for informal conversations with higher-ups.
Topics: Innovation, Organizational Behavior, Ideas
Four Keys To Building Trust And Accountability Between You And Your Team
By Jay Garcia | Forbes Magazine | January 7, 2022
Remote work has challenged leaders’ notions of employee trust and accountability. One option is micromanaging. The second option is a good leader delegates effectively and empowers and trusts their team to get things done — even if the way they do it is not necessarily the way the manager would have done it themselves. Here are four keys to becoming that kind of leader.
Make expectations clear. You are responsible for setting clear expectations and strategic goals for the projects your team members are working on. This is particularly important when everyone is working separately. Your team should feel empowered to complete projects on their own, but they’ll need specific direction on what you’re looking for to be successful. Therefore, you must be clear on: What the goal of the project is? Why it’s important to achieve that goal? When the goal must be met? How it should be met?
Trust your team. Chances are, you spent a lot of time building your team with people you can depend on and who do their jobs well. That’s why you should feel confident in giving them the broad strokes of the project, understanding that they’ll be able to see your organization’s vision through to the end. So, once you’ve made your expectations clear, trust that they’re using their time wisely, whether that’s problem-solving a wonky application development hiccup, reassessing timelines or racing toward testing and deployment. Trust that they’re working together. And trust that if for some reason, they cannot overcome certain challenges on their own, they will come to you for help.
Share accountability. As the old saying goes, trust is a two-way street. You need to trust your team, but they need to trust you, too. They need to know you’ll have their back, even if something goes amiss. That means engendering a shared accountability model where everyone shares in the success or failure of a project. This model invites team members to ask questions at any point and escalate problems to you when they arise, without fear of reprisal. Shared accountability also means not holding your employees’ feet to the fire if a project does turn out wrong.
Be agile — the right way. True agile thinking is giving your employees the leeway to exercise their creativity, curiosity and problem-solving skills — together. The Agile Manifesto explicitly calls for collaboration and interaction among team members. It also calls for the flexibility to shift gears in response to changing corporate goals or customer demands. Often, that shift requires creative thinking and a curiosity to learn new tools or practices.
3 key takeaways from the article
- A good leader delegates effectively and empowers and trusts their team to get things done — even if the way they do it is not necessarily the way the manager would have done it themselves.
- This isn’t easy. Managers have a tendency to want to, well, manage. But our new environment calls for a different type of leadership. Today, leaders need to trust, empower and enable their teams by supporting them, encouraging accountability and engendering trust that goes both ways.
- Four keys to becoming that kind of leader: make expectations clear, trust your team, share accountability, and be agile — the right way.
Topics: Teams, Trust, Productivity, Organizational Behavior
How Emotionally Intelligent People Use the ‘Emergency Exit Rule’ to Win Almost Every Argument
By Bill Murphy Jr. | Inc Magazine | January 9, 2022
This is an article about emotional intelligence. It’s a good one, but we can also understand that you might not get to read it all, right away.
- Maybe you’re simply too busy at the moment.
- Maybe you’re skeptical that it’s actually so useful.
- Maybe you saved this article to your phone, and you meant to go back, but you just never got around to it.
These are understandable reasons, so let’s not worry about them. Instead, let’s just move ahead. Ironically, by doing that, we’ll illustrate the entire point of this article. Here’s the key takeaway: People who have high emotional intelligence understand that if you want to be more persuasive and even win most arguments, it’s important to do two things:
- Avoid distracting, emotional mini-controversies.
- Offer easy ways for people to overcome emotional objections, and more easily follow the path you want them to take.
The author calls this the whole concept the “Emergency Exit Rule.” It’s about planting seeds that allow people to save face and maintain their pride; while ultimately agreeing with you.
Importantly, in many cases, people don’t want conflict. They gravitate toward comity. In fact, if we’re focusing on acute disagreements specifically, there are really four possible setups:
- You’re eager to fight, but the other person is not.
- You’re not eager to fight, but the other person is.
- You’re not eager to fight, and neither is your opponent.
- You and your opponent are both eager to fight.
Thus, in half of all possible scenarios, even when you’ve articulated a challenge or an argument, your opponent actually wants to avoid the fight. The Emergency Exit Rule is all about giving them the easiest, most attractive way possible to back down and agree with your position. This works when the stakes are lower, too, in a wide variety of situations.
- At the grocery store: “I’m sorry; you must not have realized there was a line of people waiting, or you wouldn’t have marched to the checkout counter ahead of everyone else.”
- Dealing with clients who don’t pay: “We understand that things can get busy and it’s easy to overlook. But you’re now 60 days behind on this account.”
- When you were in grade school: “I think you might have forgotten that you’re in first grade now, and first graders don’t yell out without raising their hands first.”
- Handling potential retail scofflaws: “Sorry, we failed to remove the inventory control device from your purchase. Somebody will assist you momentarily.”
- Dealing with brilliant but difficult people: “You’re so good at the engineering part of your job, that we’re going to create a new position and allow you to focus on that, without worrying about having to lead other people or deal with management.”
2 key takeaways from the article
- Emotional intelligence isn’t just about developing empathy or being nice to people. Instead, it comes down to a simple, practical definition: the practiced awareness of how emotions affect your communications and efforts, coupled with strategies to leverage emotions (both yours and other people’s) to help you achieve your goals.
- People who have high emotional intelligence understand that if you want to be more persuasive and even win most arguments, it’s important to do two things: avoid distracting, emotional mini-controversies, and offer easy ways for people to overcome emotional objections, and more easily follow the path you want them to take.
Topics: Emotional Intelligence, Personal Development, Communication
How to ‘See’ Time: The Secret to Peak Entrepreneur Productivity
By Arianne Cohen | Bloomberg Businessweek | December 28, 2021
Entrepreneurs are a notoriously overextended and short attention-spanned bunch. They excel at burying themselves in day-to-day business happenings to the detriment of such pivotal long-term tasks as bookkeeping and long-term planning. And care and feeding. Add in family commitments and hobbies, and scheduling gets tangled—fast. Time management guru Marydee Sklar, owner of organizational training company Executive Functioning Success, helps small business owners plan productively. She shared her tips for improved time productivity for the entrepreneurs.
Small entrepreneurs make ginormous to-do lists that overwhelm them, and they neglect critical long-term tasks, like marketing plans. They should rather think about time spatially, and see how much space you have in a day. It’s like a puzzle where you have these open spaces and you choose your tasks to fill them.
The problem with time is that it’s abstract. You can’t see or touch it, so you’ve got to come up with a concrete system that keeps your time and task in front of you.Paper can help you. Think of it as supporting your brain with a place to offload and hold it all—and access it quickly. Google Calendar is fantastic for appointments — but not for planning. On a screen you can’t get a big enough view of the future, and then you switch to another function and everything disappears. This really doesn’t work for entrepreneurial-type people, who often can’t hold everything in their head.
If an entrepreneur has to prepare a to-do list, health is the first thing on your to-do list. If you go down, the whole business goes down, so prioritize exercise and taking care of yourself. No. 2 is any tasks connected to money. Money causes stress and anxiety, and it’ll sneak up on you and pile up. Many people hide from money, and then they don’t make good choices. Priority No. 3 could be putting out fires—like the website’s down. And then after that, you prioritize what on your list will benefit you in the future, and fit in those future tasks. And finally put in vacation time. That’s something entrepreneurs never do.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Small entrepreneurs make ginormous to-do lists that overwhelm them, and they neglect critical long-term tasks, like marketing plans.
- The problem with time is that it’s abstract. You’ve got to come up with a concrete system that keeps your time and task in front of you. Putting your plan on the paper can help you.
- If an entrepreneur has to prepare a to-do list with respect to order of priority, health is the first thing on this to-do list so pursue this by exercise and taking care of yourself, then any tasks connected to money, further to these focus on putting out fires—like the website’s down, and then after that prioritize what on your list will benefit you in the future, and fit in those future tasks. And finally put in vacation time.
Topics: Entrepreneurship, Time Management, Productivity
Why Every Leader Could Benefit From Adopting a Gen Z Mindset
By Dave Dinesen | Entrepreneurship | January 5, 2022
From wildfires and extreme floods to pandemic waves and political unrest, there was no shortage of tragedy, but the world also adapted to challenges like never before. At the root of these shifting paradigms was Gen Z — a vocal generation that cares deeply about creating a better world, because frankly, they have no other choice. As the CEO of a mission-driven company, one thing has become clear as we head into 2022: It’s time for leaders at all levels to adopt a Gen Z mindset. Here’s why.
- Effective leadership demands accountability. Unlike other generations, generation Z grew up with a critical lens for nonsense. Simply put, they demand accountability and do not appreciate being spun or lied to. Leaders would be wise to borrow this way of thinking. Not only is it the right thing to do, but accountable leaders are more likely to earn trust, promote ownership and instill confidence in their teams.
- Gen Z knows how your customers and employees think. A big part of the collective reckoning we had in 2021 was due in part to Gen Z coming of age. Consider for a moment their place in the world — they make up 40% of global consumers with about $140 billion in buying power. And, the generation will account for a quarter of the workforce by 2025, and we’re already seeing them go where they can make an impact. Consider this: Gen Z values salary less than any other group before them. They’re also shaking up the world of investing. This generation is willing to exert its influence when it comes to investing or purchasing and they expect companies to do what’s right. Ignore this simple fact and you risk alienating a group with growing power.
- We perform better when we have skin in the game. Unlike generations before them, Gen Z cannot pass the baton when it comes to life-altering issues like climate change. They know it will be a defining issue in their lifetime. Having skin in the game, one can argue they are in the best position to make decisions about our climate future. It’s time for business leaders to realize they, too, have skin in the game. When it comes to tackling societal problems like climate change or systemic inequalities, the most powerful people in society have the biggest responsibility.
3 key takeaways from the article
- From wildfires and extreme floods to pandemic waves and political unrest, there was no shortage of tragedy, but the world also adapted to challenges like never before. At the root of these shifting paradigms was Gen Z.
- One thing has become clear as we head into 2022: It’s time for leaders at all levels to adopt a Gen Z mindset.
- Here’s why. Generation Z demands accountability and does not appreciate being spun or lied to, Gen Z knows how your customers and employees think because they constitute the major part of these, and we perform better when we have skin in the game.
Topics: Leadership, Generation Z
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