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Yes, the system is rigged… and the only way to unrig it is by reeducating ourselves

November 07, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Thank the lord the worst election in living memory is only hours away from being done – whether a legacy politician or a dinosaur businessman wins, three outcomes are clear:

  • You need a couple of billion dollars in the bank before you can even contemplate a run (so much for “democracy”);
  • Neither candidate has any innovative policies to find a way forward for the country;
  • The system is “rigged” everywhere, but unrigging it requires a very difference approach.

So we can quickly avoid the first two issues – not much we can do about those right now, barring revolutions and assassinations. However, the third issue is something that we can associate within our very own industry of business operations.

 The "system" is all about maximizing margins without too much disruption

I recall working an outsourcing deal, about 5 years’ back, and I was informed by the client “all roles we are keeping are to be created in India, unless there is a clear business case to keep them onshore”. I was recently consulted to talk to the same client about the “next phase” of their “value journey”, which was simply “all processes are to be automated, unless there is a clear business case to have a person involved”.

Great – so we’ve moved from shifting work overseas simply to eliminating it altogether.   That is the “system”, where only money talks anymore – the same system that presented this poor US electorate with two awful candidates who have only been focused on outspending each other on negative commercials, rather than proposing anything sensible for the country to create jobs and drive new growth and innovation. Is this really the best “democracy” could come up with, in the richest country in the world posing as the “land of the free”.

It’s time for a big reset 

Most people have got lazier in the last 5+ years.  Virtual working, digital burnout, Millennials with a warped idea of what work actually is, new forms of adult ADD... whatever... something negative happened in the workplace and it's getting harder and harder to find people with that "go the extra mile" attitude these days.  So many people have a sense of entitlement we've never seen before.  It scares the sh*t out of me. Forget “new normal”… we need a whole new reality.

We're going to need a great big reset, driven by government, to get people relevant for this changing workplace.  At some future stage, we are going to have another downturn and these issues of worker apathy and irrelevance will magnify exponentially. People will actually have to take shitty jobs again... my god.  

The Bottom-line: It’s all about resetting, retraining and reeducating ourselves

Investments at a huge level must be made in training and education, not handouts to people who've just lost interest in working anymore and like to complain the system is rigged against them. This would also stimulate a much larger and more flourishing education sector that creates more jobs and innovation. We need less of the angry politicians playing on the increasingly disenfranchised population. We need leaders focused on inspiring people to reinvent themselves, re-educate themselves and find that zest for working again. And not only do we need people who can understand data, digital apps, robotics and artificial intelligence… we need people who can cook great cuisine, compose decent music, write great books, teach our kids, police our cities… we need to unrig this system that has lost itself somewhere between a balance sheet, social media soundbites and bad news coverage.

Posted in: Policy and Regulations

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1 Comments

12 Comments

  1. James
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Brilliant! Finally someone is talking sense... with 24 hours to go :)

    James

  2. Ratnesh
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Yes!!!

  3. Howard Marsh
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil,

    You're comments about the system being rigged are right on - how else did we end up with two such awful (and rich) candidates! Investing heavily in re-education and retraining is the only way to go,

    Howard

  4. Paul Smith
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    One day to go and finally someone writes something sensible!

    Completely agree the system was rigged to get us into this situtation. Let's hope we don't get another horror election like this one again,

    Paul Smith

  5. John Evans
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Brilliant piece, Phil!

  6. Ramesh
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Loved this, Phil - you hit the nail on the head. Government should be readying the workforce for the future, not trying to protect the past. Ramesh

  7. Stan
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Spoken like someone moving to the leafy hills of Cambridge to embrace Brexit.

  8. Kathy Egan
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil,

    This is so true - politics and the common worker are completely disconnected and this election has only highlighted these gaps. Where were the real policies and the new ideas for taking us forward?

    Kathy

  9. simon boardman
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    I agree with your sentiment. Here’s the “BUT”…. Firstly, you are saying “the government” has to solve this problem. Clearly government has a (big) role, but where’s private business in the solution? Second – so it’s NOT all about the numbers and margins anymore? You’d like to see a more egalitarian and humane society? Me too. The offshoring business has always been a zero sum game. Not much humanity in that, as your quote nicely illustrates. Most of the people who read your blog are in various roles in offshoring and outsourcing. It’s a business you have been in and served for years. Are you now saying you don’t like where we’ve ended up? ‘Cos you (and me) and your readers all played a part. It’s a bit late to feel bad about it AND to expect someone else (the government) to clean it up.

  10. Colin
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    Hi Phil,

    The "system" is all about maximizing margins

    What alternative are you proposing?

    Colin

  11. Manish Mehta
    Posted Nov 21, 2017 04:15 PM | Permalink Reply

    While it has come to pass, that which no one predicted would, the 'worst election in history' is over but this blogpost raises many questions that don't end here and which are relevant to everyone, not just to the populace in the US.

    Is the system truly 'rigged'? Rigged as in being predictable and playing out as it should, maybe? The big global shift that started with industrialisation and technology advancement must now transition over to a new period later in this century. This big 'reset' will be predicated on two fundamental questions, leading to new operating principles.

    1. The questioning of the belief that we are 'slaves/servants' to technology, which marches on and on without any regard to outcomes; that it is one continuum which businesses must helplessly leverage to their benefit, put to use for progress and economic growth.

    That there can be no control on this, that policy makers and governments will always be behind that curve to be able to give any meaningful direction to creation/adoption of new technology.

    1. The questioning of the 'for profit' motive which underpins societies across the globe, that which leads to a relentless pursuit of margins and the unsustainable exploitation of the earth''s resources without any appreciation of the consequences.

    This reset must ofcourse be predated by a honest and free debate on the situation at hand, the deep understanding of the circumstances that which have led to the 99% and 1% divide and which in turn almost foretold the rise (even if we missed it) of the two movements in the US and also the various others elsewhere in the world.

    Thanks,

  12. Posted Nov 23, 2016 04:21 AM | Permalink Reply

    Great post and FWIW:

    1. Automation happens, jobs are made redundant although the silver lining is that jobs are created in other areas and people can free up time to be more strategic.
    2. Any business decision should be based on a solid business case and looking at the positives as well as the negatives. With Brexit and the US election, best practice in business is left by the wayside when in reality a country is simply a big company and this is a massive flaw.
    3. At Market Dojo, when we look to displace email in a company with our eSourcing solution, it is always good to focus on the positives. Again with these recent developments and the Scottish Referendum, too many people focused on the risks and negatives which just made people want to vote the other way. Both sides need to be considered and decisions need to be based on logic rather than emotion.
    4. What makes countries great is focusing on business growth. Completely agree that is where governments should focus. Simplify many complexities and just get innovation going through support and education.

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