Veritas Gravitas and the MBA Oath

Here is the website in question the MBA Oath

In my opinion it is window dressing, ethicsvalues and principles is not something you can swear a voluntary compliance with … it is something that you learn through life, either in essential relationship with your parents and during your childhood or you learn it in the military or in some sort of value driven public service organisation …. that actually does something … to the oath giver .. it is the basis of honour, truth, loyalty …. values which have a profound meaning …

For those that take the oath and it is not part of their soul, it will have no effect on their lives, the whole idea that you can swear a voluntary adherence to leading a  life based on ethics and principles is a nonsense …

It might look good on your PR brochure but it means nothing … as they will always default to the values that they learnt .. usually a reflection of the society as whole that values nothing, creates nothing .. and only values consumption and excess.. and money of course.

Only those leaders that have grown up in an ethical and principled based learning environment or those exceptional military leaders that know that the result of their work has to create value for all … such voluntary oaths are of no real value to society .. otherwise this comes back to the essence of society .. that it looks good, sounds good … but means nothing … unless you are swearing compliance with something that has teeth or means something to the oath giver … its just so much spin.

Which it seems all our society is about …

Its gets more political as we move forward .. it is about how it looks, how it sounds rather than how it actually is…

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Introduction to Issues surrounding Engagement Consulting

I was recently speaking on chat to a friend of some problems I had with trying to impress on 
the company, the seriousness of their disconnect with their end clients who were, after all, you know real people… (like them?) it sort of went like this..

We are all much more creative than we give ourselves credit. Sorry for my disconnection with you … I have been trying every which was I can to relate and communicate to non-creative (C level Operations & Executive personnel ) to get them to comprehend what I consider as real business concerns … they consider as irrelevant emotive concepts like customer experience, engagement, feelings, and other more tangible concepts such as sustainable growth (that they understand) and future growth strategies that require innovative and out of the box thinking .. any real growth without innovation is a fantasy .. future real growth will come from disruptive products and services that fracture and re-define the markets

I am certainly passionate about those areas …. where the corporate world think they are operating in a vacuum …. the psychological aspects of individual C Level career success restricts focus, narrows perspective & may break engagement & understanding of customers – I think it more than breaks the connection with the customers … except for those very rare people who have their feet on the ground – not too many of those …
Its amazing the mess that this one issue is causing the likes of News Corp, HP, Netflix, Yahoo and the obvious one is the looming changes facing Mass Media … you know Film, Mass Media (TV)+ Cable + Newspaper + Magazines .. Amazon must be loving this ..

I am been quiet on the blog, because I have been trying to process the so many changes since the uncloaking of the morally reprehensible behaviours of News Corp and a separate free lesson on how to damage your brand and lose over a million of subscribers courtesy of NETFLIX, Yahoo and the bickering … and the fork in the road that HP find themselves — put there through their own bad strategic planning … and lets not forget Delta who are without doubt the singularly worst client and customer culture I have ever observed in a company ….. and finally what the death of a truly inspiring creator, Steve Jobs will mean for Business in general but for Apple in particular, so I will come back here … give me a while to compose my thoughts and we will get at it.

PerhapsI can point to a letter sent by a recent passenger of Delta by my friend Sandra Maxey … here is the link … @sandymaxey Letter to Delta Airlines CEO – http://bit.ly/qcPxoK

But a couple more points while  we are here, I am wondering if we are all in the mess because of the MBA Program … it may make business understandable, but business is not a thing, each company is a life, made up of their own dreams and aspirations, full of individual people whom it might be nice to think are actually going in the same direction as the company, (most aren’t because of flawed Corporate cultures) and the most important aspect, their customers, who are all real people, who want to be valued and engaged … and refused to be categorized and sorted just so it makes it easier for the company to dissociate themselves from this truth .. companies are people … so are customers, people even own it … (maybe not directly) people manage it, operate in it, and who they sell their product or service to … you need to value them or basically become irrelevant .. you will cease to exist.

One last observation, the large aspect of the MBA attitude is one of expedience .. which is kind of abhorrent to me .. however that aside, recently I heard that Harvard and Wharton Schools were adding ethics classes to the MBA .. what a total wast of time, ethics, principles and integrity is not something you can teach, it is something that has to be part of your values, the actual make-up of your personality – if not, when you are put under pressure they (ethics) will not be your go to code of conduct.

So I would say again, to change the way the world thinks we need to teach our children what is really of value – and guess what its not money .. more later

Socrates Fundamental Principles

My aim is simplicity and therefore clarity.

I came across a happenstance, a link to my childhood, and a time when philosophy and ethics of living were a integral part of my upbringing, that moulded my character, my values and therefore my integrity – in other words all that I am.

Socrates’ fundamental principles

P1: We must always act on the basis of good reasons and good reasoning, not out of fear, mere self-interest, etc.

P1(a): We value the opinions of those who know, not the many

P1(b): The principles on which we rely must stand the tests of time and change of circumstances, and the conclusions we draw from them must be ones which we can be constantly faithful.

P2: It is not enough to live; we must live well, nobly and justly.

P3: We must never do wrong willingly, even in requital.

P4: We must always keep our agreements, provided they are just.

You know looking at these Principles, I do not think our current society complies with one of them .. not even close.

Engagement & Content

Content of an interesting discussion …. starts the thought processes !

My thoughts at the moment, seem to be focused on “engagement”, the reasons why we aren’t and the bigger picture of flawed corporate cultures caused by basic systemic issues … as I said in the feed yesterday “Everyone is connected, but are we really connecting ?” – I think not .. or worse if we are … we are not listening. I have some views on the reasons for this … but it amazes me that organisations including governments seem to just go through the motions and are seemingly indifferent to the reality .. which is why their stakeholders .. us .. are not engaged (normally) with their strategies … this comes down to the education of the “masses” as well, as for the Gods in the marble halls – we are just too ‘aware’ for their own good.

However with the fragmentation of the mass market in all areas, including mass media, the outcome for me is that instead of organisations making systemic changes to move with the social and technological changes to improve their internal cultures and thus the engagement and transparency with “us”, they basically keep going the way they are going, and one day when the financial world is sorting through the carcass of what were “great” organisations (including governments probably) … they will ask .. too late .. “How did this happen” ?

To cut a long story short, there has to be change in the way things are done … we all need to realise that so far as the Universe is concerned we don’t amount to a hill of beans as individuals (but together ?? ) … as Carl Sagan said in his own meditation … we are just this little blue dot in a relatively small galaxy, within the infinity of the Universe, that’s the reality of our significance … numberless blades of grass or the grains of sands on every beach … in every world springs to mind …

So what can potentially makes us different .. one thing, which is “what if” we believed in engagement with each other, in true transparency (not just the words) we can become magnificent working together .. so what exactly is stopping us .. fear of “everything”, ego .. perhaps !

But we need to start, with one small step, how about within your own circle of influence, and then the circle will grow, and soon (this relies on engagement) .. we have the ability to foresee the magnificence which can be a social engaged one world … utopia, even possible ?? … it must be possible as I can see our potential …probable .. I hope so .. I hope I see the start of it before my time is over .. well this time around anyway.

There needs to be one thing, a world wide social revolution, that holds Governments at all levels accountable and likewise all levels of business … how about we bring all levels of abuse and inequity to the surface …. without all of the hype and b/s of the news organisations who are basically there to sell their own product, their content… so we come back basically to transparency and accountability … so long as there is a “rating” to be improved .. we cannot trust in the ethics of the organisation, who are only motivated by money .. for me (now) money is like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow .. when you get to it, there is nothing there … and I can tell you from personal experience that money and materialism does not make you happy … but I guess that is something you need to find out for yourself.

By the way, if I hear one more time, “We have always done it this way … “ but this is my point exactly … and here you are talking with some organisation that is in need of change, sometimes surgical change. In any organisation, you must be proactive and always be curious and strive for excellence. To drive policy … that is the function, or it is supposed to be of the Board / owner and the CEO .. to work on the question .. here is the direction we we want to go, how do we get there ? Too many CEO’s work in the company and therefore never understand the reality which is that their company is not entitled to anything .. they may have the best / greatest most exciting wiz bang product or idea in the Universe, but unless you really engage with your market, (before – you take it to market, so they are part of the process) – it will rarely succeed.

This post seems more about engagement rather than content … so next time .. content for your publications …

Ok .. time for my exercise …

Motion Picture / Content Production & Distribution – the next 5 years

My experience is in content production, distribution, Broadcasting and electronic Media.

Just doing some more research on the current “issue” or alleged issue of Piracy for the motion picture industry. The major players of which is primarily represented in the by the Trade Organisation the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America, http://www.mpaa.org).

Now until recently I was aware of the issue, but not of the financial details, now after looking at the issue I am actually wondering if there even is a real issue, with the effect of the Global Economic Crisis being seemingly felt across every market segment imaginable, except the motion picture industry, which has according to their own figures had a 15% domestic increase and an International increase of 30% over the years between 2006 and 2010 … wow ! This despite the fact that the number of actual releases in theaters increased just 10.1%.

The price of the admission ticket, rose by 39.4% from 2001– 2010 and yet the cumulative cost of the CPI rose just 27.95% …. ?

OK all that aside …. the rise in the income 2008 –  2009 for theater sales can be expected, as if we go back to the depression, even in harsh economic times (because of the times in fact) the industry has been pretty much recession proof.  The major demographics for the audience goes from 12 to 39 year olds, it is a very niche audience which in these harsher than normal economic times seem to be the only ones that actually have any access to disposable income.

I could go on and on .. however the point is essentially this …. Yes there is a problem with Pirating ( a small one ), but it is not serious, how can it be when year on year the income from sales of theatrical releases has increased far in excess of the CPI … the figures for loss of income presented by the MPAA are not believable.

The following from the immediate past interim CEO, of the MPAA, Mr. Bob Pisano is basically unsubstantiated rhetoric, more commonly known as spin, how can there be a serious problem with over time the income to the industry has increased 30% … such statements as “We will continue to work with our industry partners to fight for common sense ways, through legislative, enforcement and legal avenues, to vigilantly protect the creativity at the heart of our industry from theft.” These kind of statements are making the industry look ridiculous.

I do not agree with piracy, however, this mis-information, is on going and has not been substantiated, they are beat ups by what is essential a trade organisation with a big voice – these statements are not showing the industry in its best light … there are many other industries that employ far more people and families in the USA and worldwide … that actually are in serious and dire straits .. because they don’t have access to the Hollywood Media their voice is lost.  Many families on main street, also have no disposable income to currently invest in any sort of recreation, except free to air TV and maybe cable … remember cable, content on demand and it new variances will be the ever increasing choice for the distribution of content to the wider market.

There are a few issues that the MPAA and the industry in general needs to address… urgently.

The price of tickets is not sustainable, bearing in mind that on top of these are the travel, parking, food etc .. taking your children is not the escape it used to be … I took my son to see Avatar at the local cinema and it cost one adult and one child over $40, not including parking, vehicle .. drinks etc…

The lack of growth is also a social one, and manifests as a result of the niche interests of the population, in their online lives – there will come a time, and it is not that far away where people will not go to the movies in anywhere near the same numbers, it is trending down in real terms and will continue to, for lots of reasons, some social, some concerning access, transport and financial to name just some, hopefully before then the studios will have come up with a way to reach people directly via Video Streaming in their lounge rooms, using the dreaded internet … this is here now – so change your business model or else basically … you have less than 5 years, probably less.  I wrote about the effects of technology on the film industry over 12 months ago, and it seems very much to be following the path and the time frame suggested then … in Australia with the NBN (National Broadband Network) this is supposedly designed to provide fibre access with data speeds from 100Mbps to 1 Gbps … this will have a major effect on  the access to On demand services including rich and video media content in Australia.

The Film industry, as with Television needs to start to make relevant stories – content that people will in the short term at least want to invest money in to go and see … perhaps the new business model is to make low budget movies that are truly an escape from the current meltdown and the huge pressures on families just to get by … but hopefully not too many more regurgitated sequels !!! – mind you that would not be too bad .. if they had a good story, as one can forgive just about anything if the writer and the Directors are at the top of their game –  unfortunately that is not the norm.

Also I have been saying this forever, content production is inseparable from content distribution and visa virsa  … you cannot have one without the other. if you have funds you need to have been or will be investing in infrastructure for program distribution – either in the historical bricks and mortar theatrical release or the new technology content distribution infrastructure, by Video on Demand, Bit torrent or similar technologies ..the future is not with the existing venues as now, if you don’t now make these strategic investments or at least strategic partnerships, the future is going to be a difficult place as you are going to be a poor position at the bargaining table when it comes time to negotiation in 3–6 years …. because then you will have no distribution infrastructure that you influence, control or own.

Note Change is the only constant, be flexible, be awake to the social & technologically driven  changes thaat are all around you, and respond to your market, your consumers – your consumers are not the distribution companies, or the theaters, your consumers are the people on main street … engage with them, find out what they want … if you do not listen to their feedback or even make a channel to listen (really listen) then I do not wan to be the one to say I told you so, while I cry over the carcass of the industry that help to inspire my imagination.

Future distribution will not be by a Bricks and Mortar Theatrical release, ultimately the distribution will be in the form of data perhaps via a Peer to Peer network such as a Bit Torrent data stream … think outside the box people .  Further the expansion of major releases will become a rarity, not the norm, and hopefully Hollywood will actually become a mature business instead of what it appears to be at the moment, an ego driven teenager with entitlement issues.

The uptake of new movies will have to have relevance to the actual market, talk to them, the real users, use the internet, that is its strength, where relationships and communities are the norm, not the exception .. also personally I am pretty tired of the predictability of the content coming out of Hollywood .. what about an original story please – also how about appealing to some level of standard and not the lowest common denominator.

To expand on the above via a personal observation, there are some unique and profoundly creative talents in the film industry, starting with unique writers that are true story tellers, their connection with the viewers illicit profound emotive responses, exceptional Directors with intuitive interpretation, timing and insight, fantastic Cinematographers, gifted actors and support staff … with so much raw talent to draw from why is it so hard to put it all into an exceptional film that does not necessarily follow the prescribed formula … but that creates a real connection, and is not just some faded copy of a something that was once a profound original work.

Mainstream mass media including film, is normally a passive experience (except in the case of that true creative work), this mass media model also includes Newspapers, Radio, Cable / Satellite and terrestrial TV …. there is normally little to no  interaction with the viewer, that is not where we are going, the future will trend …. in the longer term your content will need to illicit a emotive response, or if you cannot create a masterpiece then at the very least, interactive ….ultimately the technology and the data speeds will materialize to make this a reality … unfortunately, the current trends for content is that it will come out of virtual sets, and actors as we understand them now may be a thing of the past, computer generation will be much more prevalent than it is even now.

Concerning the future distribution model, basically the Telco’s that currently own the fibre, need content just as much a you will need their fibre for distribution, however I guess if there is no successful negotiation, between you, then I guess content of the ilk of “I love Lucy” and “A Wonderful life” will be the only content … for distribution … funny that.

I realise that if I was again actively involved with the industry, that is back in the club, after a while, perhaps as little as three years, this type of objective perspective would be nearly impossible for me to create, as unfortunately those in the industry have an total inability to be objective and relate to their viewers, their users .. they are too busy doing, but doing what actually ?

A revelation, perhaps even a epiphany will be come to light and be forced upon the industry sooner or later, as they clearly don’t get it … change is here, recognise it, or suffer the inevitable changes that will be forced upon you, which you won’t like so much – it’s like I say “Change is the only constant, how we experience it, is up to us” ….

Here  is the link to the MPAA Theatrical Report 2010 PDF ….