MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (March, 2018)
Great to be back in the studio this past weekend alongside Elmer Kim and John Northcott to discuss what was a hectic week in business. We chatted about:
- Humans Wanted, How Canadian Youth Can Thrive in the Age of Disruption: A new research paper from RBC indicates that 50% of Canadian jobs will be disrupted by automation in the next 10 years. Is Canada ready for this challenge?
- Tesla’s Troubles: Model 3, Stock Prices, and Autopilot Speculation: With a track record of failing to meet Model 3 production targets and recent fatal crashes involving self driving vehicles, March has been the worst month thus far for Tesla’s stock performance. Does the Company have what it takes to turn its current circumstances around?
We also discussed a late breaking tweet from Donald Trump, taking aim at Amazon for creating alleged losses at the US Post Office (more on that later). Let’s talk about the business stories first.
It’s no secret that the workplace has changed, driven by evolving requirements. Where the focus has traditionally been on jobs, remaining globally competitive also requires “human skills”, well beyond that of technical ability. Businesses have a need for employees who can fulfill a range of important areas, including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity, all of which seem to have fallen by the wayside in a world where technical skills have been so important. Staff members who have the ability to “bridge technology and humanity” will be of considerable value, as not everyone has the capacity (or desire) to do so. Regardless of how this trend is considered, there is a shortfall of people who have the ability to meet the needs of a workplace in demand of digital literacy, as well as “digital thinkers”, a skill set that is so different from programming and coding.
In many respects, this skills shortfall is a reflection of leadership, in that senior teams in companies and organizations are not just responsible for present day requirements, but also for future needs. Too many business leaders spend their time consumed by operational activities and internal matters, as compared to understanding industry and market trends and developments. It is critical that future needs be fully understood so that strategies can be identified and put in place to ensure survival into the long term. This situation is one that business leaders and boards of directors need to be addressing immediately.
The current situation at Tesla is an example of both sides of the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs are successful due to their creativity, vision, optimism, and relentless belief in their product or service. The difficulty occurs when lofty objectives do not come to pass, given that the implementation process can significantly differ from the vision of what is possible over the long term. Many entrepreneurs don’t excel at managing expectations, which can be particularly damaging to their companies in the investor world and public markets. In the case of Tesla, the story could have been a lot different had progress and targets been conveyed more strategically, in addition to how building capacity was approached (much more could be said about this!).
And finally, it wasn’t a quiet Saturday morning in the Twitterverse, as Donald Trump took aim at Amazon, claiming that “…the US Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon…”, among other things. In continuing to target parties (and people) based on alleged information, personal views, unsubstantiated claims, and/or media beefs, Trump’s comments have already moved markets, resulting in billions of dollars being lost, at least in the short term. This ongoing behavior does little to raise the credibility of the messenger, who seems more interested in demonstrating that his comments have market impact, rather than the underlying implications of doing so.
It’s a reasonable expectation that a country’s leader should be encouraging corporate growth and success, to the benefit of employees and the broader economy, however, what’s occurring in the US has strayed from this path. Regardless of Trump’s claims, don’t expect the US to return to the traditional economy of the past anytime soon.
Thanks for watching!
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