Archive for Organizational wisdom

What’s wrong with our Canadian Democracy (a study of Ontario election results)

Over the past months, I have been observing the actions of the Ford (PC) government as it steamrolls its agenda over what the majority of Ontarians (60%) believe in, in terms of healthcare, library services, education, environment, taxation and corporate regulations, climate change and many other social issues. You may point out that the PC’s won the election fair and square according to constitutional rules and that it true based on current rules. In principle, I have no objection to having a PC representative, as long as they take into account the perspective of all of the constituents in their riding. Unfortunately, they don’t! First past the post doesn’t create a representative government.

Let me explain by looking at one single riding: Ottawa West-Napean

What’s special about this riding? It is the most extreme example of how our voting system fails us.









In the riding of Ottawa West-Napean, the vast majority of voters are ideologically “left” of the PC (Progressive Conservative) party which is “right” or conservative in their viewpoint. The collective of the remaining parties, NDP, Liberal and Green are generally referred to as “centre-left”. But in government, the PC representative from the Ottawa West-Napean riding, Jeremy Roberts, most likely votes on behalf of his party, not on behalf of the citizens in his riding. This is what gives Premier Ford power to implement his personal agenda. He does not have the mandate of Ontarians as he continues to claim.

So who is representing the citizens who did not vote Conservative?

Well, frankly, no one.  Quite simply, the first past the post system puts the power in the hands of whoever gets the highest number of votes in the riding, irrespective of whether or not that individual receives a majority vote. When the “centre-left” vote gets split, the “right” tends to win even though most voters are still somewhere in the “centre-left” continuum. We will likely see the same phenomenon in the Federal election.

You might say, well, this is an extreme case. The PC’s won by a majority in most of the ridings! And you would be completely wrong in most ridings.

Can you guess how many ridings elected a PC representative that represents a minority of their electorate?  Think hard!

Would you believe that vote splitting has given the PCs 42 seats in the Ontario Parliament in which the majority of votes are somewhere in the collective “centre-left” in all of these 42 ridings?

In this article, I will present the numbers for each riding, evaluate the impact and suggest one possible solution that would counteract this flaw and give us a more representative government without changing a law or any part of the constitution (or at least based on my understanding). Read on! » Continue reading “What’s wrong with our Canadian Democracy (a study of Ontario election results)”

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A New Tagline for my Blog: The world according to Garth

This blog is an evolution in thought. Originally, my goal was to use the blog for sharing expertise that might lead to business. it was called, at the time and my primary focus in writing was to look at ways to change how businesses operate and how they might gain operational efficiencies by improving the way they work, particularly from a human perspective. Having had a lot of business and coaching experience, I knew that businesses experienced a lot of internal turmoil and that competition between leaders of different divisions could be destructive and I was aware of this phenomenon also existing within the public sector. I was convinced that there was a better way and decided to write some articles on how organizations might change their cultures and I put together some program and coaching material to help bring about changes.

Over time, I was becoming more and more aware of the severity of the climate situation and the issues and opportunities related to creating more sustainable businesses which might also contribute to environmental sustainability. At that point the name of the blog changed to I wrote articles about how businesses might benefit from taking more sustainable approaches. But I didn’t just do it off the cuff, I studied, took courses, read about the issues, interviewed people who were deeply involved in creating awareness of the need for sustainability and wrote articles about them as well.

As I wrote, I discovered some of the many challenges to creating a sustainable world and while focusing on business messages, started drifting more towards political, economic and cultural nuances that slow our collective progress towards a more sustainable world. So my articles changed yet again, although I felt the focus was still more business oriented than anything else. As I traveled in different continents, I began to become more aware of the social challenges faced by their people. My travels included Uganda, where I spent 6 months as part of an internship for my MA in Human Security and Peacebuilding, Chile, Vietnam, India, Kuwait, Bahrain and Curacao. My focus continued to shift. Not that I am any less aware of the environmental issues, but rather that creating a sustainable world requires much broader and deeper thinking than focusing on the environment alone. It was during this period that I began to write on other topics, many of which have very little to do with business or the environment, other than the fact that businesses have the financial power to influence political and economic outcomes. So for example, when I look at issues related to peace, it cannot be done without contemplating the relationship of political decisions to the economy, small arms and the military industrial complex. Peace is also impacted by employment, salaries and automation, which are all impacted by business decisions. The continuing growth in the fields of technology, additive manufacturing, communications, nanotech and artificial intelligence among others also contribute a great deal to our future outlook.

After much contemplation, I decided that at very least I could create a better tag-line. I recognize that most of what I am saying is generally relevant and reasonably well researched. But it also contains opinion that is designed to encourage contemplation of different view points. I generally endeavor to see situations from more than one view point but I’m also not afraid to put a different spin on any situation that is current in the world based on my experience and study. » Continue reading “A New Tagline for my Blog: The world according to Garth”

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A new vision of Prosperity and Business for our future.

In this post, I’ll cover:

  • What makes us prosperous?
  • What makes us happy?
  • How our vision and worldview influences our happiness, our prosperity and our businesses

What makes us prosperous?

On the surface, personal prosperity comes in the form of income, money, investment equity and personal assets. But when you really think about it, prosperity isn’t a physical thing. It’s a feeling of gratitude. When we feel thankful, we also feel richer.

So for example, if I have a Lexus and I’m thankful for it, I might feel prosperous. But if I lack gratitude when I realize that it’s a 20 year old car, that feeling of prosperity rapidly dissipates. Or supposing that my colleague has a more expensive BMW that I’d rather have or that someone has the same car but a bigger fancier house that I am envious of. Without gratitude, at very best, this kind of prosperity is relative to your surroundings.

» Continue reading “A new vision of Prosperity and Business for our future.”

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North to Gulu: The Mystery Deepens

This is the second in my series about my trip to Uganda. As in my first post in The Case of the Missing Development, I had many questions to answer about factors that were contributing to a lack of development. Many of my answers would come during my journey to Gulu. (if you haven’t read that post, go there first for context).

First, for any first time travelers to Gulu, if you don’t have your own vehicle or private transportation, your best bet is to take the postal bus north from Kampala. The postal bus is well maintained and safety is considered. If you have trouble mixing with the local people or if you are shy, you may find this your best bet since more ex-patriots travel on the postal bus. As for me, I enjoyed the trip north, but quickly learned to love being with the Ugandan friends and after my first trip on the postal bus, I began venturing out to the other bus lines on which I generally found myself alone as the only foreigner. It was great.

The Ugandan people are extremely friendly. One smile, a friendly hello and I always found myself in deep conversations. It was on the way up to Gulu for the first time that I met Joyce, a woman who worked for the church in Gulu and who later introduced me to Patrick, a young man who had extra room in his (rented) house and with whom I found not only a place to stay, but who became like a younger brother to me. Patrick, I later learned was one of the many children who was abducted by the LRA and ended up spending 8 years serving, first as a soldier at the age of 13 and then after being shot in the leg, he served in the LRA medical camp. I still keep in touch with him on skype and facebook. This was an opportunity to learn first hand about the war and about child soldiers.

Topics for today? First, reconciliation after the war, second, some of my thoughts on the economy and corruption… Read More » Continue reading “North to Gulu: The Mystery Deepens”

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The Future of Leadership

This article is written on the premise that we can’t know exactly what the future of leadership will be, but I’m going to share some ideas based on personal observations of trends in pshycology, technology and my experience with leadership to date.

Until now, leadership in business could be thought of as contributing to an organization by creating a vision, developing strategies and directing employees to move the organization forward by inventing, discovering, developing, creating and selling products and/or services used by it’s customers, ensuring the company’s on-going viability through financial management, and by creating shareholder value. From an inward looking view, this is a reasonable description.

On a macro scale, however, life is a little more complex. In the global perspective, we have to begin looking at things like, entrepreneurial aspirations (i.e. the wish for employees to lead themselves) and the increasing number of entrepreneurial companies, environmental considerations (i.e. we can no longer operate in ignorance of the impact we have on the earth and the impact the earth has on us and future generations), the need for agility (i.e. the ability of a company to rapidly adopt new ideas, methodologies and technologies) and a search by many, especially the underprivileged in the world and others on their behalf, for justice and freedom in the light of new technologies which are exposing the most egregious discrepancies in the world’s distribution of wealth and infrastructure, even in the most technologically deprived countries.

People everywhere are searching for new meaning and happiness in their lives. They are beginning to recognize that we are all working together on a relatively small planet and their place of employment is more often becoming either the place where they find meaning or the place they eventually abandon. More and more people are willing to work for NGO’s at lower salaries simply because they feel they are serving a greater purpose and, if you doubt this trend, read Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawkens which gives an indication of the massive growth in the numbers of non-profits in recent years. There are even new classes of organizations arising which are somewhere between “for-profit” and “not-for-profit”, which are for-profit but specifically focused on serving the greater good.

What is the Future of Leadership? » Continue reading “The Future of Leadership”

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Sustainable Business and Global Innovation Networks

Have you ever noticed how world of business increasingly depends on concepts such as Business Clustering (geographically grouped businesses that work together to provide functions that one business alone can’t) as well as the growth of Global Innovation Networks (GIN – businesses that connect together globally to provide innovative products more efficiently by utilizing the local strengths and unique competative qualities of each country and market). Both trends continue in spite of the fact that, particularly from a GIN perspective and especially in weak economies, there is a continuous outcry to stop outsourcing and create jobs locally.

Have you ever noticed how much the structure of Business Clustering and Global Innovation Networks resemble the formation of neural nets in the brain? Just as there is a certain randomness in the brain’s learning process where dendrites create random spikes to other neural paths, some of which survive and other of which don’t, businesses create collaborative ventures and, likewise, some of these serve the needs of the market and others don’t. Just as the brain has compartmentalized functions and specific neurons that play different roles in the functioning of the brain, businesses have specific roles which they play and each cluster serves a different market segment.

So what does this similarity teach business leaders about the creation of Sustainable Businesses?

» Continue reading “Sustainable Business and Global Innovation Networks”

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