Columnists

Corporate Awards: Sanity or vanity?

Views - 3487 Monday, 15 June 2015 00:00

Corporate Awards, if effectively awarded, help recognise genuinely outstanding performances and improve motivation. However, with ‘Awards’ becoming a lucrative business, the awarding could be compromised and send out the wrong


‘Be good’ before you ‘do good’

Views - 4085 Monday, 18 May 2015 10:23

In the last decade there has been a significant increase in CSR activity. However, within the same period, corporate crime reached unprecedented levels. Interestingly, some of the biggest CSR spenders have also been the biggest offenders!


Rags to riches

Views - 1190 Friday, 8 May 2015 00:00

The ‘rag trade’ (apparel) is Sri Lanka’s largest export earner ($ 5 b); thrice the size of the next highest (legacy tea). Some key learnings for the other sectors: Look outside your industry - the two biggest players


The 21st Amendment?

Views - 2283 Tuesday, 5 May 2015 00:22

Why do we need MPs to represent us in Parliament?  Can’t we all directly/digitally express our choices on issues of national importance and a well-managed civil service to effectively execute such decisions? What if we


Banking on governance?

Views - 1743 Thursday, 2 April 2015 00:00

The Govt. has described some commercial bank boards as a ‘stinking mess’. So how do we prevent history from repeating itself in the form of new ‘odours’? Let’s think about: n How are new appointees selected? Is the


Do Ministers ‘spend’ or ‘invest’ time?

Views - 3479 Monday, 30 March 2015 00:00

The socioeconomic challenges that Sri Lanka encounters today require fundamentally effective solutions as opposed to ‘knee-jerk’ responses and ‘patchwork’ solutions. This in turn, requires all relevant stakeholders to joint


Recruiting heads of State institutions

Views - 1416 Friday, 20 March 2015 00:00

Here are some ‘hard’ questions for Ministers (be they blue, green or red) to turn on their inner searchlights! * Selecting the head of an institution is a highly scientific HRM process – have ministers developed


It was not the bowling that let us down!

Views - 1383 Monday, 9 March 2015 00:00

Close but not quite and the tendency is to blame the bowlers. But what is the root cause of that poor bowling performance? Succeeding in any international competitive sport requires an effective supply chain (player development) strateg


The tea and tourism tango!

Views - 1513 Friday, 6 March 2015 00:38

The Tea Board has decided to spend more funds (collected from exporters) to run a joint promotional campaign with Sri Lanka Tourism. It sounds good, but: Do tea and tourism share the same challenges in terms of profitable demand generation (which


Why should a government be in the grocery business?

Views - 1557 Monday, 16 February 2015 00:18

Is there a shortage of retail grocery outlets in the country? Do the Government Groceries (GGs) offer preferential pricing for the under-privileged? Do the GGs stock products which are not available elsewhere and at similar prices? Do the G


The ‘better half’ of bribery and corruption!

Views - 3033 Thursday, 29 January 2015 00:00

The current regime has begun tackling bribery and corruption, let’s hope it will be impartial, sustainable and acts as a deterrent. However, the focus seems to be on Government institutions and politicians, who are always at the ‘receiving


‘Hire and fire’ of State-Owned Enterprise boards

Views - 2990 Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:49

With every regime change, the entire board of most major State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are ‘sacked’ and replaced with an entirely new board, often with no formal transition or ‘knowledge transfer’ process. This can be detrimental to the busi


Corporate lessons from the elections

Views - 1451 Monday, 12 January 2015 01:15

Feel the real ‘pulse’ of your real consumer – not just the opinion of senior management who ‘surround’ you Keep a tab on your consumer sentiment and the real value delivered to them – do not get carried away with fancy office bu


Which ‘brand’ will you vote today?

Views - 3082 Thursday, 8 January 2015 01:38

Even in business, branding is exploited to gain an ‘unfair’ advantage – by ‘playing’ on human perception and portraying it ‘larger than life’. Politicians, in similar ways, have taken this to dizzying heights. Your choice today is betw


Need for a ‘systemic change’ – irrespective of who comes to power

Views - 2821 Wednesday, 7 January 2015 00:25

To be a minister (under any regime) you need to be a politician. However if the main ‘qualification’ to be a politician is popularity among the masses, how can the responsibility of strategising and managing a country’s economy and its key port


New Year resolution for business has to be sustainability

Views - 1443 Thursday, 1 January 2015 00:17

While the dawn of a new year is good time for warm fuzzy feelings, given the global challenges we face today, it is also a time to ask some hard questions. After all ‘resolutions’ have always been the tradition to uphold as a new year comes along


Year-end is a time to spring clean   our ‘Thought Baggage’

Views - 2653 Wednesday, 31 December 2014 00:59

Today is the end of another year, and while budgets are being formulated, accounts are being finalised and decisions are being made regarding next year’s product or service line, it’s also a good time to take stock of our ‘thought baggage’ an


De-politicising

Views - 1227 Tuesday, 23 December 2014 01:47

If a country has an independent and competent civil service, there would be checks and balances on the politicians (be they blue, green or red!) and the business community. This trend has now permeated down to the corporate level, where the dividi


Un-branding a country’s economic policy

Views - 1881 Monday, 1 December 2014 01:00

When it comes to human perception and branding, a rose is NOT a rose by whatever name you call it! (with due respect to William Shakespeare). Therefore, branding the economic policies of a country with the name of a politician (ruling or Opposition)


Time to play ‘hard ball’?

Views - 1913 Monday, 20 October 2014 00:00

There is a strong correlation between a country’s economic success and its performance at sports. With the exception of a toss-enabled cricket gold medal, Sri Lanka has not won an Asian Games gold medal in the last 12 years. It may time to take st


A luxury water tax?

Views - 1326 Monday, 29 September 2014 00:59

Product usage (and wastage) is significantly influenced by the price charged - as percentage of the consumer’s ‘wallet’. If we continue to use (and waste) water the way we do now, catastrophic consequences seem imminent, possibly ‘water wars


Learnings from the Odel-Softlogic deal

Views - 1486 Friday, 12 September 2014 00:07

Passion and entrepreneurial venturing (without self-imposed inhibitions) can build ‘unlimited’ businesses (Otara) Not letting ‘passion’ get in the way of logical business decisions and knowing when to ‘move on’ (Otara) Visionin


Ice Bucket Challenge: Is it the best use of ‘social energy’?

Views - 1463 Saturday, 30 August 2014 04:42

The ‘power’ of a great marketing idea going ‘viral’ was amply demonstrated by the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’. However, it also demonstrates the lack of effective strategy when it comes to social-cause marketing. Is this the most pressing soci


HRM – Human or Humane Resource Management?

Views - 5116 Monday, 18 August 2014 00:01

To an economist, HR is one of the factors of production. Shareholders and customers expect the most efficient use of all factors of production, so that they get the optimal return for their investment/spend. Which means, every cent spent on HR/HRM s


Do CEOs encourage bad news?       

Views - 6860 Monday, 21 July 2014 00:01

CEOs, much like politicians, tend to get ‘surrounded’ by ‘yes-men’ who fear delivering bad news.  Given the tendency to ‘shoot’ the messenger of bad news, constructive feedback/ground realities tend to get suppressed and decision making


Violence and country branding

Views - 2646 Monday, 23 June 2014 00:02

It takes decades, if not centuries, to build a country brand. It takes only a few irresponsible acts to significantly negate all the hard work that multiple stakeholders have put into building a country brand.  The perception damage caused, locally


Work-life balance – ‘walk’ the ‘talk’

Views - 1855 Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00

One obvious way to help employees achieve work-life balance is to offer them flexibility of where they work from and what times they work – at least on some days of the week where they need this flexibility most.  Yet, why do most Sri Lankan compa


Recruiting senior management like at the IPL auction!

Views - 1549 Monday, 26 May 2014 00:00

We live in a business world that is increasingly characterised by ‘impatient capital’ and ‘never-satisfied customers’. This means the way in which we lead and manage our business needs radical re-thinking. It is in this context that we need t


Mergers and acquisitions are not the same!

Views - 1520 Monday, 5 May 2014 00:00

The misinterpretation of the HNB MD’s comment at the MTI Banking Forum demonstrates the widespread confusion regards mergers and acquisitions, which are two distinct approaches of inorganic growth for a business.   Acquisition, as the name implie


Co-opetition

Views - 1767 Friday, 11 April 2014 01:45

The joint initiative of Dialog and Etisalat for the mobile money platform is a classic example of co-opetition – whereby conventional competitors, motivated by their consumer needs and commercial synergies, decide to co-operate while still competin


Today's Columnists

The Brahmin footprint in Sri Lankan history

Saturday, 17 November 2018

It is generally said that there are no genuine “Sri Lankan” Brahmins in the island today, and that those Brahmins who officiate as priests in Hindu kovils (temples) are of Indian origin with close ties with Tamil Nadu.


Country paying for Sirisena’s childlike behaviour

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Many were surprised on 26 October to see former President Rajapaksa being appointed Prime Minister by the very man who defeated him a couple years ago, at a considerable risk to himself and to those who helped him win the election. Then events beca


The JR-MR effect

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sri Lanka over the last few weeks has experienced a twin crisis. One is political provoked by its Constitution, and the other economic engendered by its politics. However, this crisis is the combined effect of two previous presidencies, those of J.R.


The fish that swallowed the whale

Friday, 16 November 2018

This is an easy-peasy, elementary effort of an ordinary citizen to comprehend the mad scramble for power among the political class. It is undertaken in the belief that the crisis we face is an opportunity to reject the family kleptocracy of Mahinda R


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