Columnists

New Year resolution for business has to be sustainability

Views - 1427 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 - 2629 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 - 1197 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 - 1861 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 - 1879 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 - 1295 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 - 1447 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 - 1437 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 - 5086 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 - 6829 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 - 2627 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 - 1828 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 - 1517 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 - 1505 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 - 1735 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


What can businesses learn from the Royal-Thomian?

Views - 2385 Wednesday, 12 March 2014 01:27

The ‘power’ of two competing ‘brands’ synergising to create an experience much ‘larger’ than either could. Even if businesses cannot stretch their thinking to synergising with competing brands, start with complimentary brands. The


Marketing vs. finance – an irrelevant debate

Views - 5560 Wednesday, 5 March 2014 00:34

The topic of an upcoming seminar tempted me to write this! In the context of today’s competitive business environment and the business models that are emerging, both these functions (and the very terms marketing and finance) are insular, myopic an


Is cricket a sport or business?

Views - 2661 Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:01

ICC’s decision to concentrate a much higher level of ‘power’ and ‘profits’ in the hands of three countries has drawn much criticism – most of this on the basis that it is unfair and detrimental.  This holds true – if cricket is like an


Banking mergers must translate to customer benefit

Views - 1800 Monday, 3 February 2014 01:45

The City of Colombo has 282 bank branches, with ongoing competition among the institutions to have more, bigger and ‘fancier’ branches.  (In this same geographical domain, there are only 47 supermarkets!) This requires multiple layers of DGMs,


4-dimensional New Year resolution

Views - 1566 Wednesday, 1 January 2014 07:53

Focus on what is most fundamental and most important in your life and business – technology and socialising are ‘double-edged swords’ that can distract you from the ultra-simplicity we need in a complex world. Each of us have a limited sup


Year end, time for ‘brain surgery’

Views - 1761 Tuesday, 31 December 2013 02:07

It’s a good time to take stock of our ‘thought baggage’ and do some spring cleaning. Why? As knowledge workers, think of how we earn a living. Whatever your job, be it CEO or management trainee, there are only four types of activities that we


Why the sudden export surge?

Views - 2046 Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:00

Sri Lanka’s export performance (compared to global competition) has been below par for the last decade. Therefore, the news that we have crossed US$ 1 billion for two consecutive months is a good sign and much needed for the economy. But, why have


Do we attract the best talent into marketing?

Views - 1896 Friday, 6 December 2013 00:00

The development of any profession/discipline depends on its ability to attract the best talent at entry level.  In Sri Lanka, the medical, engineering and finance disciplines are able to attract the best performing talent at entry level. How about


Short service awards

Views - 1332 Tuesday, 5 November 2013 01:27

Long service awards are a permanent feature of many legacy organisations. It makes a fundamental assumption i.e. like wine; the more time you ‘stick’ with an organisation, the greater the value you create. Today’s globalised and competitive bus


Should CFOs directly report to the board?

Views - 6722 Monday, 30 September 2013 01:25

A close look at major corporate scandals around the world has its roots in corporate finance, compliance and/or governance. This is despite the ever-tightening compliance and reporting protocols. It is here that the CFO has a much bigger role to play


Where has the money gone?

Views - 3149 Friday, 13 September 2013 03:32

It is not the first time a financial institution has got into trouble. It is certainly time for some ‘soul searching’ on who and what triggers such collapses. nThe financial institution – for irresponsible lending? The borrowers – for


What does GDP mean to a layman?

Views - 3623 Friday, 6 September 2013 03:47

The economic prosperity of a nation is measured by the percentage growth in GDP. A nation is made up of people. This means, the economic prosperity at the national level must be ‘felt’ by its population.  Here are questions from a layman to an e


Sanga’s choice; a strategic perspective

Views - 1918 Monday, 2 September 2013 11:07

In many ways, Sangakkara is a Sri Lankan multi-national brand, as much as Abba was for Sweden or Drogba is for the Ivory Coast. T20 franchises, by design, are meant to feature multi-national teams (pity that the Sri Lankan version did not), because t


Will the cows come home?

Views - 1837 Friday, 23 August 2013 11:49

Sri Lanka is the world’s second highest per-capita importer of milk powder and a very low level of dairy self-sufficiency.  By contrast, India is today the world’s largest dairy producer and almost entirely self-sufficient. How did India achieve


Create value, not brands!

Views - 2189 Friday, 9 August 2013 00:00

‘Newcomers’ to corporate branding often try to ‘imitate’ the external manifestation of the more established players, not realising that the strongest ‘corporate brands’ first focus on customer and shareholder value creation, and then the


Today's Columnists

What is more important? Fixing the Constitution or fixing the economy?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly has produced an Interim Report on six key issues after 73 sessions between April 2016 and September 2017, without basic consensus among the key partners of political party representatives in the C


Top 10 tourist source markets and marketing of Sri Lanka tourism niches

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The tourism sector is a significant that contribute to the economy of the country. Sri Lanka received over two million arrivals in 2016. This was 14% increase compared to last year 2015. In the case of foreign exchange earnings, Sri Lanka’s earning


The bond robbery and CB’s reputation: Yahapalana Government should stop playing hide and seek

Monday, 16 October 2017

Immediately after the Treasury bond auction on 27 February 2015, the news of a massive impropriety that had taken place in the auction spread across the market like a wildfire.


Robert Knox, different now?

Monday, 16 October 2017

“At their leisure when their affairs will permit, they commonly meet at places built for strangers and way-faring men to lodge in, in their language called Amblomb, where they sit chewing betel, and looking one upon the other very gravely, solidly


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