Columnists

Banking on governance?

Views - 1735 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 - 3469 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 - 1405 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 - 1375 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 - 1504 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 - 1546 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 - 3027 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 - 2980 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 - 1444 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 - 3073 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 - 2809 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 - 1438 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 - 2644 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 - 1221 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 - 1870 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 - 1904 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 - 1317 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 - 1475 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 - 1452 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 - 5106 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 - 6847 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 - 2636 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 - 1844 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 - 1539 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 - 1513 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 - 1754 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 - 2396 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 - 5575 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 - 2673 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 - 1809 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,


Today's Columnists

To hang or not to hang!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell out of the blues last week, sans all ‘maître’ (loving-kindness) when he launched a coup de main on drug offenders. He threatened to use his powers to place his signature to execute the death sen


The demise of the superstar investor

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The allure of the superstar investor can be irresistible. You know who they are – the confident, articulate individuals idolised either because of a spectacular non-consensus investment call, the size of their fortune or sometimes because they are


Disruptive economy and poverty of knowledge: Sri Lankans have a lot to learn

Monday, 16 July 2018

The poor are usually defined as those who are below a given level of income that would be insufficient to meet their basic needs. In my view, the poor – no matter whether it is an individual, family or a nation – are those who are unable to read


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