Columnists

The 21st Amendment?

Views - 2281 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 - 1740 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 - 3476 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 - 1411 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 - 1379 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 - 1510 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 - 1551 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 - 3030 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 - 2986 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 - 1447 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 - 3078 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 - 2818 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 - 1440 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 - 2650 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 - 1226 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 - 1877 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 - 1909 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 - 1322 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 - 1482 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 - 1459 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 - 5113 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 - 6856 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 - 2642 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 - 1852 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 - 1544 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 - 1517 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 - 1761 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 - 2403 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 - 5582 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 - 2680 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


Today's Columnists

In the desert of Tamil films, actor Sivaji Ganesan was an oasis

Saturday, 22 September 2018

‘Indian Film,’ first published in 1963 and co-authored by former Columbia University Professor Erik Barnouw and his student Dr. Subrahmanyam Krishnaswamy, is considered a seminal study of the evolution and growth of Indian cinema. The book is cit


Imran may turn blind eye to blasphemy law and persecution of Ahmadiyyas

Saturday, 22 September 2018

There are clear signs that Pakistan’s freshly minted Prime Minister, Imran Khan, will make a sincere effort to reduce corruption and maladministration in the domestic sphere. In foreign affairs he is likely to make a brave attempt to mend fences wi


The rate of exchange, capital flight and the Central Bank

Friday, 21 September 2018

The Central Bank (CBSL) exists for the sole purpose of price stability. Its controls on the financial system and monetary policy exist to maintain price stability. As put forth many times by the Governor, the failing of the CBSL to control inflation


Red flag over the Sri Lankan Navy

Friday, 21 September 2018

Shocking story Rusiripala, a former banker in Sri Lanka, who has taken to writing in Daily FT, is perturbed by the red flag I have raised (Daily FT article 18 September) over the shocking charge that our Navy had operated a ransom gang that had abduc


Columnists More