Hilmy Cader

Banking mergers must translate to customer benefit

Views - 1811 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 - 1577 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 - 1777 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 - 2065 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 - 1909 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 - 1347 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 - 6732 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 - 3163 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 - 3641 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 - 1928 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 - 1854 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 - 2202 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


CSR: Vanity or sanity?

Views - 1889 Saturday, 27 July 2013 00:18

There has seen a significant increase in CSR project undertaken by businesses, which on the face of it appears to be a good thing. MTI’s CSR research shows that businesses tend to undertake a multitude of micro initiatives for diverse social causes


Challenging the status quo

Views - 4040 Thursday, 11 July 2013 02:13

 Following are excerpts from an interview with Hilmy Cader, CEO of MTI Consulting and Architect of the MTI Strategic Reflections Column   Q: What motivated you to write this column? A: I had done a presentation at a forum in Sri Lan


Think ‘small’

Views - 1858 Monday, 17 June 2013 01:08

‘Think big’ is a cliché in business. It works well for goal-setting. When it comes to strategising, it can lead to solutions that are ‘blanket’, shallow and /or ‘overkill’.  Instead, by miniaturising


What really is leadership?

Views - 1459 Monday, 27 May 2013 00:00

The concept of leadership has its origins in the armies, and then spilled over to the industrial revolution. Today, most business organisations claim to have the following in place:  Mission, Vision, Values, Strategic Plan, Board Committees, P


‘Fixing’ the IPL?

Views - 1345 Monday, 20 May 2013 00:00

Some ‘pundits’ have called for a ban of the IPL because of the recent match fixing. This is like banning the stock markets because of insider trading. In any industry that attracts this kind of money, you have to statistica


Marketing should be more accountable

Views - 1103 Monday, 13 May 2013 00:00

Of all the investments a business makes, Marketing is arguably the one with the least accountability. And there is no shortage of flimsy excuses why it cannot be done. Here is a simple, hard-nosed logic to challenge this: If you agree with


Dilemma of Bangladesh’s apparel industry

Views - 1640 Monday, 6 May 2013 00:00

Brands like H&M and Primark have triggered the creation of a mass market for fashion. To provide such mass volumes at ‘unbelievable’ costs, you need countries with mass labour willing to work at exceptionally low wages (lifestyles). C


‘May Day’ for knowledge workers

Views - 1353 Thursday, 2 May 2013 00:25

The concept of a Labour Day originated in an era where there were only two main classes i.e. workers and business owners. Today, we have a significant number of ‘knowledge workers’ – like you and me reading this paper. None of us ar


The illusion of wealth

Views - 1611 Monday, 8 April 2013 00:00

Today, a significant part of our wealth is in the ‘books’ of financial institutions. We are made to believe that our monies are available in full, safe and can be accessed at any time. The unfolding of events in Cyprus has given us a rude


Having ‘fun’ on-the-job

Views - 1469 Monday, 25 March 2013 01:07

We in the corporate world are taking are ourselves and our jobs too seriously. It is leading to high stress levels and that in turn affects work performance. When did you last have ‘fun’ in your job and at the work place? Being relaxed


Match fixing: Why are we surprised?

Views - 1436 Friday, 8 March 2013 00:52

People cheat/steal for three reasons i.e. desperation, genetic and greed, with the latter having the biggest impact on society.  What helps the ‘greedy’ is when there are easy ways to make big money. In business, white collar cr


Powerty Vs. Poverty

Views - 2030 Monday, 4 February 2013 00:00

Think about the socioeconomic and political upheavals that we are encountering in many parts of the world. In most of these organisations (including business), the challenge is the widening gap (financially and ideologically) between the bottom of th


Management waste

Views - 1465 Monday, 28 January 2013 00:00

At a recent forum, I was asked about corruption in business, which got me thinking. Rather than looking at a narrow definition of corruption, the real ‘thief’ in business is the ‘waste’ that takes place in management jobs. Thi


Brand managers: Essential or extinct?

Views - 1639 Monday, 21 January 2013 00:00

Like many white collar jobs that ‘float’ in the middle of organisational structures, the role of brand managers is now being challenged in the process of downturn cost optimisation. In many new-to-marketing industries (like technology,


Retailer brand power vs. consumer democracy

Views - 1676 Tuesday, 25 December 2012 00:00

In pursuit of higher profitability (and corporate ego) supermarket chains do try to ‘push’ their private labels, which certainly can be appreciated from a shareholder perspective.  However, if this comes by curtailing the consumers&r


Oppan Gangnam Style

Views - 1536 Monday, 10 December 2012 00:00

With close to one billion YouTube downloads, makes it the most watched. Even personalities as diverse as Ban Ki-Moon, Amitabh Bachan and Chris Gayle have tried it. What are the learnings from Psy’s Oppan Gangnam style? The fading geographic


Stickiness is not happiness

Views - 1545 Monday, 19 November 2012 00:00

Stickiness is a criteria used to measure the duration a customer remains with a service provider – the argument being if they have not moved out, they must be happy! In measuring customer satisfaction (particularly in industries like banking


The Wealth Test

Views - 1219 Tuesday, 30 October 2012 00:24

 The financially measured wealth of any person is only possible due to 3 reasons: 1. Adding value to someone else’s life or business 2. Inheriting   3. Speculative/imaginary wealth (artificially inflated) The world faces dange


Today's Columnists

Maximum Residue Level: Dilemma of agricultural product exporters in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Due to increased emphasis on consumer health, majority of developed countries such as EU, Japan and the US insist on MRL testing of food items which has to be done by the exporter. The Codex Alimentarius Commission which is an inter-governmental bod


East Container Terminal blunder: Learn from Chinese

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Minister for Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe informed the press in August that Cabinet has approved the development of East Container Terminal (ECT) of Colombo Port by the Ports Authority. According to approval: nPorts Authority would develop


President Sirisena, playing with fire, must take note that smoke will get into his eyes

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Penchant for playing with fire President Gamaralalage Sirisena has always had a penchant for playing with fire. He did fire-play at the local government elections when he made a disastrous U-turn and went round country blasting the party and its lea


Response to claims that Sri Lanka was in a ‘debt trap’ in 2014 due to ‘Chinese loans’

Monday, 17 September 2018

Several Western analysts have carried out a relentless media campaign in keeping with their own geopolitical agenda, to suggest that China was luring Sri Lanka into a carefully engineered debt trap.


Columnists More