Hilmy Cader

What can businesses learn from the Royal-Thomian?

Views - 2407 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 - 5588 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 - 2683 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 - 1815 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 - 1581 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 - 1782 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 - 2069 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 - 1912 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 - 1351 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 - 6736 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 - 3165 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 - 3646 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 - 1930 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 - 1859 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 - 2206 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 - 1892 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 - 4043 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 - 1862 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 - 1463 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 - 1348 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 - 1107 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 - 1645 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 - 1357 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 - 1613 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 - 1471 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 - 1437 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 - 2035 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 - 1468 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 - 1642 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 - 1679 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


Today's Columnists

Untruth is the crisis

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Political language, said George Orwell, is designed to make lies sound truthful, murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. Dr. Sarath Amunugama is the subject of this essay. In addition to his current incarnation of a p


Rise, Sri Lankans – our country needs you now!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

I am sick, tired and bloody fed up of reading and listening to pessimistic tales of woe on the unprecedented crisis we and our country are facing at this dark moment in time. I am also fed up to the back teeth with reading and listening to lamentatio


Ranil abused and subverted parliamentary democracy

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

TIME: What was the immediate reason for calling an election? President Kumaratunga: I was forced into it by a total breakdown of cohabitation in Government. The Prime Minister (Ranil Wickremesinghe) was determined to harass me and chase me out. He ha


The Bench must ensure that the judges will continue to be trusted

Monday, 12 November 2018

In the backdrop of the recent developments and the strong arguments that have been presented against the dissolution of Parliament saying the President has no constitutional power to do so, before four and a half years into a Parliamentary term, as s


Columnists More