Preface: Stumbled across this posting in the archives: It was originally published in September of 2008 as a commentary on then-current affairs, and we still have a ways to go with what’s discussed here. I have not edited it in this republishing for the fun of the 2008-2011 comparison; I just checked on the viability of the links.
- If you are new to Talking Story, this post is a good October 2011 stage-setter: Working in today’s ‘Knowledge Economy’.
- As Managing with Aloha self-coaching, how would you connect financial literacy with merit and the ladder of learning, and with the hierarchy of needs?
- Scroll the financial literacy tag for other current connections. More on today’s current affairs can be found in the Ho‘ohana Aloha archives too (economics is the tag to use there).
Financial Literacy Has Never Been More Timely
Have a meeting coming up and need to fill a hole in the agenda?
Bored with the normal fluff around the water cooler or when escaping to the coffee place down the street?
Thinking about turning the television off tonight in favor of some meaty discussions around the dinner table?
Bring up financial literacy in all its timely, hitting-your-pocket relevance. From Wall Street to fuel prices, from tax relief plans by presidential candidates to your 401k risk assessment, and in thinking about how many readily available greenbacks to have in your mattress over the coming winter, broaching the subject is easy.
I’m hoping you’re talking about it and not just watching from the sidelines, because if there is one bright side to the mess of our U.S. economy right now it is this: There is a ton of learning to be had. To not take advantage of this grand classroom now called Life in the U.S.A. wherever you may live and be in business is a lost opportunity.
Just read this, following an Anderson Cooper tweet-feed in Twitter:
‘Blame’ is one of those words which grates on me, and in fact, I responded on Twitter,
@andersoncooper “blame” such a futile word. Perhaps “learn from” or even, “seek to be better than” those who have erred so dangerously.
However I largely agree with these assertions by author Nell Minnow:
“Failure this broad and deep takes a village, and regulators, lawyers, compensation consultants, auditors, executives, shareholders, and the press all played a part. But the people who are most responsible for the massive meltdowns of these institutions are the boards of directors.”
“Their sole responsibility is to act as fiduciaries for the shareholders in managing risk. They not only failed to perform this task but indeed, in their approval of outrageous pay plans with perverse incentives, they all but guaranteed the current disaster.”
“I am a capitalist. I love it when executives earn boatloads of money. But it infuriates me when they get it without earning it.”
Let’s take it further:
Why shouldn’t scores more people be taking some small degree of responsibility with this?
It is my belief that a business model of any kind is healthiest when every single person who is a stakeholder in that business understands how that model works, and thus, when it doesn’t work. A business is healthier when red flags are at the ready in everyone’s pocket, and by the time they make it half-mast there is collaborative responsiveness as people work together to get those green flags up instead. Alternatives and solutions begin to take root everywhere as the seeds of new ideas and evolutionary innovation get sown. Business models —even ones that are working just fine, should not be fixed or stagnant; that’s called mediocrity, and resting on your laurels. Both are unacceptable.
In my career, I had learned the hard way that assuming the “guys in the office” or “people who get paid the big bucks” know what they are doing is a very dangerous assumption (Read more at Blind Faith is not part of Unconditional Aloha in an ‘Ohana in Business). They might, but why shouldn’t you know too, whatever your role in an organization?
Why shouldn’t you be more inquisitive, know how all the work that you and others do is connected, and how ultimately it keeps a business thriving in the most profitably healthy way?
There are far too many organizations where people don’t speak up often enough because they feel they cannot intelligently carry their part of the conversation. I HATE seeing that in play in workplace cultures, and it is my stance that managers are the ones responsible for introducing these conversations, and facilitating them. Great managers introduce the meaty topics of financial literacy consistently as practice, and they hand out those red flags they want at-the-ready in everyone’s pocket.
Business takes a whole village, and a highly conversational one. If you are not now having the conversations conducive to continually ramping up the level of financial literacy in your workplace, for goodness sake, start today.
Talk story with the Ho‘ohana Community
(from 2008, as are the 1st 4 comments below):