How to Decide How to Invest

Investment decisions are far more about the goals, life situation, and risk tolerance of each individual and family than about putting your bet on the right horse. 

By Mark D, Harris

The American economy is struggling. Inflation is worse than at any time in the past forty years and the stock market has lost a quarter of its value since January of 2022. Retirees, many on fixed incomes, have lost $3 trillion in the same time.[1] Many are struggling just to get by. Necessities like food, fuel, clothing, shelter, and often health care, slip out of the fingers of millions of our countrymen.

Simultaneously, inflation is 9.1%, and the average interest on money in savings accounts is less than 1%. This means that in terms of purchasing power, savers are losing over 8% on their money.  For example, one hundred dollars in a savings account now could rise to $101 one year hence, but would only be able to buy $93 worth of goods and services.

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How Companies Can Attract, Hire, and Retain Good Workers in a Population Challenged Future

Men and women across much of the world are failing to have enough children to maintain the workforce in their nations. Around 2050, the world population will begin to decline. How can companies attract, hire, and retain enough high-quality workers in the population-challenged future?

By Mark D, Harris

The future of HR is inexorably tied to the future of demography and technology in the United States and throughout the world. Cultural changes will also play an important role. These changes are overwhelming in their power and even in their novelty. Chief executives who wish for their companies to succeed will have to lead their companies and their communities through these daunting challenges. How can they do that?

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Marketing Myopia

Businesses must recall that they do not exist to sell products, no matter how excellent those products are, but to meet customer needs. Their survival depends upon it. 

By Mark D, Harris

Coronado Baptist Church in El Paso, Texas hosted a banquet to raise money for Christian ministries in Africa. A church leader spoke of his experience on that continent (personal experience, 2006).

“Tell me about yourself,” an African pastor said to the American.

“Well, I own a manufacturing plant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. We are expanding into India” the church man answered.

“Not about your work, that is unimportant,” the African pastor replied. “Tell me about your family.”

The American businessman defined himself by his work, while the African pastor defined himself as part of a family, a church, and a community. As is common in individualistic societies, the American focused on his individual contribution. As is common in communal societies, the African focused on his part of the group and their contribution. The businessman and the pastor had to understand what each meant when they asked, “Who am I?” Had they not, they never could have met one another’s needs, and the mission trip would have been a failure.

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Simple Sabotage

How many of the things that we do sabotage our ability to do anything, and everything

By Mark D. Harris

My son and a friend were exploring the Internet a few days ago and came across a US Government manual from World War II called Simple Sabotage. The book is written to teach ordinary citizens in the occupied territories how to do simple things to impede the operations of the Nazi war machine. The Chinese form of torture and execution, Death by a Thousand Cuts, is a related idea. By inflicting a thousand delays, confusions, frustrations, and small obstacles, the common folk in the occupied territories could help drive out the Germans.

Workers and bosses today use “The Manual” in every organization in America, and the bigger the worse, without even knowing it. People are afraid to do anything without authorization from the Boss, and no one will take responsibility for their words or actions. Continue reading “Simple Sabotage”

Notes on Negotiation

Tips on getting what you want, and getting what everyone wants, in negotiations.

By Mark D. Harris

When Eisenhower became President, Truman was rumored to have said, “Ike can’t just tell people what to do like he could in the Army. When you are president, you only get what you can negotiate.” Whether this story actually happened is irrelevant. In life, you only get what you negotiate.

Tactics

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