by BILL WADDELL
Who Needs Harvard When They Can Go To Dayton?
The University of Dayton has put an accounting professor by the name of Joseph Castellano in charge of their business school. "Castellano’s current research interests include lean management, lean accounting, performance measurement, the Toyota production system, the Toyota way and corporate board governance." Dayton has long been a hotbed of lean manufacturing thinking and interest – a refreshing alternative to the sheep culture of the elite Ivy League schools. Hope they give him the job on a permanent basis.
I don't think it is a coincidence that a place putting a lean thinker in charge is also the home of Dayton Business School's Center for the Integration of Faith and Work – where they conduct "research on spirituality in the workplace, the integration of faith and work, ethics, and how our Catholic and Marianist heritage can inform and enrich business practices, policies, and leadership." Leadership enriched with a little spirituality and ethics would have come in handy before the economic meltdown driven largely by Wall Street greed, led largely by holders of high priced Ivy League business diplomas.
Tata versus Jobs
Making a strong move to displace Steve Jobs as Wall Street's CEO of the Decade, Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, declared British workers to be lazy and promptly laid off 1,500 of them. A natural reaction to Tata's earnings and stock price dropping – had to be someone other than his fault – might as well blame the Brits.
Apple's leadership will be hard to knock off Wall Street's pedestal, however. A week after three people died in the Apple factory due to unsafe conditions, they have shown their prize winning business model to still be alive and strong – another Foxconn employee committed suicide, this time in the new plant – the one with the lethal explosion - where they pay folks less than in that pesky Shenzhen factory where they had to pay people a whopping two bucks an hour to get them to quit jumping out of windows.
Rowe v Obama
A Washington Post writer by the name of Michelle Singletary is fretting over the cost of following through on the President's goal that the United States "once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world." She points out that "students with no promise of six-figure salaries are accumulating loans with six-figure balances." Somebody – namely the government – ought do something, she urges. I heard recently that 40% of our college graduates – some 14 million people - are either unemployed or under-employed – liberal arts majors for the most part, which makes paying those students loans a bit of a chellange.
Across town, Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) testified before a Senate committee, noting the same problem: "Mathematically, that scenario just doesn't work. I mean, it works for a few generations, but in a society that's moving forward — that's no longer driven by manufacturing, but by financial services and technology — we're now defined by our ability to be efficient — to work less … I just know that in the end, there's a list of jobs that are non-negotiable, absolutely essential. Who's keeping the lights on? Who's making indoor plumbing a reality? Who's keeping the roads smooth? Who's keeping the runways well-paved? Those jobs are no less important today than they were 50 years ago. They're just not celebrated in the same way."
Mike suggests that, rather than have the government figure out how to oay for more people getting college degrees to qualify them for easy jobs that don't exist, we ought to get back to work. He says, "You've got a lot of very, very smart people standing by waiting for somebody else to do the work. Not a recipe for long-term solvency in my opinion."
I agree with Mike – Obama should worry more about encouraging young folks to get to work and less about assuring that everyone has the necessary academic credentials needed to avoid getting their hands dirty.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend … and let's not forget the reason for the holiday!