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If not Australia Day when then?

There is no better time to write about Australian Business Culture than this week – Australia Day week and what it means to be Australian.

If COVID19 (now 21) has taught us anything it should have taught us the importance of Australian Mateship which means looking out for each other and where you can lend a hand you lend a hand.

I read with interest this week where Michaela Cash, the Minister for Small and Family Business passed legislation forcing large businesses (turnover of $100mil plus) to pay Small Business (turnover less than $10 mil) bills on time. Yep you heard it, the Government has to pass laws to make Big Business pay their contractors and suppliers on time, otherwise in many cases they (Small Business) will go under.

I also listened with disappointment the whining by Google and Facebook as to why they shouldn’t pay money to Australian journalists and media organisations for the content that they pilfer. Rather, than negotiating in good faith on the Code, what’s their response been – threats that they will take their search engines and good home! They know full well that their efforts in recent years has bought about the demise of Journalism as a Profession (how many universities now offer journalism as a Degree?) not to mention the demise of many regional newspapers which were the lifeblood of the bush. And they know they have built businesses and paid nothing for the content. Unfortunately for them, time to pay the Piper.

Growing up and in the Military I was fortunate to have drilled into me and learnt through hard experiences, the mantras of leadership ie treat people like you would want to be treated yourself, don’t ask others to do what you would not be willing to do yourself, the standard you set is the standard you walk past and so forth. In the investment industry I learned; if it was too good to be true it often wasn’t true, long-term was not 5 years – it was a 10-15 year hold minimum, Price is what you pay and Value is what you get, always allow for a margin of safety and so forth. These lessons were learnt in many cases by the best teacher – experience which carries a big stick and brings pain which tends to focus your attention.

I don’t see these mantras borne out in Big Business and I still bear witness to the people they promote to stewardships of these Enterprises; frequently incentivised obscenely by short term share price targets and where cost cutting (and often that means people’s jobs and livelihoods are shed) to achieve their short term profit results for themselves and shareholders. I am yet to see a Company “cost cut” its way to success.

Little wonder the concept of creating sustainable revenue streams that benefit all are so misunderstood (I might as well be speaking Swahili).

And then they (The Stewards of these Companies) wonder why the concept of corporate loyalty has gone out the door and why their people will walk down the road for another $5,000.

While I am an optimist, something has to change.

Thank you for enduring my Australia Day rant.

What do you think?

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