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The Hare and the Tortoise: The race is not to speedy (XIII). To start means to be prepared.

… the Hare lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up…

The hare and the tortoise, a fable by Aesop.
“Under Scrutiny” a section of an original aquarelle painted by Eleonora Escalante. February 2021. Size: 70cm x 50 cm.

Starting something requires careful preparation. When planning to do corporate strategy, all our attention for the race of our life-time requires consistent efforts and hard work. It is not an easy task to embrace the role of considering what to do with our endeavors. Corporate strategy is not about going with the flow, but it requires watchful preparation since before we even know what to do or even before we can begin to think about doing it.

Let’s reframe this in the context of our time. There are at least 10 pieces of shreds of evidence about our Einstein era that we have to consider when it comes to starting to decide as corporate strategists.

Sleeping Hare. Illustration taken from https://meridianfinancialpartners.com/2016/12/06/the-tortoise-and-the-hare/
  1. Aging in the XXI century. Given our medical advancements and constant discoveries about how to care about ourselves with a balanced diet and exercise, our bodies and brains are capable to work perfectly for longer periods of time nowadays. We are not anymore in an era where humans die at 50 years old because of an ear infection. Anyone at the present time, can extend their lifetime (with a good health condition) up to 80 to 100 years old on average. We are witnessing a transformation when it comes to aging healthily. We are sure that each family on earth is a bystander of this shift. This affirmation requires a new redefinition of the timeframe concept of a generation. Up to this day, every generational shift has happened on average after 20 years. But this is wrong. And radically must change. I have written about this in the past, and I believe that given the requirements of what it means to be ready for integral decision making, the whole system of a generation concept has to be reframed. Instead of considering 5 generations for a 100 years span, we have to divide 100 years by 2, which means that a generation has to last, at least, 50 years. By doing this shift, we are providing enough time to the generation behind us, to mature, to settle in their family priorities, so when they begin to take the baton of decision making at the corporate level, they have had all the time required to build the experience and education required, to be solid enough in practice, emotional intelligence and maturity. It is insane to pass the leading crown as when ancient times to people below 50 years old. And in government positions, leaders at the top corporate level should be at least 60. We can’t sustain a better future with a past paradigm, when leaders (kings and emperors) were groomed to lead as soon as they were teenagers. The first 50 years of a lifetime are crucial to settle the foundations of life, meanwhile, the last 30 to 50 years are for corporate strategy leadership.
  2. Adoption of business models (not just in disruptive technologies but in every industry) will require a slow process and high integral standards. Once we accept the generational shift to lead organizations is reserved to people over 50 years old, and we transform our views about what are the required competencies and capabilities for doing corporate strategy, then we will also adjust the pace of time for our adoption of disruptive technologies.  Every single aspirational wish of becoming entrepreneurs in disruptive technologies will require higher standards, that must comply not just with environmental, social, and government (ESG) requirements; or the Sustainable Development goals (SDG), but also with a particular development impact to our culture, health, and social upbringing. New commercial disruptive technologies powered by NAIQIs (Nanotechnologies;  artificial intelligence, including automation and robotics; Quantum Supremacy and the Internet)  will require the strictest regulations, and largest durations to be tested (probably 20 years minimum) before being released on a massive scale. Of course, there are exception industries in which this testing period might be shortened, given its impact or importance for humanity and the environment. I am sorry to say this, all this idea of igniting entrepreneurs without high integral standards at every level should not be accepted anymore.
  3. Governments in conjunction with the private sector must dedicate resources to Education, Research and Development. The next Einsteins of tomorrow, not just in physics or philosophy or archaeology or history, but in every academic discipline and industry that you can name and imagine, will be required. The knowledge economy can’t happen without researchers, without doctorates, and without people who can make a living by doing state-of-the-art research activities.  If we want to flourish with better societies, this only happens by providing the nurturing conditions to educate people integrally. People who are required to extend their studies, also need to make a living while doing research. Any Ph.D. and post-doctorate who is searching for grants for their investigation and studies know what is the hassle of trying to make a living without economic support. It is insane to condemn our researchers of tomorrow to poverty, many of them (who are not full-time professors at Universities) live in precarious conditions, particularly in developing economies. The whole point of this, is to provide at least a global median-middle class income and lifestyle to researchers (an income between US$28,800 to US$175,200 per year)
  4. Igniting the hand-made art and artisan sector to excellence. Not all people on earth have the heart desire to become researchers, neither scientists. That is why God made us different. By free choice, we can’t force a civilization to be data scientists either.  The hand-made and artisan economic sectors are one of the most vulnerable ones in the context of disruptive technologies. For those who wish to make a living by producing things using the old traditional way, each society has to install rewarding successful paths, particularly for those who are dedicating a lot of efforts to show high-quality standards . The most vulnerable economic sectors affected by the disruptive technologies need to be pampered and protected. With at least a middle-class path for those who will choose the art disciplines and artisan sectors to excellence. Again, high standards are required in the art traditional disciplines, and there should be mechanisms to keep them flowing generation by generation. For example, on average the global middle-class income for “one of a kind artists” should be at least between US$28,800 (lower-middle-class income bracket) up to US$175,200 (upper-middle-class income bracket) per family household of 4 people. Each country has its particularities when it comes to the median average-middle class salary average. That is why location matters. But for the USA, the average is around US$65,000/year (for the year 2021), meanwhile for El Salvador, the median-middle-class average should be around US$46,900 (annual income for the year 2021).
  5. High Superior Education at universities is not the only primary place to prepare people for a job candidate’s employability. The private sector has forgotten that the role of an education system is not “only” to produce a suitable labor force for their companies’ tastes, needs, and current trends. Universities are of course accountable for ensuring that students are properly equipped with the skills and capabilities to be prepared for the race of their lifetime successful career, but that is not the main purpose of a University. Employers cannot rule the university path as a primary means of determining the job candidate’s employability. Of course, universities take action by modernizing their offerings to be aligned with the wants and needs of future employers for their students, but traditionally high-superior education has never been conceived to be the “fresh from the oven” gatekeepers of workforce talent for companies. A basic 4-5 years bachelor’s degree (Grado de Licenciatura in Spanish)  can´t provide the actual skills required by employers, because they lack the experience after graduation. Even if undergraduates are prepared with the cutting-edge knowledge of their respective disciplines and future industries, the qualification that experience provides has not been build yet. Each employer must take their own approach to provide valuable education options after university, as part of their induction process. Companies that have been successful in grooming their talent after university, usually introduce a one to two years paid rotational pathway training to help recent graduates to gain the skills required to be hired permanently. At the end of the rotational program, the new labor force is fully armed not just to fulfill the requirements of the position, but also with the culture of the organization. If the potential employee discovers there is no fit with that company, he or she is also free to choose for other options outside, with no stigma of guiltiness. The employer has the duty to even help those who failed, not just to find other jobs, but to open doors in other apprentice possibilities in which they could support other companies too.
  6. For entrepreneurs who are ready to start their endeavors. They should ask: Is my business or endeavor helping to avoid the shrinkage of the middle class? The whole idea to promote formal education at higher levels, regardless of the discipline, is to help people not just to be integral citizens, but to help them to improve their conditions of living. We suggest to those who are beginning the entrepreneurial path to be prudent when it comes to decide when to embark in the adventure, and about hiring people. It is irresponsible and damaging to hire those with good or outstanding degrees of education and/or years of experience, by offering less than the lower-middle-class income bracket for your town. For those who are planning to continue in the industry of information technologies, with the disruptive technologies at hand, or those who are sticking to the blue ocean strategy to set up new endeavors, it is advisable to ask themselves from the starting point, how to help to develop their workforce to become middle-class since the beginning. Moreover, that should be considered by banks, private equity investors, and venture capitalists, before providing funds to these companies.
  7. Preparation for the race of a lifetime requires education at an integral level. But at the same time experience. Employers have to open their options to possibilities in which the experience and the formal university degree could be mixed. Even if it takes more time to be prepared. The example of the Aesop turtle is the clear role model to pursue. The tortoise took her time, step by step, working arduously to demonstrate she was skillful enough to win. She increased credibility to those who observed her, she showed off her skills to walk without stopping, her resilience, her passionate discipline to race, and her efforts to win, everything paid off.  The tortoise knew that her natural condition load was heavy, but she had the attitude to move forward and the character to make it happen. On the contrary, the hare was so irresponsible, full-selfish of himself, that even though by his nature, he could win easily, he decided to take a nap, and that distracted him from his original purpose,
  8. Work from Home has to be opened, at least for those who require or need it. On the other hand, with the pandemic, even though the WFH alternative has demonstrated to be convenient, it is hard to keep a balance between house chores and family time maintenance. Thousands of employees have been energy drained, and extremely tired of using the WFH alternative because they had to work until late at night for months.  We need to explore why human beings are not productive enough regardless of working under WFH or at the office, case by case. But WFH has proven to be an excellent option for working moms who wish to be at home with their kids, particularly when the children are between 0 to 6 years old (or until children can attend school). Also, the WFH is an alternative for those who have a sick family member that requires supervision, or when a company requires an abroad talent who is living in another country. WFH also can´t be imposed because some people do not like it, meanwhile, others by free choice feel it is the better dynamic option for their interests and expectations. In consequence, I advise to keep this option open for employees who require it.
  9. Stop overworking. Before starting the race of our lifetime, it is of the tremendous requirement to stop overworking. The majority of heart attacks are happening because of stressful unproductive schedules. According to the WHO, “people working 55 or more hours each week face an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease”. After the pandemic, I am sure that we all know, that working from home can be extremely productive if we can concentrate and develop our activities with discipline to keep our schedules “on-point”. When in situations of stress, insomnia, or under lack of a home environment that doesn’t nurture concentration, a working week of 5 days (44 hours of working) must stop for good. Our world doesn’t need to kill its people to death. This out-of-date system of work that was inherited from the times of slavery, has to change to no more than 34 hours of work per week. Eleonora Escalante Strategy recommends 34 hours of working week, which can be expressed in several modes:
    • Work 4 days per week, from Monday to Thursday, 8.5 hours per day. For example, from 8 AM to 12 M. And from 1 PM to 5:30 PM. Friday is off.
    • Work 5 days per week, from Monday to Friday, 6.8 hours per day. The schedule may vary according to the industry and the employer. For example, from 8 AM to 12 M, with one hour of recess for lunch, and from 1 PM to 2:48PM.
    • Work alternate days per week and different schedules to fulfill 34 hours of work per week. For example, Monday-Wednesday-Friday (8 hours per day). Tuesday-Thursday from 8 AM to 1:00 PM
    • In addition, as I mentioned above, particularly for parents who wish to be at home, during the first 6 years of their kids’ lives, the WFH possibility should remain as an open option, at least for some days a week, regardless of the industry.
  10. Starting a race of corporate strategy renewal is not going to be easy. It will take several years to transform our educational system. Just to accept that there are not 5 generations per century, but only 2 is a big challenge for everyone. Particularly when it comes to preparation for assuming the role of doing corporate strategy. To slow down in doing business means to slow down in our life style. Decision-makers need more preparation (in education and experience) before being accepted to play the role of leading.

Are you ready to start the race of your lifetime?

To be continued… Next week we will begin with growth when racing our endeavors. Have a beautiful weekend. Cheers.

Bibliography utilized to get some ideas when writing today.
https://hbr.org/2021/05/the-u-s-education-system-isnt-giving-students-what-employers-need
https://www.npr.org/2021/05/17/997462169/thousands-of-people-are-dying-from-working-long-hours-a-new-who-study-finds

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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