This is the Beatles song that I am sure you know, partially sung in French.
“Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble.”
I don’t have a woman named Michelle, but I like the language and the song a lot. And the way the song is written, every woman could be a Michelle.
I took French lessons extensively in Suisse for quite some time but I was a terrible student. Once I stopped taking them, I started speaking it more and more. I can roll the “rrrr” easily, to the point that you would think I am from Montreal.
I can attend meetings in French now, but I ask questions in English.
Still pretty good, I think.
I could easily mess with people’s heads speaking Polish, like saying “generalnie jest kapitalnie.”
The meetings gravitate around how to get things kind of done, which is also known as OE, operational excellence. Every company has this function now, big time.
You need to switch gears and see it as overall equipment efficiency – but isn’t that in every manager’s job description to begin with, to maximize it?
OK, let’s start at the beginning.
In a school or university the key is not the level of teachers, is the level of students that matters and it goes with the price of admission. You need students who were taught by parents not to act on emotions, but on facts. It is tough as hell, but that’s how you get the best of the best. The teachers just guide them through the thinking process.
One thing for sure, the teaching and political elites are sensitive to criticism and they should be, because they’re mediocre. Things go high wire fast and the incompetence shows.
I give you one example – some months ago the Swiss government decided to tax people with company cars for some more money. Just milking the cow, and with enthusiasm.
Guys and girls – you have a budget surplus anyways, why you’re going after us? What’s in it for you? Leave the people alone, let us spend our money as we see fit.
The sad thing is, the bureaucracy can only function if the structures are the same across the society, otherwise they would go crazy. It is by definition a big equalization program. The school programs and graduation standards are same across the system and this is just the beginning of the problem. The interest rate is the same across the country despite plenty of proof how this doesn’t make any sense, as economies differ from oil to mining to agriculure to high tech. Every one of these sectors has different financing requirements and reacts differently to market moves – they can’t be covered with one rate! It is plain stupid.
The media don’t pick up on any this and I have a theory why. You can’t really hire smart people and ask them to come in front of the camera and say what doesn’t make sense. Impossible to do.
The key is to hire people who don’t comprehend much of what’s going on out there and are convinced of the good job they’re doing just providing bullet news, like about a car accident on the bridge or a cat stuck in the tree, or somebody just bent the windshield wipers on the neighbour’s car.
Then you have the other class of people, the ones who have the drive and are creative. You can see them on a corner of the street looking around in a composed way, but for a good observer they have an engine inside that never stops. They also tend to do some crazy things between being brilliant.
Problem with people like this is that they make mistakes more often than not, but if they hit it good – things happen, it’s called progress and this is how we move forward.
I am one of them.
So, my Michelle? Life is rocky, but we may just make it.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler