Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the Tactics Behind China’s Production Game

poorly-made-in-china

Essential reading for any company currently producing in China or contemplating the same.  Paul Midler (MBA – Wharton School of Business) shares incredibly valuable insights that could cost your company millions — read this book before you give away what’s in your wallet.

The nuances and realities that Midler shares were garnered through his life experiences working with a myriad of factories in China, and a vast array of European and American companies either producing there, or contemplating the same.

Newsflash: Read this book prior to offshoring your production to China. When you’ve completed the book, you might want to track Paul Midler down.

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No stand-ins

loveisthemessage

“If the message that God wants to get across to us is just about getting our beliefs right, then he didn’t need to come himself. There is only one reason for God to come himself, because in issues of love you just can’t have someone else stand in for you.” — Erwin McManus – in A Faith & Culture Devotional – p.39.

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Book Review – Wrestling With Our Inner Angels – Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness – by Nancy Kehoe

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Wrestling With Our Inner Angels – Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness – by Nancy Kehoe Copyright 2009 by Nancy Kehoe. Published by Jossey-Bass San Francisco, CA

I cried, began to float, said “wow” and “aha,” wondered, was angered, dismayed and finally — encouraged. This book is a barrier-busting contribution from a compassionate caregiver who has given her life to this work. I always find it fascinating that just when we think we have everything figured out, along comes an author who exposes our ignorance – shining light on and giving voice to an issue that we have relegated to the silence of the shadows. As another author has recently said, “When we reach the end of the bookshelf, it’s time to write another book.” As Kehoe demonstrates, the “end of the bookshelf” is simply an illusion, just as many of our attitudes, perceptions and knowledge about the relationship between faith, mental illness and a journey to wholeness.

Nancy Kehoe is a nun and a clinician whose work is well known with the mentally ill. She is also a clinical instructor in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance – an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

The stories of Kehoe’s work with her patients is written in such a way that the reality – “patients are people” whose faith dimension in their lives (beliefs, history, values, practices, doubts, fears and experiences) is fundamental to the approach to their wellness. The history of mental health professionals, clinical psychology and psychiatry is one where patients have been fearful of even broaching the subject of sharing the faith dimension of their lives. Some professional caregivers have even stigmatized those who do as evidencing signs of even deeper and more complex “illness” than originally diagnosed. Thus, there has been a two-sided taboo about broaching this subject, let alone developing clinical approaches to explore it. As Kehoe writes, “Many who suffer from mental illness live with a personally defined “dual diagnosis: “mentally ill” and “sinner”; They have two “disorders.” — Conversely, mental health professionals deal with the illness of the clients but not with their sense of sin.”(p.88). Whether one accepts the Judeo-Christian concept of “sin” or not, the universal human experience of guilt, shame, fear, having wronged another or self, coupled with the yearning for forgiveness, peace, acceptance, understanding and confession are paramount to the journey toward wholeness — as this book clearly points out.

Kehoe’s work in this arena illuminates the terribly valuable essence of the following: “I have rethought the value of religious traditions. When they truly serve us, they take us out of ourselves and link us to something transcendent, fostering a new sense that we are part of a larger whole.” (p.87). It is my hope that this book with provide the essential “permission” to explore and incorporate the methods that Kehoe freely shares with us.

In a world that seems to be rather smug about our current state of intellectual prowess, and, in too many cases, “comfortable” about our worldview or what we think we know, Kehoe’s book provides a bridge to a place our ignorance and lack of courage has prevented us from going. This is a book that needs to be read, discussed and acted upon by further explorations into the necessity of developing clinical and therapeutic approaches to the mentally ill that embrace the realm of the spiritual life as essential to not only relief, healing and wholeness, but the prevention of certain forms and degrees of mental illness. As Kehoe succinctly points out:

“When the voices of parents, ministers, teachers and caregivers fall on the ears of people in a vulnerable position because of their illness, they have the potential to be as harmful as internal voices. The voices of others can limit us, define us and instill guilt and fear.” (p.104). Translation – This book is for you — people who consider themselves “normal” or “healthy.” Buy it. Read it. It’s a heart-changing, mind rearranging story. The truths revealed in this book, particularly through the way Kehoe shares the stories of her patients, is riveting. This is a book about courage, hope and inspiration. As Kehoe writes in the final sentence of the work: “The voices of others can inspire us, encourage us, and give us hope.”

Well, that’s exactly the impact this book had on me. I recommend that you will choose to read this book and experience the same. Perhaps it may be through works like this that the “normal” will be changed sufficiently to revise their approach to “understanding the abnormal” — and in doing so we can become more compassionate with one another — bursting through the illusory taboos — mythical barriers where our own smug ignorance prevents us from exploring.

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GRACE or our Global Responsibility for Advancing Community Enrichment

GRACE

GRACE or our Global Responsibility for Advancing Community Enrichment

We live in the State of Oregon. Our State has the current, dubious distinction of being second only to the State of Michigan in unemployment. The tri-county area where we reside has some of the highest unemployment rates in our State. One in six residents in the State of Oregon are now receiving food stamps. People are coping and adapting.

This morning, an editorial in one of our newspapers reported that the sole Business Development Officer representing the State in our region (central Oregon) has been “let go” due to budget cuts. All of the above caused me to pause and think about people, leadership, innovation, ideas and the necessity for change.

As I was pondering this theme, a quote from a book I recently devoured came to mind. The book is entitled, The Age of the Unthinkable – Why The New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It by Joshua Cooper Ramo. (Copyright © 2009 by Joshua Cooper Ramo – Little, Brown and Company New York, NY). Here’s the quote: :

“We are entering, in short, a revolutionary age. And we are doing so with ideas, leaders and institutions that are better suited for a world now several centuries behind us. On the one hand, this revolution is creating unprecedented disruption and dislocation. But it is also creating new fortunes, new power, fresh hope and a new global order. Revolutions after all don’t produce only losers – they produce a whole new cast of historical champions.” P. 8.

We are very fortunate in my city and region to have leadership that is not afraid to share their hopes and visionary thinking for a better tomorrow today. They are the champions of a better way — understanding at a very deep level that we can and must change — together.

Within the “Clear and Urgent Themes” section of the Redmond Education Vision (REV – see http://www.redmond.k12.or.us/14541013164911523/lib/14541013164911523/Themes.pdf ), the following is the first item displayed on the list. It reads:

Global PerspectiveAccelerating student knowledge of global dynamics is critical to education in the 21st century. It is important to consider global shifts when prioritizing our studies in world languages, history, economics, science, and geography. The significant increase in global interdependence is acknowledged and addressed.”

As characterized by Redmond School District Superintendent Fleming in her introductory letter within the REV report:

“The ideas drawn from these many interactions are synthesized and presented here. They will be used to guide and direct the allocation of resources, the creation of programs and accountability for progress. We are delighted to present you with the Redmond Educational Vision – a blueprint for action for our staff and community. Together, let’s declare a new chapter in our children’s education by exemplifying our mission to “Ensure a rigorous and relevant education that develops productive citizens for a local and global community.” (emphasis is mine).

Furthermore, Ms. Fleming also writes in the same letter, “Global economic interdependence is changing our daily lives and outlook for the future. Living peacefully together in a world that is becoming smaller and smaller has become an elusive challenge. In spite of all this, the great American gift of public education provides us with hope and possibility.”

In light of the above, over the past several months I have asked: Does Redmond have an official sister-city program? I have asked this question to dozens of people in Redmond  and the answer is “I don’t know! Maybe we should.” If we do have a sister city program that most residents are unaware of, we need to create a program that is more than a piece of paper mounted on a wall or an entry on a website somewhere.

In terms of the relevance to the results of the acting upon the Clear and Urgent Theme of developing a Global Perspective, I believe the sister-city concept, if properly defined and administered, can contribute mightily to making this observation a reality. Allow me to provide some food for thought:

  1. Sister-City designations are typically an accomplishment of bureaucratic protocol, gathering dust rather than producing anything tangibly, mutually beneficial. They don’t have to be.
  2. Imagine if Redmond would go through a process of recognizing the necessity for creating partnerships via sister-city designations with say 12 cities in 12 different countries around the globe by virtue of acting on the fact that we must engage and develop mutually beneficial relationships with cities and countries around the globe.
  3. We must act on our recognition of our role and responsibility to actively develop relationships with global partners – intentionally engaged in the responsibility to reach-out and experience the wonders that only interaction within the realm of (to use Ms. Fleming’s term) global dynamics might provide  — with other global cities, citizens, communities and cultures.
  4. As I contemplate the above, the term grace comes to mind. Characteristics of the term grace include the dimensions of words like helpful, generosity, and goodwill. When you take the root term grace and look at its sister, graciousness, you find a DNA link that contains strands that include the terms kindness, courtesy, welcoming, warmth, considerate and compassionate. It has been said that grace is a responsibility that we have toward one another. Yet, grace is simply not an attitude. On the contrary, it is an active form of  behavior. Grace need not be solely defined as a reaction to the behavior of another. Grace may be projected as an intentional, inviting display of behavior toward another.
  5. As citizens of the global community, charged with the responsibility to enhance our active participation in (to use Ms. Fleming’s term) global economic interdependence … Perhaps we might term this initiative GRACE or our Global Responsibility for Advancing Community Enrichment.
  6. What are the qualifications of the 12 sister cities we might evaluate/solicit for inclusion into this initiative:

1.      A recognition of the importance of acting upon Ms. Fleming’s/REV’s Clear and Urgent Theme of developing a Global Perspective within our respective student populations. What might this include:

a.       International student exchanges for high school age students among the GRACE participants.

b.      Teacher exchanges among the GRACE participants.

c.       The opportunity for summer sessions that involve travel-study for students/teachers and families among the GRACE participants.

d.      An annual conference for GRACE participants here in Redmond (rotating to other member communities/countries on an annual basis).

e.       The creation of GRACE portals (web technology) designed to provide a central point for the throughput of cultural/educational materials that can be shared among GRACE participants (students/teachers/families) on an ongoing basis, including an archive of previously shared video/art/poems/stories. (PERFECT project to jumpstart the Redmond Technology Center — as a “resident community project – developed and administered by students and residents who have the skill set to contribute — may also serve as a “live” learning forum for RHS students in the future.

f.       The creation of GRACE student groups within the high schools of participating cities.

g.      Community events whereby visiting students provide host community members a display of either personal talents or their home country cultural treasures.

2.      A penchant by each community to enhance their participation in the prospects for further global economic interdependence. What might this include:

a.       Provide an opportunity for public and private sector business and community members to develop interaction, relationships, exchanges with others in the global community regarding:

i.                    Common challenges confronting GRACE community participants and the solutions being contemplated/implemented.

ii.                  Visits by GRACE community and business leaders to Redmond/central Oregon.

iii.                Develop a familiarity and sharing of the economic development strengths/weaknesses/challenges and solutions that GRACE members.

iv.                Enhance “boots on the ground – face-to-face” interactions with businesses in other countries seeking to develop a base of operations in the U.S. (Redmond).

v.                  The creation of GRACE community/business leader groups within the group of participating cities.

vi.                Develop a pool of business and civic leaders who may visit one another to provide private/public learning events on issues specific to the needs of certain participating GRACE communities.

vii.              The creation of GRACE portals (web technology) designed to provide a central point/forum for the throughput for the exchange of information regarding real-world business/civic issues that can be shared among GRACE participants (Business and civic leaders) on an ongoing basis, including an archive of previously shared materials.

viii.            Economic development conferences held in Redmond for GRACE community participants – civic and business leader exchange.

3.      A deep desire to learn from others and share knowledge.

4.      There would be three member communities whose countries are NOT members of the G-20.

5.      A desire to develop global partnerships and new global relationships

6.      A dedication to develop the opportunity to promote academic and cross-cultural learning through its worldwide collaborative network of higher education institutions.

7.      Develops a resource network for the mutual benefit of all GRACE participants.

8.      Inspires innovation, collaboration and flexible approaches that enable civic and business leaders to access and benefit from.

9.      Raises the global and regional visibility of Redmond and central Oregon for academic, business and cross-cultural learning outcomes.

10.  Act upon the opportunity to explore the treasures of economic and cultural diversity.

11.  Keep the promise made to this community via REV.

12.  Provides a focal point that serves to integrate all stakeholders –  those involved in public education, the ordinary citizen, students, parents, business and civic leaders.

13.  Provides stimulus for GRACE participants to obtain appropriate grants annually to government agencies, corporations, private or corporate foundations to maintain support and expand the GRACE network and the collaboration and creativity spawned thereby.

14.  Utilize conferences and other events to generate sponsor revenue and to raise GRACE’s visibility.

15.  Develop and sustain investment and budget strategies to support an operational reserve equal to six months of operating expenses.

16.  Create and build a reserve fund for scholarships and organizational development.

17.  Members are dedicated to sustainable development, defined as: “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development encompasses three areas: economic development, social development and environmental protection”

Visionary communities who embrace social, economic and environmental responsibilities with the knowledge that the intentional effort to develop new and enduring global relationships are not only good for the existing community, but they also bode well for the future of our community, our children, our state and the region.  The GRACE initiative outlined herein may provide benefits help to build new markets, enhance central Oregon’s brand value, as well as provide the impetus for further innovations on the theme that are not contemplated in this writing. Finally, the motivation behind GRACE is not receiving — it is giving — extending an open hand of welcome to the world around us.

Something to think about. GRACE community members would have to pay annual dues. Budget preparation with projected costs and revenues (dues and sponsor ads via Google© on the web portal).

REV changed the rules for Redmond — it also changed our respective responsibility to make the REV, REDI, EDCO etc. contracts with this community happen.

Maybe it’s time to think out loud — together. Perhaps it’s time for the use of some some  intentional imagination – challenging our ideas — throwing some new one’s on the table — displaying the courage to disagree and engage in the collective challenge of creating a better way. As Joshua Cooper Ramno writes:

…(paraphrasing here….) “The explanation for this shared “wrong view” – a delusion,  really – was social rather than factual. People agreed because they wanted to be part of the community more than they wanted to be right: a set of shared, wrong ideas clung to loyally by people who couldn’t quite see past their illusions or the imagination-killing need to agree and fit in.” p. 62

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The Age of the Unthinkable

the-age-of-the-unthinkable1

I just finished reading a book entitled, The Age of the Unthinkable – Why The New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It by Joshua Cooper Ramo. (Copyright © 2009 by Joshua Cooper Ramo – Little, Brown and Company New York, NY). As I read this book, I keep recalling how pertinent some of the authors remarks are regarding the discussions we are having in my community, and in this country.

I distinctly enjoyed this book and look for more insightful, stimulating works from Ramo. I would recommend this work to you.

Ramo is Managing Director at Kissinger & Associates, former Foreign Editor and Assistant Managing Editor of Time magazine etc. etc. – degreed from University of Chicago and NYU. Consider the following:

“We are entering, in short, a revolutionary age. And we are doing so with ideas, leaders and institutions that are better suited for a world now several centuries behind us. On the one hand, this revolution is creating unprecedented disruption and dislocation. But it is also creating new fortunes, new power, fresh hope and a new global order. Revolutions after all don’t produce only losers — they produce a whole new cast of historical champions.” P. 8.

“We’ve left our future, in other words, largely in the hands of people whose single greatest characteristic is that they are bewildered by the present.” P. 9.

“The main argument of this book is not particularly complicated: it is that in a revolutionary era of surprise and innovation, you need to learn to think and act like a revolutionary (People at revolutions who don’t act that way have a particular name: victims). P. 11

…(paraphrasing here….) Elites who are descendants of the former era engaged in public policy making make poor revolutionaries. In the present era, the most dynamic forces in society come from outside elite circles, from geeks, who might have been thought of in the past as outsiders or losers — to exclude these folks is an error of catastrophic proportions.” P. 37

“In a revolutionary age, our architects tools are deadly. It’s time for us to put them down and follow the injunction to live and think as gardeners.” P. 40.

“When we find that we have reached the end of the bookshelf, then it’s time to write new books.” P. 46

“Systems might look good for a while, but when they are hit with the unexpected, they react in ways that doom them. They simply can’t shed their wrong ideas fast enough. Sound familiar?” p. 61.

…(paraphrasing here….) “The explanation for this shared “wrong view” — a delusion,  really — was social rather than factual. People agreed because they wanted to be part of the community more than they wanted to be right: a set of shared, wrong ideas clung to loyally by people who couldn’t quite see past their illusions or the imagination-killing need to agree and fit in.” p. 62

“Once barriers — which consist in a sense only in man’s ignorance of the possible — are torn down, they are not easily set up again.” P. 96

Read this book

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"How might words, images and ideas open minds, warm hearts and inspire imagination? May you find them refreshing and share them among your people."

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