JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 178 : 2 April 2005

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

Click on any item to jump directly to that item

Schneider corporate culture - American (Modicon) view

We have had many responses to the "Schneider Corporate Culture" featured in the previous eNews (23 March 2005). Many people are surprised at how so many acquisitions have not only survived, but thrived, as part of this giant French company. There was the usual sprinkling of cynics, who felt I was "too nice".

Well, here is the view from a well-known major US subsidiary - Modicon. Paul Hamilton [paul.hamilton@modicon.com] from North Andover, MA, USA provided this feedback:

    "Jim, I have to say your assessment is pretty good. The thing that I think is missing is a sense of the people and the environment at Schneider. It's important to understand how the company manages toward the future.

    "Every 3 years the company organizes around a growth and productivity initiative that drives the behavior and objectives of all groups and divisions for the following 3 years. We are just starting the 4th such program that I am aware of. This one is a 4 year program as opposed to the previous 3 year programs.

    "As this is the 4th generation of this type of program the company is becoming more efficient and more organized around developing and implementing goals and objectives. It is well organized and it strongly drives focused behavior and results. You can find this NEW2 program on the Schneider web site, finance section under new company program.

    "Relative to the people and environment: Yes the 12 member executive team includes 4 non-French personnel as you mentioned. However, what is not so obvious is: 9 of these members are new to their positions in the last 1 to 2 years thus highly energized and motivated to achieve results. 8 have held senior expatriate positions in other countries prior to joining the staff. These assignments include China, USA, Africa, and other Asian and Europeans countries. This is a team with a real global view from personal experience as opposed to the typical fly-in-fly-out experience of many senior management teams.

    "Moving a large company forward is about change. As you recognize, change is disruptive and creates some amount of discontent. I am sure, like every big company, we will have our share of people that are not happy as the company finds it way to the next level of results. However, there is a difference at Schneider.

    "Management is engaged with the business and encourages people to express and act on their opinions if it brings real benefit to the company objectives. You can be an entrepreneur and you can make a difference if you choose. People are rewarded for this behavior.

    "Management is clear and goal driven. NEW2 describes a simple set of objectives around people, growth, and efficiency that everyone in the company understands and has integrated into their own goals at a department or group level. These goals were not developed in a vacuum but developed with strong participation from the top 100 global managers.

    "In 1Q05 NEW2 was cascaded to 600 top managers and subsequently to every employee in the company. The results, progress and issues are reviewed every month by the COO and cascaded down throughout the company. All this creates an environment of clear performance minded people focused on achieving results consistent with company goals.

    "The company cares about people, the environment, and the community. Seldom have I seen a company that consistently encourages everyone to always try to make a difference in the places they live and in the world. Community programs are always in the highest level goals of the company.

    "Schneider Electric employees expect this and respond to this though local programs or corporate programs such as our recent tsunami relief efforts. The company is always striving and driving to be at the forefront of Environmentally friendly behavior such as RoHS (reduction of hazardous substances) and Eco design programs.

    "In summary: Schneider is a diverse company that thrives on and encourages local cultures to develop and grow in their own way in each country. Yet, at the same time, and without destroying this value, Schneider has been able to create an environment where everyone understands and is focused on the same goals for global growth and efficiency. This is the real value and culture of Schneider Electric. And that is why we will continue to succeed."

Click The Schneider Corporate Culture

Click Aggressive French giant, Schneider Electric

Return to the TOP

Jack Welch on Winning

During his 21 years as General Electric CEO, Jack Welch turned the stodgy giant into one of the world's most respected companies. On his retirement in 2001, he published a book, "Jack: Straight From the Gut". This got mixed reviews and, according to Jack himself, didn't go far enough.

Now at 69, Jack Welch still shows the passion and insights that made him a fabled leader. His new book, "Winning" will be published this week (copies available from Amazon, link below.) It's better than the last, perhaps influenced by his new wife Suzy, who is billed as co-author.

In late 2001, Jack Welch began an affair with Suzy Wetlaufer, editor of the Harvard Business Review (he was 66, she 42). She was interviewing him for an article when, according to them both, they "fell in love". Their relationship filled gossip columns and she quit her job. Jack got a messy, expensive divorce during which his former wife's lawyers leaked details of his lavish GE retirement contract, creating a second wave of scandal. Eventually the headlines faded, but the love affair didn't and they were married in April '04.

CBS "60 Minutes Wednesday" had a fascinating interview with Jack & Suzy Welch this week (30 March 05). They talked frankly and openly with Dan Rather about themselves, their love affair, their life together and their new book. This week too, Newsweek (4 April 22005) had Jack Welch on the cover, with a well-written article, "Jack on Jack - his next chapter" and an exclusive excerpt from the new book.

"Winning" is an instruction manual for corporate climbers. It describes Jack Welch's rules on leadership; how to implement his famed system for rating employees; how to hire and fire; how to survive when your employer is acquired; how to plot strategy.

Here is a short version of Jack Welch's "Rules of the Game":

  1. Relentlessly upgrade your team.
  2. Make sure people not only see the Vision, they live and breathe it
  3. Get into everyone and everything, exuding positive energy & optimism
  4. Establish trust with candor, transparency & credit
  5. Have the courage to make unpopular decisions & gut calls
  6. Probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism
  7. Inspire risk-taking and learning by setting the example
  8. Celebrate

Click Newsweek book excerpt - Welch: How to be a good leader

Click Newsweek (4 Apr. 05) - Jack on Jack: His Next Chapter

Click Book - Winning, by Jack & Suzy Welch

Return to the TOP

Wee Gallery - smart art for little minds

Permit me a proud, nepotistic plug here - for Weegallery.com, the web-based business started by my son David and his wife Surya, now living in St. Petersburg, Florida.

When their son Siddhartha (now 3) was born, David and Surya read all they could about babies and discovered some interesting things. For example, during the first 5 years babies learn more than they do over the entire rest of their lives. Newborns can only see 12-15 inches away and are most taken with their parent's faces and black & white geometric figures. Experimenting with this idea, Weegallery was born - from Surya's talents as a graphics artist and David's background as a teacher.

Weegallery.com started with a line of prints from hand-painted drawings that take advantage of an infants visual strengths. Whimsical animals entertain and engage the baby, transforming the crib into a wee gallery. The hand-drawn animals work especially well with newborns, but also appeal to babies, older kids and adults alike. Sid is now 3, and has a new sister Anya, born just 3 months ago. So the parents, now with more experience, are expanding the Weegallery.com lineup.

There are now several Weegallery products:

  • Flash Cards : A boxed set of 6 5x7" baby flash cards, when placed in the crib make a wee art gallery for baby.
  • Mobiles: Easily turn the Wee Gallery flash cards into a cool and engaging urban mobile for baby.
  • Wall Graphics: Elephant and giraffe available as removable wall graphics - just peel and stick. Can be repositioned, with no damage.
  • Greetings: Wee Gallery animals are available as blank greetings cards; used as birth announcements, congratulations or for any baby events.
Wee Gallery products were featured recently in the Boston Globe. They are now sold in the San Francisco Museum of Art, as well as several baby-specialty stores throughout the US. You can buy online.

Explore these interesting weblinks.

Click The Weegallery story - How Weegallery started

Click Weegallery products

Click What people are sayings about WeeGallery

Click Weegallery Online Store

Return to the TOP

Editorial - Slavery Today

Think on this. Would you buy the proverbial $1,000 Rolex watch for $50 on the street in New York? Hey, not so fast - you know that if it's a genuine Rolex then it's probably stolen. Or, more likely, it's a cheap fake. So, in either case, you'd simply refuse and walk away.

Well, how many "cheap" things do you buy everyday? If you knew that some things were the results of cheap labor in some other country, you may justify your purchase by thinking that you're providing employment for someone in the world who needs the job. Well, what if you discovered that the cheap labor was, in reality, slavery? Would you still buy? Or, would your excuse be that you didn't really know?

This is a tough moral and ethical conflict. Buying only higher priced products doesn't resolve the conflict; you could still be buying slave-labor, disguised with credible pricing. It would be like a smarter street salesman offering that $1,000 Rolex watch with a more credible price. It's difficult to know where it ends. But, consider this - many of the products you DO buy today in US and European department stores are indeed the results of slave labor.

Slavery exists because it's a lot cheaper than regularly paid labor. Remember, there's a minimum wage in the US and most developed countries, which makes things expensive. The surprising thing is that slavery goes on right under our noses. The CIA estimates that in the US alone, 50,000 people are trafficked as sex slaves, domestics, garment manufacturing and agricultural slaves.

The polarization of wealth and poverty stimulates slavery and makes it worse. Capitalism has always accepted the exploitation of labor to increase profits, and an extension is the exploitation of slave labor. With an abundance of people living in abject poverty, it seems reasonable to use their labor, rather than allow them to starve.

Half the world is living (if one can call it that) on less than $2 a day, and one-fifth is barely surviving on half of that. Gross inequality is exploding, and millions of people are "living" as slaves. By conservative estimates, there are 27 million people working under various forms of slavery in the world today, and the number is growing. Unlike the blatant slavery of past centuries, today's slaves go un-noticed and are seldom reported in the national media.

I keep bringing this up because it needs to be discussed. Slavery is an insidious problem, with no quick and simple solutions. But it won't go away without your involvement at grass-roots levels. Think on it.

Click Modern Day Slavery Fact Sheet

Click CNN - Modern-day slavery alive and well in Florida

Click Modern Day Slavery Around The World

Click Modern slavery is uncomfortably close

Return to the TOP


Michael Ding [junying_ding@hotmail.com](Chinese name: Ding Junying) who lives in China, responded to Joanne Harris' comments on his previous eFeedback on the topic of the China challenge:
    "First I have to explain, to make sure there is no misunderstanding and that both sides are focused on the same point.

    "Because of the following two points, perhaps the comments made were a little confused. a/ My comments which initiated this discussion were not my considered opinion; I wrote spontaneously while reading eNews. b/ English is not my native language, and this limits my ability to express. OK, now let's get back to the topic. I will try my best this time.

    "First, I think that economics is decided by global social development, and not by any country or government's opinion. The market economy is objective, even though every individual person contributes to it. Now China is one member of the global market economy, but it is much weaker than developed countries. The transfer of low end jobs (i.e. labor intensive jobs) to developing countries (i.e. China) is decided by the market. Actually, this is beneficial to both sides, at least in today's situation. That is why so many goods in Walmart are labeled "Made in China", but the brands are those of US companies. Walmart and other international companies are happy for this, because they make money from it.

    "On the other hand, China has to take the low end jobs, because it has to survive, even though China pays a lot that is not reflected in the market price - such as environmental problems.

    "I made a mistake in my first feedback when I wrote, "As for US, they also should give up low end tech....". If this is what confused Joanne Harris, I apologize. I am wrong on this; the phenomenon is not decided by the US or China; they can only affect it by policy to some degree from their own respective standpoint.

    "Second, I'd like to say that China is not begging anyone for help, and certainly not when the help asked will make someone lose their job, or become homeless. China has NO intention to rob jobs from someone else. DEFINITELY NO. I think China is just playing in a game called "market economy". China, and even the US, is following, and must follow, the rules of this game. China appreciates any kind of help to improve the quality of life for its people; but we don't beg for anything. Chinese are getting richer by working hard, not by getting "free rides", or robbing jobs.

    "Third, no matter whether there is someone who tries to stop the growth of China, it is not important. Because that is not decided by anyone.

    "Fourth, in the long term, please don't be surprised that China will enter the high tech field. There has been surprising technology developments during the last 200 years and China was left far behind the advanced nations. But 200 years is very tiny compared with history. I am confident that China will catch up with advanced nations."

    "I hope this helps to make my opinion clear."

Return to the TOP

Gary Costello [garycost@rcn.com] from Massachusetts, USA, provides a realistic view about the job market for engineers and the transfer of technical jobs to other countries:
    "I've a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and, after working for five years in that capacity, transitioned to technical writing. I have subsequently been immersed in documentation design and delivery for over 35 years. During that time, I've experienced an inexorable and dramatic shift from hardware- to software-based needs. In fact, during the last 9 of those years, I've been engaged as a consultant/contractor and virtually all my work has been software-oriented with ever increasing utilization of off-shore developers. Hardware-oriented work has essentially evaporated and is effectively non-existent.

    "I'm very much up-to-date on desktop publishing applications and tools and am quite fortunate that (although aged 59) my talents are in demand. I'd like to believe it's my skills that keep me employed; but that has nothing to do with it. Rather, I'm genetically fortunate and thus appear to be about 40 or so. Furthermore, during the past 5 years I've accepted steadily decreasing compensation for my services; I'm now earning about 60% of what I did in 2000.

    "Simply stated, I'm employed only because I appear to be an acceptable age, am willing to work cheap, and I have no problem at all working in harmony with employees from India, China and Korea (who constitute about 70% of the workforce in my current situation). The oldest among them is less than half my age.

    "Incidentally, if the cost of living in the US were the same as that in India, China and Korea, then earning less pay here wouldn't be a problem. But that's not the case; therefore, I've been removed from the big-ticket buying scene for a long time. My income pays for survival needs - and that's it.

    "The huge message to the US populace is this: if you intend on pursuing high-technology as a career, stay away from hardware development and be prepared for a short-lived (i.e., 15- to 25-year) professional career in software development. That's a frightening, yet accurate, prognosis. The incentive to pursue high-tech careers (other than designing games and toys) is being eroded. I've a 30-year old college-educated daughter (who did NOT pursue a career in high tech and is employed). Many college- educated friends her age, who DID pursue such a career, are unemployed.

    "Eventually, we won't make anything and will have outsourced everything but our debt. I guess ultimately only MBA degree programs will remain in our colleges and universities. All the rest will be viewable in museums."

Return to the TOP

Michael Perrin [mperrin@icehouse.net] gave this view of the Microsoft morass:
    "Steve Ward of GE Fanuc UK pretty much sums up the reasons that commercial software suppliers are content with Microsoft: Most people have it, they can't do much without paying someone for a program, bugs and security problems create a huge market for protective software and endless maintenance fees, the MS "open" standards are specifically designed to leave the user no alternative, and the supplier only has to deal with one development environment.

    "I am an application engineer at a company whose flagship product is based on Windows, but I do my daily work on a Linux workstation. My wife won't give up the remaining W2000 machine at home because of the foo-foo programs to make greeting cards and such; but she gets email, prowls the Internet and maintains her recipe index spreadsheet on her Linux-only laptop. I built a Linux box for my computer-illiterate sister-in-law and she is happy receiving and sending email, using the Internet, writing letters and clever invitations, and using photos from her digital camera. She is an example of one type of person for whom Microsoft offers no benefit - she does everything by rote and no OS is comprehensible. With Linux she avoids the viruses and crashes as well as the costs. And since I am her technical support, I avoid much of the aggravation.

    "Microsoft is like quicksand: once you fall in it's hard to get out but it feels so much better when you do.

    "By the way, I don't mean to imply that Linux is the only alternative to Microsoft. For those who prefer the pure commercial environment, there is always the Mac. When was the last time you heard of a Mac user worrying about viruses?"

Return to the TOP

JimPinto.com eNews - on the web

If you've missed a couple of issues of eNews, or wish to refer to earlier items, please note : You can see ALL past issues online at :

Click Index of ALL past JimPinto.com eNews

eSpeak to me

If smell something fishy in your pond, please e-let me know and I'll check it out. Please send your tips and alerts, your news, views and stews. I'd like to e-hear from you.

If you have comments or suggestions for Growth & Success News, please contact me directly at : Click Jim@JimPinto.com

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

If you got this eNews through someone else, you might like to subscribe for a regular free copy, direct to your own email. Just click your mouse on :
Sign up for regular hot news, views and stews

Or, if you're lazy (you may miss some privileges) simply send a blank email message to :
Click Sign-up@JimPinto.com
with subject line : "sign me up for JimPinto.com E-mail news".

To be removed send a blank email message to
Click eRemove@JimPinto.com with subject line "Remove".

Stay in e-touch!


Return to eNews Index Return to eNews Index

Return to Jimpinto.com Homepage Return to JimPinto.com HomePage

If you have ideas or suggestions to improve this site, contact: webmaster@jimpinto.com
Copyright 2000-01-02 : Jim Pinto, San Diego, CA, USA