Monday, September 3, 2007

الانسان "اكثر " ما نملك

To follow up on my previous post, and in response to what the family of our friend Who-Sane went through, please allow me to elaborate on the statement in the title of this post. For decades, the Jordanian government has been feeding us the infamous slogan of " الانسان اغلى ما نملك ." While it was known to many that it's a cheap way of rallying Jordanians behind a corrupt government and its illogical policies, one wonders of the inability of people to organize in opposition. I recently read an article on how Jordanian political parties lack the influence and a clear agenda of how to run the country if they were to be given the democracy they wish for. If they were allowed to run for prime minister and form a cabinet. Or if they were to sincerely have the people in their hearts when debating laws and regulations in the parliament.
Therefore, it is not the government to be solely blamed for the colossal inefficiency and wide spread corruption. the government is still corrupt, but when the people themselves are corrupt "beyond repair," it is hard for any government to change the culture and behavior of so many people if they still consider it to be "normal." What Who-sane's father went through is a clear example of a corrupt government and corrupt Public, from stealing the old man's cell phone to the clerk's refusal to flip just one more page back into the register.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jordanian Public Sector Employees

the Jordanian government continues to be the largest employer in Jordan. that shouldn't strike you as a major hurdle to reform. if the government controls the majority of the work force, then it is easier to implement changes and easier to mandate a higher standard of professionalism and increased productivity. but, unfortunately, it does not work that way. the reason Jordan's sector is very large is because the government is trying to please as many tribes as it could and those higher level officials could "provide" favors to their future voters.
if we were to look at it from a pure business view point, Jordan suffers from a far higher unemployment rate. all those who go to work to merely read newspapers and drink coffee and tea are really unemployed, although they technically have a job, they bring average productivity down, and they decrease offered salaries.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Organizing Your Office & Life (PART I)

These tips are based on reading a book entitled “It’s hard to make a difference When you can’t find your keys”.The following tips are not a magical solution to the paper clutter in your office or the piles of clothes in your bedroom… Organizing your life is something to work at… it requires discipline and below are tips that may prove to be of great value…

1) WHY?

Find out why you want to be organized, its very important to know the benefits you’ll reap from organizing your desk, car, home, … It’s a new form of discipline that requires a high level of motivation. Are you wasting too much time looking for things at work or at home? Do you end up with a red face when you’re asked urgently for that piece of paper, how many appointments are you missing because you can’t find your keys, your mobile, or that nice looking black sweater… List your reasons and place the list someplace visible to keep you motivated.

2) Envision

When you are clear about WHY? Start visualizing J what the hell are we talking about?! let me explain, visualizing your organized life might include seeing your desk in the back of your mind clear and tidy, you can see yourself finding everything easily and quickly, visualize the activities you can enjoy with the extra time you free up when you’re organized, visualize your home all tidy and clean, no more shirts lying around here and there, no more piles of dirty plates covering the kitchen sink…It might sound too dramatic but it helps you identify what you want, can help you relate it in memory at a more powerful level, it provides you with a motive and most importantly if you can envision something, then its not impossible anymore…

3) Observe!

Where is all this mess coming from? To answer this you must observe yourself as if you’re watching a movie, you will be amazed at what some people found out. Who would have thought your mess might be caused by things such as, not saying no to people, maybe not checking your planner before giving appointments, return that piece of paper to the file don’t keep it there cause you might need it in an hour or too... Etc.

4) Support

Did you ever talk about this with a friend at work? For the first instance it might not seem like a good idea but you’ll be amazed how many people suffer from the same thing before they reach a level of organization and their experiences will most likely be close to your one if you share the same work environment. Family and friends can also be a great source of help in your mission.

5) Organizing Wisdom

Lets face it, its quite simple, first you’re ready then you take action and ACTION CREATES A MESS! To proceed with further actions efficiently you have to go back to the ready stage. Roll up your sleeves; it’s time to get ready.

6) Getting ready

So much backlog to handle, from mail and invoices to old clothes eating your space you need to spend at least one to four hours a week (Max.) on getting through the back log. Focus on one area at a time, your desk, your car or one closet at a time don’s say I’m going to through everything away this weekend but focus at one small area and remember slow and steady wins the race.

7) Be realistic with time

Always time your activities with attention to details, you might think that driving from home to work is a 10 minute ride, now calculate it from the time you leave your doorstep, to reaching your car, then driving, going up the elevator or walking the walk. Prepare to be amazed, so this is why I'm always late?! Those 5-10 minutes add up to your mess. You wake up in the morning at 7:45, have to be at work at 8:00 have Two meetings back to back and a deadline to meet, a couple of urgent emails regarding a quotation that should be delivered by the end of the day. Plus a few calls to return. I got hectic just writing it down…etc. The point is; be more realistic with your schedules and have a look at them before you hit your office in the morning.

8) Helpful habits·

Put keys, glasses, hats, gloves in the same place every day. Clear off floors and counter tops at the end of the day (or week).· Put things back immediately after you use them.· Put your toothbrush on the holder rather on the sink.· Bring everything in from the car when you get home (Everything).· Empty your handbag or briefcase of the excess at the end of each week.Don’t do all the above at once, establish regular habits two at a time and remember although they seem small tasks but they can be really hard. Stick to it, again and again, although seemingly trivial habits but they will make your life a lot less hectic. Over time it will become an easy part of your life.

9) Building systems

The most important thing is that the system should work for YOU, remember your goal is to create a routine that helps you find the information you want as quickly as possible. Define your goals first. Your system should be simple, accessible, low maintenance, personal, if you like colors use them. And try your best to keep incoming flow to a minimum with fewer duplicates. Delete what you don’t need as quickly as possible…

10) We own things, they don’t own us.

A very difficult thing is discarding things we have but don’t need or don’t love… it uses up space… Free yourself, free your space, if you don’t LOVE that piece of furniture get it out of there… And always pause before a purchase, where will this fit and do you really need it… is it useful…

Should All of Jordan Become a Duty Free Zone?

Successful initiatives should always be replicated in order to have, you guessed it, more success. we have all noticed the amount of investments the Aqaba Special Economic Zone has been receiving. We have also seen how trade originating and/or passing through Aqaba SEZ have increased to, sometimes, unmanageable levels. But we really should think strategically of the geographic location Jordan has. we have an advantage over Dubai in terms of proximity to Europe and the Americas, Better Weather, more experienced labor pool, and, of course, the amount of rebuilding business Iraq is bound to experience once everything settles down in that war torn country.
I had the pleasure the other day of buying a "Made in Jordan" polo shirt. I didn't need it. but it was the least I could do to support Jordanian made products. since the item was made in Jordan, it enjoys a tax-free entry into the American market. only if the government did a better job marketing Jordan as an industry-friendly, investor welcoming place. in no time, Jordan will start having a trade surplus, which translates into increased hard currency reserves. Consequently, Jordan will have lower loan rates due to the country being backed by its reserves, and also investors will be encouraged to operate in the country without fears of local currency collapsing and inflation rising.
what do you think Jordan should do to increase its economic growth rate?
how should Jordan encourage foreign direct investment?
what should Jordan do to eliminate poverty and unemployment?