Our slip is beginning to show

I read two interesting and related articles in the past two days which reveal our slip is beginning to show. The first article spoke of the noticeable decline in travel to the US since the ill-conceived travel ban was instituted by our new President.

The decline is from multiple countries beyond the boundaries of the seven countries noted by the President and has been termed the “Trump Slump.” The lost revenue on our mainland travel is estimated at $185 million per The Global Business Travel Association as reported in The Guardian.

The second article noted the fall off in foreign students interested in attending US colleges and universities. The reason cited is not feeling welcomed by the new administration. This is precisely the kind of immigration we want. The reason is “innovation is portable” per former Reagan and Clinton advisor David Smick. If we attract and retain foreign students, their ideas will bear fruit here. And, jobs initially surround the innovator.

These glimpses of our slip are just the beginning of a decline in revenue should we continue forward with our inward, nationalistic focus. Our slip will show even more and the impact on our growth will be more noticeable.

In an earlier post called “You cannot shrink to greatness,” global trade is accretive to the world’s economy, including ours. By not being welcoming, we will be harming only ourselves. This is a key reason some economists have predicted a malaise or recession under this President once the market euphoria contends with reality.

Words and actions have consequences. If we want to be a global country, we need to act like one.

Rewarding inefficiency

As a former consultant, I have witnessed too often how some are rewarded for their inefficiency. For those who have never worked for a consulting firm, the management goal is to bill all time to a client. So, pressure is applied to record all time spent working on that client, then pressure is placed on the account manager to bill the time charges in the system.

The dilemma begins when you are working on a set  budget for a project and the agreed upon maximum amount cannot be billed, unless you speak with the client first about why additional work is needed. With those further removed from the budgeting/ billing process, they are told to record time, whether they are inefficient or not. As they are measured on billable hours, people who are inefficient are actually rewarded for their inefficiency.

So, Joe is inefficient on his work and has 1,800 billable hours for a year. Susan is efficient and works well within budgets and has 1,500 hours. Joe will get more rewards for his work, even though the company had to write off 300 of his hours that exceeded budgets with clients. I should note this is not an uncommon dilemma. What Joe fails to realize is future project managers may say we cannot use Joe as we always have a write off. So, this may right itself long term, but in a matrix managed world, Joe does not report to the account and project managers, so he will be judged by his supervisors.

Why am I thinking of this? Our President is getting kudos from his followers for doing what he said he would do. The problem is much of what he said he would do may not be the best course of action. While I applaud looking at infrastructure and looking strategically at how we can increase domestic jobs, measures like building a wall or introducing a travel ban will do very little to accomplish making us safer and dealing strategically with immigration. Neither will ignoring the far greater terrorist threat in our country of anti-government and other domestic hate groups that are already here.

I have written earlier these tactics are more like a gorilla beating on his chest than they are about solving real problems. Data centric analysis should drive what we should do, rather than the campaign rhetoric of a man who is not known for his desire to perform due diligence. So, let’s not reward inefficiency. Let’s focus on doing smart things that can help our country. Building a wall and banning travel are inefficient.