Andy Kessler of the Wall Street Journal has written an interesting article based on an interview with Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. There are several key insights from Hoffman; one involved keeping innovative and adaptive employees in the newer heavily networked and fluid economy.
For a company in the newer environment, a key to innovation and adaptation is having employees who are themselves innovative and adaptive. But how do you keep them? As Hoffman says, “what everyone knows is that when you hire someone, there is a good chance that they will eventually be working for someone else.” And the employees know this.
The counterintuitive answer may be to keep investing in the employability of employees. The more ambitious employees will probably know that improving their employability is important for their long run growth and success. They will tend to stay if they have an opportunity to improve their skills and expand their responsibilities and challenges within the company. As Kessler puts it:
“Adaptive employees keep companies vibrant, but those same employees are much more likely to stay if they know they’ll get to keep adapting, gaining responsibility and expertise.”
I suppose in some ways this has always been the case — innovative and adaptive employees have usually been cognizant of the trade offs between staying and leaving for new opportunities. The difference now is that with LinkedIn and other forms of networking the company walls have become much more porous, at least for the more marketable employees. In some ways it has become easier for companies to build human capital quickly, but harder to keep it.
Norman Horn, the founder of LibertarianChristians.com, has announced the first annual Christians for Liberty Conference, to be held August 2, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Horn has been writing about Christian libertarianism for several years, and does good work. More information is available at libertarianchristians.com. I would attend if I could.
The new Theological Seminary of the West will open in Southern California in September, 2014; one of its first courses will be called Spirituality for Busy People. The seminary has asked friend of the Center for Faith and Enterprise Shelley Irvine and myself (Rob Tribken) to teach the class. The class will be held in the Pasadena area on Tuesday seven evenings between September 16 and December 16. For more information, send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
New Seminary Class
We are pleased to offer on our Work as as Calling page (link) an article (link) by CFE friend Tony Mulkern on the value of business and business vocations. (Serious Business: Why It Matters). Tony summarizes some of the arguments made by Michael Novak during his CFE sponsored speaking tour a few years ago, and then concludes with his own advise to business owners:
“When you wonder if it is all worth it, remember that you are a symbol, an example, and one of the drivers of a free people freely creating wealth, a society, and a world in which all can pursue their dreams, consistent with the freedom of others.”
More from Tony can be found at http://mulkernassociates.com/the-executive-compass
A friend passed along a link to the Neil Gaiman commencement address that has received a lot of attention on YouTube. I can see why — Gaiman makes a strong and inspiring case for devoting ourselves to “make good art”. A highlight is when he goes through a litany of things that can go wrong in our lives, and his response to each is “make good art”.
If I made the speech to the graduates I would probably insert a little more respect for practicalities like earning a living. But Gaiman is right — we need to make good art, which in some vocations translates to “do good work”. Seeing our chosen work as good, and as art, and engaging it fully, can go a long ways towards re-establishing a healthy life.
A couple of weeks ago I flew to Florida to attend the wedding of a nephew. Meeting and interacting with people in their twenties gave me a big shot of hope. To see these “kids” establishing themselves in various ventures and careers was really encouraging — they will do well, if we don’t overburden them with various restrictions (and debt!).
On one of the flights, I set next a elderly Chinese immigrant (now a U.S. citizen and a surgeon by trade). He made an interesting observation — that he was always moved when he flew into a city at night and saw all the lights and abundance. As he put it, we are a naturally energetic and productive people who create prosperity — if we are left alone to do so. I think he is right; our children will prove it, if we let them.
The Center for Faith and Enterprise will be conducting its second Spiritual Practices for the Active Work Life July 20/21 in Southern California. The response to the May 12 event was very positive, so we are expanding.
The purpose is to help people find practices, primarily involving prayer and meditation, that can help them in their work lives. More information is available at http://www.faithandenterprise.org/SP/spiritualpracticesretreat.html.
Consider yourself invited. Please also let us know if yourchurch would like to host a future event of this sort.
Panagiotis Evangelopoulos has an excellent short article in the current (summer) issue of The Independent Review (available by subscription). His basic argument is that political leaders in Greece, both left and right, have used political rent seeking to maintain themselves in power. A key quote:
In this type of society, politicians work as brokers in a system of political clientelism. They expand the public sector, exchanging jobs for votes. They also push the private sector into bed with the public sector, assigning to the former secure profits, privileges, and finally explicit and legally established rents — with bribes and corruption forming the dark side of the modern Greek economy.
It’s not just Greece.
Today might be an important day for economic liberty — the Institute for Justice goes to court on behalf of the monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey to protect their right to make and sell caskets on the open market. Chip Mellor of I.J. writes:
When we appear before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on behalf of the monks of St. Joseph Abbey, we will ask the court to confront head-on whether protecting cartels from competition at the expense of economic liberty is a constitutional use of government power.
The Institute for Justice has been doing great work researching the unjust restrictions on small entrepreneurs and advocating for their removal. The degree to which governments at all levels restrict the activity of small entrepreneurs in their efforts to start new businesses should be seen as a major scandal. The IJ’s most recent study on restrictive licensing laws has received considerable well deserved attention; it is clear that established interests often use licensing and other restrictive regulations to protect their own position — at the cost of enterprising individuals being thwarted in their attempt to build businesses. We used an I.J study for a recent CFE article on the absurd restrictions on business formation (and job creation) enforced by the City of Los Angeles.