Thursday

Racism: Why 'the children of a ‘lesser God’ must redefine the next human century and beyond.....

CC™ - Editor-in-Chief

I have always stated to many, including black intellectuals that racism is not an event, statement, person/personality or even an action. Racism, at its very core and foundation, is an institution and that is why I laugh consistently at the notion by white liberals and some blacks that racism must be defeated.

Defeated? Those who are actually 'in the know' understand the implication of that statement and as such they will NEVER allow that to happen; as it would mean the loss of their privilege and influence. I mean why would anyone in their 'right senses' want to give up the power and position they have benefited from for generations.

That opening flurry then brings us to the state of things not only in America (particularly under Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS) but also in the world as we, 'the children of a lesser God' seek to navigate our way through s system and indeed a world that continually views us as a threat. Yes, I said 'as a threat' as the founders of the racist establishment that currently runs the world understand very well how formidable and capable Africans (blacks) are.

Whether it is in the corporate world, national and international politics, sports and entertainment, the system engendered by racism has ensured that blacks in particular remain removed from positions of influence (where far-reaching decisions are made) that determine the ultimate outcome of events in the critical arenas of human life.

THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM

A closer look at the global economic system would serve to buttress my point regarding the institutional nature of racism. It defies logic that a continent (Africa) that produces majority of the worlds key natural resources remains the poorest and the most indebted. A situation where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (all created to perpetuate neocolonialism and western imperialism) determine if, when and how the governments of African countries function basically ensures that the rusty shackles of slavery are replaced by new and shiny ones. It is not a coincidence that the fate of African countries in the hands of these Western institutions is similar to that of blacks in America, Europe or South America when dealing with financial institutions. Blacks generally, even when they have great credit on the average pay higher interest rates than whites and end up being buried (much like African governments) under the weight of indebtedness.

THE UNITED NATIONS

When one looks at the United Nations and most international non-governmental organizations, the tale is the same. There is an undue influence exerted by the United States and Europe (Western Europe to be exact) in the daily affairs of those organizations. Of the five permanent members of the United Stations Security Council (UNSC), only one (China) is non-European. The other four permanent members are Russia, United States of America, Great Britain and France. When you look at that list, three of those five permanent members, the United States, Great Britain and France were three of the key perpetrators of the worst carnage in human history, the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade that robbed a whole continent of its future and destroyed the promise, hope and aspiration of a whole race.

GLOBAL SPORTS AND ORGANIZATION - FIFA, NFL AND THE NBA

When you look at organizations such as the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), the National Football League (American Football) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), the mark that has been laid down by the institution of racism and white privilege can not be over-emphasized. FIFA for the longest time only allowed a whole continent (Africa) with over 50+ countries to produce just one representative to the global showpiece from its inception in 1930 until the 1982 edition (52 years later). At that 1982 edition, FIFA allotted just two slots to Africa in a field of 24 nations (Europe was allotted 14 spots out of the total 24).

The odds continue to be stacked against African reprsenetatives at the FIFA global showpiece with a view to ensuring that an African country never wins the most prestigious global event in the world. FIFA and the European Football Confederation (UEFA) want to ensure that there isn't a repeat of the 1996 Men's Olympic footbal tournament that saw Nigeria defeat global soccer giants (with star studded players) such as Brazil and Argentina on their way to winning the first Gold medal in soccer (football) ever by an African country or a country outside of Europe and South America. FIFA and the IOC went on to ensure the watering down of the Olympic Men's soccer tournament shortly after that Nigerian victory.

THE REALITY

The fact remains that the African (black) resurgence can't be stopped. That resurgence is not intended to ensure the destruction, eclipsing or eradication of anyone (unless they decide to get in the way of its actualization), but instead, the restoration of the basic construct of our humanity. The latter has been lost over the past generations, as avaricious greed, obtuse imorality, unbecoming debauchery and senseless over-indulgence have become the order of the day. What separates humanity from animals is basic and common-sense restraint, as necessitated by our core human make-up. There are consequences to our actions, both intended and unintended. Guns, climate change and politics are not the problem.

The problem lies with the human beings that pull the trigger, engage in actions that harm the environment or profess political views that seek to promote hate, division and a general sense of social anxiety. The first 'black" POTUS (Barack Obama) and the first African President of South Africa (Nelson Mandela) both brought a humanity to their respective positions during their tenures, that had been lacking from their predecessors. While both were invariably still bound by the ubiquitous realities of the positions they held, they nevertheless sought to bring a more humane reality to it and that was evident by the ressistance both had to face while in office.

In conclusion, while the future may seem bleak, one thing remains a constant; the potential and the opprotunity to rewrite the human destiny lies in the African resurgence. The West will not lead, as evidenced by European and American regression into the throes of bigotry and intolerance (with the ascent of the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Italy's Matteo Salvini). Africa must and will lead as history has shown that continent and its people as the ever-enduring moral compass for the world.

© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Wednesday

Ten Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Editor's Pick

Don't discount the importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace. How you are perceived by your manager and coworkers plays a large role in things as minor as your day-to-day happiness at the office and as major as the future of your career.

No matter how hard you work or how many brilliant ideas you may have, if you can't connect with the people working around you, your professional life will suffer. The good news is that there are several concrete things you can do to improve your social skills and become closer to your colleagues, all of which will ultimately help you succeed in today's working world.

Here are 10 helpful tips for improving your interpersonal skills:

1. Smile. Few people want to be around someone who is always down in the dumps. Do your best to be friendly and upbeat with your coworkers. Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude about work and about life. Smile often. The positive energy you radiate will draw others to you.

2. Be appreciative. Find one positive thing about everyone you work with and let them hear it. Be generous with praise and kind words of encouragement. Say thanks when someone helps you. Make colleagues feel welcome when they call or stop by your office. If you let others know that they are appreciated, they'll want to give you their best.

3. Pay attention to others. Observe what's going on in other people's lives. Acknowledge their happy milestones and express concern and sympathy for difficult situations such as an illness or death. Make eye contact and address people by their first names. Ask others for their opinions.

4. Practice active listening. Actively listening is a way of demonstrating that you intend to hear and understand another's point of view. It means restating, in your own words, what the other person has said. Your coworkers will appreciate knowing you really do listen to what they have to say.

5. Bring people together. Create an environment that encourages others to work together. Treat everyone equally and don't play favorites. Avoid talking about others behind their backs. Follow up on other people's suggestions or requests. When you make a statement or announcement, check to see that you have been understood. If folks see you as someone solid and fair, they will grow to trust you.

6. Resolve conflicts. Take a step beyond simply bringing people together and become someone who resolves conflicts when they arise. Learn how to be an effective mediator. If coworkers are bickering over personal or professional disagreements, arrange to sit down with both parties and help sort out their differences. By taking on such a leadership role, you will garner respect and admiration from those around you.

7. Communicate clearly. Pay close attention to both what you say and how you say it. Being a clear and effective communicator helps you avoid misunderstandings with coworkers. Verbal eloquence projects an image of intelligence and maturity, no matter what your age. If you tend to blurt out anything that comes to mind, people won't put much weight on your words or opinions.

8. Humor them. Don't be afraid to be funny or clever. Most people are drawn to a person that can make them laugh. Use your sense of humor as an effective tool to lower barriers and gain people's affection.

9. See it from their side. Empathy means being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and understand how they feel. Try to see things from another person's perspective. You can help yourself with this by staying in touch with your own emotions, since those who are cut off from their feelings are often unable to empathize with others.

10. Don't complain. There is nothing worse than a chronic complainer or whiner. If you simply have to vent about something, save it for your diary. But spare those around you, or else you'll get a bad reputation.

AllBusiness.com

Tuesday

7 best practices to keep you ahead in the workplace

CC™ Introspective - By Remi DaCosta

As a working adult, you spend more time at work than you do with your family, so it’s easy to then see your co-workers to an extent, as an extension of your family. 

Always have this in mind though; since they are colleagues, try to draw a line between normal and intimate conversations which you might regret spilling later. How professional you want to keep your relationship all depends on you. 

In order not to create problems for yourself professionally in the future, here are some things never to do with your colleagues.


1) Discussing your sex life. From experiences to escapades, it will land you in trouble if it gets to the wrong ears.

2) Telling your superior how you spent your weekend is an absolute no-go area, unless it is necessary and related to work. 

3) Gossiping about another colleague. It diminishes your integrity and credibility as a person and besides earning you negative marks on the character side of things, it ultimately does not encourage those you work with to confide in you or trust you. After all, if you would gossip about another person, they would expect you to do the same to them. Steer clear of office politics, gossip and chattercrawl altogether! 

4) Don’t form unnecessary cliques or sideline some people at work. People are really sensitive to issues like this. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. 

5) Revealing big secrets to another co-worker. Talking about big mistakes you made in the past with a colleague or your superior could come back to haunt you. 

6) Be careful about whom you trust and confide in. Watch, learn, verify and document. 

7) Find at least one or two people that you can use as either references or resources from both a professional and personal standpoint, and do not pre-judge anyone until you have had the opportunity to get to know them, within reason. 

At the end of the day, always use your best judgement and understand that life continually evolves and is not determined by just one event, but a series of them. Make sure that at every turn, you are exhibiting the commensurate level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) needed to ensure you are always at least one step ahead.

In closing, while the aforementioned steps are intended to help you navigate the slippery slopes of the work place, the best approach to staying ahead is to understand the underlying culture of your organization. That basic understanding will help you best ensure the preservation of both your (personal) brand and your career.

Monday

Sunday

Flashback: Buhari Is An Ethnic Bigot, Religious Fanatic – Bola Tinubu


CC™ Retrospective

Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, once described General Muhammadu Buhari as an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country, according to a Wikileaks transcript of a conversation between Tinubu and the US consul-general in 2003.

Tinubu disclosed this to the United States spy posing as the consul general – in a 2003 conversation- that Buhari should not be trusted due to his bigot tendencies. He pointed to Buhari’s tribalistic nature as potentially dangerous to the unity of Nigeria. In Tinubu’s summation, he stated: ‘Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo.’ The conversation was recorded by the US Consul General and wired back to Washington DC for analysis. Of which, Wikileaks got a hold of the recorded transcripts and published the conversation.

Section 6 (C) reads “Turning to the presidential contest, Tinubu disclosed that he does not like President Obasanjo because he contributed to the end of democracy in Nigeria during his tenure as a military president and is now benefiting from that history. That said, Tinubu admitted that he and his party, the Alliance for Democracy, must support Obasanjo. Southwest Nigeria is Yoruba land and the President is Yoruba. Tinubu’s party had no choice since it has not fielded a presidential candidate. Moreover, Obasanjo is the only candidate who stands a chance of blocking his rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, whose ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity. Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo. Tinubu and many other governors are therefore implementing a strategy to re-elect Obasanjo, partly in an effort to prevent Sharia from spreading. Tinubu predicted that the President will follow his own course, if re-elected, since he will not need as many friends the second time around.”

However, barely 11 years after, Tinubu and Buhari have forged an alliance to upstage the PDP government. The curious marriage between both men has got many tongues wagging. While some see the new Tinubu-Buhari liaison as a marriage of convenience just to undo the PDP, others expressed suspicion at the intent of Tinubu to sell Buhari to Nigerians this time round, barely one decade after he dismissed the leadership credentials of the former military dictator.

During his reign as Head of State, Buhari introduced a notorious decree to restrict press freedom, under which two journalists were jailed. He ruled with iron fist and was unable to reflate a sagging economy.

His attempts to rebalance public finances by curbing imports led to the closure of businesses and many job losses. The economy took a downturn as prices of goods rose, while living standards fell, leading to a palace coup by Gen Ibrahim Babangida on 27 August 1985.


INDEPENDENT

Friday

Thursday

16 Laws of Psychological Power

CC™ VideoScope

Tuesday

The saga of transactional sex on the campus of Nigerian universities

CC™ Editorial By Oludayo Tade 

Transactional sex among female undergraduates in Nigeria is a social reality. The practice has been reported on regularly in the mainstream media and explored in various research papers

This cross generational relationship is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and across the world where sponsors are commonly known as “sugar daddies”.

In our study on transactional sex in Nigerian universities, my colleague and I looked at the symbiotic relationship between some female Nigerian undergraduate students and aristos – wealthy, married or unmarried men. The students have transactional sex with the aristos in exchange for financial, social or educational support.

Because a great deal of these relationships happen undercover, there are no solid figures on the number of women involved in them. But there are many reasons that these relationships happen. It’s a practice that’s driven by economic hardship, a desire to network socially, and peer influence.
To understand more about these relationships we conducted 30 interviews with female undergraduates – commonly known as “runs-girls”.
We found that the students engage in transactional sex for pleasure and money. Typically, wealthy students would be with an aristo for pleasure, while those who needed financial support did it for the money. Most of the women we spoke to viewed it as a critical survival life investment strategy and rejected the “prostitution” label.
Although these relationships could offer the students economic, emotional, and political support, their effects can also be negative. The students expose themselves to sexually transmitted infections, physical violence and academic setbacks, because the relationships can distract from their studies.
Those with sexually transmitted infections risk spreading these to their boyfriends, while also suffering economic losses seeking treatment.

Finding clients

Aristos are usually wealthy postgraduate students, lecturers, politicians, business people and military personnel. They are people with wealth and authority.
The students looked for these clients on and off campus, using connections and referrals. They then familiarized themselves with the potential client’s routine, aiming to eventually manufacture an encounter.
There’s usually a generational gap between the “runs-girls” and the aristos. The students often refer to their clients as “uncle”, “daddy” and, more recently, “aristo”. All of these bring connotations of the person’s expected role: to take care of the student.
If the students don’t have much financial support from their families, these relationships provide them with that security. Some started as a one-off “date”, for which they got a sum of money. But longer-term relationships also developed in some instances.
In return for sex, the women were given luxury possessions, like cars and mobile phones; investments for businesses they might start; or work placements when they finish their studies.
As one female student said:
The type of connection I have with politicians, lecturers, and military men cannot be purchased with money. At times, when I have problem, all I do is to make a call, depending on the nature of challenges…
In Nigeria, about 23% of young people are unemployed. These connections, with people of influence, may be a ticket to employment. As one “runs-girl” revealed:
One of my clients who happened to be a commissioner connected my senior sister to get a job at immigration even without any much stress…
Transactional sex isn’t limited to financially strapped students. We spoke to rich female students who engaged in it for sexual fulfillment. One 24 year old student said:
I am from a rich home, my father is even a Major (in the army), and my mother a nurse, but I’m involved in campus runs because of sexual satisfaction, although nothing goes for nothing, because sex is for enjoyment. I have a guy that I help financially, and on the long run he pays me back with sex.

Challenges

In this research we identified a few challenges.
Some “runs-girls” accepted offers of unprotected sex for better pay. This put them at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections and, consequently, the cost of treatment. As one student said:
I am always scared of having naked (unprotected) sex. Most times I use (a) condom because one can never know a man that has HIV/AIDS. Although sometimes some men always want naked sex and in that case, they will have to pay triple than what is earlier bargained. Part of the money realized as a runs-girl are used in revitalizing the body, in which I go to the hospital once in a month to examine myself.
Other risks are that the women could be physically harmed. This is particularly true if the clients choose not to pay an agreed amount.
Their education could also suffer as they may choose to engage in “runs” rather than go to class.

Action needed

Getting the government or even universities to take action will prove difficult because our evidence suggests that policy makers, politicians and the business class are involved, as aristos.
Nevertheless, given the risks associated, something ought to be done.One possible solution might be to establish part-time jobs for vulnerable students, and to institute courses about running businesses so that young women can earn money independently.
In addition, institutions should put together and roll out communications campaigns that teach young people about the implications of transactional sex.

Monday

3 Risk Management Functions for Secure Cloud Governance.....

CC™ Technocrat

The method of managing risks on cloud has witnessed a big shift as the pressure on governance model to track variants of risk has become high.

While risk formats have changed in the industry, business continuity is said to be affected with the ushering in of cloud model. The pressure on cloud service providers is increasing in terms of identifying and tracking new risks emerging out of this trend, which sometimes has an adverse impact on the business. 


Sethu Seetaraman, VP/Chief Risk Officer, Mphasis, says that risk management basics do not change with cloud. However, the way in which a control is implemented and monitored is what has changed. “As far as BCP/DR is concerned, the organisation owns BCP/DR in case of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service. Service providers will own BCP/DR in case of Software as a Service. 


You must build or take these services from the cloud service provider based on the availability risk,” avers Seetharaman. 


Why 3 functions of Risk Management are Key to Governance.....


Just as with IT governance, risk management in cloud governance must fulfill three functions argue most CISOs.

Atul Pandey, The ICT Rainmaker: GRC, GSD, PMO & BPM, mentions the three functions: a) Assessing risk b) mitigating risk, and c) measuring the success of that assessment and mitigation.

Pandey says that this is not a static scenario. Risk shifts continually, and the cloud governance model must be able to track these shifts.

Stating facts established by Thomas J. Betcher in his report on a clear analysis of risk and cloud in Cloud Computing: Key IT-Related Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Consideration by IT Security Practitioners,’ Pandey puts forth the type of risks to be managed under the cloud model. 

They include:
  • Policy and Organisational risks: Lock-in, loss of governance, compliance challenges, loss of business reputation, cloud service termination or failure.
  • Technical Risks: Availability of service, resource exhaustion, intercepting data in transit, data transfer bottlenecks, distributed denial of service.
  • Legal Risk: Subpoena and e-discovery, changes of jurisdiction, data privacy, licensing.

According to Pandey, one particularly important observation in the Betcher report relates to risk and frequency. Many traditional IT governance models are designed around IT life-cycles of around three years. 

Within these cycles, IT audit leaves a detailed trail of version and upgrade information.

With the cloud, this changes. Not only does the cycle shrink massively (change can now be measured in hours and weeks rather than in years), the actual versioning of the technology behind the service can remain completely hidden from the consumer. 

As a result, cloud governance models must be able to assess risk from this entirely new perspective.

How Continuity is affected.....

Pandey believes that continuity in itself is solicited as the USP of cloud, at least in comparison with traditional infra.

Business continuity management (BCM) is the result of critical functions and processes assuring that a system performs its mission without incidence, and that the entity responds to all acts or events in a planned, consistent manner. 

Business continuity planning is rehearsed through scenario analysis which:
  • Targets new, evolving or projected risks affecting business operations.
  • Simulates and evaluates the effect of disruptions in information systems support and response time delays.
  • Provides the ground for experimenting on effective solutions to every type of BCM disruption entering into the scenario.
“The analysis to which reference is made is instrumental in elaborating BCM clauses in service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud computing providers,” says Pandey and adds, “Sound governance assures that business continuity studies are part of the evaluation process preceding any top management decision in adopting cloud computing; it also constitutes a factor in choosing a cloud provider.”

Reprinted/Republished with permission from: www.csoforum.in

Sunday

Perceptual Organization - Making sense while thinking

Editor's Corner

In a recent article, I had stressed the fact that the human brain, in addition to being the most extraordinary creation of the human anatomy was also the epicenter of thought, conviction, emotions, consciousness and purpose. In this particular article, the subject/topic of perceptual organization will be the focus of my discussion.

It therefore seemed appropriate to start this discussion with a reference once again to the human brain, as perceptual organization would ‘naturally’ be a part or component of the intricate but detailed functionality of the human brain.

Knowing fully well that learning may play a significant role in perception, there is the school of thought that perceptual organization does reflect innate properties of the human brain. 

More recent work in perception seems to infer that studying perception is basically studying the human brain. In particular, there seems to be more and more, an alignment of such school of thought with physiological observations of the human brain.

What is Perceptual Organization and even more importantly, how does one organize raw sensory stimuli into meaningful experiences that would ultimately make sense (at least to a recipient of the experience generated by the said stimuli)?

Furthermore, in the process of making sense of the ‘sensation’, is the thinking process an evolving one and subject to an individual’s perceptual organization of his or her experiences? Also, what set of mental activities are involved in this organizational process and how ’influential’ are they in the process? Perception involves organization and grouping as well as distinguishing objects from their surroundings.

I do believe and will state that the organization of raw (sensory) stimuli into experiences that make sense and are meaningful to an individual or larger society would normally involve some cognitive functionality. This cognitive functionality would comprise processes such as thinking, knowing, remembering and in some cases, forgetting. This would seem to be a logical sequence as it makes for an organizational process that would ultimately seek to incorporate that which is favorable while through the forgetting process, eliminate that which the senses deem unfavorable.

Throughout this process, the importance of knowledge and experience will ultimately be established as knowing as a result of thinking generates a learned experiential state which whether favorable or unfavorable would ultimately help develop a perceptive frame of reference for the individual concerned. Now, I am not sure if I am making that much sense here, but I am simply stating what I think is in essence the obvious, based on my own perceptual organization.

In asking some of the questions I asked in the second paragraph of this article, I did not do that with the aim of necessarily answering the said questions. I did that in the hopes of asking even more questions by creating a forum for intellectual conversations as to what perceptual organization really is all about; without seeking to necessarily narrow down its definition. What seems to be rather clear however is the realization that knowledge and experience are probably the most critical components of the perceptive process since those two factors may in fact help us better make sense of the input to our sensory systems.

According to Gestalt laws of grouping, there is the school of thought that the whole differs from the sum of its parts (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). The Gestalt theorists for the most part in the 20th century sought to single out the brain processes that would ultimately be responsible for the organization of perception. They argued that while simple sensations essentially consisted of organized percepts, the percepts themselves could be said to be basic to experience. There are also various arguments out there that seek to identify whether or not these experiences are for the most part private (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

As I had stated earlier, perception, in addition to involving organization and grouping, also involves the process of distinguishing an object from its surroundings (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). There is the notion that the moment we perceive an object, the surrounding area around the said object is then the background. Gestalt psychologists are the biggest proponents of this school of thought. That would seem to suggest a concept of separating the figure from the ground and according to the Gestalt school of thought, this process is replicated throughout the various experiences of the percepts themselves (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

There is no question this is probably one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult concepts - perceptual organization) for me to chew on, but I am of the school of thought that a thorough understanding of the subject itself is an evolving one in as much as the knowledge and experience of the percepts themselves, as part of the complex make-up of the human brain.

References:
Ehrenstein, W. (1930). Figure-Ground Segregation. Current Psychology of Cognition, 117, 339-412.

© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Saturday

The Human Brain - A complex but detailed assembly

Editor's Corner

The human brain is probably the most complex but unique creation present in the anatomy of humans. It would be an understatement to refer to the brain as just an extraordinary creation as I would actually go out on a limb and call the brain the most extraordinary creation in the human anatomy. 


The human brain is home, one can say, to everything that makes us tick. In addition to the human mind as well as our various intricate personalities, the brain is the abode of human consciousness, passion, emotion and purpose.

This article marks the beginning of my attempt to find answers to some of the puzzling questions I have always had as to why people do some of the things they do and what the primary triggers for their action or inaction might be. One case that came to mind for me was that of the Vietnamese father in the news a couple of years ago, for killing his four young children. What could have motivated this man to take the life of his own children? The human brain is an organ that essentially is built to learn, hence was this man’s action as a result of some form of defective learning behavior? 


While nature may play a dominant role in our lives, does nurture (one’s environment and learned experiences) however have a more defining role in how we see, interpret and react to events or episodes in our lives? In asking all these questions and having read the details of this particular event, I started to wonder as to what part of his brain cell may have ‘misfired’ and why to lead him to ‘rationalize’ taking the lives of his own children.

In learning to become familiar with our brain, we look to understand not only how its various parts work, but more importantly how we nourish, protect and develop it. I would propose that the human brain in its most basic as well as most complex element is constantly changing and evolving with each experience we encounter. Did the Vietnamese father above therefore ‘readjust’ his notion of what was rational as a result of certain negative experiences in his life or was his action merely a projection of his own self-worth due to a defective processing of information by his brain. 


Was there a critical disconnect between the two hemispheres thus resulting in this defective ‘rationalization’ or was his behavior more as a result of systematic desensitization to what’s wrong as a result of observational learning (modeling) of deviant but admired behavior within the larger American society?

In a society where serial killers, rapists and murderers are ‘revered’ and gain notoriety even over their victims, does the nurture aspect of human brain development through information processing then cloud the Grey area between what is socially acceptable behavior and what is deviant or anti-social behavior? I would hazard a guess that in his native Vietnam, such behavior would lead possibly to immediate execution of the perpetrator or some form of punishment that aims to discourage such anti-social behavior. 


I would also presume that in his native Vietnam, serial killers, rapists and murderers would never be ‘revered’ like the Charles Mansons and Jeffrey Dahmers of the United States; people who actually had movies made about them as well as books written about them.

Therefore it seems as though the human brain, although home to everything from a nature perspective that makes us tick, is however subject to the varying complexities of an individual’s environment and how the same individual reacts or relates to varying stimuli within the said environment. So, while we may nourish our brain by eating the right kinds of foods, getting the right amount of sleep, while also engaging in physiological exercises aimed at maintaining the brain structure at optimum capacity and productivity, the environment might be perhaps the most critical deciding factor as to whether or not information is processed constructively or defectively. 


I would suggest that this might however be open to debate as there are several instances where we can probably show that although the influence of the environment might be a very strong one, how an individual actually processes information on a consistent basis as well as having the right chemical balance within the brain structure may be more of a deciding factor as to the ultimate state of our minds.

Thus, the question arises again. How well do we really know our brain? But more importantly, how do we do our part in ensuring that this most delicate and intricate part of the human ‘anatomy’ remains an asset to the human mind and ambition. The search for answers continues and we are all a part of the process.


© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Friday

10 key leadership skills for successful cross-functional team management

Editor-in-Chief

An organization's cross-functional team provides many benefits and can be a veritable asset in helping to ward off divergent obstacles, that naturally arise in the workplace. 

Management is key to determining whether your cross-functional team either delivers on a consistent basis or itself becomes an impediment to its effectiveness. A well organized, transparent and flexible management structure is crucial in ensuring the success of a cross-functional team.

The following represent some key leadership characteristics of a successful cross-functional team.....

a) Effective Organization - To manage a team of such diversity and complexity, you’ll need a system for organizing deadlines, files, notes, data, research, and whatever else you bring to the project.

b) Equally Effective Communication - Without a clear but concise strategy for effective communication, your cross-functional team doesn’t stand a chance. This is the first and most crucial component of your team’s success and should not be taken lightly.

c) Unified Objectives - It is extremely vital that every one of your team members understands the importance of the task(s) at hand. Keep in mind that the responsibilities of the cross-functional team are often in addition to your team members’ already established duties. If they don’t value the cross-functional team’s objective, they won’t put in the time or effort you require. Help them understand why the team’s objectives should matter to them.

d) Clarity of Purpose - When working with a cross-functional team, conflict and misunderstandings that result in a lack of accountability are commonplace.You can prevent potentially frustrating situations by instituting clearly-stated goals and expectations, not only for the team but on an individual level as well.

e) Conflict Resolution - As should be expected, when a team is comprised of people from different functional areas of any organization, you are going to experience some conflict. It’s important to be prepared to handle this naturally-evolving conflict effectively. Many industry experts suggest you provide your cross-functional team with conflict-resolution training before bringing them together.

f) Be Flexible - One of the greatest benefits of a cross-functional team is that it fosters innovation. By bringing several different areas of expertise together into a positively enabling work environment, you’re creating fertile ground for fresh ideas and new, game-changing insights to flourish. To take advantage of these ideas and help the company improve, you must be flexible, open-minded, and allow these opportunities to manifest. The worst thing you can do to your cross-functional team is to stifle it with narrow thinking.

g) Only The Best (OTB) - Before assembling your "A-Team", it is advisable to spend some time defining the team’s goals, while making a list of the strengths and skills required to accomplish those goals. You will then be able to put together the "perfect team" according to your predefined list of required skills and qualifications.

h) Requisite Cohesion - Provide ample opportunities for your team members to get to know each other better through team-building exercises (both indoor and outdoor). This will foster a spirit of mutual trust and engender a unanimity of purpose and direction.

i) BEFA (Build Each For ALL) - It is important to get to know each member of the cross-functional team with a view to ensuring that the sum of each person's individual strengths is commensurate with the PIE (Professional, Intellectual and Emotional) Capacity needed for the team to achieve its defined objectives.

j) Individual Accolades - Even though at the end of the day, it is all about achieving something tangible for the team/organization, remember to acknowledge the contributions of each member of the team towards realizing the desired goal of the project.

© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Thursday

Editorial Flashback: It's an e-mail scam, not a "Nigerian scam"....

Editor-in-Chief

Imagine my surprise when I turned to the consumer page of the Attorney General of the State of Washington to find that a whole people, in this case citizens of Nigeria, had been painted with a wide brush (see former website content below in italics). Regarding the latter, I am talking about the much talked about e-mail scams or advance fee fraud, many believe originated from that West African nation.

"E-mail Scams - Advance fee and counterfeit check/Nigerian scams: If you suffered a financial loss you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov"
To better understand this issue, it will be prudent to give a brief overview of the most populous country on the African continent, a nation that has disbursed so much good to much of humanity, with some bad mixed in (show me a perfect country or people).
Nigeria gained its independence from Britain on October 1st, 1960. Since then, the country has experienced a civil war (that lasted for three years 1967-1970 and killed 1 million of its citizens) while also enjoying a long spell of economic prosperity and boom from the 70s to the late-80s (much from oil and other natural resources she has been blessed with).
Lately, beginning in the 1990s, the country's infrastructure, image and over-all national reputation has taking a beating, mainly as a result of defective leadership laced with unbecoming greed and avarice.
The general climate of corruption (not quite different from what you would find in most countries but quite overt in Nigeria) has led to an expected societal breakdown, where law, order and common decency became an exception and not the norm.
For all of its struggles with corruption and the systematic destruction of its storied institutions and culture, much of this by its own military, with the acquiescence of the West (the latter mostly concerned with taking its resources by any means), the country has re-set itself back on course, with democratic elections in 1999 and has never looked back since.
The descent into "white collar crime" with the e-mail scams and other forms of criminal activity (by a very marginal minority) does NOT define the nature and character of Nigerians (over 200 million people), with many Nigerians contributing as physicians, scientists, technology experts and business executives in much of the world, particularly Africa, Europe and the United States (with a well established immigrant population in the Puget Sound as well).
While the e-mail/advance fee scam has generally been portrayed as a "Nigerian Scam", recent investigations by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) (working in conjunction with the FBI and Interpol) have shown that most of these crimes (e-mail/advance fee scams) have actually been committed by citizens of other West African countries, namely Ghana, the Sierra Leone and Liberia (due to the wars and extreme poverty in the latter two).
The interesting spin to the preceding information is that America's next door neighbor, Canada, has become a notorious breeding ground as well for a large proportion of these e-mail and other transactional scams. Witness the Canadian "lottery winner" e-mails as well as the offer to send you a "cashiers check" when you try to sell your car on Craigslist.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a body recently set up by Nigeria's democratically elected government, has also been very aggressive in pursuing the perpetrators of ALL financial crimes, within the Nigerian state.
While it is true that the Nigerian government "needs to do more" to ensure that this menace is curtailed (at least within its borders), one can say that the US government also needs to do more, by advising its citizens not to reply to e-mail solicitations to receive money from "relatives", they never had in Nigeria or anywhere else in the first place.

The advance fee fraud and e-mail scam developed a life of its own by the default of enablement. The greed and avarice in the United States (particularly on Wall Street) is there for all to see, but I am yet to see any Attorney General websites or newspapers refer to those as "American scam" or even worse still, label the scam on Wall Street with an ethnic delineation.
I am grateful to the deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Washington AG at the time for heeding my call and that of other well-meaning and hardworking Nigerians to remove the "Nigerian" label on this disgraceful activity.

One would hope that the likes of Sean Robinson (Staff Writer at the Tacoma News Tribune) might also learn something and understand that much like the criminals on Wall Street and those on the corners of the worst neighborhoods of Tacoma and indeed America who murder (serial killers et al), rape, pillage, molest and commit countless heinous crimes, are not branded with an American or other ethnic-American brush, it would be fool-hardy to do the same to others.

Wednesday

The 7 habits of highly successful organizations

Editor's Corner 
                               
As organizations seek ways to improve functional output and operational effectiveness, it becomes incumbent upon business leaders to understand what best practices to adopt, in their quest to achieve sustainable growth and brand stability.

Many are quick to point to the "successes" of some of the world's biggest brands such as GE, Microsoft, Disney, Walmart, Apple and Google, among others. The truth however lies somewhere in between as to what exactly constitutes success beyond just the bottom-line.

A "healthy bottom-line" does not necessarily translate into being an attractive brand or ensure sustainable growth.

What organizations such as Google and more lately Apple have in fact shown, is that there are other mitigating factors that go towards determining the long-term success and brand equity of an organization.

In this piece, a prelude to a more in-depth analysis to come, we explore and profess the key habits that would seem to characterize truly successful organizations.

a) Hire well - As organizations such as Google, Microsoft and Apple (much lately) have learnt, hiring the right talent goes a long way towards building your Intellectual Capital portfolio.

b) Invest in your employees and thus your organization's future - While some of the better known brands are able to attract some of the best talent initially, holding on to that talent pool becomes even more critical. It is not enough to just pay well; in addition to that, organizations that have managed to hold on to their prized talent base, have invested heavily by way of benefits and other quality-of-life perks that are essential to keeping the poachers at bay.

c) Encourage independent thought within your organization - In conversations with peers in the business community, most believe this is one of the areas where Microsoft in particular "went wrong" (the current CEO Satya Nadella has since righted that ship). It's main competitors are said to have seized on a culture (supposedly) within the organization at the time, that did not encourage or value independent thinking.
Organizations that frown on the idea of "thinking-outside-the-box" ultimately leave little room for their business units to procreate. A resulting dearth of unique ideas will ultimately result in the natural death of the said organization.

d) Reward independent thought within your organization - In addition to encouraging a "think-outside-the-box culture within your organization, it is also equally important to acknowledge those with unique and creative ideas. Promotions, raises, bonuses and other forms of recognition should reflect this, as it will only augur well for the continued growth and development of the organization, its brand and of course, its people.

e) Be true to your founding ideals and core corporate principles - Make taking care of your customers/clients a guiding business principle. It is the best practice you could ever indulge in as it engenders brand affinity through credibility.

f) Seek strategic partnerships that complement your business model and strategy - It is important that you align yourself with organizations that share your ideals, beliefs and ideas and subsequently provide a synergistic nirvana.

g) Manage your growth while continuing to innovate - Maintain your identity and stick to a working strategy. Adapt to the pervading business climate in your own unique way and continue to deliver consistently. 

© 2022 2CG Media. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday

Quota system: Why is Nigeria still breastfeeding the North?

President Buhari has been accused of ethnic bias
CC™ Viewpoint - By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo

Nigeria: Imagine two students in the same secondary school in Kaduna. They are 18. They are filled with youthful patriotism. They sit for admission exams into the NDA. They both want to read Mechanical Engineering. Efosa scores 280. Musa scores 180. Efosa's celebrations are cut short. He is not invited for an interview. Musa who scored 180 is hopping around. He has been invited for an interview. Musa is admitted. Efosa and Musa are Nigerians but from different states. Efosa with his 280 repeats the NDA exams the following year. He takes another 2 years to achieve a score of 300 and is finally admitted. Musa and Efosa become military officers. Musa who scored 180 when Efosa scored 280 is Efosa's boss. Musa remains Efosa's boss for the entire military career.

Musa would be happy. Efosa would carry a grudge against the country in his heart. Musa would be celebrated someday. He would be called Nigeria's finest. Efosa might get his chance. But with the grudge in his heart, he might not reach the top. Someday it would seep out and it could be Musa that would retire him.

Emir Sanusi is right, quota system should have an expiry date. But I think our quota system has already expired.

The North is full of smart people. It only needs to treat education with the same seriousness with which it attends to elections. If the North had come to education with the same keenness with which it approached population and census over the years, it would have been more educationally advanced than the South.

Quota system doesn't do the image of the North any good. Quota system creates the impression that the north is mentally handicapped. The North must understand that quota system ridicules it. The sort of mockery fit for a young adult who has refused to let go of feeding bottles.

Quota system distorts the system. It confers on its beneficiaries advantages meant for the handicapped. When persons who have two legs take advantages meant for wheelchair users they ought to feel some shame. 60 years after independence, the quota system we practice today is disgraceful.

The sections that benefit from it must feel the weight of its shame. It's possible they have never really addressed their minds to its ugly implications. The quota is simply an admission of inferiority. It simply says some groups lack the capacity to compete with others. That should be a humiliating position to adopt. So why are the beneficiaries marching around oblivious of its shame?

Quota system like other affirmative actions is righteous if they serve moral purposes. Whites in the United States denied blacks education and denied them participation in society. When slavery and racism were abolished, those chronic injustices meant blacks had been left far behind others. Since blacks couldn't compete but had to be included, blacks were allowed to get into Ivy League universities with lower scores. That was an adjustment made to accommodate their handicap. It was done to correct a gap created by injustice.

Quota system in Nigeria of today would be pardonable if it served to uplift women. Women and girls have been subjugated for ages. Girls in the far North have been excluded from education by retrogressive cultures. Quota system for northern girls only could be excusable to some extent. But a quota system used to service the ambitions of able-bodied but indolent men must be properly characterized as corruption-a reward for laziness.

Our statesmen who instituted the quota system must have intended a short-term measure to improve the participation of certain groups in national education and perhaps policymaking. They couldn't have anticipated a situation where political leaders in the North would abandon education and not be confronted with the consequences of their waywardness. Laziness should not be rewarded. The abysmal school enrollment figures in the North must reflect on the bigger stage.

Imagine a situation where admissions into the Nigerian Defense Academy were carried out only by merit. No one would be expected to disclose his state of origin. The best students would be chosen the way we choose players for the Super Eagles. We would have an officer corps chosen solely on merit. It could become lopsided. There could be grumblings about its lopsidedness. But no one would complain he had been cheated. States who abandon education would face the consequences of allowing rent-seeking manipulative politicians lead them.

When the nation was at infancy, sections like children had to be appeased with candies. Those who showed retardation had to be propped. But 60 years after independence, 60 years after all sections have had a chance to improve their educational system, 60 years after those who were thought weak have held the steering wheel, no section deserves this national babysitting.

When a system is used to improve political inclusion, it is good. When a system is used to perpetuate mediocrity and reward indolence it is evil. The quota system cannot continue to be used to help the very group that has dominated political leadership in the country.

Katsina has had two presidents. Katsina had a deputy military head of state. Niger state has had two heads of state. Katsina and Niger have been in the thick of things of national politics for ages. Yet, Katsina and Niger, are still deemed so educationally backwards that their indigenes cannot be allowed to compete with indigenes of Edo state.

Take a state like Borno. The National Security Adviser, the Chief of Army Staff, the president's Chief of Staff, the EFCC chairman are all from Borno State. Borno occupies more positions than any other State in the security architecture of this third world country. Why should Borno State indigenes be allowed to get into the military and security services with lower scores than people from Delta State?

I looked at the list of students for the National Common Entrance Examinations from just a couple of years ago; Zamfara literally didn't participate. If that list is reliable then almost everyone who applied from Zamfara would gain admission because the number that applied from Zamfara is less than the number that applied from every small school in Lagos.

Yet, tomorrow, from amongst that small number of largely unqualified Zamfara students that would be admitted, the federal character would step in and catapult them to the highest positions in the land. If we practiced such a decadent system in our football or athletics we would be about the worst sporting nation in the world. So why do we practice it in politics, 60 years after trying to weave a nation?

I have read the arguments that say politics is not football. They mean exclusion would cause discontent and instability. But nothing causes discontent and instability more than injustice. When we shout 'One Nigeria,' we must mean it. True 'One Nigeria" is a Nigeria where all citizens are equal; where neither state of origin, religion nor ethnicity confers any advantages or disadvantages.

The North is full of smart people. Polices that cast it in negative light must stop. The abolition of the quota system is long overdue.