What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.

Challenge

Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:

Centralization

By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.

Culture

Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.

Conclusion

It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.

Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki Recommend Network Marketing – Are They Crazy?

Donald Trump and Roberty Kiyosaki Recommend Network Marketing – DO YOU?Network Marketing just seems to be one of those businesses. We’ve all either heard or said the famous question, “IS THIS ONE OF THOSE PYRAMID THINGS?” Network Marketing is one if not THE most miss-understood business models ever. In fact, Network Marketing is NOT EVEN understood by a large percentage of people involved in the business. Why is that, well in my opinion there are 2 primary reasons the masses don’t understand Network Marketing.The first reason people don’t understand network marketing is because; they have a preconceived notion of THE BUSINESS without having any information of substance. People THINK, they know – when really they have NO IDEA. We all look at business through a set of RETAIL eyes, unless we’ve received or sought out specialized training. In other words we all NATURALLY think of a store. We think of products being sold to an end consumer. Network Marketing sells to consumers too, but NOT in a traditional method – there is no store, wealth is not created in Network Marketing through traditional RETAILING or SELLING.The second reason people don’t understand Network Marketing is because people make decisions BASED ON EMOTION, then AFTER – the decision is made they back the decision with THEIR LOGIC. Were all human and that’s how we operate. So, when someone is exposed to the opportunity they will FEEL a certain way about what they’ve seen. They may feel that THIS WILL BE EASY, IT’S TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, TOO HARD, THEY CAN’T DO IT, I DON’T LIKE SELLING, or LET’S DO THIS, people will FEEL a given way FIRST. Each individuals FEELINGS will be based on the individuals own experiences and self-image they will then back this FEELING with logic.Humans are emotional beings; MLM is an emotional business and has to be because people are emotional. So what emotion is a new person who sees the light going to experience??? You guessed it EXCITEMENT! Excitement and enthusiasm is important in any endeavor, unfortunately when it comes to Network Marketing it’s usually misplaced. This miss-directed excitement can become a problem when the new Networker receives or ACCEPTS no training. EVERY company offers training, but not every person ACCEPTS IT. Too often the attitude about how to build a business is “IT’S OBVIOUS” but the reality is Network Marketing is a simple business that requires a decision for success first, then the action necessary to achieve that success.So to quickly review, MORE OFTEN than not in MLM, someone who “SEE THE LIGHT,” gets started, doesn’t understand the business but THINKS THEY DO, receives or accepts no TRAINING, and then QUICKLY has success but doesn’t know why or how, so they can’t EFFECTIVELY train others, or they KILL their own dreams of a better life at the first sign of adversity and quit. The system of MLM is designed to avoid these traps, but unfortunately most don’t follow the system.SAD RIGHT! Of course it is. So why would 2 WELL RESPECTED, entrepreneurs like Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki stick their neck out and recommend Network Marketing? Don’t they know most people don’t understand it or “FEEL” like it’s a scam or ARE THEY NUTS???Well, Robert and The Donald understand that Network Marketing is first about PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS. The business is about people before products, commissions, or anything else. A Network Marketing business is a collection of PEOPLE, and PEOPLE are the asset to the MLM business, and to all businesses. They also understand that Network Marketing is LEVERAGED – DISTRIBUTION business. That sounds kinda fancy, but it’s really SIMPLE. Network Marketing is not about retail, it’s about DISTRIBUTION. The distribution is created through RELATIONSHIPS. The goal is to create a distribution channel of like-minded people for the purposes of retailing through recruiting. It’s a model where distributors are CONSUMERS and can distribute to consumers, while creating individual and collective success. The real magic, is in the bond of like-minded individuals working toward the same goal. The leveraging component is created because of the commission structure, and because everyone has the same rights and ability to grow their business without any bias. Entrepreneurs of Robert and Donald’s caliber understand that the right relationships are the key to success in business and LEVERAGE is the only way wealth is created. MLM combines relationships and leverage in a business with NO BARRIERS to entry or CAP on income.Most business especially in a sales environment have commissions as well as leverage, BUT the leverage is limited. In mortgages origination, car sales, insurance, real estate, and many other professions managers earn their income based on the performance of the group. No one else is able to LEVERAGE from the efforts of many – only the managers and owners are given this privilege. HMMMMmmm. Limited leverage – limited opportunity, unlimited leverage – unlimited opportunity. Robert, Donald and many other entrepreneurs understand any business with an unlimited leveraging component can create a fortune.Robert Kiyosaki admits, that he didn’t understand Network Marketing at first – his mind was closed to the opportunity, for him it took a wealthy friend whom HE ADMIRED and RESPECTED enough to listen with an open mind. Since then he’s been a strong advocate of the industry. His most recent book is titled, “The Business of The 21′st Century” and you can guess what it’s about – that’s right Network Marketing.Donald Trump recognizes that hard work is required for success in anything. So, if you’re going to work hard anyway – why not work hard at something that has the ability to pay you again and again. This idea is readily scene in Donald’s real estate holdings – real estate is a business that can have booms and busts, but canalso create a recurring income stream. MLM on the other hand is known for its ability to withstand and THRIVE during recessionary periods. Donald and Robert co-authored the book, “Why We Want You to Be Rich” that had an entire chapter devoted to Network Marketing. Donald demonstrates his belief in the industry by endorsing a Network Marketing company and even featured the company on his prime time TV show The Celebrity Apprentice, while at the same time owning a separate Network Marketing company – that’s putting your money, time, and energy where your mouth is.The Key Benefit’s Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki highlight are:Tax Deductions – When you start a Network Marketing business you gain the tax advantages of a business owner and can do so without giving up your full time income. More often than not the benefit of the tax deductions can more than offset the initial and monthly expenses of the business. Consult with your personal accountant or CPA and get the advice you need to take advantage this HUGE benefit.Low Start Up – Most Network Marketing companies have very reasonable startup costs typically $500 or less. While traditional business and franchises have huge start up fees and unlimited operating expenses, all to gain limited territories and limited income potential. MLM provides a low cost entry and a fixed monthly overhead, with an unlimited upside potential. Network Marketing is a SWEAT EQUITY business; you don’t need to bring a big investment, just your consistent effort.The Network – The most undervalued asset in Network Marketing is the Network of people. Where else can you get 100′s or 1000′s of people of ACTION together in one place with the goal of a better life? Network Marketing is a relationship business, and in this environment you can meet, learn, and partner with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. Many of whom are business leaders or owners of businesses outside of MLM. It’s the meetings and the meetings after the meeting where bonds are made.The Skills You Learn – Network Marketing will challenge any insecurity you have, and rebuild you as a leader. Communication is the most important skill in life, whether it is internal communication with yourself or external communication with an individual or a group. Communication equals wealth. MLM will accelerate your learning curve, in sales skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, networking skill, and of course marketing skill. This industry is an entrepreneurs BUSINESS SCHOOL, where the grades come in the form of checks.Leverage Existing Systems – Surveys show that most Americans dream of their own business, and we all know most business fail. Most businesses fail because they lack a system. The individual more often than not is THE SYSTEM, and that system breaks down because of the stress and strain. Like franchising, Network Marketing companies have an existing system in place. All we need to do is PLUG IN and operate that existing system.Proven Business Model – Network Marketing is a proven business system. Results don’t lie, MLM and direct sales has created more millionaires than any other business model. The industry has proven that it’s person to person marketing strategy can stand the test of time, as well as even the deepest recessionary periods.In Conclusion – Network Marketing is a business for people who are looking to make changes in their lives. If you are a person looking to make financial changes in your life, and want to do it within a community of achievers – you deserve to get involved with the right company, the right leaders, while developing into the person you need to be to create the lifestyle and success you deserve.