The great uncertainty over the economic scene last month was resolved when the US Federal Reserve surprised financial markets by moving aggressively to head off the risk of a sharp slowdown in the US economy, cutting both the Fed Fund and discount rates by 50 basis points to 4.75 per cent and 5.25 per cent, respectively. The Fed’s statement that it would act “as needed” to pursue both of its objectives: price stability and sustainable economic growth was welcomed as a stabilizing factor. From a Human Resources perspective the employment figures were better with unemployment levels falling.

Now to the E-News:
Preventing Poor Performance
Leading Clever People
Signature Experiences
Website to visit
SMR Group news
Preventing Poor Performance

Over the last few weeks I had the opportunity to read the outstanding book FREAKONOMICS. If you have not read it, you MUST. The book will help every reader - all of us redefine the way we view the world. The most important lessons I learned from the book - the world may be complex but is not unknowable if we just can ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS. All it takes is a new way of looking.

I liked the concept of Broken Windows. I first read it in Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and now again in the FREAKONOMICS by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. The concept first appeared in an article titled Broken Windows by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, which appeared in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly. The idea is based on the following example:

"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."

A successful strategy for preventing vandalism, say the book's authors, is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood.

In this context, I can only think of the Singaporean example of clean neighbourhoods.

The theory thus makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior will be deterred, and that major crime will, as a result, be prevented.

How can we apply the broken window theory to the world of work to prevent poor performance? Join me and Jim Kirkpatrick for a tele seminar on 'Preventing Poor Performance'. Details as stated below:-

Tele Seminar title: Preventing Poor Performance
Speaker: Dr. R. Palan & Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick
Date: 30th October, 2007 (Tuesday)
Time: Malaysian time 11:00am to 11:30am
Duration: 30 minutes


Leading Clever People

Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones identify several things we need to know about leading clever people. It is essential to know the characteristics cleverest people share; these collectively make them a difficult crew to manage.
They know their worth.
They are organisationally savvy.
They ignore corporate hierarchy.
They expect instant access.
They have good networks and are well connected.
They are bored easily.
They won't thank you and assume they know most of the things.
They are results oriented.

For more information on Strategic Talent Management and Succession Planning Conference, please click here or email
Signature Experiences

The Harvard Business Review article by Tamara J. Erickson and Lynda Gratton describes the need for every company to have a signature experience that sets it apart. In the war for talent, many organisations talk about being employer of choice. Signature experiences explicitly communicate what makes your firm unique and can improve employee engagement and performance dramatically. Click here for more details.
Website to visit

Accelerated Learning is a buzz word; visit this website to learn more about it.
SMR Group news

Learn more about our:
Tele seminars led by Don Kirkpatrick and Jim Kirkpatrick on a business partnership model. Recordings of the tele seminars will later be made available for sale. Click here for more details.
E-CTP - a new Certificate in Training Practice is offered over the web. More details with
Assessments on a wide area - DISC, Learning Styles, and Leadership etc. is now available through our website. More details, please email

I will be in touch next month. Meanwhile, have a very productive month ahead.

We wish our Muslim friends - Eid Mubarak.

Best wishes,
October 2007
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