REFLECTIONS: WHAT IS TO COME?Written by David Stoddard
Welcome to December. The home stretch of a year which has shown us that terrible things do happen to good people just minding their own business. At same time, we've seen that good common people can become better than anyone could have believed when mission they find themselves in becomes greater than all their days combined.
As years end, it's often a time to look back on what has happened. We look at where we are, what we have and where we were 12 months ago. We may think about what we wanted to accomplish during year but just never got around to. We see all daily interruptions that got in our way of doing something we would rather have done.
We look around at others who seem happy and we think about how much we "wish" we could be like them or do what they are doing. But we just "know" we don't have time to do it. Either that, or our life-long circumstances have made it impossible for us to come even close to doing something as "wonderful" as that.
Looking back is all too easy to see where we fell short, things we should have done differently, things we should not have wasted time or money on. Boy, if we only had a dime for every time each of us felt that way in our lives, there would be so many more millionaires in this world.
Unlike many sports where you get an intermission between quarters or can call a timeout as in football, life doesn't work that way. It's more of an auto race or a marathon. It doesn't just stop at certain points giving us a chance to rest, clock is always ticking and we are always moving forward (if we want to, or not).
In a race, we look back to compare ourselves to everyone else. In life, we look back to compare ourselves with, well… ourselves. Sure, we may not as wealthy as John Doe nor as happy in our career as Jane Doe seems to be, but they don't matter when it comes to our own ideas and hopes for ourselves.
A PUBLIC RESPONSE TO TERRORISM NEEDED FROM OUR CORPORATE LEADERSWritten by John Di Frances
Awakening to sunshine of an early autumn day, America had no idea of tragic scenario about to unfold before a shocked nation. Four commercial airliners filled with everyday travelers, business executives to families with children were about to be highjacked and purposely flown into landmark buildings to kill or maim both those onboard and tens-of-thousands on ground. Welcome to world of global terrorism, a world from which North America has been shielded, a bastion of safety and security from ravages of ideological terror that have long menaced many of developing nations and to a lesser extent, Europe.
As leadership of United States Government regroups to assess what was happened, how, by whom and why, in order to appropriately respond, U.S. corporate leaders as well, also need to respond in a very public and determined manner to this horrifying, undeclared act of war upon our nation and its economic system. When facing any enemy and particularly an unseen one, two forms of response are most critically needed. Both require a clear demonstration of corporate solidarity with our elected officials.
Initially, it is essential to assure our people, both within corporate environment as well as general public, that leadership of corporate America will do everything necessary to cooperate with government to minimize economic disruption. So far, 2001 has been a harbinger of ever worsening economic news. With layoffs and terminations now exceeding one million mark, nearly everyone has either been directly affected themselves or knows someone who has. Although outlook has been favorable for an economic turnaround beginning next year, supported by a return to steady if not meteoric growth, high energy costs and continuing strong dollar have loomed as potential spoilers to recovery.
In addition to this, nation will now be faced with a decline in tourism, travel, meetings, conventions, massive insurance claims and costs of economic disruption that will naturally flow from losses as well as corresponding military and civilian counter- measures that will necessarily ensue from terrorists' actions. All of which could offset positive benefits expected to be derived from series of interest rate cuts initiated by Federal Reserve and Administration's tax cut program. Whatever terrorist group orchestrated this particular round of attacks, it is clear their goal is to intimidate and demoralize people of United States, realizing that if they can break will of people through exercise of terror, our elected officials will become unwilling to aggressively pursue foreign policies terrorists decry. Such tactics are Achilles Heel of democratic governments world-wide and why response coming from every quarter, especially our corporate leaders, must be one of unity and unflinching determination demonstrated by England's Winston Churchill, who steadfastly refused to ever give-in to tyrants.
Moreover, corporate leaders should determine to willingly play a pivotal role in working cooperatively with administration to assure nation that although we have been stung several times by terrorist wasp, American free enterprise system will never bow to terrorism. Thus, business, investment and American way of life will not only continue, but prosper while our government seeks out and destroys those responsible for these acts, as well as their supporters and accomplices, much as we helped France and England destroy Barbery Pirates in 1800's. Meanwhile our people must be assured that American way of life, as we have always known it, will continue.
The positive role of American corporate leadership in this regard should not be understated. Today we cannot be sure if what we have witnessed is full extent of enemy's blows or merely first wave with more to follow tomorrow, next week or next month. At outset of World War II, many expected that attack on Pearl Harbor would be quickly followed by a full scale invasion of Hawaiian Islands. Fear of unknown is a debilitating enemy. We cannot know if more attacks are planned and thus, fruitless speculation will do nothing more than to further unsettle public. What is needed is for our corporate leaders, in a very public manner and with resolute commitment, to reassure our nation that doors of American commerce will not be shuttered by threats or acts of wanton terrorism. Apart from our government punishing perpetrators, next best way to thumb our noses at them and all who think alike, is to revitalize economy and thereby once more demonstrate that power of a free people operating within a free market system is greater than power of fear.