Friday, 4 June 2010

Brushing up on the 80/20 rule

The great thing about taking time off is finding perspective. I've been in our beloved Cornwall this week, enjoying my family and slowing down. Having time means you can, if you choose, do things properly. Like for instance, learning more about the 80 20 rule, where 20 per cent of effort yields 80 of results. That's certainly true of surfing. We have been blessed with great weather and great surf this week, attracting some serious surfers. It's been quite a show.

Sam watching his heroes surfing

I have also had time to read the FT from cover to cover picking up on a superb article yesterday on sustainable banking. We heard from our own Peter Blom MD at Triodos applauding the rise of some banks thinking in this area but cautioning us that post crisis many are still too busy picking up the pieces to 'think about ethics'. Putting paid to risky business has to be what the next decade is about. When oil companies and banks risk our natural and financial assets in pursuit of their profit we have to be less trusting and ask more questions. Peter feels that the return on investment banks can yield from their products should not exceed the growth of the economies they are operating in. He and others such as Andrew Cave, head of corporate sustainablility at RBS believe this is trully sustainable. It all goes back to the old saying that if it looks too good, it probably is. Hence allowing some derivitives to rerturn 25 or even 30% in economies growing at 3% was blind greed.

So have the scales fallen from our eyes? The problem is that so few humanists, enviromentalists or historians make it as far as the board room. Faced with the ruddy complexion of the money buisness, most opt for the quiet life. The city would call that the survival of the fittest, I'm not so sure. That's why I believe social enterprise and the new social contracts held within our world, have to be the future. We play to win, but not at any cost. That means changing the rules at times, like specialist finance, knowledge and support.

Doing our bit, I hope you are as thrilled with the new sel home page as we are. Its great to get such fab feedback from members. Our aim is to make sure that if you only have time to look at one social enterprise source each day, you will use SEL's because it will round up all the news, information and live chat you need. So for say, with 20 per cent of the effort you get 80 per cent of the info. I have to say, it's also great to see the SEL gang getting on to such effect in my absence. Maybe if I stay on this beach a while longer I won't be missed?

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