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Archive for September 21st, 2006

Yay for South Carolina!


So, we’ve all heard about South Carolina’s bottom-of-the-barrel public school system. No need to kick a dead horse. Our fine state has been famous for this for as long as I can remember. Maybe even since the first public school this side of Charleston opened its doors.

Well, we have something else to be proud of: According to the Greenville News, the Palmetto State now has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation!

Yay!

That’s right: South Carolina, the booming economic powerhouse of the South, the East Coast’s new mecca of industrial development has a higher unemployment rate than West Virginia, Louisiana, and even Alabama. The only two states to beat us are Mississippi and Michigan, who tied for the #1 spot.

Impressive.

Really. Think about it. It’s a heck of an accomplishment.

Now… don’t let me suggest that over a decade (or two… or three) of having one of the worst public school systems in the nation has anything at all to do with our stellar unemployment numbers.

Seriously. The two numbers are completely unrelated.

Totally.

Uh-huh.

To add some spice to the mix, in Greenville County alone, the unemployment rate jumped 0.5% between July and August, and since the trend is on the way up throughout the state, with any luck at all, we’ll be #1 in the nation this time next year. (Or maybe just in time for Christmas.)

Now that’s something to celebrate.

Good karma note: To be fair, South Carolina’s GDP is also one of the fastest growing in the nation, and some of the companies that are following BMW, Michelin, and Hubbell Lighting out here are pretty impressive. The state’s economy is shifting and these may simply be growing pains… but we can do better, and our public school system might definitely be a great place to start.

Yeah, we’re getting pretty good at attracting business, but we still aren’t very good at creating the kind of diverse and adaptive workforce that we need to get out of the embarrassing employment hole we seem to have dug for ourselves.

The second highest unemployment rate in the nation. Sheesh. That’s just inexcusable. I’d love for someone to explain to me how things were allowed to get this bad.

(Climbing down from my soapbox now.)

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And just when I thought I was done with this topic, I run into this:

“Managers make sure that work follows an established process. They don’t like change. Leaders, on the other hand, are restless creatures like gamblers who get excited about doing things a new way.

“Now, here’s the problem: There’s a great need for talent and a glut of unqualified candidates. It’s going to take a leader to figure out how to move forward. And, Recruiting is full of managers.

“One solution: take recruiting away from HR and give it to marketing people who know how to sell. Another: give it to the operational leaders who have the knowledge needed to assess the candidates technical skills.”

Per Kevin Wheeler, via The Recruiting Animal blog.

If you think that’s genius (or if you think it’s complete bunk), read Kevin’s entire article here. Whatever side of the fence you happen to be on, it is well worth ten minutes. (And if you’re an HR professional, it’s the kind of internet research that you can defend to your internet-on-the-job-hating managers.)

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Here’s a nice little closing point to cap off my last post, courtesy of Tim Coote, over at BCOM:

“[W]e must consider the possibility that if Design Thinking is critical, maybe restricting it to designers and protecting them from business people is not actually the most productive avenue to pursue. Perhaps eliminating the need for protection by turning business people into Design Thinkers would be more effective. To create a Design Thinking organization, a company must create a corporate environment in which it is the job of all managers to understand customer needs at a deep and sophisticated level and to understand what the firm’s product means to the customer at not only a functional level, but also an emotional and psychological level… …The great firms of the 21st century will be those that recognize the goal isn’t to supplement analytics with design; it is all about integrating design and management.”

> Roger Martin.

That’s so brilliant, I’m on the verge of shedding a tear of joy. Seriously.

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