Success in flood control in the Netherlands

CBS 60 Minutes, September 23, 2018.  If you missed it, the link to the full segment is below.  Here are some excerpts and of course a comment from me here and there.

Holland is about twice the size of New Jersey and is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Much of it is below sea level, yet the Dutch don’t bother with flood insurance. They don’t need it. As the U.S. cleans up from Hurricane Florence, we were wondering, do the Dutch have a solution?

We met a Dutchman – Henk Ovink – who says it’s time to rewrite America’s disaster playbook entirely.

“The storms are perhaps man-caused and you can debate that, but the catastrophes because of the storms? Uh, those are man-made.” Hank Ovink.

Henk is the world’s only water ambassador, appointed by the Netherlands, says damage from hurricanes could be lessened with the help of Dutch-innovated storm water management

FEMA and many other federal, state and local agencies do a tremendous job in advanced warning and managing the aftermath…  Katrina, Harvey, Sandy, Florence.

But we spend billions on the aftermath …  the Netherlands spent billions on managing the storm water to eliminate the flooding.  It was not easy!

The Netherland gates took six years to build and cost $500 million.  Bill Whitaker: That’s a big investment for something that you’ve only had to use once or twice since it was built. Henk Ovink: $150 billion were lost in New Orleans. I don’t think I need to say more. How many people were killed? Sandy, another storm, $70 billion. We don’t have those damages.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/storm-water-management-dutch-solution-henk-ovink-hurricane-florence-damage-60-minutes/

Henk has been consulting with FEMA and other US government agencies for years… apparently we must be slow learners.

Why is it we can always find the money for wars, but not domestic priorities.

***** S&E *****

Responsible Companies – Telltales

Many successful companies are well-respected for a number of reasons – great values, fair employers, responsible in their communities… things you just can’t find on an Income Statement or Balance Sheet.  Fortune magazine’s annual issue, “100 Best Companies to Work For”, provides real insights to the internal makeup of responsible companies.

Fortune 100 2018And citizens will find responsible companies often publishing “Giving” reports that summarize actions that document their commitment to their communities.

In the case of environmental catastrophes, companies of all types use their vast resources to assist.  In the recent, devastating hurricane that slammed the east coast, some of the companies participating: Tide, Pepsi, Lyft, JetBlue, 3M, Eaton Corporation, Florida Power & Light, tesla, Anheuser-Busch, Chef, José Andrés.  That is far from an inclusive list.

And, you just have to respect the power companies as caravans of vehicles from many states travel great distances down the interstates in route to assist in the disaster.

In contrast…  and probably in the minority, there are companies who just don’t get it… like the cable company that billed its customers at the end of the month in which a hurricane caused the area’s residents to be without cable and power, for a minimum of 6 days, 20% of the month, some much, much longer.

It is not about the money, it is about the thoughtlessness.

Here’s to the many companies that are responsible!

*****S&E*****

 

2016 Yamaha Wave Runner Glove Box Latch Repair

This would apply to various years of Yamaha Waverunners.  See photo below.

The cheap plastic glove box latch design has the latch pivoting on a metal pin which is secured by very thin plastic holes on each side of the latch housing.  The holes break away quickly.  Pitch the latch !

The fix is to use E6000 industrial strength glue (small tube about $7).  I used magnets about $10 bucks from Amazon, glued to the glove box cover and the glove box housing.  Magnets fit perfectly.   Magnets:

Creative Hobbies Ceramic Industrial Magnets -11/16 Inch (.709) Round Disc – 3/16″ THICK (.198″ or 5mm) – Ferrite Magnets Bulk for Crafts, Science&hobbies – Grade 5-100 pcs/box!   You will get 100 for the 10 bucks, but magnets are handy.

Here’s a photo: You can see the magnets glued to the glove box cover (top of photo) and2016 Yam VX Deluxe Magnets glove box housing (bottom of photo).  Glue takes 24 hours to set. Do the bottom or top first, separately.  Use clamps on the top cover (with it open).  Do the bottom magnets keeping the top open.  Maker sure you have the polarity correct.

On average about $10,000 machines — bad design, or, maybe just the cheapest way out.

In balance, great engines and drive trains !!!!

***** S&E *****

 

 

 

Hurricane Losses and the Tax Code

I just read the tax laws for taking a deduction for expenses from hurricane damage.  Here is a link if you are interested.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/top-10-tips-for-deducting-losses-from-a-disaster

A couple of comments: (1) you just can’t simply deduct the expense.  There are calculations described in several IRS Forms, Schedules, and Publications.  (2) It is a 10 step process which includes establishing the basis, adjusting for Fair Market Value, and on and on.  Generally, if your loss does not exceed 10 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income, you will not be able to claim the loss.

IRS ImageSo for those who have losses in the thousands from Hurricane Florence, they will probably be tapping IRA’s to cover the loss since most don’t have thousands sitting and available in bank accounts to cover disasters.  That would be a taxable event (withdrawal from IRA), more expense, NICE!

At the least, Congress and the IRS could forgive tax on IRA withdrawals to pay for losses from disasters.  Better yet, simplify the tax code so you could SIMPLY deduct the loss.

You and I probably won’t live to see that!!!

I would suggest that when a Congress Person uses the phrase, “in the best interest of my constituents”, It probably should be rephrased to, “in the best interest of my campaign donors and sponsors”.

***** S&E *****

Bringing the Group On board

(Mostly applicable to managers, supervisors, and leader’s assuming responsibility for a new department).

Here are some suggested talking points for the first meeting with employees; this should be an all hands meeting, open to questions at any time; discuss points to achieve understanding.

  1. I will not ask you to work harder than meLeadership
  2. Company values – expected to live within everyday work
  3. Our work directly affects others — quality, quantity, timeliness
  4. We are not a group of individuals doing work, we are a team
  5. The importance of objectives
  6. Performance reviews and pay for performance
  7. I will give you space to work and help you be successful
  8. It is my job to help you learn, advance you skills, provide development experiences
  9. It is my job to assist you with your career planning
  10. Work hard, be smart, be creative, be dependable, be responsible, and make a meaningful contribution.
  11. It is your job, you need to own it.
  12. When you are ready, I will assist with your promotion or lateral broadening experience
  13. If you are unsuccessful on the job, I will assist with your re-assignment
  14. When something goes wrong, 90% of the time it is usually poor communications
  15. My door will always be open

Some of the above will deserve separate meetings… luncheon meetings work well, particularly if the boss pays for the pizza.

***** S&E *****

Resistance Inside the Administration

If you have not read the “Op-Ed” article published by the NY Times on September 5th, you should.  Among all the chaos in  DC, I find it encouraging… or at least evidence of a balance within.  I am a half-full glass person. 

There is an ongoing search for the guilty associated with the writer.  I find it interesting that organizations like the KKK (why past disgusting and much worse) can exist, hiding behind the first amendment, but that amendment apparently, in the presidents mind, is not applicable this situation.

Here is the Times introduction to the article:

The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

Here is a link to the full article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

***** S&E *****

 

 

 

Ready. Set. Jump !

There is no shortage of information out there regarding how hot the labor market is … possibly a good time to review what businesses might want to stress to candidates as early as possible in the recruiting process.  Consider sharing these, assuming they are “alive and well” within the company, with headhunters and on a website to get these key recruiting differentiators out there… they just might differentiate your business from the competition.

  • On boarding process (how long)
  • Development programs
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Career path counseling
  • High Potential process
  • International opportunity
  • Top Leader support for, and managers skilled in managing, these features of employment

“A” and “B” level leaders and managers skilled in the art of interviewing and passionately representing the company should be the picks for leading the recruiting charge. Timing is always an issue in a hot job market… Fortune, February 2018, the HR Leader for Intuit:  “We had to reinvent how we do recruiting, using a team of employees who have proved themselves sharp judges of talent…”

It is possible to get to a hiring decision and same day or next day offers with a good, pre-defined and vetted process.  Use a multi-functional team.  For example, same day:  Each team member interviews multiple candidates, the team meets at end of day (use a skilled facilitator) to discuss findings based on strengths, weaknesses, behavioral observations, skills, competencies (pre-defined factors which are aligned with the open position(s), and comes to hiring and offer decisions.  Properly planned, this process can manage as many 20 – 25 candidates in one day.

If the business is fortunate enough to have the budget for it, bring candidates in the night before interviews for an informal dinner and after dinner company update.  Seat one each of the next day interviewers at different dinner tables… interviewers will begin to form initial impressions. — all part of candidate assessment.

The whole process can be done at the same hotel.

*****S&E*****