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Manufacturing The Genius of the United States Constitution Old Doesn’t Mean Outdated September 2019 Staffing Transportation Health Care Energy Construction Financial
T hese days, people are quick to say “Out with the old, in with the new!” We get rid of our old phones every time a new model comes out, even if the new phone isn’t necessarily better. Many people are convinced that new is always better, and they extend this ideology to every old institution, including our own government. There are those who are convinced we need to get rid of certain foundations of our government just because they’re “old” or “outdated.” They forget what these foundations were built to protect in the first place. One thing we need to remember is that after winning the Revolutionary War, the United States of America didn’t instantly appear as we know it today. In fact, initially, the government was made up of just the Congress of the Confederation. We didn’t have the judicial branch or even a president. After fighting a war to break away from a strong centralized government, the last thing the new nation wanted was a federal government with too much power. Our nation’s first constitution was called the Articles of Confederation, which left most power in the hands of the states to govern themselves. The Articles of Confederation gave Congress the responsibility to regulate currency, declare war, and handle foreign affairs, but no authority to enforce requests for money or troops from the states. This proved to be a big problem when Congress couldn’t handle an uprising of Massachusetts farmers who didn’t want to pay their debts. It was clear that if this new nation was to stand a chance of surviving, there needed to be a better balance of power. In 1787, four years after the end of the Revolutionary War, delegates from all 13 states were invited to the Constitutional Convention
in Philadelphia. Their goal was to create a more perfect union, but not everyone was thrilled. In fact, Rhode Island refused to send any delegates out of fear that a centralized government would interfere with the states’ economic business. The framers of the constitution had to create a brand- new system of government the world had never seen before, one that would make all the states happy and protect the rights of the people. During the convention, the framers unanimously voted George Washington as president of the convention, created a system of checks and balances with three branches of the government, figured out how to balance representation between large and small states by creating the House of Representatives and the Senate, and established the original electoral college. These ideas were all laid out in the Constitution. This document gave the states the power to govern themselves while making sure the national government could do what it was supposed to do: protect us from war. In retrospect, the creation of this document is nothing short of genius and in my opinion, was divinely inspired. Shortly after finishing the constitution, the framers created a series of amendments which would come to be called the Bill of Rights. These amendments protect the God-given rights of the people, including freedom of religion, speech, press and the right to bear arms, from government interference and overreach. The founders believed that individual liberty was so important that the 9th amendment protects individual rights not explicitly enumerated in the document, and the 10th amendment limits the federal government to only those powers explicitly granted to it in the Constitution. The founders believed that the states were much more closely aligned with the interests of its citizens.
The framers knew this system wasn’t perfect, but they also knew it was key to helping their new country survive. And what they created worked. The United States is still a relatively new country by world history standards, but by the end of World War II, less than 200 years since the country was founded, the U.S. had become the most powerful country in the world. Since then, the United States has used this incredible power to do a lot of good for a lot of people around the world. We’ve made some mistakes, but prior to the emergence of the U.S., history informs us that powerful countries typically used their power to conquer and dominate other countries. I think the most important thing to remember about the Constitutional Convention is how terrified these wise men were of creating a strong, centralized government. They knew firsthand how bad things could get for the people when the federal government has too much power. Unfortunately, over the last half century, we’ve forgotten this, and we’ve seen the federal government grow in power, scope, and sheer size. I believe we can trace a lot of our problems back to this idea that “one size fits all” and that Uncle Sam knows what’s best for us. Continued on Page 3 ...
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PAUL ROBERTS ON SERVING HIS CLIENTS AND HIS COMMUNITY
Running a small business means wearing many hats. More often than not, CEOs find themselves moonlighting as marketers, customer service specialists, human resources representatives, project managers, and just about any other job that needs doing. That’s why more and more entrepreneurs are exploring automation to free up their time and focus on growing their business rather than just keeping it afloat. Automation on Your Level In the past, automated systems were solely within the purview of big businesses. Applications for organization were either too expensive or too wide in scope to fit the needs of smaller companies, but those days are over. Plenty of tools have been developed to help you and your team reduce workloads and run more efficiently, no matter your company’s size. Reducing the Chaos Unless your business is large enough for several project managers, chances are that every employee is responsible for their own organization. This quickly leads to miscommunication, conflicting schedules, and roadblocked projects. Thankfully, many basic functions of a project manager have been automated thanks to applications like Apptivo. With features to track tasks and submit timesheets, this scalable tool allows everyone to stay up to date on the logistics of business and make coordination a breeze. Response Time Is Everything Many small businesses hesitate to bring “bots” into customer-facing operations because they don’t want to lose their human touch. But humans are busy, and an unanswered request for a quote or a delayed response to a question will quickly give current and potential customers a bad impression. That’s why software like Keap exists. Keap allows you to send automated email responses at the first point of contact. This message can be as simple as an acknowledgement that their message was received and will be answered soon. The important part is that your customers are reassured that they are being heard. Far from making your business more robotic, automated tools allow your team to focus on what they do best. That means more time for thoughtful customer service emails, personalized interactions with customers, and well-executed projects. That’s something you and your clients will appreciate. Let the Robots Do It Automation Has Come to Small Business
P aul Roberts might be new to Risk Services/Insurica, but he’s not new to the insurance business. For the last 11 years, Paul has been a commercial insurance broker in Salina, Kansas. He entered the field after making the switch from working sales and management for a large communication company. You could say that insurance runs in the Roberts family. Paul’s father owned his own insurance agency in Arkansas for 33 years, and his mother worked as an underwriter at a different company for 27 years. “When I was exploring the option of making a career change, I started asking people I knew who they would want to buy insurance from if they were going to buy insurance. Then I sought out that firm and started working for them a couple of months later. “I had some idea of what to expect after talking to my dad about insurance, but I didn’t expect to be building such meaningful relationships with my clients. That quickly became my favorite part of the job. I like being able to watch businesses grow because I was able to help my clients stay stable and become more profitable by analyzing their risk. Watching businesses survive long enough to go through generational handoffs, when parents who founded the business pass the company to their son or daughter, is really rewarding.” In addition to diligently serving his clients as their risk consultant, Paul is also dedicated to serving his community. Before coming to Little Rock, Paul served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina, was president of the board for the Salina Area Home Builders Association, held various leadership roles with National AMBUCS, Inc., and was a board member for Salina Downtown, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to promoting economic growth in downtown Salina, Kansas. “Over the years, I’ve been intentional about being involved with the community I serve,” Paul says. “I enjoyed finding opportunities where my expertise could make a difference in Salina. It’s my hope that I will be able to continue to make a difference in my new community here in Little Rock.”
As a company dedicated to service, here at Risk Services/ Insurica, we are thrilled to have Paul joining our team.
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From the Panama Canal to Yucca Mountain
THE WORST RISK MANAGEMENT MISTAKES IN HISTORY
in 1907. In 1914, the Cristobal would become the first ship to maneuver through the Panama Canal. Had de Lesseps practiced any sort of risk management, we might be calling the Panama Canal “La Grande Tranchée” (The Great Trench) today. Yucca Mountain In 1987, the United States government decided Nevada’s Yucca Mountain was the perfect site for a nuclear waste depository. Neither the politicians nor the citizens of Nevada were consulted before Congress approved the project. For the next two decades, the project was plagued with opposition and protests. These protests grew even more intense when it was discovered that the research falsified data about the repository’s safe- keeping of nuclear waste. The project was finally scrapped in 2009, after wasting $13 billion of taxpayers’ money. Had Congress assessed the risk of opposition and safety, the whole embarrassing mess could have been avoided.
Risk management isn’t some buzzword to be checked off a project to-do list. This strategy of assessment and preparing for risk can make or break projects of any scale. Not convinced? Take a look at these historical projects that ended in disaster thanks to poor risk management. Panama Canal Before President Theodore Roosevelt set his sights on connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the ambitious project in Panama was the vision of French businessman Ferdinand de Lesseps. Since the French had already successfully constructed the Suez Canal, de Lesseps began work in 1880, without any blueprints or risk management plan to speak of. By 1883, barely a tenth of the excavation was completed, with constant landslides regularly setting the work back. In 1884, an outbreak of deadly yellow fever halted efforts again. A lack of funds put an end to de Lesseps’ project in 1889, after accidents, tropical diseases, and poor planning claimed the lives of 22,000 workers. In 1901, President Roosevelt took an interest in completing the canal. While the term “risk management” wasn’t in use yet, this was the first step in the American project. The deadly mosquitoes that spread yellow fever were eradicated, and infrastructure was built before excavation started again. Army Colonel George W. Goethals was put in charge of the project Let’s face it, what might make sense to the people in California or New York doesn’t necessarily work here in Arkansas or Texas, and vice versa. We look at the world differently and we have different beliefs and priorities. But at the end of the day, we are all Americans. What the framers created during the Constitutional Convention was genius, and I believe we need to get back to that. We need to get back to a smaller centralized government and more power to the states. The states are closer to the people and can more effectively address their problems and wants. This system has helped create some of the greatest success the world has ever seen. It’s crazy that some people want to blow it up because its “outdated,” which simply means it doesn’t support their immediate political goals. Forget “Out with the old, in with the new.” Our ingenious system of self-governing literally allowed us to become the envy of the world in less than 200 years … while generally protecting our individual liberty and freedom in the process! ... continued from Cover
Whether you’re training delivery drivers or building a canal to connect oceans, it’s clear that a little risk management can go a long way.
President, Risk Services of AR
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INSIDE This Issue
The Most Amazing System page 1
Automation Has Come to Small Business How Paul Roberts Goes Above and Beyond page 2 What the Panama Canal and Your Office Have in Common Sudoku page 3
Lessons From an Unlikely Businessman page 4
Lessons From an Unlikely Businessman ‘Some Stories: Lessons From the Edge of Business and Sport’
Y ou’re probably familiar with the story of outdoor apparel company Patagonia and its founder, Yvon Chouinard. Chouinard’s earlier book, “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” explored the early struggles and triumphs of Patagonia and gave us some insight into how the company became so successful. Now, Chouinard has given us another glimpse into his world with his new book, “Some Stories: Lessons From the Edge of Business and Sport.” As the title suggests, the book is a collection of stories and beautiful photographs that illustrate how a sense of adventure, a readiness to adapt, and, above all else, a dedication to what you believe in are all necessary parts of doing anything well (including running a multimillion-dollar business). While the book contains plenty of business advice, most of its wisdom is just as applicable to life as it is to business management.
“I know of no better example than Chouinard of what entrepreneurial Americans do best,” wrote author and angler Thomas McGuane. Entrepreneurs have to take initiative and be ready to accept great risk, and Chouinard does both with the pioneering spirit of a true business owner, despite his reluctance to accept the title. He would never abandon his values or the company’s to sell a sweatshirt, and he’s constantly pulling inspiration and guidance from the natural environment. “Some Stories” explores Chouinard’s drive to learn and make mistakes along the way and paints a portrait of an icon of thoughtful action and business success. “Some Stories” is worth it just for the stunning pictures, but if you want to be pulled in by a book, and possibly forced to reconsider whether or not you’ve been coasting with your business and life, then this is a must read. As author and reporter Jon Krakauer warns, “this book might make you think twice about what you’re doing with your own life.”
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