“The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”
“The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”
Until recently, two things were certain in life: death and taxes. We can now add a third one: botching the promotion of a tax reform for political gains. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s tax reform has been a communications disaster.
Claims about Ottawa’s intentions to revamp our tax system for small corporations have been ridiculous. Some predict a recession due to the changes proposed, while others declare the end of entrepreneurship as we know it. We should all take a collective deep breath and figure out how changes will affect our economy.
What needs to be underscored, though, is how Morneau’s vision for taxing small corporations will impact our agrifood sector.
Generally, the tax system is not really about pensions, legacy and social programs. Yet for a family-owned business, it is — and there are thousands of them in agrifood. In farming, Canada now has more than 43,000 incorporated farms, compared to around 23,000 incorporated farms in 2001.
Despite the fact that we have fewer farms overall today than in 2001, more of them have opted to convert their operations into a corporation to provide an incentive to the next generation to take over the farm.
Proposed changes on capital gains would make it more expensive for a current family member to acquire the farm than for a third party. This is a critical piece of a highly complicated puzzle: keeping families and jobs in rural Canada is not an easy task and many agricultural producers are using our tax system wisely to secure the future of their businesses.
In food processing, retailing and in the food service sector, countless family businesses are wondering how family values immeasurably embedded in anything the corporation does can survive the next generation.
Income sprinkling is another issue Morneau is attempting to address. Presently, corporations can hire family members who work for the enterprise, which reduces the tax rate for everyone. Current rules about who can be compensated and at what level are ambiguous, at best. Morneau wants to change that, and for a good reason.
Several small corporations pay family members, who do not necessarily work for the company, to pay less taxes. This practice should stop but family businesses are really a different breed.
Defining tasks in a family-owned business can be difficult. Many of the contributions made by family members are ad hoc and not easily categorized. Recipes, tricks of the trade, family traditions all matter a great deal to whatever a small food outlet is doing. It is nothing like being an accountant, a doctor or a dentist.
A family business is like — well, a family. The enterprise survives daily by relying on favours and duties as assigned. On a family-owned farm, a restaurant or in a small food processor, job profiles are vague, at best.
This political nightmare began in July when Ottawa launched a consultative process on how best to address tax planning practices that it believes are being used to gain unfair tax advantages. Individuals set up corporations to pay less in taxes in a variety of ways. Ottawa’s intentions are noble, but it is the bombastic tone used as a backdrop to promote the plan to Canadians that has been less than effective. Consultations end Oct. 2.
What has really caused many of the problems is the awful, condescending rhetoric coming out of Ottawa, labelling small business owners as a group of cheats and greedy tax evaders trying to dodge the system by using loopholes. That was simply insulting.
The government anticipates that the new regulations will bring in barely $250 million a year. For those thinking that the Liberals are looking for ways to increase revenues to pay for a ballooning deficit, they are wrong. This is really about politics, purely and simply.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s egalitarian agenda to serve the so-called middle class is motivating the government to implement these changes. The tax regime needs change as some small corporations are using current tax rules to save money unjustifiably.
Most opponents have been quite vocal in recent weeks, but their corporations will survive the changes. However, the stakes are much higher in agrifood and farming.
This is not about being unwilling to pay more taxes. Rather, it is about the viability of an entire economic sector. Our tax regime should differentiate and give our rural economy and family corporations some level of immunity.
Ottawa should think of fiscal incentives the agrifood sector can use to grow. Right now, it is not clear how this can be achieved. As Ottawa is attempting to bring more fairness to our fiscal landscape and fix what is largely an urban issue, it shouldn’t penalize our agrifood sector.
Despite Morneau’s disgraceful performance as a tax reform salesman, changes will most likely happen, to the despair of many. Changes to our tax system are obscure concepts for most Canadians who have never had a company. Even Canadians with corporations would have a hard time understanding what is being proposed.
The confusion that has led to the hysteria we are seeing today is really the government’s fault and no one else’s. When it comes to taxes, painting everyone with same brush is unacceptable.
Ottawa will get its way in the end, but it should at the very least accommodate the unique intricacies of our agrifood sector.
Fall convocation is only a few days away, with the ceremonies scheduled for October 2nd and 3rd. The Class of 2017 will walk across the stage to accept their degrees, marking the culmination of a rigorous academic journey.
Graduations signify passages and transitions, of moving forward and of accepting new ventures and challenges.
“On behalf of the University Senate, we hereby attest that Dalhousie University has awarded the degree of…”
The emotions of gratitude and anticipation mingle together as graduates join the ranks of a vibrant alumni community. Even so, there is a wistful look back over the miles travelled since the arrival of the first textbooks.
On the eve of a new millennium, the Class of 1999 was the first to achieve the degree, MBA (Financial Services).
Over the summer months, I reached out to those who witnessed the graduation ceremonies under the banner of the Office of External Graduate Program. The inaugural convocation of the MBA(FS) was a profound and moving experience for the students, but also for those who were applauding from the sidelines.
Joseph A. Macdonald
Convocation 1999 remains top-of-mind to this day. I recall the following observations made that eventful evening. I have never been one to attend my own graduations. For me, the educational process had always been about getting the information and the designation and moving on to the next stage of life. However, my commitment to attending the MBA (FS) graduations was 100%.
Since the 1996 beginnings, our administration team had shared our students’ journeys professionally and personally. We spent time reassuring them, tutoring them, listening to their challenges and even providing a shoulder when times were especially tough.
As I stood on the corner of the graduation stage and watched each of these dedicated individuals shake the Chancellor’s hand and receive their parchment from the Registrar, I was touched, to my core, with a sense of pride that comes from watching a sibling, a close friend or one’s own child graduate. This was a far stronger and deeper feeling than anything that I had experienced following my personal achievements.
It was obvious that this group of individuals would go on to achieve much. And they have.
Great reflection piece, Joseph. While I was fairly new to the MBA FS program team, I felt a real connection right away with the class of 1999. To this day, I beam with pride and get goose bumps as I watch graduates walk across the stage to receive their degree.
I agree with Joseph and Michelle. I feel like my children are graduating. Every convocation leaves me with a warm fuzzy (and sad as they say goodbye) feeling.
Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2017. We are proud of your success and wish for you the very best in your future endeavours.
Rick Nason in “It’s Not Complicated: The Art and Science of Complexity in Business” contends that in a modern business context, complexity appears in many places: cyber security, financial markets, economic turmoil, demographic shifts, social media activity, politics and marketing. Complexity is also present in the daily activities of managers as they manage their teams, their clients and even themselves. It is essential that we explore life-long learning to progress in our personal lives and career pathways.(Excerpt taken from It’s Not Complicated – The Art and Science of Complexity in Business Page Preface xi))
How does life-long learning influence our participation within an ever-changing, mercurial global world?
Blog Coordinator’s note: CFAME Connection is currently searching for ways to bring podcasts and video panel discussions to our blog. In the interim, please join the dialogue by adding your comments. We would love to hear from readers.
Life-long learning has been a defining influence and, in many instances, has changed the trajectory of my personal and career objectives.
During my MBA studies, I found myself even more intrigued to branch out, learn more and apply my new skills. I accepted a new position as a senior consultant that required travelling away from home five days a week, venturing to new cities far from home each quarter. I would hop a plane and come to a new destination, on my own, renting a car and travelling through an unfamiliar area. These trips presented opportunities to meet and work with a new group of people. I found that my MBA learnings complemented my role as a teacher and mentor. I enjoyed sharing knowledge to help people who, in turn, increased their individual capacities.
Each quarter, when I shifted my attention to a new location, I would also begin a new course in my learning journey which would open my eyes to a new area of knowledge and a new approach at work.
Shauna describes the concept of the Renaissance person, a vital element required to cope within an increasingly connected world that is becoming more complex. The need for individuals whose knowledge and interests range across a variety of fields and disciplines is greater than ever.
Successful organization will be those that develop a Renaissance mindset. Organizations must actively promote diversity, not only of culture but also of mindsets, if they are to compete successfully in a complex environment. They must proactively train people in different knowledge and skills sets. They must recruit from a diversity of background and from different fields of knowledge. They must work to cross-train managers more than they are currently doing. The challenge of management lies in allowing diversity to function – tolerating and even welcoming differences; it is the only way that an organization can grow and learn.(Excerpt taken from It’s Not Complicated – The Art and Science of Complexity in Business Pages page 110)
I agree with Rick that engaging within a learning environment offers opportunities and fresh perspectives on how to participate within complexity. My educational journey expanded my travels and networks both personally and professionally.
During my MBA, I traveled each semester to a new city to take part in the intensives: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Halifax. My Toronto intensive was the first time I had ever been to Ontario. (I lived in B.C.) In the final year of my MBA journey, I packed up and moved my entire family across the country from B.C. to Ontario to begin a new chapter in my life and take on a new challenge in my career as a District Manager. This type of move is something we would never have dreamed of or even entertained before beginning my MBA. The relocation has brought great changes and possibilities to my family, for which we are all thankful.
Shauna’s experiences confirm that working within complexity can be fun. Indeed, successful managers will learn to have fun with complexity.
Complex systems cannot be mastered. They are a continually evolving and emerging portfolio of activities. This implies that the manager’s style needs to be continually evolving as well. Complexity is a reality. It is a fact. It is not a fad, and it is not going to go away. It is not going to diminish in importance; it is only going to grow in importance. (Excerpt taken from It’s Not Complicated – The Art and Science of Complexity in Business Pages page 115)
I agree with Rick that we must be willing to continually evolve. I feel like there is no limit to where we can go or what we can do if we take that next step to try something new. This spirit has been passed down to my two sons, ages 10 and 12, who have learned from watching my transformation. They attend university education camps in the summer (even though they are both still in elementary school), and do not feel tied down to one city or one field of knowledge. I am happy knowing that they feel they can chase any dream. I look forward to watching them learn and grow following those ambitions.
“Nothing is so dangerous to the progress of the human mind than to assume that our views of science are ultimate, that there are no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete and that there are no new worlds to conquer.”
People in Ann Arbor, Mich., are experiencing home food-delivery without a driver.
Domino’s Pizza and Ford have paired up in a pilot project that will look at how humans interact with driverless food-delivery cars. Ann Arbor is home to thousands of students, an age group not likely to view this new technology with suspicion. But it could turn into a fascinating social experiment for the food industry.
Customers ordering through Domino’s will be able to track their delivery in real time by using a downloadable app on their smartphones. They receive a text message that gives them a four-digit code to use once the car arrives.
But it’s the final portion of the drive that could prove unpredictable for Domino’s. The driverless delivery vehicle could end up in the driveway, or near the curb. Customers may not want to go out to the car if it’s raining or snowing. Domino’s USA president Russell Weiner says these challenges are a major part of the experiment.
“We’re interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery,” he said in a recent statement. “The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience.”
Human behaviour can be difficult to predict at the best of times, especially when dealing with food. This will be the first time a food service or retail company has used driverless cars to interact with actual consumers.
The experience will certainly offer convenience for customers in a variety of ways. With the app, expectations will be managed, and quality of service — Domino’s key strategic focus — will be more consistent.
That’s because delivery times will be streamlined, fewer pizzas will be damaged in handling mishaps and the customer won’t have to deal with tips — at least not for now. No tipping will reduce price points, making delivered pizzas more affordable. For cash-strapped students, that’s key.
For Domino’s, the business case for a driverless fleet is unquestionably strong. Lower insurance costs, lower fuel consumption, consistent delivery times, no thefts, controllable temperatures to keep food safe for customers so therefore less waste — the list goes on.
Domino’s delivers more than a billion pizzas annually, and has more than 100,000 drivers. Running a driverless fleet could save the company millions.
Embracing the concept of home food deliveries without having to hire drivers cannot come soon enough for the food service industry, which is looking for ways to increase revenue beyond their regular foot traffic.
Restaurant operators won’t need to deal with the headache of hiring the right people for delivery, and delivery is an important means of expanding the brand outside their facilities.
Most of us who have ordered home-delivered food have had mixed experiences.
Some drivers make convicted felons look like choir boys, causing customers to be hesitant about the food. But home delivery is no walk in the park for the drivers, either.
Drivers in the U.S. have told of finding themselves in unbelievably awkward situations, including being tipped with weed, being asked to eat with the customer to offer company, showing up during domestic disputes and being greeted by a naked customer as the front door opens.
There’s an endless list of unpleasant scenarios that would discourage anyone from contemplating home food delivery as a full-time job or even part-time job.
A humanless home food delivery experience, on the other hand, also offers a unique perspective on the market currency of convenience.
For years, price has been king. In study after study, price has trumped any other feature consumers were looking for in food service.
Younger generations, however, have a different take on convenience. Price remains a significant factor for higher revenues of course, but the constant quest for more convenience on both sides of the food continuum is now reaching the point of obsession.
Getting rid of delivery personnel is now a realistic approach. With driverless home food delivery, one could potentially get food delivered without seeing a single human being — a frightening thought for some, a reassuring one for others.
In the future, consumers could binge on their favourite junk food several times a week without the embarrassment of seeing the same delivery person.
No matter how you look at it, Domino’s and Ford are onto something. After all, driverless technologies are consistent with what Domino’s is all about.
The company has been successful over the years with its mastery of home delivery. Joining forces with Ford could make the company even more efficient.
Nonetheless not all of us needs Domino’s to get our food fix. Divorcing the human aspect from food is simply impossible for many food service companies — thousands of them, in fact. And thank goodness for that.
Shauna Wakeman MBA(FS)2016, General Manager at CIBC, recognizes the extraordinary potential of emergence, as discussed in Rick Nason’s book “It’s Not Complicated – The Art and Science of Complexity in Business.” Rick Nason argues that while emergence cannot be directly managed or predicted, it can be imagined and be put into place by an enlightened manager.
Shauna imagined possibilities and worked within a complex environment to achieve remarkable results, personally and professionally.
Shauna knew she would embark on an MBA journey. She prepared by searching for opportunities that would yield invaluable insight and diversity of experience.
I dedicated four years to my MBA(FS) studies, Shauna wrote in a recent e-mail to CFAME Connection. Those years were probably the most interesting and exciting years of my professional life. I tripled up raising a family, working full time, and furthering my education.
I believe that always knowing that I would one day take on the challenge of an MBA, influenced my decisions long before I started. I found myself accepting additional projects and responsibilities to expand my knowledge. I looked for opportunities to embrace new challenges.
Planning and timing were critical in taking my education to the next level. Balance between family, work and studies was essential. I waited for my youngest to be old enough to start school before I applied to Dalhousie’s CFAME MBA(FS) program. In the interim, I enrolled in courses via the CSI learning path to earn MBA credits before I formally started. I obtained FMA and CIM designations along the way.
The MBA program increased the interactions between studies and my career path. With each new course, I found ways in which to connect my learnings to my “on the job” activities. Marketing encouraged me to explore my own company on a deeper level. Information Technology Systems instilled a greater understanding of the digital movement. The capstone course, Strategic Leadership and Change, presented a high-level overview that brought the learnings together.
I found each course tied into my career in a new, engaging way; and I used those learnings to apply my knowledge in how I did my job and how I taught others.
As a graduate, I continue to expand my knowledge, network, and the geographic footprint of where I live, work, and play. I feel there is no limit to where we can go or what we can do as long as we take that next step to try something new.
“The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without thought of fame. If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As Dalhousie Faculty of Management’s 11th Dean, I am very pleased to announce the official launch on September 13, 2017, of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management strategic plan: Expanding the Experience. Our new vision, Inspiring Transformational Solutions for Society, now proudly displayed in our Atrium, gives us a sense of purpose to do better for our communities. By building on current strengths and partnerships, and by expanding our focus on experiential learning and internationalization, the Faculty of Management is confronting the major management challenges of our generation.
Our pillars will channel our aspirations in three distinctive ways:
(1) Advancing Experiential Learning (EL) Teaching and Research,
(2) Fostering Internationalization and Global Citizenship, and
(3) Cultivating Partnerships and Outreach.
Our Vision, Inspiring Transformational Solutions for Society, underpins our purpose to make a difference.
The world is changing and understanding our society is becoming more complex. Over the next 5 years we will be bold, imaginative, and invite ourselves to think differently. We will tell our story when we can, on and off campus, nationally and internationally.
Expanding the Experience is the Faculty of Management’s roadmap to work together and offer meaningful new ways and methods of supporting and changing society for the better.
Dean, Faculty of Management
A few weeks ago, on my short visit to Halifax, Rick Nason hand-delivered “It’s Not Complicated, The Art and Science of Complexity in Business.” Inside, there is a singular message with this challenge:
“Rebecca – Never stop embracing the emergence. Rick”
The Oxford dictionary defines emergence as “the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.” It comes from Medieval Latin: emergentia which signifies “bring to light.”
Over coffee which stretched across a morning, Rick shared how emergence is a paradigm-shifting way of thinking within a world that thrives on complexity.
Emergence arises out of connections and social interactions. These social interactions could be internal to the organization, or external, between the organization and its industry or even between the organization and the larger economy. Emergence itself cannot be directly managed or predicted, but it can be imagined, and the catalysts to allow emergence can be put into place by an enlightened manager.
Emergence can be either intimidating or inspiring to the manager. It behaves in weird and unpredictable – as well as uncontrollable – ways. Emergence cannot be controlled, but perhaps it can be nudged. Being aware of emergence and being willing to work with emergence rather than fight it are key. However, doing so requires managers to be sensitive to the broader context of business operations and willing to abandon rigid frameworks and strategies that do not allow for the company to quickly change course. (Excerpt taken from It’s Not Complicated – The Art and Science of Complexity in Business Pages 112 & 113)
When we said our goodbyes, Rick agreed to engage in a CFAME Connection dialogue that explores how life-long learning positions us to recognize and exploit the advantages emergence offers.
Stay tuned! We invite you to share your insights in this upcoming dialogue.