5 things you need to know in SA business today and why you should consider 'silent brainstorming' at your next meeting
1. BMW will no longer build engines in the UK destined for South Africa due to uncertainty around Brexit. The engines were sent to the SA BMW factory to be included in X3 cars, but because they are from Britain, the cars would lose their tax-free import status into Europe, Reuters reported.
2. Meanwhile, the pound is close to its lowest level against the dollar in two years amid the Brexit uncertainty. And after almost reaching R20/rand less than a year ago, the pound is currently trading at R17.67 – around its weakest level since February.
3. Dan Matjila, the former CEO of the Public Investment Corporation, yesterday gave testimony for a second day before the Mpati commission of inquiry. He said that the organisation was infiltrated “by the forces that sought to destabilise it”, and alluded to government attempts – especially under former finance minister Malusi Gigaba - to interfere with PIC investments.
4. A forensic probe into how South Africa's strategic fuel stock was sold off in 2015 has been completed, and will be submitted to Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources.
South Africa sold 10.3 million barrels of its oil reserves at a price of around $28 per barrel, while the price of oil at the time was around $37-44 per barrel.
5. The City of Johannesburg has scrapped plans to charge a fixed surcharge for prepaid electricity. The surcharge was supposed to be R200 per month for prepaid residential, and R402 per month for business prepaid customers. The surcharge was supposed to align prepaid tariffs with conventional tariffs.
Why you should consider 'silent brainstorming' at your next meeting
Reported by Shana Lebowitz
Meetings get a bad rap. At best, they often feel pointless; at worst, they're soul-sucking.
A book, "The Surprising Science of Meetings," aims to revamp meetings' reputation, with strategies for maximizing their efficiency and eliminating the pain that comes with them. The author is Steven G. Rogelberg, a professor of management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who consults for companies including IBM and Procter & Gamble.
One of Rogelberg's most compelling ideas is the no-talking meeting (or at least, no-talking portions of meetings). Apparently, talking, and specifically group brainstorming out loud, is where things go awry. Some people are too embarrassed to share their ideas, while others babble for so long that everyone else forgets their ideas.
To that end, Rogelberg proposes "brainwriting." Instead of people talking through ideas together, meeting participants write down their ideas anonymously on paper. The group leader has the option to pass around the papers (or place them throughout the room) so everyone can read them and add their thoughts.
Research suggests that silent brainstorming yields better and higher-quality ideas than talking out loud.
Another option is to open every meeting with a period of silent reading, a strategy to ensure everyone does the assigned reading instead of just pretending. Only then does a spoken discussion take place.
Amazon has been known to hold meetings this way. In an interview at the George Bush Presidential Center in April 2018, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said: "For every meeting, someone from the meeting has prepared a six-page, narratively structured memo that has real sentences and topic sentences and verbs. It's not just bullet points. It's supposed to create the context for the discussion we're about to have."
Rogelberg sums it up: "If attendees don't share key information and insights relevant to the meetings goals, especially information they hold uniquely, the meeting is destined for mediocrity, at best."
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