Boardroon Briefing: succession planning, happiness monitors, and the real source of foreign direct investment


Ensuring a smooth flow in management changes, gauging customer satisfaction, and the smoke and mirrors of foreign direct investment. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Why succession planning is important

Handing over the keys. Credit: Robert Half

All organisations, no matter their size, need succession planning, according to HR specialist, Susan Heathfield.

For employers, says Heathfield, succession planning means there is always someone ready to step into roles as the company grows and expands, and of course, when a vacancy suddenly occurs.

A succession plan is an investment in your company’s future, agrees HR recruiter, Robert Half.

‘If you are making plans to move up the ranks in the C-suite, bear in mind you’ll need a successor, too, who’s enthusiastic about being a boss.’

Is your customer HappyOrNot?

The happiness monitor. Credit: BBC

Feedback terminals – or happiness monitors – give customers the chance to answer questions about their experience and, reports the BBC’s Will Smale, they grew out of a bad retail experience.

The simple concept was developed by Finns Heikki Vaananen and Ville Levaniemi, who started HappyOrNot.

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As a 15-year-old, Heikke would go to his local computer shop to buy floppy disks. Unfortunately, the man behind the counter was always horrible to him.

‘He was always rude and dismissive,’ says Heikki, now 39. ‘I never forgot about it.’

Remembering the experience, he set up a company to make physical feedback terminals, on which customers could give their view on how good a service was, by pressing one of four ‘smiley’ faces.

HappyOrNot is now used by more than 4,000 organisations across 134 countries.

Foreign direct investment may be ‘phantom capital’


According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, PNG was the recipient of US$335 million (K1.14 billion) in foreign direct investment in 2018.

With global FDI worth a staggering US$40 trillion in 2018, that means PNG’s share of the global investment pie was only 0.000008%.

While other countries are a lot better at attracting FDI, their reported numbers may be a bit of a mirage.

According to a recent IMF report, almost 40 per cent of world FDI may actually be ‘phantom capital’ used for corporate tax evasion, mostly through tax havens. This is unproductive money not involved in genuine investment.

Tiny Luxembourg, for example, actually received as much FDI as the United States, but most of it was funds paid into unproductive shell companies.

Phantom FDI continues to grow every year, in spite of the efforts of the G7 to clamp down on profit shifting. Maybe PNG is missing a trick?

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