Who cares about the royal baby?

Royal enthusiasts unveil a banner congratulating Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, on the birth of the Prince of Cambridge, outside the entrance of the private Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in London on July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Alastair Grant


(MoneyWatch) In an age when teens and graduates struggle to find their first job and youth unemployment reaches new highs, it's pretty remarkable to be born with a job. That must be today's definition of privilege. HR directors and headhunters might ask: How do you know he's qualified? What do you really know about him? But nobody cares because this baby is royal.

I wonder whether there's something we could learn from the arcane practices of the monarchy. After all, we know that interviews are a rotten selection process. Psychometric testing could work, if we only had a better grasp of what each job really needs. Since rational hiring and firing turns out to be so risky, might irrational processes work better?

Although (as you might guess) I'm not a monarchist, I do think there's something interesting happening here. The kid has a job for life from birth and stands a decent chance of doing the job adequately because he will be very well trained by "the firm" -- British slang for the royal family. What if all employees got the same training? Wouldn't they all be pretty good?

The truth is that this new prince will probably do alright because he will get plenty of training, mentoring and education for the job. It's what every employee needs: support, coaching, feedback and positive reinforcement. The monarchy has lasted as well as it has because it eschews the modern management method: sink or swim. It invests in its people. It knows that the long-term viability of the firm depends on them. Its concept of sustainability stretches far beyond the next quarter.

How many modern corporations are that enlightened?

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    Margaret Heffernan has been CEO of five businesses in the United States and United Kingdom. A speaker and writer, her most recent book Willful Blindness was shortlisted for the Financial Times Best Business Book 2011. Visit her on www.MHeffernan.com.