Business Ethics


Business ethics provide guidelines to what is right, good, or moral in commercial relationships. Should an older employee who is no longer fully productive be fired? Should a purchasing agent accept a present from a supplier? Should a magazine accept ads for products that may be harmful to users, such as cigarettes? In practice, answers to these and other ethical questions are usually based on moral or religious standards, on the situation, or on the perceived self-interest of the individual or firm.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The New Corporate Governance Structures


The most significant change in the restructuring is the heightened role of corporate internal auditors. Auditors have traditionally been viewed as performing a necessary but perfunctory function, namely to probe corporate financial records for unintentional or illicit misrepresentations. Although a majority of US corporations have longstanding traditions of reporting that their auditors operated independently of CFO approval and that they had direct access to the board, in practice, the auditors’ work usually traveled through the organization’s hierarchical chain of command.

In the past, internal auditors reviewed financial reports generated by other corporate accountants. The auditors considered professional accounting and financial practices, as well as, relevant aspects of corporate law, and then presented their findings to the chief financial officer (CFO). Historically, the CFO reviewed the audits and determined the financial data and information that was to be presented to top management, directors, and investors of the company.

Because CEOs and audit committees sign-off on financial results, auditors now routinely deal directly with top corporate officials. Approximately 75 percent of senior corporate auditors now report directly to the Board of Directors’ audit committee. Additionally, to eliminate the potential for accounting problems, companies are establishing direct lines of communication between top managers and the board and auditors that inform the CFO but that are not dependent on CFO approval or authorization.

The new structure also provides the CEO information provided directly by the company’s chief compliance and chief accounting officers. Consequently, the CFO, who is responsible for ultimately approving all company payments, is not empowered to be the sole provider of data for financial evaluations by the CEO and board.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Balancing Planning Efforts with Day-to-Day Demands


Managers often allow day-to-day activities to capture their attention while planning and strategy fall by the wayside. Use the following suggestions to ensure that you carry out your plans and spend the time you need for planning:

a)      Keep a log to determine how you are spending your time. Evaluate your time allocations to ensure that you are giving proper time and attention to the “big plan.” Consider delegating more.

b)      When you are faced with many demanding and competing priorities, ask yourself which are the most important ones and make them your first priority. When an urgent matter arises, determine how it fits into your daily plan (is it urgent and important, or simply urgent?) and act accordingly.

c)      Use the 80/20 rule, which states that 80 percent of the value of a group of items is generally concentrated in only 20 percent of the items. Simply put, the 80/20 rule means that you can be 80 percent effective by achieving 20 percent of your goals. If you have a daily “to-do” list of ten items, this means that you can generally expect to be 80 percent effective by successfully completing only the two most important items on your list.

d)     Use a software planning package to plan complex and multiple projects. These tools will help you keep track of what needs to be done.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Understanding Culture


Culture is a shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms for behavior. All members of a culture have similar assumptions about how people should think, behave, and communicate, and they all tend to act on those assumptions in much the same way.

You belong to several cultures. The most obvious is the culture you share with all the people who live in your own country. You also belong to other cultural groups, including an ethnic group, a religious group, and perhaps a profession that has its own special language and customs.

Distinct groups that exist within a major culture are referred to as subcultures. Groups that might be considered subcultures in the US are Mexican Americans, Mormons, wrestling fans, Chinese Americans, and Harvard graduates.

By bridging cultural differences, you can successfully achieve intercultural communication, the process of sending and receiving messages between people of different cultures. When communicating with a person from another culture, you will be most effective if you can identify the differences between your cultures and accommodate those differences without expecting either the other party or yourself to give up your identity.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Sensitivity Analysis


Sensitivity analysis allows the impact of different possible outcomes to be evaluated easily. It is sometimes described as ‘what if?’ analysis, because it answers the question ‘what if such and such were to happen?’

Typical outcomes which can be evaluated are:

  • What if development work costs 5% more than forecast?
  • What if the sales launch is delayed by six months?
  • What if sales in the first year are 10% below forecast?
  • What if sales prices are 1% higher or lower than forecast?

Various possibilities can be evaluated to find out which factors will have the greatest impact upon the return to be achieved. This allows management attention to be focused on the most sensitive aspects of the project in an informed way.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

ISO 9000 Certification


Organizations that achieve certain quality standards can apply for ISO 9000 certification. This is administered by independent third parties who check quality management methods. For this you must:

  • Say what you are going to do about quality—describing procedures, operations and inspections;
  • Show that you actually do work in this way;
  • Prove that work was done properly by doing audits and keeping records.

Some people think that ISO standards guarantee high product quality—if you see the label, the product must be good. But really, the standard only shows that an organization has a program of quality management, and that the product quality is consistent and reliable. The quality need not necessarily be good. A manufacturer of metal bearings, for example, will specify the tolerance on the diameter of a bearing; ISO certification means that the bearings will be within this tolerance, but it does not judge whether the tolerance is good enough for any intended use.

There are five separate parts to the ISO 9000 standards:

a)      ISO 9000 defines quality, gives a series of standards an organization might aim for and guides you through the other parts of the series.

b)      ISO 9001 is used by companies whose customers expect them to design and make special products—it deals with the whole range of TQM, from initial product design and development, through to procedures for testing final products and services.

c)      ISO 9002 is used by companies who make standard products—it concentrates on the actual process, and how to document quality.

d)     ISO 9003 deals with final product inspection and testing procedures.

e)      ISO 9004 is a guide to overall quality management and related systems, and says what you should do to develop and maintain quality.

ISO 9000 and 9004 are guides for setting up quality management programs; ISO 9001 and 9002 are the main standards; and ISO 9003 describes some aspects of quality control. These standards are flexible enough to use in almost any organization.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Leveling the Playing Field


Creating new heroes, designing graded levels of achievement, and establishing broadbanded pay plans are all so important. These techniques provide an environment where money and prestige are spread throughout the organization. Since the employee now knows he can acquire them through a variety of different paths, money and prestige become less of a factor in his decision making. He is free to choose his path based upon his current understanding of his talents and non-talents. He may still make the occasional misstep, but he is much more likely to focus not only toward roles where he excels, but toward roles that bring him lasting satisfaction and roles he yearns to play for a very long time.

On the level playing field, you bear conversations that you never thought you would hear. Conversations like this: “I live my role. I am the best in the company at it. I am making a lot of money doing it. And I am having more of an impact than I ever thought was possible in my life. So I said to my boss, I said, “Your one objective with me is to see to it that I am never promoted again. If you can do that, you have me for your life.”

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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