Truth and Reconciliation in Business


Access to the truth is a fundamental human right and as such it must form the foundation of any truly amazing organization capable of maintaining long-term, mutually respectful and beneficial relationships. This is as true of organizations as it is of nation states or families.

Truth and Reconciliation in business aims to achieve exactly what it says. It aims to get to the truth about the way relationships are being conducted and it aims to use the acceptance of that truth as the basis for reconciling the organization and building fresh new relationships.

If we want our organization to be amazingly successful we must confront and overcome the practice of having completely separate management, employee and stakeholder perspectives, dividing the way we see our organization’s current and future priorities.

We need to develop one working culture capable of uniting our un-reconciled and incompatible aspirations and goals. This requires us to focus not only on our systems and processes but to build strong, dynamic relationships based on dialogue, interaction, genuinely shared values, mutual respect, inclusiveness, openness and trust.

Truth and reconciliation, as practiced by nation states, such as, South Africa, is a detailed process used under the most extreme situations – far removed from anything or indeed any of us has probably seen in any organization.

But let’s not miss the lessons these experiences can teach us about unity and strength, and about how to create harmony in inharmonious situations. Truth and reconciliation in business is significantly scaled-down version with reduced scope based on a drastically reduced need. What it does do, however, is adhere to principles proven in the most extreme environments where demands for forgiveness take on monumental proportions.

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.

Managing for Customer Satisfaction


If you are working in a business that is focused and dedicated to customer satisfaction you cannot manage it in the same way as an ordinary or traditional business – it just doesn’t work. Organizations have found this to their cost. Implementing policies without changing the organization first is self-defeating. The organization will defeat change as soundly as day follows night. However, if you change the organization and the way people are managed and led and you have developed the policies, ideas, procedures, standards and systems will evolve rapidly and effectively.

The first major change has to be  the ritual burning and demolition of the standard organization chart. Customers, suppliers and employees cannot be forced to work through traditional top down hierarchical management systems. Not only does it give people the wrong feeling, it actually just doesn’t work. It’s not that it ever worked particularly well anyway, it was just the thing that everyone used when they put together a large organization.

Today’s manager has to be much more of a communicator than a dictator. They also have to be much more of a facilitator than a policy determinator. People’s aspirations have changed, just as the customers have. They need to be treated in a way that encourages them, empowers them and enthuses them to deliver the best for their customers.

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.

Organizational Planning to Compete


Many businesses have no long-term aspiration; they quite simply want to achieve something and then move on. This applies at times to both task-oriented commercial and non-commercial organizations.

Many individuals tasked with running an organization have little or no social interest in the long-term failure of it and limit their interest to the time that they will be responsible for (and indeed benefit from) the organization’s success. This can happen regardless of the aspirations of the organization’s stakeholders.

Some markets are so changeable that any detailed investment and planning for the future proves largely futile.

There are times when too great a concern for the future will detract attention from short-term priorities and damage an organization’s current prospects, which will in turn damage long-term prospects as well.

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.

Employee Communications


To attain excellence in employee communications, the organization must utilize communication techniques that:

  • Communicate the organization’s objectives, goals, priorities and values to all employees.
  • Ensure that supervisors clearly define the tasks and responsibilities of each of their employees.
  • Ensure that supervisors give employees timely evaluation of their job performance.
  • Communicate the organization’s expectation of quality to all employees.
  • Ensure that policies and practices are clearly communicated and understood by all employees.
  • Stimulate frequent face-to-face discussions between managers and their employees.
  • Inform all employees of the organization’s accomplishments, achievements and other important issues related to the work environment.
  • Involve employees in the department of organization policy and procedures.
  • Encourage employees to express their ideas and recommendations to improve the operation of the organization.
  • Provide timely feedback to employees regarding the organization’s consideration of their ideas and recommendations.
  • Solicit information from employees relative to their career goals and aspirations.
  • Provide employees with information they can use to make personal career decisions.
  • Inform employees of job openings within the organization.
  • Encourage employees to voice their problems and concerns.
  • Give timely consideration and response to employee problems and concerns.
  • Continually monitor what information employees want to receive.
  • Regularly measure the effectiveness of communication techniques.

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.

 

Industrial Competitiveness


The European Management Forum defines industrial competitiveness as “the immediate and future ability of, and opportunities for, entrepreneurs to design, produce and market goods within their respective environments whose price and non-price qualities form a more attractive package than those of competitors.”

The major factors affect competitiveness:

  • The dynamism of the economy measured by criteria such as growth rates, monetary strength, industrial production and per capita performance.
  • Industrial efficacy, which involves direct and indirect employee costs, per capita output, employee motivation, turnover and absenteeism.
  • The dynamics of the market, when efforts to improve competitiveness are increased and better directed to more intensive market forces.
  • Financial dynamism that is the strength and importance of the commercial banking sector, stock and bond markets and their ability to provide capital.
  • Human resources that is the dynamism of the population and the labor force, employment, unemployment, executive quality and motivation.
  • The role of the state in fiscal policies and other regulations.
  • Resources and infrastructure (transport and communications facilities), domestic energy and raw material sources.
  • Outward orientation, the will to promote trade actively, buying and selling goods, service-related investments or any other form of international exchange.
  • Innovative forward orientation which emphasis national research and development efforts, corporate and government attitudes to exploiting new ideas, products and production processes.
  • Socio-political consensus and stability, the degree to which strategies and policies reflect a society’s aspirations.

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 Bottomless Pit


For many companies the networked enterprise vision became the reality for what appeared to be a bottomless pit into which money was poured with little prospect of achieving the ‘benefits’ that were originally sought. The returns from early investment in IT were problematic. The potion turned those with aspirations to become princesses and fairies into frogs and goblins.

Much of past ‘investment’ in IT has been used to shore up existing ways of working. We have used IT to set our organization in concrete. We have worked hard and spent millions consolidating a bureaucratic form of organization which we are now trying to break down.

IT suppliers, with a mixture of cheek and bravado, have long been in the business of offering solutions to the many problems which their own products have created. They suggest that this or that upgrade may yet turn the lead boots they have supplied into winged slippers.

While overall the introduction of early generations of IT may have had little beneficial impact, it does appear to have widened the gap between the more and less efficient companies. There are ‘winners,’ but for many IT from its origins to the dotcom era has been an ‘honest mirror’ that has confronted them with their own warts and wrinkles.

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, Line of Sight

Transformation into an Enterprise Colony


Modern corporations need to transform themselves into enterprise colonies that can tap, build and realize the entrepreneurial potential within their people. Companies should provide venture teams with development capital, marketing assistance and central services in return for an appropriate equity stake in new initiatives.

Empowerment and delegation are being championed in many companies. But empowerment to do what, and delegation for what purpose? General drives need to be matched with specific steps to promote enterprise and build entrepreneurial qualities.

Confident companies encourage people to better understand their inner selves, and take advantage of their unique qualities and distinctive strengths:

  • They invite suggestions for new ways of exploiting corporate capabilities, and building and delivering value to customers.
  • They stimulate diversity, establish working environments that are conducive of reflection, and introduce ways of working and learning that raise spirits and fire the imagination.
  • They encourage the creation, packaging, sharing, application and exploitation of new knowledge and understanding.
  • They are also prepared to share rewards with those primarily responsible for successful entrepreneurship.

Personal and corporate transformation must go hand in hand. Increasingly, people need to think for themselves and make choices. Many intending entrepreneurs require new skills and knowledge, and specialist support. Many traditional management tools and techniques are simply not appropriate for those who seek both business success and personal fulfillment.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and new corporate ventures are the primary source of tomorrow’s work opportunities. In recent years governments and corporate leaders around the world have put a higher priority upon enterprise and entrepreneurship. The aspiration is clear. However, many people lack the competence and experience either to become entrepreneurs, or to manage corporate relationships with them.

Enterprise needs its own entrepreneurs. Slimmed-down organizations require the services of counsellors with the experience, sensitivity and intuition to help others to become successful entrepreneurs, while the resulting ventures will need learning and enterprise support services at various points in the enterprise life cycle.

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, Line of Sight

Leadership for Corporate Transformation


So how are boards performing as enablers and facilitators of corporate change? Many of them are most systematically assembling the building blocks. The board establishes the vision and wrings its hands as the gap between aspiration and achievement grows wider. The role of the board is the formulation and implementation of strategy. It puts its backs into the former, but when it comes to implementation it hands it over to management and hopes for the best.

 Top management commitment continues to be a major barrier to change. It is essential in view of the complex nature of the change task in many organizations, and the number of individuals and groups that must be involved.

 The widespread perception of a lack of commitment in the boardroom is understandable. How can they believe they are committed when they have not put in place all the actions that are necessary to make it happen?

 Many boards are abdicating their responsibility for leading the process of corporate transformation. Determining vision, mission and strategy appears to be perceived as ‘direction’ rather than as an aspect of ‘leadership’; while the term ‘leadership’ is applied to the ‘management’ process of motivating people to understand and achieve vision, mission and strategy, once these have been defined by the board.

 ‘Leadership’ appears to be seen by the chairmen of many boards as a management responsibility rather than a boardroom competence. It is not surprising that many management teams perceive a lack of commitment on the part of the boards of their companies.

 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, Line of Sight

How Losers Operate?


Losers tend to stick with a particular and hierarchical model of operation. The structure is set out in organization charts. There are probably job descriptions for most positions, and how the organization operate is set out in a physical or electronic manual. Preparing these and understanding them takes time. Hence people are reluctant to make changes that might involve altering diagrams, updating files and reprinting documents. Some people become complacent. They believe they have discovered or created a formula for continuing business success. They also swear by particular approaches and enshrine them in standard processes and procedures. The framework solidifies.

 Many losers have a weakness for single solutions, panaceas and fads. They believe that this management approach, that technology or a particular consultant’s methodology will provide and answer and solve their problems. While struggling to make a chosen course of action work they fail to consider alternative options. They look themselves in.

 Employees who can be trusted to operate in approved ways and observe standard practice are promoted. After some time corporate structures, processes, systems and mindsets become rigid and inflexible. Subject them to increasing stress and they first creak and groan, and then snap. Increase workloads and transaction flows and people in ‘loser’ organizations struggle to cope. Rather than operate in new ways or change processes they endeavor to work harder, faster and for longer hours. They quickly become overloaded and break down. Work-life balance is an issue in these companies because staff suffer the pressures without enjoying any of the compensating benefits.

 There are often alternative ways of achieving the same objective. Boats of many types and sizes may be capable of making the same journey, although imposing very different demands upon their crews. The craft chosen will reflect their preferences and aspirations. There may also be alternative routes to the same destination.

 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, Line of Sight

Conducting an Interview


You may not have the time or inclination to create structured situational interviews. However, there are several things you can do to increase the standardization of the interview or otherwise assist the interviewer to ask more consistent and job relevant questions. They include:

  1. Base questions on actual job duties. This will minimize irrelevant questions based on beliefs about the job’s requirements. It may also reduce the likelihood of bias, because there’s less opportunity to ‘read’ things into the answer.
  2. Use job knowledge, situational, or behaviorally oriented questions and objective criteria to evaluate the interviewee’s responses. Questions that simply ask for opinions and attitudes, goals and aspirations, and self-descriptions and self-evaluations allow candidates to present themselves in an overly favorable manner or avoid revealing weaknesses. Structured interview questions can reduce subjectivity and therefore the chance for inacurate conclusions, and bias. Examples of structured questions include: (a) situational questions like, “Suppose you were giving a sales presentation and a difficult technical question arose that you could not answer. What would you do?”; (b) past behavior questions like, “Can you provide an example of a specific instance where you developed a sales presentation that was highly effective?”; (c) background questions like, “What work experiences, training, or other qualifications do you have for working in a teamwork environment?”; (d) job knowledge questions like, “What factors should you consider when developing a TV advertising campaign?”
  3. Train interviewers. For example, review laws with prospective interviewers and train them to avoid irrelevant or potentially discriminatory questions and to avoid stereotyping minority candidates. Also train them to base their questions on job-related information.
  4. Use the same questions with all candidates. When it comes to asking questions, the prescription seems to be “the more standardized, the better.” Using the same questions with all candidates can also reduce bias “because of the obvious fairness of giving all the candidates the exact same opportunity.”
  5. Use rating scales to rate answers. For each question, provide a range of possible ideal answers and quantative score for each. Then you can rate each candidate’s answers against this scale. This ensures that all interviewers are using the same standards.
  6. Use multiple interviewers or panel interviews. Doing so can reduce bias, by diminishing the importance of one interviewer’s idiosyncratic opinions, and by bringing in more points of view.
  7. If possible, use structured interview form. Interviews based on structured guides usually result in the best interviews. At the very least, list your questions before the interview.
  8. Control the interview. Limiting the interviewers’ follow-up questions (to ensure all interviewees get the same questions), using a larger number of querstions, and prohibiting questions from candidates until after the interview are other “structuring” techniques.

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, Line of Sight

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