Defining Issues & Priorities


Ensure that the key issues facing business have been realistically defined in light of the current and rapidly changing business environment. There is nothing new about this requirement, but the fact is that very few management teams actually take the time and apply the discipline necessary to objectively define and prioritize the key issues that can make or break their business. The issues of inferior quality, higher cost products, lower productivity, and nonresponsive service plague manufacturers for the better part of the recent past. Many companies in industries such as steel, automotive, machine tool, textile, farm and construction equipment suffer badly as a result. Only few companies address these issues in effective ways. Most are unable to clearly identify the key issues, set priorities, and develop the necessary business plans to overcome the underlying problems.

While the specific issues vary for different companies and industries, the management mindset should not vary. To deal effectively with an increasingly turbulent environment, priorities must be set so the business can survive unexpected blows, adapt to sudden dropping changes, and then capitalize on smaller windows of opportunity that develop and close much more quickly than they have in the past.

Many progressive managers kick off their planning process with a session aimed specifically at getting agreement on key issues and priorities. Accepting these priorities require a shift in the way most managers think and act, such as:

  • Liquidity becomes a more important objective, often more important than reported earnings. It provides the flexibility to deal more effectively with unexpected events than is possible when everything is tied up in fixed and slow moving assets.
  • Productivity gains per dollar of capital and per employee must be achieved annually. These reductions must exceed inflation and achieve demonstrably lower costs.
  • Innovation must never stop. Demonstrable product and process improvements must be achieved year after year.
  • All cycle and response times must be continuously reduced.
  • A “frightened” sense of urgency must be the way of life in all parts of the business.

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.

Commitment to Action


Understanding the marketing concept is one thing; following through with the commitment to make tough decisions is quite another. Many companies stumble badly here. Companies with a superior marketing effort, on the other hand, repeatedly demonstrate their commitment to follow the marketing concept by their willingness to require cooperation from all functions, to invest for long-term goals, and to face up to deficiencies in product, price, or service.

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.

Creating a Professional Persona


Your persona is how you appear to your readers. Demonstrating the following characteristics will help you establish an attractive professional persona:

  • Cooperativeness: Make clear that your goal is to solve a problem, not advance your own interests.
  • Moderation: Be moderate in your judgments. The problems you are describing will not likely spell doom for your organization, and the solution you propose will not solve all company’s problems.
  • Fair-mindedness: Acknowledge the strengths of opposing points of view, even as you offer counter-arguments.
  • Modesty: If you fail to acknowledge that you don’t know everything, someone else will be sure to volunteer that insight.

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.

Expert Power


There are several ways managers use expert power. They can promote an image of expertise by subtly making others aware of their education, experience, and accomplishments. To maintain credibility, a leader should not pretend to know things that he or she does not know. A leader whose pretentions are exposed will rapidly lose expert power. A confident and decisive leader demonstrates a firm grasp of situations and takes charge when circumstances dictate. To enhance their expert power, managers should also keep themselves informed about developments related to tasks, valuable to the organization, and relevant to their expertise.

A leader who recognizes employee concerns works to understand the underlying nature of these issues and takes appropriate steps to reassure subordinates. To avoid threatening subordinates’ self-esteem, a leader with expert power should be careful not to flaunt expertise or behave like a know-it-all.

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.

Customer-Oriented Companies


How do companies become market oriented? It begins with the business culture. Consider top management’s values, employees, inter-departmental dynamics, organizational systems, and response to the environment. A dual emphasis on the customer (satisfy/delight the buyer) and on the competition  is needed, as well as  a long-term view. The Japanese are known for long-term marketing plans, which often will outlive the executives in the company sculpting the strategy.

Recognizing that today’s customers are quite smart and sophisticated, and they are looking for companies that: 1) create maximum value for them based on their needs and wants, and 2) demonstrate that they value their business.

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.

Theory of Foreign Direct Investment


Monopolistic advantage theory was developed by Stephen Hymer, the modern monopolistic advantage theory demonstrates that foreign direct investment occurs largely in oligopolistic industries rather than in industries operating under near-perfect competition.

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.

Required Organizational Performance


Required organizational performance demonstrates that the same levels of performance will produce markedly different levels of success for different organizations; and in return, that the same degree of success can be achieved by different organizations putting in different levels of performance.

Required organizational performance is based on the interplay between two key variables and suggests that by linking these two variables we can predict the level of performance that an organization must deliver to succeed.

  • Duration of competition, defined as the period of time that an organization is actively planning for, that is to say the time they willing to wait until the benefits of their decisions start to materialize. Every decision that we make comes with an attached time scale – are we willing and can we afford to invest three years in a project, or do we  want results within the next three months or even the next three days?
  • Degree of competition, which reflects the openness of the marketplace  to new entrants and how fiercely other organizations are competing for the same customers. The degree of competition is determined by the market conditions.

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.

Pricing


Whether or not it is so recognized, pricing is one of the most crucial decision functions of a marketing manager. Pricing is an art, a game played for high stakes; for marketing strategists, it is the moment of truth. All of marketing comes to focus in the pricing decision. To a large extent, pricing decisions determine the types of customers and competitors an organization will attract. Likewise, a single pricing error can effectively nullify all other marketing-mix activities. Despite its importance, price rarely serves as the focus of marketing strategy, in part because it is the easiest marketing-mix activity for the competition to imitate.

It can be easily demonstrated that price is a direct determinant of profit (or loss). This fact is apparent from the fundamental relationship.

Profit = total revenue – total cost

Revenue is a direct result of unit price times quantity sold, and costs are indirectly influenced by quantity sold, which in turn is partially dependent on unit price. Hence, price simultaneously influences both revenues and costs.

Despite its importance, pricing remains on of the least understood marketing-mix activities.

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.

Writing Useful Instructions


When you need to explain in writing how to do something, a set of step-by-step instructions is your best choice. By enumerating the steps, you make it easy for readers to perform the process in the correct sequence. Your goal is to provide a clear, self-sufficient explanation so that readers can perform the task independently.

Gather Equipment

  1. Writing materials (pen and paper, typewriter, computer)
  2. Background materials (previous memos, policy manuals, manufacturer’s booklets, etc.)
  3. When necessary, the apparatus being explained (machine, software package, or other equipment)

Prepare

  1. Perform the task yourself, or ask experts to demonstrate it or describe it to you in detail.
  2. Analyze prospective readers’ familiarity with the process so that you can write instructions at their level of understanding.

Make your Instructions Clear

  1. Include four elements: an introduction, a list of equipment and materials, a description of the steps involved in the process, and a conclusion.
  2. Explain in the opening why the process is important and how it is related to a larger purpose.
  3. Divide the process into short, simple steps presented in order of occurrence.
  4. Present the steps in a numbered list, or if presenting them in paragraph format, use words indicating time or sequence, such as first and then.
  5. If the process involves more than ten steps, divide them into groups or stages identified with headings.
  6. Phrase each step as a command (“Do this” instead of “You should do this”); use active verbs; use precise, specific terms (“three weeks” instead of “several weeks”).
  7. When appropriate, describe how to tell whether a step has been performed correctly and how one step may influence another. Warn readers of possible damage or injury from a mistake in a step, but limit the number of warnings so that readers do not underestimate their importance.
  8. Include diagrams of complicated devices, and refer to them in appropriate steps.
  9. Summarize the importance of the process and the expected results.

Test your Instructions

  1. Review the instructions to be sure they are clear and complete. Also judge whether you have provided too much detail.
  2. Ask someone else to read the instructions and tell you whether they make sense and are easy to follow.

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.

 

Corporate Giving


One of the most visible ways in which businesses help communities is through gifts of money, property, and employee service. The corporate philanthropy or corporate giving demonstrates the commitment of businesses to assist the communities by supporting nonprofit organizations.

Some argue that corporate managers have no right to give away company money that does not belong to them. According to the line of reasoning, any income earned by the company should be either reinvested in the firm or distributed to the stockholders who are legal owners. The charitable contributions are one additional way in which companies link themselves to the broader interests of the community, thereby advancing and strengthening the company rather than weakening it.

Companies also help local communities through the substantial number of business donations that are not recorded as philanthropy because they are not pure giving. Routine gifts of products and services for local use often are recorded as advertising expenses; gifts of employee time for charity drives and similar purposes usually are not recorded; and the costs of soliciting and processing employee gifts, deductions usually are not recorded as corporate giving. Still, they add value to the local community of which the company is part.

Many large US companies have established nonprofit corporate foundations to handle their charitable programs. This permits them to administer contribution programs more uniformly and provides a central group of professionals that handles all grant requests. Foreign-owned corporations use foundations less frequently, although firms use highly sophisticated corporate foundations to conduct their charitable activities. As corporations expand to more foreign locations, pressures will grow to expand international corporate giving. Foundations, with their defined mission to benefit the community, can be a useful mechanism to help companies implement philanthropic programs that meet corporate social responsibility.

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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