Efficiency versus Competition


Is big business efficiency more important than preventing competition? Many big companies claim that their large size makes possible many operating economies.  Today’s complex technology, far-flung markets, complicated financial systems, and transnational competition make bigness essential for survival and efficient operation. Placing restrictions on today’s corporate growth just to preserve a competitive ideal formed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries seems to make little economic sense. On the other hand, others point out that competition stands at the heart of private enterprise ideology and that small businesses, consumers, and workers should be protected against big business expansion even though it may mean a loss of efficiency.

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 Aging Crisis


Not a company exists whose management doesn’t say, at least for public consumption, that it wants an organization flexible enough to adjust quickly to changing market conditions, lean enough to beat any competitor’s price, innovative enough to keep its products and services technologically fresh, and dedicated enough to deliver maximum quality and consumer service.

So, if managements want companies that are lean, nimble, flexible, responsive, competitive, innovative, efficient, customer-focused, and profitable, why are so many. Companies are bloated, clumsy, rigid, sluggish, non-competitive, uncreative, inefficient, disdainful of customer needs, and losing money. The answers lie in how these companies do their work and why they do it that way.

Corporations do not perform badly because workers are lazy and managements are inept. Just the same, the record of industrial and technological accomplishment over the past century is proof enough that managements are not inept and workers do work.

Inflexibility, unresponsiveness, the absence of customer focus, an obsession with activity rather than result, bureaucratic paralysis, lack of innovation, high overhead—these are the legacies of industrial leadership. These characteristics are not new; they have not suddenly appeared. They have been present all along. If costs are high they can be passed on to customers. If customers are dissatisfied, they have nowhere else to turn. If new products are slow in coming, customers will wait. The important managerial job is to manage growth, and the rest doesn’t matter. Now that growth has flattened out, the rest matters a great deal.

The business problem is that in 21st century with companies designed during the nineteenth century to work well in the twentieth—we need something different.

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.

Why Firms are Nationalized?


One might assume that government ownership of the factors of production is found only in communist or socialist countries, but that assumption is incorrect. Large segments of business are owned by the governments of many countries that do not consider themselves either communist or socialist. From country to country, there are wide differences in the industries that are government owned and in the extent of government ownership.

There are a number of reasons, sometimes overlapping, why governments put their hands on firms. Some of them are 1) to extract more money from the firms—the government suspects that the firms are concealing profits; 2) an extension of the first reason—the government  believes it could run the firms more efficiently and make more money; 3) ideological—when left-wing governments are elected, they sometimes nationalize industries, as has occurred in Britain, France, and Canada; 4) to catch votes as politicians save jobs by putting dying industries on life-support systems, which can be disconnected after the election; 5) because the government has pumped money into a firm or an industry, and control usually follows money; and 6) happenstance, as with the nationalization after World war 11 of German-owned firms in Europe.

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.

Situation Appraisal


We may experience confusion and uncertainty over where to begin, how to recognize situations that require action, how to break apart overlapping and confusing issues into manageable components, how to set priorities, and how to manage a number of simultaneous activities efficiently.

Nearly every manager has entered the fantasy of starting fresh. Even on the first day in a new job, the manager is beset by issues that were chronic frustrations for the previous incumbent. Every manager must operate from a middle ground, surrounded by the accumulated problems of the past, a profusion of demands of the moment, and the certainty that future threats and opportunities await him not be ignored.

Situational analysis in this situation thus has a role. It consists of evaluative techniques that lead to proper selection and use of analytical techniques. This process builds the framework for daily use of rational process ideas. It enables managers to make best possible use of the technique of problem analysis, decision analysis, and potential problem analysis.

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.

Ego Meetings


What about the manager who purports to believe the only way to get information from subordinates is by meeting? This manager may be seeking ego satisfaction.  Meetings are not for holding court. It may be a pleasant way to get reports, but it is far from efficient. Any career-minded individual caught in such a situation needs to seriously consider his or her position and prospects.

Evaluate your meeting schedule. If a memo will serve, write a memo. If an informal conversation will work, converse. If a meeting is the only, or best, solution, hold a meeting, but make sure it is a good one.

Avoid being caught in the meeting  cycle. Help stamp out meeting mania. Don’t be part of the problem.

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.

Leading


Implementation involves leading people to use their abilities and skills most effectively and efficiently to achieve organizational objectives. Without direction, people tend to do their work according to their personal view of what tasks should be done, how, and in what order. They may approach their work as they have in the past or emphasize those tasks that they most enjoy—regardless of the corporation’s priorities. This can create real problems, particularly if the company is operating internationally and must adjust to customs and traditions in other countries. This direction may take the form of management leadership, communicated norms of behavior from the corporate culture, or agreements among workers in autonomous work groups. It may also be accomplished more formally through action planning or through programs such as management by objectives and total quality management.

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.

Online Consumer Marketing


Just as e-commerce is a major function of the Internet, online marketing is an integral component of e-commerce. Online marketing is inherently interactive marketing. While it obviously expands the reach of marketers in connecting with customers, to be effective it must be part of an overall marketing strategy before it can create value for customers. A point to remember is that just as quickly as a firm can rise to become a star in cyberspace, if not launched properly and operated efficiently, it can just as quickly burn out.

Consumers who shop online can point to a number of advantages to online marketing. The benefits online shoppers obtain from Web purchases fall into three categories: lower prices, convenience, and personalization. Marketers should ensure their Web sites offer consumers these basic advantages over traditional shopping in retail stores, by telephone, and by mail. In addition, Websites should be easy to navigate, offer security and privacy, and provide information that consumers can use in making product comparisons and purchase decisions.

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.

Authority Levels


Authority levels should never be engraved in stone. They must be adjusted from time to time to meet the changing needs of the business and the changing responsibilities of the jobs. Assigning the appropriate authority levels to jobs at all levels is critical to the efficient operation of any business, particularly those businesses that offer a service. One of the primary causes of consumer discontent stems from people not having sufficient authority; the customer is bounced around hither and yon before he finally reaches a person who is able to make a decision concerning his problem.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you periodically reassess the authority levels assigned to jobs in your area:

  • Have the responsibilities of the jobs changed in my way?
  • If the responsibilities have changed, how should be authority levels be changed?
  • Do the authority levels enable the company to meet the clients’ and customers’ needs as efficiently as possible?

This reassessment of authority levels is especially important to maintaining employee morale. If a person is given an increase in responsibility without a corresponding increase in authority, the result can be as devastating as failing to give him an increase in salary.

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.

 

Why People Resist Change?


  1. Loss of Control: When people feel on top of things, change threatens them with losing control of their personal area of control or influence.
  2. Uncertainty: Predictability is contributing to many people. Change brings uncertainty, which some people find threatening.
  3. Surprise: We like new things but hate surprises. Sudden change is very unsettling to most of us.
  4. Habits: We love our habits. They are efficient and don’t require thought. Establishing new behavior patterns is difficult.
  5. Familiarity: The more we know things, the better we like them. (that’s why companies spend a lot on advertising) The unfamiliar is disturbing.
  6. Work: New things usually mean more work (at least at the beginning).
  7. Competence: People know that they can do what they already do. Change means they will have to master new skills, and they don’t know if they will be able to do it
  8. Ripples: People fear that change in one thing will lead to change in others.
  9. Adjustment: People are afraid it will take them a long time to adjust to any change.

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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