Planning for Uncertainty


Uncertainty has become so great as to render futile, if not counterproductive, the kind of planning most companies still practice: forecasting based on probabilities.

Unique events have no probability. Yet executives have to make decisions that commit to the future current resources of time and money. Worse, they have to make decisions not to commit resources—to forgo the future. The lengths of such commitments are steadily growing: in strategy and technology, marketing, manufacturing, employee development, in the time it takes to bring a new plant on steam or in the years until a commitment to a store location pays for itself. Every such commitment is based on assumptions about the future. To arrive at them, traditional planning asks, “what is most likely to happen?” Planning for uncertainty asks instead, “What has already happened that will create the future?”

The first place to look is in demographics. There have been two revolutionary changes in the workforce of developed countries: the explosion of advanced education and the rush of women into careers outside the home. Both are accomplished facts. The shift from blue-collar labor to knowledge and service workers as the centers of population gravity is irrevocable. But so is the aging of both the workforce and population.

Business people need to ask: “What do these accomplished facts mean for our business? What opportunities do they create? What threats? What changes do they demand in the ways the business is organized and run, in our goals, in our products, in our services, in our policies? And what changes do they make possible and likely to be advantageous?”

The next question is: “What changes in industry and market structure, in basic values (e.g., the emphasis on the environment), and in science and technology have already occurred but have yet to have full impact?” It is commonly believed that innovations create changes—but very few do. Successful innovations exploit changes that have already happened. They exploit the time lag—in science, often twenty-five or thirty years—between the change itself and its perception and acceptance. During that time the exploiter of the change rarely faces much, if any, competition. The other people in the industry still operate on the basis of yesterday’s reality. And once such a change has happened, it usually survives even extreme turbulence.

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

Cohesiveness: Getting the Team Spirit


One obvious determinant of any group’s structure is its cohesiveness—the strength of group members’ desires to remain part of their group. Highly cohesive work groups are ones in which the members are attracted to one another, accept the group’s goals, and help work toward meeting them. In very uncohesive groups, the members dislike each other and may even work at cross-purposes. In essence, coheviseness refers to a we-feeling an esprit de corps, a sense of belonging to a group.

Several important factors have been shown to influence the extent to which group members tend to “stick together.” One such factor involves the severity of initiation into the group. The greater the difficulty people overcome to become a member of a group, the more cohesive the group will be. To understand this, consider how highly cohesive certain group may be that you have worked hard to join. Was it particularly difficult to “make the cut” on your sports team? The rigorous requirements for gaining entry into elite groups, such as the most prestegious medical schools and military training schools, may well be responsible for the high degree of camaraderie found in such groups. Having “passed the test” tends to keep individuals together and separates them from those who are unwilling or unable to “pay the price” of admission.

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

Strategy and People


The successful implementation of a strategy depends on people. It depends on the extent to which employees share common goals, how knowledgeable they are, their organizational culture, and what motivates them. It also depends on the types of key roles that individuals in the organization play. In the development of the product or service these individuals also play a critical role. Gatekeepers and boundary scanners, and innovation champions can help a firm’s efforts in recognizing the potential of an innovation. In the development of the product or service these individuals also play a critical role. Gatekeepers and boundary spanners act as inter-firm and intra-firm information transducers, respectively. The champion continues to communicate his or her vision of the potential of the innovation to the firm, especially to different functional groups and customers, even as the innovation makes its way from design through prototype and testing to manufacturing and launch. The sponsor is still the “sugar daddy” of the project. The most important function at this point, though, is that of the project manager.

 

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

Six Sigma


Six Sigma is a statistical measure used to ensure quality of products and services. The six sigma academy has developed a break through strategy consisting of measure, analyze, improve and control, that allows companies to make exceptional bottom-line improvements. In addition to the material and labor savings, which flow directly to the bottom line, a company engaged in six sigma can expect to see:

a. Improved customer satisfaction

b. Reduced cycle time

c. Increased productivity, Reduction in total defect

d. Improved process flow.

Implementing, six sigma program in manufacturing means more than delivering defect-free product after final test or inspection. It also entails concurrently maintaining in process yields around 99.9999998 percent, defective rates below 0.002 parts per million and virtually eradicating defects, rework and scrap. Other six sigma characteristics include operating processes under statistical control, controlling input process variables, rather than the usual output product variables, maximizing equipment uptime and optimizing cycle time. In a six sigma organization, employees assess their job functions with respect to how they improve the organization. They define their goals and quantify where they are currently, their status quo. Then they work to minimize the gap and achieve six sigma by a certain date.

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

Increasing your Sociability


The ability to meet new people and feel comfortable on social situations can be important to. If you have difficulty in social situations, you may want to deverlop your social skills. The following suggestions can help:

  • Over the next month, set goals to take the initiative in forming social contacts, particularly in informal settings. For example, you might set goals related to speaking up more often, attending more social events, or meeting new people at these functions. Make an effort to become more involved.
  • Broaden your circle of acquaintainces. Introduce yourself to people you have wanted to meet but were too busy or too shy to talk to. Consider setting a goal to become acquainted with a certain number of people per week.
  • Learn more about each of your acquaintances’ onterests. This is especially helpful if you have difficulty thinking of things to talk about: other people’s interests often provide excellent opportunities for small talk.

 Don’t expect to become comfortable in social situations immediately; changes like this don’t happen overnight. As time passes, however, you will find that you are beginning to enjoy social situations more and that they have become less threatening.

 

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

Efficiency and Values


The term ‘efficiency’ is a concept that has meaning only in the context of an agreed set of objectives. Such objectives can include objectives about inter-personal distribution, typically reflecting one or other interpretation of equity. Occasions when the goals of efficiency and distribution conflict of the agreed set of objectives does not include equitable distribution. Indeed, historically and still to a great extent, the dominant interpretation of ‘efficiency’ has typically included only the objective of measured economic production/consumption. We should at most call this interpretation ‘economic efficiency’ and not honor it with the label of efficiency in general. But the efficiency label has enormous legitimizing power and functions as a trump card in the modern vocabulary. No one can declare themselves against it. If a policy option is deemed inefficient that usually sinks it. So contenders try to capture the label, to serve their particular set of objectives. This is what business interests and mainstream economists have successfully done for a long time. We need ask: Efficiency by which values?

 

Mainstream economists have focused on growth of aggregate production and national income. Business and other sectional interests may focus on sectional gains but advocate these behind the language of ‘efficiency.’ Not infrequently, the policies behind an efficiency label have been less economic as well as less equitable, and an ‘efficient’ only for elites.

 

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Build a team that puts enthusiasm first


It makes no difference you do, you need the capable and enthusiast support of other people to reach your goals. To operate your own business, to move ahead in corporate life, to build an athletic team, or to win in politics, requires people to help you. In choosing these people, two qualities are important: ability and attitude.

Ability is important. To develop a great organization requires able people; to have a fine team means talented athletes must be recruited; and to design great buildings needs the contributions of able architects. To achieve any great result requires trained, skilled, and able people. Ability only measures what people can do; ability does not tell us what people will do. There is no multiple choice test that can measure desire or motivation.

Attitude is more important than ability. Invariably, people who made it to the top are at the top of the attitude scale. Ability is important but never as essential as a positive, committed attitude. Ability is only potential power. It has no value until turned on.

Positive people will continue to improve; negative people at best will only hold their own.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Synergizing Training Strategy with Corporate Strategy


The primary objective of synergy is that employees acquire all the skills and knowledge they need, but only what they need. What do they really need? Whatever is essential to formulate and fulfill a successful corporate strategy? Certain skills and knowledge are needed to determine what products and services the company should produce, and what kinds of technology should be used to produce them; other skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply new technologies most profitably.

Those who determine corporate strategy must calculate whether the organization is capable of acquiring strategically necessary skills and knowledge on schedule. In learning companies, therefore, a senior officer in charge of training takes part in formulating strategy. That individual can also advise whether a more ambitious strategy would be feasible from the standpoint of training, and can help subsequently to communicate the strategy to all parts of the organization.

Communication of the strategy is vital. Trainees and their supervisors take training seriously only when they believe it will further the company’s prosperity and their own. If they do not understand the skill and learning requirements of the corporate strategy, they cannot make valid decisions on how to achieve strategic goals.

Ultimately, it is the chief executive’s responsibility to see that the training requirements of corporate strategy are met. The key points to be monitored are program priorities, program objectives, and program outcomes.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Building Shared Vision


The skills involved in building shared vision include the following:

  1. Encouraging Personal Vision. Shared visions emerge from personal visions. It is not that people only care about their own self-interest. People’s values usually include dimensions that concern family, organization, community, and even the world. Rather, it is that people’s capacity for caring is personal.
  2. Communicating and Asking for Support. Leaders must be willing to continually share their vision, rather than being the official representative of the corporate vision. They also must be prepared to ask, “Is this vision worthy of your commitment?” This can be difficult for a person used to setting goals and presuming compliance.
  3. Visioning as an ongoing process. Building shared vision is a never ending process. At any one point there will be a particular image of the future that is predominant, but that image will evolve. Today, too many managers want to dispense with the “vision business” by going off and writing the Official Vision Statement. Such statements almost always lack the vitality, freshness, and excitement of a genuine vision that comes from people asking, “What do really want to achieve?”
  4. Blending extrinsic and intrinsic visions. Many energizing visions are extrinsic, that is, they focus on achieving something relative to outsider, such as a competitor. But a goal that is limited to defeating an opponent can, once the vision is achieved, easily become a defensive posture. In contrast, intrinsic goals like creating a new type of product, taking an established product to a new level, or setting a new standard for customer satisfaction can call forth a new level of creativity and innovation. Intrinsic and extrinsic visions need to coexist; a vision solely predicated on defeating an adversary will eventually weak an organization.
  5. Distinguishing Positive from negative visions. Many organizations only truly pull together when their survival is threatened. Similarly, most social movements aim at eliminating what people don’t want: for example, anti-drug, anti-smoking movements. Negative visions carry a subtle message of powerlessness: people will only pull together when there is sufficient threat. Negative visions also tend to be sort term. Two fundamental sources of energy can motivate organizations: fear and aspiration. Fear, the energy source behind negative visions, can produce extraordinary changes in short periods, but aspiration endures as a continuing source of learning and growth.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Transformational Leadership


Transformational leadership is part of the new leadership paradigm, which gives more attention to the charismatic and effective elements of leadership. Transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms individuals. It is concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals, and includes assessing followers’ motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as full human beings. Transformational leadership involves an exceptional form of influence that moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually expected of them. It is a process that often incorporates charismatic and visionary leadership.

An encompassing approach, transformational leadership can be used to describe a wide range of leadership, from very specific attempts to influence followers on a one-to-one level to very broad attempts to influence whole organizations and even entire cultures. Although the transformational leader plays a pivotal role in precipitating change, followers and leaders are inextricably bound together in the transformation process.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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