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

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers