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.

Appointing a Dealer


  1. The Branch Manager perceives a need for an additional dealer in an area. Need occurs if any existing dealer leaves or is removed. It could also happen when the company expands into new territory.
  2. The Branch Manager has to convince the general manager of the division about the need for anew dealer.
  3. The selection process for the dealer begins with placing advertisements in newspapers and trade magazines inviting applications. Applications for dealership are directed to the concerned branch manager.
  4. The branch manager then reviews the application forms and prepares a shortlist if necessary. The company has not laid down any concrete guidelines for shortlisting at this stage. The branch manager is allowed to exercise his discretion.
  5. The shortlisted applicants are interviewed by the branch manager along with the regional sales manager of the division. Whatever additional information is required is obtained from the applicants during the interview. The dealers are evaluated on:
    1. Prior business record
    2. The capability of maintaining and running his own showroom
    3. Financial strength
    4. Inventory: The dealer must have enough working capital for maintaining specified level of inventory. This condition is however is applied only in the case of dealers whose territories are located considerably away from a branch office. This is because there is a company owned warehouse along with every branch office and for dealers located in the same cities there is no necessity to maintain separate inventory
    5. Contacts with customers
    6. Availability of salesforce to service customer effectively. In addition, technicians also need to be present to meet the after-sales service requirements of the products
  6. The final selection decision is made after talking with the bankers of the applicant. This is done to check the veracity of information regarding financial strength and prior business experience. It is only after the company is satisfied regarding all aspects of he information, that it sends the dealer an appointment letter
  7. The appointment letter lays down several terms of the contract that have to be fulfilled by the dealer. The company expects the dealers not to sell any competitors’ products. The dealer is also expected to conduct his business only within the clearly demarcated sales territory allocated to him by the company.

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.

Focusing Organization


This focus begins when someone at top identifies a set of concerns that require correction. These concerns are of significant importance to the organization, rather than passing operational concerns. They are persistent, undesirable situations that have grown over time and have never been adequately addressed. It is clear that a major effort is required to solve them and that new skill and approaches have to be developed if the effort is to be successful.

 The entire project is planned as a taskforce attack on identified situations; objectives—analysis and correction of the target situations, objectives are defined. This planning cannot be delegated. It is done by top management, since responsibility for the project must reside with those who initiate it. By actively directing the project, top management makes its support of the ideas evident to everyone. By participating in the project throughout its life, top management returns control and ensures success.

 The management works out a comprehensive plan and schedule. The population of individuals who can contribute in solving the target situations is identified by name and position. Workshops are scheduled. It is in the workshops that the participants learn. They apply their skills to analysis of their assigned concerns.

 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.

Ethical Climate


The unspoken understanding among employees of what is and is not acceptable behavior is called an ethical climate.

In most companies, a moral atmosphere can be detected. People can feel the way the ethical winds are blowing. They pick up subtle hints and clues that tell them what behavior is approved and what is forbidden. Ethical climate is part of the corporate culture that sets the ethical tone in a company. There are three different types of ethical yardsticks: egoism (self-centeredness), benevolence (concern for others), and principle (respect for one’s own integrity, for group norms, and for society’s laws). These ethical yardsticks can be applied to dilemmas concerning individuals, a company, or society at large.

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.

Best Practices of Microsoft


Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has credited his best practices or new rules of how to function in the new digital business infrastructure. They can be applied in other businesses. The rules include:

  1. Insist that communications flow through email
  2. Study sales data online to share insights easily
  3. Shift knowledge workers into high level thinking
  4. Use digital tools to create virtual teams
  5. Convert every paper process to  digital process
  6. Use digital tools to eliminate single-task jobs
  7. Create a digital feedback loop
  8. Use digital systems to route customer complaints immediately
  9. Use digital communication to redefine boundaries
  10. Transform every business process into just-in-time delivery
  11. Use digital delivery to eliminate middlemen
  12. Use digital tools to help customers solve problems for themselves.

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.

Tariff Barriers


Different nations handle tariff barriers differently. A country may have a single tariff system for all goods from all sources. This is called a uni-linear or single-column tariff. Another type of tariff is the general-conventional tariff. This tariff applies to all nations except those that have tariff treaties (or a convention to that effect) with a particular country. A tariff may be worked out on the basis of a tax permit, called specific duty, or as percentage of the value of the item, which is referred to as ad velorem duty. Sometimes both specific and ad valorem duty may be levied may be levied on the same item as a combined duty.

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.

Res Judicata


The old Latin legal phrase, res judicata, means a thing already decided and settled. Res judicata is a legal principle quite consistently followed by almost all courts. It is the rule that a final judgment or decree on the merits of a matter by a court of competent jurisdiction will be final and conclusive as to any later lawsuit on all points or matters determined in the former suit. This means that between the parties themselves the dispute is closed at the conclusion of trial. However, this does not prevent a lower court decision from being appealed to a higher court.

This principle of res judicata prevents  an unsuccessful litigant from taking an unfavorable decision to another trial court for a second lawsuit on the same complaint or same set of facts. Res judicata applies between the parties in a civil lawsuit, affecting those parties and no others.

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.

Greed


Technically, greed is not one of the seven cardinal (deadly) sins, avarice is. Greed is an excessive desire to get or have, as wealth or power, beyond what one needs or deserves. There is no mechanism , or even rationale, for deciding what  one needs  or deserves  or what is excessive.

Pride is the first of the seven cardinal sins, but we are encouraged to be proud of country, school, family, employer, and other institutions. The issue is not pride but the form that pride takes. This applies to wanting more than one has, what some people call greed. It depends on how the greed affects behavior. Greed is not bad. Immoral and unethical behavior is bad.

Greed means the desire to have more than one has. This trait leads, through the invisible hand, to competition. Greed causes us to want more in a free, competitive society we have to work harder and smarter. This increases human welfare by providing more and better marketing mixes (product, price, distribution, and promotion). It is the marketing mix that satisfies the buyer’s wants and needs. Competition keeps greed in check except when we act immorally. In business competition, unlike sports, there can be more than one winner.

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.

Managerial Functions


There are four basic managerial functions are planning, organizing, lending, and controlling. By applying these functions to the various organizational resources—human, financial, physical, and information—the organization achieves different levels of effectiveness and efficiency.

  • Planning: The first managerial function is the process of determining the organization’s desired future position and deciding how best to get there.
  • Organizing: It is the process of designing jobs, grouping jobs into manageable units, and establishing patterns of authority among jobs and groups of jobs. This process designs the basic structure of the organization.
  • Leading: It is the third managerial function, is the process of getting members of the organization to work together toward the organization’s goal. Major components of leading include motivating employees, managing group dynamics, and leadership per se, all of which are closely related to major areas of organizational behavior.
  • Controlling: It is the process of monitoring and correcting the actions of the organization and its people to keep them headed toward their goals.

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.

Economic Truths


Although there are few truisms that apply universally in the business world, there are four related economic truths that are valid in every business situation:

  1. Over the long term, it is absolutely essential to be a lower cost supplier or profit margins will erode.
  2. To stay competitive, inflation-adjusted costs of  producing and supplying any product or service must continuously trend downward.
  3. The true cost and profit picture for each discrete product/market segment is often obscured by traditional accounting practice.
  4. Real business winners concentrate as much or more on cash flow and balance sheet strength as they do on reported profits.

These points have always been valid, but they are far more serious today because there is much less margin for error in our more turbulent environment.

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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