Coping with Frustration


There are three general approaches to coping with frustration: 1) to ignore it, 2) to recognize it, and 3) to attack a non-related target, and a fourth is to change strategies for reaching the goal by going around the barrier, developing new skills, or acquiring new resources. The third general approach—attacking a non-related target—is normally dysfunctional and utilized by those unable or unwilling to accept their frustration and confront their sources directly.

We may respond unconsciously to frustration with one or more of a variety of psychological defences. We utilize these, usually unconsciously, to protect our self-concepts. These defences help us block all the force of more reality than we can take at a particular time. They can also be dysfunctional if they are used too frequently or block us from coping with our problems in more direct and effective ways. A desirable learning goal is to become more aware of the defenses we use and to avoid those that prevent us from dealing with our frustrations as well as we might.

Mild frustration may not lead to anger and aggression, although intense frustration always does. A more pessimistic view would imply that little can be done about choosing when and how we express our frustration. We think much can be learned.

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

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The Role of Experience


It is necessary to understand how knowledge is transferred to a novice. Textbooks provide novices with a background in a given area and a familiarity with the terminology used by other individuals in the field, but books alone usually do not produce an expert in a specific field. It is important to consider the type of experience that will be obtained and its role in developing expertise.

Certain difficulties exist when people try to gain experience from working with experts. Experts may be able to solve problems well may not be able to verbalize their techniques for solving them. Another difficulty in assessing the development from novice to expert concerns those problem areas that require creativity to generate solutions. For example, in the formulation of new products or new information systems, it is not always productive to look at past situations to find an appropriate method to solve a current problem. Sometimes new solutions are needed. Whether creativity can be learned is certainly open to debate, and there are valid arguments on both sides of the issue. If creativity can be learned, the issue of how to develop it and how to judge when creativity has been learned becomes important.

Overall, if the problem can be solved as a result of experience in the field and there are acknowledged experts available with sufficient agreement on the nature of the solutions, the problem can be attacked through the development of an expert system.

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

Customer Retention Program


To develop an effective customer retention (CR) program, organization can follow this five-step process:

  1. Determine your current CR rate. It is surprising how few companies know the percentage of customers that leave (the defection rate) or the percentage of customers that they are able to retain annually (the retention rate). There are many ways to measure customer retention. Choosing an appropriate measure provides a starting point for assessing a firm’s success in keeping customers.
  2. Analyze the defection problem. This is a three-pronged attack. First, we must identify disloyal customers. Second we need to understand why they left. There are six types of defectors. Customers go elsewhere because of lower price, superior products, better service, alternative technologies, market changes (they move or go bankrupt), and “political” considerations; (switching motives) can also provide insight here. Third, strategies must be developed to overcome the non-loyal purchasing behavior.
  3. Establish a new CR objective. Let’s assume that your company is currently retaining 75% of its customers. A realistic goal may be to improve client retention annually by at least 5%, to 80%, and to keep 90% of your clients within 5 years. Customer-retention objectives should be based on organizational cabalities (strengths, weaknesses, resources, etc.), customer and competitive analyses, and benchmarking with the industry or sector, comparable firms, and high performing units in your company.
  4. Invest in targeted CR plan to enhance customer loyalty. The cost (potential lifetime value) of a single lost customer can be substantial. This is magnified exponentially when we realize the overall annual cost of lost business.
  5. Evaluate the success of the CR program. As an iterative process, the final phase in designing a solid customer retention plan is to ensure that it is working. Careful scrutiny is required to assess the program’s impact on keeping existing customers. Upgrading current customer relationships may be a secondary business objective. At this point, we gather new information to learn to what extent our CR rate improved. We may need to revisit our benchmarks and further probe isolated causes of defection. CR strategies and tactics will be closely analyzed to determine which methods worked best and those that had little or no impact on keeping customers.

 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

Structure, Roles, and Rules


What sort of structure would help the team function innovatively? The purpose of any structure is to make sure that certain essential tasks, especially repetitive tasks, get done. Structure need not be incompatible with creativity if it realeases time and energy for creative work rather than blocking creativity with excessive rules, specialization, centralization, etc. What, therefore, needs to be done is to make an inventory of tasks that must be performed more or less repitively, and allocate these tasks to individuals within or outside the team.

 However, the roles of team members should not be defined only in terms of these tasks;  there are only minimum elements of their roles. It is important to define roles broadly and not too strictly. Some ambiguity helps interaction and role clarification, not by the leader but by the situation. Indeed, it heps to have versatile team members, i.e., persons who can double for others should the need arise. Periodic interchange of roles within the team can help develop this verstality. Researchers have indicated some specific roles in innovative teams beyond those for effective teams. The creative scientist/engineer/idea man is one role. The entrepreneur (vis-à-vis the outer world) and the intrapreneur (vis-à-vis the team members) are further roles. The entrepreneur seeks new missions for the group. The intrapreneur seeks new activities within the broad mission for group members. The protector-defender-sponsor is a fourth role, whose function is to get the team the resources it needs for innovative work from the larger system of which it may be a part, and also to defend the team from external pressures or attacks. The gatekeeper is a fifth role, that of bringing to the team essential market, technical, or political intelligence from outside that can become the basis for meaningful divergent thinking. These roles need not be played by different individuals. The important point is that they should get played.

 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

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