Strategic Reasons for Outsourcing


  1. Improve business focus: For many companies, the single most compelling reason for outsourcing is that several “how” issues are siphoning off huge amounts of management’s resources and attention.
  2. Access to World Class capabilities: By the very nature of their specialization, outsourcing providers bring extensive worldwide, world-class resources to meeting the needs of their customers. Partnering with an organization with world class capabilities can offer access to new technology, tools, and techniques that the organization may not currently possess, better career opportunities for personnel who transition to the outsourcing provider; more structured methodologies, procedures, and documentation; and competitive advantage through expanded skills.
  3. Accelerated Reengineering benefits: Outsourcing is often a byproduct of another powerful management tool—business process reengineering. It allows an organization to immediately realize the anticipated benefits of reengineering by having an outside organization—one that is already reengineered to world-class standards—take over the process.
  4. Shared risks: When companies outsource they become more flexible, more dynamic, and better able to adapt to changing opportunities.
  5. Free resources for other purposes: Outsourcing permits an organization to redirect its resources from noncore activities toward activities that have the greater return in serving the 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, and my Lectures.

 

Employee Communications


To attain excellence in employee communications, the organization must utilize communication techniques that:

  • Communicate the organization’s objectives, goals, priorities and values to all employees.
  • Ensure that supervisors clearly define the tasks and responsibilities of each of their employees.
  • Ensure that supervisors give employees timely evaluation of their job performance.
  • Communicate the organization’s expectation of quality to all employees.
  • Ensure that policies and practices are clearly communicated and understood by all employees.
  • Stimulate frequent face-to-face discussions between managers and their employees.
  • Inform all employees of the organization’s accomplishments, achievements and other important issues related to the work environment.
  • Involve employees in the department of organization policy and procedures.
  • Encourage employees to express their ideas and recommendations to improve the operation of the organization.
  • Provide timely feedback to employees regarding the organization’s consideration of their ideas and recommendations.
  • Solicit information from employees relative to their career goals and aspirations.
  • Provide employees with information they can use to make personal career decisions.
  • Inform employees of job openings within the organization.
  • Encourage employees to voice their problems and concerns.
  • Give timely consideration and response to employee problems and concerns.
  • Continually monitor what information employees want to receive.
  • Regularly measure the effectiveness of communication techniques.

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.

 

Reforming Personnel Policies


If women are to be treated equally in the workplace, all jobs and occupations must be open to them so that they may compete on the same terms as all others. A company’s recruiters need to seek qualified workers and not assume that women are unqualified. Rates of pay and benefits need to be matched to the work to be done not to the gender of the jobholder. Pay rises for doing a current job well, along with promotions to more attractive jobs, also require equal treatment. Job assignments should be made on the basis of skills, experience, competence, capability, and reliability—in other words, proven ability to get the job done, not whether women have traditionally worked at one task rather than another.

Career ladders, whether short ones going only a few steps or longer ones leading into the higher reaches of corporate authority, should be placed so that both men and  women can climb them as high as their abilities can carry them.

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.

A Bad Boss


Bad bosses are people too, with their own fears, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. Sometimes the pompous ones are basically shy and insecure. The ones who yell at people and unduly assert their aggression may be having significant family problems. Bosses with personal health problems may take these out on the staff. Still other bosses may be nice people who are simply in over their heads, and have absolutely no aptitude for the jobs.

By realizing that human frailties often underlie even the most objectionable qualities of bad bosses, employees can be in a better position to deal with them, and to judge whether the situation is temporary or hopeless. They may help them decide whether to stick it out or quit the job.

Even though a bad boss counts on the inertia of the human spirit, you can break free of the intangible bonds that bind. Also beware of some of the tangible bonds. Whatever you do, don’t lock yourself into an enormous mortgage, or you will not have the option of cooling off in another job at a reduced salary. There is a shortage of skilled labor, and a tremendous shortage of versatile labor (people who will accept a total change in career direction when circumstances dictate). Even if you end up with a different bad boss, at least the change will be refreshing. Remember that the average worker will have between four and six complete job changes in the course of working lifetime, so you don’t need to be caught in the “one company, for better or for work” trap for your whole career.

People need a mission in life. If this is denied by a bad boss at work, there are other ways to fulfill this need—ways that will still allow an overall sense of accomplishment. It is obviously bad business for any company to have such a reversal of energies affecting its operation. However, concentrating most of their energies on pursuits outside of work is a common defense against the bad boss when employees elect to stay with their jobs rather than resigning.

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.

Learning by Objectives


Companies in high-tech businesses have evolved a variant of management by objectives as the vehicle for involving technical, professional, and managerial employees in the analysis of their own training and development needs. Usually, as part of a formal MBO system, manager and employee sit down together and negotiate a written agreement on the technical and professional training the subordinate will undertake in the coming six months or a year. At the end of the period they review the outcome and decide what further training is called for. Both of them understand that the subordinate’s career will be shaped by these decisions.

Trainees’ involvement in needs analysis reduces wasted effort by eliminating the teaching of what is already known, by getting quickly to questions that engage the trainees, and by affording them a chance to ask questions that help them acquire skills.

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.

Failure in International Business


Failure overseas rarely results from technical or professional incompetence. Multinationals take their international business seriously and typically send abroad high achievers who have proven skills and expertise. But their success is usually in their home countries, where their skills, style and attitude may be exactly the opposite of what will work overseas. Employees’ ignorance of or inability to adjust to foreign ways are usually what cause problems.

In one country people know in vivid details the colors, designs and sounds that appeal to various customer groups. Careerists climbing the corporate ladder study intently the values and norms that characterize their company’s “culture” so that they can maneuver successfully toward the top. Negotiators approach their bargaining table with a rich understanding of what motivates their adversaries. When it comes to foreigners, however, people see only silhouettes. Overseas many foreign companies approach their customers, colleagues, and employees with an ignorance that would be unthinkable on home ground. They are willing to transact business with foreigners without understanding who they are, what makes them tick, how they view the world and how their corporations. Because they do not look behind the foreign mask, their approach to international business is often like shadow-boxing. They deal with imaginary targets.

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.

Expanding into New Functions


A common difficulty for entrepreneurs during the growth of their business is expanding into another distinctive business function. When we read or hear about outstanding entrepreneurs we see the exponential portion of their record. The long, slow foundation building is not interesting to the investment community or the media. But the truth is there was a long period of solid building within one distinctive business function.

A new business or a young business can barely support the management, administration, and marketing it has to have to operate in one distinctive function. Different business functions require different handling in each of these areas. This imposes an additional nonproductive burden on an already overburdened revenue-generating segment of the business.

Successful entrepreneurs start the smallest possible viable business concept and concentrate on it until it works very well. They get to know more and more about their little business until they know more about it than anyone else. They become the expert about their business.

When discussing the entrepreneur’s career path they perceive growth opportunities. At this point it is very easy for them to conclude that having made this business work they can make any business work. They frequently see green pastures on the other side of the fence. The successful entrepreneurs develop and refine a business concept for the growth they will undertake. They then expand their little business. They don’t leap after someone else’s headaches. They build on their own experience and expertise.

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, Lectures, Line of Sight

Venture Capital


In starting a business you can use the help of family, friends, and children. You can use the garage and the basement of quarters. You can borrow furniture and equipment. But after all the resources of family and friends have been obtained, there is still the need for some hard cold cash. It takes a little money to pay for things like raw materials, telephone, postage, letterhead stationery, and possibly some salaries and wages. This start-up money is sometimes referred to as seed money. It may be the most venturesome kind of venture capital.

To improve the probability of success in starting a new business, it takes the right kind of person with the right kind of business concept. More than that, the person should be a particular point along the career path and the business concept should be timely in the context of perceived consumer values as well as current technology. Even with the right person at the right time, and the right business concept at the right time, there is still the need for venture capital to give the new business a chance to win in the marketplace competition.

Venture capital is liquid assets invested in an unproven business. Money placed with a proven business enterprise for its prudent use can be thought of as invested capital. Money placed with any other business enterprise is at risk to a greater or lesser degree and can be thought of as venture capital. There are few enough proven business, and it is easier to identify and describe one of them than it is to try and describe one of the many, many unproven businesses.

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, Lectures, Line of Sight

Fuse Knowledge to Power


Architects are concerned with flows. When designing a building, their paramount considerations are how occupants will move in it and how light and air will circulate around it. Equally important for organizational architects is how information, know-how, decisions, and careers will flow in the structure being shaped.

When the work of the corporation was primarily the organizing of manual labor, markets were local and slow to change, and the knowledge base upon which competitive success depended was stable, a unitary hierarchy of manager atop manager made a lot of sense. The information needed to run the business was limited and could be easily channeled in one upward or downward flow. Workers did the work, and managers did the thinking.

But this is a reality that has disappeared from most industries. Markets are dimensioned globally, rules change faster than some competitors can master them, and brainpower counts for much more than brawn. Most organizations, though, remain keyed to the old realities. Few hierarchies have even kept up with the need to build in change by linking each of their limited number of levels with the time horizons of greatest importance to the company.

A more serious problem, though, is the lack of rethinking about how a business needs to organize its intellectual capital, its knowledge workers. It is ironic, and wasteful, that while “knowledge workers” (technical professionals and other holders of graduate or postgraduate degrees) are making up an increasing proportion of the work force in many industries, the organization structures in which they work remain more the products of Industrial Revolution than of the information age.

Knowledge, especially which can affect the company’s future competitiveness, used to be confined to the research and development lab or to the strategic planning department. Now, as information systems-driven service industries assume a larger share of many economies, knowledge about the capabilities that provide competitive advantage is much more widely dispersed than was ever necessary in traditional manufacturing companies. No single information channel can contain it all. And even traditional product makers are changing. Fewer manufacturing jobs are directly involved in making something; more are concerned with planning what to make, how to make it, and how to keep customers happy after the product has been purchased. The intellectual demands on front-line workers have increased tremendously. The narrowly skilled assembly jobs have been replaced by the more knowledge-intensive positions of the factory automation technician.

Requirements for more intellectual value added have escalated up many organization hierarchies. Networked data bases, expert systems, and almost never-ending flow of new personal computer software have significantly expanded the scope and the nature of the contribution possible from many mid-level employees. This is not an unmitigated blessing, though. It has also seriously polluted the management role in many companies, making many into high-level doers instead of managers, increasing the role’s fragmentation, and making it brittle rather than strong and load-bearing.

This situation will only worsen as economic pressures lead to increased management delayering. Companies with eight to ten tiers of management will find it necessary to organize around four or five. The number of subordinates per manager will have to sharply increase. Middle managers will find themselves with less and less time to master these new white-collar productivity enhancers and to make the intellectual contribution their businesses increasingly need.

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

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

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