Spirit of High Performance


An ability to instill strong individual commitment to strategic success and to create an atmosphere in which there is constructive pressure to perform is one of the most valuable strategy-implementing skills. When an organization performs consistently at or near peak capability, the outcome is not only more success but also a culture permeated with a spirit of high performance. Such a spirit of performance should not be confused with whether employees are happy or satisfied or what they get along well together. An organization with a spirit of high performance emphasizes achievement and excellence. Its culture is results-oriented, and its management pursues policies and practices that inspire people to do their best.

Companies with a spirit of high performance typically are intensely people-oriented, and they reinforce their concern for individual employees on every conceivable occasion in every conceivable way. They treat employees with dignity and respect, train each employee thoroughly, encourage employees to use their own initiative and creativity in performing their work, set reasonable and clear performance expectations, use the full range of rewards and punishment to enforce high performance standards, hold managers at every level responsible for developing the people who report to them, and grant employees enough autonomy to stand out, excel, and contribute. To create a results-oriented culture, a company must make champions out of the people who turn in winning performances.

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.

What Strategic Planning is not?


Clearly, strategic planning is no panacea. Strategic planning is simply a set of concepts, procedures, and tools designed to help leaders, managers, and planners think and act strategically. Used in wise and skillful ways by a “coalition of the willing,” strategic planning can help organizations focus on producing effective decisions and actions that further the organization’s mission, meet in mandates, and satisfy key stakeholders. But strategic planning is not a substitute for strategic thinking and acting. Only caring and committed people can do that. And when used thoughtlessly, strategic planning can actually drive out precisely the kind of strategic thought and action it is supposed to promote.

Furthermore, strategic planning is not a substitute for leadership. There is simply no substitute for leadership when it comes to using strategic planning to enhance organizational performance. At least some key decision makers and process champions must be committed to the strategic planning process, or any attempts to use it are bound to fail.

In addition, strategic planning is not synonymous with creating an organizational strategy. Organizational strategies have numerous sources, both planned and unplanned. Strategic planning is likely to result in statement of organizational intentions, but what is realized in practice will be some combination of what is intended and what emerges along the way. Strategic planning can help organizations develop and implement effective strategies, but they should also remain open to unforeseen opportunities. Too much attention to strategic planning and excessive reverence for strategic plans can build organizations to other unplanned and unexpected—yet incredibly useful—sources of information, insight, and action.

The discipline necessary for strategic planning can be of two sorts. The first harkens back to Latin root of the word “discipline,” emphasizing instruction, training, education, and learning. The second embodies later interpretations of the word, emphasizing order, control, and punishment. Emphasis should be placed on education and learning, although there clearly are occasions when imposing order, taking control, and enforcing appropriate sanctions are appropriate. Certainly, key leaders, managers, and planners can best use strategic planning as an educational and learning tool, to help them figure out what is really important and what should be done about it. Sometimes this means following a particular sequence of steps and preparing formal strategic plans, but not necessarily. The ultimate goal of strategic planning should not be a rigid adherence to a particular process or an instance on the production of plans. Instead, strategic planning should promote wise strategic thought and action on behalf of an organization and its key stakeholders. What steps to follow, in what sequence, and whether or not to prepare formal plans are subsidiary 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.

Change and Leadership


Change is nothing new to leaders or to their organizations. Around 500BC, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted that: “You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing on.” He was one of the first Western philosophers to address the idea that the universe is in a constant state of flux.

As we move further from the “stable state,” effective change leadership has become a challenging calling. Today in the language of business, organizations, academia, and consultancy, the word “change” has come to mean different things to different people. We need to define “change leadership” in a way that establishes a congruence between leadership and the benefits of the change being implemented; and articulate it properly. Change can refer to any of the following and more:

  • External changes in the market/industry, technology, customers, competitors, social, political and natural environment;
  • Internal changes that determine how the organization reacts and adapts to the external changes at great speed;
  • Top-down programs such as business process reengineering, restructuring, cultural change, for example, and
  • Business transformation programs which can be described as comprehensive organizational initiatives.

It can also be a combination of all the above.

Major change is those situations in which corporate performance requires most people throughout the organization to learn new behaviors and skills. These new skills must add up to a competitive advantage for the enterprise, allowing it to produce better and better performance in shorter and shorter time frames.

Change leadership can be defined as altering groups to the need for changes in the way things are done; mobilizing and energizing groups; and tapping fully into the potential and the capacity of the organization. It involves taking the responsibility to champion the change initiative and effort through building and maintaining commitment and support. The situation determines who emerges as the leader and what style of  leadership he or she has to adopt. The situation will also determine the core skills needed to lead in that particular situation. Therefore, one can no longer discuss leadership in general terms.

The leader and the style of leadership required in a stable organization will differ from that which is required in an organization under threat. This is because leadership styles and behaviors are likely to be critical in times of threats.

The qualities, characteristics, and skills required in a leader are determined to a large extent by the demands of the situation in which he or she is to function as a leader.

In any major change program, there are many leaders because there are many people at many levels in the hierarchy who play different critical roles during the change process, including the CEO. In modern complex organizations, the notion of an ill-seeing, all knowing leader is unrealistic. Instead, different individuals assume leadership in situations where they have a unique competence or accountability. All the non-CEO change leaders are every bit as essential to creating high-performing organizations as are the more visible and dynamic executive leaders. In essence, the change leader could be the CEO, a line leader, internal network, or a change community.

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

Managing Diversity


Managing Diversity meanstaking steps to maximize diversity’s potential advantages while minimizing the potential barriers—such as prejudice and bias—that can undermine the functioning pf a diverse workforce.

 In practice, diversity management involves both compulsory and voluntary management actions. First, there are are laws requiring that employers minimize discrimination at work. But while such compulsory actions can reduce the more blatant diversity barriers, blending a diverse workforce into a close-knit and thriving community also requiresvoluntary steps. Five sets of voluntary organizational activities are at the heart of any diversity management progra,. They are:

a)    Provide strong leadership. Chief executives who champion diversity typically have companies with exemplary reputations in managing diversity. Leadership here means, for instance, taking a strong personal stand on the need for change and becoming a role model for the behaviors required for the change. Some firms are more proactive than others.

b)   Assess he situation. The company must assess the current state of affairs with respect to diversity to delivery management. This might entail administering surveys to measure current attitudes and perceptions towards different cultural groups within the company. Tools for measuring diversity include equal employment hiring and retention metrics, employee attitude surveys, management and employee evaluations, and focus groups.

c)    Provide diversity training and education. The most commonly utilized starting point for … managing diversity is some type of the employee education program.

d)   Change culture and management systems. Change the performance appraisal criteria to measure supervisors based partly on their success in reducing intergroup conflicts.

e)    Evaluate the managing diversity program. Do the employee attitude surveys now indicate any improvement in attitudes towards diversity?

 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

Transformation into an Enterprise Colony


Modern corporations need to transform themselves into enterprise colonies that can tap, build and realize the entrepreneurial potential within their people. Companies should provide venture teams with development capital, marketing assistance and central services in return for an appropriate equity stake in new initiatives.

Empowerment and delegation are being championed in many companies. But empowerment to do what, and delegation for what purpose? General drives need to be matched with specific steps to promote enterprise and build entrepreneurial qualities.

Confident companies encourage people to better understand their inner selves, and take advantage of their unique qualities and distinctive strengths:

  • They invite suggestions for new ways of exploiting corporate capabilities, and building and delivering value to customers.
  • They stimulate diversity, establish working environments that are conducive of reflection, and introduce ways of working and learning that raise spirits and fire the imagination.
  • They encourage the creation, packaging, sharing, application and exploitation of new knowledge and understanding.
  • They are also prepared to share rewards with those primarily responsible for successful entrepreneurship.

Personal and corporate transformation must go hand in hand. Increasingly, people need to think for themselves and make choices. Many intending entrepreneurs require new skills and knowledge, and specialist support. Many traditional management tools and techniques are simply not appropriate for those who seek both business success and personal fulfillment.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and new corporate ventures are the primary source of tomorrow’s work opportunities. In recent years governments and corporate leaders around the world have put a higher priority upon enterprise and entrepreneurship. The aspiration is clear. However, many people lack the competence and experience either to become entrepreneurs, or to manage corporate relationships with them.

Enterprise needs its own entrepreneurs. Slimmed-down organizations require the services of counsellors with the experience, sensitivity and intuition to help others to become successful entrepreneurs, while the resulting ventures will need learning and enterprise support services at various points in the enterprise life cycle.

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

Strategic Planning Process


The process is orderly, deliberative, and participative and has following ten steps:

  1. Initiate and agree upon a strategic planning process.
  2. Identify organizational mandates.
  3. Clarify organizational mission and values.
  4. Assess the organization’s external and internal environments to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  5. Identify the strategic issues facing the organization.
  6. Formulate strategies to manage these issues.
  7. Review and adopt the strategic plan.
  8. Establish an effective organizational vision.
  9. Develop an effective implementation process.
  10. Reassess strategies and the strategic planning process

These steps should lead to actions, results, and evaluation. It must be emphasized that action, results, and evaluative judgments should emerge at each step in the process. In other words, implementation and evaluation should not wait until the “end” of the process but should be an integral and ongoing part of it.

The process is applicable to public and nonprofit organizations, boundary-crossing services, inter-organizational networks, and communities. The only general requirements are a dominant coalition that is willing to sponsor and follow the process and a process champion who is willing to push it.

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

Project Manager


Project manager is to meeting schedules what the innovation champion is to communicating his or her vision of the potential of the innovation to others. She or he is the “one-stop shop” for decision making, questions, and information on the project. An important question is, how much authority should a project manager have? Should he or she just collect information on the progress of the project and give it to those who want it, or should she or he have some decision-making authority?Product managers are classified as heavyweight or lightweight, based on manager’s span of control. A heavyweight product manager is one with extensive authority and responsibility for the product from concept creation through design to manufacturing. The lightweight product manager’s authority and responsibilities are not as extensive, being limited only to engineering functions, with no authority or responsibility over concept creation and other market related aspects of the product.

The use of heavyweight  product managers help reduce lead times, total engineering hours (and therefore cost, all else being equal), and improved design quality.

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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