Authority Levels


Authority levels should never be engraved in stone. They must be adjusted from time to time to meet the changing needs of the business and the changing responsibilities of the jobs. Assigning the appropriate authority levels to jobs at all levels is critical to the efficient operation of any business, particularly those businesses that offer a service. One of the primary causes of consumer discontent stems from people not having sufficient authority; the customer is bounced around hither and yon before he finally reaches a person who is able to make a decision concerning his problem.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you periodically reassess the authority levels assigned to jobs in your area:

  • Have the responsibilities of the jobs changed in my way?
  • If the responsibilities have changed, how should be authority levels be changed?
  • Do the authority levels enable the company to meet the clients’ and customers’ needs as efficiently as possible?

This reassessment of authority levels is especially important to maintaining employee morale. If a person is given an increase in responsibility without a corresponding increase in authority, the result can be as devastating as failing to give him an increase in salary.

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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Knowledge Management Strategy


What does it mean for an organization to have a knowledge management strategy? If we think of a corporation as an individual, then a corporation’s knowledge management strategy may be likened to individuals’ strategy to obtain an education and to apply their knowledge and learning to advance their career. If an individual’s education consisted of nothing more than acquiring information (as was largely the case some 50 years ago) he or she would be woefully unprepared to deal with today’s rapidly changing business environment. By the same token, if an organization’s knowledge management strategy focused solely on information flow, it would also be unable to deal with the challenges of doing business in the knowledge era.

Developing a knowledge management involves four basic steps:

  1. Dialogue, discuss, debate and define your objectives;
  2. Formulate a strategy;
  3. Devise the tactics; and
  4. Then act.

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.

 

Product Knowledge


You have to be expert before you even start your business. The old saying, “We learn by our mistakes” will not do your business reputation any good if it applies to your lack of expertise. You have to know your products or service inside out. You may love a business for the product lines, but will your customers love the products too? When problems arise with a product, or when a customer asks technical questions, are you knowledgeable enough to resolve these problems and answer their questions competently and confidently?

One way to increase your product knowledge is to contact the manufacturers or local distributor. They are usually happy to send you product information and answer your questions. Some of the questions you should research about your product lines (or service) are these:

  • How long have these products been on the market?
  • Are they seasonal, and when do most sell?
  • How often are these products upgraded or changed?
  • Could you be caught unexpectedly with obsolete inventory?
  • What do the manufacturers’ warranties cover?
  • Are replacement parts readily available?
  • Are the products competitively priced?
  • Are buying trends increasing or decreasing?
  • Are the products high, medium, or low in quality?
  • How do the products compare to the competition?
  • What are groups do these products appeal to?
  • What is the life expectancy of the products?
  • Could the products become obsolete due to changing technology?

After these questions are answered, you may find that the business is not viable after all. The product pricing may be too high compared to the competition, or you may discover that over the previous five years, overall demand for the products is declining due to technological changes and shifts in consumer buying trends. In another five years, the demand could become substantially less. The products may appear high in quality on sight, but you may discover that they are poorly made and not something that you would feel confident selling. Perhaps the manufacturer’s guarantees are inadequate, or replacement parts are priced exorbitantly and hard to secure.

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.

The Forces of Demand and Supply


In free enterprise system, the distribution of resources and products is determined by supply and demand. Demand is the number of goods and services that consumers are willing to buy at different prices at a specific time. From your own experience, you probably recognize that consumers are usually willing to buy more of an item as its price falls because they want to save money.

Supply is the number of products that businesses are willing to sell at different prices at a specific time. In general, because the potential for profits is higher, businesses are willing to supply more of a good or service at higher prices.

The price at which the number of products that businesses are willing to supply equals the amount of products that consumers are willing to buy at a specific point in time is the equilibrium price.

Changing the price alters the supply situation and a new equilibrium price results. This is an ongoing process, with supply and demand constantly changing in response to change in economic conditions, availability of resources, and degree of competition.

Critics of supply and demand say the system does not distribute resources equally. The forces of supply and demand prevent sellers who have to sell at higher prices and buyers who cannot afford to buy goods at the equilibrium price from participating in the market. According to critics, the wealthy can afford to buy more than they need, but the poor are unable to buy enough of what they need to survive.

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 on Customers


Without customers you have no sales, no income, no profit, no business—and soon no organization. Unfortunately, when you meet other managers they often seem to forget this, and talk about profits, productivity, return on investment, data ratios and personnel problems. Sometimes customers are clearly an irritant, getting in the way of smooth operations, asking awkward questions and making unreasonable demands.

The purpose of your organization is to supply a product that satisfies customer demand. This should be the focus of the whole organization. To sustain competitive advantage requires a total commitment to your customer. If it is good for your customers, do it! The dollars will follow.

This consideration on customers involves:

  • Finding out exactly what customers want;
  • Designing products to meet these demands;
  • Doing research and development so that your product range responds to changing demands;
  • Aiming for complete customer satisfaction;
  • Getting a reputation for outstanding quality and value;
  • Doing after-sales checks to make sure that customers remain satisfied;
  • Looking outwards so that you are always in touch with customers, potential customers, competitors, alternative products, etc.
  • Allowing customers easy access to your organization and making them welcome;
  • Discussing customer service widely, so that everyone knows your aims, and shares thoughts on customer satisfaction.

Some say that you should go further than merely satisfying customers, and should exceed their expectations – delighting or crossing them. Whatever you call it, you depend on satisfied customers coming back with repeat business. It typically costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one – and someone who gets good service will recommend you to four or five other people, while someone who gets poor service will warn a dozen potential customers to go somewhere else.

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.

The Changing World of Business


The poor performance of star companies in the 1980s and 90s, both MNCs and domestic, has amply demonstrated their susceptibility to under-perform in the face of rapid and marked changes in technology, competition and customer expectations. It is not that all these companies lacked resources, capabilities or competent managers to anticipate and assess the impending changes and initiate proactive action; what they lacked was concern on the part of their managers to enhance the shareholder value of their respective firms on a sustained basis. As a result, this value got diverted to the customers, employees, competitors and suppliers of the company. While it is well known that a firm needs to develop distinctive capabilities and also build a strong network with its key stakeholders to enhance its value creating potential and appropriation of value this created, what really happened in case of most of these unsuccessful firms was that one or more of the stakeholders gained at the expense of the shareholders. The proponsity of managers to take operating, investment and financial decisions without any concern as to how such decisions can affect their shareholders led them to pursue strategies and investments that were ill-conceived and poorly executed, thereby systematically destroying the capabilities and equity developed over the years.

We should argue how the outcome of such a tendency can be detrimental to not only the firms but also to the job and career of the managers, particularly in the light of the various new developments—such as economic liberalization and opening up of most economies to domestic and global competition, greater freedom to access and move capital, emergence of the market for corporate control, and rising shareholder, activism—which have brought the issue of enhancing shareholders’ wealth to the forefront.

It is clear that managers will need to take a fresh guard and revisit their strategies, business processes and organization in order to face this complex set of challenges and retain their firm’s ability to enhance wealth of their shareholders. Thanks to the contribution made by the academia and practising executives, managers now have access to various concepts based on experiences when it comes to facing such challenges. However, it must be stressed that the need of the hour is not another set of concepts and framework; rather what is required is a new “philosophy of business” that draws the attention of every employee of an organization, starting with the CEO, to the importance of creating, enhancing and sustaining shareholder value in everything that the company does—be it strategic, tactical or even routine matters. Needless to say, the employees will also need guidelines on how to operationalize this new philosophy and what actions are needed to sustain the same.

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

Knowledge about Markets


Within the vast, diverse, and changing market no product is consumed at the same rate everywhere. Therefore, every national advertiser—the one whose product is distributed throughout the country as well as the one whose product is confined to particular regions—must view the market as an aggregate of many individual market areas, each of which is different from the next. Some markets are fertile and can be cultivated profitably. Others are barren and should not be cultivated at all.

The purpose of market analysis is to locate the fertile markets and estimate their sales potential. With this information the advertiser can then distribute effort among various market areas in proportion to their relative sales potentially and thereby maximizes the return on advertising investment.

In analyzing markets and market potentials, great dependence is placed on statistical data collected by the government. It is important that such data be precisely defined so that users will know what they mean and can thus make reliable comparisons when data are applied to different markets.

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

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