Risking New Ideas


If we want people in the organization to start taking some risks, we need to replace no with yes and replace limits with encouragement. The key to the development of a risk-taking organizational climate lies in the ability of management to convey the attitude that new ideas are always a hot commodity. New ideas do not have to be perfect at birth. As the saying goes: “It doesn’t have to be right the first time. It just needs to be real.”

The best risk-takers are those who act without concentrating on all the jeopardies and instead work around the fears that hang up other people. That doesn’t mean that they don’t think before they act; it does mean that in this environment, they take some well-planned chances. I’ve watched associates get better month by month at learning how to make the right risks pay off for them, personally and professionally.

When we communicate that we expect mistakes to occur when people are putting out and working hard, we create an atmosphere of encouragement.  A lot of people in corporate life have made careers out of surviving rather than succeeding; they’ve had to cope with atmospheres laced with fear, suspicion, and blame. Get rid of the blame and start celebrating the efforts and new ideas. Plan to make mistakes and still make it through.

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.

Competitive Marketing Theories


Competitive market theories are derived from the neo-classical economic concepts of rational choice and maximization of utility. The assumption is that individuals choose jobs which offer them maximum benefits. The utility or value of these benefits – money, vacation time, pension entitlement and so on – vary for different individuals according to their personal preferences. People move from one organization to another if improved benefits are available. At the same time, employer organizations attempt to get the most from their employees for the lowest possible cost.

The outcome of this process is a dynamic and shifting equilibrium in which both employees and organizations compete to maximize benefits for themselves. Within a specific region or industry there is a balance between supply and demand for human resources. Pay and conditions for employees are determined by the relative scarcity or abundance of skills and abilities in the employment market. Competitive forces push wages up when demand for products – and hence employees – increases, and downwards when the economy is in recession. In the latter case a market clearing wage is eventually arrived at which is sufficiently low to encourage employers to increase recruitment and eliminate unemployment. This discourse reinforces the view that employees are objects to be traded like any other commodities in the market – human resources in the hardest possible sense. Supposedly, they offer themselves – their skills and human qualities – for sale to the highest bidders. Within this mindset they could just as well be vegetables on a market stall.

Competition theories assume that job-seekers have perfect knowledge of available jobs and benefits. Job-searching is an expensive and time consuming business. The unemployed do not have money and those in work do not have time. The result is that few people conduct the extensive searches required to find jobs which meet their preferences perfectly. In practice, most individuals settle for employment which is quickly obtained and which exceeds the reserve minimum wage they have in mind. There is a considerable element of luck involved. Moreover, the job-seeker does not make the choice: in most cases the decision is in the hands of employer.

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.

Consumer Sovereignty


Mainstream economics uses some simple starting points; it believes that they are the best possible. First is that agents have more wants than they can attain, so that they feel scarcity; in fact, for practical purposes, wants are assumed to be endless. Second, third and fourth are that agents are self-interested, rational, and the best judges of their own well-being. These four assumptions are indeed usually good starting points, rather than starting by assuming that agents are completely fulfilled, altruistic, irrational, and not well-placed to evaluate their own situation. They are not equally good as finishing points. Sometimes good arguments exist for not accepting them.

An assumption that agents are the best judges of their own well being is less questionable for businesspeople and corporations, given the resources they have for analysis. Debate focuses more on consumers. The phrase consumer sovereignty is sometimes read descriptively, to mean that consumers are sovereign, in that procedures are induced via profit-seeking and competition  to provide what consumers want. Sometimes it is read normatively, to mean that consumers should be sovereign, their wishes should prevail concerning what is good for them. The normative claim can rest on three different bases: that consumers do make good choices; that the alternative stance is worse – to use someone else’s judgments and estimates of what is good for a person and how good it is; or quite differently, that people have the right to make their own choices and mistakes.

Consumers will not make good choices automatically and unconditionally. Our wants are not simple; for example, some are wants to not to have other wants (such as the desire to smoke or a compulsion to gamble). Establishing a mature balance between wants involves skills. Choice is also unlikely to bring satisfaction if taken on the basis of weak information. Markets often do not provide consumers with full and reliable information, for it is hard to exclude people from information and therefore to ensure payment for it, so its market supply is weakened. Instead, in a commerce-dominated society, one of the main types of information that adults get will be images that say the good life is obtained through high consumption of commodities; there is too little counteracting public information.

The issue of consumer sovereignty goes beyond whether choices are good for the chooser. Other people are affected. Some wants may thus be unacceptable, notably wants that bring harm to others, including even wants to harm others. Mainstream economists have unfortunately often taken a don’t-want-to-know approach to ethics in which they confuse acceptance of all wants with a value-neutral stance.

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.

Speed Matters


  • Speed is competitive advantage.
  • Everything is time-based.
  • Time is the scarcest commodity in the world.
  • When a customer says, ‘time is not important’ – ignore them.
  • Fast = Fast Action Secures trust
  • Fast service adds value
  • Speedy follow-up shows you care.
  • The more time-sensitive your product, the greater the potential competitive advantage.
  • Speed costs nothing, but has to be built-in.

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.

Estimation of Demand


Potential and forecast are distinct concepts, but they become blurred when estimates of demand are developed. The techniques used to estimate demand differ in their emphasis on the proposed marketing effort. For example some techniques neglect the level of marketing effort and concentrate on the maximum amount of commodity that might be demanded from an industry or company. Estimates produced with the emphasis are closer to being market or sales potential estimates than they are sales forecasts.

Other techniques give great weight to the marketing effort planned for the period and are sales forecasts in the true sense of the word. Still other techniques use historic sales as a basis for future demand estimates. They rely on the implicit assumption that marketing effort in the future period will be similar to what it was in the past.

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.

 

Generic Brands


Products that some consumers see as commodities maybe difficult or expensive to brand. Some manufacturers and middlemen have responded to this problem with generic products—products that have no brand at all other than identification of their contents or manufacturer or middleman. Generic products are usually offered in plain packages at lower prices. They are quite common in less-developed countries.

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 Product Life Cycle


Customer demands are constantly changing. There are many reasons for this, ranging from fashions to new regulations. Sometimes there are obvious patterns to demand. Another pattern comes from the product’s life cycle. Demand for just about every product follows a life cycle with five stages:

  1. Introduction. A new product appears and demand is low while people learn about it, try it and see if they like it—for example, palmtop computers and automated checkouts at supermarkets.
  2. Growth. New customers buy the product and demand rises quickly—for example, telephone banking and mobile phones.
  3. Maturity. Demand stabilizes when most people know about the product and are buying it in steady numbers—for example, color television sets and insurance.
  4. Decline. Sales fall as customers start buying new, alternative products—for example, tobacco and milk deliveries.
  5. Withdrawal. Demand declines to the point where it is no longer worth making the product—for example, black and white television sets and telegrams.

The length of the life cycle varies quite widely. Each edition of The Guardian completes its life cycle in a few hours; clothing fashions last months or even weeks; the life cycle of washing machines is several years; some basic commodities like Nescafe has stayed in the mature stage for decades.

Unfortunately, there are no reliable guidelines for the length of a cycle. Some products have an unexpectedly short life and disappear very quickly. Some products, like full cream milk stayed at the mature stage for years and then started to decline. Even similar products can have different life cycles – with Ford replacing small car models after 12 years and Honda replacing them after seven years. Some products appear to decline and then grow again—such as passenger train services which grew by 7 per cent in 1998 and cinemas where attendances fell from 1.64 billion in 1964 to 54 million in 1984, and then rose to 140 million in 1997.

One thing we can say is that product life cycles are generally getting shorter. Alvin Toffler says, ‘Fast-shifting preferences, flowing out of and interacting with high-speed technological change, not only lead to frequent changes in the popularity of products and brands, but also shorten the life-cycle of products.’

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.

From Financial Capital to Human Capital


The new corporation differs from the old in both goals and basic assumptions. In the industrial era, when the strategic resource was capital, the goal of the corporation could only have been profits. In the information era, however, the strategic resource is information, knowledge, creativity. There is only one way a corporation can gain access to these valuable commodities—that is, through the people in whom these resources reside.

So the basic assumption of a re-invented company is that people—human capital—are its most important resource. What used to be one of the radicals’ favorite slogans, “People before Profits,” is finding its way into the boardroom and being transformed into a more businesslike but equally humanistic “People and Profits.”

In an information age society, human resources are any organization’s competitive edge.

One expression of the importance of human capital is the new corporate preoccupation with health and fitness. Corporations are treating their human assets with new concern, encouraging their people to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and learn to manage stress. What might have been considered an intrusion into one’s personal life in the past is fair game when people are a company’s strategic resource.

The new re-invernted corporations stress inordinate regard for the two most important types of people in an enterprise: employees and customers.

They have discovered that by being both pro-people and pro-profits, a company can earn more than it it had targeted profits as its only goal.

It is not a question of being nice to people. It is simply a recognition that human beings will make or break a 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, Lectures, Line of Sight

The Laws of Preference


Scientific analysis always uses theories and models as simplified pictures of reality. Irrelevant details are stripped away to permit us to concentrate upon essentials. The economist’s simplified picture or theory of preference is based upon two axioms:

  1. Axiom of Comparison: Any two distinct baskets A and B of commodities can be compared in preference by the individual. Each such comparison must lead to one of three following results: a) Basket A is preferred to basket B, or b) B is preferred to A, or c) A and B are indifferent.
  2. Axiom of Transtivity: Consider any three baskets A, B, and C. If A is preferred to B, and B is preferred to C, then A must be preferred to C. similarly, if A is indifferent to B, and B to C, then A is indifferent to C.

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

Assessing Competitors’ Areas of Strength


  1. Excellence in product design and/or performance (engineering ingenuity)
  2. Low-cost, high-efficiency operating skill in manufacturing and/or in distribution
  3. Leadership in product innovation
  4. Efficiency in customer service
  5. Personal relationships with customers
  6. Efficiency in transportation and logistics
  7. Efficiencies in sales promotion
  8. Merchandising efficiency—high turnover of inventories and/or of capital
  9. Skillful trading in volatile price movement commodities
  10. Ability to influence legislation
  11. Highly efficient, low-cost facilities
  12. Ownership or control of low-cost or service raw materials
  13. Control of intermediate distribution or processing units
  14. Massive availability of capital
  15. Widespread customer acceptance of company brand name (reputation)
  16. Product availability, convenience
  17. Customer loyalty
  18. Dominant market share position
  19. Effectiveness of advertising
  20. Quality salesforce

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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