Generic and Grand Strategies


Many businesses explicitly and all implicitly adopt one or more generic strategies characterizing their competitive orientation in the marketplace. Low cost, differentiation, or focus strategies define the three fundamental options. Enlightened managers seek to create ways their firm possesses both low cost and differentiation competitive advantages as part of their overall generic strategy. They usually combine these capabilities with a comprehensive, general plan of major actions through which their firm intends to achieve its long-term objectives in a dynamic environment. Called the grand strategy, this statement of means indicates how the objectives are to be achieved. Although every grand strategy is, in fact, a unique package of long-term strategies, some basic approaches can be identified: concentration, market development, product development, innovation, horizontal integration, vertical integration, joint venture, strategic alliances, consortia, concentric diversification, conglomerate diversification, turnaround, divesture, and liquidation.

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.

 

Positive Thinking and Reality


We have seen positive-thinking political candidates on the eve of a landslide defeat still insisting they can sense victory in spite of the polls. Positive thinking alone will not guarantee top marks for a student on his upcoming final exam, if he has never studied or attended classes. Positive thinking that is unsupported by any cooperative actions can become simply wishful thinking.

On the other hand best-trained people will never win if they lack positive mental images, because the resulting lack of confidence will always distract concentration and diminish ability.

The same powerful principles of imagery apply to enhancing performances in the working world. Rather than taking untrained young graduates and plunging into stressful work situations, enlightened companies are first investing in the building of positive images to enhance performance and confidence. Imagined experiences can be as good as real ones in building up a store of confidence.

In any job, a style of language can set the tone for a positive or negative approach. The power of words in establishing an image has long been recognized by public relations and promotion experts. However, even more influential than the choice of words to sell products or concepts to large audiences is the impact of the wording of our internal communications, otherwise known as “self-talk.”

With so much of the economy based on service industries, the positive attitude behind every employee’s smile becomes an essential ingredient for success in the workplace. An individual who thinks positively and gravitates towards positive-thinking friends and colleagues, or a corporation that consciously nurtures a positive culture, will always outperform those who wallow in doom and gloom.

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.

Training and Community Colleges


The power of images and names deceives us into picturing big companies as big concentrations of people. They rarely are. Most of the work of any major organization goes on at a multiplicity of small to medium-sized shops, offices, or factories, often widely separated from one another as well as from the head office. Each work site may be no longer than an independent small or medium-sized enterprise in its neighborhood.

Since the operations performed at one work site may bear little resemblance to those at another in the same company, work sites may differ in their training needs as widely as they differ in geography. Accordingly, each work site normally administers most of its own training, with the exception of specifically managerial subjects or skills so company-specific, important, and widely needed that it is more cost effective to conduct them at a central location.

By the same token, each work site has finite resources of staff, space, equipment, and money available for training. One point it must therefore decide about any particular need is whether it is more cost-effective to conduct the training in-house or outside. More and more work sites have turned to community and junior colleges to run training programs for them. So community colleges have evolved various arrangements for working with employers. They have thus employed business-industry coordinators, who learn what services the employers need tell them what the colleges can do to help. Some colleges hire and train industry people to execute the colleges’ training assignments.

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.

Luminous Analogy between Cholesterol and Overhead


Overhead is a lot akin to cholesterol. Both have been targets of severe criticism. Both can induce fatty deposits; one clogs the insides of human arteries, the other congests a corporation’s metabolism.

Both have been severely misunderstood. Cholesterol plays a very important role in human chemistry. It forms the nucleus of the vitamin D molecule, the neutrient that builds strong bones. It is a component of several sex and regulatory hormones and contributes to the fluidity of cell membranes. Often thought to be fat, it isn’t. Actually it helps make the bile salts that emulsify fats in the intestine.

Cholesterol is manufactured within the body. Problems arise, though, when it is ingested. Its internal production goes on regardless of the amount taken in, and its chemistry is such that it is hard to break down once a surplus occurs.

Cholesterol comes in two types, depending on how it is being transported in the bloodstream. As those who have had tests for cholesterol know, one of these types (called HDL) is sometimes dubbed “good cholesterol” because it moves to the liver where it can do something useful for the body. “Bad cholesterol” (identified as “LDL”) tends to stay put, thus resulting in deposits on artery walls. Heart attacks are often associated with high levels of the LDL variety, and decreased risk of having coronary disease with concentrations of HDL.

The relative balance between HDL and LDL is, in part, controllable. LDL increases when diets are rich in animal fats; regular aerobic exercise leads to more HDL.

Overhead like cholesterol is something that naturally occurs to make effective functioning possible. It plays a key role in regulating the proper balance among a business’s diverse activities. As with cholesterol, problems arise when too much overhead is imposed on the business from the outside. It is hard to remove once in place and, like some people’s dietary limitation regimes, it can be painful to cut back. Corporate aerobics, such as workout, can keep overhead in check, but only temporarily.

There are also two kinds of overhead: good and bad. Good carries its own weight, and then some; bad only contributes bulk. The processes workout and process reengineering, are good tools to help make these distinctions. But in some cases, a deeper, more thoughtful, examination is necessary than can be provided in the gungho, take-no-prisoners atmosphere of these outplacement mechanisms for work and time.

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