Decisions: Considering Alternatives


An ideal alternative perfectly fulfills every condition set for it without adding new difficulties. Unfortunately, ideal alternatives are rare. We must, therefore, evaluate each available alternative by measuring it against all of our objectives. It is the relative quality of that fit that concerns us.

If we must choose among several alternatives, we will have to decide which one will best fulfill our objectives with the smallest acceptable risk. In other words, we try to make a balanced choice. An alternative that best accomplishes the objectives but carries severe risks is not, after all, the best choice. Another alternative, perhaps less exciting but safer, may be the best balanced choice.

If there is only one alternative, we must decide whether it is good enough to accept. In this case our evaluation will focus on its relative worth compared with a perfect but unobtainable alternative.

If we must choose between a current and a proposed course of action, then we consider both to be alternatives. We evaluate their performance against our objectives just as we would if both had been proposed. Whatever is currently being done is, after all, an alternative; the choice is whether to continue that way or find another, better way.

If, in the absence of any alternative, we must create something new, we can usually build an alternative from available components. We then choose the best and most feasable combinations, treat each as a separate alternative, and evaluate all of them against an ideal model of an alternative.

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

Carrying out Sales Contests


Sales contests are short-term incentive programs designed to motivate sales personnel to accomplish specific sales objectives. Although contests should not be considered part of the firm’s ongoing compensation plan, they offer sales people the opportunity to gain financial, as well as nonfinancial, rewards. Contest winners often receive prizes in cash or merchandise or travel. Winners also receive nonfinancial rewards in the form of recognition and a sense of accomplishment.

Successful contests require the following:

  • Clearly defined, specific objectives.
  • An exciting theme.
  • Reasonable probability of rewards for all salespeople.
  • Attractive rewards.
  • Promotion and follow-through.

Because contests supplement the firm’s compensation program and are designed to motivate extra effort toward some short-term goal, their objectives should be very specific and clearly defined.

The time in which the contest’s objectives are to be achieved should be relatively short. This ensures the salespeople will maintain their enthusiasm and effort throughout the contest. But the contest should be long enough to allow all members of the sales force to cover their territories at least once and to have a reasonable chance of generating the performance necessary to win. Therefore, the median duration of sales contests is three months.

A sales contest should have an exciting theme to help build enthusiasm among the participants and promote the event. The theme should also be designed to stress the contest’s objectives and appeal to all participants.

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

Connoting Business Opportunity


What is being offered with businesses is usually an idea which may work, depending on your business or sales abilities. It is up to you to establish an area or your clientele. You are usually provided with the tools, such as the vending machines, the inventory, or the samples and the business opportunity. For this, you will pay a price—the rest is up to you.

Many of the businesses will present you with an idea that is made to sound so exciting and profitable, you can’t wait to sink your teeth into it. Caution! Do not proceed or pass go without sound, professional accounting advice. Remember: you are usually buying an unestablished business using someone else’s ideas, for which you may be paying too much. You are starting from scratch, and those promises of big money usually don’t pan out. Warning! You must be especially diligent about so-called business opportunities that offer huge, quick returns. There are people who are ready to take your money and run, or sell you a business that is either non-profitable, not quite legal, or makes money for no one but the vendors. You have to reach not only the market, but the business, the business owners, and the history of the products they are selling. Before making any final decisions, consult with a lawyer and have an appropriate agreement for sale drawn up. If problems arise between you and the vendor your agreement will become a valuable document in court.

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

The Ethos of Great Managers


Smart individual performers keep getting moved into manager positions without the slightest idea of what the manager role is, let alone the ability to play it. They are sent to leadership development courses, but they come back more impressed with their mini-executive status than with the day-to-day challenges of being a good manager.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the manager role is no longer very important. Apparently managers are now an impediment to speed, flexibility, and agility. Today’s agile companies can no longer afford to employ armies of managers to shuffle papers, sign approvals, and monitor performance. They need self-reliant, self motivated, self-directed work teams. No wonder managers are first against the wall when the reengineering revolution came.

Every manager should be a leader. He must seize opportunity, using his smarts and impatience to exert his will over a fickle world. In this world, the staid little manager is a misfit. It is too quick for him, too exciting, too dangerous. He had better stay out of the way. He might get hurt.

Today’s business pressures are more intense. Companies need self-reliant employees and aggressive leaders. But all this does not diminish the importance of managers. In turbulent times the manager is more important than ever because managers play a vital and distinct role, a role that charismatic leaders and self-directed teams are incapable of playing. The manager role is to reach inside each employee and release his unique talents into performance. This role is best played one employee at a time: one manager asking questions of, listening to, and working with one employee. Multiplied a thousand fold, this one-by-one role is the company’s power supply. In times of great change it is this role that makes the company robust enough to stay focused when needed, yet robust enough to flex without breaking.

Thus the manager role is the catalyst role. As with all catalysts, the manager’s function is to speed up the reaction between two substances, thus creating the desired end product. Specifically the manager creates performance in each employee by speeding up the reaction between the employee’s talents and the company’s goals, and between the employee’s talents and the customers’ needs. When hundreds of managers play this role well, the company becomes strong.

In today’s slimmed-down business world, most of these managers also shoulder other responsibilities. They are expected to be subject matter experts, individual superstars, and sometimes leaders in their own right. These are important roles, which great managers execute with varying styles and degrees of success. But when it comes to the manager aspect of the responsibilities, great managers all excel at this catalyst role.

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