Adapting to Change


Competency models provide a tool for determining exactly what skills are required to meet the different needs of the present and probable needs of the future. For example, general agents of a life insurance company are responsible for managing the overall operation of the agency. With increased competition the focus shifted to strategic marketing, territory development and building leadership teams. The company was concerned that the people it was selecting to fill the agent’s role might not be able to meet the challenges of the changing business environment. By using a competency model to determine what behaviors the general agents were now required to perform, the company realized that the job was very different from what it had been five years earlier. Consequently, the company could begin to adjust in selection criteria to reflect the changing demands of the role. It could also ascertain the training needs of the current general agents by identifying their skill gaps and deciding which of those gaps ought to be addressed immediately to ensure high performance.

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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Delighting the Customer


Companies need to delight customers to gain a competitive edge. The delight is referred to as a profoundly positive emotional state that results from having  one’s expectations exceeded to a surprising degree. The type of service that results in delight is “positively outrageous service”—that which is unexpected, random, extraordinary, and disproportionately positive.

A way that managers can conceive of delight I to consider product and service features in terms of concentric rings. The innermost bull’s eye refers to attributes that are central to the basic function of the product or service, called musts. Their provision isn’t particularly noticeable, but their absence would be. Around the musts is a ring called satisfiers: features that have the potential to further satisfaction beyond the basic function of the product. At the next and final outer level are delights, product features that are unexpected and surprisingly enjoyable. These are things that consumers would not expect to find and are therefore highly surprised and sometimes excited when they receive them. For example, in your classes the musts consist of professors, rooms, syllabus, and class meetings. Satisfiers might include professors who are entertaining and friendly, interesting lectures, and good audio-visual aids. A delight might include a free textbook for students signing up for the course.

Delighting customers may seem like a good idea, but this level of service provision comes with extra effort and cost to the firm. Therefore the benefits of providing delight must be weighed. Among the considerations are the staying power and competitive implications of delight.

Staying power involves the question of how long a company can expect an experience of delight to maintain the customer’s attention. If it is fleeting and the customer forgets it immediately, it may not be worth the cost. Alternatively, if the customer remembers the delight and adjusts her level of expectation upward accordingly, it will cost the company more just to satisfy, effectively raising the bar for the future. Delighting customers does in fact raise expectations and make it more difficult for a company to satisfy customers in the future.

The competitive implication of delight relates to its impact on expectations of other firms in the same industry.if a competitor in the same industry is unable to copy the delight strategy, it will be disadvantaged by the consumer’s increased expectations. If you were offered that free textbook in one of your classes, you might then expect to receive one in each of your classes. Those classes not offering the free textbook might not have high enrollment levels compared to the delighting class. If a competitor can easily copy the delight strategy, however, neither firm benefits (although the consumer does), and all firm may be hurt because their cost increase and profit erode. The implication is that if companies choose to delight, they should do so in areas that cannot be copied by other firms.

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

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness


The business advertiser rarely expects orders to result immediately from advertising. Advertising is designed to create awareness, stimulate loyalty to the company, or create a favorable attitude toward a product. Even though advertising may not directly precipitate a purchase decision, advertising programs must be held accountable. Thus, the business advertiser must be able to measure the results of current advertising in order to improve future advertising and must be able to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising expenditures against expenditures on other elements of marketing strategy.

Measuring advertising effectiveness means assessing advertising’s impact on what “intervenes” between the stimulus (advertising) and the resulting behavior (purchase decision). The theory is that advertising can affect awareness, knowledge, and other dimensions that more readily lend themselves to measurement. In essence, the advertiser attempts to gauge advertising’s ability to move an individual through the purchase decision process. This approach assumes, correctly or not, that enhancement of any one phase of the decision process or movement from one step to the next increases the ultimate probability of purchase.

Business marketers should also measure the indirect communication effects of advertising. Advertising affects word-of-mouth communications (indirect effect), and such communications play an important role in buyer decision making. Similarly, advertising indirectly affects buyers on the basis of its impact on overall company reputation and on the sales force’s belief that advertising facilitates their selling tasks. Advertising effectiveness measurement include a procedure for tracking and measuring the impact of advertising on the indirect communication effects.

Advertising effectiveness will be evaluated against objectives formulated in terms of the elements of the buyer’s decision process as well as some of the indirect communication effects. Advertising efforts will also be judged, in the final analysis, on cost per level of achievement (for example, money spent to achieve a certain level of awareness or recognition).

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

Sales Rep—Role Playing


A popular technique used in most companies has the trainee act out the part of a sales rep in a simulated buying session. The buyer may be either a sales instructor or another trainee. Role-playing is widely used to develop selling skills, but it can also be used to determine whether the trainee can apply knowledge taught via other methods of instruction. Immediately following the role-playing session, the trainee’s performance is critiqued by the trainee, the trainer, and other trainees.

 Role-playing where a sales trainee performs in front of others and where that performance is subsequently critiqued can be harsh. Some problems disappear if the critique is conducted only in the presence of the sales trainee and then only by the sales instructor. When handled well, most trainees can still identify their own strengths and weaknesses.

 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

Employee Training vs. Employee Development


Every organization needs to have well-adjusted, trained, and experienced people to perform the activities that must be done. As jobs in today’s dynamic organizations have become more complex, the importance of employee education has increased. When jobs were simple, easy to learn, and influenced to only a small degree by technological changes, there was little need for employees to upgrade or alter their skills. But that situation rarely exists today. Instead, rapid job changes are occuring, requiring employee skills to be transfomed and frequently updated. In organizations, this takes place through what we call employee training.

 Training is a learning experience in that it seeks a relatively permanent change in an individual that will improve the ability to perform on the job. We typically say training can involve the changing of skills, knowledge, attitudes, or behavior. It may mean changing what employees know, how they work, their attitudes toward their work, or their interaction with their coworkers or supervisor.

 Although employee training and employee development are similar in the methods used to affect learning, their time frames differ. Training is more present-day oriented; its focus is on individuals’ current jobs, enhancing those specific skills and abilities to immediately perform their jobs.

 Employee development, on the other hand, generally focuses on future jobs in the organization. As your job and career progress, new skills and abilities will be required. As you are groomed for positions of greater responsibility, employee development efforts can help prepare you for that day.

 Irrespective of whether we are involved in employee training or employee development, the same outcome is requirewd. That is, we are attempting to help individuals learn. Learning is critical to everyone’s success, and it’s something that will be with us throughout our working lives. But learning for learning’s sake does not happen in a vacuum. Rather, it is a function of several events that occur, with the responsibility for learning being a shared experience between the teacher and the learner.

 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

Preparing Minutes


There are two primary rules for minute preparation:

  1. Write Minutes as Soon as Possible: Time edges into memory faster than most people realize. Events which just took place are more clearly in mind than those occurring 24 hours ago. Write minutes as soon as possible after a session. Do not delay minute preparation. Notes are grand, and the better your notes, the better the minutes you will write. But notes are no substitute for accurate recall plus notes. This is why, in the absence of a manager being assigned to record the minutes, the group leader should either take full responsibility for the task or, immediately, at the beginning of the meeting, assign it to someone. Recall is important. That’s why the minutes should always be done as soon after the session as possible. Not as soon as convenient. As soon as possible. The minutes should never be written by anyone other than a person in attendance who took notes. Those notes, no matter how copious, passed to someone who was not in attendance, will not produce quality minutes.
  2. State Important Facts Briefly but Thoroughly: When writing the minutes, be brief but be as thorough as possible. In minutes, the requirement is names and dates and figures. Many minutes recount each motion and even the major directions and positions in the discussions. Too few tell who forged those directions and who took and/or held those positions. To be valuable, minutes must be thorough.

 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