Imperfect Organizational Decision-making


Decision-making must be made in all organizations and actions must be taken. It is up to the appropriate people in the organization to select the actions, determine how to carry them out, and take responsibility for their successful implementation. But there is often confusion over decisions. People find it hard to think together about the choices they must make. They don’t agree on where to start or how to proceed. As a result they may overlook important information, fail to consult the proper people, and make mistakes. Organizational decision-making is often not as good as it should be.

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.

Private Enterprise


Private or free, enterprise is the economic system. It means that most of the country’s goods and services are provided by privately owned firms that compete with a minimum of government controls. The private enterprise system has six key characteristics:

  1. Private Ownership of Property: most businesses, land, minerals, buildings, machinery, and personal goods are owned by people, not by governments. This ownership is the right of people. It is an incentive to work hard to acquire and care for our own property. This sort of incentive contributes to the economic growth of the country.
  2. Freedom of choice and limited government: Freedom of choice allows businesses to select the products they produce, hire and fire employees, compete for customers and supplies, and make and dispose of profits. Freedom of choice also allows consumers to buy whatever products and services they are willing and able to buy from whichever firms they choose. Freedom of choice implies a limited amount of government intervention in the area of private enterprise. In a free enterprise system, government sets the” economic rules of the game” by establishing basic laws and regulations that ensure society’s welfare. But within the context, individuals and organizations are left largely free to pursue their own interests and inclinations.
  3. Consumer sovereignty: Consumers rule; the more carefully they make their decisions, the more clearly the economy will reflect their needs. The more money you spend in the marketplace, the greater your influence.
  4. Profits: Profits make businesses responsive to consumer wants. Profits are also a good indicator of where to expand and how to compete better. As a shop owner you can also compare the overall profits with past results or with profits of other businesses to gauge how well your shop is doing. Profits are the clearest standard of performance available to a business. But consumers often misinterpret business profits. They also don’t always understand how profits direct a business’ efforts. And consumers usually substantially overstate how high business profits actually are.
  5. Competition: Most business leaders believe their industries are highly competitive. But the term “competitive” has many meanings. Pure, or perfect, competition exists in an industry when 1) there are many firms of about equal size, 2) all firms produce the same product, 3) each firm can enter or leave the industry when it wants, and 4) all firms and customers are well-informed about prices and availability of products. No industry completely satisfies all these conditions, although some come close. Most industries operate under conditions of imperfect competition. This means they satisfy some but not all the conditions of pure competition.
  6. Productivity: Productivity is essential to the economy, whether it means designing faster microcomputers or better-testing toothpaste. Increased productivity helps offset inflation and keep prices down. Productivity is defined as real output (the value of the product independent of price changes) per working hour, and it is usually written as a percentage.

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.

Marketing as an Information Function


Good information is a facilitator of successful marketing and indeed, seen in this light marketing management becomes first and foremost an information processing activity. The argument that information processing should be seen as the fifth ‘P’ in the marketing mix is based on a view of marketing as a ‘boundary-spanning’ activity, i.e., acting as the interface between the core of the organization and the marketing environment. Indeed, it has been argued that it is a largely through carrying out this boundary-spanning role, i.e., absorbing environmental uncertainty and interpretting the market environment for the rest of the organization, that market gains influence in strategic decision making. This involves, in essence, creating from the pool of information that the marketing environment represents a picture of the world which enables others in the organization to forecast, plan and make decisions. At its simplest, if the marketing department (or, it should be noted, some other subunit in the organization) does not convert the uncertainty of the marketing environment into a sales forecast, there is no basis for planning production, personnel requirements or the financing of operations.

 In this sense, the management of critical types of marketing information is at the very center of the status of marketing management and the implementation of the marketing concept in an organization.

 In these terms, the challenge to marketing executives is not simply to adopt the latest information technology but to actively manage the process of ‘environmental enactment’ in their organizations. The practical side of this argument is that marketing information is concerned with creating a picture of the marketplace for people in the organization which they will use in making the decisions. This picture is likely to be highly imperfect, but it provides a frame of reference for decision making. In this sense there are few imperatives more urgent for marketing executives, when for most organizations so much depends on their ability to understand and respond to demands for service, quality and responsiveness to the market.

 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

Training and Development


Mr. President, and Director Training:

Spring has arrived with flowers. The buds have reappeared on bare branches again. Indeed! The March winds are the morning yawn of the year.

All and every little thing tell us
That once again ’tis Spring

Please accept my best wishes for a bright and beautiful season.

 

This time spring has brought along the advent of cricket season. And the current cricket series with India has caused a sort of fever to cricket lovers. Today is a crucial day for all of us. An important and decisive match between traditional rival teams is about to start and we are here participating in a learning exercise. You are not alone missing the glimpses of the match. My heart also joins the curious thumping of your heartbeat.

 

I have the opportunity to talk to you, the learned managers under the new system of local government, and I will avail it with honor talking relevant or maybe some irrelevant things.

 

Overtly or covertly, the district government system is new and complex. Its managers face requirements that are different from their federal, provincial, or private sector counterparts. Because of the complexity and range of those requirements, it is important for DDOs to understand the requirements specific to the district.

 

Friends! We use management and professional development to refer to those processes directed towards equipping professional managers with the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to achieve administrative objectives both now and in the future.

 

Any human development must be aligned with the entity’s mission and strategic goals in order that, through enhancing the skills, knowledge, learning ability and enthusiasm of people at every level, there will be continuous organizational and individual growth.

 

The perspectives of management and professional development are interpreted here as including the terms education, learning, training, and development which are seen as an integral part of the wider professional development framework.

 

I have the reason to believe, my dear officers, that if the training and development of managers of any department is not accorded high priority, if training is not seen as a vital component in the realization of government policies, then it is hard to accept that we have committed ourselves to management and professional development.

 

Those departments where there is a chronic under-investment in management and professional development that is the prime reason for the poor performance of the financial management or economy at large. The critique that can be constructed is disturbingly pervasive. At the macro level the education and training infrastructure, particularly when subjected to international comparisons is the major basis for consistently failing to address the needs of economic development. Training initiatives failing to provide consistent direction; concentrating on the certainties of vocational relevance rather than longer-term knowledge demands relevant to an imperfect future, and, simply, a lack of overall investment.

 

At the micro level, despite the relevance placed on bureaucratic system by successive governments, the practice of individual departments is similarly disturbing. Under-investment in management and professional development, whether measured in terms of budgets or training days, is regularly reported. All too frequently management and professional development fails to be regarded as a managerial priority or something that should be fully integrated through a learning culture into everyday practice. The traditional practice of public service, dominance of accountancy traditions and short-term-ism that characterize our bureaucratic inheritance arguably provide infertile conditions for what is essentially a long-term commitment.

 

While acknowledging the pessimistic construction that I have made, I would argue that investment in management and professional development could play a key role in initiating and facilitating change. You can thus adapt to whatever comes along and to take advantage of it, turning threats into challenges, and rising to these challenges in ways that produce increased benefit to the government and employees.

 

If I were to prescribe one process in the training of men, which is fundamental to success in any direction, it would be thoroughgoing training in the habit of accurate observation. It is a habit which every one of us should be seeking ever more to perfect.

 

All organizations, entities, and departments require some form of organizational structure to implement their strategies. Principally, structures are changed when they no longer provide the coordination, control, and direction managers, and entities require implementing strategies successfully. The ineffectiveness of structure typically results from increases in department’s revenues and levels of diversification. In particular, the formulation of strategies involving greater levels of diversification demands structural change to match each strategy. Some strategies require elaborate structures and strategic control, while others focus on financial control.

 

Allow me to briefly converse about strategic leadership. If you are a strategic leader, you have the ability to anticipate, maintain flexibility, and empower others to create strategic change as necessary. Multifunctional in nature, strategic leadership involves managing through others, managing an organization rather than a functional subunit, and coping with change that seems to be increasing exponentially in the current administrative landscape. Because of the complexity and global nature of this landscape, as a strategic leader, you must learn how to influence human behavior effectively in an uncertain environment. By word or by personal example, and through your ability to envision the future, as effective strategic leader you can meaningfully influence the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of those with whom you work. The ability to manage human capital may be the most critical of your leadership skills.

 

From now on, in the 21st century, many managers working in government across country will be challenged to alter their mind-sets to cope with the rapid and complex changes occurring in the global economy.

 

A managerial mind-set is the set of assumptions, premises, and accepted wisdom that bounds—or frames—a manager’s understanding of the department and the core competencies it uses in the pursuit of strategic role. Your continuous success depends on your willingness to challenge continually your managerial frames.

 

Today competition means not product versus product, company versus company, or department versus department. It is a case of mindset versus mindset, managerial frame versus managerial frame. Competing on the basis of mindsets demands that strategic leaders learn how to deal with diverse and cognitively complex situations. One of the most challenging changes is overcoming your own successful mindset.

 

As effective leaders you should always be willing to make candid and courageous, yet pragmatic decisions—decisions that may be difficult, but necessary in light of internal and external conditions. You should solicit corrective feedback from peers, superiors, and employees about the value of your difficult decisions. Unwillingness to accept feedback may be key reason talented executives fail. This highlights the need for you to solicit feedback consistently from those affected by your decisions.

 

Because strategic leadership is a requirement of strategic success, and because departments may be poorly led and over-managed, working in the 21st century competitive landscape you are challenged to develop effective strategic leaders.

 

At district level you are the top administrative managers. And top-level mangers are an important resource for departments seeking to formulate and implement strategies effectively. A key reason for this is that the strategic decisions made by top managers influence how the department is designed and whether goals will be achieved. Thus, a critical element of your organizational success is having a team with superior managerial skills.

 

You often use your discretion (or latitude for action) when making strategic decisions, including those concerned with the effective implementation of strategies. You must therefore be action oriented: thus, the decisions that you make should spur the department to action.

 

Since you are top executives, you have a major effect on your department’s culture. Your values are critical in shaping your department’s cultural values. Accordingly, you have an important effect on organizational activities and performance. The significance of this effect should not be underestimated. Permit me to remind you that acquiring of culture is the development of an avid hunger for knowledge and beauty.

 

 

Add innovation and creativity in all your endeavors. It will certainly pay off. Effective leaders focus their work on the key issues that ultimately shape department’s ability to perform effectively.

 

And in the words of Charles de Gaulle, “Every man of action has a strong dose of egotism, pride, hardness, and cunning. But all those things will be forgiving him, indeed, they will be regarded as high qualities, if he can make them the means to achieve great ends.” To get others to come into your ways of thinking, you must go over to theirs; and it is necessary to follow, in order to lead.

 

While concluding, let me ask: do you know how do geniuses come up with ideas? What is common to the thinking style that produced “Mona Lisa,” as well as the one that spawned the theory of relativity? What characterizes the thinking strategies of the Einsteins, Edisons, da Vincis, Darwins, Picassos, Michelangelos, Galileos, Freuds, and Mozarts of history? What can we learn from them?

 

“Much learning does not teach man to have intelligence.”

This is the quotation from the philosopher Heraclitus, who spanned the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Twenty-five hundred years later, he’s still right. You might spend most of your life going to school, reading, looking up facts, acquiring information, and memorizing it. But, although you’ll become more informed, in the end it won’t make you any smarter. Is a reference library smart? Is a computer with a vast storehouse of voluminous data smart? Is the simple act of digesting and then disgorging information either smart or impressive? My answer is simple: “No.”

 

Anyway, I hereby formally inaugurate this training course.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Thank you for listening.

God bless you!

 

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

Why we fail?


The results we intended occur, and we label the result a success. Failure, on the other hand, denotes an undesired outcome. The results we were looking for didn’t come through. To replace failure with success, we need to understand the way that different actions yield different results. In a sense, it’s simple as discarding actions and underlying thought patterns that lead to undesired results and replacing them with deeds and thoughts that lead to the right outcome. Of course, in practice, it’s much easier to say than to do.

Actions result from patterns of thought, and these patterns often form in order to justify the actions that are expected of us. In other words, it’s a cycle. The need for certain action dictates the development of a way of thinking, and that way of thinking leads to the desired actions. Now, if the results of those actions become undesirable, then it follows that you need to change the thought patterns.

Do people really tailor their thinking to accommodate their actions? In some ways this process can be very detrimental; for example, when we alter our beliefs so we can get away with doing things we were brought up to believe are wrong. Yes, our beliefs are fashioned by society, by our environment and culture, but anyone who denies that an individual can radically change his or her way of thinking is seriously underestimating the power we can exercise over our minds.

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