The Human Context of Management


In addition to understanding the ongoing behavioral processes inherent in their own jobs, managers must understand the basic human element of their work. Organizational behavior offers three major perspectives for understanding this context: people as organizations, people as resources, and people as people.

Above all, organizations are people, and without people there would be no organizations. All organizations differ from each other dramatically in size, purpose, and structure, they have one thing in common: people. Thus, if managers are to understand the organizations in which they work, they must first understand the people who make up the organizations.

As resources, people are one of an organization’s most valuable assets. People create the organization, guide and direct its course, and vitalize and revitalize it. People make its decisions, solve its problems, and answer its questions. People are at the core of many of the possible contributors to this trend. To reverse declining productivity, many organizations have taken steps to boost the contribution from their human resources. Some companies have encouraged management and labor to cooperate better; others have increased employee participation in decision-making and problem-solving.

There is another perspective—people as people. People spend a large part of their lives in organizational settings, mostly as employees. They have a right to expect something in return beyond wages and employee benefits. Employees seek satisfaction, and many want the opportunity to grow and develop and to learn new skills. An understanding of organizational behavior can help managers better appreciate these needs and expectations.

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.

Use and Misuses of Authority


Most managers believe they must have authority to accomplish their jobs. They believe it is their superior’s responsibility to see that they have adequate authority in the areas for which they are held responsible and accountable. But a manager who either misuses or oversas his authority to get his subordinates to carry out their tasks may be inviting trouble. This is why it is important for the manager to understand the various sources of authority and power and the differences among them.

 Most people who have worked in the business world have seen a situation in which subordinates have “fired” their boss. By dragging their feet on assignments by cauing the organizations to do a relatively poor job, and by directing criticisms to appropriate ears, a unified group of subordinates can cause such trouble that their boss’s superiors may question his ability to handle his work group. Under these conditions the subordinates may sometimes be shown the door; but occasionally the boss is fired. That this can and does happen illustrates that managers are dependent, in part, on their work groups, just as their work groups are dependent, in part, on the managers. Although the manager has formal sanctions to back up his authority, the work group has informal sources of power it can utilize. The manager who relies only on his formal authority to direct the efforts of others may, therefore, not achieve the best results. It is desirable that he also be a leader; in short, he should be able to influence his subordinates as well as give them orders.

 Managers are often “caught in the middle”between the values, orders, and expectations of their superiors and the values, needs, and expectations of their subordinates. The manager usually needs to retain the support of both his superior and his subordinates, and the dilemma he feels when there is conflict between the two can create intensely uncomfortable feelings. The pressure is  compounded when the values and expectations of his peers are also involved, as they frequently are. Different managers resolve these internal dissonances in a variety of ways. Some ignore, or pay less attention to, either the subordinates or the superior, usually the former. Others try to find compromises that satisfy both, at least enough to avoid undue problems. But however thay handle them, most managers experience the discomfort of man-in-the-middle problems.

 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

Figuring out what to charge


The hardest part of developing a fee schedule is figuring out what to charge. The professional fees in all fields are rather idiosyncratic. Rarely can a freelance professional set an across the board price for services. Most professionals have sliding fees. Some old, favored clients are always charged less than newer, more affluent clients. Some clients are charged overtime and for rush jobs, while others never are. And in almost every field professionals charge different rates for corporate or commercial work as opposed to creative or literary work.

Then, too, there are various ways to structure a professional fee. In the course of one year a professional is likely to take on jobs that pay by the hour, the day, and by flat fee.

What does it all mean to someone starting out in freelancing who is unsure what to charge or even how to figure out a fee schedule? Basically, a freelancer should not get too caught up in working for one preset fee—for one hourly rate. Sometimes a client will pay you less per hour, but you can pad the bill so you end up earning as much as you would if you charged a higher hourly rate. Sometimes you take a consulting job that is not particularly interesting or challenging but which pays well, so you can later take on creative work that does not pay so well. The trick is to charge enough overall so that you earn what you need to earn. But even a sliding scale or a willingness to negotiate does not mean that you will not require a well-planned rate schedule. If you ever go into a meeting to settle a fee and are unsure what to charge or what you would like to earn, then you will probably walk away a loser. You must always be prepared to negotiate, and you should expect to earn what you are worth 90 percent of the time. To do this, you need to figure out in advance what the general fee ranges will be for your services. The only danger is in setting an hourly fee and measuring all your work by that one standard.

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

Eyesight, Mindsight, Winners, Losers, Dreams, and … Success


A great life always begins with a dream—a vision. Each person has two kinds of vision: Eyesight and mindsight. Eyesight tells us what objects are around us. Eyesight forms pictures of trees, people, buildings, mountains, water, stars, and other physical, tangible things. Eyesight is physical.

Mindset is different from eyesight. Mindset is the power to see not what is but what can be when human intelligence is applied. Mindset is the power to dream. Mindset forms pictures of the future – the home we want, the family relationship we desire, the income we will enjoy, vacations we want to take, or our wealth at some point in time.

Eyesight is strictly physical and sees only reality. Mindsight reveals what is not yet real nor tangible. How we choose to use our mindset to dream determines our success (achievement, influence, and satisfaction), our wealth (income, net worth, and physical well-being), and our happiness (respect, joy, and commitment).

People differ little in eyesight. At a very early age, all children using eyesight can clearly distinguish objects, such as people, buildings, stars, and water. But people differ enormously in mindsight or mental images of what is not yet real or tangible. A great majority of people see spending a life in a mediocre, modest-paying job. In the social department, their mindsight sees little joy but lots of boredom and big problems. And in the home department, they see, at best, only an ordinary, dull, problem-plagued existence.

On the other hand, a few success-directed dreamers see the future as filled with challenge. They see work as a road to advancement and prestige, and to large rewards. Creative dreamers see social relationships as encouraging, as stimulating, and as fun. In their home department, they see excitement, adventure, and happiness. They choose to dream of a good and great life.

Whether we spend life winning or losing depends on how we use our mindsight—what we choose to see or to dream. Each of us has the power to make this life a heaven or a hell, depending on how we choose to dream about it. Those who see life as heaven are the winners; those who view life as hell are losers.

Some believe luck or chance determines their destiny. These people think that fortunes, success, and the good life depend on the roll of the dice, on the spin of a wheel, or on a randomly selected number in a gamble.

Wishing is different from dreaming. Wishing is passive and inactive. Wishing is an idle pastime with no brains or effort behind it. But dreaming is backed up with an action plan to produce results. Anyone can wish. But a dreamer takes action on what he or she wants.

You can divide people you know into two categories: The winners and losers. Winners are active dreamers working to convert their dream into positive, tangible accomplishments. Losers are inactive faultfinders who believe the system is against them and luck or fate determines what will happen. Losers are cynical. Losers are pessimists. Losers are selfish—not my job; why should I help; nobody ever did anything for me. Losers want something for nothing.

Winners are people of good will. Winners are generous. Winners know “there’s no free lunch,” “Sacrifice means investing in the future.”

People who dream big think, “Regardless of how good or bad the situation is now, it will get even better. It always does. They bank on a great future.

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

Rethinking Processes


A reengineered business process looks vastly different from a traditional process. In order to meet the contemporary demands of quality, service, flexibility, and low cost, processes must be kept simple. Several jobs are combined into one. Many formerely distinct jobs are integrated and compressed into one. Traditional processes were intended to provide mass production for a mass market. All inputs were handled identically, so companies could produce uniform and consistent outputs. To meet the demands of the same process, each one is tuned to the requirements of different markets, situations and inputs. The new processes have the same economies of scale that result from mass production. My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir–Management Consultant–transforms organizations, makes them relevant, and suggests solutions for success. For details please contact Asif J. Mir