The Swivel-Chair Potato


Like the television addict, the full-time computer operator runs a significant risk of turning into a swivel-chair potato. With the loss of time perspective, it becomes all too easy to neglect physical exercise. This can lead to poor cardiovascular tone, varicose veins, obesity, constipation, hemorrhoids, and back-ache, as well as, decreased mental alertness. As important as the furnishing surrounding the computer terminal are the time and space for a little office exercise.

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.

Leader as Teacher


Leader as teacher does not mean leader as authoritarian expert whose job it is to teach people the ‘correct’ view of reality. Rather, it is about helping everyone in the organization, oneself included, to gain more insightful views of current reality. This is in line with a popular emerging view of leaders as coaches, guides, or facilitators. In learning organizations, this teaching role is developed further by virtue of explicit attention to people’s mental models and by the influence of the systems perspective.

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.

Purchase Decision Process


The act of buying is a significant part of everyone’s life. It is such a routine activity that we rarely consider in detail the mental process involved in product purchases. Just what are the steps in the purchase decision? Buyers usually pass through five stage process when they buy a good or service:

  1. Stage 1: Problem Recognition. The buyer recognizes a need, desire, or problem. The marketer tries to determine which needs, desires, or problems stimulate the buyer to begin the purchase process.
  2. Stage 2: Information Search. The buyer collects information about purchase alternatives. The successful marketer knows the sources of buyer information and their relative importance to the buyer.
  3. Stage 3: Alternative Evaluation. The buyer evaluates purchase alternatives in light of various criteria. Since these criteria may differ in each purchase decision, the marketer determines which criteria are appropriate to that decision.
  4. Step 4: Purchase Decision. The buyer selects a product from among the purchase alternatives. Up to this point, the marketer has done as much as possible to influence the buyer to buy his or her product.
  5. Stage 5: Outcome. The buyer experiences some degree of satisfaction with the purchase decision. Knowledge of this satisfaction is crucial to the marketer.

Only when this decision process is understood can an effective marketing program developed. This analysis of the decision process in five distinct stages draws attention to the fact that the buying process begins before the purchase decision is made.

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.

 

The Adoption Process


The adoption process consists of the mental stages an individual goes through in accepting and becoming a repeat purchaser of an innovation. Marketing communicators play a role in accelerating the rate of new product adoption and thereby increasing the probability of product success. As firms have become more sophisticated marketers, the rate of adoption in consumer markets has increased.

Although consumers are accepting new products more readily than ever, there is still a high percentage of failure in the introduction of new products. Understanding the factors that facilitate or impede successful adoption is crucial to a full appreciation of the role of marketing communications and promotion management in modern marketing.

The adoption process consists of five stages: 1) knowledge, 2) persuasion, 3) decision, 4) implementation, and 5) confirmation. Each stage is necessary precondition to a subsequent stage. Various conditions and characteristics act to increase or retard the innovation-decision process. Among the broad groups of variables that influence the various stages are prior conditions (e.g., the consumer’s previous consumption practices), characteristics of the decision-making unit (e.g., socio-economic characteristics), and perceived characteristics of the innovation (e.g., relative advantages).

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.

View from the Top


Consider the chief executive’s perspective. When a CEO looks at the company, several features stand out most sharply. These are the traditional components of corporate structure: divisions, functional departments, strategic business units, and subsidiaries. They are the activities over which the chief executive has responsibility. They form the mental model the top leadership has of the business. Most companies take these components for granted as their basic subunits.

Unfortunately, these components cloud more than clarify the perspective most essential to the intelligent resizing of a company’s work.

When changes are made in a company’s strategy, or when changes outside its control make readjustment or retrenchment necessary, the lines and boxes on the company’s organization chart are also frequently shifted. These moves usually seem to make good sense at the time—from just following function, after all—but as the retrospective research indicates, moving the boxes and redrawing the lines do not always pay off.

This happens because, frequently, the wrong question is being asked. The search is usually for the “best” organizational configuration: flat, functional, divisional, matrix, or some hybrid. This issue, which eventually does need to be addressed, is premature if it is the first thing that comes to mind when considering the company as a whole. It diverts attention from careful consideration of the “functionality” that the “form” is being adapted to. It also makes the company susceptible to the management fad of the moment, so that a means because the goal: how can we flatten our structure, use cross-departmental teams, or become an information-based organization? These are all potentially useful tactics, but for what end?

This type of organization, driven from the top down, is one that deals with the structures for doing things, rather than the things that need doing. Its view of the boxes on the organization chart too often goes no deeper than the head count the boxes contain. This perspective is troublesome and can be misleading, but even more dangerous is the viewpoint provided by some contemporary forms of strategic planning.

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.

The Managerial Logic and Innovation


The first factor that impacts a firm’s ability to recognize the potential of an innovation is the firm’s dominant managerial logic. Each manager brings to each management problem a set of biases, beliefs, and assumptions about the market that his or her firm serves, whom to hire, what technology to use to compete in the market, who the firm’s competitors are, and how to conduct business. The set of biases, assumptions, and beliefs is a manager’s managerial logic. It defines the frame within which a manager is likely to scan for information and approach problem solving. It is the mental model that a manager brings to any innovation circumstance. Depending on a firm’s strategies, systems, technology, organizational structure, culture, and how successful it has been, there usually emerges a dominant logic, a common way of viewing how best to do business as a manager in the firm.

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.

The New Work of Leaders


Our traditional view of leaders—as special people who set the direction, make key decisions, and energize the troops—is deeply rooted in an individualistic and nonsystematic worldview. Especially in the West, leaders are heroes—great men (and occasionally women) who rise to the fore in times of crisis. So long as such myths prevail, they reinforce a focus on short-term events and charismatic heroes rather than on systematic forces and collective learning.

Leadership in learning organizations centers on subtler and ultimately more important work. In a learning organization, leaders’ roles differ dramatically from that of the charismatic decision-maker. Leaders are designers, teachers, and stewards. These roles require new skills: the ability to build shared vision, to bring to the surface and challenge prevailing mental models, and to foster more systematic patterns of thinking. Leaders are responsible for building organizations where people are continually expanding their capabilities to shape their future—that is, leaders are responsible for learning.

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.

Mental Models


Mental Models are the deeply held images of how the world works; we all carry mental models. They guide our thinking and action in familiar ways. In order to change, we need to change our mental models. We can’t change these models unless we understand what they are. Surfacing, testing and improving our internal pictures of how the world works is an important aspect of learning and change.

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.

Drive


A person’s drive is not changeable. What drives him is decided by his mental filter, by the relative strength or weakness of the highways in his mind. His drives are, in fact, his striving talents.

Take the striving talent of competitiveness as an example. Some people have a four-lane highway for competition. Show them scores and they will instinctively try to use these scores to compare their performance with that of their peers. They love scores, because what you can measure you can compare, and if you can compare, you can compete.

However, people with a wasteland for competition will see the same scores and not feel any jolt of energy at all. Putting themselves on a level playing field, putting their best efforts against their peers, and winning means nothing to them. They rationalize their behavior by opining, “I don’t like competition; I prefer win-win scenarios,” or the classic, “I prefer to compete with myself.” But these comments are just signs that their filter is, understandably, trying to describe itself in the most positive light.

The truth is that they are not competitive. There is nothing good or bad about this. It is simply who they are. And there is not much that either they or you, their manager, can do about it.

Similarly some people have a four-lane highway for constant achievement, a striving talent we call achiever. They may not have to win, but they do feel a burning need to achieve something tangible every single day. And these kind of people mean, “every single day.” For them every day—workday, weekend, vacation—everyday starts at zero. They have to rack up some numbers by the end of the day in order to feel good about themselves. This burning flame may dwindle as evening comes, but the next morning it rekindles itself, spurring its host to look for new items to cross off his list. These people are the fabled “self-starters.”

Not all roles require employees to possess this striving talent of achiever. Nurses, for example, do not have to generate all of their drive from within. Instead they have to respond caringly and efficiently to the urgent needs that face them everyday—for nurses the altruistic striving talent mission is much more important than achiever. But if you manage roles that do require achiever—like an insurance agent, a pharmaceutical salesperson, or any role where the person must initiate rather than respond—then remember; You had better select for it. Because if a person does not feel this burning fire, you cannot light it for him.

The same applies to all striving talents: the need to be of service, the need to be on stage, the need to be seen as competent, the need to help others grow. All of these drives are talents, and therefore they have the same characteristics as other talents. Namely, they are part of each person’s mental filter. They are unique and enduring.

A manager can never breathe motivational life into someone else. All she can do is try to identify each employee’s striving four-lane highways and then, as far as is possible, cultivte them.

When describing human behavior, stick to the clarity of skills, knowledge, and talents. Tread carefully when using habits or competencies—they lump too much together rather haphazardly. Likewise, if you feel a need to use attitude or drive, be cautious. Remember that a person’s drive and his prevailing attitudes are talents, and as such, they are very hard to change. When you hear yourself berating the person to “get a better attitude,” watch out. You might be asking him to tackle the impossible.

None of this implies that a person cannot change. Everyone can change. Everyone can learn. Everyone can get a little better. The language of skills, knowledge, and talents simply helps a manager identify where radical change is possible and where it is not.

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

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