Personal Letters


Not direct mailings of large quantities of letters and brochures, but simple, personal letters is one of the most effective, easy, inexpensive, and overlooked methods of marketing. Certainly the large corporations don’t consider using this type of communication, because it doesn’t reach enough people to enrich their coffers. But it’s just the ticket for many an individual businessperson. If you can write clear English, spell properly, and keep your message short enough, you ought to be able to develop enough business through this mode of marketing so that you need employ many other methods. Even if you’re a dismal grammarian, professional typists can usually help put your ideas into acceptable form on the printed page.

The primary value of a personal letter is that it enables you to convey a truly personal feeling and reach a special place in the mind of the reader. You can say specific things in personal letters that are just not practical in any other medium except for certain kinds of telephone marketing.

In a personal letter you can, should, and must include as much personal data as possible. Mention the person’s name, of course. But also  mention things about the person’s life, business, car, home, or—if you ‘re in the gardening business—the person’s garden. By doing so, you will be whispering into someone’s ear rather than shouting through a distant megaphone. Naturally, you can mention personal things unless you know them. So do your homework and learn about your prospective customers: their working and living habits, their hopes and goals, their problems. You can get much of this information from your chamber of commerce. You can get more by conducting your own informal research with the aid of a simple questionnaire, or by personal observation. Include in your letter these feelings, and you will be dazzled at the effect the letter has.

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.

 

Simple Language, Smart Thinking


If you know the difference between skills, knowledge, and talents, you can use these terms to throw light on all the other words used to describe human behavior—words like “competencies,” “habits,” “attitude,” and “drive.” At present many of us assume that they all mean virtually the same thing. We use phrases like “inter-personal skills,” “skill set,” “work habits,” or “core competencies” so naturally that we rarely question their true meaning.

This isn’t just careless language. It’s careless thinking, it leads managers astray. It leads them to waste precious time, effort, and  money trying, with the best of intentions, to train characteristics that are fundamentally untrainable.

So let’s look more closely at competencies, habits, attitude, and drive. Which of these are skills, or knowledge, and therefore can be changed in a person? And which are talents and therefore cannot?

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

Vision and Decision


This phase is really a process of moving from awareness to commitment, especially among the key managers who must prepare to drive the rest of the organization. The aim here is to convince key people that a great opportunity—or looming problems—lies ahead and that radical thinking around a new paradigm is necessary to make real progress. All the work a company does during this phase—reckoning where it stands competitively on time-based performance, building a vision, and deciding how to proceed—is preparation for the big moves to follow. Some changes in how the company works occur naturally in this phase—good analysis always produces some early obvious action steps. But the real purpose of this phase is to build commitment to a new way of looking at the competitive game and how the managers must play it.

 

Reckoning where the company stands includes looking hard at its own current performance and direction in relation to what the best companies are doing and what the near future will surely bring. So the process has both an internal and an external analytic component. The internal part involves putting together moving pictures of how the company actually works in time—how it processes information, manages projects, moves materials, engages customers, and so on, and how all this is influenced by the firm’s briefs, practices, policies, and systems. The external part involves describing what customers what now and how they would be served ideally, and pacing together moving pictures of how the best time-based competitors operate. Together these two parts allow management to self-discover in concrete fashion the new time-based paradigm and the capabilities the company must build to gain control of it.

 

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

How good managers find talent?


Even if you know how to select for talent, it is not always easy to identify those who have it. At the first place, many people don’t know what their true talents are. They may be experts in their chosen field, but when it comes to listing their unique set of talents, they are stumped.

 

Your own skills and knowledge are already easy to identify. You had to inquire them, and therefore they are apart, distinct. They are “not You.” But your talents? Your talents are simply your recurring patterns of behavior. They are your very essence. It takes a rare objectivity to be able to stand back from yourself and pick out the unique patterns that make you You.

 

Then, when someone applies for a job, he naturally wants to impress. Therefore, those few recurring behaviors of which he is aware will be painted in as rosy a hue as possible. In the job interview he labels himself assertive, not aggressive. He describes himself as ambitious rather than pushy. More often than not these are not deliberate misrepresentations. They are genuine attempts to describe himself to you positively. But whatever his true motivations, his instinct to try to impress you makes your job—the talent scout—that much more difficult.

 

These barriers to talent scouting are a fact of life. Human nature being what it is, people will always struggle to know themselves, and they will always sell themselves in job interviews. Despite these barriers, good managers still do much better than their colleagues at selecting people with the right talents for the role. They have discovered some simple techniques to cut through the barriers and so find the match between the person and the 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