Personality Structures


Comparing individual differences to a jigsaw puzzle leaves an important question unanswered: What is the source of the pieces and their interrelationships? In other words, how are personalities structured? Although we do not have all the answers, the prevailing theories suggest that personality structure can be understood from the standpoint of three elements: determinants, stages, and traits.

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.

Inter-Cultural Communication


Companies face special challenges when they market their products and services to people in other countries and to people in their home countries who come from other cultures:

  • Companies have to make their communications understandable and clear to their target audiences. The company that does not modify its information risks offending its audience and losing the opportunity to do business.
  • Companies are ethically obligated not to reinforce patterns of discrimination in product information.
  • Companies are not obligated to challenge the prevailing prejudice directly. Organizations that actively oppose discrimination are acting admirably.

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.

Consumer Sovereignty


Mainstream economics uses some simple starting points; it believes that they are the best possible. First is that agents have more wants than they can attain, so that they feel scarcity; in fact, for practical purposes, wants are assumed to be endless. Second, third and fourth are that agents are self-interested, rational, and the best judges of their own well-being. These four assumptions are indeed usually good starting points, rather than starting by assuming that agents are completely fulfilled, altruistic, irrational, and not well-placed to evaluate their own situation. They are not equally good as finishing points. Sometimes good arguments exist for not accepting them.

An assumption that agents are the best judges of their own well being is less questionable for businesspeople and corporations, given the resources they have for analysis. Debate focuses more on consumers. The phrase consumer sovereignty is sometimes read descriptively, to mean that consumers are sovereign, in that procedures are induced via profit-seeking and competition  to provide what consumers want. Sometimes it is read normatively, to mean that consumers should be sovereign, their wishes should prevail concerning what is good for them. The normative claim can rest on three different bases: that consumers do make good choices; that the alternative stance is worse – to use someone else’s judgments and estimates of what is good for a person and how good it is; or quite differently, that people have the right to make their own choices and mistakes.

Consumers will not make good choices automatically and unconditionally. Our wants are not simple; for example, some are wants to not to have other wants (such as the desire to smoke or a compulsion to gamble). Establishing a mature balance between wants involves skills. Choice is also unlikely to bring satisfaction if taken on the basis of weak information. Markets often do not provide consumers with full and reliable information, for it is hard to exclude people from information and therefore to ensure payment for it, so its market supply is weakened. Instead, in a commerce-dominated society, one of the main types of information that adults get will be images that say the good life is obtained through high consumption of commodities; there is too little counteracting public information.

The issue of consumer sovereignty goes beyond whether choices are good for the chooser. Other people are affected. Some wants may thus be unacceptable, notably wants that bring harm to others, including even wants to harm others. Mainstream economists have unfortunately often taken a don’t-want-to-know approach to ethics in which they confuse acceptance of all wants with a value-neutral stance.

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.

Needs of 21st Century Organization


No one in his right mind wants to go back to the days of hunting and gathering. But it would be tremendously valuable if we could recapture that ability to work together with even a fraction of that efficiency to deal better with modern problem situations. Now, through contrivance and planning, we can recapture that ability and channel it to meet the needs of 21st century organization.

This is not to say that the organizational team will somehow represent a 21st century hunting group around with ballpoint pens instead of bows and arrows. Hunters’ ways of thinking were totally aligned, and their lives were totally aligned. What is required today is not total teamwork in all aspects of life; rather, it is selective, functional teamwork that can be turned on when needed, limited to those activities where it will be most productive. What is required is teamwork that can be summoned to handle organizational problems yet leave team members free to act as individuals in all other respects.

An approach is needed that can be invoked and shared when we need answers to specific questions, regardless of content that applies orderliness to complexity and confusion.

This kinds of accurate communication and common understanding is needed that prevail in the hunting bands. These must be modernized, selectively adapted to current conditions, and directed towards the critical functions of organizational activity where teamwork is most essential. All of this can be done.

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.

Benefits of Quality Function Deployment


Focus on Customer

  • Focus mainly on customer needs and wants.
  • Compare their product with competitors.
  • Prioritize according to customer’s level of importance.
  • Identify the vital item to be acted upon.

Time Saving

  • Enables to change the design in the starting itself.
  • Limits the problems after introduction of the product.
  • Gives opportunities for future applications.
  • Reduce the time for redesigning since all changes are made in first step itself.

Encourages teamwork

  • Based on everyone’ ideas
  • Creates communication at interfaces.
  • Team members are recognized.

Success depends on:

  • Quality consciousness of each member.
  • Prevailing team spirit.
  • Correctness of customer requirements.
  • Knowledge of members on management tools.
  • Knowledge of members on process details.

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.

Shedding Light on Quality Awareness


An organization will not begin the transformation until it is aware that the quality of the product or service must be improved. Awareness comes about when an organization loses market share or realizes that quality and productivity go hand in hand. It also occurs if TQM is mandated by the customer or if management realizes that TQM is a better way to run business and compete in domestic and world markets.

Automation or other productivity enhancements might not help a corporation if it is unable to market its product or service because the quality is poor. The Japanese learned this fact from practical experience. They could sell their products only at ridiculously low prices, and even then it was difficult to secure repeat sales. Until recently, corporations have not recognized the importance of quality. However, a new attitude has emerged—quality first among the equals of cost and service—the customer wants value.

Quality and productivity are not mutually exclusive. Improvements in quality can lead directly to increased productivity and other benefits. The improved quality results in improvement in productivity, capacity, and profit. Many quality improvement projects are achieved with the same workforce, same overhead, and no investment in new equipment.

More and more corporations are recognizing the importance and necessity of quality improvement if they are to survive domestic and world-wide competition. Quality improvement is not limited to the conformance of the product or service to specifications; it also involves the inherent quality in the design of the system. The prevention of the product, service, and process problems is a more desirable objective than taking corrective action after the product is manufactured or a service rendered.

TQM does not occur overnight; there are no quick remedies. It takes a long time to build the appropriate emphasis and techniques into the culture. Over-emphasis on short term results and profits must be set aside so long-term planning and constancy of purpose will prevail.

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.

Distinctive Capabilities


A close examination of a market-driven firm will reveal two particularly important capabilities: market sensing and customer linking. First, the market-sensing capability concerns how well the organization is equipped to continuously sense changes in its markets and to anticipate customer responses to marketing programs. Market-driven firms spot market changes and react well in advance of their compititors. Second, the customer-linking capability comprises the particular skills, abilities, and processes that an organization has developed to create and manage close customer relationships.

Customer-goods firms demonstrate these capabilities in working with powerful retailers, multifunctional teams in both organizations work together by sharing delivery and product movement information and by jointly planning promotional activity and product changing. While evident in manufacturer-reseller relations in the consumer-goods market, strong customer-linking capabilities are crucial in the business market where close buyer-seller relationships prevail.

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

Development and Corporate Objectives


Development activities ought to reflect the situation and circumstances of a company, its business objectives and its key priorities. For example, there is little point in a company building hypothetical team skills without addressing the following:

  • The purpose of the team. For example, a bid team might require specific bidding skills such as defining value in customer terms.
  • Where team members are located. People in virtual teams may be widely scattered and they may need special training.
  • The role of groups and teams in the management of change, the management culture and management style must be supportive.
  • The clarity of the goals given to teams, and the relevance of their priorities to business objectives. People need to understand the broad boundaries within which they operate in terms of goals and priorities.
  • The discretion given to teams, and the extent to which people are given the required freedom to act.
  • The commitment of senior management to team work, and especially cross-functional and inter-organizational team work. They must be dedicated to ensuring that decisions are taken as close to the customer as possible, and people are enabled to do what is necessary to add value for customers.
  • Prevailing attitudes, such as the extent to which people feel part of teams. Empowered team work should be pervasive, rather than the isolated experiment.
  • The management cadre. Managers should counsel and coach, value diversity, and foster and encourage teamwork, collaborative activities, self-development and group learning.
  • How open people are, and the degree of trust and confidence they have. People need to feel they are able to take initiatives without being paralyzed by fear of the consequences.
  • Existing performance within teams, the tools shared within teams, and the approaches and support in terms of technology and process available to them. For example, there should be relatively open access to relevant information.
  • Rewards and performance management. This should be supportive of, and should recognize, team work, the acquisition of team skills and the exhibiting of role-model behavior.

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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