Market-Driven Management


Market-driven management is a cross functional effort involving all levels of the organization. Properly followed, it ensures all activities are coordinated to meet the specific needs of target customer groups. All R&D projects are focused on developing solutions to identified customer problems, manufacturing is committed to meeting cost targets, quality standards, and delivery cycles, and sales focused on identifying and interpreting customer problems and then selling them solutions. If someone ask the individual managers within any of these functional areas how they operate, they would most likely say, “just as you described.” It is unlikely, however, that their counterparts in other functional areas would agree, and even more unlikely that there would be a consensus among all managers at all levels. Achieving this market driven focus with fully agreed upon objectives and priorities in each functional area requires the complete support of everyone in the organization. Market-driven management is much easier said than done because it flies in the face of the attitudes and actions of most managers.

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.

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Service Quality and Employee Behavior


Customers’ perceptions of service quality will be impacted by the customer-oriented behaviors of employees. In fact, the five dimensions of service quality—reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles—can be influenced directly by service employees.

Delivering the service as promised—reliability—is often totally within the control of front-line employees. Even in the case of automated services—such as ATMs, automated ticketing machines, or self-serve and pay gasoline pumps—behind the scenes employees are critical for making sure all of the systems are working properly. When services fail or errors are made, employees are essential for setting things right and using their judgment to determine the best course of action for service recovery.

Front-line employees directly influence customer perceptions of responsiveness through their personal willingness to help and their promptness in serving customers. Consider the range of responses you receive from different retail store clerks when you need help finding a particular item of clothing. One employee may ignore your presence, whereas another offers to help you search and calls other stores to locate the item. One may help you immediately and efficiently, whereas another may move slowly in accommodating even the simplest request.

The assurance dimension of service quality is highly dependent on employees’ ability to communicate their credibility and to inspire trust and confidence. The reputation of the organization will help, but in the end, individual employees with whom the customer interacts confirm and build trust in the organization or detract from its reputation and ultimately destroy trust. For startup or relatively unknown organizations, credibility, trust, and confidence will be tied totally to employee actions.

It is difficult to imagine how an organization would deliver “caring, individualized attention” to customers independent of its employees. Empathy implies that employees will pay attention, listen, adapt, and be flexible in delivering what individual customers need. For example, research documents that when employees are customer-oriented, have good rapport with customers, and exhibit perceptive and attentive listening skills, customers will evaluate the service more highly and be more likely to return. Employee appearance and dress are important aspects of the tangibles dimension of quality, along with many other factors that are independent of service employees (the service facility, décor, brochures, signage, and so on).

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.

Evaluate


Evaluation is intimidating. Often, managers are too busy to keep up with what people are doing and how well they are doing. And when managers don’t know what their people are doing, they can’t  evaluate accurately. As a result, they feel unable to support their impressions or comments about performance—and so they avoid the task.

But when selection and direction are done properly, evaluation becomes a logical, easy-to-implement process. If you know what your people are supposed to do and have assigned each of them specific tasks, responsibilities, and objectives with deadlines, then you have criteria against which to measure that individual’s performance. In this situation, evaluation becomes a simple matter of determining whether or not a person has met those goals, and how well.

Mangers often assume that if they select good people and direct them in what is expected, things will get done. They’re right. Things will get done, but how well they will get done and how long they will take are uncertain. Evaluation lets you determine how well something was done and whether it was done on time. In a sense, evaluation is like a traffic cop. You can post all the speed limit signs in the world, but they will be ignored unless people know that infractions will be discovered and fined.

This sounds logical, but it’s surprising how many managers postpone evaluation again and again while they focus on more pressing but ultimately less important duties. When evaluation is postponed, deadlines also slip, because employees begin to feel that timeliness and quality are not important. When performance slips, more responsibilities shift to the manager—who thus has even less time to direct and evaluate employees.

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

Learning the Organization Culture


Every organization has its own unique culture. This culture includes longstanding, and often unwritten , rules and regulations; a special language that facilitates communication among members; shared standards of relevance as to the critical aspects of the work that is to be done; matter of fact prejudices; standards for social etiquette and demeanor; established customs for how members should relate to peers, employees, bosses, and outsiders; and other traditions that clarify what is appropriate and “smart” behavior within the organization and what is not. An employer who has been properly socialized to the organization’s culture, then, has learned how things are done, what matters, and which work-related behaviors and perspectives are acceptable and desirable and which ones are not. In most cases, this involves input from many individuals.

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

The Emotional


Unless you are more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, minding your own business will be emotionally taxing. The mental and physical energy you put into it will at times leave you quite spent. If you don’t know how to refuel and refresh properly you’ll find yourself constantly out of sorts, fuzzy-minded, and ripe for depression. Even when things are on track, if you’re the type who has a prosperity for “borrowing trouble” the mere responsibility of failure is enough to keep you skittish and in knots. Of course, when problems arise matters can become all the worse since the buck both starts and stops with you. If you have only yourself to kick for a problem and lack a healthy sense of self, you could end up abusing yourself. Needless to say, when things go away through no fault of your own, the frustration, if not properly handled, can be devastating. Moreover, until your business begins to pay off you will be susceptible to bouts of doubt and second-guessing that can be debilitating.

 If after having counted all the costs you’re still undaunted about starting a business either immediately or in the near future, then it’s time to get all your ideas and expectations down in black and white by drawing up a comprehensive business plan.

 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

Cost-effective Promtions


Promotions form an integral part of any marketing strategy and, if properly structured, cost very little to implement. Some expense is usually involved, since it’s hard to implement a sales promotion without advertising it. One drawback to many sales promotions is that managing them takes a fair amount of time, and in businesses with very few employees, that time just isn’t available.

 Before spending money to advertise a sales operation, try to visualize how the mechanics will work and that benefits can be expected. It is all too easy to begin a sales promotion without giving any thought to who will manage it. As with every business activity, someone must be in charge. Someone must have the responsibility for putting all the pieces together and making sure that the promotion gets implemented as planned. And someone must be accountable for the problems and miscalculations that always come up.

 In larger companies, sales managers can be assigned the task of managing promotions; however, the smaller the company, the greater the probability that the owner must take the responsibility for:

  • Being on the premises to greet customers, if that’s part of the promotion
  • Coordinating and following up to make sure deliveries are made on time, if that’s part of the program
  • Personally handling any barter arrangements or questions that arise from customers

 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

Writing a Resume Letter


The Resume Letter is not a true cover letter—that is, a letter of transmittal for your employment resume. Instead, it is intended to replace the resume and to convey sufficient information about your background to create employer interest in interviewing you.

In general, it is usually a poor substitute for the resume itself, and thus can frequently do the job seeker a great injustice if not properly designed. Specifically, if it is poorly planned and written, it does not provide sufficient information (when compared to the resume) for the employer to make a reasonable assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and for deciding whether to grant an interview. Additionally, it may frustrate the prospective employer by not providing sufficient detail, suggesting that the applicant is simply too lazy to prepare a proper summary of qualifications. Neither of these reactions will serve your cause very well.

It appears that the most frequent use of the resume letter is by top level corporate executives who wish simply to convey their availability and conduct a very cursory search of the job market. Generally, such letters are directed at the highest level of the target organization and are intended to convey availability and general interest in discussing appropriate opportunities. The typical logic supporting such letters is that the applicant’s current position and employer “speak for themselves,” and thus there is little need for a detailed resume.

Although this can be true, it is not typically the case. Obviously, if the individual is a top corporate or division-level officer of a Fortune 200 company, use of a resume letter may be sufficient. Sufficient is to say, however, that if the applicant is the Chief Financial Officer of a little known company, the resume letter will not have quite the same effect, and its use may seem somewhat presumptuous (if used in a place of a formal resume). In such a case, a full resume and a conventional cover letter is recommended.

The use of the resume letter by lesser known top executives, middle managers, and professionals is not recommended. Since employer’s name and position title convey little information to the reader in such cases, much more needs to be written to convey the same understanding about the author’s background and responsibilities. The damage here, of course, is that the letter will become unwieldy and will therefore not be read by its recipient.

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

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