Top Management Attitudes


Whether employees behave ethically depends largely on the actions and attitudes of top management. For instance, if a code of ethics tells employees that bribing overseas clients is against company, but management looks  the other way when bribes are successful in winning large contracts, the code is likely to be taken seriously. Also, companies must not encourage unethical behavior by setting unrealistic goals that can be met only by cutting ethical corners, and they must not condone cheating to help the company.

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.

Thinking about Processes


Many people don’t really think about the process they use, but why process planning is important:

  • You want to make products that satisfy customer demand;
  • The products must, in some way, be better than competitors;
  • The process makes the products;
  • To make better products you need a better process.

You can make most products by a number of different processes. If you make tables, you can use craftspeople to build them carefully by hand; you can buy parts and use semi-skilled people to assemble them; you can use automatic equipment on an assembly line; or you can mould complete tables from plastic. Each process gives a product with different characteristics. Process planning designs the best process for delivering any particular product.

It’s especially important to design the process for services, as you can’t really draw a line between the product and the process used to make it. How, for example, can you separate the service given by a bank, theatre or taxi from process used to deliver it?

There’s a huge variety of processes. It is easy to design a process for baking a cake; but if you want to bake 100 cakes for a garden party you will use a different process; and if you want to bake a million cakes every week, the best process is different again. Unfortunately, many managers don’t take their processes seriously, and can hardly describe them in coherent terms.

You can start thinking seriously about your processes by recognizing them and describing the details of each. Make everyone in the organization aware of the processes and their importance. Then you can see how well the processes are working and look for improvements. Your processes are at the heart of your organization, and you really should give them the attention they deserve. Emphasize your processes, which consist of all the operations needed to make your products.

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

Business writing


All organizations need people who can write well. In a world which depends so much on information and technology, organizations need people who can present information and ideas clearly. When you are on this job, you’re no longer writing for a teacher but for a living.

 

A written message …

  • Gives you time to think about, organize, and edit what you want to say.
  • Communicates a specific message that doesn’t wander like a phone conversation or informal dialogue.
  • Provides both the sender and the receiver with the copy of important details—why the message was sent and what action should be taken. The result: official record.
  • Generally carries more weight—is taken more seriously—than the spoken word.
  • Can be sent to many people conveniently.

 

All business writing—no matter if you are writing a letter, a resume, or a memo—share the following characteristics:

Starting Point: Business writing begins when you have a need to make contact with another person to conduct some form of commerce.

Purpose: The purpose is to discuss, announce, clarify, or confirm a specific business-related matter. On another level, the purpose is to begin or continue some action pertaining to the matter.

Form: In business writing, it’s important to follow the basic standards of form and style. People in the workplace don’t have time for surprises. They want letters and memos to be presented in recognizable formats so they are easy to follow. Writing in the business world is a highly structured and functional form of communication.

Audience: In most cases, you are speaking to one specific individuals (or groups) about one particular form of business. Always provide your audience with the necessary information to act upon your request, concern, or announcement.

Voice: Speak clearly, concisely, and courteously in business writing. Think of your writing as one part of a direct and sincere conversation with your reader.

Point of view:  Use the first person (1) point of view in person-to-person communication and the third person in most general messages and memos.

 

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

Public-private partnership


In this era of modernization in many aspects of public administration, most developing countries continue to follow century-old concepts and structures. They seriously need structural adjustment thereby launching legislative and administrative reforms, which stress a reconsideration of the role of the public administration in the conditions of democratization and market-economy. A greater emphasis needs to be placed on effectiveness of the public administration. The practice and legislation of such countries should affect patterns of the role of public sector and influence fundamental features of the system of governance. A common goal should be to introduce a more contractual, participative, discretionary style of relationship: between different levels and agencies in administrative apparatus; between the decision-making authorities and operating units; and between administrative agencies and producing units, public or private.

A major reform objective in public sector management should be to increase, within the framework of democratic accountability, cost effectiveness in the public provision of goods and services. Both citizens and public administration accept the need for improved quality in the public sector.

They need to hold high the aim of structuring an effective mechanism for achieving policy objectives, determined at central, provincial and local levels for increasing efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in providing public services.

The legality and the efficiency of providing such public services are of great concern. Local authorities are empowered to do something that is intended to assist the carrying out any role.

Outsourcing is a way of contracting out one or more functions to specialist companies. This allows the public entity to concentrate on its core activities. There are three primary reasons for the public administration to outsource. The first is to achieve cost-effective provision of services. The second is to provide a choice for the citizens of producing and supplying public services of different qualities and kinds. The third is simply because there is no alternative due to a lack of staff with the requisite skills; need of relaxing the administrative burden, which somebody other could deal with even better and concentrating the attention on the core administrative matters; short deadlines for implementation. This last reason for outsourcing is to meet the needs, which exceed the capability of the public administration staff, because of a shortage of either staff or skills, or which give added flexibility to the administrative organization.

Thus, the outsourcing can be seen as a process through which relationships are managed and adjusted according to arrangements specified and conditions planned by the administrative authority in the contract documentation. The focus here is not on the legal issues of the contract rather than on the quality of contracting as a mechanism for achieving policy objectives determined at all levels of government for increasing efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. From this perspective the outsourcing by public administration can be considered as a joint commitment to partnership between public and private sector operating as a co-operative device for providing public goods and services.

The trend towards greater satisfaction of public needs and consumer empowerment underlies the role of outsourcing by public administration. The outsourcing is encouraged to secure higher quality of public works and services, whereby contracting managers are located closer to the consumer and so are better able to respond to their needs in actual delivery. The role of consumers and end-clients with respect to outsourcing can thus be increased. The strategies of improving responsiveness through outsourcing on the one hand, and hierarchical distribution of the administrative functions on the other, can be combined in a successful model of public service delivery. The administrative authorities – at federal, provincial and local levels – might participate in the specification of services and in the determination of contractual standards and terms of agreement.

As part of administrative reform outsourcing by public administration should be a high priority. The corresponding legislation should be based on three main principles—transparency, non-discrimination involving open selection criteria and open standards, specifications and standards regulated by law; and open competition.

The framework agreements are significant for ensuring the execution of the administrative power intent of the outsourced functions. The federal, provincial or local governments can use outsourcing as a tool for providing public services when carrying out their functions. They use outsourcing to get public results, which should be achieved when the governments exercise their administrative powers.

The outsourcing in some way can replace the direct administrative action. Such outsourcing has the compulsory nature same as this of the executive action which it replaces. The administration can use administrative or seek lawmaking authority to bring about the result it desires, if it is nonetheless outsourcing. A realistic view is that the process of deciding to outsource as well as the very process of outsourcing is a valid exercise of administrative power. The offered and agreed terms of the contract are also exercising of the administrative power. Once the contract signed, however, the particular relationships issued by outsourcing are moved under the regulations of the private law.

The government functioning can be improved by redefining its role: Policy-making instead of operative decision-making. It should stimulate tools for establishment of working, efficient, rational and fair practice, design of efficient allocation of financial and administrative wherewithal; transparency and control. The government must also realize that developing a training strategy for skills and incentives is badly needed.

The overall proportion of outsourcing in the field of public administration is generally expected to growing. Demand will increase for a variety of reasons.

Successful outsourcing, however, presupposes the existence of an efficient market. In

Pakistan the market for some categories of public goods and services is deficient of professionalism, integrity, and fair play. Such situation is creating conditions for corruption.

From another side, outsourcing itself contributes to developing the market.

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

Why we fail?


The results we intended occur, and we label the result a success. Failure, on the other hand, denotes an undesired outcome. The results we were looking for didn’t come through. To replace failure with success, we need to understand the way that different actions yield different results. In a sense, it’s simple as discarding actions and underlying thought patterns that lead to undesired results and replacing them with deeds and thoughts that lead to the right outcome. Of course, in practice, it’s much easier to say than to do.

Actions result from patterns of thought, and these patterns often form in order to justify the actions that are expected of us. In other words, it’s a cycle. The need for certain action dictates the development of a way of thinking, and that way of thinking leads to the desired actions. Now, if the results of those actions become undesirable, then it follows that you need to change the thought patterns.

Do people really tailor their thinking to accommodate their actions? In some ways this process can be very detrimental; for example, when we alter our beliefs so we can get away with doing things we were brought up to believe are wrong. Yes, our beliefs are fashioned by society, by our environment and culture, but anyone who denies that an individual can radically change his or her way of thinking is seriously underestimating the power we can exercise over our minds.

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

Synergizing Training Strategy with Corporate Strategy


The primary objective of synergy is that employees acquire all the skills and knowledge they need, but only what they need. What do they really need? Whatever is essential to formulate and fulfill a successful corporate strategy? Certain skills and knowledge are needed to determine what products and services the company should produce, and what kinds of technology should be used to produce them; other skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply new technologies most profitably.

Those who determine corporate strategy must calculate whether the organization is capable of acquiring strategically necessary skills and knowledge on schedule. In learning companies, therefore, a senior officer in charge of training takes part in formulating strategy. That individual can also advise whether a more ambitious strategy would be feasible from the standpoint of training, and can help subsequently to communicate the strategy to all parts of the organization.

Communication of the strategy is vital. Trainees and their supervisors take training seriously only when they believe it will further the company’s prosperity and their own. If they do not understand the skill and learning requirements of the corporate strategy, they cannot make valid decisions on how to achieve strategic goals.

Ultimately, it is the chief executive’s responsibility to see that the training requirements of corporate strategy are met. The key points to be monitored are program priorities, program objectives, and program outcomes.

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

Plagiarism and Copyright Violation


Plagiarism and copyright violation are complicated issues, especially in modern technical writing.

Plagiarism is the practice of using someone else’s words or ideas without crediting the source. Many organizations treat authorship of internal documents, such as memos and most reports, casually; that is, if the organization asks you to update an internal procedures manual, it expects you to use any material from the existing manual, even if you cannot determine the original author.

Organizations tend to treat the authorship of published documents, such as external manuals or journal articles, more seriously. Although the authors of some kinds of published technical documents are not listed, many documents such as user’s guides do acknowledge their authors. However, what constitutes authorship can be a complicated question, because most large technical documents are produced collaboratively, with several persons contributing text, another doing the graphics, still another reviewing for technical accuracy, and finally someone reviewing for legal concerns. Problems are compounded when a document goes into revision, and parts of original text or graphics are combined with new material.

The best way to determine authorship is to discuss it openly with everyone who contributed to the document. Some persons might deserve to be listed as authors; others, only credited in an acknowledgment section. To prevent changes of plagiarism, the wisest course is to be very conservative: if there is any question about whether to cite a source, cite it.

A related problem involves copyright violation. Copyright law provides legal protection to the author of any document, whether it be published or unpublished, and whether the author be an individual or a corporation. Unfortunately, some companies will take whole sections of another company’s product information or manual, make cosmetic changes, and publish it themselves. This, of course is stealing.

But the difference between stealing and learning from your competitors can be subtle. Words are protected by copyright, but ideas aren’t. Rare is the manufacturer who doesn’t study the competitor’s users’ guides to see how a feature or task is described. Inevitably, a good idea spreads from one document to another, and then to another. If one manual contains a particularly useful kind of troubleshooting guide, pretty soon a lot of others will contain similar ones. Even though this process of imitation tends to produce a dull uniformity, it can improve the overall quality of the document. Under no circumstances, however, should you violate copyright by using another organization’s words.

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