Leadership and Symbols


Person-centered leadership is about helping people get real at work. What you do does not usually have to be right the first time, but it always has to be real. When you remove posturing, pretension, and false communication, people are free to be themselves—to use their good ideas and energies to give themselves and their organization a lift.

The leadership is responsible for the atmosphere and morale in any organization. Executives and managers are not responsible for knowing the solutions to all the organization’s problems. That’s what the experts are for—and the experts are always the people who actually do the job for you on a daily basis. The most effective leaders are not the ones who know how to give good orders. Most effective leaders know that good communication is a two-way street and they are skillful at using symbols to convey truth. Every leader needs a metaphor that defines his leadership style.

The door is just a symbol of commitment to person-centered attitudes and actions. Symbols are exquisitely important, but they have to be your own symbols—a genuine extension of yourself. Just like all other aspects of this approach, the leadership symbols you choose have to be real

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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What Strategic Planning is not?


Clearly, strategic planning is no panacea. Strategic planning is simply a set of concepts, procedures, and tools designed to help leaders, managers, and planners think and act strategically. Used in wise and skillful ways by a “coalition of the willing,” strategic planning can help organizations focus on producing effective decisions and actions that further the organization’s mission, meet in mandates, and satisfy key stakeholders. But strategic planning is not a substitute for strategic thinking and acting. Only caring and committed people can do that. And when used thoughtlessly, strategic planning can actually drive out precisely the kind of strategic thought and action it is supposed to promote.

Furthermore, strategic planning is not a substitute for leadership. There is simply no substitute for leadership when it comes to using strategic planning to enhance organizational performance. At least some key decision makers and process champions must be committed to the strategic planning process, or any attempts to use it are bound to fail.

In addition, strategic planning is not synonymous with creating an organizational strategy. Organizational strategies have numerous sources, both planned and unplanned. Strategic planning is likely to result in statement of organizational intentions, but what is realized in practice will be some combination of what is intended and what emerges along the way. Strategic planning can help organizations develop and implement effective strategies, but they should also remain open to unforeseen opportunities. Too much attention to strategic planning and excessive reverence for strategic plans can build organizations to other unplanned and unexpected—yet incredibly useful—sources of information, insight, and action.

The discipline necessary for strategic planning can be of two sorts. The first harkens back to Latin root of the word “discipline,” emphasizing instruction, training, education, and learning. The second embodies later interpretations of the word, emphasizing order, control, and punishment. Emphasis should be placed on education and learning, although there clearly are occasions when imposing order, taking control, and enforcing appropriate sanctions are appropriate. Certainly, key leaders, managers, and planners can best use strategic planning as an educational and learning tool, to help them figure out what is really important and what should be done about it. Sometimes this means following a particular sequence of steps and preparing formal strategic plans, but not necessarily. The ultimate goal of strategic planning should not be a rigid adherence to a particular process or an instance on the production of plans. Instead, strategic planning should promote wise strategic thought and action on behalf of an organization and its key stakeholders. What steps to follow, in what sequence, and whether or not to prepare formal plans are subsidiary concerns.

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.

Communication Skills


Effective communication skills from the foundation for successful management. They are so fundamental that we sometimes forget their significance or assume we are skillful. Communication skills enable you to lead others. you cannot lead without being able to communicate your ideas well. People will not go with you unless you have established with them your ability to lead. That requires trust which is a by-product of effective two-way communication.

 Effective communication includes both speaking and listening, informing others, and fostering open communication. When you master these skills, you harness a great deal of power—the power to get things done through others.

 Effective communication involves:

  • Knowledge who needs what information and communicating that information in a consise, timely way
  • Choosing and effectively using the most appropriate communication medium – oral or written – for who will receive the information and how it will be used
  • Knowing how to listen effectively
  • Helping others communicate effectively, to ensure that communication occurs among all organizational levels and with all needed people

There are five communication skill areas:

  1. Speak effectively: Speaks clearly and expresses self well in groups and in one-to-one conversations.
  2. Foster open communication: Creates an atmosphere in which timely and high quality information flows smoothly between self and others; encourages the open expression of ideas and opinions.
  3. Listen to others: Actively attends to and conveys understanding of the comments and questions of others, listens well in a group.
  4. Deliver presentations: Prepares and delivers clear, smooth presentations; carries self well in front of a group.
  5. Prepare written communication: Conveys informaion clearly and effectively through both formal and informal documents; reviews and edits written work constructively.

 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

Assessing Competitors’ Areas of Strength


  1. Excellence in product design and/or performance (engineering ingenuity)
  2. Low-cost, high-efficiency operating skill in manufacturing and/or in distribution
  3. Leadership in product innovation
  4. Efficiency in customer service
  5. Personal relationships with customers
  6. Efficiency in transportation and logistics
  7. Efficiencies in sales promotion
  8. Merchandising efficiency—high turnover of inventories and/or of capital
  9. Skillful trading in volatile price movement commodities
  10. Ability to influence legislation
  11. Highly efficient, low-cost facilities
  12. Ownership or control of low-cost or service raw materials
  13. Control of intermediate distribution or processing units
  14. Massive availability of capital
  15. Widespread customer acceptance of company brand name (reputation)
  16. Product availability, convenience
  17. Customer loyalty
  18. Dominant market share position
  19. Effectiveness of advertising
  20. Quality salesforce

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