Criteria for Performance Excellence


The Leadership category examines the company’s leadership system and senior leaders’ personal leadership. It examines how senior leaders and the leadership system address values, company directions, performance expectations, a focus on customers and other stakeholders, learning, and innovation. Also examined is how the company addresses its societal responsibilities and provides support to key communities.

The Strategic Planning category examines how the company sets strategic directions and how it develops the critical strategies and action plans to support the directions. Also examined are how plans are developed and how performance is tracked.

The Customer and Market Focus category examines how the company determines requirements, expectations, and preferences of customers and markets. Also examined is how the company builds relationships with customers and determines their satisfaction.

The Information and Analysis category examines the selection, management, and effectiveness of use of information and data to support key company processes and action plans, and the company’s performance management system.

The Human Resource Focus category examines how the company enables employees to develop and utilize their full potential, aligned with the company’s objectives. Also examined are the company’s efforts to build and maintain a work environment and work climate conducive to performance excellence, full participation, and personal and organizational growth.

The Process Management category examines the key aspects of process management, including customer-focused design, product and service delivery, support, and supplier and partnering processes involving all work units. The category examines how key processes are designed, implemented, managed, and improved to achieve better performance.

The Business Results category examines the company’s performance and improvement in key business areas: customer satisfaction, financial and marketplace performance, human resource results, supplier and partner performance, and operational performance. Also examined are performance levels relative to competitors.

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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View from the Top


Consider the chief executive’s perspective. When a CEO looks at the company, several features stand out most sharply. These are the traditional components of corporate structure: divisions, functional departments, strategic business units, and subsidiaries. They are the activities over which the chief executive has responsibility. They form the mental model the top leadership has of the business. Most companies take these components for granted as their basic subunits.

Unfortunately, these components cloud more than clarify the perspective most essential to the intelligent resizing of a company’s work.

When changes are made in a company’s strategy, or when changes outside its control make readjustment or retrenchment necessary, the lines and boxes on the company’s organization chart are also frequently shifted. These moves usually seem to make good sense at the time—from just following function, after all—but as the retrospective research indicates, moving the boxes and redrawing the lines do not always pay off.

This happens because, frequently, the wrong question is being asked. The search is usually for the “best” organizational configuration: flat, functional, divisional, matrix, or some hybrid. This issue, which eventually does need to be addressed, is premature if it is the first thing that comes to mind when considering the company as a whole. It diverts attention from careful consideration of the “functionality” that the “form” is being adapted to. It also makes the company susceptible to the management fad of the moment, so that a means because the goal: how can we flatten our structure, use cross-departmental teams, or become an information-based organization? These are all potentially useful tactics, but for what end?

This type of organization, driven from the top down, is one that deals with the structures for doing things, rather than the things that need doing. Its view of the boxes on the organization chart too often goes no deeper than the head count the boxes contain. This perspective is troublesome and can be misleading, but even more dangerous is the viewpoint provided by some contemporary forms of strategic planning.

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.

Sensible Approach to Strategic Planning


You can design strategies in many ways—usually involving a mixture of analysis, reasoning, experience and intuition. One approach looks at the organization’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to its competitors. If most of your competitors are making low quality products, a good strategy is to make the best products available. Supermarket chains are building very large, out of town stores—so small, convenient, local stores; many airlines compete with cheap, no-frills services.

There are many ways to approach strategic planning. The key to successful planning is to get the best fit between the chosen tools and techniques, the organization’s current culture, capabilities and business environment and the desired outcome. One useful approach has the following steps:

  1. Analyze your organization’s mission and other strategic plans, to find the context and overall aims of this strategy.
  2. Set goals to show the results that this strategy must achieve.
  3. Analyze your existing strategies, finding their aims, seeing how well these are being achieved and looking for improvements.
  4. Analyze the environment in which your organization works, giving the competitors, their performance, customers, products and etc.
  5. Find the factors that will lead to success in this environment, and the importance of each; emphasize the products needed to compete effectively.
  6. Describe the approach that will best achieve success; emphasize the process that can best deliver your products.
  7. Design the best organizational support, including structure, controls and related functions.
  8. Define measures to compare actual performance with planned, optimal and competitors’ performances.
  9. Implement the plans, setting the aims and conditions for other levels of decisions.
  10. Monitor actual performance and continuously look for improvements.

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.

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.

Fuse Knowledge to Power


Architects are concerned with flows. When designing a building, their paramount considerations are how occupants will move in it and how light and air will circulate around it. Equally important for organizational architects is how information, know-how, decisions, and careers will flow in the structure being shaped.

When the work of the corporation was primarily the organizing of manual labor, markets were local and slow to change, and the knowledge base upon which competitive success depended was stable, a unitary hierarchy of manager atop manager made a lot of sense. The information needed to run the business was limited and could be easily channeled in one upward or downward flow. Workers did the work, and managers did the thinking.

But this is a reality that has disappeared from most industries. Markets are dimensioned globally, rules change faster than some competitors can master them, and brainpower counts for much more than brawn. Most organizations, though, remain keyed to the old realities. Few hierarchies have even kept up with the need to build in change by linking each of their limited number of levels with the time horizons of greatest importance to the company.

A more serious problem, though, is the lack of rethinking about how a business needs to organize its intellectual capital, its knowledge workers. It is ironic, and wasteful, that while “knowledge workers” (technical professionals and other holders of graduate or postgraduate degrees) are making up an increasing proportion of the work force in many industries, the organization structures in which they work remain more the products of Industrial Revolution than of the information age.

Knowledge, especially which can affect the company’s future competitiveness, used to be confined to the research and development lab or to the strategic planning department. Now, as information systems-driven service industries assume a larger share of many economies, knowledge about the capabilities that provide competitive advantage is much more widely dispersed than was ever necessary in traditional manufacturing companies. No single information channel can contain it all. And even traditional product makers are changing. Fewer manufacturing jobs are directly involved in making something; more are concerned with planning what to make, how to make it, and how to keep customers happy after the product has been purchased. The intellectual demands on front-line workers have increased tremendously. The narrowly skilled assembly jobs have been replaced by the more knowledge-intensive positions of the factory automation technician.

Requirements for more intellectual value added have escalated up many organization hierarchies. Networked data bases, expert systems, and almost never-ending flow of new personal computer software have significantly expanded the scope and the nature of the contribution possible from many mid-level employees. This is not an unmitigated blessing, though. It has also seriously polluted the management role in many companies, making many into high-level doers instead of managers, increasing the role’s fragmentation, and making it brittle rather than strong and load-bearing.

This situation will only worsen as economic pressures lead to increased management delayering. Companies with eight to ten tiers of management will find it necessary to organize around four or five. The number of subordinates per manager will have to sharply increase. Middle managers will find themselves with less and less time to master these new white-collar productivity enhancers and to make the intellectual contribution their businesses increasingly need.

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

Social Marketing


Social marketing is the planning and implementing of programs designed to bring about social change using concepts from commercial marketing. Same principles that are being used to sell products and services to consumers can be used to sell ideas, attitudes, behaviors and causes. It seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and general society. It is a non-commercial effort that targets the consumer. It promotes or advocates the benefits of target public. NGOs or NPOs are some examples of social marketers. My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations, makes them relevant, and suggests solutions for succes. For details please contact Asif J. Mir

Strategic Planning


A company’s strategy is a game plan management has  for positioning the organization in its chosen market arena, competing  successfully, pleasing customers, and achieving good business performance. It has five components:

  1. Forming a strategic vision of what the company’s future business makeup will be and where the organization is headed;
  2. Setting objectives;
  3. Crafting a strategy for achieving the desired outcomes;
  4. Implementing and executing the chosen strategy efficiently and effectively;
  5. Evaluating performance and initiating corrective adjustments in vision, long-term direction, objectives, strategy, or implementation in the light of actual experience, changing conditions, new ideas, and new opportunities.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations, makes them relevant, and suggests solutions for succes. For details please contact Asif J. Mir

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