Situation Analysis


With a clear understanding of organizational objectives and mission, the marketing manager must analyze and monitor the position of the firm and, specifically, the marketing department, in terms of its past, present, and future situation. Of course, the future situation is of primary concern. However, analysis of past trends and the current situation are most useful for predicting the future situation.

 

The situation analysis can be divided into six major areas of concern: (1) the cooperative environment; (2) the competitive environment; (3) the economic environment; (4) the social environment; (5) the political environment; and (6) the legal environment. In analyzing each of these environments, the marketing executive must search both for opportunities and for constraints or threats to achieving objectives. Opportunities for profitable marketing often arise from changes in these environments that bring about new sets of needs to be satisfied. Constraints on marketing activities, such as limited supplies of scarce resources, also arise from these environments.

 

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

Leveraging better Payment Terms


Negotiating better payment terms is always easier if a company has some bargaining chips. The party with the most to lose or the most to gain is always on the defensive; therefore, the secret to successful negotiating is to develop leverage that forces the other party into one or the other of these positions. Other than not meeting payroll, only two conditions might create circumstances more detrimental to a company on the brink of failure than to a creator: (1) being evicted from the building that houses the business, and (2) not receiving critical materials and services to keep the business going.

 

Not much can be done about either situation. A business must be housed, and it must have materials and services to make and sell products. That’s why landlords and critical suppliers top the payment priority list. Some leverage can be achieved, however. Most lessors would rather work out an extended payment arrangement than go to the expense and aggravation of a formal eviction. As long as the renter’s market holds, deferring rent payments for at least several months should be a real possibility. That’s not a permanent solution, but it does provide some breathing space.

 

It might be possible to leverage critical suppliers to gain better terms. The threat to go to a competitor usually brings even the most recalcitrant supplier to terms. In most cases, a supplier has more to lose (the overdue amounts plus legal costs to sue) or gain (future sales) than a debtor company does. At least making suppliers think that’s the case is good negotiating ploy.

 

Assuming that you have taken reasonable precautions to safeguard your personal assets, the worst thing that can happen is that you will be forced to liquidate the business. Granted, this can be a blow to any entrepreneur’s ego. It might also reduce personal income for a while, however, once the liquidation is over, you can always begin again. As long as creditors believe that they have the most to lose, you’re in driver’s seat. The ultimate creditors’ threat is to force the company into bankruptcy. By making it clear that this won’t hurt and that other plans for the future are in the works anyway, such leverage vanishes abruptly.

 

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

The Job Analysis


Job analysis is the procedure for determining the duties and skill requirements of a job and the kind of person who should be hired for it.

Organizations consist of positions that have to be staffed. Job analysis produces information used for writing job descriptions—a list of what the job entails thus enwrapping duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions, and supervisory responsibilities—and job specifications—what kind of people to hire for the job.

The supervisor or HR specialist normally collects one or more of the following types of information via the job analysis:

  • Work activities. First, he or she collects information about the job’s actual work activities, such as selling, teaching, or painting. This list may also include how, why, and when the worker performs each activity.
  • Human behaviors. The specialist may also collect information about human behaviors like sensing, communicating, deciding, and writing. Included here would be information regarding job demands such as lifting weights or walking long distances.
  • Machines, tools, equipment, and work aids. This category includes information regarding tools used, materials processed, knowledge dealt with or applied (such as finance or law), and services rendered (such as counseling or repairing).
  • Performance standards. The employer may also want information about the job’s performance standards (in terms of quantity or quality levels for each job duty, for instance). Management will use these standards to appraise employees.
  • Job context. Included here is information about such matters as physical working conditions, work schedule, and the organizational and social context—for instance, the number of people with whom the employee would normally interact. Information regarding incentives might also be included here.
  • Human requirements. This includes information regarding the job’s human requirements, such as job-related knowledge or skills (education, training, work experience) and required personal attributes (aptitudes, physical characteristics, personality, interests).

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 Management


There will be absolutely changed conditions under which public managers will operate in the future, some of the areas of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that they will be required to possess, and some of the pathways public managers might explore in order to move toward the future.

There will be an extraordinary explosion of new knowledge and technological innovations, especially in the areas of information sciences, genetics, materials, instrumentation, automation, and space. Our public managers will wade into an age of extraordinary technological change and have to accommodate themselves and the institutions to dramatically different bodies of knowledge and technological innovations.

They will not only have to cope with and employ their expanded knowledge and technological capacity, they will have to learn to use this knowledge and technological capacity for the benefit of society. In the technological world of the future, there will be even greater temptations for them to be captured by technology, to fall prey to “technological imperative,” and to allow rational technical interests to supercede human concerns and those of values. Finding ways of employing advanced technologies so as to enhance rather than restrict their capacity for leadership, creativity, and personal responsibility will be a serious challenge.

In the future, knowledge and information will prevail. And if information is power, then those who have information will indeed have power. But who will have information? Information will be increasingly centralized, controlled and marketed through traditional economic and political processes. It will be widely distributed throughout society, so that increasing rather than decreasing numbers of people will have information and in turn have power. Such a possibility will lead to “the twilight of hierarchy,” to be inevitable.

Combining these issues, we can safely predict that the knowledge or information that our public managers will be able to access will be tremendous, to the point that the quantity of information will no longer be the most important issue. Rather the key question will be how to organize this information for human purposes. This means that public administration will have to learn to organize information in a fashion that will facilitate the pursuit of important public purposes. The great challenge will be to organize information so that we can enhance the process of democratic decision-making, of consensus building, and of dialogue and deliberation.

There’s no question that we will have the capacity to organize information for dramatic new public purposes, to restructure our structures of governance in dramatic ways. But what will our choices be? Imagine a computer in Islamabad that could reach out into every home, so that on any occasion that a major policy decision was required, an appropriate message could go out to all the citizens and their answers could guide public policy – a process that would approximate pure democracy.

The globalization of society is obvious today, though in twenty-five years or so, we may experience trans-globalization or beyond, as the frontiers of the oceans and space are extended even further. Already we are thinking more in global terms. However, our managers are still thinking in terms of traditional institutions operating in a new global context. They are not yet asking how they reconfigure businesses and governments so as to carry out a global vision. How do they encourage businesses and governments to assume global responsibilities rather than those defined in terms of one’s own self interest? For example, how can developing countries move toward sustainable development and environmental justice on a global basis?

One obvious casualty of the global age may be the nation-state, replaced not necessarily by a new global or interplanetary federation but possibly by new forms of governance far beyond those we can imagine today.

In future our public administration should know the importance of “responsibilities” rather than “functions” of government. While a large part of the current worldwide debate over privatization or outsourcing speaks to the question of which “functions” belong where, the new debate will necessarily focus on public responsibilities and speak in a language of ethics, citizenship and the public interest.

In reinvented government or the new public management, customers shall replace citizens – or, to put it differently, the integrative role of citizenship has been reduced to the narrow self-interest of customership – in government as in business.

Indeed, we think the job of all public managers will increasingly be more than directing or managing our public organizations. It will be not merely “steering” or “rowing” but “building the boat.” The new public manager will construct networks of varied interests that can work effectively to solve public problems. In doing so, it will be the job of the public administrator to promote pluralism, to create opportunities for constructive dissent, to preserve that which is distinctive about individuals and groups, and to provide an opportunity for diverse groups to share in establishing future directions for the community. The administrator will play a substantial role in diminishing polarization, teaching diversity and respect, building coalitions, resolving disputes, negotiating and mediating. The work of the top public managers will thus be – to build community.

There are two broad areas that public managers will need to explore in order to fashion a response to the trends. These emerging trends will turn public management both “inside-out” and “upside-down.” Public management will be turned “inside-out” as the largely internal focus of management in the past is replaced by an external focus, specifically a focus on citizens and citizenship. Public management will be turned “upside-down” as the traditional top-down orientation of the field is replaced – not necessarily by a bottom-up approach, but by a system of shared leadership.

In the past public administration has been largely focused on what happens within the public bureaucracy. The future will require that it dramatically refocus its attention on the world outside, particularly the world of citizens and citizenship.

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

Project Financing


Project Financing (PF) has emerged as an innovative and timely financing technique and is being used in many high-profile infrastructure projects. Employing a carefully engineered financing mix, it is used to fund large-scale projects, from communications, to telecommunications, and power to energy projects. It is a preferred alternative today. It will be foremost option of future.

PF holds great promise, which is just beginning to be realized as a means of financing projects designed to help meet the enormous infrastructure needs that exist in a developing countries.

Most infrastructure projects in developing countries are being funded by exchequer and thus in nearly all cases the construction of much desired projects are delayed due to lacking funds and deficient resources. Particularly when local governments are functioning full swing developing countries need to consider PF as a preferred choice.

PF can be arranged when a particular facility or a related set of assets is capable of functioning profitably as an independent economic unit. City governments (sponsors) of such a unit may find it advantageous to form a new legal entity to construct, own, and operate the project. If sufficient profit is predicted, the project organization can finance construction of the project on a project basis, which involves the issuance of equity securities (generally to the sponsors of the project) and of debt securities that are designed to be spell-liquidating from the revenues derived from project operations.

The intricacies of PF are formidable, and can easily be misunderstood and consequently, misused. While PF structures share certain common features, by necessity, they require tailoring the package to the particular circumstances of the project. That is where both the benefits and the challenges lie.

What distinguishes PF from conventional direct financing is that in PF, the project is a “distinct legal entity” and the financing is tailored to the cash flow characteristics of the project assets. Such a structure can yield a more efficient allocation of risks and returns than conventional financing, but careful financial engineering is critical.

It is a form of asset-based financial engineering. It is asset-based because each financing is tailored around a specific asset or related pool of assets. It involves financial engineering because, in so many cases, the financing structure cannot simply be copied from some other project. Rather, it must be crafted specifically for the project at hand.

PF is the raising of funds to finance an economically separable capital investment project in which the providers of the funds look primarily to the cash flow from the project at the source of funds to service their loans and provide the return and a return on their equity invested in the project. The terms of the debt and equity securities are tailored to the cash flow characteristics of the project. For their security, the project debt securities depend, at least partly, on the profitability of the project and on the collateral value of the project’s assets.

PF is not a means of raising funds to finance a project that is so weak economically that it may not be able to service its debt or provide an acceptable rate of return to equity investors. In other words, it is not a means of financing a project that cannot be financed on a conventional basis.

At the center is a discrete asset, a separate facility, or a related set of assets that has a specific purpose. This can include trash collecting trucks, toll roads, water supply and sewer projects, or some other item of infrastructure. This facility or group of assets must be capable of standing alone as an independent economic unit. The operations, supported by a variety of contractual agreements, must be organized so that the project has the unquestioned ability to generate sufficient cash flow to repay its debts.

PF can be advantageous to Pakistan when it has a valuable resource deposit, other responsible parties would like to develop the deposit, and it lacks the financial resources to proceed with the project on its own.

Commercial banks and life insurance companies have traditionally been the principal sources of debt for large projects. In the typical financing structure, commercial banks would provide construction financing on a floating rate basis, and life insurance companies would then provide “permanent financing” on a fixed rate basis by refinancing the bank loans following project completion. For infrastructure projects have become a high priority, commercial banks, having adjusted to the tighter capital standards, have expanded their role in PF. They advise as well as lend.

Multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank and IDB, and various agencies, such as Eximbank and OPIC, have also stepped up their funding of private infrastructure projects. Developing countries’ capital markets can also be a useful source of funds. Raising funds locally can reduce a project’s political risk exposure.

Most recently, through the financing of hundreds of independent power projects, it has become evident that PF is suitable for relatively low-risk projects that involve standardized nonproprietary technology.

PF has attracted growing interest as a means of obtaining capital. Its potential is perhaps greatest for the many large infrastructure capital investment projects that are on the drawing boards of many local governments. The projects are large and expensive, and the risks are great. But the potential benefits are enormous. Project financing could be the answer to the financial needs of such local governments.

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

Change and Transformation Losers


Losers adopt a combination of attitudes, approaches and priorities, from a limited vision and a short-term and internal orientation, through cutting corners, to attempts to protect corporate interests, and this locks them into a ‘spiral of descent’. The almost inevitable outcome of their actions and inaction is a struggle to remain viable as a supplier of low-margin commodity work.

Losers become reactive and defensive, get lost in complexity of labyrinthine proportions and the more activities they engage in to break free, the more they become entangled. They introduce changes for changes’ sake. They become neutralized by their lack of imagination and entangled in barbed wire created by their own words and actions. The trick they try to play is to retire or to move on at a high point.

Losers in the battle to become and remain competitive:

·        are ‘in their own space’ and relatively oblivious to the needs of others; they do not anticipate and remain unaware of significant external developments and pressing requirements to change;

  • lack self-confidence and self-worth and hold back, they are different, can be indicative and find it difficult to commit themselves;
  • do not have a compelling rationale and purpose; they are not unique, special or even distinctive;
  • are not noticed by people, they are grey and dull, and hence fail to stand out or have an impact;
  • copy and follow others; they do not innovate or differentiate  themselves from their competitors;
  • respond to events; they react to incoming approaches and invitations to tender;
  • do not prioritize and focus; they fail to address what is important as a result of being distracted by trivia;
  • hoard information and hold on to the reigns of power; they are reluctant to delegate and to trust and involve others;
  • remunerate people according to their seniority and status in the management hierarchy;
  • are driven by internal personal goals and corporate targets rather than by customer requirements;
  • play other people’s games rather than live on their own terms; they become pawns on other people’s chessboards;
  • adopt standard approaches and are rigid and inflexible;
  • follow fashions and have a penchant for fads;
  • search for panaceas and single solutions;
  • define their capabilities in terms of the tangible assets they own and the people they employ;
  • are consumers rather than producers of knowledge, understanding  and intellectual capital;
  • respond unimaginatively and mechanically to business opportunities;
  • rely on traditional ‘hard-self’ techniques and undertake win-lose negotiations;
  • make little effort to learn from either their experience or that of others;
  • hold back and stay aloof; they avoid personal commitments, partnering  arrangements and inter-organizational links;
  • are selfish in relationships and put the minimum of effort into maintaining them;
  • use their customers to achieve their own short-term objectives;
  • are cautious and half hearted in their approach to e-business;
  • mouth generalizations and they indulge in self-deception and spin;
  • live for the moment; they have short time horizons;
  • do little to keep competitors out of their key accounts;
  • leave the building of customer relationships to specialist sales staff;
  • ignore organizations that are supplied by competitors;
  • prize their freedom and independence, they prefer to operate alone;
  • attempt to protect their interests with small print and avoid the assumption and sharing of risks;
  • are secretive and defensive; they build internal and external barriers to create a hard shell;
  • offer other employees general training and development that is viewed as a cost;
  • fail to equip their people to win new business, create new offerings or build customer relationships;
  • are complacent and set in their ways; they are reluctant to think, question and learn;
  • confuse the roles of owner-shareholder, manager and director;
  • fail to distinguish between operational matters and strategic issues;
  • become typecast and locked into certain roles; they tend to end up as commodity suppliers.

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 http://www.asifjmir.com

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