Basic Thinking Patterns


Teamwork can be managed into existence by teaching people to use consciously and cooperatively four basic  patterns of thinking they already use unconsciously and individually. These four basic patterns of thinking are reflected in the four kinds of questions managers ask every day:

  1. What’s going on? It begs for clarification. It asks for a sorting out, a breaking down, a key to the map of current events, a means of achieving and maintaining control. It reflects the pattern of thinking that enables us to impose order where all had been disorder, uncertainty, or confusion. It enables us to establish priorities and decide when and how to take actions that make good sense and produce good results.
  2. Why did this happen? This indicates the need for cause and effect thinking. It is the pattern that enables us to move from observing the effect of a problem to understanding the cause so that we can take appropriate actions to correct the problem or lessen its effects.
  3. Which course of action should we take? This implies that some choice must be made. This basic pattern of thinking enables us to decide on the course of action most likely to accomplish a particular goal.
  4. What lies ahead? This pattern looks into the future. This is used for thinking when we attempt to assess the problem that might happen, the decision that might be necessary next month, next year, or in five years.

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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Speed and Time


Speed and time measures are very important factors to many customers. The speed with which your company can deliver, whatever it provides, can actually gain you competitive advantage and allow you to offer higher satisfaction, and maybe even demand, or ask a price premium from your customers for that convenience of doing things faster or quicker. However it is not just about the core product, it is also about every single contact or initiation with a customer, from answering the telephone, to replying letters, to the length of a phone call, to how long you’ve been put on hold etc. the customer measures all these factors, largely unconsciously.

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.

Unintended and Unconscious Learning


Most of our learning is probably achieved while we are unaware of its taking place. Sometimes the learning is even unintended. Unconscious learning is sometimes very powerful and central to the development of our self-concepts.

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.

Speaking the Body Language


About 60 to 70 percent of what we communicate has nothing to do with words. More important than speaking the language is what you communicate without words. Many travelers trust that if they don’t speak the language, there are a hundred gestures to get across almost any meaning. But gestures have quite different meanings in different parts of the world; body language is not universal. Subtleties are noticed, like the length of time you hold on while shaking hands. On a very unconscious level we can turn people off even when we are on good behavior. Thumbs up is considered vulgar in Iran and Ghana, equivalent to raising the middle finger in the United States. Touching a person’s head, including children’s, should be avoided in Singapore or Thailand. In Yugoslavia, people shake their heads for yes—appearing to us to be saying no.

In general, avoid gesturing with the hand. Many people take offense at being beckoned this way, or pointed out, even if only conversationally. In parts of Asia, gestures and even slight movements can make people nervous. If you jab your finger in the air or on a table to make a point, you might find that your movements have been so distracting that you have not made your point at all. Unintentionally, Americans come across as aggressive and pushy. Yet, in other parts of the world, particularly in Latin America or Italy, gesturing is important for self-expression, and the person who does not move a lot while talking comes across as bland or uninteresting. As always, watch what local people do. Or ask.

Body language is more than gestures. You communicate by the way you stand, sit, tense facial muscles, tap fingers, and so on. Unfortunately, these subtler body messages are hard to read across cultures; mannerisms don’t translate. In many parts of the world, looking someone in the eye is disrespectful.

In Japan a person who looks a subordinate in the eye is felt to be judgmental and punitive, while someone who looks his superior in the eye is assumed to be hostile or slightly insane. The Arabs like eye contact—the eyes are windows to soul—but theirs seem to dart about much more than Americans. We don’t trust “shifty-eyed” people.

Subtle differences in eye contact between the British and North Americans can be confusing. English listening behavior includes immobilization of the eyes at a social focal distance, so that either eye gives the appearance of looking straight at the speaker. On the other hand, an American listener will stare at the speaker’s eye, first one, then the other, relieved by frequent glances over the speaker’s shoulder.

Eye contact during speaking differs too. Americans keep your attention by boring into you with eyes and words, while the British keep your attention by looking away while they talk. When their eyes return to yours, it signals they have finished speaking and it is your turn to talk. These almost imperceptible differences in eye contact interfere with rapport building and trust.

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.

Coping with Frustration


There are three general approaches to coping with frustration: 1) to ignore it, 2) to recognize it, and 3) to attack a non-related target, and a fourth is to change strategies for reaching the goal by going around the barrier, developing new skills, or acquiring new resources. The third general approach—attacking a non-related target—is normally dysfunctional and utilized by those unable or unwilling to accept their frustration and confront their sources directly.

We may respond unconsciously to frustration with one or more of a variety of psychological defences. We utilize these, usually unconsciously, to protect our self-concepts. These defences help us block all the force of more reality than we can take at a particular time. They can also be dysfunctional if they are used too frequently or block us from coping with our problems in more direct and effective ways. A desirable learning goal is to become more aware of the defenses we use and to avoid those that prevent us from dealing with our frustrations as well as we might.

Mild frustration may not lead to anger and aggression, although intense frustration always does. A more pessimistic view would imply that little can be done about choosing when and how we express our frustration. We think much can be learned.

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

Talking about Signs


Think of signs in two ways: those that appeal to people outside of your place of business and those that appeal to people who are within the place where you do business. The first category consists of billboards, small signs on bulliten boards, window signs, store signs, banners, signs on trees, and poster-type signs. Category two is made up of interior signs, commonly called point-of-purchase, or point of sale signs.

 Whichever you use, or if you use both, be certain that your signs tie in as directly as possible with your advertising. Your ads may have made an unconscious impression on your potential customers, and your signs may awaken the memory of that advertising and result in a sale. Many people will patronize your business because of your ads. Your signs must be consistent with your advertising message and identity or those people will be confused. If the signs are in keeping with your overall creative strategy, consumers’ momentum to buy will be increased.

 Most exterior signs are there to remind, to create a tiny impulse, to implant thoughts a wee bit deeper, to sharpen an identity, to state a very brief message. As a rule, exterior signs should be no more than six words long. Naturally, some successful signs have more than six words, but not many. Probably the most successful of all have just one to three 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 visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

The Androgynous Manager


Clearly, the corporate world is still a man’s world. Under this male-bastion model, corporations, for a number of reasons, are losing out as much as women. Every corporation wants the most competent people woking on their side. But companies which permit themselves the luxury of unconsciously sexist attitudes lose out on a wealth of talent which resides equally in men and women. That is simply bad for business.

 When women and men are segregated in the workplace, formulating stereotype of each other’s behavior, they can become blind to genuine abilities each possesses. Women, for example, are rarely considered great-deal-makers.

 But women are actually more flexible, less deceptive, more emphatic, and more likely to reach agreement, while men are just the opposite. When a man visualizes a negotiating situation, he sees it as a one-shot deal to win or lose, like a sport or a game. A woman sees it as part of a long-term relationship. Since most business situations involve long-term relationships, the female approach is more productive.

 But in the information society, as the manager’s role shifts to that of the teacher, mentor, and nurturer of human potential, there is even more reason for corporations to take advantage of women’s managerial abilities, because these people-oriented traits are the ones women are socialized to possess.

 The problem is that most women feel that they must be more like men if they are too succeed in a male-dominated corporate environment and that is a mistake both for women and for companies.

 The appropriate style for the manager of the 80s was an androgynous blend, one that combined the best of traditional male and female traits.

 Men and women should learn from one another without abandoning successful traits they already possess. Men can learn to be more collaborative and intuitive, yet remain result-oriented. Women need not give up being nurturing in order to learn to be comfortable with power and conflict. Women can transform the workplace by expressing, not by giving up their personal values.

 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