Diet and Fitness


Growing evidence indicates that reduced intake of salt and saturated fats and increased consumption of fiber – and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables are steps that can greatly increase the body’s ability to cope with the physiological effects of stress. Regular exercise also helps. People who exercise regularly obtain many benefits closely related to resistance of the adverse effects of stress. Fitness reduces both the incidence of cardiovascular illness and the death rate from such diseases. Similarly, physical fitness lowers blood pressure, an important factor in many aspects of personal health. It is not surprising that growing numbers of companies are taking steps to ensure that their employees engage in regular exercise.

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.

 

Improving Quality


Improving quality is a lot like taking vitamins, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Although the results may not be immediate, long-term benefits are significant. Quality is neither a quick fix nor the program of the month, but rather a way of life for companies who are serious about improvements.

Quality is a fundamental to creating value, yet it is a moving target and must meet the customers’ current definition of quality. Thus, we offer the following recommendations for improving service quality and ultimately delivering superior customer value:

  • Design services in cooperation with customers. Learn what customers truly value by incorporating the voice of the customer earlier in the service development process. Also, it is important to determine not only the customers’ preferred service attributes but their relative importance, as well.
  • Focus your improvement programs outward, on market break points. Only by defining those episodes, when the customer comes in contact with the organization, and by focusing on the ones most critical can you see things as the customer sees them. Also, visualize the complete sequence of the moments of truth a customer experiences in having some need met. Remember, the customer sees service in terms of a total experience, not an isolated set of activities. Mapping the service cycle helps companies see these activities as the customer sees them.
  • Create a triangle representation of service quality. Hotels and restaurants often advertise and display on their properties ratings by one of the major motor clubs, such as AAA or Mobil Oil, Hertz #1 Gold Club service communicates a premium, value-added bundle of services to business travelers seeking a hassle-free car rental experience.
  • Use teamwork to promote service excellence—service workers who support one another and achieve together can avoid service burnout.
  • Create a service bias based on each of the following service quality determinants: professionalism, attitudes and behaviors, accessibility and flexibility, reliability and trustworthiness, service recovery, and reputation and credibility. These criteria can be used as guidelines for influencing positive service quality perceptions.
  • Develop proper measurements. Use metrics that are specific on nature, such as 95% on-time-delivery, customer wait time, or order processing time. Benchmark the best practices for each service are being measured, such as wait time or order delivery.
  • Employee selection, job design, and training are absolutely crucial to building customer satisfaction and service quality. Structure the job of service workers to maximize their ability to respond quickly and competently to customer needs. Also, train service personnel in areas of service delivery and attitude. Role play different service scenarios, showing various service recovery strategies. Provide service workers with some basic tools to help control service quality variation and uncover service problems.
  • Reward total quality efforts in marketing. Look for opportunities to reinforce quality behaviors when they occur. Employees should be rewarded ob the basis of these behaviors (commitment, effort) rather than strictly on outcomes, such as sales quotas. Rewarding a salesperson for meeting or exceeding quota with a bonus while giving a nominal award such as a pin or plaque to the person who fixes the product or process sends a clear message about the importance of quality.
  • Think of service as a process, not a series of functions. Service quality occurs when the entire service experience is managed and the organization is aligned to respond accordingly.

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.

Luminous Analogy between Cholesterol and Overhead


Overhead is a lot akin to cholesterol. Both have been targets of severe criticism. Both can induce fatty deposits; one clogs the insides of human arteries, the other congests a corporation’s metabolism.

Both have been severely misunderstood. Cholesterol plays a very important role in human chemistry. It forms the nucleus of the vitamin D molecule, the neutrient that builds strong bones. It is a component of several sex and regulatory hormones and contributes to the fluidity of cell membranes. Often thought to be fat, it isn’t. Actually it helps make the bile salts that emulsify fats in the intestine.

Cholesterol is manufactured within the body. Problems arise, though, when it is ingested. Its internal production goes on regardless of the amount taken in, and its chemistry is such that it is hard to break down once a surplus occurs.

Cholesterol comes in two types, depending on how it is being transported in the bloodstream. As those who have had tests for cholesterol know, one of these types (called HDL) is sometimes dubbed “good cholesterol” because it moves to the liver where it can do something useful for the body. “Bad cholesterol” (identified as “LDL”) tends to stay put, thus resulting in deposits on artery walls. Heart attacks are often associated with high levels of the LDL variety, and decreased risk of having coronary disease with concentrations of HDL.

The relative balance between HDL and LDL is, in part, controllable. LDL increases when diets are rich in animal fats; regular aerobic exercise leads to more HDL.

Overhead like cholesterol is something that naturally occurs to make effective functioning possible. It plays a key role in regulating the proper balance among a business’s diverse activities. As with cholesterol, problems arise when too much overhead is imposed on the business from the outside. It is hard to remove once in place and, like some people’s dietary limitation regimes, it can be painful to cut back. Corporate aerobics, such as workout, can keep overhead in check, but only temporarily.

There are also two kinds of overhead: good and bad. Good carries its own weight, and then some; bad only contributes bulk. The processes workout and process reengineering, are good tools to help make these distinctions. But in some cases, a deeper, more thoughtful, examination is necessary than can be provided in the gungho, take-no-prisoners atmosphere of these outplacement mechanisms for work and time.

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