Saturday, November 10, 2012

Has Change Management Changed?

Change management is a structured process to help public institutions, private companies and individuals adapt to extensive change of all kinds. For example, if a large military base is closed in an area that depends heavily on the installation for employment and economic health, there will be many extensive changes that are both complicated and difficult to predict in advance. Such attempts to have an organized approach for coping with a changing business, government and financial environment have understandably provided mixed results. Is there a better way to deal with change?

If any attempted solution is not dealing satisfactorily with a specific problem, even change management strategies should realistically be changed in an effort to find workable solutions. Managing change successfully requires a delicate balance of the following elements:
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Management (one of only two words in "change management")
  • Planning
While there are multiple results which are not identical, the lack of effective management and planning is frequently a major contributing factor when change management efforts do not succeed. Some pertinent planning and change management advice from an individual often referred to as "The Man Who Invented Management" is provided in the following Peter Drucker quote:

    "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window. The best way to predict the future is to plan it."

Changes in the banking industry provide an illustration of why change management strategies are frequently not the answer to many situations involving extensive change. Few industries have changed more than banks during recent years. Individuals and companies faced with bank services that have been restructured are faced with uncertainty as to what their new financial choices are. In some ways it is a situation that is not so different from the previous example of how a community was impacted when a military base closed. Banks have been a core member of communities for many years, but banks have suddenly changed and there is not an organized change management strategy to help.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do You Have A Strategic Business Or A Tactical, Reactive Business?

Do you have a strategic business or a tactical, reactive business?

A strategic business will outperform a tactical, reactive business in all metrics. Studies show 60% of the profits at Fortune 500 Companies come from strategic business practices, yet only 10% of small and medium-sized businesses are using strategic business practices.If you want to vault quickly above your business competitors, ask these strategic questions:

Do you have an overall Vision of what your business really does and where it is going? Are you doing something daily to move towards that Vision?

Do you have detailed daily plans for your long-term business goals? Do you follow them, or are you in a reaction mode to whatever the day throws at you?

Is your business focus on "problems" or "solutions"? That is a very profitable mind shift.

Do you look for Strategic Alliance opportunities to expand your distribution, product lines, service lines, marketing, intellectual capital, prospect generation, or create an entirely new business within your business?

Do you constantly look for well executed great ideas in other industries, and then ask yourself "how can I use this in my industry"? (This concept alone will place you high above your competition.)

What systems, procedures and policies are in place to maximize your business efficiency and profitable output?

Do your daily tactics (systems) support your strategic Vision and goals? Have you tested improvements to those daily tactics?

Do you educate your clients and prospects to show them why you are the logical first choice?

Do you have a UVP (Unique Value Proposition)? Is your UVP in all of your marketing material?

Have you identified your perfect client and where to find that perfect client?

Do you know the highest impact areas of your business? Do you know the numbers?

Remember the Pareto Principle: 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. Focus on that 20%.

Do you focus on improving one high impact area of your business each week?

Do you know where your industry is heading? Are you a leader in that industry growth?

Do you know what your business will look like 3 years from now? One year from now?

Could you identify the 3 most important action steps your business needs to complete each day to move you towards your business Vision?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Ultimate Guide To Lean Enterprise

Lean manufacturing can be described as a practice that considers the expenditure of resources linked with any process of any particular organization. And if any step within the process fails to create value for the organization that becomes a target for elimination. Any organization that religiously follows the principles of lean manufacturing can be called as Lean enterprise. Manufacturing scenario has completely changed with the advent of lean thinking. With the advent of lean concept, the increase in the quality of the end products and the fall in cost of manufacturing products are quite visible. Lean enterprise is responsible for the manufacturing of top quality products at a great deal.

Some of the common characteristic of lean enterprise includes various factors. Those factors could be-
  • Primary focus on the customers- Whatever it be, the truth remains the same, you are designing the product for the customer and he is the one who is giving you profit by buying your services or products. It is of utmost important that you give value to your customer by taking care of his needs, wants and demands.
  • Appropriate alignment of the organization- The employees are the key people in the company. The smooth functioning of the company depends largely on its people. So, it is important that the people should know their purposes of being in the company apart from knowing just job description. All the people involved in a company directly, or indirectly should be well aware of the goals of the company.
  • Building trust- Trust building is of utmost importance. Yet, it is the toughest job to be executed as there are thousand options available for the consumers in the market. Yet, trust building is possible with constant effort.
  • Knowledge sharing- Probably knowledge is the only thing that increases with sharing. Moreover sharing knowledge also increases the chance that your company will start running well.
  • Questioning culture- Any office should not be a pin-drop-silence classroom. It is of immense importance that you build up an atmosphere of constant questioning. Constant questioning helps you reach the root of any problem.
  • Flexible manpower- If you are having manpower you have got all the strength in your hand. Manpower plays the most important part if you are really willing to give pace to your organization's production. Flexible manpower is also required to give desired results in customer's demand.
  • Visuals- Visuals are way more important than they appears. Visuals are not irregular and are driven by factual data's. It actually helps in spotting the action that has not delivered as per the expectations at the earliest point and eliminate that at the earliest.
  • Continuous improvement- There is no full stop to development. If you wish to develop, there is always a scope for development. Continuous development is required to enhance the growth of the organization.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Leadership Coaching: Make The Evolution Of Your Business Happen

Financial Crisis Causes Noise In The Organization

A culture of thrift has predominated consumers amid the uncertainty caused by the global financial crisis. All across the retail industry- from food to clothing- many brands have ceded price slash offs and discounts. But "buying" customers are not as easy to find. Regardless of socioeconomic lines, consumers have been reluctant to open their wallets. The wealthy and affluent in the U.S. has likewise increased their savings by 16%. Businesses aren't as up and running as they used to be.

Financial crisis causes a lot of noise in an organization. People are feeling the pressure, and they panic. Your team might have more noise than focus at this point, so a resetting or reframing might be necessary. A changed leadership might work for your organization. The time might be right to take your business to the next level.

Sort Out The Noise And Paint The Picture

The first step is to sort out the noise. An honest dialog with your trusted sources helps you gain clarity of the situation. Uncover how people feel. What do they think is ahead economically? How about you, what is your personal forecast on the fiscal aspect? What is it that you and your people feel is missing?

Sorting out the noise clears the slate. You can then paint the picture. You see where your organization is at present, and now you envision what you want it to become. What is the outcome you want to achieve? Painting the picture entails that you clarify your business objectives and cultural expectations. Are you managing a multigenerational company? If there are conflicts, you should identify. As you plan for appropriate steps and measures to evolve your business, you also need to understand critical measurements. You need to be aware of your progress in facts and figures.

Do You Have The Courage To Make It Happen?

Painting the picture is an invigorating "freedom exercise" where you imaging the possibilities of joy and prosperity for your organization. As you clarify your leadership vision, you then make the choice to adjust and act. You make your plans happen. You create the reality of the picture you've painted. Your company might be moving at what you think is a comfortable pace and there is certainty. Evolving your business takes some kind of risk. Are you willing to exchange the complacent certainty in your business for the uncertainty of moving forward? You might be unwilling to budge because of fear, but pain in your organization is a call for change. Do you have the courage to try?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are You Wearing Blinders for This Election?

President Ronald Regan said, "Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction." Do you think America can continue on its current path with runaway spending, big government, no accountability, high unemployment (23 million unemployed), taxpayers money going overseas to benefit our enemies, and leaving our Ambassadors and our citizens unprotected? A President protects, defends and builds up his or her country. They do not destroy it and make speeches against their countries interests! A President has honor and integrity and keeps all his or her promises.

Leading up to WW11 only one man, Winston Churchill, saw the danger and the warning signs emanating from Adolph Hitler and Germany to his country, Great Britain. Everyone else was wearing blinders. Prime Minister Winston Churchill stayed strong for his country! He realized what was happening in the world and made his country men and women take off their blinders as to what was happening in their country. When he said, "Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy, "he meant it! When Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a promise to his country he would keep it!

Prime Minister Churchill opened his countries eyes and the eyes of the people of the United States as to what was happening around them! Without the great Winston Churchill both countries would have been lost!

Leaders of a country or organization build and defend their countries and businesses they do not destroy them!

In 1979, newly elected Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher set to work repairing Great Britain's bankrupt economy and rising unemployment by privatizing all nationalized industries and public housing which were sold to its tenants. Prime Minister Thatcher sold all these industries at favorable terms to promote private enterprise. Her aim was to reduce government power and promote the rights of individuals who would be property owners and pay a mortgage on their new properties.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said at the time, "Unless we change our ways and our direction. Our greatness as a nation will soon be a footnote in the history books, a distant memory of an offshore island, lost in the mist like Camelot, remembered for its noble past."

This quote is a timely reminder! We must protect and defend America by voting a new President in who will defend, protect, and build America back up to its greatness!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Leadership Vs Management 2 - Getting Things Done

What's the difference between leadership and management when it comes to getting things done? If you're not sure, read on to find out.

Part of being a leader and/or a manager is the ability to get things done. And when we say get things done, we are of course referring to the team and the way in which it responds to its leaders and managers.

Although there are many areas where management and leadership overlap, there are also areas where differences can be observed. Getting things done is a classic example of this.

For a manager, getting things done can often be nothing more than informing the team of the day's goals and objectives during the daily briefing. The manager will also guide the members of the team and help them to find the best way to achieve goals and objectives that have been set out. This is a very effective way to accomplish all kinds of goals and objectives and to keep the team involved.

Leadership, however, can have a slightly different approach. It has been said before (partly in jest) that the difference between leadership and management is that managers say "Here's what I want and this is how I want you to do it" and leaders say "Here's what I want. Now go and show me some creativity"! The idea is that leaders paint a vision of what they desire and leave it up to the group to work out how to achieve the desired result. This is of course a little simplistic. Any leader who merely provides a vision and then has no input at all as to how that vision is turned into a reality is being at least a little foolhardy. There has to be involvement, even if it is kept to a minimum.

The true difference lies in the way a leader lays out the vision of what he or she is trying to achieve. The word "vision" here is used deliberately as a good leader will literally conjure up an image of how the end result will look. He or she can use tools such as pictures, photos, paintings, models or good old fashioned descriptive speech to pass on the concept of the end result to the group. He or she will not only pass that vision on, they will also pass on the level of enthusiasm that they feel towards the project or assignment.

This idea of creating a vision is something that can make a good leader stand out. But there is no reason why managers can't use this technique from time to time. For everyday routine tasks a WHAT-WHERE-WHEN can be used but for certain projects that are going to need to be planned out and will take some time the idea of creating a vision in the minds of the employees and passing on that infectious enthusiasm will reap rewards.

Personality Test: Good, Bad or Indifferent?

A recent article in the BBC looked at the effectiveness of psychometric assessments as a tool for recruiting employees and fitting people to specific roles in an organization. I won't spoil the article for you, but the synopsis of it is this; can a personality test that is designed to fit everyone into 1 of 16 possible "boxes" be an accurate, or even effective tool to gage somebody's ability to succeed in a given position?

The short, and obvious answer to this is, well no. However, upon a deeper delve into the subject of human capital and recruiting it becomes apparent that psychometric assessments, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in particular, are used by a broad assortment of corporations across North America and the world (89 of the of the top fortune 100 companies use MBTI) in some degree to assess their talent. The MBTI has been translated into 24 languages, and as the BBC article states it has even been modified to serve government and military purposes around the world. If this is true than it must have some merit, right? Well it does, the MBTI is a "fantastic vehicle for people to think about themselves and how others are different" says Rachel Robinson of the consultancy firm YSC (Personality Test: Can they identify the real you? BBC news), but it is just that, a tool designed for people to understand their own drivers, motivators and decision making mantras, and to help them see how their colleagues' drivers, motivators and decisions making mantras differ from their own. For those of us who are unfamiliar, or have never had to take the MBTI here is how it works:

Your "box" is made of a four letter code, which is your personality code in essence. For your first letter you can either be classified as either an extrovert (E) or an introvert (I). For your second letter you can be either a sensing person (S) or an intuitive person (N). For your third you can be a thinker (T) or a feeler (F), and lastly for your fourth letter you will be either a judging type (J) or a perceiving type (P). If this doesn't sound like a very accurate way to determine a person's proficiency in a job role to you, you are not alone. Myers-Briggs is the first to admit that the MBTI should not be used for identifying talent and placing candidates in job roles, because this was not its design. However Myers-Briggs, along with any HR manager or human capital analyst will tell you that there is a need for a tool that can accurately analyze and place prospects in job role that fits, and the demand for such a tool is growing rapidly.

With the global economy slowing and profit margins shrinking it has never been more important for big corporations and small businesses alike to cut out the risk and consequences of a bad hire. For this fantasy to become reality companies need a tool that identifies and measures not only a person's "core personality" (the way they think and operate) but also the characteristics that dictate how a person will respond to stress, criticism, deadlines, authority, conflicts, noise, confrontation and check-ups (to list a few). This is a must because these are the character traits that describe how a person will work in a given job role, if these traits can be uncovered prior to hiring someone then this provides incredible insight into whether a potential hire will be a good fit within a company's culture, whether they will be successful in their role or not, and to what extent.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Top Tips for Office Time Management

In times of economic crisis, a successful workplace needs management more than ever. Thus, when it comes to avoiding stress on the job, it's important to do things efficiently so success can eventually see its way through.

A clean and tidy work environment is the foundation a business has to achieve the best possible performance. A systematically organized desk has many advantages: short workflows and no unnecessary searching. The key word is this: frequency of use. Within reach, you should have one of everything that is needed constantly and nothing else! Pencils, paper and notes and a compulsory labor shelf are a must for any well-stocked desk, as well as a constantly updated to-do list. An order system with files for drawers or shelves for creating space is also needed.

In our fast paced society, stress is unavoidable. Just the thought of constantly moving must be accessible to all. The unpleasant side effects such as headaches or back pain can reduce your working life but how can you avoid the stress at work? The most important criterion is positive thinking, because situations are often overstated. Try to move the situation into perspective and do not waste your precious energy on negative thoughts. Physical fitness is another important factor, because anyone who regularly plays sports is less susceptible to stress.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Confined Space Training Entails

Confined Space training is necessary for all employers and employees that are undertaking work under these conditions and can be a valuable investment to avoid accidents and injuries to your employees. This would be awful enough, but also lose you money and slow down productivity.

A confined space in this context is defined as any space that is enclosed and the person is exposed to hazardous substances or dangerous conditions. This can include lack of oxygen or exposure to substances that are harmful. Such places can be found as chambers, silos, trenches, pipes, sewer, wells, manholes, storage bins or tanks. The Confined Spaces Regulations Act of 1997 states that if there is any other way of performing the work that would have to be undertaken in a confined space, then the employer must ensure that this is done.

Performing work in these places can turn from safe to dangerous very quickly. This is why training is very important. By learning how to identify hazards early on as well as being able to use safety and protection equipment correctly can help save workers from accidents and subsequent injury. Many companies also provide their employees with measuring devices that can notify them of dangerous gasses and low oxygen levels. However, if the workers do not learn the appropriate use for the tool they are given, they are a waste of money and time. Notifying the training company beforehand of what equipment your workers have available will make it easier for them to incorporate this in their training schedule.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Business Growth Requires Extraordinary Executives - Celebrations

"Me, a cheerleader? This is a big operation and we all know our responsibilities. Our job is to work, not party."

In most organizations, executives celebrate annual results and sales teams celebrate new accounts. But celebrations that occur among the vast majority of employees are usually limited to occasional cake and ice cream on birthdays.

Many executives have seen that when people are allowed to have parties or special lunches, work assignments are put on hold while the planning takes place. A common feeling is that the best part of celebrations is when they are over so that people can re-focus on the jobs for which they are paid. This thinking is based on decades of conditioning and has become quite "ordinary".

Executives who want their company to be extraordinary, however, should consider the following truth:

Celebrating progress and success brings more of it.

The Rationale:

1. People like to be part of a winning team. And winning brings celebrations. It is difficult to imagine a winning sports team that does not celebrate. If celebrations were not allowed, athletes would be less motivated. There is a good reason why teams usually win more often when they play at home. The crowd cheers them on and encourages them to perform even better.

2. Celebrations lift spirits and bring life to a company. When cheering is regularly heard in the halls of a company, people rarely feel disrupted. In fact, they feel energized. Great performers, who can easily work anywhere, want to be part of organizations that are full of life and success.

3. When people celebrate achievements, they instinctively feel proud and want to do what it takes to succeed again. It is only human to want to succeed. And since celebrations commemorate success, they serve as catalysts for more of it. Every executive wants their company to achieve its goals, so creating a culture of celebration helps yield consistent accomplishments, year after year.

4. Celebrations cause people to become attached to a company with their hearts, which results in ultimate performance. When people celebrate, their emotions take over. And emotions are much stronger than either money or fear. Organizations full of people who are emotionally attached to their goals, their teams and their company, will considerably outperform competitors who expect their people to execute because they are being paid.