Improve Margins FAST – Or it Costs You Nothing!

85fd77e0-3f7f-4831-a769-5e724319c161In our last newsletter “So You Cut Your Costs – Now Recover Lost Margins Fast”, we introduced the concept of SPEED where you could recover 25% to 65% margins starting this week, month or quarter?  To back this up we are going to offer a proposition that you cannot refuse!

The Proposition

  1. Select a high value “CORE” business process that will yield the greatest ROI,
  2. Establish the workshop charter,
  3. Agree targets,  and then
  4. Leave the rest to our experts and your team!
  5. No Cure, No Pay! Nothing to Lose!

“CORE” Business Processes

Examples of “CORE” business processes include those that: impact customers, have a changeability index, have a measurable performance-base, impacts business outcomes, impacts work processes and more.  Candidate processes might include development, financial accounting, information systems, purchasing, programming, customer service, distribution, financial planning, production control, delivery schedules, approvals, personnel, quality, sub-process candidates and more.

Benefits

The benefits of an internal and external “SPEED” program of this nature are overwhelming.  This proven and repeatable process has yielded 25% to 65% recovery in cost savings, increased capacity, minimized waste, improved profit margin, reduced overhead, improved quality, shortened schedules and cycle times, created ecstatic customers,… and more.

Limited Time Offer – Act Now! 

563e7c0e-de97-4749-b4f7-2c09e4345861You’ve heard the expression “Time is money!”  Every day you wait or delay taking action could be costing you.  Call at 713-249-9569 to set your no obligation appointment – NOW!

Call NOW! – You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain!

So You Cut Your Price – Now Recover Margins FAST!

332a3802-5432-4393-97b6-5b5246f0e9feYou cut your price, you downsized your staff and you tried to innovate?  You have even considered the 2015 CEO challenges and strategies focused on human capital, innovation, customer relationships, operational excellence and sustainability.

So what actions should you take now that will assure success as you move forward?  You do not have untold resources available to study all of the potential opportunities.  How can you recover 25% to 65% lost margin, this week, month or quarter?

Business is Process and People Driven

Your business is principally made up of a series of projects, resources, processes and deliverables.  They are either internally or externally customer driven.  Internally, they can range from payroll and accounting, human resources, training, HSE, procurement, administration and more.  Externally, they can relate to management of resources, estimating, bidding, delivering the products and services to meet customer’s expectations and more.  Either way it really comes down to the people and processes as you count on these to delivery results.  If you could find one strategy that could impact your bottom line quickly it would be through the application of “SPEED.”

Application of SPEED

You’ve heard a lot about Lean and Six Sigma as they impact processes in our business.  However, both principles, individually or jointly cannot deliver fast results. Adding the concept of “SPEED” impacts more facets of business and its financials than any other strategy available today.  “SPEED” impacts the time to delivery, allocation of resources, cost of money, efficiency and effectiveness, waste, risk and more.  By focusing on “SPEED” you can impact your bottom-line results FAST.

In order to gain the maximum benefit from the concept of “SPEED” you need the following:

  1. Top-Down Strategy – Commitment to achieving the ROI otherwise it will be construed as another flavor of the month initiative.
  2. Value Focus – Selection of the high value “CORE” business processes that will yield the greatest ROI.
  3. Defined Objectives – Clearly defined goals and commitments.
  4. Bottom-up Redesign – Using the proven “SPEED” implementation model to redesign and acheive the ROI changes.
  5. Implementation – Approve, implement and assure ongoing achievement of the strategic objectives.
  6. Repeat “SPEED” learning for the next high value “CORE” business process to compound the ROI.

Benefits

The benefits of an internal and external “SPEED” program of this nature are overwhelming.  Proven results have yielded 25% to 65% recovery in cost savings, increased capacity, minimize waste, improved profit margin, reduced overhead, improve quality, shortened schedules and cycle times to delivery, creates ecstatic customers,… and more.

For a free introduction and evaluation of how “SPEED” can increase your margins by 25% to 65% in less than a week, give me a call. This short call could result in the greatest ROI you every experienced.

Results Assurance

“If we improved any single process in our business by just 1%, or even 0.1%, but we did that every single day – what do you think the effects would be in a month? In a year? In five years?”

Are you looking to assure more successes with sales, profit, satisfied customers and employees, promotions, bonus or more? Do you know the formula for success and have you mastered the art of achieving success? We all know what we want to do and maybe what we should do, however, do we have the behaviors and the know-how and support needed to achieve real success?

There are four key components to being highly successful. Those are:

  • The Want To!
  • The What To!
  • The How To!
  • The Where To!

If you have ever played organized sports you know what it’s like to have a coach encourage you and help you understand the rules, strategy, plays and the behaviors necessary to be successful in that sport.

Business is the same. Be it building teams, managing people, successful sales, career advancement, project management, profitable operations and projects and more we all need a valid success formula and the support to achieve our goals and objectives. It’s a team sport!  If it was all so easy, then why aren’t you already getting the results and rewards you deserve?

The solution is simple; we can give you a proven process today that you and your teams can use to achieve phenomenal long term results, FAST. The ROI starts on day one!

As some of our clients put it:  “It helped me get organized and focused not only on my work but also on what I want to achieve!”,”It helped our team to discuss shared issues and find solutions to common problems.”, “Our sales could double using this formula!”, “The gains we are realizing are priceless!”

There is no charge for the first consultation.  You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain – more profits, advancements, improved retention of mission critical resources, more sales, satisfied customers, reduced risk, behavioral based change, goal driven management teams with results and more! You could say that we are in the Results Assurance Business!

If you’re interested in learning how this success formula can help you get more from what you already have, then give me a call today at 713-249-9569.  I guarantee it will be life changing for you and your business results!

Dedicated to your success!

Your Results Assurance – Executive Coach

Vendor Risk Management

Risk Managment - A game of chance?
Risk Management - A game of chance?

Vendor risk management is now a very important concept that needs meticulous planning. It is a necessity and also a policy that many companies are following for greater efficiency and profit.

There are many Third party vendors or direct company vendors are present in many industries including software, hardware etc. Today it is an integral part of business to manage information and knowledge, as it is the most important asset of an organization. Information security, legal documentation, trademarks, patents, copyright are some traditional and newly evolved concepts. Starting from design to concept today all can be patented or protected by legal documentation.

Today companies assess the brand value, customer information, internal customer satisfaction report, past and present client information before handing over non public information to vendors, like credit card details, bank information, even address phone numbers in mailing and calling lists, (PCI DSS Requirement 12.8 similarly requires covered entities to maintain a list of service providers with whom card holder data is shared.) To back up the institution’s vendor risk assessments in conversations with regulators and auditors, it is also helpful to keep handy files containing due diligence and audit reports on the vendors or summaries of such reports.

Vendor risk management is the process organizations analyze not only from the point of view of past experience but also in case to case basis that can be particular to the partnership. This is particularly important for companies that relates to data sharing and the outsourcing of business functions and processing. Vendor risk management is a standard practice today and has matured to an extent where some leading financial industry groups such as BITS have standardized the process significantly through their Standard Information Gathering (SIG) and Agreed upon Procedures (AUP) standards. The use of these standards or their derivatives helps organizations quantify the risk that may be involved with their vendors and then incorporate appropriate risk lessening techniques and measures to alleviate the risk.

Vendor risk management process helps organizations to operate in a mutually secured environment that encircles security of organizations information, customer data and also third party vendor’s operational security. It does not eliminate but certainly minimize security concerns involved in third party production of good and services, processing of information and handling data and process. This also enables the third party vendors to draw border line for their employees on basis of certain legal or agreed points within which they have to deliver and work. So it is mutually benefiting the principle organization and the vendor creating a secured platform of operation where both can deliver excellent product or service to their customers or interest groups.

Sushil Shinha has 5 years of exp in Search engine Marketing and Networking Business. Partner Plank is a platform for companies, Vendor Risk Management from different industries to create their own Partner Portal,handle and use web based collaboration to mange Partners on a single platform to increase revenues and enhance operational efficiencies.

For more information Please visit at: http://www.partnerplank.com.

Author: Sushil Shinha

Virtual Assistants – Top Ten Reasons Why A Business Should Have One

Virtural Assistant

Working with a Virtual Assistant is fast becoming a necessity for the busy entrepreneur, small business owner and large organisation. Below are the top ten reasons why a Virtual Assistant is the answer to your outsourcing needs.

1. Allows you to focus on your business.

Having a Virtual Assistant allows you to concentrate on the core needs of your business, and not the time consuming admin chores which are essential but don’t add value. Being forced to concentrate on the tedious task of running your business stops you from thinking about new and exciting ways to expand. Your VA will take away as much of this burden as you need.

2. Saves you money.

A VA offers businesses a full range of office support services at a fraction of the true cost of a temp or employee. There will be no millstone of extra expenses around the neck of your business. VAs are self employed professionals who are responsible for their own office overheads. Compare that with the full hidden cost of an employee with all the responsibilities you have for salary, tax, national insurance, holiday pay, pension benefits, maternity or paternity leave, sick pay, and training. A Virtual Assistant can ensure that any small business has access to the same office support system as a large company – without adding to the payroll.

3. You don’t pay for ‘downtime’.

Businesses only pay for the hours worked or service provided, as and when required. Why pay for unproductive and unnecessary downtime? VAs will not charge you for coffee and lunch breaks, or time taken for their admin. When you hire a VA, you only pay for the time spent actually working for you.

4. Availability outside ‘normal’ office hours.

Virtual Assistants don’t start work only at 9.00am and go home at 5.00pm. Being self employed professionals themselves, they understand the need to be flexible and to provide an out of hours service when necessary, and that includes weekends and Bank Holiday periods. VAs are there for your business needs, not their convenience.

5. Tailored to suit your requirements.

Virtual Assistants can tailor their services to provide assistance for one-off projects or long-term support. You don’t need to ‘fill’ their time on the quiet periods. Whether the service you require is as simple as correspondence or as complicated as project management, a VA can be there as and when required – no more, no less.

6. Commuting? What commuting?!

Location is no longer an issue when using a VA. Through the use of Internet, email or good old fashioned phone and fax, VAs can communicate with their clients wherever they happen to be. Most virtual workers face a commute lasting minutes, or even seconds to their home-based offices. Even if they work in their own offices outside of their home, it’s usually nearby and not dictated by the location of their clients. This means that VAs don’t get disheartened by a demoralising struggle with traffic or public transport, nor do they lose any valuable time which could be better spent on their clients’ work.

7. No need for constant retraining.

With a high turnover of permanent staff in some businesses, the ongoing training involved can add a significant burden to your budget, both in time and money. The same applies if you employ a succession of temps. You will have to train each one to follow your own working methods. Whereas a temp is employed by an agency, the VA works with you. VAs are responsible for their own training in whatever equipment or software is necessary to provide the support your business needs. Your VA will be the one groaning when yet another software upgrade is issued, not you!

8. An offshore office.

VAs can provide a presence in a foreign country for international companies. Use a VA in the UK and you have a mailing address and phone number without the overheads involved in setting up an office. A Virtual Assistant can be your offshore office – from address to accent.

9. Parting is painless.

And when the contract comes to an end, for either side, there are none of the legal responsibilities associated with an employee, nor the personality conflicts which can sometimes taint such situations. Either the VA or the client can decide to end the business relationship, given the statutory minimum period agreed at the beginning. It is merely a business transaction like any other, with no need for tricky and sensitive ’employee handling’.

10. Providing a range of services.

A VA can become your partner in business, offering more than just excellent secretarial back-up. Most have experience in a wide range of business fields, including marketing, PR, editing, event management and website design, to name but a few. VAs can offer services ranging from word processing, invoicing, desktop publishing, book-keeping, travel arrangements, mailshots to more specialised services such as website design, editorial copywriting or event management.

 

Author: Irene Boston

Story Telling As a Project Management Tool

Before the human race had words, stories in gestures and drawings were the base for learning and continuous improvement. Here are 7 ways that stories are still effective tools today.

1. Communicate Stories get the message across in concepts that can be universally understood. Whether it’s pictures on cave walls, parables, fairy tales, folk tales, or anecdotes, people understand a concept in the form of a story. They can “see” what you’re saying in your word pictures.

2. DemonstrateThe word pictures in your story make it easy for your listeners to understand your point. People get it when they hear about the fox and the grapes. They get the idea of applying negative aspects to something that seems too hard to get and how counterproductive that can be.

3. Educate When you present your points in a story you have many devices to help you illustrate the differences between the current situation and the anticipated change. A story with pictures can be that light bulb over the head moment for your audience.

4. Elevate Like an assembly worker who was startled to be called a subject matter expert and seemed to grow in stature, aligning the team members with the hero of your story inspires them to greater things. An awareness of their importance to the project gets commitment.

5. Motivate Deliver a very clear idea of where you’re going. Stories lead to morals or calls to action. They can change behavior for better or worse depending on the speaker’s motivation. A story with a successful outcome brought about by the kind of action you’re encouraging is very motivational.

6. Collaborate The common understanding and vision brought about by your story provide the foundation for the team effort. You’ve got everyone on board and ready to work together. They’re poised to hear and understand the call to action.

7. Activate Use your story as a springboard for the requests you’re going to make. You want some specific tasks to be completed to ensure the successful completion of a project. Make sure the story you select supports the action you want the team to take.

Conclusion: Your presentation will be more effective and achieve the results you’re after with relevant, clear, concise communication in the form of stories.

Got drama in your workplace? Drama comes from confusion and resulting dissatisfaction. Put a solid, structured business system and clear, concise communication in place and end the drama.

Joy Montgomery converts business requirements to system specifications, presentations, and documents in a way that strengthens teams – a friendly way. She puts you in a position to succeed with consistently satisfied customers and employees.

Author: Joy Montgomery

Procurement Sourcing Strategy – 12 Tests That Tell You When Your Sourcing Strategy is Complete

A Procurement Sourcing Strategy is a document that fulfills a number of purposes. For example, one purpose is to succinctly summarise the rationale and evidence for how business requirements will be met and savings made. Another purpose is to act as an internal sales document that gets senior management buy-in to the strategy.

The more purposes your strategy needs to meet, the more difficult it is to decide that the strategy is complete and ready to be issued. So, here are 12 tests you can apply to see if your sourcing strategy is ready to be shared with others in your organisation.

1. Do you have a crisp, persuasive and comprehensive summary of the future sourcing strategy? If you do, then you have the “elevator pitch” (so called because it is a proposition that is short enough to tell someone the key points in the time it takes to ride several floors with a senior manager in an elevator) – that will help you “sell” your strategy to others in your organisation.

2. Does your strategy mesh with your overall department procurement strategy and your corporate strategy? If it does then you have the basis of showing others the value that your strategy will deliver.

3. Does your strategy clearly identify the business requirements it is supporting and is there clear evidence of collaborative working with others in your organisation in developing it? If it does then your strategy has a much higher probability of gaining acceptance than if you did it in isolation.

4. Is your strategy based on a sound understanding of the sourcing history for this category? This will make sure that there is a logical pathway from where you are now to where the strategy will take you in the future.

5. Does your strategy contain an analysis of prices and costs? If it does then you have the means to show how and why your strategy achieves believable savings and what cost drivers it addresses.

6. Does your strategy demonstrate a sound analysis of supply markets? If it does then it will convince others that you have factored into your strategy and developments that are taking place in the market (such as new entrants or product changes).

7. In developing your strategy have you analysed your current and potential suppliers in terms of performance and capability? If your strategy is to meet your business requirements and target savings you need to focus on the high performing and highly capable ones.

8. Does your strategy incorporate a technology map if appropriate? Your strategy should identify and exploit any changes in technology development, trends and innovation.

9. Is your strategy based on a sound understanding of supply positioning and supplier preferencing? This is needed if you are to develop the right strategy in terms of the importance of the category, its supply risk and how key suppliers view your account.

10. Does your strategy contain a vulnerability analysis? Is there evidence of an analysis of potential vulnerability, together with plans to minimise risk to acceptable levels? This is a key consideration for senior management. They need assurance that the organisation isn’t running any unnecessary risks that might destabilise it.

11. Are their clear, agreed and balanced objectives built into your sourcing strategy? These are not just procurement objectives but business and corporate objectives as well. These show how your strategy builds value and achieves buy-in from others.

12. Does your sourcing strategy clearly demonstrate the competitive advantage it will achieve for your organisation (or in the case of a public sector organisation, how it will help a transformation initiative).

Do you want to learn more about effective procurement?

If so, download my brand new free ebook “The 5 Keys to Breakthrough Sourcing Strategies” here:

http://www.SourcingStrategyWizard.com/Sourcing.htm.

Steve Carter is an experienced procurement practitioner and published author and runs online training and coaching courses.

Author: Stephen C Carter
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

7 Leadership Steps to Create High Performance in Your Organization

1. Stakeholder Surveys – You must determine a base line for your employees. You should conduct a series of surveys designed to find out what your employees know, what they don’t know and what they think they know. First, do they understand the true mission of your organization? If you think so then think again, because making money is not the mission. The mission is providing a product or service that customers will buy. Do they know the vision or the mantra of the owner(s)? These questions will take careful crafting before you distribute a survey of any kind. I do recommend that this first survey be done anonymously online, through a service like (Survey Monkey, Constant Contact, etc.) You must learn your employees, no matter how many you have. (1-1000).

2. Communication Development – We think communication is easy. We speak and they listen. No, they may hear, but are they really listening? Furthermore what are they hearing? What do you think they hear and what is really received is most often not even close to the same thing. Studies indicate that communication is the number one problem in any organization. It is also the number one solvable problem in organizations. Communication is simple, but it is not easy to improve communication. Communication is hard work. Communication is the hardest work. We have the spoken word. We have the intent or the philosophy behind our words and we have the unspoken or nonverbal communication that occurs. There is also an organizational culture that defines what it all means. Sometimes because of lack of follow-up or follow-through our words become meaningless. Have you ever heard another co-worker say “just wait on doing that-the boss will forget all about it in a day or two”. You probably said this about your parents. You have e-mail communication, memos, policy manuals, and customs. Do you really expect your staff to analyze this data? There is not a chance this will occur. Simpler is better. Drill down to the core values you wish to transfer and make all your communications validate this.

3. Positive Attitude Development – You may be asking yourself how you can develop someone’s attitude to make it more positive. Well, you can do this by training, coaching and rewarding the types of behavior that reveal the attitude you want from your employees. Stop rewarding bad attitudes. How can I do this you might ask? Well attitude is revealed by behavior and job performance. It’s true you can’t write someone up for their attitude, but you can deal effectively with the undesired behavior that reflects their attitude. Bad behavior must be unacceptable in your organization. First, if an employee has had such a bad day, week, month or even life, they must be prepared to turn on a “Happy Face” and act out the part they have been hired and are being paid to play. Consider for a moment a visit to Disney World. They do not hire employees, they hire actors. They have casting calls. Cast members must be willing to take on a roll and play their part at all times. “Mickey Mouse” never has a bad day. If he does he is likely to get fired. You see we have been wrongly taught that when “OLD JOE’ has a bad day, we must accept it. This is wrong, and a you don’t have to accept this bad behavior anymore. I am not saying you can’t empathize with an employee who may be going through a rough time; we all have or will at some point in our lives and careers. But we are not getting paid to have these bad days at work and if they are so bad we cannot play our part, we must ask to take the day off and come back ready to play the part we are being paid for.

4. Career Development – 50 percent of preparation for career opportunity and advancement is the responsibility of the employee. 50 percent of preparation is the employers responsibilities. If one of these parties does not live up to their part, who will suffer? If you said both will suffer, you’re right. But ultimately your life and career is your responsibility. Have you ever heard someone make the statement “If they wanting you to get that training they would send you and pay for it?” Of course you have, in fact you may have said it yourself. It’s a lie. Don’t let someone else or even your organization decide your future. They may pick a more popular person to send to training and where will you be. You must be prepared to get the desired or needed training on your own and often on your own dime if necessary. I have done this all my life and career and until a few years ago I never really gave it much thought. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Often you are preparing for a career change or role change that doesn’t exist today. This happened to an ex-employee and close friend of mine. He had volunteered for grant writing, inventory control duties (boring) and other projects that most would not volunteer for. A brief number of years later I found a position that would fit him perfectly; that he not only did not know was available, but he would not have been looking for. He agreed to apply for the position. He was selected out of all the candidates and now has nearly doubled his salary. He is the director for a growing nonprofit organization. He is heralded by the board of directors as an excellent Executive Director. By the way, this organization had 7 seven directors in 7 seven years. He is the first male director and the first director to last more than 12 months. Let me give you this disclaimer; I am not saying anything negative about female directors, I am just pointing out he was the first male director-that is all. So always be mindful that volunteering to take on NEW roles may pay dividends in the future. A future not yet visible to you now. I know this very well myself because after 20 twenty years as cop I became a Chief Of Police, a Chief of Field Operations, and later a Vice President of Sales and Marketing and finally I now own my own Employee Training and Business Consulting Company. Several of these roles did not even appear on my radar in advance.

5. Leadership Development – It is positive connotation to be called a leader isn’t it? But always keep in mind that there are two types of leaders. The GOOD LEADERS and the BAD LEADERS. David Koresh, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein were all leaders, but they were not the kind of leaders you should model yourself after if you wish to be successful in the long term. First, leadership requires reciprocal trust from you to others and from others to you. Think of leadership like building a “Trust Bank”, one deposit at a time. If you were to open a bank account today with $100.00 and then tomorrow write a check for $500.00, you would overdraft your account and be seen as a fraud. But let’s say that you had this bank account for several years and then one day you wrote a check that went over the cash you had on deposit. The bank would accept that you are a legitimate customer and that you simply made a mistake. You had built trust with them overtime. Trust is not something that you purchase, acquire or even belongs to you permanently. You must foster trust day in and day out with family, friends, co-workers and sometimes yes, even strangers. So begin today and show proof that you can be trusted.

6. Process Improvement – As soon as you believe the processes in your organization cannot be improved, you are obsolete. Processes can always be tweaked. Even if you don’t see a way to improve them at the time, failing to always be looking for improvement is a major mistake. Processes can always be improved upon. Sometimes a set of new eyes looking at an issue can help. You may even need to let someone outside the department, or even outside the organization ask questions to those close to the issues. These questions might even spark more ideas. Some processes can even be determined to be obsolete themselves. We found once for example in an organization that we were doing 3 forms when only one form was necessary. Wow, a big reduction in work load just by someone asking the right questions. Oftentimes we do what we do because that is what we have always done. Does this sound familiar? Consider this scenario and I will move on; a daughter asked her mother why they always cut off the ends of the ham before she cooked it. Her mother replied; that’s what my mother did. She then asked her grandmother why she cut off the ends of the ham. Her grandmother said; I don’t know why your mother does it, but I did it because my oven was too small to fit the entire ham, so I had to cut off the ends to make it fit. Seems to me a whole lot of ham has gone to waste because no one asked the right questions or was afraid to ask any questions at all. What do you think?

7. Coaching and Support – Coaching and support requires follow-through and follow-up. There are some questions you must ask about each and every one of your employees. First, is the employee a good person? Second, does the employee usually do a good job? If the answer to both questions is yes and the employee is currently having a performance problem then you have a coaching concern-not a discipline problem. If the answer to one of the questions is no, then you have a discipline concern. If the answer to both questions is no-then you have a discipline concern up to and including resignation or termination. Let me also say that to determine these answers you must have spent some time around your employees. You could not successfully answer these questions if you have no personal knowledge of your employees.

Here are few final thoughts; If you are the CEO, you are the “Head Coach” in your organization, like it or not. If you don’t like it, then find someone else who will coach for you. Coaching will have to occur if you want to take your organization from the “Status-Quo”, (surviving) to “High Performance” (thriving). Over 90 percent of organizations are in the status-quo or survival mode. They may be surviving but they will never thrive through High Performance without following these 7 tips. Now go coach your employees or find someone who will.

Sam Slay is a Motivational Speaker, Author, and Trainer with over 20 years experience. For more information on “Bridging the gap that exists between employees and their employers through non-traditional training and coaching.” Visit http://www.357Solutions.com Sam can bring his programs to you. You can even get FREE seats or cash by hosting one of his programs. You can purchase his NEW book “The Masters of Success” co-authored with Ken Blanchard (Author of the “One Minute Manager”). Sam is also the owner of an Employee Training and Business Consulting company, 357 Solutions, LLC. Consider inviting Sam to speak or provide training at your next event. He is only an e-mail or phone call away. He travels from Panama City, Bay County, Florida. Would you like to have your own micro-site and business referral membership? Visit: http://www.WorkJockey.com

Author: Sam Slay
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

How to Keep Workforce Efficient During Periods of Change and Transition

The most important factor in the outcome of any major reorganization is the human factor. “There is no such thing like over-communication during phases of change”. Even if all facts are presented in an all-hands-meeting, messages require frequent repetitions. Employees need to receive and understand the information provided. The following guidelines for executives, managers and supervisors help to improve communication during periods of change.

What is the reason for change – and why now? Even if employees may know the difficult conditions that led to the new situation, many adhere to the past. They may blame external circumstances rather than internal factors for it. The real situation needs to be explained in clear and credible language. Shorthand statements like, “With this measure we will increase our equity base”, even if correct, do not help to understand why change is necessary now.

Repeated information sharing. Often, people do not hear or understand a message right at the first time. This can be overcome with repeated communication – despite the fact that managers’ time is already stretched thin during periods of transition. Information not provided or understood will be replaced with grapevine. Obviously, such substitutes distract employees even more.

Frank information and courage to say: “I don’t know”. In situations of massive change, employees weigh every word from management. It is best to ask employees if they want to hear available information even if it may change in the future, or if they prefer to wait until information has become fact. Employees will assure that they want to hear all available information.

Careful use of language. Phrases like, “it is business as usual” are far too often used by management. The intention is well meant, soothing and taking away employees’ fears. The situation during major organizational change is however not at all “usual”. Managers who resort to such phases may easily be stamped “incredible”. Statements like, “let’s stay focused on work” are much more advisable under such circumstances.

Assurance of what is not changing. Even if the focus is on the transition, explaining which characteristics of the former organization remain helps reducing employees’ fears and makes it easier for them to cope with stress that inevitably accompanies transitions.

Information over form. Information must not be delayed because forms are not available, or the final presentation template has not been agreed to. If information is valuable to employees, it should be provided as soon as possible. Even if available information is incomplete, providing two memos is better than causing “information delay”. Employees will always appreciate management’s efforts to get information to them as soon as possible, even if the form is not yet perfect.

Diligent and realistic transition planning builds the foundation for a successful, in time realization. Execution as a team leads to motivated employees, which results consequently in more efficient, more competitive organizations. Employees build the backbone of most companies. They carry pride in what they do and have usually very keen interest in contributing to make “their” company successful. Communication is a very simple, yet very powerful element of change management to make this happen.

Deiton.

Wolfgang “Deiton” Damm can build on over 25 years of management experience in different industries. With engineering and business degrees, Deiton embraces managerial, organizational, marketing and technical disciplines. He is author of a book and patent holder. Deiton writes articles and blogs about better business practices.

Author Links
Blog URL: http://deiton.com/Wordpress
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/wolfgangdamm

Author: Wolfgang Damm
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Strategy: Simplified

We all read about it regularly & gain insight into the depths of one of the most important aspects of the business world, strategy. But what we generally come across is probably a jargonized version. All the academicians, consultants, researchers & writers talk & describe strategy in a very complex way, as if it were something that was complex & hard to imagine monster of some kind. But the fact is, Jargon sells. So everyone writes about it in a way to make it look impressive & to increase its cost price. In the following article, I will describe corporate & business strategies in a way which everyone will understand easily. I will demystify the jargonized phrases & explain each sub topic in a simple way, as I believe in the ‘keep it short & simple’ ideology of explaining things & concepts.

MEANING:

Strategy!! According to the online Oxford dictionary (oxforddictionaries.com), strategy means:
A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim
The art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle
The Origin of the word dates back to the early 19th century: from French stratgie, from Greek stratagia ‘generalship’, from stratagos.

The underlined definition (first one) above is the simplest meaning of the word. So, if we dwell a bit deep into the meaning of the sentence itself & try to read between the lines, it suggests that Strategy is:
1. A plan of action
2. To achieve a long term aim

In other words, the 1st sentence suggests that Strategy is a plan of the actions.
Now think a while on that & some questions arise regarding the 1st part of the sentence:
Plan???
What plan?
How is it decided upon?
What is the plan set for?
Who sets the plan?
Why is the plan set?
What are the elements of the plan?
When is this plan set?
What are the actions?
How are they decided upon?
Who decides these actions?
When are they decided?
Why do we need to take actions?
How are they related to the long term goals?
Etc. etc. etc. One can go on & on.

The second part of the sentence talks about the long term aim to be achieved. Here too, like above, some questions arise:
Long term aims for what?
What are these aims?
How long is – long term?
Can they be short term also?
How short?
What are these aims for?
How are they decided upon?
Who sets them?
Why are they set?
How is they decided upon?
What are the elements of the aims?
When are these set?

The list of questions above is basically asks the following questions, regarding the aims & the duration (also called strategic horizon period):

What?
Why?
How?
When?
Who?
For Whom?

So, whenever you hear the word strategy, it would mean that a plan is being talked about. Someone saying ‘I look after the communications plan for the XYZ Corporation’ would mean that he/ she takes care of formulating & implementing the communication plan to advertise or communicate about XYZ Corporation or its products.

Let us see an example. Suppose I tell you to go to the supermarket & buy some vegetables. What is the process you will follow considering you are in your own home? Let’s see some questions to be considered:
Which vegetables?
How much?
What’s the budget?
Who will give the money?
By when are the things required?

Etc. etc. etc. Now if you get answers to all the questions & finalize the plan to go & buy the vegetables, it would be called your ‘vegetable buying strategy’ for that day.

Now if I change the setting a bit & say that you are in my house in a different country. Would your approach change? Would the list of questions increase? I am sure it will.
Which vegetables?
How much?
What’s the budget?
Who will give the money?
By when are the things required?

New extra questions:

Where to buy from?
Name of the shop/ store?
What is the local language here?
Do people speak English?
o Can you write it down on a piece of paper in the local language, in case someone doesn’t understand English?
o Can you jot down the list of items in the local language for the store?
What is the currency & denominations?
How to get there?
o Personal transport

Is there enough fuel for the round trip

Where will I park the car there?
o Public transport

How much money would be required for the round trip?
How much time will it take to go there?
Do you have any other information which might be useful to me?

Etc. etc. etc. Now if you get answers to all the questions & finalize the plan to go & buy the vegetables, it would be called your ‘vegetable buying strategy in new market’ for that day.

THE BASIC THOUGHT PROCESS:

The basic thought process to develop a strategy is to think about & answer the following:

Where are we now?
Why are we here? What are the good things & the bad things that have happened in the past due to which we are here?
Where do we want to go?
What do we want to achieve?
Why?
How?

There are many questions to be asked, a lot of data to be gathered, loads of information to be culled out & a good deal of analysis done before one can answer those questions.

TYPES:

So, now we know the meaning & elements of strategy. But what are the types?

Even though the word strategy can be added as a suffix to any term (like technology strategy, innovation strategy, resume strategy, people strategy, road crossing strategy etc.) but, from a business perspective, it’s mainly classified into:

CORPORATE STRATEGY

It talks about the plans of the corporate unit as a whole. A corporate unit consists of many businesses & is in-charge of running them profitably. Corporate groups generally have varied business interests& that’s why they set up many businesses in different sectors to leverage the business opportunities that come up from time to time.

Sam Walton saw a big opportunity in retail & thus set up Wal-Mart. Nokia saw a huge opportunity in mobile market & set up its handset making factory, totally changing focus from its fishing rod making business it was previously in. GE & Virgin groups run hundreds of businesses under their corporate structure.

BUSINESS STRATEGY

This means to plan for successfully running a business. It may be a part of a corporate structure or may be a standalone business.

Body Shop is in the business of personal cosmetics whereas Nissan is in the automobile sector. Whereas Nissan is a part of a corporate group, Body Shop is not.

FUNCTIONAL STRATEGY

This takes care of the individual departments/ functions in a business, like marketing, finance, human resources etc. Every function has various elements which form an integral part of that function. For example, sales, after sales, product, advertising, pricing etc. are the elements of the marketing function. Each of these elements is run by managers & their juniors. These people are often called operational resource because they are the ones who do the job or perform the operations. There is strategy for each of these elements also, but it is called by a different name, objectives. Each of these elements takes care of their objectives. It is worth mentioning that the strategy, goals & objectives, all are measurable & can be quantified against set targets.

Vision & Mission of the group guides the strategic process. The corporate strategy is aligned to the purpose of the organization.

The various interlink-ages, which joins each of the types described, & the strategy framing process, above are:

1. Corporate strategy
2. Business strategy
3. Functional strategy
4. Elemental strategy
5. Individual goals

The process flow depends on the organizational culture. Some follow it 1 to 5 (the drip down approach) others set it from 5 to 1 (the bubble up approach). In the former, the corporate strategy is set & then the chain follows down to individual objectives. For example the Chairman says that next year we shall grow by 5% in our turnover (now he doesn’t say it just like that. He has his own way of gathering information about the economy, the sector etc. & based on these facts he draws the conclusion). This statement sets the process & targets for businesses which may be a part of the group & it goes down to the level of setting the individual targets.

In the latter, the individual targets are set & they lead to the setting of the corporate strategy. For example, the individuals in the sales department are asked to set a target for themselves, in consultation with their managers & thus collating of all targets gives a basic guideline for setting the corporate strategy.

No matter what the approach is, every objective & target is linked to the overall objective of the firm, the corporate strategy which in turn is aligned to the Vision of the group.

DURATION:

The duration is also called the strategic horizon period.

There are short term & long term goals for all the five types of interlinking elements, mentioned above. The duration depends on the organization. Generally short term refers to less than one year & long term refers to a period of five years.

ANALYSIS TO BE DONE:

There are some analysis that have to be done before we can actually draw a strategy. These are classified as:

Internal analysis

o Strengths

What are our strengths?

o Weaknesses

What are our weak points?

o Core competence

What are we best at?

o Product portfolio analysis

What is our product range & their performance from a financial& growth aspect?

o Market portfolio analysis

Which markets are we serving & what is their performance from a financial & growth aspect?

External analysis

o Opportunities

What are the current opportunities we can take leverage of?

o Threats

What are the threats that need to be seen & considered? & in which areas?

o Competition

How is competition doing vis–vis us? Who are the players?

o Economy

How is the economy performing? What is the forecast?

o Legal
Are there any policy changes recently? What is the forecast?

o Socio cultural

Is the demography of our target customers stable or is it changing? How?

o Political

What is the political scenario & forecast? What are the issues & stability factor?

o Technological

Is the technology we are using current? What are the new technologies in the market?

THE STRATEGY PROCESS:

Data gathering
Data analysis
Data refinement
Insights
Implementation
Review progress
Further refinement

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Corporate Strategy setting is basically looking a group from a bird’s eye view. & similarly business strategy would mean to look at a business from a bird’s eye view. If you start imagining this, then you would only see a business unit & its functions & elements. How are they performing, & how they can be improved? This is the basic meaning of strategy.

People who frame strategy are information seekers & data analyzers. Above all they are great thinkers. They have the ability (or develop it) to think the very minute details of all the elements that form strategy at any level.

Information is the key to all decisions. Only time & results decides the rightfulness & the effectiveness of a decision because there are infinite variables & we cannot take care of every one while forming a strategy. All we can do is to put a sincere effort, be prepared for any situation & be responsible & accountable for our decisions.

Information is the key to success & more important than that are smart thinkers.

Gurdeep S Raina
New Delhi

Author: Gurdeep Singh Raina
Article Source: EzineArticles.com