Tips, advice and musings to help you improve your management
and leadership skills
May 18, 2016
We have all heard the warnings from environmentalists who say that our planet is facing dire circumstances.
However, aside from recycling at home, what have you really done to better our environment? Learn More
May 9, 2016
While a great leader can effectively manage their employees, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programme can help to manage your entire business.
Various companies offer their own CRM solutions, such as Salesforce and Zoho. Learn More
March 21, 2016
If you are like most managers, you likely sit down at your desk at 8am, not looking up from documents and emails until lunchtime.
However, new research from the Draugiem Group, a social networking firm, as reported by Chartered Management Institute, found that working for hours straight without break is far from the most productive way. Learn More
August 11, 2015
As a manager, you may try to be fair and reasonable, and always treat your direct reports the way you’d want to be treated.
As such, you don’t reprimand them in public, inquire about their personal lives, and go out of your way to be their mentor. Learn More
January 5, 2015
If you work in an industry that requires your employees to be creative, such as advertising, writing, marketing or such, there are ways you can boost their imagination.
While many individuals do find inspiration within themselves to get the job done, there are several ways managers can boost their employees’ originality. Learn More
Richard Branson once said “No-one has ever accused us of lagging behind. In fact, I’m willing to turn an entire company upside down if it’s time to do that. We’re in perpetual evolution”.
I believe that unless a business is in perpetual evolution, it isn’t going anywhere. If you maintain the status quo, other businesses will quickly overtake you.
But what if you have to turn your business around quickly, for fear of going under? What can you do to increase your chances of success?
Here’s some ideas that will lay the foundation and make it happen:
* Be certain that people within the business know the problems that must be overcome and the actions to be taken. Now is not the time to cover up
* Concentrate on your clear diagnosis of the problem and ensure you’ve set the time aside to execute the actions
* When you make the decisions, make sure they are ones that everyone understands and so can support
* Start the programme by getting the key 20-25% of people on board
* When you have decided on the strategy, the aims, the objctives and the teams, delegate to people who are in the know and whom you can trust
* Remove any obstacles, simplify the structures that will support the changes, increase the speed of change and implement a few action steps
* Measure results and, above all, keep everyone informed on developments
No two programmes will be the same, but if you identify the best way forward for all concerned, you will be able to get through the trying times and look ahead to better times as things pick up.
Many managers practice strategic planning because it offers a clear vision and direction for their department. It’s necessary because, without it, you are driving in the dark with no lights. You’ll get to your destination, maybe, but it will be difficult and take a lot of effort and concentration.
So why should strategic planning be on your list of priorities?
Strategic planning serves a variety of purposes. Here are some of them:
1. It clearly defines the purpose of your business and establishes goals and objectives consistent with that purpose within a stated time frame
2. It allows you to communicate those goals and objectives to the stakeholders.
3. It helps you develop a sense of ownership of the plan.
4. You get the most effective use of your resources by focusing them on the key priorities.
5. You provide a base for measurable progress and establish a process for change when needed.
6. You can listen to everyone’s opinions and build a natural journey towards success for your department
7. You provide a clearer focus for your department, producing more efficiency and effectiveness.
8. It creates a link in working practices between the team and higher management.
9. It develops cohesion between all team members.
10. Everyone sings the same vision statement from the same song-sheet.
11. It increases productivity because of effective goal channeling.
12. It helps solve most major directional inefficiencies in the business.
So there’s many reasons why strategic planning helps you in the short and long-run.
Here’s what you should consider when you are making the strategy:
Mission and Objectives
This is your business vision, including your values and purposes and visionary goals that drive you forward.
You can then perform an industry analysis using a framework like Michael Porter’s five forces.
Then you can match your strengths to the opportunities identified in Porter’s analysis, while addressing its weaknesses and external threats.
To get greater profitability, you seek to develop a competitive advantage. This can be based on cost or differentiation. Michael Porter identified three industry-independent generic strategies from which the firm can choose.
The strategy is then implemented through a series programs, budgets, and procedures. You need to look at your resources and motivation of staff to achieve your objectives.
Evaluation & Control
When you put the strategy into operation it must be monitored and adjustments made as needed.
Take these steps when you evaluate and control:
1. Define parameters to be measured
2. Define target values for those parameters
3. Perform measurements
4. Compare measured results to the pre-defined standard
5. Make necessary changes
When all these have been done satisfactorily, you are well on your way to achieving the goals of strategic planning, and giving yourself and your team the opportunities to achieve the objectives you have aimed for.