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The Operations Role in the Business Strategy-Making

This article aims to create awareness among companies of the strategic role that their Operations can play as a means of implementing business strategy and to convince them to embrace and support their “Operations” so as to enable them to play this role.

Almost all companies have strategies, but only a few have implementation plans and even fewer have successful implementations. There is a gap between strategy and implementation, and how to bridge this gap remains for most an unknown road.

“Operations” by its very nature has the capacity to execute and implement Strategy by aligning critical operations decisions with the performance attributes required by the business strategy. Operations make decisions in many critical business areas and the way these are made is influenced by strategy but at the same time, it is these decisions that give flesh and blood to strategy.

What the targeted customer wants is the first leg of the marketing strategy. Operations prepare and enable the company to respond to those needs, addressing in this way the second leg of the business strategy and completing the process.

The Operations’ implementation of strategy follows a cycle that may be thought like this:

Operations, first, either by themselves or with the aid of others learn what the customers want; it requires that they listen through surveys and KPI assessments.
Second, they must develop the right products, skills and knowledge that will enable them to deliver what is needed; it requires them to recognize the gap between what they have and what is needed and to try to fill it.
Third, they must reach the chosen markets and the right customers to deliver their products or services; it requires them to establish the necessary channels and target the [...]

By |March 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Our quotes illustrated with pictures

ON LEADERSHIP

 

 

ON RESONANCE

 
ON MARKETS

ON LEARNING

By |February 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The leader’s window to convert glow into action

 

There is a glow after success that radiates from the leader
A glow that is fired up by self-confidence as well as
the enhanced trust of others
But which is not forever. Before the glow fades,
the leader has the most opportune time to push forward
with new thoughts, actions and influence.

By |February 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Why Leadership is not about followers but about influence

The saying that leadership is about followers, is undeservingly detracting from the human capacity and dignity of people who happen not to be in leadership positions.

A follower is someone who does what other people say to do! Therefore, such a saying implies for those it calls “followers”, less value, or a possible incapacity on their part to contribute constructively, or that these people have accepted to surrender and confine their free self and thought to the command of a higher-up.

Even if we consider followership as simply a name given to the people in a company that are apart from the leader, with no intention for it to mean to exclude either a two-way communication or people from contributing, why use such a derogative name? Couldn’t we find a better one? Call them, say in politics, constituents, in business, colleagues or contributors, to also keep current with the modern philosophies of leadership which long ago moved away from the old school of Taylorism that advocated command and mechanistic-like behavior.

Leadership is about influence, not followers. A leader is an inspiring force that appeals to the human emotions of people and therefore to address them as “My dear followers” is incongruous with a noble character that a leader should have, and exhibit.

Influence means the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen. A leader does not operate by orders, does not coerce, nor does he use the authority of his position to force decisions on his people. Instead, a leader communicates, listens and includes, points the way to the goals and inspires action towards them.

A leader is an accomplished person with experiences, knowledge, skills, who seeks the best appropriate vision, and who, in search of that [...]

By |February 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Appreciation: something you must show more often

Don’t be afraid to show appreciation to your employees; while appreciation carries no cost, it is a source of many and significant benefits to your people, and to your organization as well.

Nowadays when innovation and creativity are survival attributes for many companies, free, unhampered thought is very sought after.

Encourage it by honestly appreciating the unique qualities that each of your employees brings into the game. Encourage it by simply saying thank you for something well done.

In the right environment and appreciative climate, people will shift to a higher level of thinking, more capable to achieve synergistic thought and, why not, sometimes, a kind of unique resonance!

 

About the author: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training. Those with further interest in the topic or in other management services are invited to reach him either by email: psardos@sardossolutions.com or phone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, www.sardossolutions.com

By |January 16th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Βάλτε τέλος στη γραφειοκρατία: Δεν είναι ευλογία αλλά σοβαρή ασθένεια

Σταματείστε να θεωρείτε τη γραφειοκρατία ως προστασία. Είναι ασθένεια που σιγά και σταθερά σκοτώνει τον οργανισμό σας με τα ασήμαντα που τα κάνει σημαντικά, αλλά και με τη φυλάκιση σε τύπους και κανάλια του ανθρώπινου πνεύματος και των δεξιοτήτων του προσωπικού σας.

Μακρές διαδικασίες με πολλαπλά επίπεδα ελέγχου όπου τα προδιαγραμμένα μετρούν περισσότερο από την ουσία είναι μερικά από τα χαρακτηριστικά της γραφειοκρατίας. Όπως άλλωστε και το όνομά της υποδηλοί, η γαφειοκρατία δίνει περισσότερη βαρύτητα στο προσωπικό του οργανισμού που είναι πίσω από τα γραφεία παρά στον κόσμο που βρίσκεται μπροστά στα γραφεία, τους πελάτες.

Βεβαίως η γραφειοκρατία έχει κάποιο σκοπό: να διασφαλίσει τον οργανισμό από κακώς πραττόμενα από τον κόσμο του ως αποτέλεσμα είτε κάποιας ανεπάρκειάς του είτε γιατί το προσωπικό μπορεί να ακολουθεί κρυμμένες ατζέντες και όχι αυτή του οργανισμού. Στοχεύει, σε τέτοιες περιπτώσεις, να δώσει τη δυνατότητα στον οργανισμό να εντοπίζει ευθύνες μέσω ενός μηχανισμού που όμως δεν είναι χωρίς κόστος σε ανθρώπινους και άλλους πόρους.

Πολλοί οργανισμοί, θέλοντας διακαώς να αποφύγουν οποιεσδήποτε συνέπειες από λάθη, προσκολλώνται χωρίς επιστροφή στη γραφειοκρατία, κοφεύοντας στις φωνές των πελατών και του προσωπικού τους ότι η γραφειοκρατία τους σκοτώνει. Δεν βλέπουν ή δεν θέλουν να κατανοήσουν ότι από μόνα τους τα ίδια τα χαρακτηριστικά της γραφειοκρατίας κάνουν τον οργανισμό και το προσωπικό τους λιγότερο πελατοκεντρικό, λιγότερο αποδοτικό, λιγότερο επινοητικό.

Όταν γεμίσεις το χώρο εργασίας με διαδικασίες και κανόντες, σκοτώνεις σε μεγάλο βαθμό την πρωτοβουλία του προσωπικού σου, και δυσχεραίνεις τη φυσική ροή, το «ρέζονανς», στην ανθρώπινη σκέψη και δράση. Πρόσθετα δυσχεραίνεις τους πελάτες σου αναγκάζοντας τους σε μακρές, χρονοβόρες δοσοληψίες και διαδικασίες επιδεικνύοντας έλλειψη σεβασμού του χρόνου και των δικών τους πόρων. Ούτε και όταν επικαλείσαι το σκοπό της εξάλειψης της απάτης αποτελεί αποδεκτό υποστηρικτικό η «ιεροποίηση» της γραφειοκρατίας.

Το [...]

By |January 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Stop Bureaucracy: it is not a blessing, it’s a disease

Stop treating bureaucracy as protection. It is a disease that is softly and steadily killing your company by its tediousness and its imprisoning of the human factor.

Widespread, lengthy procedures with multiple levels of checking where the rule counts more than the substance are some of its distinguishing characteristics. As its name implies, it gives more weight to the company people behind the bureau than to the people in front of the business desks, the customers.

Of course, Bureaucracy has a purpose; to safeguard the company against wrongdoing by its employees as a result of either their deficiencies or them pursuing some hidden agendas other than that of the company. It is meant, through its mechanism, to enable a company for any wrong action to identify where the responsibility lies, though not without cost in human and other resources.

Possessed by the fear of wrongdoing and wishing to avoid at all costs any consequences, many organizations hold to bureaucracy steadfastly turning a deaf ear to voices from both their customers and their people that bureaucracy very negatively affects them. They do not see that the bureaucratic traits by themselves make their people and organizations less customer-centric, less efficient, less innovative.

When you fill the workplace with rules and procedures, it stifles to a great extent your people’s initiative and stops the natural flow, the resonance, in the human thought and action. It also harms your customers, as they experience long waits at the expense of their valuable time. It works against the easiness of doing business and shows little regard or respect for the customer’s time and money. And it makes a poor business argument to try to sanctify it even in the name of fraud prevention.

The antidote [...]

By |January 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Building a business culture: Why it matters

Culture is not soft talk. It is a strategic tool. Beyond good climate and relationships, it should be made to promote the business and its goals.

Culture directs in some unobtrusive and continuous way the company’s people as to how they should think, behave, and act.

Because of that, it is of major importance to any company. It follows then that a company should not leave, by lack of proper action, its culture to develop randomly and multiply at the hands of the informal power groups in it. In building a culture, a company should find it more practical to think of it as having two distinct natures:

a)      The relationship nature – This helps to hold the company people together in the best possible harmony and it has as building elements universal principles like honesty, humanity, ethics, good manners etc.. When successful, it promotes trust, understanding, and cooperation and becomes the foundation stone on which to build the next level, the business nature of culture, that follows.

b)      The business nature – This promotes the company’s strategic intent and serves to direct the business emphasis on particular business issues like on efficiency or on customer relations or on innovation and new products. When successful, it directs and aligns people towards the company’s goals.

Each of the two parts by itself cannot give a whole meaning to business culture. To have (a) alone, it would be like operating a societal club which requires its members to respect some principles that hold the members together. Without implying that such bonding is of secondary importance, it alone doesn’t sufficiently serve the purpose for which business exists.

Equally important for the company, it is that its people share the same direction in the [...]

By |December 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Ten tips on how to listen to customers

Listening to the customer is a critical part in making a company’s strategic marketing. Companies exist because of their customers whom they must keep satisfied by translating their wants and needs into designs of products and services.

But, knowing the customer wants is not an easy matter. Customer likes and wishes are always changing by what they see and hear in their immediate environment, or from what they see and hear in other industries, or even in markets in other countries. Their expectations are constantly being set higher and higher, and what pleased them before, is perceived of less value today.

Furthermore, the inertia factor comes in for some companies that seem uwilling to make the necessary effort; they hear the customer concerns once when they start the business, and not enough later. Their emphasis is on production, costs, and efficiency ignoring the customer changing wants. But the customers, when their turn comes, will ignore them too.

To get closer to customers, to know and understand their needs and expectations, companies have to listen to them and do so attentively in a structured way. Here below, we offer 10 tips with a brief explanatory note for each.

1.      Salespeople

Should be trained to understand the business and act as the company’s eyes and ears so as to sense the market field and bring back in the company useful feedback

2.      Frontline staff (Points of sales) or complaints handling staff

Should similarly be trained to observe customer behavior during transactions remaining open to receive customer feedback, and serve as collectors of ideas of what the company should be redoing better, and more effectively and innovatively

3.      Management field visits

Managers themselves should, when necessary, go out for firsthand feedback and new ideas, visit key [...]

By |December 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

A utility-based approach to behavior

People’s behavior can be categorized according to the utility factor that represents them.

The utility factor is the extent to which their behavior is governed by what they give or take and varies between two extremes:

The external utility focus which is the value they seek to obtain from other people and
The internal utility focus which is the reverse and is the value they themselves are eager and willing to give to others

These two poles create between them a continuum of behaviors, the interexternal utility focus space where people seek to find for themselves an optimum combination between what they seek to take from others and what at the same time they are willing to give to others; the varying combination of the two puts people on different points on the continuum line closer to one pole or the other.

Some examples to make the points clearer:

a)      External utility focus people: They tend to approach, communicate, and associate only with people that have a meaning for them and that can serve and enhance their purpose, while they show a tendency to ignore the rest.

People in this group act very selfishly and may, in the end, find themselves being characterised as egoists.

b)      Internal utility focus people: They tend to make themselves available to be approached by other people that may need them and are open to offering freely their knowledge and advice to help others become better.

These people are altruistic idealists mostly endowed with great knowledge like gurus that have reached a climax in their field and who are kindly disposed to helping others.

c)      Interexternal utility focus people: This group covers the space in between the two poles. The people here are spread along the continuum line [...]

By |December 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|