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No decision is no escape

A company should catch free riders early and make them accountable if it doesn’t want to find itself in the doldrums.

Some CEOs and top executives hide behind inaction and refrain from making decisions that might increase for themselves the odds of personal mistakes and the unpleasant consequences thereafter.

An attitude, I believe, that is developed mainly because of those CEOs’ certain insecurities or inadequacies to serve purposefully their designated position.

They will skip responsibility for anything that goes wrong on the pretext of their having nothing to do with what originated the situation and to clear themselves they will not hesitate to implicate others. It seems that the longer they stay in office the more adept they become at distancing themselves from the wrongs, the troubles and the fires.

Such shortcomings, though critical, are not often made apparent early and remain for long unnoticed. So, for not making decisions or for not foreseeing things or for missing to take the necessary initiatives, they escape the consequences for a considerable time.

Even when those CEOs get revealed, their arranged dismissal with a velvet divorce and a golden handshake is far from conveying the true reason for the severance. Furthermore, the long time that passed for their dismissal effaces any connection with the real reason that was their decision-avoidance attitude, obliterating from the corrective action its didactic element or its called-for-justice power that the rest of the company should see and feel.

It is time that companies catch such free riders sooner and make them accountable before their behaviours and attitudes derail the company prospects further.

What I suggest is that for a company it is critical

to spot such top executives’ decision-avoidance early and
that its board or owners should regularly assess its [...]

By |November 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Leadership in shambles – An interview with the company’s CEO

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to offer advice to a company that was doing poorly in its revenues and profits.

We sat with the owner CEO to discuss the company’s state of affairs with me asking and him giving answers.

Q: What about the processes in the company, how satisfying are they? A: They are OK I think.

Do you have some evidence for that, do you have some data to prove your assessment? No, we don’t do any measurements, they will add to our costs.

How about your product line; are there any new products or product improvements that you delivered to your customers say over the last three years? No, our product line is unchanged, we know how to do it well and we stick to it or as you management people say “we stick to the knitting”.

And your staff, your people, how do you look after them? They are all grown-ups, they look after themselves and don’t need anything from me or from anybody else.

When was the last time they were in some training? I don’t have the luxury to take them out of their jobs for them to hear some fancy new ideas that don’t have any meaning for our works here.

I suppose you have some kind of a strategy to aim at something better for your company, don’ t you? Our strategy is simple “work hard every day” something I have taken from my father who established and first run this factory.

Do you have partners with whom you work with like suppliers or your bigger customers? No, these people always want to get the maximum out of you without any regard for you or your business; I never trust them [...]

By |November 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Why you should employ a consultant

What is occasionally said about consultants may be telling of how others perceive their work and usefulness:

(1)    A consultant is somebody who asks to borrow your watch in order to tell you the time

(2)    A consultant is that somebody who for fixing a machine problem charges 100 euros and a 20 center; 20 cents for knocking and 100 euros for knowing where to knock.

Such and similar sayings imply or suggest that a consultant must be adept at critical thinking, must know how to ask for information to gain useful company knowledge and must possess an array of techniques and tools together with capabilities of using them effectively.

From employing a consultant, a company would expect to have some potent cures to its problems and some worthwhile results. So that this is exemplified, some of the primary reasons for the commonest calls for consultancy services are cited below:

(a)    To identify and solve specific problems facing a business:
Here he is called to use his business acumen, to use well-established methodologies, and to utilize his analytical tools and techniques to uncover the root problems and provide appropriate solutions that best fit the particular client company.

(b)   To provide independent assessment and recommendations:
In some companies, internal politics and group interests would immobilize any improvement initiatives especially when leadership does not want to be seen as harming the interests of anybody. Here the consultant will assume responsibility for new proposals taking the weight on his own shoulders and will act as a vehicle and a catalyst for change.

(c)    To add time and expertize:
Sometimes, everyday pressures along with routine operations overwhelm management and deprive it of the time to deal with the long-term strategic issues. Other times the management [...]

By |August 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Stop workplace bullying

Bullying can have many actors. Here we focus on the business supervisor bully.

Many traits combined, give rise to a supervisor bully. Some of the most salient ones are listed in the table below.

No.
The characteristics of the nature of bullies
Evaluation

1

Increased self-confidence

2

Blunt, direct, harsh without considering the effect on others of their sayings or deeds –they order instead of asking

3

Carrot and the Stick mentality only they lean toward the stick and the threats

4

Ego: They believe to be all the “Sun and the Stars”

5

Some may derive a kind of secret enjoyment from the acceptance of their misbehaviors

6

Superior technical/functional abilities: the reason they survive

7

Trust in themselves

8

Poor in Emotional Intelligence

9

Low trust in others

10

Want to do things their own way

11

Equate their harsh manners with their personal efficiency

12

They carry on like this because they perceive it as their personal style that has been accepted and has not been effectively challenged historically

It is true that the nature of the characteristics of a bully, often makes him productive and overtime can sometimes turn him into an indispensable employee.

It is also true that that comes with a cost. Bullying hurts colleagues and often damages the company’s long investment in culture.

We should, of course, be careful as to whom we identify as a bully. The measure should be our guide.

Nor should we allow the problem to reach a state of dilemma, it is either him the bully or the group and its culture, by leaving the problem unattended.

Leaders must make a continual effort to spot any bullying tendencies early and take a series of actions, such as presented in the table below, to correct behaviors and preserve the culture.

No.
A series of Actions by the leader
 Evaluation

1

When Hiring:

Make evident the desired culture of your [...]

By |August 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Drafting strategy in a simple step by step approach

Did the Greeks when they won the battle of Marathon have a strategy? Yes!

A strategy is an essential piece of the puzzle for success; without it we allow external competitors to hit and hurt our business. Yet, many businesses do not have a strategy at least explicitly.

Much has been written about strategy from various angles and depths, in fact, so much that it made the adoption of strategy more obscure instead of clearer. The result is that most of us think that we know what strategy is about but, at the same time, lack the capacity to take concrete steps to shape it and put it into practice.

Below we present by way of example a simple step by step approach to highlight how we can draft a meaningful strategy and a strategic action plan based on the work we did for a client. The sequence, overall, is important. The content of the 3rd column of the table has of course been modified and some pieces are omitted for reasons of confidentiality. The strategy questions are in column 2 and the individual company’s responses in the last column.

Steps
Strategy Question topics
Answers

1
Mission – Why we are in business
To take people to their destinations

2
Values and Beliefs – by what standards we will operate
RespectEfficientAppearance

Dominant behaviour

3
Vision – How we would like to be seen in the future
No 1Preferred provider

4
Strategy statement components

4.1
Objectives – the pylons our vision rests upon
Train stopsTrainsStaff (……………………………..)

4.2
Scope – Where we will compete
Train servicesLondon- Paris – Berlin

4.3
Our advantage
Relationship building with staff and externalsManagement personally involvedKnows the business

4.4
Our competitors’ advantage
Bigger operations – cross-financingMore OPEX & CAPEX – modernizes easierMore in control of [...]

By |July 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

How can Customer Service and Company Efficiency be Aligned for Sustainable Profitability?

If you are not a company like Apple and Google or another innovative enterprise working in blue oceans, and like most, you are in a red ocean with tough competition, you cannot ignore the efficiency factor when you are delivering customer service, in other words, you cannot seek solely customer service excellence without regard to the cost consequences, and the thriving of the company.

Faced with what may seem like a dilemma?

But, it need not be that customer service and efficiency are pulling in opposite directions. The dilemma exists for those that face the matter superficially. For those prepared to deeply examine it, from dilemma it becomes a challenge: How to get the two aligned and mutually supportive.

How then can a company become both? Accept that the middle road and the lukewarm status quo many companies find themselves in is not a satisfying state of affairs.

For a successful business, you have to work on the two simultaneously and to make the one feed the other.

So, on the one hand, you have to become a robust company by shedding excesses, slimming procedures, emphasizing and doing what matters and not what was in the past usually done, delegate to upgrade responsibilities and align deeds and actions with strategy and most importantly raise management and leadership to levels that will glue the company together.

On the other hand, pay attention to the customer service side: work on the culture and Introduce “customer experience” as a guiding beacon for your people; make customer handling not a wasteful unproductive activity of endless listening and aimless conversations but turn it into understanding customer needs that will form the basis of customer problem resolution and subsequent customer delight; learn to adapt to the [...]

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

Sardos Solutions’ works in charts

Sardos Solutions presenting its works in charts in a brief, less than a minute, video:

 

 

 

 

 

Do not sacrifice the efficiency of the many for the exceptional case of the one

A company I was advising had a problem with a slow response to customer connection requests. Procedures were lengthy and of course, the company people had their reasons.

As a result of these lengthy processes, complaints were frequent, and many of the company people were spending a great portion of their work time handling customer enquiries about the progress of some cases.

While 99% of the cases were straightforward, some 1-2% could be more complicated requiring extra processes. Because the latter could not be reliably distinguished from the start, all the cases, simple and complex, were made to follow the same lengthy procedure making the great majority of the 98-99% suffer from unnecessary steps and lengthier response times.

It was also established that even when the more complex cases entailed taking some extra measures, those were at a very low cost. So cost was not a significant factor. A more difficult for us endeavour was to convince the company to accept that its responses will not be 100% right from the beginning in some of the rare cases and should, therefore, be willing, when that happened, to take immediate corrective measures without any further claims from the customer.

After some discussions, the company saw the point and was persuaded to adopt for all cases the simplified procedure. To distinguish, however, as much as possible the few complex cases, the company asked applicants to provide specific information from the start. Furthermore, even in the event that something went wrong because of misleading or false information, the company committed itself to step in to remedy for the omission taking urgently the necessary corrective measures so as to avoid any inconvenience to the customer.

The KPI for the process improved significantly, the [...]

Wise sayings by management gurus

See 1-minute video on what the management experts are saying:

Wise sayings by management gurus

 

Business Internationalization

Summary (extracts): CIIM Project summary211215-pdf
Here we offer the reader a glimpse of the work we did to assist a company with its internationalizing endeavours. The executive summary and the conclusion of the original work are presented unabbreviated, but the study’s other content is mostly presented in charts that show the results of some of the most important aspects of the research topics: Country selection, Situational analysis, How global is the customer, Competitive analysis, Strategy including Internationalization strategy, and Implementation of strategy.
Full text: CIIM Project full text (for those with a keener interest in the subject)