Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘General Management’ Category

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=number+one&iid=7291968″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/7291968/winners-podium-wood/winners-podium-wood.jpg?size=500&imageId=7291968″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

‘We have the best working environment around here’ … ‘we changed the whole competition landscape, we are the best now and our competitors have to live with it’ … ‘Our products/services are not comparable to others, we are the best’

Once such kind of mentality starts flying around your organization, then it is in need for a serious therapy; it is going through the ‘illusion of the best’ syndrome! And once you have it, it is the downhill road thereafter.

There is no doubt that the marketplace is a competition arena. However, deciding who is the best should be left to stakeholders and unbiased observers, certainly not to the organization managers only!

And let’s give it some thought; in a business environment, what is the best? the best compared to what? and in which categories? And should we compare our products/services/practices to our competitors only? in our environment only? or should we do that globally? I am sure you can come up with endless series of question like these …

My argument is that the whole concept of being the best should have no place in a business environment. The ‘best in ….’ is a relative term even if based upon ground measurements, because, at the end, those measurements are based on agreements between a number of people.

The illusion of being the best could be damaging on the long run. It generates demotivation and kills innovation; why should we do more, we are the best?!

It happened that I have being sitting once with one of the so-called-managers of one of the biggest companies in the country and he was talking about how they are conducting some of their business. The strange thing is that he was referring to many managerial flaws in his talking, and he was acknowledging those flaws! I asked him ‘it is great that you can put your fingers on the wrong doings that are causing pressure on your staff and your productivity. So why don’t you solve these issues?’ His reply was ‘this is how we do business around here!’ I said ‘but there are many companies around the world that faced similar problems and there are many lessons that you can get advantage of.’ He replied ‘No No No … do not talk about companies around the world. Tell me about local companies. We are the best company in the area and this is how we are running our business’!!!!

I hope you got what I mean now!!

 

p.s. I think the ‘illusion of best’ syndrome fits Jim Collins’s stage number one of declining organizations; the stage he calls ‘Hubris Born of Success.’ Read more about it in his book ‘How the mighty Fall, and Why Some Companies Never Give in’ published in 2009.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

One of the most bizarre techniques that is sometimes adopted by weak managers of culturally weak organizations is the use of threatening language in the communication channels across the organization levels!

The repeated use of expressions like (or else … those who are not with us are against us … I will remember that in the annual appraisal … if you do not want to stay on the ship) in meetings, emails, circulations, or even in the company written policy, cause nothing on the long run but the loss of trust, disappearance of loyalty, and performance tardiness.

What provoked this post is a memo by one of the international brands working in Saudi Arabia. It is hanged beside one of its warehouses in front of everyone to see. It is written in Arabic; but here is its translation:

Attention!!!!!!!!!!!! For all staff, please do not set anywhere outside the store unless it is a permitted area. If these instructions are not followed, the store management will have to take any necessary action.

Regardless of the main topic of the memo, which is the staff seating arrangements, the memo was going somehow OK till the threatening language begun. As someone who knows nothing about the internal processes or culture of this company, reading these few lines I can tell that it is based on fear and intimidation. I can picture how demotivated their staff are and how the internal communication channels are filled with tension.

I am not saying that companies policies should not contain rules against misbehavior and so forth, but I am saying use them wisely, trust your staff, and do not threaten them. If you cannot build your company, department, or team culture based on trust, rest assured that you are going … nowhere!

Read Full Post »

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=manager&iid=284641″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/284641/portrait-business-people/portrait-business-people.jpg?size=500&imageId=284641″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

If you are ‘that-kind-of-manager,’ then you will must enjoy the following tips on how to burn your staff. And you do not have to worry about what other people would say or think about that, they just do not understand your style and how you think you are driving your staff to be big performers. And hey, you are ‘The-Manager,’ people have no right to question your ways of conducting business … and from there we start:

  • Keep reminding your staff, and everyone around, that you are The Manager. If they are working as your subordinates, then they should better understand it very well because there are consequences (read the next tips). You can remind them of your superiority in various ways: in meetings (e.g. start the meeting with something like ‘as the manager, I have decided’), in phone calls (e.g. you can say something like ‘tell them to do it because the manager said so’), and in emails of course (e.g. send emails saying stuff like ‘I have noticed, as The Manager, that …’).
  • Try to integrate some military practices into your style. Your requests should be treated as orders; do-first-ask-later kind of why (on the long run, they should be trained not to ask at all!).
  • Do not share your strategy, your plans, or the company strategy with them. They do not have the mental capacity to deal with it.
  • Take away these words from your dictionary and pretend that you do not understand them: overloading, logical arguments, and work/life balance!!
  • Do not allow them to discuss or circulate modern management articles; this is a place of work, not a university. And they have to understand that your abilities and experience exceed all that academic mumbo-jumbo.
  • Do not care much about processes nor scope of work. Let there be processes, but they should know that you have the power to overrule them whenever you like.
  • From time to time, ask them to do illogical or irregular stuff. Lists of things nobody cares about, check ups that do not make sense and alike. By doing so you are training them on obedience. You do not have to explain yourself, remember the tip about military practices.
  • Always, and I mean, all the time, give them a very tight time limits to deliver your requirements. If a certain study normally takes 3 days to accomplish, come at the last minuet and ask them to finish it before the end of the day.
  • Keep the sense of urgency and every-thing-is-a-priority way of work. They should know that you do not care about them because there are always bigger picture that they do not, and cannot, see!

So … do you have any more tips to share with us?

Read Full Post »

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=email&iid=5265765″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5265765/close-email-address/close-email-address.jpg?size=500&imageId=5265765″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Sometimes a phone call can serve the purpose of a series of emails and get the job done faster … and sometimes it does not!

I believe that each and every staff should develop his/her own style of communication and should know when to use emails, phone calls, or call for a meeting. Such styles, or skills, are built with training and experience. Eventually, a staff should have a sense of how to get the job done and in the most efficient way.

For that, I cannot really understand managers who shout things like ‘Why did not you call him? do not send more emails … call him!!’ or ‘send an email and after 10 minutes, follow up with a phone call.’!!

Help your staff build their skills instead of telling them what to do!!

Read Full Post »

Days are passing by and the end of the year is around the corner. For a lot of companies and a lot of managers, these three last months of the year are so critical. It is time to revise plans, goals, budgets, and not to forget, performance appraisals are just around the corner.

In such heated situations, there are two types of leaders that you may encounter, or might be yourself:[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=clowns&iid=76347″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/76347/clown-business-suit-with/clown-business-suit-with.jpg?size=500&imageId=76347″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]

  • True Leaders: Those who already have well crafted planes and smart objectives earlier that year. A lot of their goals have been accomplished or about to be completed. However, they might face some missed targets and deadlines here or there. In such situations, they calmly and logically sit to restudy the situation, and ask themselves and their team members a lot of why’s and how’s. They turn obstacles into opportunities and failures into lessons learned.
  • Clowns: Those who built their plans on vague inputs, poor data, and sometimes pure dreams!! Most of their goals are missed, if not all. But nothing will stop them from raising their voices and pointing their fingers on everybody around them, even their own team members. Whenever around one of those, you will start witnessing a lot of fightings during meetings, a lot of heated emails, and a lot of passing the ball theory practices!

Look around you and check; which type of managers are you pumping into more often?

Read Full Post »

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=airlines&iid=292693″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/292693/airplane-over-runway/airplane-over-runway.jpg?size=500&imageId=292693″ width=”234″ height=”350″ /]The Saudi low budget Sama Airlines is suspending its operations in the Kingdom starting today until further notice.

Should this be a surprise? I would say: No, it was expected!

The whole scene of civil aviation industry in Saudi does not look that good. Whether we are talking airports or airliners, It is a mess, to say the least!

Operating an airlines is a tough business, no doubt about it. Lots of head to head competition and very turbulent business environment. And when you are working in a messy market like the one both Sama and Nas had stepped in, the situation becomes even harder.

I am not sure what kind of business plans they had both studied to reach the decision that the Saudi market is an attractive investment opportunity. Maybe by only looking at the status of Saudia and how almost all Saudis agree that it suck! the idea of having a second airlines should’ve looked appealing. The fact of the matter is that Saudia is a company both owned and supported by the government. And what makes it even worse for commercial activities in such market is when the regulator (GACA in this situation) does not provide any guarantees to protect the fairness of competition. Maybe the new comers received some promises, but businesses are not usually built on promises, they are built on facts, at least when it comes to the market environment.

Now both of the companies are waiting for the promises to be fulfilled especially for fueling prices. It could be a tactic played by Sama to get the attention of higher authorities although it is a hugely damaging move to the company name (especially that Nas did not play along, if it was a tactic!!)

It is another sad story added to the book of sad stories of Saudi airlines business!!

Read Full Post »

For any business owner or leader out there; the moment of truth kinda of question could be the following one asked by Jim Collins (according to this HBR blog post):

If your company went out of business tomorrow, would anybody really miss it and why?

Although it’s a simple question, its answer contains the essence of the organization, its soul, and its whole purpose of being alive and competing in the market. If a leader or a number of executives failed to answer such question, then there must be something wrong!

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=confused+woman&iid=5191135″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5191135/close-young-woman-with-her/close-young-woman-with-her.jpg?size=500&imageId=5191135″ width=”234″ height=”234″ /]There are some interesting points the blog post is referring to in case a leader wants to know why his/her company should be missed. But let’s look at it from the other way around. Let’s see it through the eyes of you; the customer. Think for a moment of a company that you will be really missing if you heard now that it will be a history starting from tomorrow, and why would you miss it?

If you honestly answer this question, your answers will be almost the same as those mentioned in the HBR post, the answers that every business leaders should be aspiring to and working on having in his/her company.

Allow me to be the first to start … These are my choices:

  • Starbucks: This is by far my most favorite brand in the world. You could even say that I am emotionally connected to it. Noting that I am neither a heavy coffee drinker nor someone who spend a lot of times in coffee shops. But I admire it because I feel that they care. They care about the quality of their products and the quality of the services they are providing.
  • Sony: The Japanese electronic manufacturer will be my second choice. I trust whatever products they’re producing. Whenever I see Sony, I see high quality.
  • P&G: Proctor & Gamble, the known FMCG manufacturer. There are no choices whenever that one of the products to be choosing from carries this company name. They have a vast range of brands under P&G, and they are all my first choices especially in Health & Well being and Household care categories.

Now, what are your favorite brands and why?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »