Time Management Definition – The 6 Essential Elements

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Time management is an invaluable skill necessary to live a quality life. In our current society, people are constantly struggling to attend to their duties and responsibilities and find time for leisure, family and self. In order to handle the demands of life without going crazy, one should learn the ability of management. However, what is time management?

Before going into the six essential elements that comprise the time management definition, it is important to know how this skill influences an individual's overall quality of life. Time is one of the skills that an individual has to learn to be productive. A person's productivity is measured on how much he can do and achieve at a given period. Personal productivity is one of the vital elements of life management. If one can master life management, one can live life to its fullest.

Now that the relationship of time management, personal productivity and life management is made clear, it is time to move on to the six essential elements of the management definition.

  1. Managing Goals: Goals are important in a person's life. Without goals, one will wander aimlessly through life, haunted by the feeling of not accomplishing anything. Personal goals will steer an individual in the right direction and will help this person focus his strengths in achieving that goal. Thus, at the end of the day, this individual will have a feeling of self-accomplishment.
  2. Managing Tasks: Every person tackles important tasks everyday. Managing these tasks is imperative to make sure that an individual do not end up with too many things to do. In addition, managing tasks will ensure that a person do not forget any important errands or miss any deadlines.
  3. Prioritize: Learning to prioritize is also a good skill to complement managing tasks. Since time is very limited, it is vital that a person completes his priorities first before anything else. That way, a person gets closer to accomplishing his goals every single day. Prioritizing is simply knowing what is necessary to finish a goal and knowing what to do next.
  4. Utilizing the Calendar: A calendar is important to manage one's time fully. Whether it be a desk calendar or an electronic one, it is critical that a person have one. It is also recommended, if you have multiple calendars (Outlook, mobile phone, PDA, desk calendar), that all calendars be synchronized so as not to miss anything.
  5. Procrastination Management: Everyone has a tendency to procrastinate and, for some, it is a feeling that is very difficult to resist. However, for one to be a successful time manager, one must learn to resist the calls of procrastination.
  6. Reminder Systems: A good follow-up system is necessary so old tasks or projects are not forgotten. There are new things to do each day that might need much attention and a good reminder system will definitely help manage all of these tasks.

Time management definition: Overall, time management is a skill to help an individual manage his time to accomplish his tasks, reach his goals, and still make time for himself.

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Source by Harri Jussila

Characteristics That Help With Managing Your Self Control

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Self-control is among the diverse categories of personal development. It is the actual ability to inspire yourself to choose the important things in your life and restrain from our animal-like desires. Yet, the foundation of this personal development is situated in a powerful perseverance and correcting of oneself. Self-control creates a type of self-confidence within us towards things that we believe are hard to accomplish. It creates some sort of drive connected with determination within us which make us attain our desired goals.

However, it is necessary that a good amount of relaxation be obtained to adequately implement self-control in our everyday life. A person needs to find ways to de-stress themselves. It can be by simply listening to music or work out along with other things that will enhance one's energy level. This will make it possible for the person to complete their task. For example, when there is a student who would like to finish a goal of finishing their entire study course in one day for a specific topic, then he would be studying the entire day. But, this could produce a lot of pressure for his mind and hinder his ability associated with learning. Therefore he might consider breaks in between to unwind himself, then this will decrease stress and increase efficiency.

Self-awareness will be the main factor that needs to be resolved for successful self-control. One should first examine one's personal character and figure out the strengths and weaknesses. Next, be ready to endure the temptation that you will face in your everyday life with regards to your weakness. For instance, lets say you like candy and you are used to having it every day, you will need to make efforts to limit it to only two times a week. This is one way you can strengthen yourself and contribute to your own personal development of self-control.

So we can say that self-control is really the ability to deny one's own temptation to a particular thing or even a task. This brings us to another part of self-control Ie positive perseverance. Our commitment causes us to have a serious choice to accomplish a task. Most of us have the habit to make up our mind for a mission, but because of our laziness or wish for other comforts, we are not able to abide to it. The most typical example of this can be working out in the morning, which most of us usually stop simply because we do not want to give up our sleep. Here is where many of us clearly realize the heart and soul of a solid commitment. A person having a strong commitment will give up his conveniences and create his goal.

Lastly, is the element of self-discipline. All these 3 aspects of self-control are of course interconnected. However, each of them offers a distinct role to play. Self-discipline pertains to battling with one's personal emotions. In this, one has to uncover the real trigger associated with one's temptation and purposely stop it by distracting oneself with other attention-grabbing activities. This will in turn, create a strong will power. Considering your actions and the outcomes of them will greatly reduce your chance of being tempted as well.

Having a positive mental attitude in your life will definitely take you far on your road to success. For this reason, self-awareness, strong commitment and self-disciplines together will contribute to your success in having better self-control and to further your personal development.

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Source by Terry Phong

What Is A Sales Pipeline And Why Is It Important?

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A Sales Pipeline is a useful concept used by Sales Managers, individual sales staff and the owners of small businesses to quantify the demand for their products and services. Regardless of what you're selling, by effectively managing your sales pipeline, you can smooth out customer demand and create a more stable sales cycle with more reliable results.

A sales pipeline works by placing cohorts of leads or prospects at the different stages of the sales process / sales cycle, and then measuring their progress through the pipeline, from unqualified lead to satisfied repeat customer.

Unfortunately for you and me, the pipeline has a tendency to leak. Leads and prospects fall out of the pipeline on the way, failing to become the happy customers we know they could be.

At a gross level, sales pipeline management is nothing more than estimating incoming cash flow. We look at our leads and prospects, make some estimates of the likelihood that they'll eventually buy our products and services, and feed that information along with their expected spend into our projections to find out how much revenue we're expecting to make.

But the real power of sales pipeline management becomes clear when we establish proper metrics and put processes in place to respond to changes in those metrics. To illustrate, consider the following story.

A retail sales client of ours once called us to ask if we could help him improve his company's sales. He explained that sales revenue was not high enough, and that his staff needed training in closing sales, so that they could close more sales and therefore improve sales revenue.

When we spent some time with his staff, it became clear that there was nothing wrong with their ability to close sales. Instead, we found that staff were finding it difficult to start or carry on a conversation with a customer. Most potential customers were walking into the stores, then walking out again without really having an opportunity to talk about the products they wanted to buy.

By analysing the sales pipeline and the particular points within the sales process where more customers were "leaking" from the pipeline, we were able to determine that the biggest problem staff had was not in closing sales, but in opening a dialogue with customers.

Once we established that, we ran some training courses and created training aids designed to assist staff in opening a sale and keeping a conversation going.

Year on year sales at each store increased by up to 20%.

There are several benefits to managing your sales pipeline effectively:

  • By focusing on the entire pipeline instead of taking a short-term focus on closing sales, or getting a single high-value contract over the line, demand for your services will be smoother and your cash flow more reliable.
  • Making incremental improvements of as little as 1-2% in your conversion rates can increase your sales by much more.
  • An in-depth analysis of when and why your leads and prospects leak from the pipeline will pinpoint specific areas for improvement and help you get far more value for your training dollar.
  • If you keep track of which prospects leak from your sales pipeline and which prospects do not, you can construct a profile of prospects who are more likely to buy and prospects who are less likely to buy. This knowledge will help you to focus your marketing material and allow you to more accurately qualify your leads, leading to a more streamlined, more efficient and less costly sales process.
  • Once you have established an accurate sales pipeline, you can use it to plan for new product launches. If you were to plug all the information about your new product into an existing sales pipeline, you would quickly get a pretty good idea of ​​how many leads you're going to have to generate to reach your new product's sales target. This will in turn assist you in deciding how to launch the product, and give you an idea of ​​how much it's going to cost. If you're going to need 500,000 leads to reach your sales target, you're probably going to have to look at a mass market advertising campaign.

In the information age, it always pays to be informed.

© Change Factory 2008.

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Source by Mike Dwyer

Dealing With Challenging Behaviours of Learners

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Case Study and Professional Discussion- Dealing with Challenging Behaviours of Learners

"Our thoughts create our reality – where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go."
Peter McWilliams

A range of factors that may underlie different behaviours in the lifelong learning sector are as follows:

A: Major / general factors
1. Cultural / social background
2. Family / religious background
3. Illnesses / disease / abnormalities / learning difficulties
4. Learning styles
5. Educational background / influence
6. Peer pressure
7. Poor emotional / social / language skills

B: other factors:
1. Lack of support from teachers / peers / parents
2. Lack of motivation
3. Addiction to illegal substance eg drugs
4. Low self esteem
5. Love / relationship problems
6. Pressure at work- for working students
7. Time constraints
8. Effect of regular medication eg temperamental, tantrum, impatience
9. Classroom geography
10. Addiction to computers eg games, social sites, pornographic pages
11. Boring topic / tasks
12. wrong levelling

This is an excerpt from an Ofsted article re- managing challenging behaviour:
Number 16 in the article "Behaviour: the national picture
16. "A survey undertaken in 2003 on behalf of the Youth Justice Board showed that youth offending in all contexts showed a slight decline over the previous two years. Research commissioned by the Board provides a good understanding of the factors in young people's lives which make offending more likely. These factors are:

• aggressive behaviour by the young person, including bullying
• family conflict and breakdown
• low achievement beginning in primary school
• lack of commitment to school, reflected in truancy
• peer involvement in problem behaviour
• the availability of drugs

All of the above factors that underlie different behaviours contribute to one common effect; disturbed learning environment.

"As you begin changing your thinking, start immediately to change your behaviour. Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become. Take action on your behaviour. Too many people want to feel, then take action. This never works. "

John Maxwell quotes American Author and motivational speaker

The impact of different learning behaviours varies. In my ESOL class where the learners are adults, the effect seems to be minimal. The learners are almost autonomous and feelings such as embarrassment and shame seem to be stopping them to query if something is not understood. However for absenteeism and tardiness the direct effect is for the teacher who always has to explain for the benefit of the late comers and for those who were absent from previous sessions. Learners are affected too because much of the time is consumed for review of past lessons.
With the new group of learners I have from the foundation college, every behaviour matters.

Most of the students show enthusiasm towards tasks given but they seem to be short with patience and focus is also quick to diminish. A lot of them need individual support for every task. There are few boys who talk so loud and even swear and verbal warnings seem to be taken on board but only for a short time. The class is disturbed for every noise and chattering that seem to be unending. There are few who are attention seekers and the environment is more likely to be chaotic with this kind of learners. One negative behaviour, results to a chain of more negative behaviours that could totally ruin the whole session. One of the tasks in my first session at the foundation college involved a lot of internet use. I was monitoring some of the students and noticed that they would at times navigate to sites with images of almost naked women. I gave them verbal warning to make them aware for the consequence of their actions. The group I was working with were all focused except for the one who showed much enthusiasm at the start of the activity by starting the task immediately, but as we went along his enthusiasm faded that made his partner for the task lost interest as well. In situations like this, aims, targets and learning outcomes are at stake.

Targeted time to finish a task is always the worst affected.

Different learning styles for every learner and a single simple tantrum could disturb the focus or interest of another.

Legislations are relevant to managing behaviour in the learning environment to safeguard the right of every child and to every teacher as well. Without legislations as guidelines for protection for both parties, better learning environment is at stake.

"A negative emphasis in behaviour policies often results in a focus on dealing with problems after they have occurred." Managing challenging behaviour pp10.

Organisational policies are important to manage behaviour in the learning environment.

In the FEDA publication 'Is not misbehaving' Mitchell et all (1998) propose that for disruptive behaviour to be managed successfully organisational systems need to be in place.
Areas suggested in the publication include:

• Learner discipline
• Learner attendance
• Learner lateness
• Use of mobile phones
• Violence
• Smoking, alcohol, drug abuse
• Harassment and bullying
• Comments related to inequality

Organisational orders have key players to promote "ordered" environment because students prefer an ordered environment as a basis for creativity and learning.

• Learners
• Teachers
• Managers

Organisational policies relevant to managing behaviour in the learning environment vary in the extent to which disruptive behaviour impacts on teaching / learning. This means there is no 'one size' that fits all. "Is not misbehavin" (1998)

One widely held principle of effective punishment is that it should never breed resentment.

These are ways of encouraging behaviours that contribute to an effective learning environment.

Giving positive feedback is one sure way to boost a learner's motivation and confidence and this would result to a positive behaviour towards learning as suggested by Petty (2004) in his book Teaching Today.

• Medals: This is information about what a student has done well, eg 'Your paragraphs and punctuation are good' or 'That's good evidence' written in the margin next to a well made point by the student. Grades and marks are measurements not medals. Medals are information about what exactly was done well.
• Missions: This is information about what the student needs to improve, correct, or work on. It is best when it is forward looking and positive. eg 'try to give more evidence for your views' or 'Use more paragraphs to show the structure of your writing'. Again, measurements such as grades do not usually give this information.
• Clear goals: the medals and missions need to be given in relation to clear goals usually best given in advance. Goals might include assessment criteria such as 'use paragraphing to show the structure of your writing' or 'give evidence, illustrations for the points of view you express'.

As the saying goes "give credit where credit is due" learners will be inspired to behave well in a learning environment if they are praised and acknowledged for their good work and in my experience as a teacher, this has worked all the time. The class at the Foundation College needs this style to encourage learners to do more and I have proven this last Wednesday, the 18th of March, 2009, in my first day, the learners showed more enthusiasm when I praised the art work they did as a group and individually praised them as well. This way made them finish all the tasks given.

Individual learning styles should be acknowledged by the teacher to encourage good behaviours. Another way is to make a lesson with interesting tasks that are common among the mainstream of youth today. Giving attention and support when needed is also a tool. One to one tutorial is one good way to access to the learner in a deeper scope to know what his / her needs are.

"I praise loudly, I blame softly"

Catherine the Great quotes

Strategies for encouraging behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment must be used to maximise learning. The use of merits and medals is number one in my list to encourage learners to do more and better. Disruptive behaviours are always present in an environment especially if the learners are with a lot of issues like learning difficulties, family problems, personality issues etc. so what strategies should be used to encourage them? Making them feel important and giving them responsibility to promote inclusion is one tool to minimise a possible untoward behaviour. Setting ground rules with cause and effect awareness will also make learners know their limitations and boundaries. A student who is more likely to create disrupting behaviour could be grouped in a task with learners who are keen to learning to make him / her aware that good behaviours by students always produce excellent outcomes. He or she will be challenged to do better because he would feel the pressure to be better to get equal with the learners he / she is with. Knowing what a learner's interests and expertise is important element in making lesson plans / tasks and with the use of the discipline for "every child matters" are good tools to encourage behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment. Reflective practice is also a strategy to encourage behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment. If you reflect and analyse how and what to do next about something that went wrong; problems will be identified and will be given actions. Transactional analysis is also a theory to put into practice. Be a nurturing parent if you must to pacify and to show authority that at times is needed to give the signal that there is a boundary between the learners and the teacher.

A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man.
John Adams

Ways of managing behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment are tools to be practiced to maximise learning. Ways like medals and honours are good considerations to boost a learner's self esteem and motivation. Consistency of approach is also a good way to show that the teacher is serious about how she / he deals with the learners when it comes to behavioural management. A close liaison with parents must be practiced as well to make all concerned know what is going on.

A school's ethos provides the context within which children feel secure, know they are valued as individuals, are safe from emotional and physical harm and are able to discuss their interests and open about their fears if the atmosphere provides them not only support but also concern. Appropriate adaptation of the curriculum is also a way to capture students' interest. Flexibility is also a must to make sure that every child matters in a learning environment. If a curriculum and the level are rightly matched, a sure way to better learning is visible.

The use of strategies for managing behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment must always be taken into account. Looking at learners' strengths and areas for development and making them as starting point for a positive learning environment is helpful to promote inclusion. If the idea of ​​inclusion is evident in a learning environment, disruptive behaviours could be avoided. In the class where all the learners are with learning difficulties, disruptive behaviours such as disinterest and impatience are likely to happen. One strategy that I used during my first day was an unnoticed push because I praised everything a student did to maintain their interest and finish what they were doing. I noticed that they become so easily destructed just by simple annoyance like noise but when I started a gentle push through praise, they got back to what they were doing with more enthusiasm.

Giving emphasis to the importance of literacy and numeracy by giving more tasks filled to be better in these two fields will improve the communication skills of students; a skill that could be the reason why a student becomes disruptive. Not having the ability to communicate is a barrier that could stop a student to connect with peers and teachers making him a vulnerable victim of abuse from peers and this may lead to behavioural problems. A good quality of teaching is the prime ingredient to get learners' interest. If lessons are rendered with good subject knowledge, a learning session is most likely to be active and without any disruptive behaviours. A one to one tutorial must always be offered to learners to make them feel their importance in the process. A student with disruptive behaviour must be involved in group works with learners who are with better behaviours and interests to make him feel responsible and challenged.

My own approaches, strengths and development needs in relation to managing different behaviours in the learning environment are somehow a combination of how I was disciplined at school in the Philippines and the new approaches learned in the DTLLS course. In the Philippines, teachers are highly respected. They are considered as second parents so disciplining a child with behaviour problems is a part of his / her job. Physical harm as a punishment is not legally allowed anymore physical harm is not the only way to discipline students. There are written orders clearly imposed set as guidelines to manage disturbing behaviours. Teachers in the Philippines in my time acted as imposers of things to be done in the learning process. The tasks are taken more as to avoid embarrassment from being picked on as a slow learner which was not fully helpful because there is a concrete barrier between the teacher and the students. As a teacher now myself, I would like to get involved in the process not as a source of fear but as a source of motivation for a learner to get involved in the whole learning process; however the barrier between the teacher and a learner that was imminent in my school days should just be taken as boundaries by both the teacher and the learner. If there is a barrier, communication is deterred. A boundary with communication between the teacher and the learner is a good tool to harmonise professionalism in teacher student relationship inside a learning environment. In my peers and tutors comments in my micro teach, they said I showed classroom management by imposing authority and because of my good subject knowledge. I believe that excellent subject knowledge could make a learning environment interesting for learners. The first placement I have, the ESOL class is an ideal group. All the learners are adults and there are no behavioural problems going on. Frequent absenteeism and tardiness are the only problems at times because of their individual circumstances. They are all working students and some are with young children that's why at times being absent could not be avoided.

The new class I am with at the foundation college is a challenge for me. I believe I have to put into practice all the theories like transactional analysis, reflective practice, Kolb's learning styles model and experiential theories to promote a better approach towards teaching.

Ways to adapt and improve own practices in relation to managing different behaviours in the learning environment are as follows:

As per suggested in "Behaviour Management, A whole organisation approach" by learning and skills development agency, Northern Ireland, knowledge about these occurrences is a good suggestion on where to start with managing disruptive behaviour.

1. Where does the disruption take place?
2. What type of behaviour?
3. Who is involved?
4. Why does the organisation experience disruptive behaviour?
5. When does the disruption take place?

These questions help to get to the bottom line of a problem.

LSDA NI has also devised a short staff training programme in behaviour management that I find a helpful tool on dealing with behavioural problems.

The centre of resource for the following scheme is the whole organisation.

They are called "The Four Focus Model."

1. Recognising
2. Understanding
3. Preventing
4. Dealing with

I believe that actions for management should start from the whole organisation. If there are clear written objectives and rules to be imposed, behavioural management will be easier. As a teacher, reflective practice is always a must to consider about dealing with all the aspects in a learning process. Reflective practice and action plans; to make all learners involved in the whole process. Knowing what the needs of your learners are, communication, tutorials, consideration of individual learning styles and needs are tools to make a learning environment a good experience for all learners. if the environment is with recognition for individual strengths, understanding for individual areas for developments, preventive measures for challenging behaviours, and knowledge in dealing with all of the above as a whole process, maximised learning without chaos is most likely to be achieved.

"The successful teacher is no longer on a height; pumping knowledge at high pressure into passive receptacles … He is a senior student anxious to help his juniors." -Sir William Osler, The Student Life

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Source by Salee Tadeo

Tips to Communicate Change Effectively to Staff

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Like many internal communications, you may find that communicating change is a very demanding part of your role. In today's environment, change is a fact of life. Companies, resistant to change, risk losing their competitive edge.

The process of change is complex. As human beings we often feel threatened by change. But the irony is that without change we might still all be living in caves. We have to admit that change can be exciting as well as challenging as it stimulates innovation and creativity. Good for business and good for us. The question is, "Is it possible to assist in managing change without all the drama?"

Before engaging in communicating change, it is important to understand the psychology of change and your role in the change process. Change needs to be effectively managed and communicated so that it is embraced rather than rejected.

One of the more sensitive areas to manage is your senior management team. They may be driving the change initiative, but may not be so good at communicating ideas in a way that is accessible to all staff. They may not even have a framework for managing the change process. Part of your job is likely to be supporting your key stakeholders and making it easy for them to communicate effectively to staff at all levels.

How can I communicate change and minimise negative aspects of the change process?
There are change management methodologies, which have proven to be successful when implementing changes. These provide a framework for managing the change and change communications process. Select processes that suit you and your company's culture and that are appropriate to the type of change you wish to implement.

When researching change management, it does not take long to learn about trust. It takes time to win employee trust, which is the foundation of an employee's commitment to the business. It takes time to build it but only moments to destroy it. Signs that trust has been eroded include lower productivity, poor morale, resistance to change, a strong rumor mill and good staff leaving. A good change management process with effective, honest internal communications can avoid all this and make implementing changes an exciting and rewarding challenge.

Understand the psychology of change
Do not let the change curve become a roller coaster – Change is a complex issue. Many of us do not embrace the need for change, especially when things appear to be moving along just fine. We are firmly ensconced in our comfort zone and have a sense of wellbeing. In the business world, however, senior management needs to be at least one step ahead in order to maintain their organization's competitive edge. Senior management may read 'comfort zone' as 'stagnation' and immediately start planning to innovate and improve.

Prior to announcing any change, someone has obviously thought about the current situation, analyzed solutions, and come up with a plan. This takes time. This plan is then often rolled out to the employees. Being suddenly confronted with a change plan, and feeling left out of the loop, makes many employees feel anxious.

During times of organizational change, employees can become less productive and question their job security. Their response to change is often emotionally charged and if change is not managed and communicated effectively the chances of success reduce significantly.

'The Change Curve' graphically describes the psychology of change. It lists stages that employees typically move through during a change initiative. These stages range from Satisfaction (I am happy as I am) through Denial (This is not relevant to my work), Resistance (I'm not having this), Exploration (Could this work for me?), Hope (I can see how I can make this work for me), right through to Commitment (this works for me and my colleagues). We must not overlook the fact that when there are significant changes, people may need time to grieve for any perceived or real losses.

To communicate effectively, it is vital to recognize your employees' mindset at any stage of the process, so that you can support them, validate their feelings and move them through to the commitment stage.

Typically at the start of any change initiative employees experience:

o Fear; eg of job loss or of increased responsibilities
o Frustration; eg with the process or with lack of information, or even
o Acceptance; eg they recognize that change is needed or inevitable.

Understanding the needs of your key stakeholder groups and where they are along the continuum of the change curve enables you to hone your communications plan. Selecting a framework with an iterative approach, allows you to make subtle (or not so subtle changes) so your role in the change process is as effective as possible.

Think strategically and clarify your messages

Why are we changing?

Even when you have the trust of your employees, they will not get alongside and make changes unless you provide a compelling and logical reason to change. Your strategy should be to motivate staff through inspiration, not desperation.

Having a structured process is only part of your strategic planning. An iterative process that allows you to make continual improvements depending on the feedback you receive is an excellent approach. Acting on feedback demonstrates that you are not only listening to your employees but taking note of them too. This can be a powerful way of engaging staff and moving them through to the Exploration stage of the Change Curve.

Part of a successful change management process must include communicating strategically. This includes ensuring that your management team communicate effectively. A strategic move might be to measure how effective managers are at communicating key messages and to provide some training for those who perform poorly. Roger D'Aprix comments that as soon as some leaders meet resistance they either ignore it or want to squash it. He suggests a more strategic approach; one that embraces engagement through:

o Trust
o Compelling logic
o A match of actions and words
o Involvement of those who are affected
o Communicating a sense of confidence and minimizing fear
o Repetition of the primary themes.

Think about these building blocks when you are crafting key messages to support the change process.

To build on trust, you need to be honest. Miss the chance to make a compelling case for change, and you will find that employees will concoct their own, usually less flattering, reasons for change. Do not assume that the negative people will necessarily sabotage your project. They will if you let them, but it is your job to win them over. Converts can become your greatest allies.

'Walk the talk', since actions speak louder than words. Engage those who are directly affected. You may not like some of the messages you hear, especially during the Denial and Resistance stages. However, acknowledging people's fears is one way of minimizing anxiety, especially if you work in an environment of trust and honesty.

Your messages need to accentuate the positive and eliminate (or at last minimize) the negative. Repetition is a powerful tool. People only hear the message when they are ready to hear it. Those of us who are constantly bombarded with information have got really good at screening out noise. So, repeat your key messages until everyone gets it.

Customize and target messages to each your key stakeholder groups. Do not forget to massage your messages to take into account staff mindset at each stage of the project.

Make sure you see the project through to the end. If this means giving extra support to some groups, or providing additional training, do it. The behaviors need to become embedded.

Sun Microsystems' 'Knowledge, Attitude, Action' model provides a tactical approach based on moving staff from an existing position to a desired one. For example, seek to move:

o Current employee knowledge from 'I do not know our strategy' to 'I know where we are going'
o Current employee attitude from 'I'm scared I'll lose my job' to 'I'm excited about my future'
o Current employee action from 'I just do what I'm told' to 'I proactively shape my work to help the company meet its goals.'
Clear, positive messages give a clear and positive direction.

If you do not have a strategic plan, staff may feel demotivated and suspicious. You could spend a lot of time and money on communications, but still find staff uncommunicative or feeding the rumor mill. Think strategically and craft clear messages and make your communications work for you.

Listen
Do staff need to offload and should you let them?
Many change management projects get stuck right into telling staff what changes to make and then start filling them in on all details. This type of insensitive approach can cause employees to feel shocked and ambushed. And this initial shock is often followed by behaviors such as denial, anger, 'blocking' and in some cases depression.

Staff need time to come to grips with what the change means to them before they can move on. Since these emotions are an expected part of the change curve, it is wise to provide some avenues whereby staff can have their say. Staff who perceive that they may lose their job, or be relocated, or redeployed need to voice their concerns. Listening to and acknowledging their views will assist them and you.

Part of your role, therefore, is to find ways of listening and listening proactively. You need to create opportunities to hear what people are thinking after any changes are announced. You can use a variety of approaches such as team meetings, interviews, or open forums. It is important not just to gather feedback but to probe deeper so that you really understand the issues and understand how these issues affect each individual. Communication should be a two-way street.

Staff may be exploring their feelings as well as their options, so making comments beginning with 'but' or trying to answer their questions does not help them or you to clarify the issues. So listen first and try to get to the heart of the matter and acknowledge what they feel.

Sometimes staff just need a place to let off steam. If you do not listen to staff and allow their feelings and ideas to be heard, then rumor and resentment can grow. Even if you have to communicate bad news, you can manage the process with dignity. Active and empathetic listening is paramount in this process.

Use face to face meetings for sensitive issues, and allow plenty of time to hear responses and to answer questions. If you need to comment, keep your message brief and clear.

Staff may think of additional questions or wish to make further comments once they have had time to assimilate your information. Time may not permit you or other managers to have continual face to face meetings, so you may need to think of other ways to 'listen.'

Get engagement
I'll just keep my head down and get on with my job?

Management should not to ignore the people side of change management. According to a Harvard Business Review study, 70 percent of change initiatives are not successful because organizations fail to manage the human reaction to change.

Engagement begins at the top and applies to all levels of management. Research shows that employees tend to trust, and would rather communicate with, their immediate manager or supervisor. The implication is that this level of management plays a vital role in communicating and implementing change. Getting all levels of your management team involved in the planning and shaping of communications will make them better project champions.

Engagement is not just for the management team, it is for the staff too. Engagement takes time and patience. And you need to start at the beginning of the change process.

Steve Lemmex suggests a two part strategy. The first part involves managing resistance to change. Key strategies, at this stage, include being open, honest and giving people time to express their feelings and to come to grips with the implications of the change.

The second part involves being patient and ensuring staff are ready for the Exploration stage. This is when you involve staff by asking them to explore the 'what, why, when and how' things need to be done. This inclusive approach maximizes buy in and validates your staff skills. It encourages engagement. Involving people and letting them take ownership drives acceptance and commitment. In addition, staff often find innovative ways to make things work that managers would never have thought of.

Getting engagement often requires sensitivity, especially if there is bad news for some. Make the best of difficult situations, even if this means acknowledging what has not gone well. Where there is loss, (staff leaving or projects being abandoned) give staff time to grieve. Acknowledging loss gives closure and allows people to move on.

If you are working on a project that has experienced communications problems you may want to signal a radical change and commit to improving communications from this point forward. Once you are certain of support for really effective and open communication, why not formally bid farewell to the old way and welcome a new beginning with a celebration.

Tackle issues honestly and positively. Try to view circumstances dispassionately as emotions can cloud issues. As staff become actively engaged in improving their circumstances, they will feel empowered and positive.

Getting the right message to the right audience
So what's this got to do with me?

People are really good at hearing what they want to hear and screening out messages that they either do not want to hear, or are not ready to hear. This makes your role in internal communications a complex one, particularly in times of change. When significant changes are being planned, you not only need to understand each stakeholder group but you also need to take into account individuals and how they may react on a personal level to the changes. You have to get the message and the language right.

You will have clear messages that support the planned changes and assist in moving the project forward. However before communicating these messages, conduct a systematic audit of your audiences. Consider their needs, the way change may affect them and their current mindset. Then adapt your messages to ensure each group understands each message as you intend them to, so that subsequently, each person acts or thinks in the way you desire.

Repetition is important. You do not want to bombard staff with information, but you do want to keep up momentum, and you do want staff to receive the right information at the right time. Consider using a variety of ways to send and receive information and messages. Use push and pull strategies. Some information will need to be pushed out to staff, whereas other information can just be there for when staff need it.

If you are the intermediary in some of the communications, make sure you respond in a timely manner to all interested parties.

Get the right people involved in communicating the change initiative. This sends a strong message to staff. Engaging people who have an in-depth understanding of the way your business runs, who are team players and who staff respect will make your communications tasks so much easier. They can smooth transitions, provide context for their teams, model the right behaviors and act as project champions for you. So when your staff ask, 'What's this got to do with me? Your team has all the answers.

Communicate, communicate, communicate
Nobody told me

Human beings often screen out what they do not want to hear, or what they are not ready to hear. No matter how vociferous you have been, you will always find someone who says, "Nobody told me!"

So what implication does this have for internal communications? Three strategies spring to mind:

1. Get sign off from staff to say they have received and understood information. At some stage you might need proof.
2. Take an iterative approach, so that key messages are repeated. Try delivering the same message through different channels, or presenting it differently, to prevent boredom setting in.
3. Make sure your strategy includes preparing people to receive information. Listening is often overlooked. Listen proactively, acknowledge emotions and ideas and receive feedback. Get staff actively involved and engaged to help them be receptive to your messages.

Communication can be about timing. Staff who are informed in advance are more likely to be excited and motivated than staff who find out about developments accidentally or through the media. It is not surprising that staff feel shocked or become angry if they find out about significant changes through a media announcement. They may feel they have lost face (which can be devastating, especially in some cultures). We all concede that there are many occasions when staff simply can not be informed of everything. But what can you do to assist? One avenue may be to organize a staff briefing that occurs at the same time as a public announcement. You need to get your timing right, so you do not make a bad situation worse by appearing to be insensitive or tardy.

When staff become aware of impending change, this is the time when leaks spring and the rumor mill fires up. When this happens, keep communication channels open, communicate up, down and across the lines of communication, and prepare managers well.

Effective communication is ongoing, two-way, and targeted. Brief is good. Do not bog staff down with lengthy missives. They are busy enough with their work and dealing with the changes, without having to decipher complex, lengthy or irrelevant reports.

You can not avoid the fact that sometimes you have bad news to communicate. If you have built up trust, communicate honestly and clearly, and have in place strategies to cope with staff reactions (loss, grief, dismay), then you and your staff are in the best position to deal with the situation in a productive and dignified way.

Keep communicating even when a change project is reaching its final stages. Make sure you see it through. Reinforcing new skills, practices or behaviors is a vital part of embedding the change. Do not let staff revert back to the old ways by cutting the communications cord too soon.

Use the right communications channels
I found out my job was under threat by email!

As communications experts, you know how important it is to select the right communication channel. It is too easy to get so caught up in a busy project that you overlook some of the basics. So while planning your communications strategy, make sure you take time to select the right tool for the job.

Research shows that face to face communication is required if you really want staff to adopt new behaviors. Face to face is also the best channel for planning and dealing with sensitive issues. It allows you to gauge reactions, to get instant feedback and to ensure that everyone has received and understood the message.

You may not want to front up to people when you have to communicate bad news. But if you are honest and empathetic, and demonstrate that you are prepared to listen, to take note of feedback and to answer the hard questions, then you have delivered unpalatable news in the best possible way. They may not like the message, but they will respect you for fronting up.

Even if you are on a mission to save trees, do not forget about paper. It is still best for complex and lengthy material. It is also very useful to support face to face and phone conversations.

The intranet is great for searching for and retrieving factual information. But take note, the intranet does not change behavior, you need the personal touch to do this.

Email, it is quick and convenient and overused. 'Communicating change via email or voicemail is like ending a relationship that was – it's just bad form. It leaves the recipient bewildered and angry, and whom ever is delivering the message looking very bad. ' (Veronica Apostolico, Ref 9). In addition, email is not always considered effective. A District Court ruling in Massachusetts on employee communications found against a company that communicated a change in procedure via email, because the message was not effectively communicated. If you do choose to convey important information via email, make sure you get some acknowledgment of receipt and understanding.

There are now so many channels to choose from, it's a good idea to list the ones you have available, and then match the message to the channel. Using a variety of channels means that you can repeat messages, without looking as if you are hammering home a point (even if you are). It means that staff can not 'escape' from what's happening, or deny all knowledge.

There are other issues to consider when devising your communication strategy. What information needs to be pushed out to staff and what should staff 'pull' in? If you are pushing information, how can you be sure they have received it? And if you have provided information for staff to find and use as required, do you need to know how many 'hits' the information gets, so you can measure how much it is used?

Using project champions can be a powerful ploy. Project champions communicate really strongly by modeling behaviors, through conversing with staff, and demonstrating how proposed changes really work for your staff.

Use story telling to paint the picture
I just do not see how that'll work

'… Truly flexible, fully integrated, adaptable IT infrastructure using an SOA approach to develop modular, easily integrated and reused … blah blah blah …' Does this mean anything to your staff, apart from those in IT?

How can you make this message sound exciting? Why not get them to visualize it and paint a picture instead? For example, 'Just think after go-live, all you have to do is to click on the client contact, and from there you can complete all the transactions. You no longer have to open several applications, or photocopy documents, or scan in information. Our new system will do all that for you behind the scenes. '

Tell stories so staff can visualize outcomes. Many cultures prefer a narrative approach, rather that the abrupt, business-like approach that we often adopt. In everyday life, most people tell stories to get their point across, or illustrate their viewpoint by giving concrete examples.
Story telling is relevant to all stages of the change process. At the outset, encourage staff to visualize what the changes will look like. Then they can see exactly what needs to be done. Visualization is very powerful when it encapsulates a positive view of the future. This is especially useful when trying to get staff to move from 'Could this work for me? "To' I can see how I can make this work for me. '

Building scenarios makes change seem possible and gets everyone past blinkered thinking. This is partly because many people are not comfortable with abstract ideas and theory. Making your project concrete makes it real, and making it real makes it happen. Creative visualization has long been recognized as an effective tool for planning and implementing change. So add it to your toolbox.

Make it easy for management to communicate effectively ?
I do not have time to see everyone.

Do not ignore the people side of change. Change management is usually studied from a technical viewpoint. For example, how can the changes be implemented and what processes, procedures or approaches are required. Buzz words such as process re-engineering and corporate re-structuring appear to deny human involvement. But change affects staff and the effect on staff can not be ignored. Managers need to hone their communications skills so they communicate with tact and diplomacy.

Work as a team and plan alliances that will help you smooth the path to change. Note that 'data from 25,000 employees, in diverse industries, consistently rank front-line managers No 1 in credibility. Employees are also more comfortable speaking up with questions and ideas to their immediate manager than with any other management level '. If senior management does not have time to see everyone, maybe they should delegate some communications to their front line managers. Train managers to deliver the right message to their unique audience. Their role is to provide context around key messages in a way that suits their team's style and emotions.

You may need to train managers to play an active role in planning and delivering messages about change initiatives. This training could include motivational techniques, team building, negotiation, delegation or dealing with conflict. Managers need to understand that resistance is part of the normal reaction to change. Anticipating this through proactive planning enables management to prepare their staff for change, so that they move quickly along the change curve, from Denial and Resistance, to Exploration, Hope and Commitment. Managers, who are movers and shakers in the change management process, may need a reminder that many staff need time to come to terms with change. Planning some 'being patient' time could save time in the long run.

Contrary to popular belief, management often find it very time-consuming to write reports to staff, or even if they find time, you, as internal communications, may feel that their language or approach makes their report inaccessible. Support them and make it easy for them. Having a variety of communication channels available is very helpful, especially if you select approaches and tools that make everything as quick and intuitive as possible.

If your CEO is not able to meet face to face to deliver a sensitive message, then maybe a video presentation would be an effective alternative for conveying the message. Staff will still be able to hear the emotion and see the passion. Good communicators can instill confidence and enthusiasm, and in so doing they still the rumor mill and quell unfounded anxieties.

If writing a report seems too formal or time-consuming, then consider submitting a short article in your company newsletter of magazine. A slightly less formal format may assist management to use a more 'user-friendly' and 'human' approach.

Success can be enhanced if managers play an active role in both planning and delivering messages about change initiatives.

Measure results, celebrate success
I am sure that we got the message across. But what did actually happen?

Measurement is critical in times of change and the best communication strategies involve measuring for effectiveness. It is important to understand whether messages are hitting the mark and to confirm that people are on the same page as you (or at least the page you expected them to be on).

Your first step is to list the desired outcomes of your change communications project, and decide how you will measure the success of each outcome. And do you have current data to use as a comparison?

You probably want to measure:
o Staff attitudes (to the project, to how well their managers get the message across)
o Staff emotions (where they are on the change curve?)
o Level of skill development or knowledge acquisition
o How well is your communications strategy working?
o Have messages been received, read and understood?

If you measure every step of the way, you can tweak messages and change tack when an approach is not working as well as it might. Regular surveys that give a snapshot of how people are feeling allow you to track the overall trend, otherwise it is easy to let your opinion of progress be colored by the 'squeaky wheels' in your organization;

You need to gather qualitative as well as quantitative data, and decide on effective ways to present and use the information. Proof of progress validates your planning, informs management and motivates staff.

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Source by Sarah Perry

Network Management Components – The Basics of an Effective Management Strategy

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Overview:

This article will define a network management strategy for managing the network. It is necessary to define how the equipment is going to be monitored and determine if the current management strategy is adequate or if new applications, equipment, protocols and processes must be identified. Management components are then integrated with infrastructure and security. These primary elements comprise any well-defined management strategy and should be considered when developing your strategy.

Network Management Strategy

· Network Management Groups

· SNMP Applications

· Monitored Devices and Events

Network Management Groups

· Fault

· Performance

· Device

· Security

· Change

· Configuration

· Implementation

Fault Management

This describes the pro-active monitoring of devices, circuits and servers for errors. It specifies what events are monitored and thresholds for generating alarms. Once the alarms are generated, there is an escalation process for addressing any errors. It could be a circuit problem, a router interface or a server link. Service level agreements with local loop providers and long distance IXC for circuit repair are important as is vendor equipment repair contracts. Out-of-band router management allows troubleshooting and configuration of routers with an attached modem. The support technician does not rely on the primary circuit to reach the router. They will utilize a separate analog dial line with a modem connected to the auxiliary port at the router. Escalation support processes are defined that are used by the network operations center (NOC) employees for effective problem resolution. These are some typical support activities:

· Established Tier support levels with job responsibilities well defined for each Tier group

· Defined severity levels and what Tier group is responsible

· Defined response times for severity levels

· Applications for trouble tickets

· Established troubleshooting procedures for employees

· Root Cause Analysis

· Survey support groups for skill levels, identify deficiencies and plan for training programs to address that.

Performance Management

This describes the pro-active monitoring of device, circuit and server performance levels. That translates to monitoring and reporting on trends with device CPU, memory and link utilization, circuit bandwidth utilization, server CPU, memory and disk input / output rate. As well campus segments and device interfaces should be monitored for collisions, CRC errors and packet drops. Bandwidth capacity planning is an on-going process of monitoring bandwidth utilization trends for the enterprise network and consideration of business growth estimates. That information is utilized for developing a provisioning strategy addressing company bandwidth capacity needs. The dynamic nature of an enterprise network is such that new locations, employees and application deployments will increase network traffic and utilize available bandwidth. Trend monitoring tools are typically run from the network operations center and focus on enterprise traffic patterns and performance of circuits, routers and switches.

RMON is a popular protocol that is utilized for monitoring router, switch and campus segment performance with probes at various offices across the enterprise. Information can be collected at all layers of the OSI model for statistics on utilizations, packet size and errors. In addition there are specific SNMP applications designed for bandwidth capacity planning. The bandwidth provisioning strategy could involve faster campus and WAN equipment, increased bandwidth for circuits, quality of service protocols or a combination of any of those elements.

Security Management

This describes the management of device and server security that is consistent with the policies of the corporation. Typical devices are firewalls, routers, switches, TACACS servers and RADIUS servers. Security includes community strings, password assignment, change policy, dial security and Internet security.

Device Management

This describes the maintenance of a database inventory that lists all campus and WAN devices, modules, serial numbers, iOS versions, server documentation and design. It is important that companies keep information on these assets for support and warranty issues.

Configuration Management

This describes the process of configuring, and documenting devices, circuits and servers on the enterprise network. A process for configuring new equipment, modifying current equipment and maintaining TFTP servers should be established. Those scripts should be saved to TFTP servers and documented for later use with subsequent configurations. Build a directory structure with a folder for each equipment type and subdirectories for model types.

Change Management

This describes a process for approving and coordinating device configuration changes and is essential for network availability. Staff members that make unapproved changes without alerting affected departments can cause problems if the changes do not work and are made during busier times of the day. Any changes to the production network should involve at least the network operation center and someone from the engineering group. As well it could be important to let the application developers know of network changes. Any change management process should have these components:

Review Process

· Affected departments consider impact of changes and discuss concerns

· Proof of concept and quality assurance testing

· Develop a timeline for changes approved by all departments

· Departments plan contingencies should there be network issues

· Approval process: software manages and records approvals from groups

· Pro-active monitoring of unauthorized changes

Implementation Management

This describes the process for managing new implementations such that there is no disruption to the production network and the implementation is efficient and effective. These are some network operations center (NOC) activities that should be part of any typical implementation management strategy. Consider vendor support contracts for support with configuration scripts, testing, and design since that will promote an effective implementation.

Standard Network Operations Center Activities:

1) Turn on circuits and ping all new devices to verify connectivity

2) Modify SNMP applications at network operations center for pro-active fault and performance monitoring of new devices

3) Verify devices are SNMP enabled and security is applied

4) Update the inventory database and save configuration scripts to a TFTP server

SNMP Applications

There are a myriad of SNMP applications on the market that focus on managing servers, devices and circuits. An enterprise customer will sometimes employ several applications including their own software that address each management group. The SNMP version that is implemented should be noted at each device and server. This is a list of popular commercial applications and how they could be utilized.

Monitored Devices and Events

Typical devices such as routers, switches and circuits are configured and monitored with SNMP applications. Thresholds are defined for each event that will trigger an alarm when that is exceeded. A polling interval is configured for each event, which describes the time interval between sending of status information from device to network management station. An example would be a router CPU utilization threshold of 60% and a polling interval of 10 minutes.

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Source by Shaun Hummel

Management – 8 Key Competencies of Successful Managers

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Management is a diverse role with a range of responsibilities and challenges that need to be addressed. Competency as a manager is an important part of achieving. So what 8 key competencies do successful managers have?

Competency 1: Results Focus

Successful managers know that at the end of the day it is not what you do but what you deliver that matters. Having a results focus is about knowing what outcomes are required and focusing yourself and those that you manage on delivering the results. This results focus keeps you on track and reduces the scope for distractions.

Competency 2: Making Change

Leaders regularly set out requirements for change. It might be in terms of process, people, service, ways of doing things to name just a few. While leaders will set out the overall direction, managers are the people who need to make the change happen on the ground. This requires them to overcome the obstacles that without doubt will appear as they try to make change.

Competency 3: Planning

Managers do not have the luxury of just having one thing to do. They have to manage money, people, processes, projects, customer relationships and themselves. This requires them to be able to plan effectively so that they get the best results possible.

Competency 4: Team Development

Managers can not do everything on their own. They need a team around them that can help them to deliver results. Successful managers recognise that team development is an ongoing activity. People come and go from teams and the dynamics that this creates need to be managed. Many team members want to progress and so creating opportunities for growth and development is important.

Competency 5: Risk Management

All areas of business face threats and managers need to become competent at identifying and responding to risk. These risks can range from losing key staff to health and safety issues. Successful managers recognise the importance of identifying and proactively responding to risk.

Competency 6: Decision Making

Until a decision is taken, nothing happens. Managers who procrastinate are a source of frustration to staff. The staff might not always like or agree with the decision that you have made but they will prefer you to take a decision rather than procrastinate.

Competency 7: Communication

Successful managers are effective communicators in 3 areas. They are effective speakers and can put their points forward clearly. They are also effective at getting their message across in writhing whether it is an e-mail or report. Finally, they are effective listeners.

Competency 8: Customer Service Focus

Successful managers recognise that they have customers, even if they are not working directly with the end consumer or user of the product or service. Successful IT Managers see the users of the systems as customers. Accounts Department Managers see budget holders, employees whose salaries they process and suppliers they pay as customers.

Successful management requires you to have a range of competencies. So where are you highly successful and where do you need to develop to be an even more successful manager?

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Source by Duncan Brodie

Jealousy

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Jealousy typically refers to the feelings, thoughts and behaviors that occur when a person believes that a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival. The word jealousy comes from the French jalousie, formed from jaloux. Feelings of jealousy always appear to stem from one's sense that something about their life is not secure eg, in danger or is uncertain. Jealousy is the eruption of attachment and it can be transcended only through awareness. As we move with awareness into the center of this phenomenon, we pass through ungrounded expectations and beliefs, projections and delusions, guilt, envy, the loss of self-esteem, and the threat to security. The core is an existential problem and it has to do with illusion and the effectively fearful nature of the ego. When we come to know and accept the nothingness at the core, jealousy and the pain of fanatical attachment cease.

Jealousy is a common experience in human relationships and it has been reported in every culture and in many forms where researchers have looked .It has been observed in infants as young as 5 to 6 months old and in adults over 65 years old. The complexity of jealousy allows people to describe it in different ways. Definitions of jealousy normally share basic themes. These shared themes indicate jealousy is a meaningful concept and it can also be distinguished from concepts such as envy. In simple terms, jealousy is a feeling of protective resentment towards one who threatens a value or relationship.

People who have experienced pathological jealousy and for whom jealousy triggers violence may advantage from professional counseling. People who experience usual jealousy have at least nine strategies for coping with jealousy. The problem-solving strategies include: improving the primary relationship, interfering with the rival relationship, self-assessment and demanding commitment. The emotion-focused strategies include: derogation of partner or rival, denial / avoidance, developing alternatives, support / catharsis, and appraisal challenge. These strategies are related to emotion regulation, cognitive change, conflict management, and ground rules for managing jealous competition. The most important thing to do about any feelings of jealousy is to first confess them, and then attempt to overcome them.

While mainstream psychology considers sexual arousal through jealousy a paraphilia (categorized as zelophilia), some authors on sexuality (Serge Kreutz, Instrumental Jealousy) have argued that jealousy in manageable dimensions can have a definite positive effect on sexual satisfaction and sexual function. Jealousy sometimes heightens passion towards partners and increases the strength of passionate sex. Jealousy varies across cultures, cultural learning can manipulate the situations that trigger jealousy and the manner in which jealousy is expressed and attitudes toward jealousy can also change within a culture over time. Jealousy is the powerful complex of emotions experienced at the loss, real or imagined, of someone or something you believe is yours, whereas envy concerns what you do not have and would like to possess Jealousy in religion examines how the scriptures and teachings of different religions deal with the topic of jealousy. Religions may be compared and contrasted on how they deal with two issues: rules and concepts of divine jealousy about the aggravation and expression of human jealousy.

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Source by Teo Michael

Role of the CEO in Change Management

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A change initiative involves a concerted, consistent effort at various levels. The Top Management and Board of Directors are as important to the process as is the change agent, the sponsors, the steering committee and the people at large.

The various key roles in an organizational change process include the following:

The Initiator of Change: Organisations often understand the need for change only when they've been stung by some deep loss. The loss could be in terms of a dipping sales figure, the departure of key people, a fall in the market share or the loss of an important client to a competitor etc. Often, a change is initiated when someone within the organization reacts to such events and signals the need for a change.

The Change Agent: The change agent is one who is responsible for driving and implementing change across the organisation. The change agent can either be an external consultant or an internal consultant. In fact, at different stages in the change process, different individuals or teams may come to occupy this role. For instance, if change management task is outsourced to an external consultant, he serves as the initial change agent. However, when the project team starts actual work on the recommendations of the consultant, the team leaders become the change agents. Basically, change agents at various stages push change by reinforcing the need to change, and championing the cause of change.

The Official Sponsor Team: Usually, the organisation will identify a team or a department to officially coordinate the change process. In larger organisations, the sponsors may be the HR Department or the IT department. In smaller organisations, a team of senior leaders can play this role.

Finally, while change efforts are undertaken at the ground level, they need to be steered by the top management. The role of the top management is paramount in ensuring that the initiative does not lose focus or get stranded due to operational or motivational issues.

THE ROLE OF TOP MANAGEMENT

Change can either "make or break" an organisation. Change never takes care of itself. Change is initially difficult but ultimately stabilizes. These are the three basic facts of an organizational change.

Although after an initial denial phase, people will finally adapt to change, the transition phase is difficult. And this is where Top Management can help. As we saw, change is initiated by one deeply affected by some crisis in the organisation and carried forward by agents and sponsors. However, the success of the change efforts ultimately rests in the hands of top management. Depending upon the structure of the organisation, the work is delegated to different levels of employee participation depending upon the complexities involved. Thus, the Board of Directors may supervise the CEO, the CEO supervises the Executive Assistants, who in turn delegate work to the middle management, until it trickles down to the entry level supervisors.

The Top Management is instrumental, rather vital in setting the mood for change. Not only does it play a key role in communicating the vision and the concomitant goals, it also plays a major part in objectively setting targets and defining results to accomplish the change. People are most deeply influenced by the actions of their supervisors. Hence, leaders themselves need to imbibe the expected behavior that the change warrants, so as to ensure that they induce such behavior in others.

Top Management Teams can reinforce the agenda for change by using their power positions or external links, even pushing it through the media, but ultimately, actual progress comes only in collaboration with workers. Again, it is important for top management to generate a sense of collective responsibility. A key to inculcating this attitude lies in genuinely valuing workers and their role in the whole process. There can be nothing more motivating than to know that your labors are acknowledged and appreciated by the company. Adopting a culture that cuts across the hierarchy and treats all people as equals, giving organisational goals priority over personal goals etc. are all perceived as symbolic acts to signify the need for change and the value that is assigned to it. Thus, a lot lies within the capacity of the top management in terms of sending out the correct signals that will propel change.

Off late, I noticed that a certain brand of shampoo, has its product (read: the bottle) carry the signature and a small picture of the hair expert they collaborated with to create the product. What are they doing? In my view, they are trying to increase the credibility of the product, so that more people come to trust the brand. Similarly, "selling" a change to your people requires what I term "credibility management". And that is a major responsibility of the Top Management Team. The top management not only needs to communicate the vision for change, but also needs to tie the vision to business needs and show how the change will impact profits, productivity or quality of work life. Equally important is the management's ability to realistically address the existing gap between the current situation and the envisioned situation, and present to the people a powerful, reasonable and well planned strategy – a blueprint for success. Next, driving speedy implementation is extremely important. Once people are convinced of the strategy, the top management needs to quickly put them to "act" upon it. The faster your strategies are put to action, the earlier they are likely to succeed. It's like a "buzzer-round-quiz-game", the faster you hit the buzzer, the more your chances of winning. On the other hand, you may well know the perfect answer, but if you do not hit the buzzer on time, it really does not work! Even with a perfect strategy, immediate action becomes the buzzword. With every success you move closer to your vision and increase your credibility, so eventually people will volunteer to follow you.

Another important observation is that during organizational change, resistance from people is directly proportional to the perceived threat from change. Change challenges the status quo and demands that people venture out of their comfort zones. It means abandoning the "way things are done" and embracing a new set of potentially better conditions. But despite the potential benefits of change, it is always initially abominable. It comes with fears of a job loss, a change in role, a change in reporting, and so on and so forth till people are so consumed with anxiety and doubt that they have little left to think of it constructively. To maximize benefits from change, top management must minimize the perceived threats from change. Many times a lot of the apprehensions may actually be baseless, hence addressing them at the top level means credibly putting unwarranted fears to rest, thereby averting precious loss due to stress and mental anxiety.

So, we spoke of the top management's responsibility in vision sharing, developing collective responsibility, managing credibility, erasing out meaningless apprehensions, setting goals, defining targets and leading by example, but there's still something we have not spoken about. Listen, because this is important ….

Now consider: How fast did you dismiss the last four words in the preceding paragraph, expecting to stumble upon a great management secret in the next?

Doused expectations apart, the simplest fact that the top management needs to understand about communicating change is that it is IMPORTANT to LISTEN. Just like most of us would miss the message in those four words, hoping for something greater to follow, the management often skips attention to employee concerns, preferring to advocate rather than to listen. Often, employee concerns can raise relevant issues, which need inclusion in your change Management Plan. Top Management Teams need to take care, that communication between them and the organisation, is held as interactive sessions, rather than imposing one way talks. Do not rush to explain how great the change is going to be or offer examples of how people survived earlier changes and how they were expected to do the same again. Rather, acknowledge that change is difficult and that every concern is worthy of attention. Be firm on the agenda, but sensitive to the concerns. From there, the secret of effective communication lies in attentive listening, for only when you listen can you respond appropriately. Only when you respond appropriately can you address your people's concerns effectively, and only by doing that can you minimize perceived threats from change, and maximize productive efforts towards change. So, take time out, listen and attend to the employees' individual, special needs or issues, while handling change.

Rather than advocating that a certain "new system of working" is better than the "old system of working", Top Management could try the "thesis-antithesis-synthesis" method to communicate change. "Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis" is a philosophy, commonly associated with the 19th century German thinker, GWF Hegel, who contended that historical evolution is the outcome of conflicting opposites. Simply put, thesis is a statement. Antithesis is the counter statement. Obviously the thesis and the antithesis are contradictory or opposed to each other. The synthesis implies resolving this conflict by offering a solution at a higher level, by combining the positive elements of both the thesis and the antithesis. The synthesis then forms a new thesis, which, in time, encounters an antithesis, and is resolved at the next higher level through another synthesis. This philosophy is often used to explain Hegel's dialectic on the process of historical evolution.

How can it be applied to organizational change? In our context, let us take the current situation as the thesis. So, the new system or the ideal situation is the antithesis. Now, if you try to impose that the new system is better than the old because of a, b, c, d, e reasons, you pose a challenge that is most likely to be resisted. No one wants to think that they are operating in a sham system, which is no longer capable of working. Instead, try striking a "synthesis" between the current and the ideal situation. Communicate the positives in the current system and the desirables from the ideal system. Suggest that the change will bring about a synthesis between the two, for better functioning. This way, you promote the change, without devaluing the current way of working. Psychologically, this has a positive impact on the way people react to the idea of ​​change.

Moving ahead, the top management need also ensure that work processes, performance systems, training programs, job descriptions etc. that form or support the framework within which employees work, are aligned to the change objective and complement each other.

While, in general, change calls upon identifying the different business units involved and delegating work to them, through able team leaders, the top management needs to chart out a macro plan. Having identified the tasks involved in achieving change and the time frame available to complete those tasks, top management must map a critical path of all tasks, wherein they have a clear picture of which task has to be completed by when, which task follows which, and how are different task areas tied to each other. This helps achieve synchronization of work efforts, without which the desired change can never be achieved. From there, the team leaders can take on the responsibility of guiding their respective teams to achieve the set targets within the defined time to accomplish change.

Various studies in the area have shown that it is a better approach for top management to work its way through the existing culture than trying to change it, all of a sudden. This can be done through a shared vision and a buy-in of managers operating at the lower levels of hierarchy. Generating an interest among them and the employees they supervise means pulling in precious energy for your project. For, the real work needed to implement your plans happens here. Once they are committed to their roles in achieving Change, the project can pick up considerable speed. However, while the management adopts such an employee oriented approach, it must also ensure that those not committed to their roles be mentored or shown the door.

Research has shown that many companies, for instance, Navistar International Corporation, who spectacularly accomplished change, did so, not by engaging external consultants, but by having their top management study the organisational context, company history, standard operating procedures and then building improvement teams to drive change wherever required. Thus, these results sufficiently testify to the importance of the Top Management Teams' role in handling organizational change.

MANAGING CHANGE SUCCESSFULLY – HOW CAN CEO'S ACHIEVE THIS?

In a survey conducted by the American Productivity and Quality Centre, researchers indicated that since change is almost always met by resistance, there arises the need for a champion to drive change across the organisation. Further the more powerful and visible the champion is, the more successful the change project tends to be. In this direction, the research concluded that the leader of the organisation, most often the CEO is often the most effective communicator of the vision and the necessity of change across the organisation. In fact, change projects in most of the best practice organisations were found to be spearheaded, planned and managed by the CEO of the Company. Often, it is not enough for the CEO to just communicate the vision to the workforce. In order to ensure that vision successfully translates into reality, the CEO must also play a major role in planning and implementing the change process. The active involvement of the CEO in the project underlines the significance of the same, thus ensuring organisation wide support and commitment.

The CEO perspective Often times, change is viewed as an objectively measurable output. It could be a surge in sales figures, a new business unit or a process reengineering. However, what some CEO's may miss is the transition phase. Till the output becomes visible and operating, the impression could be that the change effort has been unsuccessful or worst not achieved. Fact is, the transition phase, which precedes the phase where change results become visible is not only the toughest phase, but is also the phase where the maximum change effort is required. This is a time, when people are adapting to the new situation, adjusting themselves into new found responsibilities, and sometimes operating both old and new systems simultaneously. While this phase may not show any visible output, this is the phase where the maximum change is actually taking place. The CEO needs to empathize with his employees during this phase rather than worry about the observable result. The only hurdle that they may face is there are no limits to how long a transition phase will last before the change finally sets in and becomes visible.

Another hurdle for the CEO is to effectively handle pressure situations, wherein the Board may want to see how the change has affected a return on investment too soon. This disregards the fact that a Change is always gradual and can eventually lead to a regression.

A third challenge, which is quite inconspicuous, is that the CEO often runs a shorter transition cycle than the middle management, and hence is actually not as "connected" to the middle management as he may feel. The reason is that, for him, the change is often signified by the accomplishment of a strategic objective, whereas for the middle management, the actual change impact sets in after the objective has been achieved and a new set of circumstances established. For it is the middle management that has to deal with this change on a daily basis, slowly regularising the change to make it a part of the system. That requires time. Hence, a longer transition phase. This disconnect, between the CEO and the middle management in a change scenario can pose a challenge to the CEO.

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Source by Percy A Dastur

How to Use Leasing KPI in Managing Your Company

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When one speaks of leasing, this refers to the transfer of possession usually with a contract to support it. This generally involves an asset or even a service that is being reassigned from one individual to another. The receiver is termed as the lessee while the previous owner is called the lessor. Meanwhile, the organizational groups that perform the task for a marketable foundation are known as the leasing companies. If you are involved in this type of industry, you will most likely use a leasing KPI.

Most people will think that the work concerned here is very simple but in reality, leasing company management in terms of the functions of the business is very difficult. There are numerous activities that necessitate the must to be familiar with more than a few liquid variables. Most of the time, a leasing company will work openly with its clients so that they can offer their customers the options that are involved in the rental of assets. In the meantime, there are also some companies that deal with vendors so that they can find customers that are suitable for them. The proceedings within this particular concept are extremely governed through the standards and principles issued by the authority. As a result, the transactions that are being followed by the company are very much complicated.

Because of this, it is greatly recommended that you make use of leasing key performance indicators that are appropriate with your transactions. There are several types of dealings that result in an entwined net of contracts. To make it simpler, for example, if you encounter a fixed period lease, the time of the lease will end subsequent to the pre-defined length or when a precise occasion happens. Another type of the periodic lease is when it is renewed weekly or monthly or it will end at the choice of either party. There is a need to put up with the lawful teachings for all the real and private property that the association deals in. Of course, this will cause the lease to land in a system of rules and regulations.

Balanced Scorecards have detailed and suitable Leasing KPI on them. This will make the company earn a potential to offer the right services for their clients. The viewpoints that one can begin with are the terms of lease and payments, internal operations, customers and financial aspects. These are important matters that are needed to be considered when selecting the right KPIs for your company. For instance, in the financial aspect, your KPI should cover the opportunities as well s the equity ratios, debts, rate of market penetration and the volume of leasing. Another example is the customer perspective wherein you will have to evaluate the organization's customer base. Your target here is to determine the percentage of complains and even fraudulent cases. In the end, you will be able to verify whether there is a reduction or an increase in the number of such. With the help of a good leasing KPI, you can track the essential changes and requirements in your company.

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Source by Sam Miller