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

Managers – Tips For Managing Difficult Employees

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If you manage people long enough, you will sooner or later find yourself dealing with difficult employees. There is no easy fix that will always work. Each situation is as unique as the people involved and their workplace environment. Yet there are some basic steps that most managers can take to deal with the situation. Here is an approach that might work:

Confront the situation: Hoping that a difficult employee will change their behavior is wishful thinking. You must confront the situation and deal with it. This conversation does not necessarily need to be confrontational; however, you must have an honest discussion with the recalcitrant employee. Take him aside in a conference room, and let him know that his behavior is unacceptable. Make sure to focus on the behavior and not the person. Be specific about the inappropriate behavior and focus on what is expected. Then ask some questions about why he is behaving that way. The answers can range from problems with other employees, problems outside of work, or simple a lack of awareness that his behavior is an issue. Regardless of the cause, only after there is an awareness of disruptive behavior can steps be taken to remediate the situation. You should reiterate your expectations at the end of the meeting. Later make a brief summary of the meeting as a memorandum for the record in case this escalates to a more serious situation.

Develop a plan: Your plan will be determined largely by the outcome of your dialogue with the employee. If he is having an issue with another employee then this becomes a much more complex challenge because you now need to involve another person. You can run the risk of begin triangulated on the issue between two employees, and it might be difficult to get to the root causes of the problem. You will likely need to have further conversations to finalize your plan. If the employee is having issues outside of the workplace, perhaps you can assist in some way with a referral to outside resources or simply give them time off to deal with their issues. These situations are challenging because you really do not want to inject yourself into an employee's personal problems; however, a little time off or outside help from an employee assistance program might be enough resolve the problem. Finally, if it was the case that the employee is simply unaware of the impact of his behavior, then some coaching might just be what is needed. Hopefully, he would be willing to change his behavior now that he has been made aware of it. Just remember that whenever you develop a plan to move forward, make sure that the employee agrees with it. If he is not in agreement with the proposed plan of action, then keep working until you can develop a plan that both of you think will work. You also need to be clear on the consequence if there is not any change within a reasonable period of time.

Get some help: In more difficult situations , it is likely that some frank conversations and an improvement plan may not work. At this point, you may need to seek help from either your own boss or someone from human resources. They may have some alternative ideas to resolve the issues or can act as a third party to provide unbiased feedback to everyone involved. Your boss may have other options like moving this employee to a different department to give them another chance. They will also be in a position to help you decide the next steps if more serious action is required like formal counseling or in the extreme cases – termination.

Dealing with problem employees is never easy, but it comes with the job of being a manager. In the end, there may not be a solution other than ending the employment relationship. If you followed the process and made a good faith effort to allow the employee to change their behavior, then you will not only protect your company, but also be able to proceed with the knowledge that you have done your best to handle the situation. The termination conversation may still be difficult, but it should not be a surprise to the employee. As difficult as this may be, it is an opportunity for everyone to turn the page and move forward.

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Source by Leonard Kloeber

6 Management Strategies For Organizational Change Success

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Human beings tend to resist anything they view as stressful, and let's face it, organizational changes are about as stressful as it can get!

For most of us, familiarity with our surroundings, our relationships and our working environment allows us to reside safely inside our comfort zone. And comfort equals security.

But when our comfort zone is detonated by changes in management or organizational systems, we implode, seeking the shelter of our innate desire to resist, at all costs.

Changes that occur outside of our control force us to adapt to new rules, new systems and new policies which can, at the outset, make us feel uncomfortable and insecure.

However, a responsible and responsive management team can intercede before staff resistance spreads like the plague and threatens the smooth transition of organizational changes.

Effective team leaders acknowledge and understand that it is a basic human instinct to react to change with resistance, even though staff may fully comprehend the reasons why changes in the organization are vital to its existence and growth.

6 Management Strategies to Avert Resistance

1. A clear outline – Discomfort and insecurity arises when staff are not made aware of the policies, principles, guidelines and structure of intended changes. Every employee needs to know how his / her position will be affected and what his / her role requires.
2. Commitment -Implementation of organizational changes will not occur smoothly if everyone – from the CEO to the office clerk – is not committed to the project and its successful outcome.
3. Advocacy – Each member of an organization who may be affected by the impending changes must be given the opportunity to express his / her opinion.
4. Responsibility – It is the role of the team leader to ensure that each employee who is responsible for a component of the change strategy is held accountable for his / her actions in implementing the changes required.
5. Acknowledgement – Evaluation and acknowledgement of the success of the change strategy at regular intervals ensures its smooth implementation.
6. Flexibility – Management needs to adopt a flexible approach to each stage of development of a change strategy so that unforeseen contingencies can be implemented, if and where necessary.

It only takes one irresolute employee to destabilize an entire workforce, so periods of internal change within an organization require management to stay vigilant for any signs of rumblings or disapproval.

Long-standing employees can feel betrayed and rejected when changes are announced by management. They often experience a sense of loss, confusion, frustration and job insecurity. The plan for job advancement they have often calculated appears to be shot to pieces.

So they react with denial and resistance to the imminent changes.

Management's ability to recognize these patterns of behavior and work to overcome any resistance establishes how well they will accomplish organizational changes. Their willingness to invest in the support and training necessary is an integral factor in achieving a positive outcome.

Employees are not the only ones who have to adapt to changes within the organization.

Top level managers generally bear the brunt of discontented staff from the ground up. Senior managers who have been instrumental in bringing about the changes within the organization often underestimate the impact those changes will have on their employees.

Unrealistic expectations of how their staff will react (or over-react!) Often causes top level managers to retreat and isolate themselves from the problem when the impact of their proposed changes filter back to them.

However, they tend to lay the blame at the feet of middle management if employees resist or complain about the changes.

Middle management tend to carry the most stress during times of organizational change. They feel "trapped", unless they have exceptional leadership skills; besieged by resistant employees who look to them for guidance yet often denied direction and focus by top level management.

Those in middle management often find themselves acting as the arbiter during times of organizational upheaval.

However, organizational changes within a business often prove to be a suitable testing ground for leadership qualities; from the employees all the way through to top level management.

Those who possess the qualities that define a good leader often emerge during the stressful environment that usually accompanies change. This creates an ideal opportunity for potential leaders to display those qualities and be recognized accordingly.

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Source by Anne Bachrach

Five Ways to Protect Yourself When Selling Your Business

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I read with interest a report of April 23, 2008, entitled "Millions involved in local business purchase scam" published in the Christian County Headliner News. As a certified public accountant that has represented buyers / sellers in business sales transactions and also as Managing Partner of Sunbelt Business Advisors – a business brokerage firm, I thought it beneficial to write about the many red-flags that were present in the article. Red flags that others should be aware of and protect themselves against as they attempt to either sell or buy a business.

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE NORMALLY SOLD AS AN ASSET PURCHASE AND NOT A STOCK PURCHASE. This transaction appears to have been a stock purchase and not an asset purchase. This should have been one of the first very large red flags. Small, privately held businesses are almost never sold as a stock purchase. A stock purchase means the current owners legal entity-the company, continues on instead of the new buyer creating a new company. In a stock purchase the new owners get everything the sellers business owns – bank accounts, receivables, any potential and actual liabilities. This includes contingent liabilities the new owner may not even know about. Additionally, a stock purchase does not allow a new owner to get stepped up basis of the company furniture, fixtures and equipment. The stepped up basis of the FF & E could mean thousands of dollars in tax savings to a new owner that would be very beneficial the first few years of ownership. A buyer walking in and immediately wanting to purchase the stock of business and assume all liabilities, potential future liabilities – known or unknown and leaving the additional depreciation on the table is almost unheard of. A normal asset purchase agreement (not a stock purchase) would have generally excluded cash and bank accounts of the prior company. The new owners in an asset purchase agreement, unlike a stock purchase would not have been able to transfer funds from the company accounts. They would need to open new bank accounts in their new company name.

AT CLOSING, BUYERS FUNDS SHOULD BE AVAILABLE. Apparently this deal closed without confirmation or having actual funds from the buyer. No business purchase transaction should close without having funds available and present at closing. This would be the same as selling your house to someone, closing the transaction, but the buyers not having loan approval yet. You would not do it and neither should sellers of small businesses.

ALWAYS USE A QUALIFIED CLOSING ATTORNEY. The sale of a business should be closed by a qualified closing attorney. Qualified closing attorneys will have their own space and normally not need to use others. A qualified closing attorney will make sure all legal documents are in order; make sure funds are available to pay the seller and file all required legal and IRS documents. Anyone selling or purchasing a business should insist upon having a qualified closing attorney conduct the closing. The absence of a qualified closing attorney should be a red flag.

USE A QUALIFIED BUSINESS BROKER – DO NOT TRY IT ALONE. Not using a qualified, professional business broker is another red flag. Can business deals be completed without using a business broker? Certainly! One can also write their own contracts without using an attorney or prepare their own tax return without using a CPA, but it is not necessarily the smartest thing to do. Especially when talking about the sale of a business which is probably one of the largest if not the largest asset a person owns. Something as important as this should not be attempted alone. A qualified business broker will help educate the seller as to the process, help establish a valid market price, effectively market the business, screen buyers, and help qualify buyers, assist with negotiations, work with existing seller CPA and attorney, and work with closing attorney and overall management of the process and be there to advise the seller as to red flags!

NEVER CHANGE THE BANK ACCOUNTS UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR MONEY. Another subtle, but yet red flag is it appears the seller changed the signature cards at the bank (s) and the names of the people allowed access. Even in a stock purchase, the current bank account holder – the seller would have to have the bank change the names and cards. Obviously, if this did in fact happen, it happened prior to the seller having funds from the buyer. The new buyer also apparently had the "keys" to the business before the seller was paid the purchase price. It is like selling your car to someone and agreeing to be paid at some future date; while you watch the "new buyers" that you just met drive off into the sunset with your car. You probably will never see your money or your car.

Most small business stories like your article remain non-public. Just like most financial frauds that occur at small businesses. People do not like to talk about the failures of small business transactions but, they are happening all the time and all across the country. It is very important that sellers and buyers understand the process of selling / buying a business, watch for red flags and use qualified professionals to help them in the process. Doing so will save them money, time and effort and make for a much better business transaction.

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Source by Ted A. Smith

Managers – Tips For Managing Difficult Employees

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If you manage people long enough, you will sooner or later find yourself dealing with difficult employees. There is no easy fix that will always work. Each situation is as unique as the people involved and their workplace environment. Yet there are some basic steps that most managers can take to deal with the situation. Here is an approach that might work:

Confront the situation: Hoping that a difficult employee will change their behavior is wishful thinking. You must confront the situation and deal with it. This conversation does not necessarily need to be confrontational; however, you must have an honest discussion with the recalcitrant employee. Take him aside in a conference room, and let him know that his behavior is unacceptable. Make sure to focus on the behavior and not the person. Be specific about the inappropriate behavior and focus on what is expected. Then ask some questions about why he is behaving that way. The answers can range from problems with other employees, problems outside of work, or simple a lack of awareness that his behavior is an issue. Regardless of the cause, only after there is an awareness of disruptive behavior can steps be taken to remediate the situation. You should reiterate your expectations at the end of the meeting. Later make a brief summary of the meeting as a memorandum for the record in case this escalates to a more serious situation.

Develop a plan: Your plan will be determined largely by the outcome of your dialogue with the employee. If he is having an issue with another employee then this becomes a much more complex challenge because you now need to involve another person. You can run the risk of begin triangulated on the issue between two employees, and it might be difficult to get to the root causes of the problem. You will likely need to have further conversations to finalize your plan. If the employee is having issues outside of the workplace, perhaps you can assist in some way with a referral to outside resources or simply give them time off to deal with their issues. These situations are challenging because you really do not want to inject yourself into an employee's personal problems; however, a little time off or outside help from an employee assistance program might be enough resolve the problem. Finally, if it was the case that the employee is simply unaware of the impact of his behavior, then some coaching might just be what is needed. Hopefully, he would be willing to change his behavior now that he has been made aware of it. Just remember that whenever you develop a plan to move forward, make sure that the employee agrees with it. If he is not in agreement with the proposed plan of action, then keep working until you can develop a plan that both of you think will work. You also need to be clear on the consequence if there is not any change within a reasonable period of time.

Get some help: In more difficult situations , it is likely that some frank conversations and an improvement plan may not work. At this point, you may need to seek help from either your own boss or someone from human resources. They may have some alternative ideas to resolve the issues or can act as a third party to provide unbiased feedback to everyone involved. Your boss may have other options like moving this employee to a different department to give them another chance. They will also be in a position to help you decide the next steps if more serious action is required like formal counseling or in the extreme cases – termination.

Dealing with problem employees is never easy, but it comes with the job of being a manager. In the end, there may not be a solution other than ending the employment relationship. If you followed the process and made a good faith effort to allow the employee to change their behavior, then you will not only protect your company, but also be able to proceed with the knowledge that you have done your best to handle the situation. The termination conversation may still be difficult, but it should not be a surprise to the employee. As difficult as this may be, it is an opportunity for everyone to turn the page and move forward.

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Source by Leonard Kloeber

6 Barriers To Effective Management

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When you are just one of the team, managing others can seem like a stroll in the park. Yet in truth when people move into a management roles they often discover just how challenging it can be.

So what are 6 key barriers to effective management?

Barrier 1: Putting It At The Bottom of The List

So often I come across managers who, despite being clear that a key part of their role is managing, fill 100% of their schedule doing things. Inevitably managing which is near the bottom never gets a look in because people are too busy doing. Only you can make it priority.

Barrier 2: Refusing To Learn How To Manage

No matter what it is, you have to be willing to set time aside to learn how to manage. Yet some people feel that it is something you can just pick up. The reality is that there a huge cost to organisations financially and otherwise as a result of having managers who can not manage.

Barrier 3: Not Delegating

You probably got promoted because you were good at doing. As a result you might try to keep doing everything by yourself. The trouble is that if you ever want to deliver great results you have start delegating.

Barrier 4: Failing To Motivate

People do not just get motivated because your job title has "manager" in it. You need to actively take steps to find out what it is that motivates people and then actively seek to provide opportunities that allows them the chance to do what makes them tick most of the time.

Barrier 5: Ignoring Performance Problems

Sooner or later some sort of performance problem will arise. It might be tempting to try and ignore these in the hope that they will go away. What I have found is that when you do this small issues end up being blown out of proportion. If you want to stand out as a manager, develop a habit of acting on performance problems.

Barrier 6: Procrastinating

People might not like every decision you take but in reality they would rather you take decisions rather than procrastinate. If you find yourself procrastinating, stand back and ask yourself, "What's the worst that could happen if I decided and acted?" The truth is, probably nothing major.

The Bottom Line: Management will always present some challenges and quite often small changes can make a huge difference to your success.

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Source by Duncan Brodie

Strategies Management Adopt in Handling Change

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Theoretically, there are various strategies that explain how change can be successfully initiated and implemented. However, let us first take a look at some of the common things to consider, before you embark upon an organizational change:

What do I want to change? Typically this might point towards a specific "problem" area.

Is this the fundamental thing that needs to change or is there a deeper "reason" lurking behind the "problem" that needs to be addressed? This question is particularly important because many times, after the change process has been run halfway, it is realized that a problem exists at a more basic level. Focus then shifts between new change areas that are discovered and the energy of change efforts get dissipated.

Why do I want the change?

How will I achieve the change? This will involve weighing the risk and incentives, balancing them out and addressing any gaps between intended process to achieve the change and issues related to these processes.

What about the finances required in implementing the change?

Will business possibly continue as usual during the change phase or will it get affected adversely?

What type of resource (external or internal consultants) should I use, given the size of my organization and knowledge base?

How, if at all, will the change impact the work culture or vice versa?

How critical is the situation and how much time do I have to respond to it?

Does my core change driver team have the contextual and operational knowledge, capability and influence to survive the change process or do I need to empower them in some way?

Once you have precise answers to these elementary questions, you can decide upon the strategy you want to adopt. Theory offers at least four different change strategies. In practice, we typically use a combination of some or all of these to address change situations. These four strategies are: The Empirical-Rational Approach, the Normative-Reeducative Approach, the Power-Coercive Approach and the Environmental-Adaptive Approach.

All four provide you with different insights into the type of change environment that may exist in an organization. The type of change environment broadly varies with the ideology of the informal organization or the cultural consensus that they may share and the type of change being introduced. The relevance of the different change strategies lies in the fact that they explore different assumptions about human motivation and behavior in order to understand or anticipate response to change. Thus, they take into account the psychology of the informal organization, and hence help effectively manage the human side of change.

Their beauty, however, is that they are never mutually exclusive, and different strategies may be used at different stages in the change process. Thus, depending on your change environment, you must decide on the appropriate mix of strategies, to be used to push change.

EMPIRICAL-RATIONAL STRATEGY

A "classic" approach to change management, developed by Robert Chin and Kenneth D. Benne, this strategy is built on the premise that, in general, human beings are rational and can be reasoned with.

Hence, although change innately is resisted, people can be won over by the genuine logic behind the change, and by what is there in it for them.

If people are convinced on these two aspects of change, the process becomes easily navigable. Thus, this strategy uses persuasion to make individuals accede to change, through planned, managed dissemination of information, which makes the incentives of change clear to them. Thus, this strategy demands skillful use of communication in selling the benefits of change. The emphasis is on providing correct information; education and training that inspire people to change of their own volition. Also, it is important to identify potential carriers of change – people who willingly accept the change, and are influential enough to spread the same.

The role of the CEO is important here. Being the leader of the organization, not only is he an influential figure, but also has relatively more credibility than anyone else in the organization. Hence, he can play a major role in securing the buy-in of his people and inspiring them to embrace the change.

However, by virtue of rationale again, people are seen to be generally resistant to change, if it has an imbedded downside that is not balanced or offset by an equal upside. Hence, a foolproof plan for successfully initiating change, or at least managing the human side of it, must work out the following:

A strong basis for initiating the change

Linkage to actual benefits or incentives to be derived from the change

The pros and cons, including an exercise on possible measures to negate the "cons"

This strategy works well only if you can balance the incentives against the risks in a profitable manner ie only if you are able to show that the value-add from the change is proportionately much higher than the risk involved.

This strategy becomes difficult to execute, if your risks outweigh your incentives, and especially so, if the general perception is that your company is in a relatively comfortable position, even without the change. A good idea then might be to show people some genuine reasons as to why the perceived comfort is just a passing phase and will not last long.

In such a situation, some people may buy your logic, some may not. If you find the buyers to be capable of influencing the rest, endeavor to form a class that can serve as interpreters between you and the mass of people, and hence serve as drivers of change.

For the empirical-rational approach to succeed in the later phases of change, you also need to build your case on a strong Current Situation Analysis, proceed with proper training and development programs, initiate appropriate education, and carry out relevant research and development to support the change. Hire the services of field experts and Organizational Design and change specialists if required. Once these backups are in place, people will inevitably become much more confident of shouldering the responsibilities of change. Also, while you may initially identify a representative class to drive the change, eventually you must graduate to a phase where every team player is encouraged to come up with creative solutions aligned towards attaining a "best-of-all" situation.

However, the Empirical Rational Approach disregards the fact that while employees may understand the need for change or the rationale behind change, they may still not like to undergo change, because of the emotional troubles, adjustment issues etc. that come with transition.

NORMATIVE – RE-EDUCATIVE STRATEGY

Another "classic" approach to change management, this strategy takes wings from the fact that humans are social beings. Hence, they always have the inherent urge to conform to social norms and standards.

It does not deny that humans are rational and intelligent creatures, but views their behavior as being guided by socio-cultural norms and their allegiance to these norms. Restructuring their normative orientations and inducing them to commit to new norms introduce change.

Often, a cultural shift in the organization becomes imperative to adapt to market situations and survive competition. For example, your competitor may be producing twice your output because of their technological advancement, whereas you lag behind because you still rely on manual operations. This needs you to shift work culture from a manual to a technology oriented people set, which in turn requires you to appropriately train and prepare people for the change. Normative – Reeducative Strategy is defined as a strategy that believes that norms in an organization can be purposely shifted to attain higher productivity, through collective people efforts.

Given that culture and norms quickly become a part of who you are, an initial resistance to anything non conformist or maverick is quite expected. Ironically, norms and standards too are not constant over time. If they had been, evolution of society would never have been possible. Just like a stream of water that changes its course, when it meets a strong obstruction, culture and norms can also be re-established and redefined.

This approach believes that changing the attitudes, values ​​and culture leads to an automatic change in behavior. The very logic that makes initial resistance to such change inevitable is used to explain how, over a period of time, this kind of a change tends to adhere. Thus, although it may be paradoxical, it is actually practically observable that once a new culture sets in, people instinctively feel the need to conform, simply in order to survive.

An important tool in initiating this change is the presence of a magnetic and dynamic personality, who can considerably influence people and their perspectives. This personality can be a leader, a change agent or most effectively, the CEO of the company. Given his visibility, prominence, credibility and authority in an organization, he possesses all that is required to effect a change.

While a culture change is possible, it is never immediate. For it implies considerable adjustments to the hitherto established thought patterns and mindsets. As a result, it can emerge only as an outcome of a gradual process. Hence, this strategy is applicable only if you have a longer time frame at your disposal for enabling the change.

The Normative – Reeducative Approach is perhaps the most widely used strategy in present times. When using this strategy, it is important to remember that it is better to try and work through the existing culture, collaborating with people, and helping them see a new and better possibility, than to wake up one fine morning and replace it with a new culture. After all, you can not change culture the way you change clothes, because it connects to a deeper part of you and how you operate. So, this approach calls for an honest endeavor to work in sync with people, identify problems and facilitate solutions. It should be directed towards improving problem-solving capacities, upgrading processes within a system, and fostering new attitudes, skills, and norms for people. While the bright side is that when your efforts engage people so much, chances of resistance are minimized. But on the other side of the coin, this approach is too dependent on employee cooperation. For instance, new software developed for a certain insurance company was found to be left unused even till months after, because the employees did not want to step out of the comfort of the "old way of doing things." Often, such a change involves unlearning and relearning, and while the change may ultimately trigger simpler solutions to their work problems, the transition phase comes as a real challenge, often leading to resistance.

This strategy could be used in conjunction with a change in the employee performance management systems that reward people who facilitate change and penalize those who oppose it. This may help to beat the resistance and build a more cooperative atmosphere. Further, since work culture falls as much within the domains of the formal organization as the informal organization. Therefore, a change to the work culture can succeed only if an amiable relationship exists between these two counterparts, or at least if leaders of the informal organization buy the proposed change.

Another perspective on this strategy tells us that while most of the time, individuals prefer to stick to established conventions; the story is different when people within the system are not happy with the status quo. This is a situation where people are actually looking out for change. In this scenario, the preliminary step that the management needs to take to trigger a change is to evaluate and clarify organizational norms and culture. This can be done through interactions, discussions and at a personal level, introspection by the employees of the organisation. So, more often, this strategy will intimately involve people in the "process" of change rather than have them face only the "impact" of change.

Hence, the normative-reeducative approach targets attitudes and values. It tends to produce long lasting changes as it usually involves group goals, group norms or common values. The reason is that once a new norm sets in, after being initiated either by the formal or the informal organization, it eventually becomes part of the system – "the way things are" – and therefore stabilizes over time.

POWER – COERCIVE STRATEGY

This "classic" strategy bases itself in the power of "power". According to Hans Morgenthau:

Power may comprise anything that establishes and maintains the control of man over man. Thus power covers all social relationships, which serve that end, from physical violence to the subtlest psychological ties by which one mind controls another.

Applied to our context, this strategy advocates "power" in the form of threat sanctions, and believes that people are, in general compliant, and will ultimately bow down to those who possess greater power.

At times, when the change is not radical but moderate, the company may also use subtler forms of power or hegemonic power to attain its objective. In fact, the Normative Reeducative Approach or the Empirical Rational Approach ultimately uses hegemonic power very subtly, to navigate through the change process. Hegemony is like an internalized form of social control, which makes us feel we are choosing when really we have no choice. The 20th century French Marxist Louis Althusser called this 'trick' as Interpellation.

In both these cases, when a change has been decided upon, people have no choice but to accept it. They may resist for some time, but ultimately must go with the flow. However, instead of using force, these strategies use "reason" and "collaboration" to make the "change situation" seem like a choice that will lead to a better situation than the status quo. So, while the idea that the change will lead to a prospective better situation is true, it is ultimately never open to choice. Hence, indirectly even these strategies use some form of subtler hegemonic power. However, the difference is that while these approaches secure the support of the people through logic or collaboration, hence ensuring that change endures and stabilizes over time, the direct use of imposing power, as advocated by the Power – Coercive Strategy, runs the risk that once the power is removed, people may revert to their original behavior.

But many times, exerting authority, subtly or otherwise, in the form of political and economic sanctions, legislation, policies, "moral" power etc. may seem the only way to bring about a change. This happens when people in the organization collectively fail to perceive a threat that is, in reality, grave and must be resolved within a restricted response time. Use of power may also be necessary when people become obstinate and intractable in the face of a change, which has lots at stake. So, people may become even during times of an exigency. The trick applied here is to have it your way and leave no other option for your people but to accept the change. While political sanctions usually reward non-conformists with imprisonment, economic sanctions curtail financial incentives to those who resist the change. Thus, the use of coercive power is an attempt to make people yield to change by inducing fear or using actual force.

However, the use of power may not always be negative. For instance, one power – coercive strategy uses the behavioral psychology concept of "the carrot and the stick". In this approach, power can be used to both reward employees who support change through financial incentives and punish those who do not with political or financial consequences, through sanctions. Thus, power can operate both ways.

The success of this strategy, however, depends on the general temperament of the organization.

Some organizations, as a part of their culture, believe in the authority of seniority, and appreciate the role of the hierarchy in issuing guidelines or directives for organizational development. If your people are attuned to a system of healthy authoritarianism, this may come easy. But in an organization where liberality has long been practiced, Hitlerian tactics will face resistance. Still, with Power-Coercive strategies, people have little option but to accept change, since most of these strategies use stringent policies, where impunity is ruled out. However, to ensure that the foundations of change are built on unanimity rather than repressed fear or dissatisfaction, it is important to evaluate the nature of your organization, the problem at hand and the time frame at hand, before embarking on this strategy, as a last resort.

Robert L. Kahn observed that:

To say that A has the power to change B's behavior necessarily implies that A exerts some force in opposition to some or all of the previously existing forces [including B's own needs and values] on B. This is conflict …. The exercise of [coercive] power, thus, necessarily creates conflict …

Thus, while the use of authority structures and threat sanctions can accomplish change, they may breed hatred and contempt for the organization or the senior management, which is harmful to organization in the long run.

ENVIRONMENTAL – ADAPTIVE STRATEGY

The Environmental-Adaptive Strategy, suggested by Fred Nickols, is built on the premise that while people innately resist change, they also eventually adapt themselves to it, when they are left with no choice.

Also known as the "die – on – the – vine" strategy, it takes its cue from the common observation that while individuals are quick to oppose change that they find threatening, they also have an innate ability to adapt quickly to a new set of circumstances. Applied to our context of organizational change, this human psychology translates to a strategy of first creating a new environment and then gradually moving people from the old to the new system. Thus, rather than proactively trying to "change" the organization by effecting a "change" in the behavior, processes, culture and norms of people, this strategy recommends that a new set of circumstances be created, and the innate nature of humans to eventually adapt be exploited, in letting the change "sink in". Therefore, in this strategy, the ball shifts court from the management to the people, as the responsibility of regularizing the change now lies on the people and how they adapt to the change. They practically have no choice to accept or reject the change, unless of course one prefers to quit the organization altogether. Here, the change is made, and the individuals merely adapt themselves.

This strategy is best suited for changes that are radical in nature rather than those that are gradual. Say, you want to introduce the SAP-HR system to increase efficiency and speed of HR related work. This is an incremental change that will happen over time, as your Business HR personnel gradually learn how to operate the new system and shift from the old manual practice to the new systematized process. If you were to use the Environment Adaptive strategy here, creating the environment and leaving them to adapt to it in their own way, the transition phase, very likely would stretch too long. This is because, your managers already operate within a framework that they are comfortable with, and so they may be reluctant to shift to a new system. Here, you might have to use a mix of the empirical-rational and the normative-reeducative strategies instead to change that comfort culture and enable them embrace the change.

Now, consider the example that Nickols gives, of a radical change handled in the Environmental-Adaptive way. Rupert Murdoch wanted to shift to an entirely new operating structure, on terms that were very different from the current one at Fleet Street. So, he set about quietly establishing an entirely new operation in Wapping, some distance away from Fleet Street. As soon as the new system became operational, he informed the printers at Fleet Street that he had some good news and some bad news for all of them. The bad news was that they would have to shut down their operations at Fleet Street. So, everybody was fired. The good news was that a new operation had jobs for all of them, albeit on very different terms.

Now, most people in this situation will embrace the new option – a radical change, tackled using the Environment-Adaptive strategy. Of course, the strategy is a mix of the empirical rational and power coercive strategies, and that is only a reinforcement of the fact that practical situations often need a mix of different strategies to effectively manage change.

Many years ago, my work took me to a slum infested area. I was pained to see the kind of life those people led, the abject poverty everywhere, the bowl that every child held out in his hand, not for food, but in the hope that a kind passerby may drop some alms.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity of revisiting the same place to run an education camp, and was pleasantly amazed at the buildings that stood in place of the slums – an obvious outcome of a rigorous rehabilitation program! It was only when I ventured inside that I realized, that barring the safer, better and more decent dwelling place to live in, nothing much had really changed. The litter was still around, the kids still ran about in the mud in tattered clothes and they still held out their hands for alms. The rehabilitation program had done well in shifting them to a new place, but perhaps something more remained to be done to have them live a new, more meaningful life. Their "homes" had changed, their way of life had not.

And to change that culture, they needed to be educated, to be shown that a better way of life existed, and existed within their reach. But even for that education to show its impact, I was now beginning to understand; I needed more kids like Jana, Neil and Don. Among the close to thirty kids I had been asked to supervise, there were only these three who were genuinely interested. The rest were happy with their life, as it was.

The above incident links to an important factor that you must consider before using this strategy. Ensure that you have at least a few capable, influential and probably "non conformist" employees, in your organization, who will embrace the change and drive the others. These are your "seed" employees – people who will foster a new and more effective work culture in the newly established setup. Correspondingly, Nickols uses the term "bad apples" to refer to people from the old culture, which are detrimental to the new culture and must be done away with.

If there is no buy-in on the change, at-least at the "seed" level, the strategy may not work. Rather, it may lead to a situation where you have a new workplace that continues to work in the old manner and follow the old culture. Effectively then, there has not been much change.

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Source by Percy A Dastur

In Summary – What Is Major Account Management All About?

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Major Account Management Is a Long Term Process – It Takes Time:

We must recognise that we are in Major Account Management for the long term. It takes time to manage a major account and we will only receive a payback on our investment in time if we can have a long term result. In some of the organisations we have worked with this produces a tension because the whole culture is about creating a short term sales result in which product and profit are the main drivers and measures of success. We should not underestimate what a challenge Major Account Management can be to the corporate culture. It emphasises relationship more than product, profit more than volume, and team more than individual, long term more than short term. At the same time the practical short term realities of business life need to be recognised.

One of the best ways of managing this tension is to have someone who acts as a mentor, conscience or guide to the account manager and account team. They are not involved in the day to day management of the account but are invited in to look at and comment on major proposals and presentations. Their main role is to be involved in reviewing the long term plan every few months to ensure that the relationship is as productive as possible and is reflecting the values ​​of the organisation as a whole.

The role of the major account manager is to be responsible for the overall relationship. They influence all those involved in the account to ensure a co-ordinated, synchronised approach. The major account manager is responsible for drafting the account plan, gaining the agreement and commitment of the team and then monitoring implementation

Major Account Management Involves Relationships Not Just a Mechanical Approach:

Under this heading we should discuss three main aspects of major account management.

o The importance of relationships in Major Account Management.

o The complexity of relationships in Major Account Management.

o Mapping relationships in Major Account Management.

Importance:

In Major Account Management it is essential that we manage people as well as processes. Of course we must get the product pricing right. We need to be excellent at administration. Our customer service and product range need to be strong. But "people buy from people" and "we are in a people business". To manage the complex range of relationships within a major account is difficult and demanding but our ability to manage relationships will define whether or not we sustain success.

Complexity:

In a reactive sale there is only one relationship – that between the seller and the buyer. In major accounts the situation is much more complex. There are often contacts going on at many levels and many locations. In one major account, we have identified 1000 relationships between the account team of ten people and individuals representing the client. But it is not just a problem of numbers, it is often a problem of politics. Some contacts do not want us to talk to people in other departments or at different levels. It can also be that the complexity is caused by product range. The users of one product rarely speak to the specifies for another product. In any complex relationship some people will like us more than others. This is to say nothing of inter-departmental tensions. All these things make major account relationships complex and we need to recognise their complexity.

Mapping:

If relationships are important and if relationships are complex then it is essential that we find a way of mapping, analysing, planning and monitoring those relationships. Over recent years we have found that an approach based on the game of chess allows a very practical way of identifying the key issues.

If we can answer these questions confidently and communicate our thinking across the account team simply and clearly then we will be half-way to success. This approach has given people across a broad spectrum of organisations a common language and way of working

It Can Only Be Done With Selected Customers :

The final word from this definition is selected. Choosing the right key accounts is of critical importance for three main reasons:

o We do not have the resources to treat every customer as a key account.

o Not every customer wants to be treated as a key account.

o Selection allows us to prioritise our activities in line with our overall business objectives.

Many organisations grade their major accounts simply by the size of sales for the year but the organisations we see that are really moving forward in Major Account Management take a number of other factors into account. They also make sure that everybody knows who the major accounts are and why they are major accounts. It is important to be rigorous with the selection criteria you use! You will also need to apply some form of weighting to reflect your priorities. The fact that a major account does not meet all your criteria will not disqualify it from being a major account. It will just need to score higher in other areas to qualify.

On the basis of this scoring, organisations can grade their accounts. They might be Premier, 1st and 2nd Division like a football league, or Gold, Silver and Bronze like Olympic medals or First Class, Club Class, Economy and Standby like an airline. The analogy of an airline is a good one because on one flight you can have people on Standby being entirely happy with the service they are getting, even though they know there are people getting "better" service in Club Class. Grading your accounts is not a matter of giving some customers better or worse service. It is a matter of giving all your customers appropriate service. When we select our major accounts and consistently deliver what we promise, we are managing our accounts professionally and effectively.

In Summary – Success Factors In Key Account Management:

o Successful Development Of The Role:

o Effective working relationships with other members of the team.

o A continuing drive to improve account team productivity.

o Management commitment to the account team's role with opportunities for career progression.

o Re-enforcement of the role through authorised career structures, job descriptions and core training programmes.

o The Key Skills:

o Understanding the financial and legal requirements of the account.

o Understanding of the company's business objectives.

o Understanding of the company's commercial policies.

o Build high levels of product awareness.

o Understanding of the customer's business objectives.

o Identify the decision makers.

o Understand the customer's purchasing strategy.

o Assess competitive activities.

o Put together an account development plan.

o Ensure effective sales order processing.

o Build the right levels of revenue and profitability.

o The Core Skills:

o Delegation

o Interpersonal skills.

o Consultancy.

o Financial control & analysis.

o Project management.

o Man management.

o Initiative & creativity.

The Secondary Skills:

Eg Industry knowledge, competitive knowledge, product knowledge etc.

Success Factors In Key Account Development:

o The Stages Of A Long Term Process

o Pre-sales.

o Contract negotiation.

o Implementation / Delivery.

o Review.

o Exploitation.

o Objectives For An Account Team

o Ensure that the customer is presented with a coherent and professional image of your Company as a business partner.

o Secure a long term business relationship with the customer as the basis for growing business.

o Penetrate the customer's organisation and decision making unit creating new opportunities that can be exploited to accelerate account growth.

o Understand and document, on an ongoing basis, the customer organisations strategic business direction and organisation.

o Provide the company's senior management team with feedback on the long term growth potential in the customer's market sector and on critical success factors for exploiting it.

o Ensure that the company's solutions are technically solid and based on a proper understanding of the current requirements and re-inforce the customer's perception of the benefits of the company's market focus.

o Ensure that the company's total resource is delivered in a way that satisfies customer requirements and supports the objectives of the account plan.

Conclusion:

An effective Major Account Management strategy depends on selecting your major accounts intelligently, creating a strong, consistent, flexible way of working with both major accounts and other customers and then implementing the plan in a disciplined, effective, efficient manner.

One of the successes of the Major Account Management programme has been the creation of common models and language that facilitate discussion and planning across units and departments. It has also stimulated a commitment for our clients to plan long term for key relationships. Major Account Management has many implications for individuals, departments and the business as a whole. It will always be demanding, but done right it will be highly rewarding

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

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Source by Jonathan Farrington

Management – Bullet Points on Good People Management

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By the time I was 16, I had been someway involved in the management of a paper route, a busboy station, a rock band, school projects, baseball, football, and street hockey teams and organizing outings. Whether it's a lifelong calling or a job, management is a noble profession. It deserves our attention. It needs our focus. Let's give it some thought:

Manage by walking around. This means get out of your cage and visit, glad-hand, ask questions, say happy birthday, eat the goodies out there, check the work, etc. It may be tough because the office can be an embracing cocoon. However, if you're visible to your people they will recognize you as part of the group instead of the hobo that stays in the office. But the best thing is that you'll develop a feel for what's going on and be able to respond on the spot, if necessary.

Avoid treating your people as your own captive audience. I once overheard a supervisor regaling her unit of 12 clerical workers about her vacation in a morning meeting. From the looks on the employee faces not only did I sense they did not care but they resented having to listen to this. The supervisor took advantage of the fact she had a captive audience. You may want to consider sticking to work issues when having group meetings.

Avoid complaining about your financial situation. Rightly or wrongly, managers are usually perceived as being better off financially. No employee is going to empathize when their manager complains that she did not get a raise or about the taxes on her summer home. Believe me, the employees do not care.

Be there. React to an employee issue as if it's the most important issue on your docket (because it usually is to them). This means respond by email or phone immediately. And if there are circumstances that prevent a meaningful exchange at that time, let your employee know when you can fully engage their issue.

Encourage other views. This may appear to be a BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious) but I've found many managers are fearful of a person who possesses a different outlook on an issue. This may be because the manager is unsure of how to handle it. I suggest that you not only listen to other views but seek them out. The possibilities then multiply and become limitless.

Seek to understand then to be understood. This is not only good in management it's a good life practice. It means asking probing questions, repeating back what you hear, and re-stating what the person is telling you until you gain full understanding. Misunderstandings may be good to propel a plot in a movie but they only cause damage elsewhere.

Differentiate yourself by considering ways to acknowledge the importance of your employees. In addition to sending cards at Christmas, consider sending "We Love Our Employees" cards on Valentines Day or saying thank you with a Thanksgiving Day card.

Stay in tune with your employees. A recent study suggested that when asked what keeps employees from leaving 69 percent of employees said compensation. However, only 49 percent of managers interviewed felt compensation important to retaining employees. The same study indicated 60 percent of employees thought time and flexibility was important to employee retention while only 35 percent of executives did. Is it time to do a reality check about what truly motivates your employees?

Recognize sacrifice. If someone stays late to complete a project, mention your appreciation. Forget about what you'll get out of it. It's simply great to see someone practicing their craft.

Listen. H0w many times has someone come in your office to discuss something and found you inattentive? By this I mean, that you're typing on the keyboard, looking at caller id, or glancing at people walking by instead of fully listening. Tough habits are On Those to break but Providing Focused, attentive listening is one 's of the great Hediyeleri you can give color : as a manager .

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Source by Steve Wyrostek

People Management – The Objectives in Managing People

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The new Manager will generally have great expertise in the technical side of the role, and high performance here will have gained them the promotion to people manager or supervisor. However, in every walk of life the newly appointed supervisor will have less developed people management, communication and people skills. Whether the work is in the shop floor, a hospital, an office or a business, the new Manager will have technical expertise but will require to build their people management and team building skills.

The Objectives of People Management

Identifying clear objectives will help any Manager begin to build the competencies they need to manage people effectively. These objectives are:

1. To Achieve through the Results of Others . Up to now, the Manager has been responsible for his or her own performance and results. Now, you will be measured on the results of your team members. Success in people management is having team members that outperform the best of the best, and they do it without the Manager's help.

2. To Win Followers. It is the job of the leader to win the respect of the followers and to show them the direction forward. An effective people manager does not want to be liked, but they do want to show respect and to gain respect. Success is when the Team Members trust that they have a captain of the ship who will both keep them safe, and who will build the high performing team that will succeed.

3. To Build Personal Leadership. You can not lead others if you can not lead yourself. Before being a Manager, you could be loose cannon. Now you must control everything you do to ensure you win the respect of others and motivate them to achieve their goals. Appreciate that your attitude and behaviour will influence your team members either positively or negatively. Use your behaviour positively to encourage others to improve and achieve.

4. To Structure and Organise the World Load Effectively. People management involves knowing the strengths of your people and ensuring that you use those strengths effectively to achieve high results. That does not necessarily mean building a team of individual specialists, quite the reverse. Effective people management means building the right team to achieve your team's objectives. You may need to build flexible people who can step in to each other's role, or a team who can brainstorm and problem solve any aspect of the team's workload. Start with the end in mind. Identify what type of team you want, and work out how you will train individuals and the team to get there.

5. To Build Effective Team Processes. Team processes are the systems we use to enable the team to achieve its goals. How do we solve problems, address issues, generate new ideas, monitor throughput of work or review how we are working together as a team? Think in terms of process as the solution to most work issues is to have the right process to deal with this. Success is when the team have an identifiable process they can call on to removing any block or implement any improvement. A high performing team will use this without the leader being present.

6. To Build Positive Working Relationships with Senior Management and other Colleagues. People Management involves not just managing your own people, and yourself, but managing your relationships with everyone. It is the role of the Manager to be capable of drawing down resources for the Team and ensuring that we work productively with other departments. Your team will want a leader who can influence and persuade others. A Manager must know what type of relationship is effective and they will go about building positive working relationships with a network of people throughout the organisation. Success is when everyone wants to do business with you and others will listen to your viewpoint.

7. To Build the Habit of Setting Short -term Goals to Achieve Long-term Objectives. An effective People Manager takes steps forward every week and every month. Those steps are in identifiable goals, and those goals must be foundation bricks so that further goals will be more achievable. Managers walk and talk goals and goal achievement. Goals are motivational for the team members and for the Manager.

8. Celebrate Success. Good people management is about recognising milestones, goal achievements or individual breakthroughs, and celebrating these with the team. Life should be fun, and the best celebrations are small, personal recognitions. A homemade cake is more powerful that an insignificant bonus! Managing people is about knowing people, and knowing what will be rewarding for each.

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Source by Kate Tammemagi