Monday, March 26, 2012

Business Performance

Performance Management

Performance management is a process bringing together many of the elements that make up the successful practice of people management in a business in order to achieve high levels of organizational performance. As such, it establishes shared understanding about what is to be achieved and an approach to leading and developing people which will ensure that it is achieved.

Here are some elements that can be included in an effective system.

1.     Plan:

In an effective organization, work is planned in advance. This includes setting performance expectations and goals for individuals or departments. It helps channel employee efforts towards achieving organizational objectives. Getting employees involved in the planning process will help them understand the company’s goals, what needs to be done, and why it needs to be done, and how well the job needs to be done to meet expectations.

2.     Review:

Reviewing performance regularly allows the company to receive feedback from all employees. Managers can identify and resolve employees' concerns, problems and ideas for improvement. Reviews ensure all members of the organization are held accountable for personal performance. It is important also to operate in a "no surprise" developmental-oriented employee performance review, with significant employee input, to ensure employees see the fairness of the practice.

3.     Develop: 

An organization can be strengthened when employee needs are evaluated and addressed. Development means increasing the capacity to perform through training, assigning new functions that introduce new skills or higher level of responsibility or improving work processes.  Providing employees with training and development opportunities encourages better performance, enhances moral, and helps employees grow. This improves the company’s bench strengths and facilitates organizational succession planning.

4.     Perform:

The elements outlined strengthen the ability of the organization to achieve results and attain overall goals to grow and sustain profitability. Highly motivated employees who understand performance expectations, achieve panned goals, should enjoy improved compensation and promotion to positions of greater responsibility. The payoff is that management can focus on larger strategic issues that can improve profitability and growth.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Business Communication

Need to Improve Communication at Work?

The ability to communicate with clarity and effectiveness is an imperative skill for organizational leaders. Here are important ways to make your communication more productive and effective.
1. Provide clear information
 If your communication isn’t complete and accurate, it can cause confusion instead of clarity among employees. Carefully plan your communication to be sure you are passing along the correct information and the right amount so those you are communicating with understand what you want to say.
2. Communicate honestly
People know when something isn’t adding up. If you try to communicate something that isn’t totally true and honest it will eventually be revealed. It’s difficult to maintain dishonest communication in the workplace because it gets too complicated to hold all of the stories together. Speak the truth and leave the rest for later or don’t say it at all if it’s not true and honest.
3. Bring non-verbal and verbal communication together
Remember, communication is both non-verbal and verbal. Sometimes, a person says one thing but acts in a different way. For instance, it’s not uncommon to hear someone say “Yes” but shake his head in a horizontally which indicates “No” in a non-verbal way . This sends mixed messages. Make sure that your non-verbal and verbal messages are in agreement.
4. Listen
Listening is an important communication skill that is seldom done well. In order to actually share information with another person, you have to hear what is being communicated. A lot of conflict stems from poor listening. To help learn how to listen well, take time to repeat what you here from the other person. Simply paraphrase what you heard to verify accuracy. This will cut down on conflict and vastly increase the effectiveness of your communications.

5. Ask questions
Asking questions is a good way to verify what you hear so you respond appropriately. Questions let the other person have the chance to clarify what they said. Make sure your questions relate specifically to what is being said. Don’t change the conversation by bringing in a question on a totally different matter. Also use questions to gather quick additional points that help you understand the conversation.
6. Let others talk
Have you ever been stuck in a meeting when only one person did all of the talking? Few things are as irritating as having a person dominate a conversation. A conversation is a two way event at a minimum. Remember to let the others speak. Dominating a conversation becomes a monologue, not a conversation. Solicit opinions, ask for response, and bring others into the conversation. Sometimes, all it takes is to be quiet for a moment.
7. Engage in Difficult Conversations When necessary
Do you ever avoid saying what needs to be said or avoid a difficult conversation altogether? Not saying something doesn’t make a situation go away. Instead, things can get worse. Not communicating can also cause more stress and trauma in a situation. Instead of avoiding difficult communications, sit down and plan out what you’re going to say. Actually write down the important points in order to feel comfortable about what you have to say. Make sure the tone you use is open and non-confrontational in order to encourage feedback from the other person. Conversations aren’t always fun but getting the words out will relieve the tension and let the matter move forward.
Obviously there’s a lot more that can be said about communications in the workplace. These steps may help improve workplace communications. Remember, practice makes perfect. Use daily opportunities to practice your communication skills until you feel comfortable in any situation that arises in the organization.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Business Management

 Cash Conservation

Conserving cash flow can create benefits in economic conditions facing business today. When business is in a low or slow growth pattern, cash is very important and if you don’t have cash when you need it the most operations can be constrained.

Conserving cash flow may not be easy for those businesses that have been used to having the money to spend at any time. However, when the time comes that some belt-tightening would be necessary, some practical cash flow conservation methods may be prudent.

Here are a few tips to conserve cash:

·       Spend wisely. Make sure that purchases are made for need to have not nice to have items. Items should have a good use in the business producing revenue where possible.

·       Ensure new employee hiring is necessary. Employee salaries are a significant cash drain so efforts to maximize productivity from current employees are paramount.

·       Try leasing equipment. Leasing vs buying can be an important option since equipment purchasing can be a serious cash drain.

·       Plan ahead. Make sure you forecast financial activity. A plan outlining expected revenues and expenditures is vital to understanding cash needs. You certainly want no surprises on cash flow activity.

·       Renegotiate leases. Rent is often a sizeable fixed cost that can be negotiated. Speak with your landlord; there may be an opportunity to downsize or even temporarily obtain rent reductions. Landlords often prefer to accept lower income than losing tenants.

·       Go to the clouds. If your business is large enough to have in-house servers you are aware of the maintenance costs. If business is increasing this may be a cost effective way to create additional capacity without buying expensive new servers.

Business owners should share their cash flow objectives with other key managers to ensure every opportunity to maximize cash savings is realized.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Business Management

Crisis Management

What is Crisis Management?

In any business, it is always essential that you are prepared for any problems that may arise when it is least expected. It is in the way that you deal with these issues that the success of your business will be based on.

No organization, however large, is immune from various crises. This may include situations such as your computer systems failing or even worse, infrastructure being completely destroyed.

Crisis management can contribute a great deal to the prevention of major management disasters.

Types of Crises

It is important that you have a good understanding of the different types of crises that could take place, as all crises cannot be handled in the same manner. The most common categories are as follows:

  1. Financial crises - This would be huge problem for any organization, as such a crisis would basically involve the organization heading in the direction of bankruptcy.
  2. Natural disasters - This type of crisis is highly unpredictable and could come by at any time. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes have occurred recently in different areas and businesses should always be ready to face such a situation.
  3. Technological crises. This is where a system collapses due to failure in the functioning of different equipment and machinery. These crises could occur either because of human error or a fault in the system used, and have multiple consequences including chemical spills and oil leaks.
  4. Political & Social - With the current political climate the world over, organizations may want to take into consideration any threats to security and any forms of terrorist activity.

Dealing with Crises

It is essential to keep in mind, that when a crisis occurs, you would need to have a response team ready to deal with employees, media, and the various other stakeholders.
All these parties would need information on the given situation and what is being done to deal with it. This also requires you to have a clear crisis communication plan with the target audience in mind.
Remember that each group needs to be handled in a different manner; Customers may not require the same information as the employees of the organization, and so on.


The only way to successfully control a crisis from getting out of hand is to always have a good plan and a team ready to deal with various situations that may crop up.
With these strategies in place, you would always be able to reduce the damage caused to the organization.