Sunday, November 18, 2018

Business Management

Communication issues in business

Communication is the foundation of every single relationship you have in your personal life; it's no different in business. Without effective communication, there can be misunderstandings, problems and conflicts among your staff, your clients and everyone else you come into contact with. Poor communication can make effective delegation, productivity and an enjoyable work environment virtually impossible.

Here are a few issues that you may want to address:

1. Failure to Listen.
The inability to listen is a huge problem. Often you will see co-workers interrupting speakers or planning what they will say next instead of effectively listening. and still others just forget to pay attention, they are too distracted or have a short attention span. Obviously these all reflect on their failure to listen.
To resolve this stress the need to listen before you start a discussion. Focus on content of discussion and make notes later. Maintain eye contact to facilitate understanding. Turning off cell phones, email, or even closing an office door can help ensure the speaker has your full attention.

2. Culture Differences.
The office has become a melting pot stocked with people of diverse backgrounds and cultural customs. People tend to “hang" with others familiar to their culture or habits. When these individual groups assemble, managers face the challenge of team communications vs small group dynamics.
People often cling to “like-minded" individuals or want to share space with others in their culture. Try to mix them together and make sure that during brainstorming sessions, everyone is contributing—even if you have to walk the floor to listen. If someone is reticent, ask them for feedback. The most important thing however, is to repeat back what you’ve heard. Make sure that your understanding is clear. By reframing your understanding, it allows others to know you are listening and fosters better communication.

3. Ask good Questions
When you want to persuade someone, questions can be more powerful than statements. The reason: you engage another person more strongly. You get him or her thinking about the ideal answer – and the steps necessary to get there.

4. Gender Bias
The battle over which gender makes the best leader is taking the focus away from the real issue. Sometimes workers only want to relate to people of the same gender.
Don’t wait for an invitation to speak. Speak loudly and make sure your viewpoints are expressed; establish eye contact, and own your space. Never issue disclaimers, engage in demeaning yourself—and avoid unwarranted apologies.

Effective communication can be important to your business success. It may be worthwhile taking the time to reinforce practices in your organization to ensure improved results.
I hope these suggestions help. Please let me have your thoughts.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Business Management

It’s Time for an Effective Business Plan

Creating a road map for a business may be a key to growth and success but how many entrepreneurs do it right. Here are suggestions for developing a solid plan.

1. Shorten the planning horizon. 
With the speed of change today the 5 year plan has become obsolete and even a 3 year time horizon may be a stretch. You can have great vision and well developed strategy but unless you can connect the dots between where you are today and where you want to be, you will fail.

2. Manage what you can measure. 
Knowledge is power. Monitor the right information and your plan will have a greater chance of succeeding.

3. Increase planning frequency. 
When the 2-3 year plan is complete, management meetings should be held at least quarterly to review where you are and what to do next. This will enable the organization to assess progress and realign targets to meet new business conditions.

4. Write the plan yourself. 
This is an element of business that entrepreneurs love to delegate to a consultant. A plan is better understood if it is created within the organization. The elements contained within the plan vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization. Only when there truly is a lack of the skillset for developing plans should the process be delegated to an outsider like a consultant.

5. Share the process. 
Entrepreneurs who keep their plans close to their chest, not revealing them to anyone, do so at their own peril. Making other managers part of the process provides the opportunity to hold them accountable and share ownership of the plan.

6. Be realistic.
Plans that are overly optimistic or too safe are both wrong. Optimistic plans project revenues and a resulting spending scenario that may not be achieved. Deficits will result. Plans that are too conservative may result in limitations on spending because revenues are not expected. This may result in lost opportunities. Every effort to achieve realism should be undertaken and frequent reviews help keep the business on track.

7. Share the plan. 
Once completed the plan should be shared with the management group so everyone understands expectations and the yardstick for success. The organization should, where possible, tie performance bonuses to result attained in the plan.

When employees feel a sense of ownership about the future you may be amazed what they will be willing to do for the organization to help ensure success.
I hope these suggestions help you focus on building an effective plan for your business. Please let me know your thoughts.