Writen by Vishal P. Rao

Many times business owners can have significant differences in management styles that can deter the growth of both the employees and the business.

Employees can have differing needs that require differing methods of management as well. Problems arise when the management style of a business owner does not match the needs of the employees.

There are two basic management styles that are also broken down into more minor categories, the Autocratic Management Style and the Permissive Management Style. An Autocratic Management Style is one in which the business owner makes all decisions unilaterally. In other words, the business owner is the "boss" period and doesn't value input from employees. The business owner's word is law. The Permissive Management Style allows employees to take part in business decisions. A rather considerable degree of autonomy on the part of employees is encouraged in this management style.

If a business owner possesses an Autocratic Management Style, and the employees and/or type of business would benefit more from a Permissive Management Style, problems will arise, and vice versa.

Management styles may also be "situational", in other words, should be changed depending upon the needs and growth of the business, as well as the differing situations that may occur.

How then can a business owner know if their overall "approach" or management style is hurting or assisting their business? Easy: Results.

The results of the business, in all facets of the business, will dictate which management style is needed, or if a business owner needs to amend their management style. If a business is doing well financially, if clients are routinely satisfied, if employees are happy, are all indications that the management style of the business owner is appropriate. Discontentment and loss of business would be indicators that the approach is incorrect.

An example of this will explain this principle further:

Karen R. successfully managed her own business for several years. She employed a rather Permissive Management Style, allowing the employees plenty of input, with a rather "family style" atmosphere developing. The employees were very much engaged in the business and considered the business "their own" as well, leading to much devotion on their parts.

However, as the business grew, so did the demands of the clients. It became imperative for Karen R. to change her management style to the Authoritative Management Style, as she needed to quickly enforce parameters, and complete projects. There simply was no time for discussion among the employees, and no time for multiple approaches to each project.

This led to much discontent on the part of the employees, and they needed to be reminded that their opinions were no longer welcomed repeatedly, which left Karen R. frazzled and stressed too.

The solution: Karen R. engaged a series of psychological tests for both herself and her employees, as initially she had no clue what was wrong or how to relieve the problems. This test revealed that she was being somewhat "overly authoritative" in her approach, and also that her employees were "too expectant" in their demands that she include them in decisions. A compromise was reached, and Karen R., now allows some "input" from the employees, but retains the right to make a decision unilaterally. This combination of Authoritative/Permissive Management Styles has led to the relief of the stress within her organization, and has also led to increased happiness and productivity on the part of the employees.

Without a good knowledge of their own management styles, or psychological approaches to business, business owners can set themselves up for problems. They may be so difficult in their approach, and so set in their ways, that they in essence, would not put up with this behavior if they worked for themselves. Or they can be so passive, and so permissive, that they become "doormats" for the employees, thus not achieving enough control over the business. Karen R. above is a good example. Her Authoritative Management Style, when adopted, became much too rigid for the growth of the business, and this was because of her perceived "need" for control in a business that was growing rather rapidly. Because she herself felt somewhat overwhelmed by the growth, she tended to approach the employees, with an attitude that was too strict and unrelenting.

Assessment of situations, along with psychological tests administered to all within a business, if problems arise, can go a long way towards alleviating the problems. These tests are generally available online or from Human Resource providers.

Business owners can't rectify a problem or their own behaviors or that of their employees, unless they know specifically what these problems are. Insight into themselves and others, will assist business owners into successful resolution of all problems as they occur. Knowledge of behaviors and knowledge of management styles, can prevent problems in management problems before they happen.

Vishal P. Rao is the owner of Work at Home Forum, an online community of people who work from home.

Writen by LM Foong

The CONTROL Phase is the most neglected but critical phase to ensure action / solution put in placed are permanent and yield expected results. It cannot be over emphasized the importance of CONTROL.

They are some basic tools used in this phase, namely:-

Trend Charting | Control Chart | Documentation | Audit | On-job training | Re-certification

In this issue, I will deal with the above tools in bold Trend Charting Not only team member need to control the improvement result, equally important they track the continuity of the action / solution. These are the critical components of the whole Improvement Projects to ensure sustainability of the improvement. However, members tends to keep track of the result without realizing it is the action / solution that bring about the improvement. The results is the consequences of the actions / solutions.

During this phase, least difficulties were encountered by team members. Perhaps it was due to the fact that most action / solution are taken placed in the work area they are in charge. However, there are cases where teams are set up for a cross-function project in which action / solution to be taken are in work areas not the responsibility of the team members. In which case, team members faced with the following difficulties :-

a) Action and solution are not carried out consistently

b) Some of the line workers are not aware of the changes

c) Tracking is focus on results but did not extend to the action / solution

Besides tracking and monitoring, it is important that new action / solution are standardized across the company with simple yet effective work instructions and Standard Operating Procedures. And they are periodically audited for compliance. That Management team has included these items in their operation review meeting until such a time they feel it is sustainable.

Control Chart This is a statistical chart that use to track the performance of a measures over time. It look like a line chart except that it has 3 additional lines around the line chart. One of the three lines is the Mean or average line, the other two are drawn on the upper and lower end of the mean line. While the mean line is easy to determine, since it is an average line of those data. The other two lines is not so straight forward. It required some calculations to determine the position of the line drawn.

I do not intend to work out the detail calculation of the two lines. Briefly, one of the line which is placed above the mean line is called the upper control limit (UCL) and the other line which is placed below the mean line is called the lower control limit (LCL). These two line are the boundary of the data performance in which should be within these limits at any time. If it is out of the range, then it indicates an out of control situation. Investigation need to be taken place to find out why the data is out of range.

This control chart is useful to monitor the trend of the performance in term is the control limits. However, in real situation, it is more complicated as there are cases where the data performance is within the two lines, it is still consider out of control. Example, iof the data move along above the mean line for more than 7 points in a row. It is called a "RUN".... There are sevral others but will not be discussed here.

In summary, the trend chart and control chart is used to monitor the performance of the data. However, by the time it is plotted onto the chart, it si already histroy. Nevertheless, it is still a good tools to track the performace of the data basic on his performance over time. This will tell the team whether their solution provides a long term sustainability performance. In my next article, I will deal with Documentation and Audit of solution.


Disclaimer: This article is written by the author based on his practical application experience. All definitions and interpretation of terminology are his point of view and has it has no intention to conflict with experts in similar topic. The author holds no responsibility for the use of this article in any way.


Free to reprint or re-publish: All rights reserved. You are free to reprint or re-publish this article as long as you include my resource box at the end of this article. Please ensure that the URL in the resource box remain intact and it is linked to the author's website.


About the Author: LM Foong The author provides consulting services specializing in TQM Implementations in manufacturing and service sector. He provides facilitation workshops and hands-on application in Cost Reduction and Productivity Improvement projects. He publishes TQM articles, ebooks, case studies, trainer manual and presentation slides. To View Free TQM articles, please click http://www.tqmcasestudies.com/tqm_article.htm OR Please Visit my Web Site http://www.tqmcasestudies.com for other TQM related matters.

Writen by Michael Russell

The EA0 record is very long and takes a while to get through it all. In this installment of our series on medical billing and the EA0 record for electronic claims submission, we're going to pick up our review of this record with field number 20.

EA0 field 20, positions 80 - 94, is the referring physician number. Every registered physician in the United States has a number for each state and each agency that they bill to. This field contains their number registered with the payer that the claim is being billed to.

EA0 field 21, positions 95 - 109, is the referring physician UPIN number. This is where things can really get confusing. A UPIN number is a number assigned to every physician in the United States who bills Medicare. This is only used for Medicare billing and not to be confused with the number in field 20, unless they happen to be the same number.

EA0 field 22, position 110, is the referring physician tax ID type. This is a one character code that tells the payer the tax status of the physician. Most are the same, unless there are physicians who work in special clinics that are tax exempt or have different tax laws.

EA0 field 23, positions 111 - 121, is the referring physicians tax ID number. This is the actual tax ID number, similar to a social security number that is assigned to the physician by the government.

EA0 fields 24 - 26, positions 122 - 152, is the referring physicians last, first and middle initial. This must be filled in with the doctor's legal name on his medical license issued by the state to which he is billing.

EA0 field 27, positions 153 - 154, is the referring physician's state. This is the two character abbreviation for the state to which the referring physician is billing this claim to.

EA0 field 28, positions 155 - 162, is the hospital admission date. This is the date when the patient was admitted into the hospital if such an admission took place. If not, then this field is left blank. It is called a conditional field. There are many of these in electronic billing.

EA0 field 29, positions 163 - 170 is the hospital discharge date. This is the date the patient was released from the hospital. If the patient has not yet been released or if the patient was never admitted to a hospital then this field is left blank.

EA0 field 30, position 171, Is the outside lab indicator. This field tells the payer being billed if the patient was given tests by an outside lab and not the referring physician. This is field in with either a Y or N.

EA0 field 31, positions 172 - 178, is the outside lab charges. If the patient was given tests by an outside lab, then any charges must be submitted in this field. These charges may or may not be covered depending on the patient's coverage.

In our next medical billing installment of the EA0 record, we'll continue our review with field number 32.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Medical Billing

What About Doing Nothing

Writen by James La Trobe-Bateman

"Change is the only constant". We have had it drummed into us so much that we find it very strange to leave things as they are. But just think about the benefits to your organisation of changing nothing:

* Your attention will not be diverted from the daily need to meet customers' needs

* You will not create anxiety amongst your people that they are about to be "restructured"

* You will save the cost of the project resources needed to make those changes happen.

So why are you hell-bent on throwing it all up in the air and changing everything? The issue is not really changing nothing, but not changing everything. You can be sure that there is something you must do to continue to compete. Have you identified what it is? Maybe you know that you need to change, but are not clear what and why. So you change more than you need in order to be sure that you nail the real problem.

Let's put this into context. Suppose that your business supplies healthcare equipment across the world. You have to develop products, market, sell, make, distribute, and service them to your customers. You expect to make a profit and you would like to make more. You call for ideas. In a typical organisation this is how different functions might react to such a call.

* Product Development Make the best use of the technology that you have to develop new products with the minimum of effort and risk in the quickest time

* Production Reduce Unit Manufacturing Cost

* Distribution Use the 80-20 rule to sell more to the minority of customers that are most profitable

* Field Service Reduce headcount

* Marketing Seek new high value niches or new markets for existing products

Is this the best approach?

Resource Needed

Whenever you try to do something differently, you must create a 'project' to make things happen. Projects absorb effort, even when managed by the existing staff. So, in the case of Product Development, for example, the efforts to work out how to match existing technology to new product needs will actually reduce the resource available to actually develop products. This may indeed pay off, but not necessarily so. Certainly in Production, reducing cost will require teams of professionals (industrial engineers, lean experts) to plan and manage what has to be done. Implementation will absorb the energies of the production staff as well as incur the expense of the change agents. Presumably Marketing will need to research new niches and then fight internal battles (often of a political nature) with their peers and managers to accept their new ideas. This is again resource sapping. Overall, investment of resource (and that boils down to money) is needed to make things happen across all these functions. The more things that you change, the more resource it will consume.

Will it Lead to More Profit?

In principle, all of the above actions could lead to more revenue for less expense, i.e. more profit. In practice, all of the above actions could also lead to more revenue with more expense, or less expense but lower revenues:

Product Development

If the cost structure and performance of your products is in fact largely determined by the current technology (for example, in diagnostics the use of micro-titre wells) then the only long term way to eliminate constraints to cost and performance must be by adopting a new technology.


Suppose that you can adopt a '6 sigma' philosophy. This will involve a large investment in training and staff. Their choice of projects will be compromised by the need to do things that fullfill Black Belt certification timescales (for example). Further, in a highly regulated environment, you will soon find that you need to change things that will involve validation that is expensive or takes too long. At the end of this exercise, you might be lucky to get your money back on the investment.


You may decide to promote a current best-selling product to more of your best customers. However, their calculation of "profit" will be based on transfer prices from the factory. The true profit margins may well be completely different. This means that the organisation as a whole may end up making less profit from the change.

Field Service

This department is widely regarded as just expense. The only way to reduce it is to reduce headcount. This could well lead to poorer service to the customer. Eventually you pay the price in losing customers. You reduce expense, but then reduce revenue too.


It will be difficult for marketing to assess the incremental operating expense for any new markets that they enter. If the extra revenues are not up to expectation, then profits will not be as good as they hoped.

Could You Do Better?

It is clear that an uncoordinated approach will definitely involve extra expense in the short term and is unlikely to produce the best possible increase in profit for that extra effort. This means that at best you will have improved profitability, but you will certainly have spent more effort than you needed to do so. There is a worse scenario. Suppose the key constraint on profitability lies outside the individual remit of any of the departments, or more probably depends on actions across departments. In this case, you will not achieve any kind of "breakthrough" improvement at all. You will effectively get nothing for your money. Doing nothing in this situation is better than doing a lot that is ineffective.

Of course, you WILL hit the jackpot if you identify just one project that removes the key obstacle to improving profitability and apply resource to making just that happen. Elsewhere you simply change nothing. Is that so outrageous?

***************************** by James La Trobe-Bateman, Founder of reMODEL Consultants International Ltd.

About the Author: James La Trobe-Bateman. Co-author of NEW BOOK 'Bridge Of Faith for Operations with examples in Medical Device & Diagnostics'. Presented with 'Global Innovation Award' by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Nicknamed the 'dynamic duo' by operations director for a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Over 25 years ago in oil & petrochemical industry, he first started predicting the effects of one change on all parts of the organization. Inspired by Eli Goldratt in the early 80's. For over 15 years now in the Healthcare Manufacturing Industry, James very passionately continues to drive highly successful, ongoing Operations Improvements as well as resolve New Product Development & Market issues Internationally.

James has won various prestigious awards over the years for his work. He is a Chartered Engineer, Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and graduate of Cambridge Univ.

You are probably trying to change many things. If you could only change one, what would it be?

You can reach James La Trobe-Bateman at to find out where to start. www.remodel.co.uk

James La Trobe-Bateman. Co-author of 'Bridge Of Faith for Operations with examples in Medical Device & Diagnostics'. Presented with 'Global Innovation Award' by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Nicknamed the 'dynamic duo' by operations director for a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Over 25 years ago in oil & petrochemical industry, he first started predicting the effects of one change on all parts of the organization. Inspired by Eli Goldratt in the early 80's. For over 15 years now in the Healthcare Manufacturing Industry, James very passionately continues to drive highly successful, ongoing Operations Improvements as well as resolve New Product Development & Market issues Internationally.

James has won various prestigious awards over the years for his work. He is a Chartered Engineer, Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and graduate of Cambridge Univ.

You are probably trying to change many things. If you could only change one, what would it be? You can reach James La Trobe-Bateman to find out where to start at http://www.remodel.co.uk

Writen by Martin Haworth

Every decision we make, in business, in life in general, is bounded by just two options.

Like an on-off switch, we make one or the other - there are no variances to this. Because it's as simple as Yes or No - and so often we get it wrong.

You see it's those times that we say 'Yes', when it would serve us much better to say 'No' and we often say 'No' when there are real benefits in saying 'Yes'.

So, let's take a look at those situations we get ourselves into.

  • Saying 'No' More

    It is quite natural to say 'Yes'. We do it every day in our lives and it is the least confrontational thing we can do.

    Agreeing to the wishes of others pampers to our inner need to be liked, to be loved.

    Man is a social animal. We like to be liked by our peers - and so we go along with them.

    In business this is no different. It is tough, for most of us, to say 'No'. So we agree - we comply. And with what consequences?

    Saying 'Yes', way too often, leads us to complications we could do without. In the worst cases we take on tasks that others ask us to do, without question, which grinds us down, makes us bitter and generates a 'blame' culture.

    We agree to things that others, maybe stronger, maybe just more thick-skinned, thrust at us.

    Passing accountability to us, who say 'Yes'. Way too often.

    One solution to this is simple. At least put off 'Yes' decisions some of the time.

    By positive procrastination, we can put ourselves off making the wrong 'Yes' decision in haste - so make it tomorrow by coming up with a few 'let me think about it' phrases.

    By training ourselves, on just a few occasions to start with, we build our strength to say 'No' a little more each day. People start to realise we aren't a pushover anymore.

    Another solution, is to agree only on our terms. To say 'Yes' with a proviso. That a new ad-hoc piece of work can only be done if something else is dropped. Or on our timescale.

    Pushing back on someone else's urgency helps them to realise that there needs to be a different way - and they gradually learn to treat you differently too. New 'boundaries' are set. And everyone wins.

    And now the opposite!

  • Accepting a 'Yes' is OK!

    There is a converse to the saying 'Yes' too often problem.

    Sometimes we don't say it enough. Maybe it's a British thing. Maybe our 'reserve' means that whatever happens, we can cope. We can manage. So that when people offer us help. Make a gesture, that we feel we 'shouldn't' accept it.

    So we don't. And the problems pile up.

    Listen up - accepting help, by saying 'Yes', everyone is a winner again. You win, because you accept help. You show that you are open to support and you model that it's OK - to the rest of your team.

    There is another win. If you offered help to someone and they accepted, how would you feel about it? You would feel a stronger bond to the person who accepted. It's nice to be wanted.

    Offering support and having it accepted is a magnificent feeling. By being the one who says 'Yes' you show others that it's OK too. And others ask as well, and accept.

    The team grows by development support generously given and gratefully accepted.

This repositioning of 'Yes' and 'No' works in business as well as at home. The simple examples shown here are snippets of what this change in your philosophy can create - there is much more opportunity here.

To say 'Yes' less and 'No' more. To say 'No' less and 'Yes' more. In the right places.

© 2005-6 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, http://www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com.

Writen by Shaunta Pleasant

There are many important elements to the creation of any new business, but the mission statement is perhaps the most critical.

After all, it is the mission statement which sets the tone for the business and tells the world what the operation is all about. Fortunately for the new business owner, there are many places where a sample mission statement can be found.

Books Devoted To Business Planning

For instance, it is often possible to find a sample mission statement in one of the many books devoted to the world of business and entrepreneurship.

There are entire shelves in the bookstore devoted to these subjects, so finding such a sample mission statement should not be too much of a problem.

Modifying The Sample Mission Statement To Meet Your Needs

A bigger problem than finding a sample mission statement is modifying it to the needs of your own business.

Each business is its own unique entity, and it is unlikely that the sample mission statement will be appropriate in and of itself.

It will be the changes made to the sample mission statement that allow it to be used well for the business in question.

Writing Down A Little Bit About Your Business

After locating a good looking sample mission statement, the next step is to sit down and write a little bit about your own business and what you want it to do.

While it may be possible to get some sample language from the sample mission statement, it is important for each business owner to think carefully about the message he or she wants to convey in terms of their own business.

Incorporating The Format Of The Sample Mission Statement

After thinking carefully about the mission statement you want to create, it should be possible to incorporate the format of the sample mission statement into your own personalized mission statement.

It is a good idea to change many of the formatting elements of the sample mission statement you have found.

Doing so will make it look less like a sample mission statement and more like your own polished and professional looking document.

Shaunta Pleasant is a professional web writer and editor on business mission statement topics. Visit my site to learn more about writing a business plan at http://www.yourbusinesspal.com/sample_mission_statement.html To download a copy of Business Plan Work Shop at http://www.yourbusinesspal.com/business_start_up_work_shop.html

Performance Appraisals Must Go

Writen by Rick Dacri

Destroy Your Performance Appraisals. That's right, destroy them. Your employees don't want them. Your managers hate to give them. And frankly, it is rare that they are written honestly anyway.

So why do them? Why do employers continue to inflict so much pain on themselves and their workforce? What are they trying to accomplish?

Employers often think they should do them in order to foster a workplace where employees are held accountable; where good performance is rewarded; and where employees are paid fairly. If these are the goals of performance appraisal, then why does study after study report that no one is happy with this system of evaluating performance? Why is there always tension in the air and acid in the stomach when it is performance appraisal time?

Let's look at a few of the reasons appraisals exist and see if there may be a better way to achieve these admirable goals.

1. Appraisals correct bad performance—Using an annual or semi-annual meeting with your employee to correct problems that occur during the year is ineffective and unfair. Appraisals cannot correct past problems. If the behavior was done in the past, it cannot be changed because you cannot change what has already occurred. Problems must be addressed as they occur. Waiting for appraisal time to correct the problem is the equivalent to threatening a child with "wait until your father gets home!" Appraisals shouldn't be a "gotcha" time. If you want to correct bad performance or behavior, then address it immediately either through coaching, counseling or discipline, but not through an appraisal.

2. Appraisals are used for wage increases—This is a problem for many reasons. First, money clouds the open dialogue between a manager and an employee. While managers are focusing on performance, employees are focusing on how much money this is going to mean in their pocket. Recognizing this as a problem, companies often separate the issues into two discussions held at different times. But this rarely works. Money and not performance remains the overriding issue.

Secondly, using appraisals as a way of differentiating between good and bad performance might have worked when merit budgets were 10% and 12%, but those days are long gone. With merit budgets often averaging 3%, does a 1%, 2%, or even a 3% differential between good and bad performers adequately send a message that recognizes and rewards good performance?

And finally, supervisors are often forced to be dishonest on the appraisals in order to ensure that the employee gets something or to avoid the inevitable confrontation associated with telling an employee that they merited no increase. There are better ways to recognize and reward employees.

3. Appraisals are tools to develop employees—Frankly, when done properly, appraisals can be a good development tool. However, with all the baggage associated with appraisals, there are better ways to develop your people. If employers focus on an employee and discuss his or her strengths, areas needing development, skills and skill gaps, and what is needed for career success and organizational growth, then a positive plan can be developed where both the employee and the employer comes out as winners. A discussion that begins with "Let's talk about how we can put together a plan focused on growing you in the organization" will be reviewed more positively than "Let's talk about your performance."

So does this mean we should not do any type of appraisal? No. Ongoing, continuous discussions with your employees are critical to their success and the success of the organization. But the process must be continuous—daily, weekly, and nor just an annual event. It should focus on improving future performance. It must be honest and sincere. It must be developmental with a focus on growing the employee. It can include a discussion about goals and objectives. And yes, if you must, things can be written down. You will find that with this type of forward thinking focus, there will be less pain and less acid in the stomach.

Rick Dacri is an organizational development consultant, coach and featured speaker at regional and national conferences. Since 1995 his firm, Dacri & Associates has focused on improving the performance of individuals and organizations. Rick can be reached at 1-800-892-9828, rick@dacri.com, or http://www.dacri.com.

Writen by Barbara A Kee PhD

Anytime we assume that all people are functioning at the same level behaviorally and emotionally in the workplace, we are sure to be surprised. Surprised when we encounter a co-worker who responses to what we thought was a simple comment with an emotional outburst that resembles that of an eight-year-old rather than a thirty-year-old.

Although emotionally immature employees can be a cause for difficulty at any level according to Sherry Buffington, Ph.D., as they progress up the organization the greater the problems. Should we be able to see inappropriate emotional outburst coming? Are there signs that will give us a heads up about the emotional immaturity level of various co-workers? Look at the following signs:

1. Inability to compromise with the rules of the workplace and with co-workers. Any group of people who spend time together must be able to compromise at times. Not everyone can have their way at every turn of the day.

2. Self-defensiveness and excuse making when confronted with a reality at work. Part of the difficulty in dealing with self-defensiveness and excuse making is that it can easily divert one from the original issues.

3. Avoidance of responsibility for work and/or interactions with other co-workers. The ability to say, "I was wrong and you were right." is a major mark of maturity. It also helps us stay within the reality of situations instead of trying to create a false scenario in order to protect ourselves from having to take responsibility for our work and actions.

4. Misuse or response to authority, which leads to resentments on the part of others. It often results from a false sense of entitlement. "I am the boss and I do not have to respect you."

5. A tendency to revert to quarreling rather than communication toward conflict resolution. The most common response when an emotionally immature worker feels they are challenged at work is often, "Yeah, but…" And when the one bringing up an issue is verbally attacked without the real issue being dealt with.

6. Complacency toward making efforts toward quality work, which is another way of saying they come across as lazy. But complacency is not the same as lazy. If the person is engaged in the project, they can be energized toward completion. Complacency is more the lack of caring about the outcome.

7. Try to make others responsible for their own emotions. It is always someone else's fault that the emotionally immature worker is having a difficulty at work.

The good news is that any one can mature emotionally at any age. The bad news is the workplace is not the best place to help a person grow up emotionally. Few managers want to be the "parent" to emotionally adolescence workers. The problems that can occur within the workplace, especially in the area of interpersonal relationships, can be very disruptive. Figuring out how to grown-up emotionally immature workers can be a challenge for managers and co-workers to find solutions.

A manager can put into place ways to hold their staff accountable in the workplace. This needs to be done in a mature way. It does not help when the manager is reacting at the same level of immaturity as the staff member. Meeting each incident of emotional immaturity with a quiet, consistent, response that calls for the staff member to look at their own behavior and to change to meet the expectation of the managers is a challenge.

Working with a peer where you have no authority can be more difficult. Your options are more limited in how to influence your co-worker to grow up emotionally. Sometimes the only options you have are to be as emotionally mature as you can be, while trying to stay out of the line of fire of the emotionally immature co-worker.

Barbara A. Kee, Ph.D., is a Life Strategy Coach (http://www.BarbaraAKee.com) working in personal, executive, and corporate coaching. She primarily coaches around the issues of workplace survival, how to influence when you are not in charge, and the development of leadership skills. A major part of her client list is physicians working within corporate locations. Her other specialty is helping all-but-dissertation students move toward completion of their dissertations (http://www.DissertationCoachDrKee.com) Please contact Barbara A. Kee at Barbara@BarbaraAKee.com

Writen by Andrew E. Schwartz

INTERNAL PUBLIC RELATIONS: Never overlook an opportunity to do internal public relations about your department and its offerings. A training department must, first and foremost, be visible in the organization it serves. Larry Lottier, Manager, Education of Dana Corporation publishes a training department course catalog with faculty, course listings and course descriptions to publicize his department's offerings. Gary Slobodian, Assistant Manager, Corporate Staff Development, of Great-West Life Assurance Company has found that getting training on the agenda at national sales meetings increases his department's visibility.

ACHIEVING CREDIBILITY: Make sure your department has credibility within your organization. There are several ways to attain (and maintain) credibility. Your departmental plan of action must "… support what the organization is trying to do, be integrated into it," says Susan Warshauer, whose upcoming book, Inside Training and Development, Creating Effective Programs, examines this. The trainings offered and the department's overall philosophy must give tangible answers to the needs expressed by senior management. Understanding that business plan — its goals, mission, ethics and company positioning is essential to the training department being seen as "one of us" by the rest of management. To have this kind of personal credibility with senior executives, a training manager must "speak the language of the suits."

BENEFITS OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS: If you are considering using outside consultants to supplement your in-house training staff, consider some of the benefits of external people that our experts identified: --Breadth of experience, have been inside several other organizations, more objectivity, wider range of solutions. (James Hayes) --You can buy `being up to date' with the latest technology; it costs to teach an internal person that. (Robin Grumman) --Sometimes outside eyes see more. (Sharon Burns) --Technical experts can fill needs we can't do in house. (Mary Belle GrosJacques) --You don't need to pay them benefits or keep them on staff. (Markus Zimmer).

DRAWBACKS OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS: If you are considering using outside consultants to supplement your in-house training staff, consider some of the drawbacks of external people that our experts identified: --They don't know the culture. (Barbara L. Thornton) --May not be available the next time you need them. (Ken Wessel)

--You never know what you're going to get; there is an element of risk that you may not need with a first time program. (Susan Warshauer) --An internal person is hooked into the performance appraisal system at the company, and external person needs more supervision, more of a manager's time. (Sharon Burns).

Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Writen by Chuck Yorke

In our current world of rapid and amazing technological advances, many entrepreneurs have managed to dramatically limit the need for staff in highly profitable operations of all kinds.

It is therefore tempting and believable to imagine that with every passing day, the need for people skills is diminishing. In fact most entrepreneurs are convinced that one no longer requires people skills to run a highly profitable enterprise. After all technology can do it all for you.

This is both an unfortunate and inaccurate view that can cause a great deal of trouble.

While it is true that technology has resulted in much leaner staffed enterprises, the truth of the matter is that businesses still need people. They need people to run the technology and more importantly to make important decisions that will impact on the company and its products and services for years to come.

Although the numbers have drastically been reduced, the role of workers and staff in companies has dramatically risen in importance. The fact that you have fewer people running a multi-million dollar operation means that human checks and balances are virtually non-existent. So in effect you will need more reliable and dedicated staff members. There is no way you can achieve this without actively promoting people skills in your organization.

It is actually scary that much more power has been put in the hands of fewer people. Meaning that disillusioned and unmotivated workers can cause great damage to any enterprise if they choose to throw a monkey wrench in the works.

While a business may at first seem to be hugely successful and profitable, even without the active promotion and nurturing of people skills, this is definitely not a situation that can be sustained for long.

The correct long-term approach would be to actively nurture people skills in the top echelons of the business and to promote active staff participation in the management and operations of the business. Nurturing highly motivated workers who will actively contribute creative ideas for improvement in the enterprise is an investment that will pay big for years to come for any management team that makes the effort.

Copyright © 2005 Chuck Yorke - All Rights Reserved

Chuck Yorke is an organizational development and performance improvement specialist, trainer, consultant and speaker. His specialty is helping companies improve by tapping into the creative ideas of their workers. He is also co-author, along with Norman Bodek, of All You Gotta Do Is Ask, a book that explains how to promote large numbers of ideas from employees. Chuck may be reached at ChuckYorke@yahoo.com


What Working Women Want

Writen by Liz Ryan

Women have been in the white-collar workforce for a generation, but plenty of things about them still puzzle many a male manager. As an HR leader and working women for a generation myself, I've compiled this Top Ten list of tidbits that the women in your workplace would love for you to know.

1) View me as myself, not a stand-in for The Working Woman.

Women tell stories, when they get together, about being the token woman in the management meeting, the only woman in the sales meeting, the only woman on the business trip. That's not the bad part - the bad part is being viewed as a specimen, representative, and spokesperson for the entire gender.

2) Don't compliment me by saying that you wish you could compliment me.

Ten years ago, it was irritating to have to listen to boorish male co-workers say "Gee, that skirt really shows off your legs." Today, it's almost worse to hear them say "I'd tell you that you look great in that skirt, but I'd get in trouble!" Just can it - the lame disclaimer doesn't help.

3) Don't assume that I don't know what I'm doing.

It shouldn't happen, after all these years, but female software engineers still report that their male colleagues say things like "Check her code again, just in case." Because she's a woman. And it shouldn't happen, but when a woman gets promoted, someone is sure to say "Well, they must have needed more women in management." What if she's just, well, qualified? Can we assume that men and women are equally equipped to do their jobs?

4) Don't ask me about my child-bearing plans.

If you and I are friends, that's one thing. But if we're not, you have exactly no right to ask me a) whether I plan to have children; b) whether I plan to have another one, once I've had one child; or c) anything else relating to my family planning. Why do some managers assume, that because my three-month absence for maternity leave might have some impact on the business at some point (if I'm still working here, when I have kids, if I even make that choice) that they have a right to know about it?

5) Don't put me in the Girl Ghettos.

If I apply for a job in PR, Marketing or HR, that's your cue that I'm interested in one of those jobs. If I don't, please don't jump to the conclusion that I need to work in one of the designated Female departments. If I'm succeeding as a mechanical engineer or the Director of IT, that's because I like the work. Let me succeed or fail in it!

6)Don't get freaked out when two of us arrive.

Many a female manager has noticed that as long as she's the only woman in the group, her male co-workers do okay. But when the second women leader shows up, people get nervous....as in, The Women Are Taking Over! That's ridiculous. Men still rule the roost in corporate America, for better or worse, and two (or three, or four) women in leadership does not a coven make.

7) Don't worry about my family - they're fine.

Working women report being caught in a vise - when they're going great guns at work, their bosses still give them less challenging assignments or stall their career growth "for the sake of your kids." They're my kids, for Pete's sake! I'm perfectly capable of deciding how many hours at the office, how much travel, and what size job I can manage while parenting them. You, as my boss, have nothing to do with it.

8) Don't dismiss my non-linear judgment.

It's well established that women's and men's brains operate differently. But there's a great tendency in the corporate world to pooh-pooh and belittle the non-linear, intuitive decision-making that so many women are so good at. If I'm getting the right answer most of the time, I deserve to get airtime: even if I don't lay out my argument in your favored Powerpoint-style, data-driven format.

9) Don't freak out when I get emotional.

Look, male managers pound their fists on the table and everyone's supposed to deal with it. But let a woman show a little mist in her eyes, and people say "She's emotional," "She's hysterical" and "She's not playing fair." You've got your emotional expression, and we've got ours. We're tired of hearing that our hard-wired emotional reaction to an emotionally tough stimulus is any less PROFESSIONAL than yours is.

10) Don't make me your mother, or your child.

It happens every day: a working woman realizes that her male boss or co-worker has substituted her for his mom or daughter, to her utter dismay. If you're treated with respect, kid gloves, deference and have no influence in decisions - and are "protected" from bad news - then you're Mom. If you're treated graciously and carefully and kept out of difficult or thorny situations, you're somebody's surrogate daughter. Women won't tolerate that. We are just who we are - women that you hired, women who will make your company thrive and flourish, if you let us.

Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR executive, workplace expert and founder of WorldWIT, the world's largest online network for professional women (http://www.worldwit.org). Liz lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Mistake Proofing Or Poka Yoke

Writen by Tony Jacowski

Thrashing out mistakes in manufacturing engineering was developed by the Japanese as a tool of mistake proofing that helps reduce waste in areas such as time, energy and resources. The idea stresses on producing zero defects as a part of a quality tool kit to prevent human errors. Although Poka Yoke is applied differently in different situations, the common thread that binds them all is its simplicity; it uses small tools at the point of the anticipated mistake generation itself.

Empowerment of Employees As A Tool of Poka Yoke Development

The beautiful part of mistake-proofing is the empowerment of employees to identify, suggest ways out and execute the plan to iron out the cause of the mistake at it's point of origination. In fact, anybody from a manager to a line employee can be allowed to complete mistake proofing planning. It applies to every other area, including commercial transactions, in the same way.

How Can Activities Be Mistake-Proofed?

Mistake proofing is simply managed by presence of mind. Sometimes it so happens that an employee notices a mistake in the way things are done in his section or line. Generally, exposure to multiple aspects such as work content and execution procedures let the employee think about ways of rectifying the mistake.

One who has noticed the mistake will come up with suggestions for eliminating the mistakes by rather simple methods. Empowered environments nurture enthusiasm in employees, which ultimately results in success.

Let's take different simple examples. Colgate Palmolive was losing its market share to a rival toothpaste producer and the people in their marketing department could hardly help reverse the trend, despite their best efforts. This was until an employee in the packing department suggested a rather 'simplistic' idea that ultimately has shown results. The employee suggested enlarging of the tubes' opening, which increased the amount of paste issued each time the consumers wanted to brush.

Where does mistake proofing figure into the equation in this instance? The mistake was not in the manufacturing, packing or quality of the product but in the way it was marketed. The marketing was centered around an emphasis on quality and not on the quantity the consumers should use, which was irrelevant in the absence of severe competition.

Mistake elimination need not have complex solutions that consume lot of time and resources. Simple solutions can sometimes be arrived at by those who work on the shop floor. Let us look into another example which significantly explains Poka Yoke. Take a small mistake in the assembling of pens, such as a forgotten spring for operating the writing tip by a button located on top of the pen. The assembly worker would not have forgotten if he was given all of the components in sets rather than each part like springs, refills etc separately.

The Simplicity Of Poka Yoke

Quite evidently, Poka Yoke is pretty simple. It does not involve spending huge sums of money, time and complex procedures. It employs making the best use of empowered human minds. If it is used on a continuous basis with the goal of eliminating many smaller mistakes, the results can be wonderful.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions – Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

Writen by Jose Sanchez

The company decided to develop and implement an improvement program. The main thrust was to propose strategies and alternatives for the implementation of a quality program.

Later on, the company declared the "Year of Quality", which kicked off the beginning of an improvement program focusing on providing better service and paying more attention to the customers. That same year, after several internal attempts on the part of the company to carry out such a program, executive management requested our assistance to evaluate the current situation and implement a Corporate Management System .

Policy Management

The purpose of Policy Management was to determine the company's priority areas in order to align resources towards customer satisfaction. The corporate vision, that is, the future the organization aspires to reach, had to be established first in order to develop the fundamental objectives. Besides describing the desired position, the vision helped define what had to be done to reach it.

Developing the vision demanded a sincere evaluation of the company's strengths and weaknesses, and a deep investigation of the needs of the customers and all the actors that impact the company's product or service This was a very revealing experience since the analysis of customer needs uncovered some requirements that became known for the first time.

To accomplish this it was necessary to involve all of management. The managers, from all departments, established four teams. One group was responsible for identifying the customers' requirements another, the corporate problems and business requirements, a third group designed strategies to implement the program throughout the organization and the last one analyzed information needs that allowed them to get control of the demands from clients and actors and the degree to which they were satisfied.

The conclusions arrived at by these teams were the basis for the Executive Committee to formulate the vision and, afterwards, to develop the Corporate Management System. This system was deployed and promoted at all levels of the organization in 1993 and is the management system being used today. Through the Corporate Management System the vision, long and short term plans were transformed into concrete actions; the role and responsibility of each member of the organization was clearly defined; a systematic and participatory process oriented towards corporate improvement was created.

Improvement Teams

The company's Corporate Management Process is supported by the knowledge and involvement of its human resources and team work. Fifteen internal instructors were trained and certified on the advanced Methodology for Continued Improvement, "Tools, Techniques and Methodology". The training strategy was to start training at the time the Priority Areas for the company were being established. Having these two activities in parallel enabled the company to have the key personnel trained on the tools and techniques for improvement, by the time corporate policy was ready to be functionally deployed.

This is why the company, through its own instructors, trained the rest of the organization and was ready to act when the Executive Committee deployed five of the ten Priority Areas identified through the Corporate Management System.

The Improvement Teams' efforts were supported by various clearly defined support structures, which were implemented based on our guidance. The purpose of these structures, endorsed by Executive Management, was to improve the company operations and satisfy the customers' expectations and valid requirements.

At the beginning of 1994 the company had twenty improvement teams that were assigned to work on specific problems, derived from the Priority Areas and deployed through the short term plans. These teams continue to work on improvement activities today.

Daily Management

With the goal of increasing the level of participation of employees in routine jobs, the company decided to implement "Daily Management" in 1994. This strategy resulted in the training and development of a pilot area, the Information Systems Group, in all the methods and techniques of Daily Management.

The training consisted of:

the methodology to select the most important process

the techniques to identify the needs of the customer: internal and external the method to establish responsibilities

and the development of indicators, targets and a follow-up system

The pilot also served as a means to transfer the technology of Daily Management to the company.

The company continues to train their employees on this methodology to accelerate the efforts that lead to the improvement of products and services by controlling and improving the critical business processes. At the same time, the program is being expanded to other areas of the organization. As more people become involved in monitoring and controlling their own activities, management is beginning to see improvement results in all areas of operation.

Managing Parner, Management Resources Inc.

Writen by Marcia Zidle

In these days of takeovers and mergers, of downsizings and lean management, chances are that you are going to be caught in a job upheaval at least once in your career. Probably more than once!

Change in the wind may come like an invigorating breeze on a hot humid night. For instance, your boss is promoted to a new job and you have to get used to reporting to someone new, who turns out to be even better. But change also can come as a spark before the forest fire, when an outside takeover of your company leads to unexpected layoffs, outsourcing, and redefinition of the company itself.

But whatever the situation, once you've got a new job or a new boss or a new company, you must realize you have to change. That's survival lesson number one. The worst thing you can do is cling to the old ways of doing things or to ignore what's happening right before your eyes. To deal effectively with change, you need to pay attention to four stages of workplace transition.

Stage 1. Something's Up: What To Do Before The Change.

If you're lucky, you'll have some advance warning and time to prepare. Sometimes you simply have the uneasy feeling that something is up. There might be lots of hushed conversations or closed-door meetings. Top management might seem especially busy and inaccessible. Or the rumor mill is running high.

If you sense something is happening, get out there and keep informed. Don't stay buried behind your desk or in your office. Be visible inside and outside your company. Just because you're doing a good job, don't assume you'll be taken care of. While you're gathering information within your own company, keep your antennae up and ears perked for news of openings in your field. Pass the word discreetly among professional colleagues that you're thinking of trying something new. You may not need to or want to change jobs, but it's important that you know what's out there.

As soon as you know something definite, plan how you are going to manage yourself. The change, no matter how big or how small, will affect you personally. By acknowledging your feelings of anxiety, frustration or loss, you can get beyond the initial shock more quickly, start thinking more sensibly about your career options and move on.

Stage 2. Getting Acquainted: The First Couple of Months.

In the first weeks of the transition, take extra care to be visible, productive, and open to change. This is not a good time to go on vacation for two weeks. Ask yourself: Is there professional opportunity here? Or, should I now begin looking elsewhere? How can you decide whether to put your energy into making a go of it or to start letting go?

First, do more research. If there is new ownership, learn all you can about that corporate culture. Study past, as well as, current reports in the business press. Ask people what it's like to work there. If you're used to a regimented, bureaucratic company and the new owner has an entrepreneurial approach you may be in for big changes. However, if you have a flexible, go-get-em personality, you might find it exhilarating.

If you have a new boss, find out how she was perceived in her previous job. Pick up the phone and ask around to find someone who knows her work. If it's a restructuring, try to understand the reasons behind it. What is the company dealing with now, that it wasn't dealing with in the past? What goals is it trying to accomplish in the reorganization? In what way can you contribute to these new goals?

Put yourself in your boss's shoes. What are the key problems that need to be solved right now? Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution? Are there things you could be doing right now to come out ahead of the game? If you choose to stay, it's up to you to get on with the program, and to show your new boss how indispensable you really are. Do it as soon as you can. If you hang back it might get harder. Take the initiative. Ask for a meeting to discuss your background, to provide an update on your projects, and to find out about the new goals for your team, department or division. You need to be perceived as adding value not just taking up space.

Stage 3. Settled In: The Six Month Benchmark.

Now that the dust has settled, it's the time to gauge your career health. If you're working with a new boss or new owners or are in a totally different area, ask yourself: Do I feel like an active participant or am I on the sidelines looking in? Have I gotten reassuring comments or positive feedback? If you are in the dark, take the risk and request a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance.

You need to be direct. Say, "I've been working hard to cooperate and adjust to the changes, but I've been wondering, how am I doing from your point of view? And what's the next six months going to look like?"

You may get an indirect response such as: "You're doing fine, keep up the hard work"; or "Let's set a time to discuss this further." However, don't be satisfied with an evasive or avoidance answer. Performance feedback is essential during times of organizational transition. If all the signs are looking good, you can start breathing a sign of relief. But don't let your guard down completely. The next six months are also very important.

Stage 4. A Year After: Is The Coast Clear?

By the time you're a year or more into a major change in your organization, it's reasonable to wonder: Has my work life settled down at last? Am I home free? After a year, if not before, take time out from your normal routine and evaluate what's been going on.

Has the sense of crisis passed? Do you see a gradual shift to a more smoothly run ship? Is your area still moving in the new direction, even if there has been an occasionally glitch? Is your new boss fitting into the company and working well with her staff and superiors? If this is the case, great! You've come through the storms of change and now are going on to calmer times, at least for the short term, - long term who knows?

Or is the atmosphere still very hectic despite many attempts to try to fix what's not working? Or, is everything on hold again for the nth time waiting for someone to make the decision to move ahead? Or do you feel that your workload does not seem to be easing up? In fact, it's getting worse. Sad to say, sometimes things never calm down especially in troubled industries or rapidly changing ones.

If this is your scenario, you may decide that you need a break from the relentless change. You can try to find a calmer port within your company or you may need to seriously consider finding a new job all together. Taking control of one's career sometimes means making some very hard decisions. But once a decision is made and action is taken, then you can get on with your life. Isn't that what professional empowerment is all about---taking charge of one's destiny?

Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ­ to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to http://leadershiphooks.com/ and get the bonus report "61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers". Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ­ resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ­ fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.


Writen by Mary Anne Winslow

One company that has implemented quality and has a had success from it is British Gas. British Gas has a comprehensive business management system in place that encompasses quality management, environmental management and Investors in People. This system is subjected to regular external review by specialist independent assessment bodies as well as internal challenge, providing a framework for continual improvement. All operations employees are regularly assessed for safety and technical competence and improvement actions put in place where appropriate.

Total Quality- what it is and what it is not has been debated endlessly by people involved at all levels. Many are still confused, and whilst confusion reigns the opportunities continue to slip away.

As competition in the global marketplace increases the importance of quality and in particular Total Quality Management (TQM) has become a key management issue within most major corporations. More and more companies are applying the principles of TQM and the topic is well publicised in many books and papers. The procurement function plays a key role within any company, as they are the link between the business and its suppliers. In essence the buyers interpret the requirements of the business and convert this into the materials required to satisfy the needs of the customer.

A total quality management environment aims to get it right first time, and this means that quality, not faults must be designed into the organisations products and operations from the outset.

The successful pursuit of a quality programme requires the dedication of substantial organizational resources, and it is vital to understand whether and how the programme generates value for the organization. It is evident from the quotation above that China, the world's largest emerging economy, consisting of 1.2 billion potential consumers, is treating quality not just as an organizational issue but as a national one.

To be successful in the introduction of TQM many attitudes need changing, thinking developed and perceptions broadened. TQM is a continuing process of organisational improvement and therefore requires an organisation wide commitment. TQM is about setting standards (in everything!) and getting (product and process) quality right first time, every time! TQM is about a shared vision and success.

Four principal barriers to quality: systems and procedures, culture, organization design, management perspectives.

TQM has three major components:

* People (teams)

* Quality tools and techniques

* Quality policy and management commitment

TQM has evolved from the Japanese understanding of the importance of people as a resource in the persuit of CQI aimed at customer satisfaction.

Total Quality, with the vital attitudes ingrained in the workforce, is possible. However it is a gradual process requiring top down management support, commercial commitment, and a firm will to make it succeed.

There are many business that have implemented quality management successfully and have turned them around. The results of implementing quality cannot be seen straight away it is a continuious improvement and the results can only be seen over time.

Strategic Quality goals are established at the highest company levels and are part of the companies business plans. This concept of strategic quality goals is a logical result of the movement to give quality the top priority among the companies goals.

Mary Anne Winslow is a member of Essay Writing Service counselling department team and a dissertation writing consultant. Contact her to get free counselling on custom essay writing.

Writen by Stuart Crawford

Have you ever been sailing on a beautiful summer's day, the wind perfect, the water ideal? But when you look around, you notice there were a number of other sailboats, with their sails as full as yours, but some are much faster, and you feel like you are standing still!

You look around and find your anchor is running along the bottom of the marina. You were still moving forward, but no where near the speed as the other sailboats out that day.

Is this happening to your business? Are your sails full of great opportunities? Is your competition passing you by? Does your business lack the momentum to get you out to the open water?

Many businesses are dragging their anchor. What do I mean by "dragging their anchor"? This anchor can refer to employees who just don't have what is takes to be successful in your business line or are the type of employee who brings down the rest of the team. The anchor stops or slows down your momentum in your company.

Having employees on your team who consistently challenge the corporation in a positive manner is a good thing! They keep your company competitive in the marketplace. However having an employee or group of employees who weigh down your company in a negative manner, is something you need to act upon.

Negative employees can knock the wind out of your company's sails! The team members who fill your company's sails daily, with great ideas and forward momentum will soon become tired and lack the energy, required to move your sailboat forward. Eventually these same employees will find an easier boat to blow their powerful wind into, while your anchors will continue to slow down your progress.

Many organizations continue to work on developing their anchors instead of harvesting the wind that blows into their sails. Anchors will always be anchors, and they may have moments of promise in transforming into a sail, BUT the trend is, they almost always revert back to being an anchor. A good read on this topic is a book titled "If You Don't Make Waves, You'll Drown" by Dave Anderson. One of the book's lessons is, many of today's leaders spend the majority of their time on the non-performers, instead of their performers. Again, continuing with this practice will have your performers looking for another stage to perform on.

Can you imagine a sailboat with no sails and all anchors? Business owners need to remove the anchors or at least secure your anchors onto your sailboat and focus on the sails in your organization. Sails do not need a lot of effort, however, they do need attention, regular support, and care.

Harvest the winds in your company so you can have full sails to allow you to compete in the marketplace and keep pace, ahead of your competition.

Stuart R. Crawford is the Director of Business Development, at IT Matters Inc. (http://www.itmatters.ca), a Microsoft Gold Partner, Small Business Specialist and Microsoft IMPACT Award Finalist 2005 - Network Infrastructure Solution of the Year. Stuart is also a certified coaching practioner with execuCoach International (http://www.execuCoach.net). He can be reached at scrawford@itmatters.ca.

Writen by Alan Fairweather

Acknowledgement is about recognition or attention from another person. It can be physical such as - a pat on the back, a touch or a handshake. It can also be psychological such as - a word of praise, a compliment, even a "hello!" It can even just be time spent with the person.

Physical and psychological attentions are absolutely vital to human beings. We all need it and we need it every day. However, it must be said that every human being has a different level of need for acknowledgement.

If you looked at it on a scale of 0 to 100 then there are a small number of people who'd be low on the scale. These are the people who cut themselves off from others, the hermits amongst us. The majority of people however, are pretty far up that scale.

The need for acknowledgement is something that's programmed into us. Babies and children have a huge need for physical acknowledgement. You can see that demonstrated by the way they reach out for you, how they want to be held and cuddled. Research has shown that infants who are denied this physical acknowledgement can suffer both in their physical and emotional growth.

As children develop their use of language, they start to need psychological attention as well. I'm sure you've experienced children coming to you, with something they've drawn or made, looking for your praise. As we grow into adulthood we become more sophisticated; however our need for acknowledgement doesn't go away, we just seek it in a different way.

We send out all sorts of signals just to get acknowledgement. We "casually" mention some achievement - "I've managed to reduce my golf handicap" - "My boss has asked me to take on more responsibility" or - "Our child has just passed their exams."

We take other actions to meet our need for acknowledgement. Do you remember the TV programme Cheers about the regular customers in a Boston bar? The show's signature theme had a line in it which went something like - "Everybody goes where everybody knows your name!" The characters in Cheers don't just go to Cheers for a drink; they know that when they walk in the door someone, probably the person behind the bar will acknowledge them.

I was speaking to a participant on one of my seminars and he was telling me all about his role as President of his local fishing club. All the things he had to do, the newsletter to write, the competitions to organise and the meetings to attend. I asked him if he got paid for it. "Oh no" was the reply, "I do it because I like it." Of course he does it because he likes it and no doubt it's a lot of work and takes up lots of his time. However, the acknowledgement he receives from this is massive.

I've known elderly parents who exaggerate illness just to get their family to visit and spent time with them; they just want acknowledgement.

A human's need for acknowledgement is so strong that they will sometimes behave badly to get that acknowledgement. I'm sure you're aware of children who behave badly in school just to get attention - well, adults do it too. That person in your team who gives you all sorts of problems which are often difficult to understand, may just be seeking acknowledgement.

The people you manage need acknowledgement and spending quality time with them is the way to do it. Just to be clear - acknowledgement isn't just about praising people; it's about spending time, listening and speaking with them.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivating your team! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical things you can do to get the best out of your people. Visit http://www.howtogetmoresales.com

Writen by Lance Winslow

Perhaps you are a pilot or just love aircraft and you want to start a business washing, cleaning and detailing general aviation aircraft such as single engine, cabin class twins and private or corporate jet aircraft? There will be things that will be required of you by the local airport in order to get an activity permit, as well as some regulatory issues.

Should you build your own aircraft washing unit? Well, if you build your own unit, you will need a way to remove the water from the ramp, as most Airports have NPDES Permits of what storm water is allowed to leave. Even though it is full of Jet A and de-ice fluid run off, they seem to go over board to regulate aircraft washing? Silly I know? But realize the EPA is a little insane anyway? I am sure they will tell us we cannot breath the air, because it is regulated by the FAA and the EPA says it has contamination from the Chinese Dust Storms or an Indonesia Volcano?

Between the EPA and the FAA you have to at least understand what you will be dealing with. One person told me that he read on the FAA website that the FAA now regulates aircraft washing, well this is simply not so, and if the FAA website states this, well then the FAA site is in error, basic washing requires no licensing. I am sure someday those blithering idiots might attempt to control more that which they do not understand. Such as Private Space Flight? Consider all this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

Writen by Jim Clemmer

Poorly designed organizations, ineffective processes, bureaucratic systems, unaligned rewards, unclear customer/partner focus, fuzzy visions, values, and purpose, unskilled team leaders and members, cluttered goals and priorities, low trust levels, and weak measurements and feedback loops all cause communication problems. Whenever a manager contacts us to solve a "communication problem," we always know we have some digging to do.

Communication strategies, systems, and practices do play a central role in high-performance. Information, understanding, and knowledge are the lifeblood of the organizational body. A thoughtful and comprehensive communication strategy is a vital component to any successful change and improvement. The education and communication strategy sets the tone and direction of improvement efforts.

Education and communication strategies influence the energy levels for change and improvement. Strong communications keep everyone focused on goals and priorities while providing feedback on progress and the course corrections needed. Effective communication strategies, systems, and practices have a huge and direct effect on organization learning and innovation. Effective communication strategies, systems, and practices:

• Deliver clear and consistent messages to all parts of the organization

• Are simple, direct, and fast with a minimal number of filters and interpreters

• Inspire and energize

• Are user-friendly, human, and personal

• Move information, experiences, learning, ideas, direction, and feedback equally well in all directions — up, down, and across the organization.

• Provide multiple channels

• Are only possible in an atmosphere of trust and openness

Despite all their talk about communications, many managers don't appreciate the highly strategic role communication plays in their improvement efforts. Consequently, they don't spend enough time thinking through what they want to say and the best ways to say it. But the amount and type of communicating we do speak volumes about how much we trust people and whether we see people as partners or "subordinates" who "work for me." Our communication strategies, systems, and practices set the dimensions of the environment we are putting people in.

Up Close and Personal

"A vision is little more than an empty dream until it is widely shared and accepted. Only then does it acquire the force necessary to change an organization and move it in the intended direction." — Burt Nanus, Visionary Leadership

The best information and communication systems, strategies, and technology can actually make things worse if we don't have strong communication skills. With today's technologies, a much bigger audience can conclude much faster that we don't have our act together. A powerful Context and Focus (vision, values, and purpose), clear goals and priorities, and a well-designed improvement plan won't look that way if poorly communicated.

Many managers devise slick internal marketing campaigns and invest in expensive information technologies. They're on the right track. But although customers and partners appreciate and (when well trained and supported) will use these technologies, they want to break through the mechanical alienation these tools and approaches can bring. People want a personal touch. They want to feel the passion, energy, and human side of their leaders before they can partner with them.

Leadership and communications are inseparable. Our ability to energize, inspire, and arouse people to ever higher levels of performance is directly related to our ability to communicate. Strong leaders are strong communicators. If my communication skills (especially verbal communication) are weak, I'll never be much of a leader. I may be a strong administrator, director, technician, team member, or manager. But without strong verbal communication skills, I'll be a weak leader. Unless I improve my communication skills, I'll become a victim of the shifting balance between managing things and leading people.

Effective communication is no more a natural skill than leadership is a born trait. Very few powerful communicators just opened their mouths and let the words naturally flow out. Most leaders learned, developed, practiced, and refined their communication skills through a lot of hard work and conscientious effort. They learned how to sell and persuade. They learned how to infuse a well-formed case or logic with emotional appeal. They were able to light their logic on fire.

Jim Clemmer is a bestselling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, workshop/retreat leader, and management team developer on leadership, change, customer focus, culture, teams, and personal growth. During the last 25 years he has delivered over two thousand customized keynote presentations, workshops, and retreats. Jim's five international bestselling books include The VIP Strategy, Firing on All Cylinders, Pathways to Performance, Growing the Distance, and The Leader's Digest. His web site is http://www.clemmer.net/articles

Writen by Robert Bacal

We've written an article entitled "The Ten Stupid Things Managers Do To Screw Up Performance Appraisals", but the truth is that managers don't do dumb things just to fill up their time. A lotof the time we find that when managers are doing performance appraisals badly, they are getting a lot of "help"from their human resource (HR) or personnel department. Central HR departments can create a situation that virtually destroys any value from the performance appraisal process. Here's the list of dumb things HR folks do.

Stupid Thing #1: Focusing on and stressing the paperwork and forms.

We can understand why human resource people want some sort of paper trail related to performance appraisal. But when the emphasis on the forms and paperwork overshadows the real purpose of doing appraisals, then huge amounts of resources are wasted. When HR departments focus on getting the forms done, that's exactly what they get. Forms done. If that's all this is about, hire a monkey to do it. Any fool (no insult to the monkey) can tick off boxes on a form and send it on.

Stupid Thing #2: Believing that a ratings based form of appraisal will serve as protection against lawsuits by employees.

Big mistake. If you are caught speeding, do you think the court is going to accept as evidence a policeman's statement that "On a scale of 1-5 the driver was a 4?" I don't think so. But HR departments believe that THEIR form is going to withstand legal scrutiny. It's not. It's too subjective and too vague. This desire for false security is one reason HR folks feel they need to pressure managers to get the forms done. At least until their first lawsuit.

Stupid Thing #3: Using an automated system.

This is a new development. You can purchase software that automates the performance appraisal process. What it does is it takes a lousy paper process, then makes it a lousy computerized process, so now we go much faster pretending we are doing something useful.

Performance appraisal is an interpersonal communication process. Even between two people, it's often not done well. Automating the process is a waste of money and time, and HR departments that go that route are doing charitable work for the vendors of the software.

It's bad enough we mechanize a human process using paper forms. Now we can take it one step further. Heck, now managers never have to speak to staff. This is progress?

Stupid Thing #4: Undertraining or mis-training managers in the process.

Take some HR folks. They design some new forms, and a new way of doing performance appraisals. They print out some basic instructions, print out some forms, and distribute them to managers. The assumption is managers will know the purpose goes much further than "getting the forms done".

That's not going to happen. If the HR folks yell and scream, they probably WILL get the forms back, but not much more. Managers need extensive training, not only regarding the nuts and bolts of the appraisal process, but about the why's and interpersonal parts of it. Without that, one gets an empty paper chase (while people pretend it is a useful way to expend energy).

Stupid Thing #5: Not training employees

Why would you train employees in their role in the appraisal process. First, because the only way it works is when employee and manager work together, in partnership. Both manager and employee need to hold the same understanding about why they are doing appraisal, how it will be done, and what is expected.

Very few organizations offer anything but a superficial orientation to the appraisal process. That's because they see it as something done TO employees. It isn't, except of course when the HR department treats it as something done to employees. Then managers will probably do it that way.

Stupid Thing #6: Thinking pressuring managers to get the forms in is productive.

One reason managers procrastinate with respect to doing appraisals is that they don't see the point, or see it as a waste of time. There are other reasons, too. Most can be dealt with by using flexible approaches that take into account the needs of managers. Unfortunately, a good many HR departments believe it's just a question of ordering, yelling, coercing or begging managers to get them done.

That doesn't address the reasons why managers aren't doing them. If they felt they were useful, they would do them. The key to getting them done is to make them useful. Unless of course the HR folks want to spend their days ordering, yelling coercing and begging.

Stupid Thing #7: One size fits all fantasy

Imagine the difficulty for HR staff if every manager used a different form, or different method. How would you keep track? How would you file them? We can understand the desire to standardize the forms across a company.

But if you think about it, does it make sense? Can we evaluate a teacher in the same way as we evaluate the school custodian? Do we evaluate a baseball umpire the same way we evaluate a baseball player? Of course not. But still, HR departments expect managers to use a single tool for everyone, often a rating form. This kind of inflexibility addresses a filing problem. Is that why we do appraisals? To make it easier for the HR department? No, we do it to improve performance.

Stupid Thing #8: Playing the appraisal cop.

Unfortunately, HR and personnel departments get stuck with the responsibility of getting appraisals done by managers. Perhaps it isn't their fault, but it is a strong indicator that the system being used is or has failed. How come?

In a properly functioning system, each manager is assessed on a number of things, one of which will be their fulfillment of the performance management and appraisal function. The responsibility lies with management. If a manager is not carrying out the responsibility, it is his or her boss that should be evaluating the manager. It's a cascading process. No appraisal system is going to work until each manager's boss makes it clear that getting it done is going to be a factor in the manager's own appraisal.

HR departments shouldn't be appraisal cops If anyone is to do that, it should be the manager's boss. Anything less is going to be a waste of time and effort.

(c) 2005, Robert Bacal, Bacal & Associates. You are welcome to "reprint" this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end) all links are made live, and this copyright notice and indication of authorship are included.

Robert Bacal is a noted performance management author, consultant and trainer, and is the author of a number of books published by McGraw-Hill including Performance Management - A Briefcase Book, Manager's Guide to Performance Reviews and Perfect Phrases For Performance Reviews. For more free information and help with performance management, reviews, and appraisals, visit the Performance Management & Appraisal Help Center at http://performance-appraisals.org.

In addition to over 800 articles on performance related subjects, you will find tools to help with diagnosing performance, using progressive discipline, and setting objectives at http://performance-appraisals.org/learnto.

His company also runs a free site to educate consumers, with buying guides, scam alerts and consumer protection hints and tips at http://consumerprotectionzone.com.

Writen by Al McClymont

Business management in family-owned companies is conditioned, as in any other company, by economic and organizational factors, but also by emotional issues.

It so happens that a very large percentage of automotive dealerships around the world happen to be family-owned businesses. Having said that, there are a great many issues concerning family-owned companies, mainly regarding succession and management, which must be dealt with so that the company can accomplish the goals that the family sets.

This the first in a series of articles titled "Common Problems in Family-owned Businesses" based on an interview between J.C. Aimetta, an expert and coach who specializes in family-owned companies, and Al McClymont, CEO of Autologica Dealer Management Systems.

J.C. Aimetta is 46 years old and has dedicated the past 15 to helping owners and directors of over 65 family-owned small and medium-sized businesses manage growth, professionalize their management and prevent problems with succession. He has been a negotiator in family conflicts and in the sale of family-owned businesses. Mr. Aimetta teaches the subject in graduate and post-graduate courses in 3 Argentine universities, and has given conferences in Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Here are some thoughts that emerged from the interview.

Al McClymont: I know this is a broad subject to be treated in such a short time, but I hope we can go through some of the main points. The first thing I would like to ask you is: What do you think are the main reasons a family-owned business can fail?

J.C. Aimetta: Well, the main reason is that the owner and manager roles get mixed up. Thus, an endless number of confusions occur as regards to who is the owner and who is the manager, the administrator.

For most family businesses the role is only one. Therefore, whenever you ask someone, Why do you run this business?, the answer is: Because it is mine. And what empowers you to run the business? The fact that it is mine.

Al McClymont: It's also important to analyze this from a management and operational point of view side, for example, when the sons and daughters of the owners reach an age appropriate for them to work in the company.

J.C. Aimetta: Well, what happens is that the new generations evolve and the children inherit the same notion, and believe that they can manage the business simply because they own it. As the children are generally more, two, three, four… a company cannot have four managers. And it is at this moment that most confusions arise.

Another thing to bear in mind is that in the long run the family always grows more than the company. In other words, there are more people intending to live from a business that is not growing as fast as the family. If we also consider the in-laws that sometimes, not always, want to work in the family business, conflicts may arise.

Furthermore, we have to bear in mind that job evaluations are done under emotional parameters. That is to say, whenever a relative is hired, it is very difficult to punish lackluster performance, a poor job. Because an emotional cost is paid, a "happiness" cost.

In a nutshell, a family-owned business maintains a delicate balance between happiness and efficiency, profitability and affection. As the business grows, its owners must try to gently tip the balance to one side. Because it is impossible to simultaneously achieve maximum profitability and maximum happiness, and make the growing family's entire happiness depend on one particular business.

In the next part of this interview, we'll talk about problems that may arise in a family-owned business when one family member wants to sell their share of the company.

© 2006 Autologica SA

Al McClymont is founder and CEO of Autologica SA (http://www.autologica.net). Founded in 1994, Autologica helps automotive, agricultural and construction equipment dealers around the world increase their bottom line through the use of its Windows-based Dealer Management System and CRM tools. Autologica has a presence in South Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Mexico and South America.

Writen by Adrian Pepper

Among the small businesses that I coach, I find that the more effective entrepreneurs recognise that planning and managing success has three parts:

  • They depend on measuring the past accurately.
  • They strive to follow their plans in the present.
  • They build flexible plans for the future.

Looking back

You need numbers to count what you have achieved over the last business cycle. Clearly performance is not numbers alone: their meaning needs to be interpreted before you can decide how to respond to them. Examining your business goals and market conditions will determine the right measures for your business: (some examples in random order)

  • Return on Investment (RoI) - this ignores the contribution that individual sales make when used too narrowly.
  • Employee productivity - this is effective when 90% cost is wages, it is less good when your infrastructure costs predominate.
  • Customer satisfaction - the 'golden glow' is subjective, fickle and fashion-ridden.
  • "Gross margin = Revenue – Costs" - this can be distorted where the overheads are apportioned inappropriately and some goods are carrying an unfair amount of shared costs.
  • Employee Turnover - this can be useful when skills are critical to the business.
  • Market share - this measure is good in stable conditions but the past is a poor guide to the future when your competitors are active.
  • Inventory Turnover - this is used to control working funds and to reduce dwell times for retail stock.
  • Burn Rate - this was used by Dot.Coms to estimate how soon all their capital might be spent. It was effective in warning people how soon they needed to find a new job.
  • Customer Loyalty (retention, repeat sales) - this measures sales effectiveness.
  • Cost of Sales (CoS) - this tends to become distorted as manual effort is automated.
  • Median credit time - this useful when your profit margin is achieved by living on your creditors' stock.
  • Return on Capital Employed (RoCE) - this is similar to RoI but devalues any 'unemployed' capital that you own.

Shaping the future

With care, you can find a couple of measures that suit your company and help you understand how your business works. Then you need to set your goals: "Where do I want to go and how do I plan to get there?"

Please remember that good plans are regularly re-drafted. If your current results are worse than you expected, face reality, get past your defensiveness and ask: "Why did I get that result and what do I need to change in the future?"

Running in the present

In the present, you need to follow your plans as far as possible. However if you need to re-plan, drop your old ideas and make new assumptions. Remember that all your costs to date are sunk and can rarely be recovered. You can only plan forward from today.

You need to ask yourself: "How well am I sticking to my plan and how closely do current market conditions relate to my planning assumptions?"

Building options for the future

As you build combinations of new and old ideas into your plans, you can estimate where you think you will be by the end of your next trading cycle. This is where the value of the plan is clear: if you work out your options and preferences beforehand, when unplanned events impact your business, you will be able to respond quickly and keep your delivery on course.

You need to ask yourself: "What changes in my assumptions would invalidate my plans and how can I easily create new options in order to get back on track?"

Putting the three parts together

Big companies have managers who are dedicated to delivery; smaller companies have owners and entrepreneurs who try to combine technical, production, marketing and sales roles.

Managers in all companies can become locked into the present and to forget to work through all three parts equally: past, present and future. Then they need to step back, stop working in the business and work on the business.

I encourage my clients to review their plans at least annually, possibly with external and independent help. Then they can to assess their business against the results, tune up their plans, and work for the results they want to achieve.

Adrian Pepper coaches people through business and personal difficulties, helping companies figure out what to do, how to move forward and what to get organised. You can contact him through Help4You Ltd, through his website at http://www.help4you.ltd.uk or by phone +44-7773-380133. At http://feeds.feedburner.com/help4you, you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.

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