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Showing posts from May, 2013

Plan for Failure to Achieve Success

Last week I pointed out that business success requires more than a good plan. I said that the end-to-beginning planning process, if done well, would identify all of the challenges that would need to be dealt with to be successful. Once identified, decisions must be made on how to address these obstacles to a plan’s successful implementation.
There are some that will tell you that what will make the difference in these situations are managers that are critical thinkers. Theoretically a critical thinker is someone who is presented with an argument and can determine if it is true, sometimes true, partially true or false. Other definitions can be more detailed but this is essentially the gist of critical thinking. This simple definition assumes that the thinker sets aside emotional issues and any form of bias.
This is where the real difficulty lies. To be successful in assessing potential challenges a manager must be completely objective. Let’s take a simple example. Suppose you have pla…

Business Success Requires More Than a Good Plan

In my last post I talked about envisioning the outcome of a business plan and working back to the beginning activities to help in planning. I have used this end-to-beginning process in several business situations and it resulted in some tremendous successes.
Unfortunately excellent planning does not offset an entrepreneur’s dogged desire to pursue a business idea regardless of the hurdles that must be overcome.
In one instance I started a daily newspaper in a small town that already had a daily newspaper that was owned by a large communications corporation.The corporate daily had alienated the community and its advertisers so I felt the timing was right for a competing newspaper. I attracted investors based on this premise and told them that only one newspaper would survive.
The end-to-beginning planning process was used and all of its elements were incorporated into a Critical Path/PERT planning process. The result was the creation of a newspaper from the ground up in 90 days. The …

A Process For Execution Management

I can remember early in my career when I was asked to manage a department that was disorganized and not meeting its organizational objectives. While somewhat flattered, I was also afraid that I wouldn’t be successful. I didn’t have experience in defining organizational problems or developing their solutions. In this particular case I just decided to take an action and see where it led. As luck would have it the early actions raised questions that would require that I do some research into how others had dealt with similar problems.
In most cases the research gave good pointers on how to move forward and what next steps might produce results. The next steps usually led to more questions that required further research which led to still more steps to be taken.
While this approach moved the project forward, it didn’t provide a list of activities that would focus on improving the department’s ability to function effectively. This approach almost required that I discover problems and inc…

Use Key Performance Indicators as Management Tools

Having performance indicators can help improve virtually any facet of your business. Determining the business area to be monitored and the type of indicator will vary by business type. For example in retailing, customer satisfaction may be gauged by repeat visits by customers, frequency that merchandise is returned and customer complaints. For airlines, customer satisfaction indicators might include lost luggage and on time departure and arrival statistics. Key performance indicators should provide a gauge of success in achieving internal goals as well as comparing performance with industry averages or industry leaders. Having a comparison to the industry prevents managers from becoming myopic when measuring results.  Some companies produce key performance indicator reports monthly and distribute them with financial reports to managers and senior staff. By combining key performance indicators with financial outcomes a manager is able to get a clearer picture of what is working well and …