Business Management Information

Is Your Business Healthy?

Most business owners I work with want to grow their businesses. I guess this probably applies to most businesses in general. But growth for the sake of growth alone is not always healthy for a business or its people.

Project Managment: Land the Plane Stop Doing and Start Succeeding

We all spend time on planning vacations. If it?s not you then it?s probably your significant other or travel agent. Think of the time we spend choosing the destination, getting the best airlines fares, the right clothes and the best sightseeing adventures for a great trip. I know for my trip to Hawaii I wanted to make sure that I did not want to miss anything so I talked with people who had been to Hawaii for their suggestions and read up on the islands we were going to visit. And many of my clients do the same thing. But yet when it comes to project management people live in what I call a ?doing? mode. Given a project a team or an individual just jump in and do with little or no planning.

Identifying Candidates for Leadership

A critical task in the succession planning process of any organization is identifying candidates. Traditionally, candidates have been identified based on past performance. While this seems logical, it is problematic in practice.

Improve Operations by Restructuring

Transitioning from Vertical Hierarchies to Decentralized / Flatter Organizations

New Job, New Culture: Do You Fit In?

It seemed like a good decision at the time. A 10-percent raise, an easier commute and a chance to move up the corporate ladder.

Performance Appraisal - Ten Stupid Things Managers Do To Screw It Up

Performance appraisals aren't fun. But a lot of the time they are agonizing because managers do really dumb things, ending up destroying a process that is important to everyone (or should be). Appraisals are always going to be a little bit stressful for everyone, but these errors guarantee that the point of appraisals -- improving performance, is lost in the shuffle.

Management Coaching to Improve Relationships with Work Associates

As a recent employee to your job, you are becoming familiar with the work environment and your work associates. You have met the boss on two occasions; your interview and one time when he or she demanded that you finish a client?s report. Your boss?s unapproachable nature makes you feel uneasy if not a bit fearful.

The Death Spiral

Sometimes things just happen. Maybe we lose focus and take our eyes off the ball. Maybe we don't recognize the signs. Sometimes it happens quickly due to a loss of a major customer or loss of a major product line. Sometimes it is a slow, gradual process. Market share seems to evaporate; gross margin exhibits an extended period of decline. Morale suffers, employee turnover increases, net profit declines, costs seem to get out of control and losses become imminent. Some Owners, Presidents and CEO's who find themselves in a situation facing these warning signs may actually contribute to the creation of ?The Death Spiral? if they aren?t careful.

How to Set Up a Conference Call

The methods in which you set up a conference call vary between the different services you use, and what type of conference calling you are using. There are three main types of conference calls, all with different methods of set up.

Before You Head Off, Make Sure You Know Where You Are Going - The Importance of Clear Objectives.

The title of this article sounds like simple advice, but so often we undertake activities and projects without really understanding how they are going to help us to achieve our aims. I have outlined below some of the causes of this cavalier (and costly) approach to business improvement along with how we might approach things differently.

Don?t Forget Where You Came from - Why the Past is Important in Implementing Business Change

Much of the literature and advice on implementing business change focuses on knowing where you are going and making sure that you understand and communicate a consistent vision of the future. Indeed, I have looked at the importance of this in an earlier article in this series. This month?s article, however, looks at the past and its often under-estimated importance in implementing change.

I Am Not A Number - Why Too Many Change Projects Fail

Many of you will recognise this quote from the 1960s TV show, ?The Prisoner?. Patrick McGoohan used the phrase to describe his frustration at not being treated as an individual, and being kept in the dark about what his superiors were up to in a very confusing environment. This experience is not dissimilar to what employees face in most change projects.

Four Ways To Make the Case For Outsourcing

How do you convert outsourcing leads into clients? You may need to make the case for outsourcing.

Problem-Solving Success Tip: Dont Leave Your Key Stakeholders Guessing

Communicate! Don?t leave you key stakeholders guessing.

Compensation and Six Sigma Black Belts

One of the more ambiguous elements of a Six Sigma project is the level and type of compensation the organization should give to its Six Sigma leaders and team members. On the one hand, setting compensation is not an integral part of any stage of a Six Sigma project; on the other hand, compensation is an important instrument to build loyalty and a sense of accomplishment that is a crucial element to the organization?s Six Sigma success. While there are no hard and fast rules for compensation for Six Sigma leaders and team members, there are some good ways to think about how to productively provide compensation to your people. Black Belts are the key change agents for the Six Sigma process. They have an important role and should be compensated accordingly. If your organization is large enough to have people dedicated full-time to leading Six Sigma projects, their base pay should be in the top of your organization?s range for their level of management. If your organization is asking a manager to also devote part of his or her time to leading a Six Sigma project, you need to find some way to compensate them for their extra efforts. In addition to base pay, you can find creative ways for recognition for completed projects. Black Belts should receive some special and public recognition for their efforts, whether it is dinners, award ceremonies, plaques, etc. Whatever fits best with your organizational culture. Such recognitions should not be strictly limited to Black Belts either, as acknowledging the achievements of all who participated in and benefit from the Six Sigma project should receive some sort of recognition to boost morale. Monetary bonuses are another way to compensate people for successful Six Sigma projects. Since Six Sigma projects are about helping the organization make more money it makes sense to share some of the cost savings from Six Sigma projects with the Six Sigma team. Develop a structured, team-based process improvement bonus system that will appropriately benefit each worker in the organization. As measurable and lasting improvements are made to processes, it is appropriate to share a part of the financial gains with employees. Just be sure there is a formal performance appraisal system that will identify what is to be accomplished, what success looks and feels like, and how an employee will be compensated, and that this is fully communicated to everyone. Such an organizational goal-sharing program will effectively support Six Sigma efforts. Being able to link compensation to Six Sigma implementation is much easier in a small company compared to a larger company. Bonuses can also be paid to Black Belts, but with differences due to their unique status. Instead of paying bonuses to Black Belts as a share of actual process improvement, pay them bonuses related to specific project goals. There is a danger in directly tying their bonus with a share of the actual improvements as they may be motivated to inflate or misconstrue actual gains. That still leaves you with many concrete project milestones that can be the basis for their compensation.

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