Sunday, July 28, 2013

Leverage People Power


While most acquisitions are usually self-defeating in the long run, the low-cost-high-return character of leveraging off others to expand market share makes Leveraging People Power a common strategy among excellent companies. Don’t confuse the notion of leveraging off others with dealers or franchises. The dealer and franchise business models are organizational tools related to brick-and-mortar business operations. When business growth requires physical outlets or boots on the ground near the customer, the dealer and franchise models are often sound strategies as alternatives to the capital-intensive alternative of company-owned outlets or remote staffing. But they come with a price. Laws protecting franchisees limit the flexibility of the franchiser. Dealer agreements similarly complicate life for the mother company.

Technology has eliminated the need for nearby physical presence in many cases and created new opportunities for leveraging off others. For example, software companies certify independent trainers. Those trainers become promoters of the software.Social media has facilitated the creation of communities of users of a product or service. A classic example of the community approach to leverage off others is Harley Davidson. Today you can join an array of Harley groups—Military and Veterans, Women Riders, African American Riders, or the generic Harley Owners Group called the HOGs. User groups, social media groups, turn your clients and customers into spokes persons for your product or service. DIRECTV offers customers cash rewards for each new DIRECTV customer they bring on board. The reward goes to both the referring customer and the new customer. DIRECTV customers moving to a new home are taught to take their equipment with them but to leave the dish behind. The tactic assures client retention and makes installation easier at both locations. Excellent companies look for ways to leverage the power of others. It is the power of helping hands.

Mysteries by Tom Collins include Mark Rollins’ New CareerMark Rollins and the RainmakerMark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest, The Claret Murders. For signed copies go to http://store.markrollinsadventures.com. Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Delegation

Management is all about achieving objectives through others. Successful leaders have learned the art of delegation.


Rule number one is that delegation without definition is abandonment not delegation. Delegation is serious business. The five-paragraph military order is a useful example of providing instructions when handing off responsibility for a project or functional area of an organization:
  1. Situation: What is the situation or current state?
  2. Mission: What is the Mission or Goal and why?
  3. Execution: Guidelines, Strategies and tactics, Limitations and Policies
  4. Administration/Logistics: Supporting resources and required coordination
  5. Command: Reporting order and reporting expectations
The second rule is to decide what part of the organizational pie you should not delegate. This rule harkens back to Management Candy, M &M’s. You should retain responsibility for the main thing(s) your organization’s success depends on. That does not mean that you should not delegate the effort related to task, program, and projects, but the responsibility and accountability for the main thing(s) remain with the leader. As an example, take the relationship between the captain of an aircraft and the copilot. A captain can not delegate the responsibility for a safe landing of the plane. He or she can delegate the task of landing the plane under his direct supervision but getting that plane on the ground is the captain’s responsibility and it cannot be handed off.
 
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Logic Box

Are two heads better than one? Moreover, if that is the case, then doesn’t it follow that three, four, five, etc. would be even better?

The answer is yes. Multiple heads are better than one when considering an action, for example, concerning a problem or trying to turn an apparent problem into an opportunity. It is not because those other heads are smarter. What they bring to the table is different combinations of KASH. Each of us is different because of the sum total of our prior learning and experiences. We each have a different “Logic Box”—a different set of Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, and Habits.
 
KASH forms the walls of our Logic Box. That box constrains our thinking. It limits our imagination. We can think outside of the box, but it is difficult, and it does not happen naturally. That is why brainstorming, getting multiple people (heads) to think about an issue, is better. It is better not because of better “ideas” but because of “more ideas.” The more ideas we have the better our chances of selecting the best one.

The classic puzzle illustrating the limits imposed by our Logic Box is the nine-dot puzzle.

The puzzle challenges you to draw four straight lines, without lifting your pencil from the “paper,” through all nine dots arranged in a square matrix. If you limit your attempts by an effort to stay inside of the box, you will not be able to do it.


“Think outside of the box” and the answer is simple:


We can all think outside of box, but it takes a deliberate effort to do it. Understanding the natural limits imposed by your personal Logic Box will help you look beyond the walls of the box to unleash your imagination, but no effort on your part can substitute for the value of groupthink. The more ideas you have on the table, the better your chances of selecting the best one should you be smart enough to recognize it among the alternatives.


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Mysteries by Tom Collins include Mark Rollins’ New CareerMark Rollins and the RainmakerMark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest, The Claret Murders. For signed copies go to http://store.markrollinsadventures.com. Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.