Interim Management Solutions for Your Business

acEvery business needs to grow or it will go stale with time.

The only reasonable way to make a business grow is by using a systematic approach which will allow you to make the organization’s workflow more efficient. A workflow which is more efficient, will be much more robust and will be able to adapt to a dynamic and ever-changing business environment.

This is exactly what an interim management solution helps you accomplish. It also allows you to target specific goals and achieve them.

With the right interim management solution, your organization will be able to plan strategically. When talking about strategic planning it is very important that the strategy in hand, or the one that is being considered provides your organization with a clear cut competitive advantage over the competition. The goal of any strategy is to land you an unparalleled advantage when compared to the competition.

An interim management solution is the key that allows your organization to establish a competitive advantage over any competition in the market place. This can be the difference between your business’ success and its failure. It allows you businesses’ reach

Business Process Development

savOperational Awakening

I love Six Sigma and I love finance. It is my belief that the best odds for a business to exist in perpetuity is to structure the company around a central macro-process with many micro-processes within the macro-process. Companies that are process-centric are inherently mission focused. The main business process connects inputs with outputs. All micro-processes within the main macro-process support the central macro-process and again the company mission. Companies that are task-centric (as are the vast majority job small businesses) are overly reliant on a central figure, such as the owner or other critical team members.

I am an entrepreneur so I’ve had my share of successes and failures. I am convinced that the businesses I’ve owned that I structured around processes out performed the companies that were a team of individuals waiting for their next assignment. I’m not suggesting that people are sitting around waiting to be told what to do, but instead they have a job description that includes “and whatever else needs to be accomplished.” Process driven companies value the process and the positions within the process. Former legendary CEO

How Can CIOs Pick Tomorrow’s Stars?

w3rOn top of all of the jobs that the person with the CIO job has to do, one of the most important is identifying the leaders of tomorrow. What this means is that from all of the employees that the firm has, some of them are better than others. What a CIO needs to be able to do is to figure out who the company should make the investment in and who they should pass over. Doesn’t sound easy, does it?

The Challenge Of Trying To Find Tomorrow’s Stars

Not all employees are the same. Some have the skills and talents that will allow them to understand the importance of information technology and rise to leadership positions. What CIOs want to be able to do is to be able to identify those employees who have this potential. The reason that picking tomorrow’s leaders today is so hard is because we do a very poor job of it. A recent survey of managers at 134 different companies revealed that they only select the right candidates roughly half the time.

Right now, CIOs generally delegate the task of identifying

Business Meetings and Business Coaching

dwWho should attend business meetings? Not everyone in the company and their extended families, that’s for sure. Invite only the people who actually need to be there. If some guests are from out-of-town, make sure to let them now at least two weeks ahead of time so they can make the appropriate preparations.

Location

Just like when you are buying a home, location of a business meeting is of prime importance. In fact, it’s even more important than actually figuring out who must attend! Always include clear and certainly accurate directions. You don’t want anyone to be late or get lost en route. Sometimes it’s better to have the meeting on site, but sometimes there is just not enough room or it would better serve the visiting people to have it elsewhere. Use a facility such as a restaurant if food will be served.

Room Size

You want neither a few people in a large room, nor many people in a small room. Although, if you had to choose, it’s better to be crowded than overly roomy.

Agenda

Try to let everyone know the agenda ahead of time so they

Dysfunctional Team Traits, Revisited, & How to Create a Great Team

asI owe Patrick Lencioni an apology.

When I first reviewed his thoughts about the five dysfunctions of a team, I disagreed with his five choices which may have been a semantics issue more than about the concept. I even wrote about my disagreement with his five dysfunctions.

But I removed my article about it after thoroughly reading his book and contemplating what he wrote.

Now I fully embrace his conclusions and believe if a company wants to achieve great goals, then learning how to avoid having dysfunctional teams – starting at the top level leadership and trickling these concepts down through the organization – will actually lead to a business that is free of dysfunction.

Heck, I want to be a part of a company that adopts these ideas for transforming how teams work together in actual, functional teams.

Start with the First Dysfunction: Trust

Originally I wrote that absence of trust is a sign of dysfunction, not a dysfunction itself. I still agree with myself! People who function well will learn to not trust people whose behavior is dysfunctional.

Still, it’s possible to create, build, and nurture trust among

What’s Involved in the Project Management Professional Certification?

a2The Project Management Professional Certification or “PMP” is a great way to stand out among other professionals in the business world. This certification allows you many opportunities for employment in a variety of different industries, and perhaps especially information technology.

Not only does the PMP certification give you a lot of job options, but it also positions you for higher salary positions. According to the Project Management Salary Survey, PMP certified individuals earn 17 percent more than their non-certified peers.

Requirements to Receive the Project Management Professional Certification

There are a number of benefits to getting your PMP certification, but what exactly does this certification require? Before taking the exam to achieve your PMP certification, you must meet a few requirements:

  1. You must have a high school diploma or associate’s degree.
  2. You must have 7,500 documented hours leading and directing projects.
  3. You need to complete 35 hours of project management education. These hours can be done through online classes or in the classroom.
  4. If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution, the prerequisites differ slightly. You need 4,500 hours leading and directing projects with the same 35

Should I Choose Business Intelligence Or Customer Relationship Management Systems?

sa3In the modern world of business, there are many different types of tools and systems in place for us to make the most of our resources and to gain a competitive edge over our business rivals. With more and more companies integrating technology into the heart of their enterprises, it is no surprise that many of these tools are now cloud based, leading to greater convenience and efficiency.

Two of the main types of tool that are popular with businesses are Business Intelligence (BI) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Each of these offers some distinct advantages over the other, and your choice will ultimately boil down to some stark differences between the purpose of the systems and the information you need to drive your business forward.

For those about to make a decision between Business Intelligence or CRM systems, the first thing to think about is whether you would like a global analysis of your business and your industry or whether you would like more customer centric information to work with; in fact, the main difference between the two all comes down to this.

When

8 Essential Factors for a QA Project Success

saSeveral reasons contribute to the failure of project success in terms of expectation as well as timeline. With the introduction of mobile applications and growing influence of the web, clients are in search for quick results. The same is applicable for QA project success also. Let’s take a closer look in to some of the most essential factors that can determine the success of a QA project.

Planning

Planning is the most important factor and it is more about understanding and identifying the objects and thereby defining a clear strategy or approach. Most of the planning is usually done at a higher level and the planning process would be then implemented at every level. The client requirements are understood properly along with identifying the purpose of the product. In addition to it, the strength and weaknesses of the team along with the availability of tools should be also considered. Other essentials that is required for planning includes requirements, constraints, approach and obstacles.

Communication

Communication has to be transparent as it can be a key factor that could define the QA project success. Good communication has to be established

What Is Employee Engagement And How Improved Engagement Benefits Business

svdEmployee engagement is the bond between employer and employee, and it is an indicator and a driver of the level of commitment that an employee will have towards the company that they work for.

An engaged employee doesn’t just look forward to going to work but they are committed enough to the process that they will think about the day ahead, consider what they will be doing, and they also determine how best they can work to improve the company.

It is important to note that employee engagement is different to employee satisfaction.

While a satisfied employee will turn up to their desk 9-5 on the majority of days, they will be less invested in ensuring the success and growth of your business when compared to an engaged employee.

Benefits For The Business

From the company’s perspective, an engaged employee is more productive, will generate greater revenue, and will yield improved profits.

So, how can your business identify the level of engagement of employees and how can it improve engagement levels in order to benefit your whole organisation.

There are many benefits to having engaged employees. You can expect improved productivity

Do Emoticons Have Any Place In An IT Manager’s Emails?

POLSo what kind of IT manager are you? Would you say that you have a lot of gravitas (i.e. you are cold and aloof)? Or are you warm and huggy type? I’d be willing to bet that most of us see ourselves falling somewhere in the middle of these two types of personalities. However, there’s a trend that is going on that just might cause us some problems in keeping our stiff upper lip up at work – emoticons.

What Are Emoticons & Why Do People Use Them?

So before we start this discussion, let’s make sure that all of us are on the same page here. Just exactly what are “emoticons” and where do people use them? Emoticons are smileys, winks, hugs, and LOLs. Emoticons are graphical symbols that can now be added to the emails that we send to others. They used to only be used by teenagers and emotionally unstable adults. However, they have now started to show up in the workplace and so IT managers need to understand how to deal with them.

One of the most unnerving things about emoticons is that

Unraveling the Mysteries of Successful Strategy Execution

scv3w”Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower

Delivering the promises of a strategy is about having the discipline of getting things done effectively. Yet, research shows that a large number of companies are unable to answer the pivotal question of strategy execution: “Are we doing what we said we should be doing?”

Once a strategy is decided upon, there is often surprisingly little follow-through to ensure that it actually gets executed. All businesses are different and, thus, face distinct execution issues, from those related to people and culture to corporate structures. However, a common challenge is the ability to bridge strategy, as a theoretical exercise, to practical matters, such as operational complexity and budget constraints.

So how can businesses ensure that the five or six key objectives critical to generate superior performance become the driving force behind everything the company does? How can they create the right conditions to succeed, measuring, adjusting and reallocating resources as necessary along the way?

1. Stop expecting without inspecting

For much of the last 40 years, the

Tools That Make Small Business Perform Better

ZVIt’s often thought by many that running a small business is no big deal. This is quite contradictory. Managing the daily operations is even more challenging when it comes to small setups. This is because the small business owners have to pay more attention to make their operations cost-effective. For this reason, completion of projects, business management, financial concerns and time constraints have all got to be managed very well. Luckily, technology allows you to take control of this without having to interfere with absolutely everything. Naturally, as a small business owner it is not always possible to be on your toes everywhere at the same time.

Here are some fantastic tools that help you perform better if you are an owner of a small business.

1. Toggl

It’s not an understatement when they say time is money. It’s always a race against time for the business owners. Executing all business goals within a limited timeframe is not easy and requires a professional assistance. This is where Toggl plays a major role. It helps to improve the business’ planning process because it helps to know beforehand how

Measuring Without Data

DFFA perceived lack of data – or lack of data with reasonable quality – is a constraint that stops many people from even trying to develop meaningful performance measures. That sounds logical enough, but it assumes that value of measurement only comes at the end of the process.

The value of measurement doesn’t just come at the end of the process, at the point where you have used a measure to reach an important target. A huge amount of value comes early on, in the kind of thinking that’s demanded of us when we conceive a measure.

We conceive a measure when we have a performance result or goal we want to achieve. The measure is the evidence that will help us know when that goal is achieved, by its values reaching a target. But even before any progress at all is made toward that target, the measure has served us in several very useful ways.

I don’t collect data for one of my measures: Workplan Spill, the number of hours spent on work tasks that are outside set working hours each week. My goal, the goal

Why Are Organisations So Bad At This?

SCVOne of the key points which comes out from a lot of research about learning (and from my own experience) is that people’s attitude towards what they are meant to learn makes a huge difference to how well they learn it.

If people are in a positive state of mind, if they are:

  • curious
  • interested
  • excited
  • energised

and if they can see the personal benefits of learning, then they will learn far more easily. For a start, they will pay more attention, which is a crucial first step towards learning and remembering anything.

On the other hand, if they turn up for a training course feeling:

  • tired
  • indifferent
  • resistant
  • unclear
  • sceptical
  • anxious

and doubtful about the purpose of being there, they will be less likely to listen, learn and remember.

And yet, that’s exactly how many people feel when they come to a training session.

Because their organisations have put virtually no effort into getting them into a positive state. Organisations often spend huge amounts of money providing training for people but put virtually no time or effort into getting them into a state where they can make the most of that training.

It doesn’t take a lot to get people

Surfacing and Testing Assumptions

WVASSUMPTIONS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes an assumption as: The act of taking for granted, or supposing a thing without proof; supposition

Assumptions are sometimes a little difficult to understand, but they’re a daily part of every person’s life.

WHERE DO WE MAKE ASSUMPTIONS?

Every decision made by a human being is bedded in assumptions, it has to be. Here are some common, everyday decision areas with their assumptions:

Machinery: We assume that the coffee maker will work, the car will start, the airplane will actually leave the ground – you get the idea.

Travel: To most of us travel is a part of any normal day. We assume that a certain route will be the shortest, that traffic will be at certain levels, that travel times can be predicted. Our decision on our route is based on assumptions from these areas.

Situations: Things get sticky here. We make assumptions about how situations will unfold or continue to unfold based on the decision facing us. Business and organizational strategies are heavily grounded in assumptions made here.

Relationships: Assumptions made within relationships will have drastic results on the ongoing health of

5 Ways to Boost Accountability In Your Organization

download“By making your employees more accountable, you make your organization more productive.”

Those words from famed General Electric CEO Jack Welch still ring true today.

Holding people accountable for results is the foundation of an organization’s performance; it’s management 101. Yet it appears there is a gap between knowing and doing.

Why do some organizations succeed at instilling accountability as a core element of their culture and others fall short? What can leaders do to create a culture of accountability? Our research on top performing companies identified five actions that have the greatest impact on an organization’s ability to build a culture of accountability and achieve results.

1. Translate Strategy into Specific Objectives.

Beyond developing a shared picture of the company’s strategic direction it is necessary to clarify priorities and translate these into specific department goals. This increases the likelihood that implementation plans will be targeted toward high impact outcomes. In addition, clear department goals facilitate goal-setting at the individual level, which enhances accountability.

2. Coordinate Actions Across Levels and Work Units and Follow Up on Progress.

Coordinating and monitoring activity is a critical aspect of execution and is an

The Process and Managerial Qualities Required

vProject management is an all-encompassing continuous process. It starts with the conception of the idea till the closure of the project. In between lots of other steps are included too.

The process of project management starts with the first step of conception where brainstorming and weighing of options takes place. The second step is about planning and designing of the project and its essentials. Then the third step of execution of decided ideas and after that, the assignment of the tasks for the same purpose follows. Then, follows the fourth step of controlling of the various project activities. After that, the last step of evaluation and closure follows. This step, as the name suggests, means the evaluation of all the activities that took place and the closure of the project after the delivery to the client.

A project manager is required to possess certain skills to reach the organizational goals and be efficient and effective at the same time. The major quality required for a project manager is leadership. Leaders can get the best out of people by setting an example of walking the talk.

Traceability – A New Concept? 5 Questions to Ask

zxvThere are some key issues involved in providing “cradle to grave” traceability. Multiple parts may be installed in one device. Some problems may be more due to the tools used than the parts – they may be out of calibration, for example. Fresh food will be commingled and re-boxed as it moves through the supply chain making it more difficult and cumbersome to maintain lot tracking.

Traceability is typically a component of a broader software solution. If a traceability module has been added, for example, to an ERP system, and not designed as an integral part of the software, data entry will be time-consuming and the system may be unable to handle some of the complexities of tracking multiple lots at a time.

Here are some questions to ask before investing in a Traceability System:

  1. How is real-time data entry for Lots managed as they physically move through our process and how do you maintain data accuracy?
  2. How do you manage commingling and re-boxing functions?
  3. If Lots are commingled, can you identify the cartons that contain each lot?
  4. Is there a way to identify the tool or machine that is

It Turns Out That Likeability Does Matter For IT Managers

svIf I asked you what the most important characteristic of a successful IT manager was, what you tell me? I’m sure that some of you would think about your IT manager skills and then say “good decision making”, others would say “budgeting”, and so on. It turns out that you would all be wrong. It turns out that the #1most important personality characteristic for an IT manager to be successful is for them to be “likable”.

What Does It Mean To Be Likable?

It turns out that being “likable” really is a big deal at work. People judge how likable you are and then they make decisions about if they want to work with you, work for you, or even promote you. It can be difficult to be likable in person. However, it can be even more difficult to be likable on video.

So much of our communication with others now takes place using real time video tools and recorded video sessions that our ability to come across as being likable on video is just as important as being able to pull this off in person. The

The Essential Skill In Business

aCoaching is now considered essential as a development tool in business. It’s not yet as common as in sport, but is increasingly popular. This is because it’s an effective way of managing and developing people and delivers positive results.

Essential skill for line managers

According to the latest CIPD Annual Survey* into learning and development:

“Coaching and mentoring are common – three-quarters of organisations currently offer coaching or mentoring and an additional 13% plan to offer it in the next year. Most expect to increase their use.”

Of the companies surveyed nearly 9 in 10 are using or about to use coaching in some way. In-house development programmes and coaching by line managers or peers remain the most popular development methods and one of the most effective.

Companies invested in training managers in basic coaching skills and many want to use this as a means of changing the culture to more of a learning culture. With a few years’ experience of line manager coaching, companies are now much clearer on what they can expect from this form of on-the-job development. The focus is on performance development.

The ability to use