Management Article

MIT Management Executive Education’s picture

By: MIT Management Executive Education

Job candidates are familiar with being tested during the interview process. True, some interview processes are simply a series of meetings with company personnel, but in all honesty, that type of candidate screening is largely subjective.

Some organizations, or departments within organizations, add empirical skills tests into the mix. Highly advanced organizations may even ask candidates to take personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

At first glance, organizations may view personality testing as something only large organizations do, or something that is too advanced or complex to manage. After all, if any particular candidate demonstrates the hard skills and “feels” like a good fit, does her personality traits matter that much? For those organizations looking to capitalize on collective intelligence, those traits do matter—and research shows they are extremely important.

Paul Sloane’s picture

By: Paul Sloane

The business proposal is an essential document not only for sales people but also for anyone who wants to submit a serious proposition for internal or external approval.

The process starts with a thorough understanding of the stakeholder’s needs, problems, and priorities. If a request for proposal has been issued, then the document must be read carefully. The key elements in the request for proposal must be addressed and some of the stakeholder’s phrases and terminology should be reflected in your response. This seems elementary, yet many weighty business proposals have been rejected because they did not address the specific requirements in the request for proposal.

The more understanding you have of the stakeholder’s needs, philosophy, and decision-making criteria, the better placed you will be to submit a winning proposal. If possible, meet the client face to face and ask many intelligent questions.

Emily Ysaguirre’s picture

By: Emily Ysaguirre

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Ihave watched my grandmother cook since I was very young, and she’s tried to teach me her ways. So far I’ve learned that when she tells you all you need is “a little of this, a little of that, and a pinch of this,” it’s definitely not going to come out as if she made it. That’s for sure. So, I’ve faced the facts: Cooking is hard work. You know what else is hard work? Maintaining quality within an organization.

For an organization to mature, it needs many things. Just as with cooking, there are many ingredients that go into your recipe for success. There are many components that collaborate together to increase quality and compliance. It’s not that any component is worth more than the other—it’s that certain modules are able to provide for certain outcomes, depending on what your needs are. Putting all modules to work, and having them work properly together, is the most efficient way to achieve the best results.

Sample recipe (yields a high-quality organization)

Ingredients include equal parts:
• Employee training
• Document control
• Risk management
• Corrective action
• Reporting

Kevin Meyer’s picture

By: Kevin Meyer

Big news in the business world: Walmart is famous for keeping costs down, including employee-related costs. In Joplin, Missouri, the company is testing a new approach: investing in workers through higher wages and training, on the theory that this will pay off all around—for customers, the company, and employees.

Yes, at just one of their 4,500 stores, Walmart has discovered skills training. If it works, the company plans to roll out this innovative program to the other stores.

That isn’t a story from 1975 or even 1995. It’s from this past month. Good for Walmart, though, even if it did take a few decades to realize the potential value of people—a concept that many other companies in many other industries have leveraged to create competitive advantage for a long time.

Pretty much every organization has a mission statement, often gathering dust on the wall in a corner of a conference room, that says “Our employees are our most valuable asset.” Really? How is that demonstrated?

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By: Quality Digest

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‘My small business has landed a few very lucrative contracts and we’re growing. Honestly, we’re now struggling with quality control. We have management systems in place, and that’s helping, but we’re still having issues. I don’t know where to begin to get a handle on this.” —John Q. CEO.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Many business owners and CEOs make the effort to implement business management and supply chain systems. It’s a worthwhile investment. Naturally, those systems must be periodically audited to ensure compliance. What do you do when your company passes all the audits and still develops issues, however? All the boxes are checked, but the number of widgets being rejected by your quality control department is getting worrisome. You don’t want to even think about warranty issues with that new contract you just landed. Blaming your system may be the natural thing to do, but it may be that customizing the audit, rather than criticizing the system, is the ticket to getting your operations back on track.

James Brewton’s picture

By: James Brewton

Keeping every healthcare employee focused on continuous improvement, every day, is a huge challenge. It’s natural for people to lose sight of long-term goals and objectives due to the pressures of daily responsibilities. One powerful tool executives can use to keep continuous improvement at the top of everyone’s list is the employee idea campaign (EIC).

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, changes in reimbursement rates, and increasing competition, the new normal for hospitals and healthcare systems is determining how to provide higher patient satisfaction and care outcomes, but at lower cost. To address this enormous challenge, many organizations have launched lean, Six Sigma, and other continuous improvement efforts. Although many organizations have found some success with these programs, many employees’ improvement ideas go unheard unless they’re participating in a formal improvement team.

Jeffrey Phillips’s picture

By: Jeffrey Phillips

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a leadership team that is considering building an innovation capability in their business. I was asked a question I get infrequently, but one I always enjoy answering. The question is this: “What keeps businesses from innovating effectively?”

The answer that I think most leadership teams want is, “Good ideas.” After all, it’s easier to explain away the lack of innovation if you can say that most teams lack good ideas. A lack of good ideas, however, is almost never the appropriate response to the question. Most companies teem with reasonably good ideas, and in some cases great ideas. No, the reasons that corporate innovation fails are many and varied, almost as differentiated as the number of industries and business models and management styles that are in evidence.

Jess Scheer’s picture

By: Jess Scheer

T

he world’s worst-kept business secret is that most acquisitions fail. Depending on what metric you use to evaluate success, mergers miss their intended goals by as much as 85 percent of the time. With a failure rate that high, there’s no single cause, and there’s no silver bullet that will guarantee successful post-merger integration. When you read the postmortems on failed business combinations, it’s clear that the role of process management is too often overlooked as a strategy to reduce risk.

What could possibly go wrong when you ignore process tenets? Everything.

Case in point. Last week, I had dinner with an old friend who was exhausted after working all day—on his day off. Ever since his company was acquired, he spends his day putting out fires and consoling his demoralized colleagues. His business, a once-profitable midsized manufacturing company, is now a place where people cry—almost every day.

On paper, the acquisition made sense. A larger company needed greater manufacturing capacity to fulfill a new client’s purchase order. My friend’s business had excess capacity and the equipment necessary to make the products. What could possibly go wrong?

Maurice DeCastro’s picture

By: Maurice DeCastro

Would you market your business today the same way you were marketing it 30 years ago? Would you use the same technology? Would you lead your team the same way? I’m guessing most leaders would answer each question with a resounding “No.”

If that’s the case, why has the work culture for business presentations remained static for decades?

Every week here at Mindful Presenter we are called in by the HR business partners of large corporations to help employees “improve their presentation skills.” Upon further discussion we are often told: “It’s not joined-up thinking,” “Their message isn’t clear,” and “They’re boring.” 

When we go to see some of these employees’ presentations, the synopsis we were given seems to be spot on. However, when we get the employees in the training room and offer a little encouragement, guidance, and support, we witness an incredible transformation. They suddenly become imaginative, creative, and engaging speakers.

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