I have seen many changes in my forty years as a professional management consultant, particularly in the business change and management improvement practices. My specialty is applying information technology for the benefit of the business. In the 1960s and 1970s, we developed information systems from the ground up to satisfy user requirements. It was clear that users could not envisage how IT could really benefit the business. So much of our value was in helping users define and understand the main results the business had to produce and then in designing the full man-machine solution to produce better results. We did not implement the system, we implemented the methods and procedures to improve results using the system.Then in the 1980s, things began to change. Application packages quickly replaced custom development. This lowered the cost of a quality system, but it also created a gap between the system and the business.Since he no longer developed the system, the professional, who understood the business, had to dig deep to understand the functionality of the package to apply the advanced features that enabled the business to improve. The professional who understood the package did not understand the business and saw his role as explaining use of system.For consultants, employing the application package to improve the business was difficult and risky. The risk had to be contained, so the approach became system implementation to convert a defined portion of the existing business over the new system. So consultants chased the new business opportunity in packaged system implementation. It started with the big audit consultants, whose approach to consulting tended to parallel the approach to auditing--use junior staff to follow methodologies and produce deliverables. Consulting firms developed methodologies for system planning, system evaluation and acquisition, and system implementation. The methods were executed by junior consultants, who no longer needed the analytical capabilities and business knowledge of past professionals.Methodologies began to spread to other facets of consulting like strategic planning, etc. In the 1990s a new wave came in business process re-engineering, producing new business transformation methodologies. These methodologies concentrated on the business, but avoided IT, since business change could be executed quickly, and IT change was notoriously slow. This created a gap the other way between the business and the system. Then integrated applications systems were relabeled as ERP systems and proclaimed to employ industry best practices that would automatically solve the problem. Many consultants supported a particular ERP package implementation, so then system planning and system evaluation and acquisition methodologies favored that package to bring in the enormous implementation revenues.But, ERP system implementation employed the same implementation methodologies that concentrated on conversion of existing data, business rules, and practices. Employing industry best practices required strong user effort beyond what the consultants provided.In recent years, there have been exposes of the problems with management consulting. Books have been written about the bad practice that also developed within management consulting firms.Much of the professionalism has gone out of management consulting. What do we have to do the bring professionalism back into consulting, particularly for business change and management improvement consulting.This is one of the issues we have been discussing at the Business Change Forum, in order to define problems with conventional methods and discover breakthroughs in enterprise management. We need to employ a new management consulting model that requires change by both the enterprise employing consultants and the management consultants and consulting firms. The enterprise must have the capability to manage its own development and manage the achievement of benefits. The consultants must get away from employing rote methodologies, and return to professionalism to work in partnership with the enterprise.The new consulting model involves the following elements on the part of the enterprise:oStructure the enterprise to define and manage precisely what the enterprise must do to be successfuloStructure enterprise capital to manage all capital utilized to produce enterprise successoInstall a professional capability to manage enterprise investments and development programsThe new consulting model involves the following on the part of consultants:oHelp the enterprise understand and plan the value to be created by change and improvement to provide the return on the investment oWork with the enterprise in partnership to create precisely-defined valueoProvide proven professionals with analytical capabilities and specialty experienceoLeverage the enterprise teams to produce enterprise products and improvements. Do not do anything that the enterprise can do itselfoWork with the enterprise through to utilization of improvements for benefit and return on investment oDo not implement information systems, implement the improved process that incorporates the systemoDo not provide consultant deliverables for review. All documents are accepted enterprise knowledge and records. There is one consultant deliverable, shared enterprise successManagement consultants need the new model to eliminate the old problems and risk in gaining benefit from business change and management improvement. Only when we have a way for the enterprise and their consultants to work together in partnership for measured success, will we have a way for consultants to return to the professionalism of old.
Prioritizing Tasks:The ability to choose and complete tasks in the order of importance highly desirable and more challenging for some business types than others. In order to choose tasks you must be aware of as many chores and projects as possible. In order to do this, every planning session must have a list. You Must Have a List!List all your tasks, then rate them, and list them again in order. Then you can schedule them. When all tasks and projects are rated, use these additional filters to prioritize: Imagine the consequences of eliminating the task. This exercise will often remove some unneeded tasks altogether. Decide if each task should be performed in prime time or secondary time. Determine who will be affected by the task. Now Reduce Your List Until we can effectively clone ourselves to be in more than one place at a time, most of us need to reduce our workload. Before you start prioritizing, consider these task elimination criteria: Does This Task or Project Make Sense?Every task you do should first have to pass this benchmark. You have goals, priorities, and objectives. Does every task contribute to your big picture? Estimate how much time each task will take, and then imagine what you would do with the time if the task were cancelled. While not always possible, everything you do should contribute to your objectives. Why is the Task Urgent? While urgency should be a mindset of business, urgency should also be questioned ruthlessly. Is the urgency only appeasing someone else? What has caused the urgency? Many urgent situations have been caused by mistakes. Determining the cause of urgency can eliminate or postpone a task and lead to prevention measures of interruptions and mistakes. Some seemingly imperative tasks are not urgent at all. Customers might be making demands that are unnecessary.Check with all parties involved. The Delegation Qualifier Are you the only person that can handle the task? Sometimes you might be, but many times someone else can perform for you. Delegate everything possible to free up your schedule. How Else Could the Task Be Done? Are You Utilizing Technology Could an in person appointment be a phone call? Conference calling can rule out travel and save an enormous amount of time. Could you email instead of calling? Email can be done on your terms when you want. You will have time to articulate better compared to the live telephone conversation. Time can be wasted and sales lost by leaving phone messages for people. Email eliminates phone tag. Can the Task Be Dissected? Are there portions of the work that can be delegated, eliminated, or postponed? What is the Cost of Excluding a Task?There are many jobs throughout the day that are actually not worth the time to do. Applying the dollar figure when considering cancelling a task is another measure of the task value. The Measures of Task Value Money How much is the task worth? Time How much time will it take? Effect Completed versus Cancelled Effectiveness What is the most effective way to perform the task? Contribution to Your Objectives Replacement (What could be done with the time instead?)Division- Dividing the Task into Parts When Can the task be performed just as well in secondary time? One great trick for prioritizing is to give every task a deadline. Give tasks a deadline.While many SME owners define a start time for projects and tasks when planning, they do not establish a deadline. Having a clear deadline makes tasks easier to prioritize. Prioritizing while planning is easy. You have time to think. Prioritizing while working is a bit more challenging. Prioritizing InterruptionsWhile most people are familiar with prioritizing tasks, few people prioritize their interruptions. Hence, few people have defined the types of events that interrupt them.Define Interruption TypesIn order to take control of your time, you must minimize interruptions. Many SME owners describe their positions as managers, and define management as putting out fires, or solving problems. While having a job definition for yourself is a great start, most owners have not defined or classified these problems. They just catch every ball tossed at them. The tail is often wagging the dog. Think about how you are interrupted from your OUT or productive work. Make a list of every kind of interruption you have experienced in the last three months.
Document security and document shredding have never been more important before and are bound to impact our lives in a way that we just cant imagine. If you see a proliferation of caro "document shredding" or Davison document shredding, or even curtis document shredding, you are witnessing the new wave of privacy protection. Document shredding, document security and what they mean to us is symptomatic of the world we occupy. The times that we live in today are new, wonderful and enchanting times where technology and a more evolved intellect ensure that the outmoded lifestyles of the past are but just a legacy remaining in the inner recesses of some of our minds. Information today is absolute power and the keeper of this Holy Grail remains strongeth for ever. Thats precisely why document shredding and document security have not only just rose in prominence but have advanced to a sophistication level that makes caro document shredding or Davison document shredding or even curtis document shredding look like the run-of-the-mill shredding technique. The reason why document shredding is important is because your identity is not just yours. Not unless you protect it. A glance of your newspaper over the past few months and you would stumble upon innumerable cases of identity thefts, of loss of property and money, and in some cases a loss of life as well. And the victims became the victims not because they were ignorant of caro document protection or Davison "document protection" but because they did not fully appreciate the need to protect sensitive information either about themselves or their business entity. Information in the wrong hands is like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. At that point in time it stops becoming a question of if it will happen and starts becoming a question of when it will happen. Your personal documents therefore are more important to others than they are to you, just a little bit of malicious intent and you could be facing a financial loss or legal suit slapped against you because some one did something they were not supposed to in your name. Document security therefore becomes important and ipso facto so does document protection. And with it, the growing practices of curtis document protection, caro document protection and Davison document protection among others. Of course, you dont have to own a paper shredder to do document protection. There are several shredding agencies who for a very nominal fee, come in a truck with a high power paper shredder installed in the truck right up to your doorstep, and shred your documents in no time right in front of you. What more could you possible want? Thus it makes tremendous business sense to take good care of your personal documents, your sensitive information and any similar information of your business as well. Tearing up sheets of paper is a small price to pay for insuring yourself against any fraudulent activities that could be committed in your name. Feel free to explore more of justpapershredders.com to get an insider view on the world of document protection and paper shredders.
Lets face it: Your company or organization is likely to go through a major transformation at some point. Whether it is in a division, within a function, or across the entire organization, you as a leader will need the skills to facilitate the change and help your business continue to thrive efficiently. Sometimes the reason for change is external; perhaps the change is pushing you. Other times, the reasons for change are internally generated; you are driving and moving the transformation. Either way, change is now the norm, and senior leaders need to be able to handle it with focus, commitment and energy. Whether your companys leaders have gone through some sort of formal leadership training or not, a change management program might be the way to make the changes happen as painlessly as possible. An executive leadership program can provide your company with leaders who are creative and driven. And as part of the training, or as a separate one, leaders can be trained to handle a cultural transformation. A good "change management" program will be interactive, and tailored to suit your companys needs and goals. Look for an executive coaching company who is willing to take all aspects of the change into consideration. Not only must one consider revenue; but also communication, performance, and accountability. It is likely that almost everyone and everything is going to be effected by the change and leaders need to think on a broad scale. To learn more about change management training, visit www.maxcomminc.com.
The average person spends more time in meetings than theyd like to. The average manager spends the majority of their workday in meetings. Given these facts, it isnt surprising that you can read lots of books, articles and tips about running and managing meetings more effectively. Seldom will you read that you should make your meetings more fun.In this article I will give you five reasons why you should purposefully inject more fun into your meetings.Increase engagement. Let me state the obvious. People like things that are fun. They engage mentally and emotionally in things they are enjoying. Ask yourself: Would you like people to be more fully engaged in your next meeting? Do you want people to be more mentally involved in the problem you are solving or the issue you are discussing? Youve brought people together to benefit from their presence, not for them to fill a seat. Making your meetings more fun will increase their engagement in the meeting and help you produce better outcomes.Increase communication. You cant take advantage of peoples knowledge and experience if they dont share it. Including an element of fun in your meetings will get people more comfortable with speaking up and sharing their ideas.Improve relationships. If people know each other better and are more comfortable with the others in the meeting, they will more likely share their ideas. So anything we can do to improve the relationships between people is a positive step. Does this mean that everyone in a meeting needs to be best friends? Of course not! What it does mean is that as people know each other better they will be more open to the ideas of others and more willing to share their own. Fun can make all of this happen.Increase energy. How many meetings have you attended where the energy level feels like it is at zero? Peoples minds are elsewhere or on other projects. People arent interested in the topic of the meeting. People dont understand why they are there. And all of this shows up in somber, lifeless body language and effort. Of course there are many ways to remedy this besides injecting fun into your meetings, but fun is still a wonderful tool to improve the energy level and attention to the meeting topicsIncrease memory and retention. We remember things that are more enjoyable longer. When we make our meetings more fun, we increase peoples ability to remember the content and remember the decisions. When people remember the meetings events better it improves the likelihood that they will complete their action items, share the results of the meeting more accurately with others and much more. The five reasons above are excellent in themselves. But beyond them individually, the overriding reason to make your meetings more fun is that they will be more productive. We have meetings to get people with different opinions, perspectives and experiences working together. Our whole purpose in doing this is to create valuable outcomes. When we can find ways to make the investment of time and energy for all of those involved more productive, we should implement these ways!This does not mean to add an item to your agenda that says fun. Nor does it mean that you should change the focus of your meetings you are meeting for a important purpose and that should still be your focus.Just remember that when we can make our meetings more enjoyable, even fun, we can enhance the productivity of those meetings and productivity and results are why we were meeting in the first place.