Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Paradox v. The Paradigm: Decision Making

The Paradox v. The Paradigm


One good definition of paradox arises from the discussion about decision making. It is the paradox where people say or do what they think others want them to say or want them to do. Thus, everyone (the group) ends up saying what no one believes or doing what no one wants to do. This accurately describes how we've been making decisions in the U.S. lately.

The next step in the paradox comes when we try to solve that problem by continuing to do what caused the problem in the first place.

I read about a consultant teaching groups how to avoid group-think. (Advising them to think outside the box and so on.) In the explanation of how this person leads people to avoid group-think and to think outside the box, this person rewards people for coming up with (very) different ideas.

You don't have to be seven years old to know that if you want positive reinforcement (reward) you tell people what they want to hear.

Thus, the leader (a consultant?) succeeded in shifting the paradigm. (Group members giving looney answers instead of constructive ones. Looney defined as more "out there" than conventional. Some call it, "being creative".) Thus, the consultant tries to eliminate group-think by enforcing and reinforcing group-think. (The group catches on very quickly--all begin making abstruse suggestions. At least to the extent that they do not focus on the problem at hand.)

The result of all this is that the process becomes more important than the goal.

"We must change the process so we can achieve our goal," is the mantra. The result, we never achieve our goal. Why not? This brings us back to square one. Because everyone seeks rewards by saying what they think others want to hear. Except for me. But no one listens to me anyway.


Sincerest regards,

Slim

Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Monday, November 29, 2010

EI v. IQ

Time was:

If you did well in school, you were "intelligent".

If you did well at sports, you were "athletic".

If you were good at painting, you were "artistic".

If you played the piano well, you were "talented".

Not anymore.

Today,

If you play the piano well, you have musical intelligence.

If you paint well, you have artistic intelligence.

If you are good at sports, you have athletic intelligence.

However, if you are good at school, well....you must have worked very hard.


Slim


copyright(c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Impediments to Executing Strategy

I. The first impediment to executing strategy will be others who do not share your vision.

a. Your vision competes with their vision.
b. Your vision contravenes their assumptions.

1. If their strategy is based on their vision, your vision will threaten their position.
2. If their assumptions are repudiated, their reputation will suffer.

II. There will be challenges to the data you use to substantiate your strategy.

a. If you use the methods they use, your results will challenge their competency
b. If you use different methods to arrive at your conclusions their methods will be challenged.
c. Either a. and or b. will diminish either their self image or their image within the company.

1. If you challenge their self-image they will become hostile.
2. If you threaten their image in the company, they will become devious.

All of the above assumes that the people you work with and work for like you.

If they do not, the job of executing your strategy will be even more difficult.

Regards,

Slim

Mail: slimfairview@yahoo.com


Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Monday, November 22, 2010

STRATEGIC BREAKDOWNS (In Three Acts)

Introduction:

Nothing succeeds like success.

It is very encouraging to see people using both quantitative and a qualitative approaches to planning. (I find the word strategic to be a word not unlike words like shared vision, visioning process, avoiding group thing, consensus building and the lot. Each expression worthy in its own right--perhaps when first conceived, but not trite. Also, too often a crutch. "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labour of thinking." Sir Joshua Reynolds. (A favourite of Thomas Edison.)

Speaking of which, Thomas Edison did not need a committee to invent the light bulb.

Then, too, he fell prey to faulty assumptions: AC v. DC. He was too close to his brain-child to see its flaws.

The greatest strategic risk most often overlooked by Executives is that the person in charge of putting someone in charge of managing a project simply is not qualified. That person then relies on more than assumptions. I dislike the word "toolbox" so I will use the word, template.

As Executives began to move to the shared vision, no I in team philosophy they failed to see inherent flaw. The greatest one: "The Player."

.............................THE PLAYER [In Three Acts]...........................


Here we not only read The Player's mind, we are also that fly on the wall.


"Anon."*

Player [speaking to self.] "I have no clue what's going on. I know, I will embrace the concept of horizontal management. We need a committee. I will get on that committee."

[Now, for those of you who are really "into" metaphors:]


Leader: "Okay, group, anyone have any ideas?" [Think outside the box; there are no stupid ideas, questions, etc. Only the stupidity of not saying anything; shared vision; no I in team.]

The Player: "Yes. The world is not round, like this orange. The world is round like this plate!"
[Stolen from a Smother's Brothers skit.]

Leader: "Really? I would like you to share your feelings on that Idea. I think we can all benefit from the discussion even if some on the committee respectfully disagree!"

Player: "I heard it on the Smothers Brothers show!"

Leader: "Anyone else like to comment or share viewpoints? [As long as we are all sitting around wasting time.]

Other Members: "Blah, blah, blah..."

The Player: "You know, after listening to other people, I believe you may be right. The world is round like this orange."

Leader: "Good for you! You see! This method works. We now have a shared vision.!!!! I will tell Mr. Big, upstairs how well we all worked.

Everyone: [privately] "At first we thought he was a real jerk. But we can see he is willing to embrace the ideas of others in the group. He is a team player.

Leader [to boss] "At first I thought he was a real jerk. However, you were right, Sir. This shared vision thing really works. He is a team player willing to embrace a shared vision and see the other members' points of view."

Big Executive: "Great! I always knew I was a great Executive with great Leadership Skills!!!"

End Act I


* Anon. A word often used in literary plays. [Ed. note: We don't want the audience to feel cheated.]



Sincerely,

Slim

copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

THINK INSIDE THE BOX

THINK INSIDE THE BOX! For consideration and debate


Cliches, Slogans, and Platitudes have infiltrated our culture to such an extent that we can no longer think straight; or we are not allowed to. It seems people our age are the only ones who still possess what is no longer legal to possess: Intelligence and the ability to think.


Please share what you've experienced on the subject.


The expression has evolved. Initially, it came across as a tactical manoeuvre which translates, "Surprise! Here I am, I invite myself to your house. What do you mean, you do the inviting when you entertain people in your home? You should think outside the box."

The box became a symbol of old-fashion, draconian, narrow minded, limiting, ad nauseum. Thinking outside the box became the new, hip, trendy, now, together, what's happening way of doing things. The new ways of doing things to meet the new challenges we will confront. Oh, boy!

However, as with many cliches, think outside the box is no longer actually heard anymore. It is like the part of the dialogue in a novel where we see, he said, she said. Those are fine markers for the reader, however, the reader is not actually cognisant of the he said, she said. Only what they represent.

Still, it is very interesting to hear different perspectives from different people.


Just something to consider.

Sincerely,

Slim

copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Business Gift Giving

Business Gift Giving. How about some general thoughts and a few caveats on the matter?


A few years ago, we'd adopted a free-range cat. (My fault, actually.) This cat was an ideal house guest. When she wanted to thank us, she'd meow outside the door to come back in. When I opened the door, I would find a dead mouse. This is a cat's way of saying, "Thank you".

The dead mouse was a lot nicer gift than some of the gifts I'd received.

First of all, it was sincere.

Second of all, the cat did not become insulted when I did not hang the dead mouse on the wall, nor display it on the coffee table.

Now, there are a few codicils and cavets to the arts and sciences of giving gifts in the business world.

In this country, it is innapropriate to give a gift that the recipient know is more expensive than the giver can afford.

I'd heard, many years ago, that when giving a gift in Japan (e.g. a pen and pencil set), it is more appropriate to give the set in silver than in gold as gold is seen to be ostentatious. ( I need verification on that matter. )

In some Asian countries, you never wrap a gift in white paper. That is the colour associated with funerals.

In some cultures, red is the proper wrapping-paper colour for festive gift-giving.

Perhaps we could open up a discussion to share advice on the matter of gift giving in the business world?

Sincerest regards,

Slim.

ps. If your cat ever gives you a dead mouse, be sure to make a positive fuss over it. If you can't see how pleased your cat will be, you should not share your accomodations with a cat.



copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Compare and Contrast

You can't compare Communist Bulgaria with free market France.

You can't compare Communist Hungary with free market Portugal.

However,

You can compare Communist East Germany with Free Market West Germany.

You can compare Communist East Berlin withe Free Market West Berlin.

Enought said?

Regards,

Slim


Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Monday, November 15, 2010

Experts???

.

Experts:

For every ten experts who say "Do this!", you have ten experts who say, "Do that!"

Then someone else will come up with ten experts who say, "Do something else."

Another ten experts will say, "They're all right".

Another who will say, "They're all wrong".

Then another who will ask, "Who's to say what's right or wrong?"

Then the facilitator of the group will say, " There's no "I" in team! :-) "

If you don't believe me, ask an expert!



Regards,

Slim

Mail slimfairview@yahoo.com

Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Friday, November 12, 2010

Developing Competitive Strategies

For Those In a Discussion Group

As an analogy,

I am new to a role. (Answering your question.)

I want to develop my knowledge in competitive strategy (competing with the others in the group to offer the best answer.)

To be as productive as possible as quickly as possible I would, as was suggested, do a quick industry analysis of my niche market. (Who is answering your question?)
Then, as was said, learn about the market. (Read up on what you do.)

You are in the [Business of].

What is a niche market in a [Your industry]?
A particular country, a particular industry, a particular service? These would be essentials to answering the question.

You can use the old stand-by SWOT test. (strengths weaknesses opportunities threats) but you should probably be more application specific.

Who are my customers?
What do they need?
Why are they buying from me?

Who are my competitors?
What do they supply?
Why are others buying from my competitors?

Who will be my customers?
What will they need?
Why should they buy from me?

What features do my customers need?
What features will my customers want?
Am I able to provide the product?

What are the prices?
What are my costs?

Time place utility. Can I get my product (or service) to where my customer needs it? Can I get my product (or service) to my customer when he wants it?

Form utility. Does my product meet the customers' needs or will it be necessary to modify my product or service.

Just to suggest a few.

Sincerely,

Slim

Mail: slimfairview@yahoo.com

Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Friday, November 5, 2010

MicroFinance: $10.00 To The Road To Prosperity

Years ago, in a newspaper article, was the story about a man living in a small village in Western Africa.



This man was a shoemaker.

He made sandals by hand.

Though he did the best he could,

He was barely able to make one or two pair a day.



They sold for a dollar.



If he had a sewing machine, he could make more than one or two pair a day.

But to pay for the machine was too much to pay.



This man could save the money for a machine. The price was 10 dollars.

Still, a princely sum for a man who made a dollar a day.



Since he could support his family on half his pay, in twenty days he could buy the machine.

You can figure out what that would mean.

Still, his village was small. His neighbors were poor. They had no food.



Since the man could not let his neighbours die, he helped support them with the

money he had left after supporting his family. Still, it could not have been

enough to help all the villagers. Some died.



All he neededd was ten dollars.



With ten dollars, he could buy the machine.

He could make two pair, or three pair, or four pair, or more.

He could pay a villager to sell his extra sandals.

Soon, he could afford to buy a second machine.



He could train an apprentice to run the machine.

You can figure out what that would mean.

Ten pair of sandals, possibly more.



Another machine, and a salesman or two.

Think about all that that man could do.

He could buy a donkey to be ridden to town,

And sell the sandals for what the market allowed.



Then the man could invest, in a neighbor or two.

And they could make money to do what they do.

Reeds for baskets and clay for pots,

And a cart for the donkey, to sell things by lots.



The village could prosper, money for food,

money for schools, and clothes, and tools.



Then the man awoke, to another hot day.

He worked on his sandals, to earn a day's pay.

With the money he made, he stayed barely alive.

And helped a few neighbors to barely survive.


The resources for SME's are a potent force. Or would be if they were available. Think of it as a leveraged investment. Sounds much better said that way, doesn't it?


Sincerest regards,

Slim

Mail: slimfairview@yahoo.com

Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leadership

Some people get paid for what they do.

Some people get paid for what they know.

Some people get paid for what they think.

Some people get paid for the way they think.


Slim Fairview


copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seeking Opinions: A Man, A Boy, and A Marketing Strategy

A farmer and his son, who had fallen on hard times, were leading their donkey to market to sell him.

As they walked they passed someone who said, "Look at those two silly people walking when one of them could ride the donkey." So the farmer put his son on the donkey and they continued.

Soon, they passed someone else who said, "Look at that lazy boy riding, while his tired old father has to walk." So the farmer took his son off the donkey and got on and they continued.

Soon, they passed someone else who said, "Look at that mean old father riding a donkey while that poor little boy has to walk." So, the farmer lifted his son up onto the donkey with him and they continued.

Soon, they passed someone else who said, "Look at those two selfish creatures riding while that poor old animal has to trudge along under the burden. Why they should be carrying him." So they got off, picked up the donkey, and carried him as they continued to market.

When they arrived at the market they were met with jeering and ridicule. Everyone said, "Look at those two coming to the market to sell an animal so feeble they had to carry him."

The farmer and his son put the donkey down and returned home in shame.

Regards,

Slim

Mail: tilden9@yahoo.com