Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Game Theory and Business Strategy - A Wonderful Association

To solve many practical problems that are encountered in economic, military or other disciplines, one has to deal with situations in which there are two or more conflicting parties striving for the same objective and the outcome of each action of one party depends solely on the opposite parties choice of a course of action.

As we all know only one horse can win the race ultimately and the other parties only can prolong the race or see to that they make every possible move to delay the opponent's success.

So, what's this game theory all about?

This is a special mathematical method that was evolved mainly to analyze conflict situations where the number of competitors are finite, each participant has a definite set of actions to choose and there is a conflict of interest between the competitors. So it helped the participants to reach a decision that would put them in the winning post.

This theory has spilled its implications on business situations where success is the motto and conflict and competition the order of the day. Only the best among the best survive. Darwin's theory, "Survival of the fittest" applies not only to biological organisms but also to business organizations which are also abuzz with activity.

Games like chess, checkers are played according to the definite set of rules laid down and these game patterns has inspired the business world to pick up its cue for playing strategic business games, where the concentration is mainly focused on the chance moves that defeats the opponent.

Big business corporates mainly concentrate on the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors to have an edge over them. A real game is controlled and regulated by the statutory rules to be followed but a business game involves lot of killer instincts and intuitions combined with rational thinking and logic.

The first party always puts himself in the shoes of the other party and tries to perceive how the other party would react in a particular situation. Although the aim is to win, choosing the optimal strategy is what matters.

It will atleast keep you in bay. Precise solutions can be arrived at if you plan your game accordingly. The anticipation and thrill that is involved in a strategic game cannot be matched.

We witness a lot of firms imitating what the leader of the market does. The risk is borne solely by the firm introducing the change and if he wins he takes the major share of profit as he is the pioneer and if he loses he goes for the next strategy.

For a company with sound financial position, the chance move is worth giving a try, head or tail doesn't matter. The firms that follow this leader as a shadow are benefited by the waiting period during which they come to know of the pros and cons of the strategy employed by the leader and if it is a winning strategy, they follow suit.

Games are played in the true spirit of sportsmanship, but a business faces cut throat competition. There is no space for any courtesy or liberal approach. If you are quick enough to pick the pulse of the people by gauging their preferences, analyzing the market conditions and employing timely strategies you will atleast survive in the market lest becoming a leader. The presence of mind with which the entrepreneur or the corporate team brings strategic revolutions

* to bring their products quickly into the market
* to identify one's own competitive advantages
* to arrive at optimal decisions for problems in a complex business environment

makes them understand that the business environment is interactive and a single firm cannot survive on its own. We only talk about competition between firms which act as rivals in pricing, promotions, production and employing human resource. But there is another aspect to be considered by the firms. Yes, consideration about co-ordination.

In oligopolistic markets where few large suppliers dominate the scene, all the players can coordinate to fix the price of the same product to their advantage and to enjoy a possible outcome. The pay -off matrix doesn't always favor one particular firm, it favors that firm which employs this applied (game theory) science in a proactive manner.

Recruiting the right person to the right job, fixing the pay scale, advertising, legal arbitrations, auctions, investment decisions, bidding, calling for tenders and much more fields employ game theory to arrive at possible outcomes that prove to be successful. Employ game theory in your business to outsmart your competitors and capture the saddle point which is unique to your product or service.

By : Shyamala_Sankaranrayanan

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Get More Sales Today!

Many otherwise good salespeople set themselves up for failure by expecting it before even picking up the phone. A winning attitude is essential to turn a telephone call into an in-person appointment. Failure is when excuses stall making prospect calls.

Remember that no call is bad and all results work to groom the salesperson. Attitude can override inexperience.

* Set aside a chunk of time for calls.
* Plan and prioritize a call list.
* Outline specific goals to meet.
* Know who you're talking to and why.

Apprehension is a salesperson's worst enemy, as most salespeople don't want to pick up the phone in order to do their job. To overcome nervousness, you must first admit the problem. Then analyze why you really don't want to make the calls. Fearing rejection is solved by gaining more experience.

It is not intrusive to call businesspeople, who expect interruptions during their day, so don't ever apologize for calling. Remember to simply sell the idea of making an appointment. To get an in-person appointment, be prepared and establish a relationship from "Hello."

* Be armed with background on your prospect and your goal.
* Clearly introduce yourself and your business.
* Know their needs and explain briefly how you can help them.
* Keep conversation geared toward simply making the appointment and directly ask for a
* meeting.
* Once set, thank them and reiterate details like your name and the time and date of the appointment.

It is important to distinguish between useful and time-wasting prospects. It is easy for a prospect to simply hang up on you. You must be quick but not act like a smooth telemarketer.

* Consider not setting an appointment if it's very far away or there's really not the money or need.
* Increase your chances of getting an appointment by setting and adhering to a 20 to 30 minute time limit.
* Use words like "understand."
* Accept a real "No" but consider trying later.

It is also essential to avoid critical mistakes when a prospect attempts to reject making an appointment. A salesperson should not simply accept a quick "No," but must be careful not to ignore or manipulate the client in the process.

Always figure out what they really need, but don't ever be self-serving when faced with an objection. Remember, don't give up on the first "No." For example, don't use words like "but" or "better." Finally, don't ignore the prospect and try to push other services or merchandise.

By : Stephanie_B_Mojica

Perfect Words Blended Together Perfectly Yield Best Results

I hear a lot of salespeople criticize the use of so-called "sales techniques." I most often hear salespeople say two things when they refer to sales techniques: First, they say that decision makers can see them coming a mile away. Secondly, they say that they sound phony.

I disagree. When I have heard a dozen or more times the same reason for not doing business with me or my company, I figure it's time for me to come up with just the right words to overcome the objection, memorize those words and repeat them in such a way that I convince the prospect to give me his business.

Yes, this may include the use of a technique, but my definition of a sales technique is to string together a series of words that help salespeople accomplish their objective. As salespeople we must be persuasive. Product knowledge is essential, but product knowledge alone is no better than sending a dictionary on a sales call.

Recently, a lumber company I know experienced some severe cash flow problems, so severe in fact, that several of the company's vendors held up shipments thereby forcing the lumberyard to be out of stock on several key commodities.

The competition jumped on this situation with both feet and spread the word in the community that their competitor had been "cut off" by several vendors and couldn't meet their delivery commitments.

Even though the dealer was able to get his bank to extend his line of credit, pay his past due invoices and get caught up with his vendors, his salespeople were bombarded with questions from customers about what had happened and what assurances could they be given that the barrage of backorders wouldn't be repeated.

The owner called me for some ideas. I recommended a technique that I thought would be perfect for the salespeople to use to deal with this customer concern.

It is called the Feel, Felt, Found technique.
To use this technique, the salesperson had to first of all identify a well-respected contractor who had experienced the inconvenience of backorders, but who had given the salesperson (and the lumberyard) a second chance and was well pleased with the results.

Let's say that the contractor's name was Lou Goodfellow, owner of New Home Construction.

Salesperson making a sales call: "Okay, Joe, it sounds as if you and I pretty much agree on the pricing and the quantities for the framing package on the Cotner Job, may I go ahead and schedule the initial shipment for next Monday morning?"

Contractor: "I don't know, Eddie. You guys put me in a really bad position on the last job I bought from you. If you remember, my framing sub walked off the job when you guys backordered all of those 2 x 6s. I can't afford to let something like that happen again. I thought I'd never get that [framing] crew back on the job. That snafu ended up stretching that job out an extra five days."

Salesperson: "Joe, I totally understand how you feel. If that had happened to me, I would have felt the same way. We went through a bad time of it there for a few weeks, but now we have our act together and we have plenty of stock on hand to take care of your needs."

Contractor: "I'm just not sure, Eddie."

Salesperson: "Joe, do you know Lou Goodfellow over at New Home Construction?"

Contractor: "Yeah, I know Lou."

Salesperson: "Do you respect him?"

Contractor: "Of course, I respect Lou. He is one of the most successful builders in this community."

Salesperson: "Well, Lou had the same experience that you did. And he felt the same way you feel right now, but I convinced Lou that all of the problems we where having with backorders had been fixed and that we had our act back together. So Lou gave us a second chance and he found that our service was better than ever. So what do you say? I sure would like to have a chance to get back in your good graces."

Contractor: "Okay, Eddie. I see your point. Go ahead and ship it. I need it on the job by no later than 7 AM, okay?

Salesperson: "You got it, Joe. Thanks for your confidence.

I understand how you feel, Lou felt the same way, but he found...

Call it a technique if you will, but in this case it did the job for the salesperson. Using these words helped Eddie convince Joe that he should give him a second chance.

Eddie practiced the technique until the words rolled off his tongue. He didn't sound like he was trying to trick Joe into anything, he just sounded sincere. He simply made a good case for being given a second chance.

My advice to all salespeople is to have effective words and phrases memorized to deal with recurring customer objections. The time to learn how to deal with an obstacle is well in advance of encountering it. The worst time to start thinking about what you're going to say is immediately after you encounter the obstacle.

When a golfer hits a shot into a bunker, he must know the correct technique to get out of the trouble he finds himself in. He must know the right way to open the blade of the club, hit an inch or two behind the ball and follow through, letting the sand become a friend instead of an enemy.

Think of the use of sales techniques in the same way as you might think of a technique in golf.

By : Bill_Lee

The Customer's Process Rules: A Sales Rep Pop Quiz

Whatever you're doing right now, stop.

Put down the phone, quit fiddling with your iPad, and shut down your Tweetdeck while you're at it.

It's time for a Sales Pop Quiz, hotshot.

Here's the rules: Without looking at your CRM system, think of your highest-probability deal in the pipeline right now, and answer these questions.

1. Name the specific title of the last person at the account you spoke with on the phone, and the department they work for.

2. Give the name and title of the person that the Person in Question #1 directly reports to.

3. Give the name and title of one of the people that reports to Person #1.

4. Give the name and title of the person that's going to write the check/drop the corporate credit card/put the final signature on the PO when your prospective sale closes (if you're lucky, the answer will be the same as Question #1).

5. When was the last time the Persons in Questions #1, 2, and 4 met together to discuss the problem your product/service is going to solve?

6. What paperwork/research/data did they have in front of them when they did?

7. Who else was in the room?

8. How long is it going to be before they meet again?

9. How many other vendors are they considering?

10. Who are they?

11. What features/benefits/advantages of competing vendors are most appealing to them?

12. What's their "drop dead," point-of-no-return deadline for implementing any purchased products or services?

13. Which of the Persons in Questions #1, 2, or 4 is setting the budget? Or is it someone else entirely?

14. If it's someone else entirely, do they even know your company is in the running for a major purchase?

15. What is the budget they've set?

16. How is your product service emotionally making life better for the Persons in Questions #1-4? This isn't about features and benefits, it's about the direct connection to how you're going to emotionally change their lives, their jobs, their daily tasks. From Day 1, how is what you're about to sell to them going to make them enjoy their job more/hate their job less?

17. How is your sales data, case studies, testimonials, research, and best practices justifying the emotional reactions of the Persons in Questions #1-4?

18. Based on Questions 9-17, are you even in the running for this sale, or are you clinging to false hope?

19. Are you tracking the progress of the deal based on your internal sales process,, or on how the prospect is actually approaching the purchase?

20. Based on Questions #5-19, how accurate is your current closing forecast?

21. If your sales manager knew the true answer to Question #20, how would that change what you do for the next 14, 30, 90 days?

It may seem a bit didactic, but the point is if you didn't have answers to more than four or five of these questions, it's indicative of a mindset.

Are you really focusing on the prospect's needs? Are you approaching the process of the sale from their viewpoint, their decisions, their company hierarchy and culture? Based on your action items, are you making the decision to purchase your solution harder, or easier?

It's these every day questions that ultimately lead to a customer-centered, rather than a seller-centered buying cycle, that will lead to more success.

By : Steven_Watts

Give Pain to Get Pain When Making Cold Calls

Regardless of where you are in a sales cycle, it is critical that there must be identified pain in order for the opportunity to be qualified. This is because regardless of the relationships that you have established and the cool things that your product can do, if there is no pain there is no reason to change. Thus, you will want to find pain and find it as early as possible and one way accomplish this is to give pain while making cold calls.

Giving pain to get pain refers to sharing a story of how someone else has experienced a challenge to a prospect and exploring if they can relate and have seen anything similar. This is a probing technique and can help the prospect to become more self-aware and share information that they might not if you ask them directly without the story of the other company.

A Brief Demonstration
An example of this would be to tell a prospect that a lot of your clients have complained about not being able to produce financial reports that have data from all their international operations. You can go on to share the impact of this challenge and how it prohibited the companies from having visibility across the entire organization and that impacted the quality and timeliness of decision making, which impacted the ability to manage labor costs resulting in decreased profitability.

From there, you can ask the prospect if that is something that they have had any similar challenges with. The prospect will then either share similar pain, will share pain in a different area, or will not admit to any pain. When you reach this point while making cold calls, you can either drill down into pain that is shared or if there is no pain uncovered, you can continue on to give pain from another example in another area.

Latent Pain
One of the reasons that giving pain can help to get pain is that many prospects are not fully aware of their pain. And when making cold calls, since you are calling them, any pain they may have, whether they are aware of it or not, it is not the top of their mind. When this is the case and the prospect is not actively thinking about pain in an area and trying to fix it, we call this "latent pain".

In order to improve sales effectiveness, we need to uncover this latent pain and bring more attention on it. One of the ways to accomplish this is to ask very direct questions about it. The downside to doing this is that either the prospect can fall into denial and avoid acknowledging it or the prospect could feel attacked by the questioning and get defensive.

This is an example why giving pain to get pain can be powerful when making cold calls as you give the prospect an example that helps them to become more aware. You also bring it up in the context of another company so not only do they not get defensive by feeling attacked, they also can feel comforted by knowing that they are not the only company out there in that scenario.

By : Michael_Halper

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Need for Product Innovation

Developing new products and launching them in the marketplace can be a difficult, costly and even dangerous business. So why do it? Why not leave well alone and be content with profit from existing products, concentrating effort on expanding sales of these products and finding new markets for them?

One reason is that seizing new opportunities as they emerge is a way to increase profits. (To be first in the field with a successful new product gives one the chance of creaming off large profits before effective competition develops.)

But the main reason is that it is dangerous to assume that profits from existing products will continue at present levels for ever. The product life-cycle concept tells us that they will certainly not continue for ever.

At different rates, over varying time-scales, all products eventually achieve market saturation and then start to decline. Even while sales volume holds up, profits may well not; and retaining sales volume and profits may call for regular updating of existing products.

For most companies, therefore, a programme of product review and development is essential; and, for all companies, to ignore this area of activity is highly dangerous. A McGraw-Hill study in the United States showed that in 1963 the percentage of sales accounted for by products introduced since 1959 was 28 per cent for transportation, 18 per cent for electrical machinery, and so on, through a whole list of categories.

In the consumer goods fields successful new products introduced more recently -include a wide range of increasingly sophisticated computer games, the 'superglues' and a whole host of pre-prepared meals for cooking by microwave.

In consumer durables we have seen the successful introduction of video cameras and answering machines, with mobile telephones and fax machines for home use not far behind. Innovative services (intangible products) include direct purchase of insurance by telephone and 'home banking'.

The most 'safe' and inexpensive way to launch a 'new' product is modifying an existing product.

New Products from Old

We first need to be clear what is a new product. There are basically three clear kinds of new products:

1. Innovative products which are unique products for which there is a real need, not being met satisfactorily by an existing product. Penicillin when first introduced fell into this category, as did the telephone, the internal combustion engine, and chloroform. We can also describe as innovative those products which, while replacing existing goods that have been satisfying existing markets quite well, offer totally different solutions. Examples would be television partially replacing the cinema and the radio, the zip fastener and later Velcro instead of strings or buttons, and solar power for other energy sources;

2. Adaptive products which offer significantly different variations on existing products: they include such items as instant coffee, freeze-dried foods, self-adhesive wallpaper, and typewriters with a memory. Another kind of variation is represented by package changes, styling modifications, new designs and colours.

3. Imitative products are already being sold by someone else but further sales opportunities exist for an additional brand, with or without minor modifications. The divisions between these categories are obviously very fuzzy. Indeed, some authors have distinguished as many as a dozen different ways in which a product can be 'new'.

The truly innovative product is rare. Adaptive new products can sometimes necessitate a great deal of new technology and extensive research and development, though a 'new' product can often be produced by changes to an existing one. These may range from relatively minor changes, which effectively extend the life-cycle of a product, to much more extensive improvements.

An example quoted by Peter Drucker that covers both is nylon, which was introduced in the U.S.A. by Du Pont and fairly rapidly became the dominant fiber in women's hosiery. However, once this market was saturated, the growth curve flattened. Du Pont had anticipated this and had developed strategies for providing further increases in sales of nylon stockings by such tactics as the following:

1. Introducing a wider range of colors, leading to an increase in the number of stockings bought by each user and a tendency to wear different colors with different outer garments.

2. Developing new uses, such as stretch stockings and socks. In addition, they moved into other fields such as tyre cord and carpets. In this way nylon sales showed an overlapping series of life-cycle curves, giving a continuing upward trend.

The nylon success story depended both upon changing the product for existing users and making it suitable for whole new markets. Changing products for existing markets can be done in a number of ways, in particular by improvements in quality, features, and/or style.

By : Martin_Hahn

Understanding Business Growth and Innovation

Most successful companies start with a creative idea from a visionary businessman. Being creative equals to innovation and innovation brings growth. Most companies have not grown the last decade and gave gone from strong growth to low or no growth.

One of the reasons for not growing is focusing all the strategies on a single or group of products or services. Today most markets are saturated with little or no differentiation. Stagnation brings lack of innovation and consequently lack of growth.

It is important for companies to apply new strategies to be able to survive and grow. Times are challenging and ways of thinking have to change. The following points should be a guideline of what successful companies are doing in these tough times:

* Look for and deliver real value to customers. Solve their issues, develop ways to identify their problems and meet their expectations.

* Products and services have to be customer oriented. Leverage your strengths and develop new and creative products and services that meet your customer's expectations.

* Analyze who and what your company is, look at the advantages over other businesses and transmit those findings to your clients.

* Innovation does not mean only creating new products or services. Innovation is also finding new ways to streamline processes, to lower costs. Companies should involve and reward personnel for their ideas and their commitment.

* Innovation is a process not a magical stick. As all processes it has to be managed and understood. It is better to generate lots of creative ideas than just to focus or one big project.

* The more ideas leaders and team members generate the better. The best ideas come from the employees that work directly with the customer. Manager and leaders have to support customer service employees.

* Consultants can also generate innovative products and services, engage them as they come from the outside with new and clear options.

* Create focus groups incorporating team members and clients. Incorporate into the products and services the findings to be able to deliver value to the customer and generate new and more sales.

Innovation is challenging. It is a group process not an individual task. Employees and staff members have to be on board, they have to be motivated and integrated in a proper environment. The more people involved in the process the better chance there is to come up with creative ideas and differentiated product or service.

Innovation involves several steps:

* Defining the opportunity
* Team collaboration and participation
* Management believe and investor participation
* Investment of resources (time, dedication and commitment)
* The use of new and appropriate techniques
* Execution

Innovation leads to growth, it is not only a tool to take a business from one level to the other it also helps motivate teams and organization. A well motivated team will innovate and the company will grow, it is a cycle that companies have to believe in.

By : Joaquin_Duenas

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Write Headlines - 7 Tips for Writing Effective Marketing Headlines

Learning how to write headlines is crucial for marketing success. Whether you're writing a headline for your brochure, a title for your white paper or a subject line for your e-mail marketing campaign, you need those first words your prospect reads to be catchy and intriguing.

These seven strategies will get you thinking about the creative headline options you can use next time you need an attention-grabbing headline. The examples (for a dog food called Healthy Paws) following each tip will help you understand exactly how to apply each strategy to your writing.

1. Appeal to your prospect's emotions. A little tug on the heartstrings is sure to get your potential customer's attention. Example: Is your dog's food harming his health?

2. Tailor your message to specific customer segments. Every customer wants to be unique. By appealing to each customer group's interests and affinities, you'll connect on a deeper level. Example (targeted to fitness-buff women): You care about your health - what about hers?

3. Be the teacher. People are always on the lookout for useful, relevant information. Offer to provide the information they're searching for. Example: Seven ways to help your dog live longer.

4. Ask a question. Open up a conversation with the reader by asking them a question they'll want the answer to. Example: Why does Healthy Paws have dog tails wagging?

5. Make an offer they can't refuse. When you have a great offer to deliver, don't beat around the bush. Tell them upfront what the offer is with a direct, to-the-point message. Example: Get your free sample of Healthy Paws - today!

6. Share the news. Prospects are drawn to things that are fresh and new. If you have a new product, or if there is recent news relating to your product, try incorporating it into your headline. Example: New study shows Healthy Paws dogs live longer.

7. Make it personal. People love to hear about what you can do for them. Include the word "you" or "yourself" in the headline to make sure they get this message. Example: Help your dog live longer - here's how.

By : Megan_Tsai

10 Things Every Business Owner Must Know

The world of business is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn. But no matter how much innovation takes place there are certain business basics that remain. Do you know what makes up the foundation of a successful company? This article describes 10 important principles that every business owner must know.

1. Plan to succeed. Develop a business plan to move the company forward. Outline key goals, objectives and the strategies to achieve them. Review plans regularly to measure results and make needed adjustments along the way.

2. Manage well. Set the direction for how to run the business. To manage well it is important to implement systems and have written policies and business procedures. This sets the tone and ensures that standards for performance are maintained.

3. Build a sustainable business. In the early stages of business it is common for owners to be the company's number one source of funds. Over time it is important to create a business that can stand on its own. Identify financial options so that you can position the company to take advantage of them.

4. Market strategically. Marketing, advertising, and sales are important keys to increasing revenue. Identify proven strategies for branding, attracting clients and building relationships to grow your company.

5. Tighten up administration. There are various types of administrative tasks that are important in every business. Be sure to implement efficient systems to manage paperwork, stay on top of deadlines, and process financial transactions.

6. Financial Reporting. Regular, timely, and relevant financial reporting can give companies an advantage in the market. Two keys to good financial management are maintaining accurate records and using financials to grow the business.

7. Follow the rules. There are rules that govern the legal and financial activities of business. No company is above the law. So take time to get familiar with industry and business regulations. Understand the type of business documents and tax returns you are required to file and stay on task with submitting them on time.

8. Create your dream with a team. No man is an island which means you don't have to run your company alone. Fill in the gaps in your business by hiring part-time staff, using temporary assignments, outsourcing, or teaming up with companies for special projects.

9. Invest in yourself. Increase knowledge and stay abreast of business trends in new technology, industry practices, and customer wants and needs. Use training to increase efficiency and profitability in your business.

10. Reinvent when necessary. If your business model is no longer profitable don't be afraid to take a new direction. As noted by success coach, Ken Brown, "Those who are unwilling to change will either expire or become extinct." Be willing to rebrand, reposition, or release an idea if the market you serve doesn't need or want it any longer.

By : Benita_Tyler

Friday, November 26, 2010

Using Indicators For Planning

With the intensification of sales planning and sales control, diverse sales indicators are becoming increasingly important as planning instruments of management. Effective planning is a core subject on all good management courses. The results of a survey of 316 European sales managers testify to this.

Economic data considered when planning sales include:

Industrial indicators 41%
Purchasing power indicators 39%
Retail trade indicators 30%
Number of inhabitants 28%
Wholesale trade indicators 26%
Manual worker indicators 20%
Property market indicators 19%
Health indicators 10%
Transport indicators 6%
Agricultural indicators 3%
Tourism indicators 2%

The basic premise is - the bigger a company's sales force, the more economic data is used to support sales planning.

1. Industrial indicators

The following data serves as a basis for planning: number of companies (79%), turnover (51%), number of employees (34%), investments (21%). Any planning which is done on the basis of industrial indicators depends greatly on the size of the company. Investment indicators are more likely to be used by companies with 51 or more sales people, for example, far more than small or medium-sized companies (40% compared with 21%).

2. Purchasing power indicators

Purchasing power indicators based on the net income of the population in the sales area, are primarily used by companies dealing in consumer goods.

3. Trade indicators

70% of the sales managers interviewed direct their planning in accordance with the number of retail and wholesale companies; 60% base their planning on the regional distribution of turnover and 25% on the number of company employees.

4. Population indicators

If population statistics are considered in sales planning, 93% of the sales managers consider the regional cross-section of the whole population, 14% distinguish between age categories and 9% distinguish between the size of community. Larger consumer goods companies also use the size of individual households and the number of married couples and babies as criteria for sales planning.

5. Property market indicators

The sales managers mainly consult four indicators: property investment (67%), planning and building permission (65%), condition of property (30%), completion of property (28%). When it comes to property investment, larger companies in particular distinguish between the renovation of old buildings and new buildings.

6. Agricultural indicators

Here is a list of the main agricultural indicators: the number of agricultural companies (73%), the condition of farming equipment (64%), arable land (27%). Other criteria include timber, livestock, special crops.

7. Health indicators

These are the main indicators for manufacturers of medication and medically-related machinery: the number of hospitals (50%) and the regional distribution of doctors (63%). Other statistics used in sales planning include the number of hospital beds (44%), the number of pharmacies and chemists (34%) and pharmacy turnover (19%).

8. Transport indicators

When making sales estimates, indicators such as the number of lorries (74%) and cars (60%) are taken into consideration. The registration of new vehicles (cars 53%, lorries 47%) plays a secondary role.

9. Tourism indicators

The number of tourist industries is an important planning criterion (71%). Others aspects which are considered include the number of beds/rooms (43%), and the number of bed and breakfasts (29%).

Indicators are not laid down for all eternity. In practice, it is a question of being flexible - When asked, 74% of the sales managers said that they take into consideration developments both within and outside the company and adapt their sales planning accordingly.

As covered on management courses any changes in the following external criteria would force a modification in sales planning:

Activities of competitors
Developments in clients' turnover
Price trends
Developments in branch specific investments
Technological developments
Developments in customer orders
Legal plans
Developments in environmental protection
Developments in customers' stock
Developments in consumer spending

Surprisingly enough, economically relevant statistics such as the development of interest rates, the exchange rate, unemployment or public debt are given little or no consideration.

Finally, here are some in-house reasons for transforming sales planning:

Introduction of new products Sales promotion measures Change of conditions Advertising measures Extension of capacity

Effective planning has many benefits especially with increasingly focus on maximising the return from the sales side of an operation. You can develop your planning skills on good sales management courses.

By : Richard_A_Stone

Developing New Products

Businessmen and manufacturers are manufacturing products according to their taste and perceptions and forgetting the major and most important thing about selling more and earning great profits that is to design products according to the consumer taste, wants, needs and desires.

This is the most common mistake that nearly every manufacturer and businessmen make that is making such product that they themselves like and perceive that customers are going to like it. This is nothing but a very simple kind of gamble.

If you win it that means it was your luck and if you lose that it's your fault because you did not start well and so you ended badly. Good ending means good starting and good planning. Its not a gamble.

It is something that you have to confirm that is growing sales and increasing your margins of profit. That is possible if you are designing the product as simple as according to the customer need and want. They are not going to buy something they don't want or buy.

Like if you think that you love yellow color, people are not going to prefer it because they like other colors.

So it is never possible that the things you like will be liked by others. The products should be rather must be designed according to the customer taste. That is only possible if you know it, and if you don't then you need to go and ask them. You must go for a survey first and after an analysis of what they like in majority declare it and manufacture that.

Only then sales can improve and you can earn great profits.

The following should be taken care of in developing new products:

1. Ask the customers about their perception of a product based on

a. Taste

b. Color

c. Design

d. Flavors

e. Packaging

f. Ingredients

g. Weight

h. Price

2. After confirming all these test the market from certain areas and find the response

3. That can be done by

a. free sampling

b. Buy one get one free

c. Introductory prices

d. Any other promotional campaign

4. If majority likes, approve it and then commercialize and start heavy manufacturing of the product/s.

Following these ways can guarantee success of your products sales and can earn you great and abnormal profits. Just simply think like a customer and make it like a manufacturer. This will work very well for your company and business.

By : Aasim_Gill

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Myopia in Leadership Development

Typically, our view of leadership development encompasses the escalation of current high performers into an environment where they can develop a broader set of competencies and capabilities.

In many organizations, the senior leaders aim to manage the perception of the issues, form coalitions, and use relationships to influence change in the organization. Without "relationships and influence," they are without arrows in their managerial quiver.

In our experience, however, we have found that many leadership development programs fail to include the quantifiable and strategic value of business relationships - not only as another bucket or segment of the curriculum, but also as a part of the encompassing framework in the development of the next generation of corporate leaders.

In other words, you could be the most astute financial leader, operations leader, manufacturing executive or complex project owner, but if you lack the ability to proactively and systematically identify, build, and nurture personal, functional, and strategic relationships to influence others, I am not convinced of our fully realized long-term success in any organization.

The increasing diversity of today's workforce makes it that much more critical that our future leaders can effectively engage those who don't look, sound, or think like us and lead them toward a common set of strategic goals and objectives. In addition to providing cultural diversity, key individuals with unique perspectives and insights can accelerate any leader's ability to achieve results. We call these people Pivotal Contacts.

In researching dozens of Fortune 500 leadership development programs, we found many to be myopic in their perspective and focused purely on safe topics such as strategy, financial engineering, and global expansion. Many try to elevate your thinking, executing from the purely tactical (what we are doing) to the more strategic (why we are doing this).

Then there is the holistic approach that questions not just the ability, but the social responsibility aspects as well. Although extremely beneficial to current high performers and those perceived to be high potentials, these questions don't include a systematic, disciplined approach to functional and strategic relationships.

Strategic relationships are seldom part of any personal evaluations we have reviewed to date. Nor are they part of any compensation model we have seen, at least no compensation plan that actually moves one's needle (a 5 percent variable is not really an incentive).

They are not part of a human resource organization's competency maps, nor formal mentoring programs aimed at raising the bar on key functional leaders today.

Unless the appropriate metrics and rewards are in place to accurately align the organization's goals and objectives with that of the individual in a highly relationship-centric environment, how will we overcome this fundamental and often myopic perspective of world-class leadership development programs?

By : David_M._Nour

Your Team of Advisors - An Important Part of Business Planning

There are many different aspects of business planning that every owners will at some point need to address. Most are familiar with marketing and financials but when it comes to drafting the management piece one area that tends to be underdeveloped is that of the advisory team.

Do you know how a team of advisors bring value to your team? Let's take a look at this important part of business planning to see how these professionals strengthens companies.


First, there is a proverb that says "Wisdom is found in a multitude of counsel." This suggests that it makes good sense to seek the advice of others who can maturely guide you in getting the results that you want to achieve. Advisors possess wisdom that comes from having insight into a particular area which will help you plan and implement successful business strategies.


Next, when it comes to advice whose is the first that you normally trust? It's probably your own, right? After all, if you cannot trust your own instincts, then who can you trust? But listening solely to your own opinions at all times produces biased results.

Humans are creatures of habit and tend to do things within their comfort zone which is not the way to build a sustainable business. Instead, aim to create a team of advisors that will help you push past the limits, come up with new ideas, and hold you accountable for reaching them.


Finally, advisory teams are there to support your success by providing their expertise. Build a team from diverse industries so that you receive a holistic view of business The areas that you want to cover are law, accounting, banking, insurance, finance, marketing, and management.

Look for someone with experience in each of the following professions and you will have a solid foundation to create a business that thrives.

If you are unsure where to find the ideal people to fill advisory vacancies start by contacting other business owners that you trust. If you regularly network in small business forums pay attention to what's being said and by whom.

Many times you can glean great information just by listening to the wisdom that's right at your finger tips. And if none of these sources produce any leads remember to try out your local Chamber of Commerce where a host of industry specific professionals meet and network.

By : Benita_Tyler

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Event Planning - 10 Tips to Planning A Better Event

Whether you are a planning a wedding, a birthday party, or even a convention there are some simple things to consider and implement that can drastically improve the quality of the event. Using the knowledge I have gained over the years I've put together a list of 10 tips that have helped in my pursuit for terrific events.

1. Always have a little bit more food than needed

2. If you don't hire an event planner at least have someone act as one. That person would be in charge of making sure the vendors are set up properly and can help keep everything running smoothly. Whether it's a friend or family member the organization will be appreciated.

3. If you hire a DJ be wary of the distance between his/her setup and your guests. The last thing you want is a blaring speaker deafening a guest.

4. Try to find a suitable venue and make sure it suits your particular needs. Consider things like the number of guests, whether or not it needs to be wheel chair accessible.

5. Consider trying to find package deals which some venues might offer.

6. Be wary of weather alerts before and the morning of the event. Nothing is worse than having an event washed out or worse.

7. Lists!, lists!, lists! I can't stress this enough. If you keep an up to date list the chances of anything being forgotten or going wrong are greatly reduced. Anytime I have an event or even just trying to accomplish a goal I create a to do list. If something doesn't get accomplished I roll it over to the next day. When planning an event it helps to not forget things like carded place holders for tables or napkins.

8. Maintain contact with people your vendors. When planning an event make sure to maintain contact with your DJ, caterer, limousine driver. Sometimes in the chaos of preparing for an event services or people you require to get the job done can get left behind.

9. Develop and stick to your event budget. The quality of an event does not depend on the dollar investment, rather it depends on effective event planning. There are easy ways to save money shop around a little and check event directories planning directories which will sometimes allow you to find inexpensive event related businesses.

10. And last but not least keep calm, cool, and collected. Event planning is a lot of work and it's easy to be overcome with stress. If your stress or exhausted you can't put together a great event and remember stress shows.

By : Hassaan_Simpson

Corporate Manipulation - The Game Of The Big

Corporate Manipulation is the game of the big companies striving to control more shares of their relevant market. Big industries like the tobacco, pharmaceutical or the mining industries use different manipulative techniques in order to make more profits than their rivals.

The impact of such manipulative strategies has been sometimes so big that they have attracted the attention of law regulators and have provoked the passage of important anti-monopolistic laws.

There could be two types of corporate manipulation - manipulation intended for consumers and manipulation addressed for other rival companies. Big industries usually have little trouble manipulating their clients - oftentimes the companies are large enough to have control over a big share of the market and to have an important impact on people's lives.

Once consumers are dependent on the company, they find themselves following the business rules of this industry and it's hard for them to break up with the company.

Corporate manipulation directed to other companies seems more difficult, because the companies usually have the same resources and the same access to information. Which makes manipulation less easy, but not impossible.

One striking example was the case with Intel. Intel is a company that produces chips for personal computers. In the mid 90s, Intel had monopolistic control over its market but it was starting to get outdone by its main rival - AMD.

Both of these companies were fighting for the attention of Dell - the most important computer manufacturer at that time. In order to secure itself deals with Dell, Intel paid $1 billion to Dell and became its main provider of computer chips even though the chips of AMD were better and cheaper.

The company manipulated the choice of its partner and this later became a usual tactic for Intel - in the next years the company made such deals with many other manufacturers.

Corporate manipulation is the way of big companies to continue making millions of dollars when they see that their rivals are starting to gain more and more influence. With time, many such strategies for controlling the market have become illegal as legislators perceived the threat of them to the rules of free economy and free market competition.

Most of the time, these processes have stayed unnoticed by the general audience as the press didn't cover them, but the little media attention is a whole another topic about manipulation techniques.

By : Manny_Hawkins

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time Management - A Vital Business Development Strategy

Proper time management is absolutely vital for a company's success and is a critical part of effective business development. Many companies rightly stress on its importance in order to make its employees more efficient and productive.

Today's article will focus on why time management is so important for businesses development and how profound of an effect it can have on the company's overall performance. Consulting services are available to teach employees about how to make the best use of their time in order to maximize their efficiency. Therefore, companies struggling with time management would find this article of great use.

· Ability to Meet Deadlines

There is hardly a project today that is not deadline oriented. Clients want to see results and therefore divide their projects into multiple segments setting deadlines for each segment completion. These deadlines are extremely important for companies that provide service to the clients to adhere to. Failing to do so could result in hefty penalties. Time management ensures that the project gets finished ahead of time.

· Improving Performance at Work

Time management makes a good employee even better. It improves performance and gives a boost to their confidence. Typical day to day work tasks comprise of many things and sufficient amount of time should be given to each task if one is to keep things moving along at a smooth pace. Educating employees about how to manage time properly ensures that the company is working at optimal levels.

· Prioritizing Work load

A very common business development strategy is to prioritize and undertake tasks based on its size, relevance and importance. Tougher and more important tasks should be tacked first and the easier, lower priority ones should follow afterwards.

No two tasks will require the same amount of time. Depending on its nature and the amount of work involved, certain tasks should be given and may require more time than others. Proper business development through time management will teach employees how to do so just that.

· Money Saving and Revenue Increasing Feature

Time management is highly productive and lucrative business development practice. Not only does it shields a company from paying hefty penalties by completing projects on time, it also increases revenues by creating a good impression of the company in the market and portraying them as an establishment devoted to their clients.

The above mentioned tips are just a few benefits of managing time effectively. All companies should strive to implement this business development skill at all levels including managerial and executive.

Today's competitive market is moving at an extremely fast pace and it is ever so important to maximize work output every day. Companies having difficulty meeting deadlines should seriously consider hiring consultants to rectify this problem. They will provide sound advice as to how to proceed forward.

By : Milton_J_Paris

Action-Oriented Approach to Performance Management

Performance management aims to ensure that goals are consistently being met in an effective and efficient manner. Performance management can focus on performance of individuals, groups, processes and organizations. Its main objective is to deliver results and optimize performance of human and capital assets.

Although the term 'performance management' is a relatively new idea in the field of management, managers and supervisors have conducted performance appraisals with their staff and departments for years. Employees have been trained for centuries, and people have worked long, hard hours for many years.

Processes such as planning, budgeting, sales and billings have also been carried out for many years in organizations. But all too often, these activities are done for the sake of doing them, not for contributing directly to the desired results of the organization.

Being busy is not the same as producing results and adding value to the business. Participating in training, or exhibiting strong commitment and working for long hours do not necessarily lead to results. Performance management focuses on attaining results and adding value; for example, realizing a profit target, securing new deals, delivering new products and services to customers, or retaining customers. Performance management channels human capital towards effectiveness.

In recent years, businesses have faced significant challenges, including increased competition from businesses across the world, scarcity of talents, and environmental challenges. These challenges have meant that businesses must be much more careful about the choice of strategies they take to remain competitive. Everyone and every resource within the organization must be aligned to the business objectives.

This places more focus on ensuring that systems and processes in an organization are properly applied to achieve desired results in the most effective way. Management must ensure that all results across the organization continue to be aligned to the overall organizational objectives. This enables long-term survival and sustained profitability.

Performance in organizations is not limited to the effectiveness of employees; performance management can also be applied to departments, processes, programmes, products or services, and teams or groups. It is right to assume that performance management of every aspect of the business is heavily dependent on the human capital responsible for them.

For optimum performance management, managers and employees must keep the end results in mind, and such results must be in total alignment with business objectives. This is easier say than done, due to the absence of practical and effective tools.

A daily goal-orientated tool that offers employees and management a platform to communicate company strategies and objectives on a daily basis would be greatly welcome by the business community, where employees and managers set their targets for the year and break them down into monthly objectives. Users can then set daily and weekly incremental actions that are required to deliver results.

Such a tool makes it easy to focus on the end results and execute actions that add value to the target goals, whilst discarding non-relevant, time-wasting activities. Such a tool also enables the user to reflect on his/her performance on daily basis and keep track of what works and what does not. With the adoption of such a tool, employees will be able to overcome procrastination and develop new habits of progress and achievement, which are proved to be the best motivator for employees.

Such a goal-achieving tool enables management to keep track of their employees' performance, help them appreciate the challenges employees are facing and identify the required support they need to accomplish target goals. The diary itself serves as a logbook for employee performance and can be instrumental for performance review appraisals.

Performance management is a critical constituent of business management, and for optimum performance the focus should be placed on utilizing the human and capital assets deployed by a business, with the focus on the end results.

The need for a practical tool to enable compliance can not therefore be overemphasized. A daily success organizer or a planner can be a practical tool that enables communication of company goals and strategies, alignment of employee actions with business priorities, and eliminates wastage.

By : Yahya_S.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How To Make Freelancing Worth It

Many people think freelancing is a glamorous job -- working at home, in your pajamas, in full control of your time. Sure. But you MUST plan your freelancing career as carefully as you'd plan a new business, or else it's going to be a nightmare! Here's how to make freelancing worth the move.

First, Choose Your Projects Wisely.

Freelancing becomes fun when you're doing something you love. So look for projects you KNOW you want to work on. Don't be tempted to accept a project simply because "it's there" or "the money is too good to turn down" -- you'll pay for it in stress. Trust me.

Second, Work With Clients Who Think Like You.

Try to avoid clients who pay too low for your tastes, or those who demand unreasonable deadlines. These clients tend to NOT treat freelancers well, so only look for clients who are willing to do things on YOUR terms.

Otherwise, you might find yourself keeping Skype logged off simply because you don't want to catch a toxic client online!

Third, Decide Your Preferred Income.

Let's face it -- freelancing isn't easy. And to make it worth it, you'll have to receive a good enough income to keep you happy. Check how much your corporate-hired counterparts get paid, and start there. No sense freelancing when you could get a better pay with a job!

And Lastly, Plan Your Lifestyle.

Want to keep your weekends clear? Want to have breakfasts at your favorite cafe? Want to take quarterly vacations with your family?

Decide! The "lifestyle" part of freelancing is precisely what makes freelancing worth it. Remember, the most successful of today's freelancers left their jobs for greener pastures. And it's up to you how "green" you want your freelancing career to be.

So plan your lifestyle -- your freelancing career depends on it!

By : Mike_Madrazo

Guidelines to Hire an Expert Witness

Dave McDonald from the National Expert Witness Network (NEWN) has developed and released an excellent (and free) instructional program to explain the best methodologies for finding, assessing the credentials of, and hiring an expert witness.

Although created with an obvious tilt toward the interests of attorneys looking for the right one, many of the training slides are equally valuable for experts seeking to appreciate the process. In fact, many slides appear to emphasize IP cases primarily, but the reality of the legal arena is such that the material on these slides applies equally well to many different types of cases, and to the decisions made by lawyers in these matters as well.

Mr. McDonald covers everything from the definition (Rule 702) of a witness to the differing roles played by them as either a defendant or plaintiff expert. His program spans such fundamentals as finding the expert, fees for experts, and the necessary skills of an effective witness. He discusses retention agreements, payment responsibilities, and, from the business perspective, considerations related to managing witnesses during a case.

In the later stages of retaining an expert, he also explains elements of confidentiality as well as parameters for reports, and even some admissibility considerations. He also includes suggested rules for responses during depositions, such as his 5-second rule for pausing to answer questions, and his 30-second rule for limiting the time used for elaborate answers.

Finally, he discusses the Supreme Court's Daubert case and the risks of expert disqualification that should be understood by both experts and attorneys before any case is actually offered to or accepted by an expert.

Since many experts have never actually testified at trial, Mr. McDonald includes some valuable slides on advice and preparations of an expert witness for trial proceedings. He further includes some suggestions for both the expert and his attorney regarding opinions and objectivity.

For the larger cases, such as many intellectual property matters become, this training program also provides information for effective management of the eventual work product and of a possible team of multiple experts.

Mr. McDonald's course is available at the National Expert Witness Network's website, http://www.newnexperts.com in the About main menu choice, and in the 'Training' submenu choice.

By : Judd_Robbins

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sure Fire Steps to Profitability

"Any successful relationship, whether personal or business, is unique to every pair of individuals and evolves over time. It starts out tentative, fragile, full of unfulfilled possibilities and expectations. It grows stronger with experience and familiarity. It matures into trust and commitment.

As it deepens, it evolves through three phases: visibility, credibility, and profitability" states Dr. Ivan Misner along with David Alexander & Brian Hilliard in the New York Times Best Selling book, Networking Like a Pro Turning Contacts into Connections.

In my recent interview on my Navigating Change Radio Show, Dr. Misner explains a process of creating relationships in networking. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, growing relationships are essential to building a sustainable business. Many business owners make the mistake of meeting someone and immediately trying to get a sale before they've nurtured the relationship.

There are two really important steps before you jump to profitability suggests Dr. Misner. It's a process called VCP:


Visibility is about awareness. That is, you're visible to each other or a potential customer becomes aware of the nature of your business. You two begin to communicate and establish links. The greater your visibility, the:

• More widely known you become.
• More information you obtain about others.
• More opportunities you will be exposed to.
• Better your chances of being recognized as someone to whom others can or should refer business.

In this step, it's important that you obtain information about the other person with whom you are establishing visibility. Many entrepreneurs want to do what I call the verbal vomit, that is, they want to share all about their business with others and the other person doesn't get in a word. In this step, it is important to find out about the other person first. As the relationships deepen, you'll have your turn.


The next step in this process is Credibility. Only when you and a new acquaintance begin to form expectations and those expectations are fulfilled, your relationships enter this stage. Credibility is gained through reliability. In this stage you want to keep appointments, promises and do what you say you're going to do. This can also be gained through third parties. Here's where others you've done business with can create credibility, like through testimonials or even references.


When you've mastered visibility and demonstrated credibility, it is then you move into profitability. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of confusing direct selling and networking. In networking it is necessary to cultivate the relationships (as outlined in visibility and credibility.) It's when you've created a solid foundation in those two steps you move on. In profitability, the relationship is mutually rewarding and both partners are gaining satisfaction. The relationship probably won't endure if it doesn't profit both partners, states Dr. Misner.

With every process or formula there is an important element: time. It can happen quickly or take a year even three years. If you want a real life inspiration to the practicality of this process, listen to learn how Dr. Misner through one relationship went on to meet Chicken Soup for the Soul Author, Jack Canfield and music mogul, world adventurer and owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson.

One change in the way you network today yields giant leaps later.

By : Lisa_Mininni

Experts Can Still Have Their Testimony Rejected by Courts Even If Their Work Is Proper

Do you know if standards and accreditations exist in your field? Do you meet the standards in your field as an expert? Did you obtain available accreditations in your specialty? Did you earn the license required in your specialty?

Did you obtain expected and available certifications in your specialty? Consider additional work to prepare yourself. Lawyers and the courts they serve want expert witnesses to look good on paper, sound good in court, and legitimately have the qualifications to be there.

You will hear the term 'admissibility.' A judge determines whether to 'accept' you, your credentials, and your work into the court. The judge has the 'gatekeeper' role and decides whether to allow you to present your work and your opinions in the courtroom. The opposing attorney may successfully present legal reasons why the judge should not admit your work into evidence.

Inadmissibility may not indicate that your work was poor, but it does declare that your work did not meet legal standards. This can be a damaging loss to your side and a great victory for the other side, and will successfully keep your work from ever being considered by the jurors.

Your retaining attorney has to deal with legal considerations regarding admissibility. However, you can help provide your opinion with a strong foundation by performing your work carefully, preparing it to meet standards, and presenting it well.

You cannot scrimp on care, and your work must meet the norms and standards of your industry. If you express an opinion that seems straightforward to you, it still may sound ridiculous in court if you based it on incomplete, poorly documented, or otherwise shoddy procedures.

A combination of regulatory agency, academic, and industry expertise will strongly support you in your role as an expert witness. Academic expertise alone, without hands-on work, can seem only theoretical and may lead to rigorous cross examination. Attorneys may capitalize on this weakness by presenting hypothetical questions that can be unpleasant during testimony because of your lack of real-world background.

Lack of industry background can come across as 'ivory tower syndrome,' a weakness found frequently in academic expert witnesses. Jurors may find you less believable and your opinions less acceptable.

Extensive industry qualifications will help you most when making a transition from just an industry expert to a litigation consultant. Jurors will easily recognize your expertise if they find out that you have worked as an industry expert for years. Attorneys will then find it unpleasant to discredit your credentials.

If you have worked for a law enforcement agency or governmental commission, at the state or federal level, you may have a built-in acceptability to jurors. While some jurors may have a bias against you because you worked for the government, government employ does bring a notable credential to the table on your behalf.

By : Judd_Robbins

Friday, October 29, 2010

Team Building Helps in Binding A Group Together

Employees feel isolated and boring if they have to slog down the weeks and months with some monotonous and mechanical work. It is more concerning to get non-cooperative vibes from their colleagues and especially managers.

Team building events are some special occasions undertaken by most of the companies to initiate a boost of confidence amongst employees and letting them mingle and know each other. Team building activities do not fall under any school activity curriculum; it has more fun to it than just setting on a boat packed with people

Events for Amusement

It is not merely boat but you can call it a cruise where everyone gathers together to collaborate, speak, share their thoughts and also have fun. The objective is to bring different mind sets and personalities together and make them match and bring flavour of working spirit in their minds. Nevertheless, never think that the whole concept is merely about building teams and helping group of all kinds of employees to work together.

Building team means fostering a sense of responsibility among people to let them understand their objectives and strive together to achieve their target. It is like working in group and understanding how integration works for a mission to be successful.

Remember, the idea is not what one has to do and what is one's responsibility; but there lies more to it. At some point, each member has to understand what will be apt for the team and their sense of commitment that is required.

The program taken by a team should not be too confusing or out of competitive market strategy. The market has to be studied and pertinent to it the team has to study the demands of the company. Aggression can work in reverse at times and therefore there should more humility in approach and understanding.

Everyone should work cooperatively. The idea is not to overpower one's sense of ideas but to listen as a group and come to a conclusion as a group otherwise the weaker ones will feel threatened and stray from the team.

A strong spirit combined with awareness actually make a team Remember, a team can only win on the basis of professionalism, skill and talent. There should be fun events too like parties with intelligent twists to it that a team has to solve. For instance any murder riddle that a team has to solved, definitely the riddle or murder is all fictitious.

Besides, projects help group of people combine and work together. Else, companies can give a theme out of which a team has to build a cost planning for budget saving or if it is an advertising company then the team can be asked to build an advertisement for a particular company.

These above points will help to assess the strength and weakness of the team and once this is done team building will become a successful task for any company.

By : Brad_Marc

Team Building and Loyalty

Loyalty means a lot to me. I'm delighted to say that I believe that our team is loyal to one another and the company as a whole. Working for a professional team building company as we do, we get to see all sorts of teams and not all of them have the same degree of loyalty within them that we have.

Indeed, often the reason we have the opportunity to work with them in the first place is to help start the process of increasing the loyalty with a team. I thought I'd write about that.

What we can't do is to fix a loyalty problem at a single event. Loyalty is something that is built up over a long period of time, not something that can be wrapped up into a small package and delivered along with the mail. But we can make a start.

Step one is having the event in the first place. I believe that most people want to be loyal to their team and organisation from the moment that they join them. They join with high hopes and expectations and what happens is that, over time, little things chip away at that desire.

I remember being told on a management training course once that most people are naturally motivated from within and that a manager's job is, in part, to demotivate their reports as little as possible.

I think that is good advice, if somewhat different to the normal guidance that you can find on motivating people. So organising an event that people will enjoy is unlikely to demotivate anyone and can only increase move their loyalty in an upward direction.

Step two is all around the choice of activity. If step one is to be positive, then the option chosen needs to be something that everyone in the team will actually appreciate. That doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to be full of belly laughter from start to finish.

While a "fun" team building day might well be just what the doctor ordered, people often understand that all is not well with the team and can really appreciate a day spent tackling the issues they face. Providing the experience is a positive and constructive one, that is.

An activity that offers a combination of being something different to what people do at work and yet has plenty of parallels to the workplace is a pretty good one. That means offering the team a challenge that needs the same kind of skills and team methodology as they need to be affective at work.

Step three is the team building activity debrief. It needs an experienced facilitator and a structured process that encourages people to speak honestly and without fear of recriminations. The facilitator's job is, in part, to keep the focus on the team and not on individuals while at the same time ensuing all conversation is constructive and productive.

It also needs to specifically touch on loyalty as an issue and generate an action plan that the whole team is committed to implementing back at base.

By : Alan_Hunt

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Team Working - 5 Things That Destroy Trust

A team, if it is going to prosper, needs many things but one thing it needs in bucket loads is trust. Trust is one of those things that takes time to build but can be destroyed in minutes. So what do you need to be alert to in order to avoid trust being destroyed?

1. Not following up: If you have said to team members that they are expected to deliver something specific by a certain time and date, you need to make sure that you follow up. If you fail to follow up, people will interpret it as you don't care or what you ask them to do is not important.

2. Favouritism: If you are part of a team, there are going to be people that you connect with better than others. It can be really tempting to treat those who you connect with differently to others. Don't do this as you will create divisions.

3. Not delivering: If you, as the leader of the team, made certain commitments, then make sure you deliver on them. You set the tone for the rest of the team. If you have a reputation for non-delivery, others will follow suit.

4. Publicly criticising: The best laid plans don't always come off. There may have been several people who contributed to the poor outcome or whose lack of contribution led to a less than ideal outcome. Deal with this behind closed doors rather than publicly.

5. Not dealing with toxic behaviour: People will, if you allow them, take advantage. If their behaviours are toxic, they will bring down the whole team eventually. When you notice toxic behaviour, deal with it.

The Bottom Line: Trust is core to success on teams. So what do you need to pay attention to in order to achieve more success on a team?

By : Duncan_Brodie

Successful Workplace Teams - What They Look Like And How To Create Them


The team is the basic human unit in the workplace. And effective team development is essential for the success of small-medium business. If you employ people, they must be able to work together effectively.

What's A Workplace Team?

A workplace team exists where two or more people must work together to achieve business results. Even in relatively small businesses, an employee can easily be a member of more than one.

Characteristics Of A Good Workplace Team

In the workplace an effective team

* has clearly defined goals which each member accepts
* has a clearly defined roles for each member
* each member accepts the defined role and responsibilities of each other member
* team goals are more important than individual goals
* members willingly support other team members to ensure the overall effectiveness
* each member accepts that their contribution will be a major factor in measuring their personal performance
* the measure of team effectiveness is performance not behaviour
* co-operation with other teams is essential for effective performance

Effectiveness Not Affection

Notice that good interpersonal relationships is not a characteristic of an effective team. It's usually an outcome. People who work effectively together usually develop good interpersonal relationships. At the very least they learn to tolerate each other's personal idiosyncrasies.

But there's no guarantee that a group of people who "get on well" will produce effective results.

Teams Exist Regardless

Teams are the human core of the workplace. Whether admin, sales, production or warehouse or whatever, the team simply exists. As manager you have to deal with the teams as well as the individuals in them.

Dismiss Definitions

Forget the notion of what's different about a team or a group or staff versus functional relationships. That sort of thinking leads to paralysis by analysis. You have teams in your workplace. You need them to be effective. That's the reality.

Team Building v. Team Development

The team exists. Forget about building it too. It's there. Your job is to ensure it develops into an effective and important unit. It is the human cornerstone of your business success.

Team Development Tips

* Select and train for competence. Employees who are incompetent are the biggest threat to effective team development
* Establish goals: what the team exists to achieve. Each member must accept these goals.
* Clarify individual roles and goals. Each member needs to fully understand the contributions and roles of other members.
* Allow team members to develop relationships in a way that suits them overall.
* Emphasize the importance of co-operation and respect for other teams. Healthy competition between teams is desirable. Competition that attempts to denigrate others is utterly unacceptable.
* Ensure they develop effective internal systems to ensure that their goals continue to be achieved in the absence of members.
* Stress the importance of positive co-operation between teams.

Change Your Management Mindset

As managers, we're taught to focus on individual employee performance. This ignores the reality of the workplace. Each employee depends on other employees to be successful at work. Each employee is a member of at least one team. Their success depends on how effective they are as members.


Concentrate on developing effective teams in your workplace. Ignore so called "personality conflicts". They're almost always a result of role and goal conflicts. Focus on sorting our roles and goals. Help teams develop effective systems so that they contribute more effectively for business success. You and your business will be the beneficiaries in the long run.

By : Leon_Noone

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Activity for Better Communication: Team Building Activities

As more and more people spend at least half a day at work, team bonding and Team Building has become the need of the hour. More and more people are realizing the importance of Team Building. Most people spend more than 9 to 10 hours at work and they need to release their stress.

Most projects and task involves a strong and bonded team that can perform well. Most teams end up with below par performances largely due to either lack of communication or co-ordination, this is where most big companies face problems.

Proper Communication and co-ordination is the key to a well-managed company. Hence, more and more companies are investing in Team Building Activities like team parties, picnics and other such activities to keep the environment friendly and stress free.

Team Building Activities need to be fun, but at the same time, they need to impart wisdom to your team. Your team should get to learn and understand the importance of unity and integrity. Team Building Activity must have a clear objective. The objective can be anything from communication to co-ordination or even efficiency.

With every team building activity, your employees/subordinates must progress as a stronger team that performs with much more efficiency. You must organize Activities that will help them overcome their weakness.

There are many Team Building Activities. However, you need only those activities that will make your team stronger. Here's how you start developing better communication between your employees/subordinates

Start with analyzing what are the pros and cons of your team. You do not require wasting your precious time on activities that will help improve their plus points.

The objective is to concentrate on the negative aspects. Most Teams face communication problems. The activity given below is easy and can be organized every week:-

The basic problem with communication is that most people are embarrassed to talk about their problems with others and at the same time it is very embarrassing for that one person to listen to his negative aspects.

Hence, the first step is to create an environment where nobody is scared to talk or communicate. You can have people write name or names of their team members with whom they are facing communication problems.

Now, collect the chits and play this game. Make all the other members talk about why two people in your team are facing a communication problem. As the other members talk, the two prospective members cannot utter a word and will simply sit and listen.

The other members of your team will also give a solution to how they can communicate better.

This game could be played every week with multiple team members and will help resolve many work related issues. You will also see an improvement in your team building and how everyone is making an effort to create a friendly and stress free environment. This activity will also help everyone learn about each other and know each other better.

By : Tom_Harry

Team Building Games: Improve Business Effectiveness

It is often said, team building games in fact play a crucial role to foster camaraderie among your team members. It is widely acclaimed; most corporate entities opt to choose these for a larger purpose. And it is of achieving business successes for their company.

Normally, such entities organizations are believed to consist of individuals of various mental frames, IQs, characters and attitudes. So, it is believed to be wise practices to indulge them work as a composite team to achieve twin-purpose, namely:

For achieving company's, and

Their personal growth.

It is thought that a growth story of any company indirectly also means efficiency and effectiveness of the human resources which are known to work under its tutelage. More than often, you will find more and more companies incorporating team building event days in their annual fixture.

This is primarily done with the idea that:

It will be a kind of an exercise to boost morale of their workforce within fold of a business entity.

Allow workers to have a fun day out at company's expense, so that they don't feel a pinch in their pockets

Workers normally are seen to bond better when such an event is organized.

Serves as a platform to provide more serious learning and personal development.

Extensive use of it helps corporate employee motivation and personal development.

It has been observed, when employers take such measures, it increases business effectiveness.

There are numerous games which might be used to imbibe a spirit of unified group.

Some of these games include:

Minefield: In this game participants are given a chance to talk on things that are believed to be detrimental to a group's functioning. An object is then thrown in the so-called 'playing arena' which is actually termed as minefield for each of the characteristic or action. The group then proceeds to select partners from other participants in their group.

One partner is then blindfolded at one end of field while those partners who aren't blindfolded stand at opposite end. The later then direct blindfolded partner to help him negotiate through the minefield. This way they ensure blindfolded mate doesn't fall into any of the obstacles.

Quizzing: These are basically quiz nights where participants can be seen answering general knowledge questions. This way they develop a healthy environment by competing among themselves.

Letters: Here a group of four or five people is formed and an English alphabet is then called out. The amazing feature of this game being participants are supposed to spell out letters only using their body on the ground. Scores are maintained and the group who succeeds to spell fastest is the winner.

By : Jeesh_Muake

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning to Lead Organizations

A true leader is not only born it can also be developed through time and experience. Great leaders are charismatic, part of it comes since birth but most of it comes through the development of different skills that create a sense of confidence in the person.

Being charismatic is more than just simple charisma - it is something magical that makes other people follow, without a real true explanation. It motivates groups to fight uphill battles, go over their limits, weather storms, live on long after the leader is gone, or simply perform without a grouch.

Leading implies knowing and learning skills. The following list is a sample of patterns that can be applied while leading an organization:

Know your competition, not only the ones you know, know them well and know them all. Keep you eyes open to new competitors. Know their strengths and their weaknesses. Once you know well your competition you can only then improve and lead your organization better.

Try unusual and extraordinary things, why limit yourself. Spend time in being a better person, improve your ethics, your principles, motivate yourself and act appropriately. Know what you want and how to get there, just then you can show the way.

Constantly look at where you are and where you want to be. A clear vision is critical for moving ahead, but you have to know where you are before you can move forward. Regroup as needed, readapt and then move on.

Create a team and teamwork. Teamwork is key not only a concept believe it in. Everyone in a team is equal, everyone has responsibilities and obligations and the leader has to guide the whole team in the right direction. A well lead team is capable of setting its own goals. Is your team capable of setting their goals?

Lead by example, teams have to believe in their leader. Keep teams motivated and focused by being authentic, act accordingly, forget about "Do as I say, not as I do". In order for leaders to gain authority there has to be respect, followers will respect their leader if the leader respects them.

Leaders take care of their customers but most importantly they take care of their teammates. Leaders care about their team, they involve them in every step of the process and results are achieved. Every team member is important.

Organizations should be in the business of creating leaders. Leaders need to be found, placed in different levels and developed. When a team member knows they are performing and are being recognized for it, they will feel important and perform even better.

Leaders should know their team members. Leaders do not lead teams they actually lead individuals with different personalities and levels of expertise who together make up a team. Every person in a team has different strengths, weaknesses and needs, a team leader know that about each team member. A team will only be effective and efficient if their needs are known, recognized and grown.

Organizations have to constantly embrace change to be able to reach their goals. Leaders have to take necessary time to list the goals of the organization and to compare them to the list of principles. When leaders make sure their approach matches the organization's goals then they become better leaders.

By : Joaquin_Duenas

Six Different Types of Team Players - Which Type Are You?

Many studies are conducted every year to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of personality and type of team player. Do different types of team players have an edge? If they all possessed more or less the same skills, then multitude facets of the project or assignment will be hard to tackle and the whole exercise of assembling the team will be defeated.

A team is never homogeneous and it never should be for it to succeed. The essence of an organizational team is the variety of skill sets they bring to the table. Different types of team players, each chips in with their own individual skills or domain knowledge to bear on the task and to finish it with efficiency and expertise.

Analytical team members:

While one team member may be very good at analytical skills, the other may be able to organize and collate information and data in a cohesive manner.

Communication Experts:

Still another player may be very good at articulating and communicating difficult concepts and strategy to all.

Strategy & planning think tanks:

Some are very good at strategizing and making plans on the drawing board, and another very adept at executing and taking it off the ground.

Team leaders & captains:

Some are very good leaders, having great vision and projecting the goals and targets to be achieved, sharing that vision and at making the goal as a common goal for all in the team.

Hard workers & finishers:

There are team workers who are happy to follow instructions and work like a horse around an assignment and win hearts and appreciation with their stint of hard work.

Difficult & problematic type:

Their may be others who may be domineering, aggressive and go getter type riding roughshod over all others around them.

Much like a soccer team or a basketball team, the people working together on a job, must seamlessly and without friction gel with each other and constantly proceed towards a common end. The difference in skills, knowledge, mental composition, personal traits and personality type actually helps the project to reach its logical conclusion more efficiently and effectively.

The whole is only a sum of its part and to find a total or holistic solution, differently skilled team players are more of a necessity than a pain. The key player is the team leader who holds all the spokes of the wheel to the wheel frame and ensures that the destination is the goal and motto of all concerned.

By : Takuya_Hikichi