Leadership

Leadership – Do You Have It in You?

What is the success of an organization majorly dependent on? Is it the correct resource allocation or the timely flow of funds? The answer is BUSINESS LEADERSHIP.

But the question remains the very basic one. How to be a successful Business leader? Is it a mere case of successful delegation of duties or something that comes from experience?

Business Leadership, my dear, is a perfect amalgamation of a bunch of features that are present in different proportions in every leader. And for that matter to expect 2 leaders to be same is also impractical. But to know whether or not you have it in you to be the most looked forward to and loved leaders of all times, here’s a checklist.

1. Positive outlook

Whenever you attempt a task at hand in a group or individually, having a positive mind frame before commencing it solves most problems than the human mind can imagine. It is your sure shot key to success. A positive mind-frame combined with strategic leadership induces a feeling in the colleagues that sooner or later the task will bear fruits constructive enough to be acknowledged.

2. Decision-making ability

Having a number of alternatives to a particular problem may have been the scenario most of the times. Which one to choose? The correct decision-making ability of the leader providing strategic leadership aids saving a lot of time and reduces possible conflicts.

3. Punctuality

Teaching by example is the best quality a leader can exhibit. When leaders are themselves punctual, they can easily expect the crew to be on time, every time. Punctuality is not something that is learned in a day. It is something that personnel see and discover.

4. Prioritization

Blaring deadlines and no time at hand? A dedicated leader will easily come out of this. More so, these deadline issues don’t creep up with people who are committed to their jobs. Business leadership balances work so that rushing through deadlines isn’t the case. Proper and timely completion is their job takes a higher priority in their lives than anything else and proves to be an effective key to success.

5. Accurate delegation of duties

Assigning people responsibilities will not ensure rewarding results until the assignment was done with precision. Absorbing the teammates’ comfort zones and assigning them exact duties has proven to be a key to success which they can fulfill leads to the well-timed conclusion of tasks and a happier task force.

6. Discipline

An aspect that sets apart an effective business leader is their ability to be disciplined even in times when they have all opportunities of taking liberty and indulge in spoiling themselves. Not only in leaders, but self-discipline is also needed and is imperative in today’s world. It also answers the most sought after the question of ‘How to be successful’?

7. Responsible attitude

The ability to take initiative and being responsible for the outcome is a risk not many people are willing to take these days. An effective leader analyses the situation and plans ahead of time.

8. Fair attitude

Successful business leadership requires being fair to all co-workers professionally, irrespective of the private relation they share. The growth of an organization depends on howfair the leader is.

9. Communicative and understanding

Being affable and understanding of others’ situations is most needed to be a successful leader. Only then can the work go on smoothly without halts.

10. Out of the box thinking

Sometimes certain problems require solutions that cannot be thought of when surrounded by the problem itself. A person needs to have a cool mind and out-of-the-box thinking to be a great leader.

6 or more matching traits will definitely make you the leader your organization had been looking for.

Because there is always room for improvement and learning has no age bar!

Social Media

Social Media – Do You Have a Strategy?

Social media has the same principles as face to face networking and is the most important part of your marketing. It not only enhances your relationship building but reinforces the outcomes you want from your business. We need to have strategies for our social media to help us achieve what we have created by making sure it is in both our business and marketing plans.

Most small businesses are not aware of how important it is to have both a business and marketing plans so that they are moving in the right direction. If we do not know what we want our business to be in the future, we can’t create it, so the clarity of our VISION for our business is very important. Social media gives us the opportunity to market ourselves to a wider group of people and businesses whom we would never have the opportunity to connect.

Are you aware that when you are using a social media platform, no matter which one, your aim is to create your likeability both personally and as a business. Then you can become known for your skill set and expertise in your subject by gaining the trust that you do know what you are speaking about.

Social media can make or break you and your reputation in business. Your efforts on social media will play an enormous role in achieving what you want for you and your business. I believe that you and your business come together as one if they are congruent. In today’s business world, we as small business owners are viewed personally as much as our businesses are. If someone does not like you, they will not do business with you and use your products or services.

When we firstly commence business we are full of enthusiasm and if we do not create systems to support ourselves and the business in general we will be behind the eight-ball. So, a one-page business plan of what you want to create for the next year is important. Create a one-page marketing plan as well noting that social media is a large part of marketing in today’s small business world. This does not mean you do no other market though!!

When you are creating your marketing plan it is important to know what your objectives are. Find out the social media platforms that suit you and your business best i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest being the main ones. It is important that you work out what campaigns you plan to run to achieve your marketing goals.

If you have an electronic newsletter and or magazine these can be used very effectively in your social media plan. Remember that your website is also another way you can boost your social media presence. It is important that you link everything including your flyers and brochures, your business card and signage too, so you can have a story that is consistent and congruent.

I like personally to use for myself and show my clients how they can create a social media diary to make sure that they get a good coverage that will be of interest to their clients. Every day it is essential to have different posts posted that show off you and your business. If you have many pages, this can be a quite detailed process initially but by pre scheduling our posts, we can make sure we are well planned with what needs to go out i.e. Monday post videos, Tuesday may be articles, Wednesday has testimonial, Thursday quotes etc.

I suggest that if you are not savvy with social media, learn how to make it happen for you. There are plenty of people teaching the different platforms and if you find it all too hard, get someone to do it for you.

Organize Business

Organize Business Data Efficiently

A business may achieve success, but data organization is what keeps it a success. Network data integration is essential to organizing and retrieving data throughout the company. It is used for managing projects, people, financial information, etc.

Data Integration Industries

It can be used for so many different purposes and it makes it easier to share information within the company structure at any point in time.

Network data integration is used in:

Retail operations

Healthcare industries

Construction industries

Big corporations

Factories

Real Estate Companies

And many more businesses

The Data Software

A wide variety of reports are generated within company data from various sources of software. The software is usually customized for the business that uses it, with ongoing tweaks and updates to improve operation and functionality.

Data integration software is often used for:

Sales data and reporting

Customer data and reporting

Financial management

Inventory management and reports

Employee performance data

And a whole lot more

Uses for Data Integration Software

The main uses of data integration software in company structures is to review past information, see current information, and forecast future information. Predictions can be a scary thing, but software helps make it a little more accurate. This is mainly because the software reviews the past, sees the present, and determines the potential future for sales, profits, inventory, employee performance, etc.

Data integration software is used for:

Analytics

Comparisons

Projections

History

Etc.

The Analytics

Analytics utilize various data to pull up reports and information for various purposes.

This includes:

Profit and loss

Sales volume averaging

Daily, weekly, monthly inventory counts per product

Etc.

Comparisons

Comparison functionality is used to see differences and make predictions with various data, depending on the business’s needs.

Example uses include:

Sku by sku data comparisons

Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly sales comparing

Employee productivity comparisons by day, week, month, year, etc.

Investment or stock comparisons within the company

Projections

A business needs insight into the future through the creation of prediction reports, generated by software that handles data analysis and mathematical calculations. Predicting is important in order to make preparations for success, whether it is for sales, employee expenses, profit and loss, or any other purpose.

Projections are used for:

Sales forecasting

Inventory preparation

Customer counting or data

History

In order for a business to succeed, it needs to look backwards, as well as forwards. Analyzing the past is a great way to identify issues, adjust budgets, predict future employment needs, and so much more.

Historical Analysis and Reporting is used for:

Sales number retrieval based on day, week, or month

Profits for a specific period of time

Employee performance data for a specified period of time

Inventory data from specific periods, such as month, week, holidays, etc.

Sku data such as sales history, inventory history, product movement, etc. for specific periods

And many other uses

In summary, network data integration is essential to business functionality and success. It helps review the past for issues, mistakes, successes, etc. while predicting future needs. It also can show current information to determine what needs to change or improve. Without this type of software and network integration, it can become a guessing game or a time-consuming task just to get what you want or need at any given time.

Business Strategy

4 Symptoms That Your Business Strategy Has Become Obsolete

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.’ – Lewis Carroll

Successfully implementing any strategy starts with a very clear vision of what winning looks like for the business, and continues with a relentless, daily focus on the destination. However, over time, this vision can become blurred and companies often regarded as star performers, fade without realising the need to re-assess their strategy until they are already in decline.

So when should a company review its strategy or the way it is executed – or both; and what makes subsequent adaptation or revision necessary?

There are no fast-rules. A well thought-out and well-crafted strategy that has been in place for few years already or one that is not producing results yet might perhaps not need to change, while multiple years of double-digit growth and record revenues and profits might hide a performance based on historical successes, instead of the anticipated future state.

However, there are clear symptoms of decline that may indicate that now is a good time to begin thinking about what’s next:-

1. The company has outgrown its strategy e.g. its revenues are plateauing; its revenues are still growing but at, or under industry pace; forecasts are routinely missed or built on assumptions that growth will continue without specific substantiation; the customer mix is changing, or the sales cycle is getting longer. Its strategy cannot support more growth as it can no longer beat the market and emphasise its difference-versus direct competitors, versus potential substitutes, and versus potential entrants.

2. The company’s existing strategy has become obsolete as a result of changes in the external environment and/or no longer taps a true source of advantage e.g. new competitors appeared and doing things differently; margins are shrinking, competitors buy up smaller players who introduce game changing technology or process improvements; major transitions have appeared in the market (i.e. innovation, technology or regulation) or the company is no longer very clear on what differentiates it from competitors, and how it will create value for its customers in the future.

3. The company is operating at a tactical level and has lost its strategic clarity e.g. the company is stretched thin across too many strategic initiatives, trying to do too much, and doing nothing well; few new initiatives are generating value; there is more pressure to make decisions more quickly; the company is struggling to determine the most viable course of action; it no longer understands the types of uncertainty it is facing and how these impact its strategic initiatives, or it no longer decides the critical few moves that will lead to future success.

4. The company is undergoing significant internal changes e.g. it develops a game-changing way of doing its existing business or new service giving a new competitive edge over its competitors. To reap maximum benefit from this new competitive advantage, the owners must adapt or change the existing strategy.

The world is changing and monitoring the symptoms of potential strategy obsolescence has become a primer for businesses. Those that take a ‘business as usual’ approach instead of resetting their compass and rethinking their current approach to business growth will not succeed.

Cost Benefits

Cost Benefits Through Business Organization Technology Assessment

Over the period of 10 years, a leading healthcare solution provider had been through merger and acquisition cycles integrating the offerings of the companies acquired into their line of business. Although, this garnered their business value offerings to the customers and broadened their market reach, it internally led to a disparate array of backend data sources ranging across: MS-Access, Oracle, SQL Server, etc. Similarly for the front end reporting needs, client uses multiple tools i.e. Power Builder, MS – Assess, Cognos and SAS.

Business Need

The key business challenges were:

• The current Data warehouse solution needs to be evaluated and re-architected, considering past and future business requirements.

• Currently, there are several resources that are focused in generating reports for various customers of client. Due to the current data warehouse design, disparate data sources and other unknown technical dependencies, time taken by these analysts is significant to generate the reports, thereby increasing the cost of conducting business.

• The usage of current BI/ DWH tools need to be evaluated and if required to be consolidated. The objective is to utilize those tools that are more pertinent to the business need, thereby reducing maintenance costs.

• Help to identify and automate overall ETL, OLAP and reporting process is a key element as this will help reduce manual dependencies, cause less human error and will be a good scalable option for similar or repetitive reporting needs from customers.

• Other challenge of providing timely delivery of reports to customers, due to complex internal environment set-up and dependencies on internal and external data feeds can be eliminated or minimized.

Solution

A Business Needs assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business drivers and objectives and overall context of business need that has been established for the client’s Data Warehouse. When business needs have been defined, the assessment process examines the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness, the priorities of the requirements, and alignment of the data warehouse release strategy and deliverables to the needs.

The team conducted a high level assessment as follows:

• Interview with various Stakeholder i.e. Leadership team, Business subject matter experts, Technical subject matter experts, Infrastructure and IT, Business end users.

• Assessment of current technical architecture.

• Assessment of organizational and infrastructure readiness to support value transparency initiatives including key gaps.

• Assessment of cost/value improvement opportunities.

• Recommendation of high-level architecture and strategy to support defined information needs.

• Specific recommendations for short and long term improvements.

• Cost benefits analysis and ROI.

Organizational Assessment

An Organizational Assessment includes an examination of the existing organizational structure and identification of the roles and responsibilities of both IT and the business community that need to be addressed. Organizational readiness for warehousing is examined, including readiness to assume responsibility for ongoing technical and business support, business requirements definition, and front end applications enhancement.

Business Needs Assessment

A Business Needs Assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business drivers and objectives and overall context of business need that has been established for the data warehouse. When business needs have been defined, the assessment process examines the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness and organization, the priorities of the requirements, and alignment of the data warehouse release strategy and deliverables to the needs.

Information Architecture Assessment

Information Architecture Assessment includes an analysis of logical data structures, their feasibility, completeness, documentation, and fit to business requirements. Information architecture assessment also includes analysis of data sourcing and transformation, the methods and assumptions applied, and validation of mappings to business requirements.

Technical Architecture Assessment

A Technical Architecture Assessment looks at current hardware, software and network infrastructure, and examines physical database designs. Technical architecture assessment seeks to identify any technical risks or constraints with regard to performance, maintenance, scalability, data distribution, disaster recovery, and sizing.

Architecture Approach

A high level technical approach that has been suggested is using SAS 9.2 to automate ETL, OLAP, Reporting, Dashboard and Data mining for client.

Benefits

Deploying SAS Business Intelligence will enable the client to put reporting tools directly into the hands of its end users, ensuring consistent access to information for better decision making. Key b

Critical Business

Critical Business Thinking

It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we do, we all have one thing in common… we all have thoughts.

Whether you realise it or not, our thoughts are so powerful… powerful enough to start the creation of new products or services. In fact everything that has ever been made or devised once was a thought in someone’s mind before it was brought into reality. It’s crazy to think that once the technology you are reading this on was once a figment in someone’s imagination…

But however good thoughts are, things wouldn’t materialise into actual products or services without action being taken to make those thoughts a reality.

So that brings about an interesting question… if everyone is having thoughts and crazy ideas about what can and cannot be done, why doesn’t every idea materialise into reality?

Well, it all comes down to action. Thoughts and visualising are fantastic tools. But they must be followed by action if they are to make a difference. So that creates two kinds of people..those who bring their thought inventions into life for the world to benefit from… and those who let their thoughts disappear into the ether never to be materialised.

The first group of people are those who take action and are generally successful. They are doers. They follow through on their thoughts with action and plans. They are optimists and generally expect to be able to make things happen. The second group are mediocre by comparison and have much more passive personalities. This second group of people either don’t believe in their own abilities, or worst still believe but postpone any action… waiting for tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. And the world never benefits from their ideas.

Generally, everyone wants to be in the first group, because when people take action and follow their dreams and inspiration they gain confidence, they develop a deep sense of self-reliance and inner security. Whereas the people in the second group find their confidence is whittled away over time and they end up settling for mediocrity.

So how does our thinking affect our businesses? Well, it all comes back to Henry Ford’s saying, “whether we think we can, or think we can’t, either way we are right.” If we have an active personality and set of beliefs we will look for opportunities and take advantage of them when they come along. But if we have a passive set of beliefs we will hold back, unsure of ourselves and our abilities, and in doing so will inadvertently hold the business back.

The important thing to remember is that no matter how efficient and effective the processes are within a business and how they add value to the customer, we can never forget the critical importance to a business of understanding how its employees think.