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Yearly Archives: 2009

Creating A Resilient Organisation

Organisational culture and behaviour rests on the prevailing climate that exists in the firm. This climate can encourage resilience to appear in an organisation, or it can in fact encourage a set of circumstances where the organisation breaks at the first sign of crisis. A summary of the prevailing attitudes that encourage resilience (or lack of) is in the following table:- Studies have shown common characteristics of “resilient” organisations, or organisations that have stood the test of time in the way they are managed, successful corporations and those that have “kicked in” the extra mile to out-strip competitors. In particular, Tom Peters’ work in “In Search of Excellence” (1979) and his later book “Thriving on Chaos” (1987) and Jim Collins’ work in “Good to Great” (2001) have identified characteristics of such successful companies. In “Thriving on Chaos”, Peters summarised his earlier work into 5 characteristics of a successful corporation:-
  1. Total customer responsiveness
  2. Fast paced innovation
  3. Flexibility by empowering people
  4. Leadership at all levels
  5. Systems that can handle chaos
In 2001 Jim Collins published his research in a book called “Good to Great” and in it he identified 6 characteristics of companies that “kicked in” an extra effort and outstripped competitors:-
  1. “Level 5” Leadership
  2. First who, then what
  3. Confront the brutal facts
  4. Hedgehog concept
  5. Culture...
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Tried Direct Marketing?

saleIn these recessionary times, business owners beat a retreat. SME owners look at cost savings, financial controls and expenditure. However if this is done in isolation, that is, if you rush to control costs without also looking at the top line, your bottom line will start to shrink anyway! The other unquantifiable cost is, if you withdraw into a cost-saving shell, what happens to your business goodwill? How will you be seen by your customers? Is that affecting your brand? As you cut expenses, without looking after your market, perceived services may suffer. When the good times roll again - and they will - are you going to be ready to take on the competition again or will you be behind the 8 ball rebuilding your reputation and name-recognition? Counter-intuitive as it is for SME owners in a period of financial slow-down, SMEs must continue marketing efforts. "Marketing" is not only "advertising" which is what SME owners think when they think of marketing. In fact, advertising may be your least effective marketing cost in a shrinking economy. Effective marketing is the type of marketing that gets your name out there with its "brand" attached in...
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Recession Proof Your Business

sorry closedIs this possible – to recession-proof your business?  Well no, probably not despite the wealth of articles about how to do so appearing on the internet (about 614,000 hits on Google). However, what is possible is to secure your business as much as is possible by following a series of simple and common sense business strategies.  These strategies are no different from strategies you should employ under normal circumstances, but which application is much more acute in today’s economic climate, and with a different emphasis required.  Sadly when times are good, businesses allow themselves to get “fat” and some of these every-day disciplines are allowed to slacken. The strategies can be grouped into defensive and offensive strategies.  As you look at your business performance it is likely that you will find profit performance heading south, and with the economy looking the way it is, it is difficult not to panic and begin to tighten all the hatches.  However you can tighten too much, to the extent that your business finds it difficult to operate normally.  Hence, while it is natural to concentrate on the defensive strategies such as cutting costs,...
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