January 14, 2010
"Ideas are the currency of success."
Edward de Bono
Innovation, improving quality of services and products, reengineering, self and organizational change are all vital issues that begin with creative ideas. So, what is creativity? A simple definition of creativity is the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing or reapplying existing data and ideas. What is it, then, that enables few people to have creative breakthroughs while the majority only gets creative breakdowns or paralysis? Are some people "born" with creative abilities? Or is creativity a skill we can learn? Meirc training and consulting in Dubai will answer these questions in our Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making training program in Dubai where the theme of Innovation and Creativity is covered.
Innovation is thought of as putting creative ideas to work and practice. In business, innovation is converting creative ideas into new processes, services or products by which a company can make money or attract new customers. Across all industries, innovation has always been one of the key engines of organizational growth and sustainable competitive advantage.
Meirc Training & Consulting
January 13, 2010
While many of us agree that the Balanced Scorecard is an excellent Strategic tool, the implementation has not been that easy and hence the return on investment on such an initiative has been minimal! The question is why? Based on my recent consulting and training experience, and the feedback that I get from clients and friends, here is what many believe are the main reasons:
* Lack of accountability in the organizations (for results, rewards and career growth)
* Poor understanding by all across the organization about the process prior to implementation
* Lack of senior management involvement
* Lack of on-going training
* Very high expectations
* Rewards in many companies are still not 100% tied to targets
What is missing?
What is your experience on the above!
Meirc Training & Consulting is offering a series of training programs in 2010 under the umbrella of "Strategic & Planning" including the Balanced Scorecard. Several topics will be presented and discussed in those programs, including but not limited to: importance of vision and mission statements, SWOT analysis, developing strategic goals, objectives, KPI's and units of measures. We also talk about the importance of initiatives at all levels and how to set SMART targets to move the organization towards its vision.
January 13, 2010
Body language is a powerful concept which successful people tend to understand well.
So can you.
The study and theory of body language has become popular in recent years because psychologists have been able to understand what we 'say' through our bodily gestures and facial expressions, so as to translate our body language, revealing its underlying feelings and attitudes.
Body Language is also referred to as 'non-verbal communications', and less commonly 'non-vocal communications'.
The term 'non-verbal communications' tends to be used in a wider sense, and all these terms are somewhat vague. The terms 'body language' and 'non-verbal communications' are broadly interchangeable.
Does body language include facial expression and eye movement? - Usually, yes.
What about breathing and perspiration? - This depends on your definition of body language.
And while tone and pitch of voice are part of verbal signals, are these part of body language too? - Not normally, but arguably so, especially as you could ignore them if considering only the spoken words and physical gestures/expressions.
There are no absolute right/wrong answers to these questions. It's a matter of interpretation.
A good reason for broadening the scope of body language is to avoid missing important signals which might not be considered within a narrow definition of body language.
It is safe to say that body language represents a very significant proportion of meaning that is conveyed and interpreted between people. Many body language experts seem to agree that that between 50-80% of all human communications are non-verbal. So while body language statistics vary according to situation, it is generally accepted that non-verbal communications are very important in how we understand each other (or fail to), especially in face-to-face and one-to-one communications, and most definitely when the communications involve an emotional or attitudinal element.
Body language is especially crucial when we meet someone for the first time.
We form our opinions of someone we meet for the first time in just a few seconds, and this initial instinctual assessment is based far more on what we see and feel about the other person than on the words they speak. On many occasions we form a strong view about a new person before they speak a single word.
As a conclusion, understanding and interpreting Body language is a very important skill for all levels of managers and supervisors and that is the reason for covering this important topic thoroughly at our Managerial and Superviosrs programs at Meirc Training & Consulting. we truly belive that this skill is a must nowdays for all levels of managers who want to build rapport with thier enployees, colleagues, and management.
January 08, 2010
In my training program, Brand Management: From Concept to Equity, I claim that "Brand Management" is the new marketing. Some of the brightest participants to the course argued that this is an exaggeration. Brand management is too narrow a concept, they say, to replace, displace or override a proven discipline such as marketing. Universities, they contend, routinely offer courses and degrees in marketing not branding; and, comparatively, the demand for marketers on any job-search website or in the specialized pages of newspapers far outnumbers the demand for brand managers. As such, those alert participants continue, how can you Mr. facilitator (me), make such an outlandish claim? At most, they concede, brand management is a branch of marketing; an important or interesting branch maybe, but nevertheless only a branch.
What's the Value of Definitions?
Let's examine the issue a little bit more closely. Philip Kottler defined marketing as ‘human activity directed at satisfying wants and needs through processes'. This definition is really so encompassing that one may find it hard to limit it to a single teachable discipline. Such a broad definition could justify claims that marketing is the umbrella under which disciplines such as management, leadership, psychology, finance, accounting, even IT, engineering, and more would take cover. I don't have an issue with such a description; I really don't: As a lifelong marketer I often had to use similar descriptions to defend the independence of my department against the onslaught of short-sighted bureaucrats. Other disciplines also use wide definitions to inflate their worth. Look at this one for finance management: ‘The planning, directing, monitoring, organizing and controlling of the monetary resources of an organization'. Looking at Finance in this way would make all other disciplines subservient. Deciding on which products to sell, whom to sell to and how to sell will affect generation of profit and cash; therefore, according to the definition, should fall under the responsibility of ‘Finance'. However I think we all agree that these are the rightful realms of marketing. The point is that business disciplines are too intertwined at the top for ‘definitions' to be a clear guide for segregation.
Let's Start with the ABC
So, to explain my claim, I will use a different approach. The A B C of marketing, the first thing taught in any marketing class is the 4 Ps. These Ps, all of us marketers know, represent Product, Place, Promotion and Price. Of course, each one of those Ps is expanded into its different components; ‘Place' for example is made up of the channel of distribution and its various elements, the geographical reach of the product, the outlets where it would be available, where it will be stocked, the location inside the outlets where you will find the product etc... And marketing we are taught, is the balancing of all these components in order to satisfy the mission and vision of the organization as related to the satisfaction of customer needs.
Brand management has to do with positioning, in the mind of the customer, a certain impression of a product so that, in the end, she chooses ours over that of any other. We are taught that in order to achieve that feat brand management has to balance not only the four Ps of marketing but three additional ones also. The first P is Promise, for ‘Brand Promise'; the last P is Performance as the performance of the brand in the market; the five ‘bridge' Ps are made up of the original Product, Place, Promotion and Price of marketing and include People as an additional key component. So, starting with the brand promise we should achieve performance by manipulating the five other Ps. At seven Ps against four, I'd say brand management needs not have any feeling of inadequacy.
A Complementary Perspective
Whichever way I look at it, I see no strict separation between marketing and brand management. The aim of both is to manage products or services so that their chances of success are maximized. But brand management is a relatively newer, more dynamic discipline. Without neglecting any of the precepts of marketing it expands some areas and emphasizes others in line with our increased understanding of how the mind works:
- Product positioning in marketing looks at the relative position of the product Vs its competitors in the market; Brand positioning will add to that the way this position is perceived by the mind of the customer. All in all, a very powerful improvement!
- Customer loyalty is a concept of great importance in marketing. It is the pinnacle of customer segregation: Loyal customers are highly desirable and marketing gives us tools to manage this group. Brand loyalty looks at the same thing but with greater emphasis on understanding how the brand interacts with the mind of the customer making her or him loyal. A useful new perspective when attempting to understand what makes a customer loyal.
What do YOU think?
There is of course much more that can be said on this matter. So, I would like to close this article by asking you, the reader, about your opinion regarding what some of the participants to my training program called an "outlandish claim". Why do you agree (or not) that Brand Management is the new Marketing? Let me hear from you.
January 07, 2010
The definition of job satisfaction that is mostly used in research is given by Edwin A. Locke (1976) who defined job satisfaction as "a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experiences". Locke's definition implies that when employees evaluate their jobs, as when they assess anything else important to them in life, they involve both, their thinking and feelings. Thinking and feelings are thus both closely linked and generally are responsible of creating a certain distinctive employee attitude toward job satisfaction. Every individual thinking and feelings are largely influenced by the person's individual background, life experiences and personal perceptions. Subsequently, one can simply conclude that the job satisfaction of an employee is directly related to the employee's own perception of how satisfying the job is to him or her independently of many other organizational conditions or circumstances. Locke's theory suggests that job satisfaction is determined by a discrepancy between what the employee wants in a job and what he/she has in a job. How much one values a given aspect of his work, say for example the degree of autonomy in his/her job, moderates how satisfied or dissatisfied one becomes when expectations are or aren't met.
Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor theory (1950's) (also known as Motivator-Hygiene Theory) attempts to explain job satisfaction in the workplace using a slightly different model. According to Herzberg, there exist two dimensions to job satisfaction: ‘the motivation dimension' and ‘the hygiene dimension'. The Hygiene dimension, according to Herzberg, includes factors such as company policies, supervision, salary, interpersonal relations and working conditions. The Motivation dimension, on the other hand, includes factors such as employee's achievement, recognition, the job itself, responsibilities and advancement. According to Herzberg, Motivation factors are more truthfully associated with employee job satisfaction and can lead to fulfilling the employee's needs for meaning and personal growth and therefore will create a more "satisfied" workforce with greater performance, creativity, loyalty and commitment.
One practice found effective in many job circumstances and conditions is the ‘TPU' model we preach and practice at our own organization, Meirc Training & Consulting; TPU stands for ‘Treat Me Well", "Pay Me Well", and "Use Me Well". Treat me well; means treat me as an individual and as an employee. Know me as a person not as a number or a title. Understand my personal values before you try to motivate me. Pay me well; means pay me objectively, not subjectively, pay me according to a scaled system - not your or someone else's opinion, and pay me on time. Use me well; means allow me to work on things I enjoy. Allow me to make mistakes! ... and keep me busy with work not legwork.
The Harvard Professional Group (1998) sees job satisfaction as the essential factor that "leads to recognition, income, promotion, and the achievement of other goals that lead to a general feeling of fulfillment". To the employee, job satisfaction creates a sense of gratification on both the emotional and personal dimensions which often produces a positive work attitude. A satisfied employee is more likely to be loyal to his or her manager, the team, and to the organization as a whole. For the organization, satisfied employees are more likely to create a more optimistic and dynamic work environment which more often leads to a work culture marked by efficiency, effectiveness, and enhanced productivity.
During one of his interviews after his retirement in 2001 from being CEO of GE for twenty years, Jack Welch commented that the most challenging part of his career as a manager was to grow others. He said that one of his most satisfying part of his job was the challenge of developing his employees so they can achieve their own personal potential, not only that of the organization. John Tu, CEO of Kingston Technology, the company that was rated among the best 100 companies to work for in America for five years in a row since 2002, also in one of his TV interviews, strongly commented that the only way to keep employees morale high is to treat them with respect, fairness, and give them a space to grow.
In conclusion, job satisfaction is strongly correlated with the individual's preferences, values, and subjectivity, and also with organizational culture, environmental circumstances, and management and leadership conditions. Therefore to get the best out of our people, to motivate them, and to retain them requires organizational wide programs, initiatives, and practices that support and reinforce the important day to day behavior of the managers as they themselves work on keeping their employees motivated.
How do you see job satisfaction from your own perspective or experience? How can we best motivate our employees here in this part of the world i.e. the GCC and the Arab region? Your opinion matters, please share your comments with us.
Muna, F. (2001). Seven Metaphors on Management: Tools for Managers in the Arab World. Gower.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2009). Organizational Behavior (13th Ed.). Pearson Prentice Hall.
Saari, L. M., & Timothy, J. A. (2004). Human Resources Management. Wiley Periodicals, Vol. 43, No. 4, Pp. 395-407.
January 03, 2010
Meirc is offering "Project Management Skills" training program in the period of January 17 - 21 in Dubai. Project Management Skills program is a great introductory course. Several topics will be presented and discussed including basic project management terms and concepts, WBS, newtwork diagramming, critical path analysis and resource planning. In addition, we will be discussing tools and techniques to control the project such as variance analysis and earned value ananlysis.
The training course is accredited by PMI and all the topics discussed will be in full compliance with PMI
December 03, 2009
Preparation for PMP - Dubai
Meirc is offering a Preparation for PMP Certification training course in JW Marriott, Dubai in March 21 - 25. This course will be facilitated by Alaa Elbaz, MBA, PMP. The following is information about the course.
By the end of class, participants will be able to:
Get a jump start to prepare for the PMP exam
Understand how to manage a project in compliance with the Project Management Institute (PMI) standards
Understand the project management framework, processes and the nine project management knowledge areas in addition to project manager professional & social responsibilities
Recognize Project Management Book of Knowledge "PMBOK" and PMP exam Certification
Understand and apply project management skills, tools and techniques to deliver on time within budget
Identify key concepts not mentioned in the PMBOK
The program is designed for
Personnel who are interested in sitting for the PMP certification. The class is designed to provide the necessary foundations and resources
Preaparation for PMP
December 03, 2009
How important is communications to any aspect of life. They are everywhere especially in work. What are the many things we think about at work? Money of course. The grade of my job. Of course. The job evaluation process and why does HR keep it secret. Of course. All of these are valid thoughts and important questions.
So why do we in HR and management run away when faced with communications related to pay grades? Is it fear? Maybe? Is it a lack of knowledge? Possibly? Or, is it that the job evaluation system we use does not lend itself to an easy explanation?
After almost 40 years in the job evaluation business in the Middle East , we at Meirc, feel it is mostly about two things. It comes down to:
What's are the things you can do to help in this communication process?
- Use a job evaluation system that is easy to understand, use and defend.
- train your managers in job evaluation, particularly in the use of your job evaluation system. Train managers in how to be responsible users.
- Use job evaluation committees.
What are your thoughts? Share them with us. Contact me, Leslie Price.
September 09, 2009
Great leaders recognize that in order to succeed in the long run, organizations doing business overseas must recruit, train, and develop a special breed of future multicultural and multinational managers. Traditional training and career development programs will not suffice; they will have to be re-examined to ensure that they are tailored to meet the needs of these future worldly managers. Such specially tailored programs are likely to require investment in training, overseas assignments, and career moves which are longer in duration, costlier, and more risky. They will also require creativity and some innovative approaches.
September 05, 2009
Marketing on social media
has become the current buzz phrase of the information age. But what is it and how does it work? And how can it help you grow your business?
What is social media?
Social media is user-generated content created online using various new technologies which allow people to produce, share and read information. Individuals are now publishers as well as readers thus changing the information and communication paradigm.
Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, podcasts, twitter, Wikis and YouTube are now a particularly popular way of communicating for some demographics.
One of the benefits of social media strategies
is that it allows individuals to potentially communicate and interact simultaneously with a myriad of people worldwide; at low costs and with increased efficiency. For businesses, this can be considered a revolution into an untapped business market.
The benefits can be enormous but does it work? The truth is no one really knows regardless of what people are presently saying. Social media use
is a relatively new phenomenon with minimal research and data.
Furthermore only 23.8% of the world population (1) actually has access to the Internet so even though you can be potentially connected to millions of people to say that it is a worldwide trend is factually incorrect. Only time will tell its success and its impacts. These points, however, shouldn't prohibit you from using and experimenting with social media.
We live in an information and knowledge based society, a world where technology and society are intertwined (Warschauer 2003) (2). The convergence of media, communications and technology have fundamentally changed the way the world operates - communication, business interaction, education and engagement have all undergone massive transformations beyond anyone's real comprehension.
Social media is part of this transformation and at times it can be overwhelming and cause misunderstanding.
Nevertheless, it is possible to make informed choices. The key question to ask yourself is: 'what are your expectations of using these technologies'? Do you want to raise your profile, gain visibility for your business, market research or something else?
There is a misconception that it is all about being popular and how many followers you have. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having realistic expectations of what you want to achieve will allow you to know how to best proceed.
To some degree, the same principles of marketing apply. As the medium is different, however, some creativity is crucial to attain the benefits.
Researching your marketplace is the key. Get to know what they want. Build a profile of them and discover how they communicate, what their values and beliefs are. Doing this will allow you to ascertain whether they use new media technologies and social media tools
There is no point using Twitter or blogs if the individuals you want to target don't utilise these networks. Certain groups of people will be more up to date with the use of these technologies so a little exploration will go a long way in supporting your research. Visualise how this can be transferred to the coaching paradigm.
One of the issues with social media is credibility. Why should people follow you? For example, thousands of blogs are created daily - why should someone read your blog? What separates you from the next person? There is so much information available that people need a reason to follow you. Give them incentive to read your information. Add value and be authentic - people will connect with your message.
Here are three key points to follow:
1. Clearly articulate the one thing that makes you different. What is it in your coaching that makes you diverse from other coaches? What are the benefits of this? Believe in what you are saying otherwise people will see through you. Eventually, if your message is clear and sincere, people will come to trust you, however it is a long-term process.
2. It is necessary to have a planned approach. Become an expert in a particular area and convey this information on a regular basis. What is your coaching expertise? Talk about this so that there is a reoccurring theme that can be picked up by your followers. By doing this you are creating a relationship of both trust and knowledge.
3. Produce and generate content that is clear and straightforward to understand. If it is difficult to grasp, people won't read it. With current information overload, people are more particular with their time and what they read. Keep it short and basic.
Knowing what technology to use is a more challenging issue to respond to, however by examining your niche you should be able to narrow it down. It might be that you need to experiment to see which one works best. Competition is fierce so it will require perseverance and determination. That is why understanding your market is crucial.Business on social media
does not have to be overwhelming. Think of it as just another technique to build trust and confidence witha potential market. It is a new phenomenon and it won't go away. In the end, however, only those technologies, which are practical and easy to use, will be successful in the marketplace. Time will determine what they are.
The overall marketing method may be different but the outcomes remain the same - communicating and engaging with people. Depending on your niche market and what type of business you have will to an extent determine how successful this type of communication will be.
There are various unknown factors when using social media and whether this approach will work for you is for you to research and experiment. One thing is for sure, information gathering and delivery has changed permanently.
Also see, The Power of Web Marketing and Social Media
, a sales and marketing training course offered by Meirc which discusses various marketing tactics and techniques to implement on the web, means of web based communications to reach buyers directly and details on developing an online marketing strategy with checklists and templates.
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