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Best practice a strategic model
Strategic Planning; the Business of applying and finding Best Practice and Business Models.
First off, we are not talking about a business plan here, that’s something totally different. We are talking about a business model.
Strategic planning has to become a systematic and procedural affair to become an effective management tool.
We have to model the very process of strategic management for our organisations, and our selves first. So that it becomes one “game plan” for all to use and identify with, with one set of rules, played and followed by all.
This brings about perfection, and unity of effort. Anything else is just scattered mumbo-jumbo. Where we have diverged strategic models of design in one habitat, we end up with diverging effort, and over utilisation of resources, conflicting efforts - very little else delivers like unity of effort.
What are these best practices, or business models we speak of?
“The Industrial Revolution didn’t just change business, though. It changed the way we think about ourselves and the human experience. We now relate time and money in ways that we didn’t before. We see dollar signs on trees when we once saw living things. We think in terms in which some people lose and others win, rather than seeing that we’re all interconnected in very important ways. We’ve forgotten about quality instead of quantity.”—Charlie Gilkey
Europe's Largest IT Company To Ban Internal Email
Zero email policy: Too much time on too little relevance. http://bit.ly/sUAk5z
Hugh Pickens writes writes”Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, Europe’s Largest IT Company, wants a ‘zero email’ policy to be in place in 18 months, arguing that only 10 per cent of the 200 electronic messages his employees receive per day on average turn out to be useful, and that staff spend between 5-20 hours handling emails every week. ‘The email is no longer the appropriate (communication) tool,’ says Breton. ‘The deluge of information will be one of the most important problems a company will have to face (in the future). It is time to think differently.’ Instead Breton wants staff at Atos to use chat-type collaborative services inspired by social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter as surveys show that the younger generation have already all but scrapped email, with only 11 per cent of 11 to 19 year-olds using it. For his part Breton hasn’t sent a work email in three years. ‘If people want to talk to me, they can come and visit me, call or send me a text message. Emails cannot replace the spoken word.’”
It’s rude to cancel on your appointment on the last minute especially if the person you’re meeting had to travel from such a distant place.
But it’s even more rude to cancel on your appointment without informing the person you’re supposed to meet leaving him totally hanging.
This kind of business practice does not work for me. I can tolerate it but only to a certain extent.
Business Practice || Lilah and Maryann
Lilah was having some trouble adjusting to the new job. Her new boss seemed alright at first, but it was a cover for his terrifying truth. She thought she’d be heading her own department here, but really, she was doing her old job here instead. But here, people didn’t tremble at the sound of her name. She’d see to that, but it took time. More time than she wanted to spend, but it had to be done.
Today she was being sent on an acquisition. She’d been given a name and address, a few pictures she’d need, a brief overview of what was expected of this woman she was being sent for. Other law firms wouldn’t take projects like this, but Wolfram and Hart was so much more than a law firm. They needed people and resources to push them towards their major goal. Lilah wasn’t sure what this branch’s sights were set on, but she hoped she’d soon learn. Those plans were great leverage for moving up the ladder.
A driver took her to the address. Lilah had expected something…something else to say the least. Something higher or lower brow, there was rarely anything in between. She straightened her skirt and put on her trustworthy smile, she had done this a hundred times, the smile made all the difference. Everything was just right when she knocked.
The woman answered after a short time. She was well-kempt and looked like she had good breeding. Lilah would have to see if she was worthy of adding to her list of personal connections. ”Hello, Miss Arzano? Maryann?” she asked. ”My name is Lilah Morgan, I work with Wolfram and Hart. We think we may have use of some of your more….specialized talents. You would of course be compensated for your efforts.” She raised her eyebrows on “compensated” and drew a business card from her coat pocket.
Maryann was thinking, they always thought, like there was harm in this. But these people were never strangers to Wolfram and Hart, the law firm watched them for months before an approach was made, anyone who wouldn’t listen was discarded. Still thinking, three…two…one. Success. Lilah entered the home and followed Maryann to a room with several chairs. Lilah made herself comfortable. ”So, let’s get down to business shall we?” She began, taking out the folder of the information she would need.
For those who may not know, I am the founder (I’d rather say initiator) of Chicago’s first community Quidditch team, the Windy City Wizards. I started posting flyers and garnering baby drabbles of attention in the end of April. May, June, and July, I vacillated between hopefully stubborn and furiously frustrated. There are posts. It is a proven situation.
I scheduled practices once a week, and managed only once to get people to show—both of them were friends of mine. Still, I refused to relinquish the idea of this team. It had to work. I couldn’t give up. I could spout all the anger in every breath I puffed out, but at the end of the day, I refused to consider anything less than an established team.
That doesn’t mean I hated lugging equipment to practice only to wait for no one. Nothing fouls the mood of a Sunday off quite so well.
In a delirium of optimism, I paid for three months on meetup.com. Facebook, twitter, tumblr, we had. We had likes, we had followers, and we had rebloggers. What we didn’t have was attendance. So I went to a new site, a new well of people, and created the page for Chicago Quidditch. Our first meeting, I had two strangers show up with enough energy to render nuclear power irrelevant. It gave me hope. One of the boys bought an Alivan’s broom that week. I took hope.
At LeakyCon, I met a graduate of ISU, Matt. He took the train in from his suburban home and met with me and the boy, Jeffrey, for a short, informal practice. After that, we went to a pub and celebrated our success with potato skins, conversation and grandois dreams of what this team would mean.
Throughout this whole process, I have been searching for the proper formula. I suppose I’m a scientist at heart. I believe there is a solution to our population problem, and the only reason I haven’t found it yet is because I haven’t found that formula. The magical number of flyers plus business cards multiplied by neighborhood divided by season and quadrupled by pure doggedness of nature. There’s a formula and I refuse to give up.
I’ve also come to realize the fundamental importance of that group of people. The moment you have someone showing to practice, it is no longer an option to quit. I honestly feel awful when I know attendance will be low. I feel like I’ve failed those few who are attending in not persuading enough people, not trying hard enough. But I have to learn to let that paranoia of responsibility go. If they don’t want to show, then they won’t. If they do, then you have someone committed and that is all you could ever hope for. One person to commit, to agree that there is something there, that you two see the same thing, can know for certain that it’s worth the fight. It’s like a relationship. But a giant, polygamous, asexual relationship where you ride around on broomsticks and hit each other with dodgeballs.
So, really, it’s the best kind of relationship.
And the moment you have just one person who agrees with you and takes the other end of that task, it’s magic.
How can you make international supply chains work better for smallholder farmers?
By Aurelie Walker, Trade Policy Adviser, Fairtrade Foundation
Making international supply chains work better for smallholder farmers is a potential ‘win-win’ for thousands of farmers and businesses. A new report by the Fairtrade Foundation analyses six case studies from farmer groups producing tea, cocoa and nuts in Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire and Malawi asking them from their experience, what really makes trade fair?
I couldn't resist a little Q&A with a beginning Life Coach starting a Life Coaching Practice
I love good Q&A. For those who do too, here’s a little about starting
a life coaching practice.
How many clients did you coach in your first year, second year, current?
First year: 5 (at any one time); Second year 10 (at any one time);
Current 5th year: 16 current clients; 3 licensees; 1 book due out in
January; 1 iPhone app due out in February
What is a reasonable client load for a full time business or
Full-time: 15 to 25 clients
Part-time: 5 to 10 clients
What percentage of your clients reach their goals?
On the life goals/grades front: about 80%. A lot of my clients have
goals around grades, making friends, getting along with parents. I’ve
found grades (either not being totally stressed out by them or trying
to get the grades they want) to be one of the biggest measurement my
On the college front: 100%. I work with teenagers, and truly over the
past 5 years, 100% of the clients I’ve worked with got into one of
their top three college choices. My secret: combine life skills with
knowledge of the college app process.
Do you offer other services in conjunction with coaching(workshops,
consulting, product development, etc.)?
Yes, I offer certification and Life Coaches training. I also have a
book to be published in January 2010 about the Top Ten Essential Life
Skills teenagers need.
How do you reach your target market?
Workshops. Workshops. Workshops. I love putting on workshops. You
have the opportunity to give real value, make new relationships, and
gain a wider audience.
Word of mouth. Networking is key. Help out others and pay attention
to people’s humanity. Love people and the world and the world and
people will love you back.
What do you feel differentiates you or your business from others?
I was in the right place at the right time. Right out of college I
was teaching high school and middle school Latin, and I realized there
was a huge gap in what high school students were learning and what was
useful in life.
Luckily, my college sweetheart (who would eventually become my wife)
found life coaching and turned me onto it. I remember sitting in the
life coaching course thinking “Why did it take me so long to learn
That realization was the start of my calling. I had a great
relationship with the head of school where I taught at, and he let me
try out life coaching and NLP principles with my students. The final
results was a 10 session curriculum that’s been tested with nearly
1000 students over the past four years. Since I was a language
teacher, I had many of the same students year after year. I got to
see the long-term effect of students learning these kinds of
principles and skills.
I believe this experience and the knowledge I gained from having a
classroom of students giving me feedback - seeing what works, what
didn’t - differentiates me from others.
Of course others have their own curriculum and I’ve seen some really
great stuff. But here’s the bottom-line: there are more students
than coaches can possibly coach. I’m not concerned about competition
from other people coaching students, in fact I think more people
helping out teenagers the better this world is going to be. I merely
tell my story and parents and students choose.
How do you measure your business’ success?
I measure my business’ success in a couple of ways. With college
consulting I measured it by how well a student fits with the college
they chose and what percentage of my clients get into their top
choices. With individual goals that students have, I measure the
success based on the learning that they’re getting, the feedback that
I get from parents, and the actual goals that they achieve.
From a business perspective, I measure my success based on profit and
loss report, the trends that I see on prospective clients and
licensees, and the number of meaningful connections I make in the
What is the biggest challenge (s) in starting and/or maintaining a
In the beginning: the biggest challenge is to narrowly defining your
In maintaining a coaching business the biggest challenge is staying
focused on the most important things and solves having the discipline
to do them.
I am a huge Steelers fan. Born in the ‘Burgh with a family tradition,
I love football. I break my business activities into two different
areas: the running game and the passing game. The running game is my
doing the work locally. Keep great care of my clients. Tracking
expenses. Following up quickly with leads. The passing game is the
work globally. It’s writing a blog post. It’s doing long-range
planning. It’s working on my search engine optimization. The running
game has a short-term benefit. The passing game has more of a mid-to
long-range benefit. Like the Steelers, I want to have a strong
running game that supports the passing game. That’s how I keep it
clear in my mind.
Things I leaned not to say in the workplace today....
“I told you to do that when you first started” (in grumpy tone)
This is NOT helpful. If it was important, it probably should have been walked through, especially for the first one. Or given in some kind of written or at least scribbled form.
Empower people, dont belittle them.
This is a failure of training, not of the person concerned. If its the 3rd or 4th time, maybe its time to have a chat.
Why not set up board’s police?
Imagine a new law enforcement bureau is formed to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes on Nonprofits’ Boards?
This elite force, known as The Board Police, works mostly undercover, passing themselves off as ordinary citizens serving on unsuspecting boards looking to identify boards or individual board members guilty of governance crimes or misdemeanours.
Here are the top crimes we want you to be on the lookout for!
Loitering - You know what it means to loiter, it’s to stand idly about or linger aimlessly. It is reported that a high percentage of nonprofits’ board members are accused of this crime!
Impersonating a board officer - In many meetings, you may have difficulty spotting the board officers.
Dereliction of Duty -This one may require some detective work as the most flagrant violators rarely show up at meetings.
Þ Be careful: However, exercise care here, as taking too much interest may certainly out you as an undercover operative!
Harassment – includes any kind of behaviour that is intended to annoy, disturb, alarm, torment, upset, or terrorize another.
Disorderly conduct - Reports exist of instances where a few board members get so worked up that they become verbally abusive and begin shouting at others in the room.
Misappropriation of focus – We know you’re familiar with misappropriation of funds — which itself is a serious crime. However, misappropriation of focus is also serious, but often undetected.
Conspiracy - You may not witness this at first as it takes time to earn the trust of the conspirators and be taken into their confidence. Conspiracy occurs when two or more people get together to plot and plan a course of action.
Þ You’ll know you’re in when you get invited to the “special meeting” of the select board members.
Obstruction of governance – any act or action that distracts the board from having substantive discussions or decisions about important issues or policies to move the organization forward in a strategic manner.
Þ They are all ploys to prevent real governance from occurring.
We need you to be diligent in your work!
This article is an extract from: Crimes and Misdemeanours of Nonprofits Boards
To bribe, or not to bribe? The value of integrity in China
Yesterday, a mainland Chinese 18-year-old boy was sentenced to jail in Hong Kong for 6 months, for sitting Advanced Placement Examinations on behalf of a Hong Kong student for RMB 2500. This boy has already being admitted by a prestige university in the U.S but his life has changed since then. He pleaded for lesser sentences and explained cheating in exams is very common place in China.
The Economist wrote that China has ‘well-earned reputation for pervasive academic and scientific misconduct…fraud remains rampant and misconduct ranges from falsified data to fibs about degree, cheating on tests and extensive plagiarism”. (The Economist: Academic Fraud in China) China has a long history of plagiarism. When I was in high school, my Taiwanese teacher talked about a high-profile example. A few decades ago when China and Taiwanese relationship was much tense, publication on literature and academic work of each other were banned. A Chinese post-graduate student copied a Taiwanese scholar’s book as his thesis but his Chinese professor could not say anything about it as no one was supposed to read anything Taiwanese. His professor has no choice but to remain silence on the issue.
In China, Chinese are very well aware of academic qualification fraud. It is even being seen as an indicator of level of corruptness of government officials. Government officials who bought their way up are typically equipped with advanced degrees, which are obtained by their personal secretaries who study on behalf of them.
China, the second biggest trading partner of United States, ranked 79th out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Transparency International in 2009 (United States ranked 19th and Hong Kong ranked 12th). CPI measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption. Corruption and CSR are closely related. CSR in essence is about companies trying to do the right thing and be in compliance with the law. If law is being neglected or easily ‘waived’, depending on one’s bargaining power to get a waiver, it makes things more challenging. Take social insurance in China for example. Most foreign retailers would press for 100% social insurance coverage at least of one of the five items: workplace accident insurance on its Chinese suppliers (China social insurance covers workplace accident insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, retirement and reproduction). However, suppliers always manage to get a waiver to waive 100% social insurance coverage. The question I was being asked frequently during supplier meeting was that why me, as a representative of a buyer, press for unreasonable social insurance coverage while their government also does not require. That is a good one. It is still to blunt to ask ‘where and how you get the waiver?’ in China. But I do not blame them.
Shanghai Social and Legislative Committee (上海市政協社會和法制委員會) has conducted a survey in June 2010 and 90.2% of the respondents responded that being honest/ having integrity will suffer lose or at a disadvantage. In one way, this reflects the distrust of the public-section sector officials. In mid June, 2010, mainland Chinese newspapers quoted Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China (最高人民检察院) sources that 70% of the whistle-blowers receive retaliation. Interestingly, this ‘source’ can no longer be found in the internet by now and Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China released a statement 3 days after the news report, saying ‘it is inaccurate’ (http://www.spp.gov.cn/site2006/2010-06-22/0005428070.html). Recently, a farmer in HuNan successful got hold of Wen Jiabao during his observation tour and complained about a land subsidence problem that he is facing. He was compensated with RMB 50000 days after but was warned by local police and government officials of ‘making trouble’. He was under extreme pressure and now fled from his home village (Mingpao news 7/16/2010).
To stick with the ‘Chinese game plan’ may indeed be the safe play and it may be the only self-defensive mechanism that is available to average Chinese, when independent judiciary is absent in China. To put all these in CSR context, dealing with transparency issues with Chinese suppliers are complex. A supplier that show progress in being more transparent is a huge step to make, given that Chinese has not been rewarded for having integrity or honest in business practice. Disclosure in accurate time record and payroll of workers possibly implies possible tax fraud or violation of legal requirement. Unrealistic expectation in pace of improvement may force suppliers to play the ‘Chinese game plan’ again, like the majority.
Independent judiciary system in China and whistleblowers free from retaliation are critical to better law enforcement and thus reduce corruption in China. Without that, China a still far away from another breakthrough in development.