Coaching and Leadership Articles

In these pages there are articles that have been written over a period of time on leadership, coaching, and overall business management. Although all are copyrighted, feel free to use them and give the appropriate credit.

Contingency Planning- No matter what we do in business, we can never anticipate the future. One of the things that resulted from the tragedy that was experienced here in the United States on September 11th was that many companies began to formally adopt contingency planning as a regular part of their overall planning process. The process of contingency planning is initiated by asking a series of questions about the business environment that begins with “what if”. Regardless of the how good things appear at the moment, we have to embrace Murphy’s Law that states if anything can go wrong it probably will.

Conscious Direction- Entrepreneurship is one of the greatest acts of individualism that can be experienced. It provides a sense of freedom to the person starting, owning and managing the business that cannot be experienced when a person actually has a job in the corporate world. The aspect of collectivism can be seen in many enterprises, not the least of which would include Fortune 500 businesses or the military establishment in any country. At the highest levels within an organization, false values of corporate leaders have promoted self-serving individualism instead of promoting social responsibility, many of which are paying the price today with fines and jail time. Are the steps to grow a business in an entrepreneurial environment established as a need to pursue a conscious direction brought to bear by individual style or collective input? Which approach best prepares a business for growth? Which approach is more conducive to superior leadership values and ethical decisions that are brought forward by situational circumstance?

Segmentation Strategies- Every industry is striated with different types of customers. Many companies only start the segmentation process by determining the types of customers that are currently being served. By taking the next step to classify your customer base, the process actually begins to produce tangible, usable information that can help direct a variety of internal and external areas that are important. These areas include company core competencies, skill sets, product development, competitive advantages, and market selection to name just a few.

Implementing Strategic Change- The process of change can be complicated. It can be slow and painful. It can be fast and painful. Depending on the particular change catalyst that is encountered, the process will move at it’s own pace and the management team will be pulled in an uncomfortable direction. Human beings by nature do not like change. Businesses, by nature, don’t like change. The driving question then becomes if we want to implement a strategic change in our business, how much pain are we willing to incur to enact the change catalyst?

Loss of Urgency- The workplace is constantly changing with new policies, procedures, and corporate initiatives that companies are expected to implement based on the prospect of anticipated growth. However, of late, the overwhelming behavior that is being exhibited by many companies is a specific loss of urgency. This applies to the practice of hiring, or more accurately, not hiring favoring a more pragmatic approach of job redefinition or overhead consolidation of current employees. It also applies to the aspect of simply getting things done to move the business forward. Status quo used to be unacceptable, but currently the status quo seems “good enough”. Corporate leaders are not only allowing this pervasive attitude, but are fostering its acceptance within the business. Why has this lethargic attitude become accepted in many companies? What is the overall effect in the marketplace?

Business Choices: Gaining Insight into Uncertainty and Risk - Executives at every level in business are faced with daily decisions that affect both internal and external company issues. Given that generally most of the facts concerning their decisions are correct, managers and employees try to determine the correct course of action for their respective areas of responsibility. How are these decisions analyzed and to what degree is uncertainly acceptable within the decision-making process? Risk aversion is generally assumed for purpose of economic analysis of decisions under uncertainty. When examining efforts by the individual to make informed decisions based on both internal and external factors, external anomalies can also be considered internal decision factors. This increases the importance of the individual biases over the external events that have occurred.

An error in judgment can be demonstrated through accepted rules of arithmetic, logic, or statistics. Not every decision made contradicts an established fact or an accepted rule is considered a judgmental error. It may be as simple as the manager’s misunderstanding of the question or the manager’s misinterpretation of the answer. The use of heuristics and biases when applied to the decision-making methodology can provide the manager with a measured approach. The use of heuristics does not preclude the use of other procedures that can be used of evaluate situations as have been stated above. However, the evaluation process is more complete when heuristics are applied.

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