IN YEARS PAST, a few senior executives would make all the major business decisions and it was the responsibility of people further down the hierarchy to carry them out. Legions of corporate foot-soldiers were hired, not to think and definitely not to decide, but rather to do what they were told. It was management by decree, and such methods were used to make many a fortune and to build empires.
IT SEEMS AS THOUGH over the past decade the business community has seen a spike in crisis-level events. Market volatility during and after 2008 financial crisis, cyber security vulnerabilities leading to massive data breaches, disruption caused by new technologies and changing consumer habits, and the variety of scandals stemming from the accelerated flow of information on social media – each of these factors has led one business leader or another to experience a unique situation – a crisis of epic proportions.
HAVE YOU EVER asked a business executive their attitude towards suppliers in the market? If so, chances are you heard “they don’t understand my business.” Your perception may be different, but what you think doesn’t matter. Since the client signs the cheque, it’s their perception that counts. As a professional you’re under great pressure to really understand the client. In fact you’re probably competing against people who come from the industry you’re targeting – giving them the inside scoop. To succeed today, you can’t afford to be accused of not understanding your client’s business.
BUSINESS LEADERS and human resources professionals are aware of the challenges of sustaining the impact of learning and development programmes. Time, ownership, resources, and preference for the old way of doing things, all conspire to undermine the success of a training initiative.
IF THERE IS one positive to be taken from the 2008 global financial crisis, it is the reminder that the world of business offers no guarantees. Just two years earlier, when markets were soaring and profits seemed all but certain, executives tended to think any new product or service would be a surefire hit and that steady long-term growth was a given.
THE CULTURE OF any organisation is essentially a combination of two key components - management and leadership. The style and principles adopted in these distinct areas shape how employees think and act. That affects how they prioritise and execute day-to-day responsibilities and how they behave in their dealings with internal and external contacts.
ANY BUSINESS LEADER must learn early on that constant change is a fact of corporate life. Business Success depends on accepting that market conditions are never static. So, one of the prime skills for any CEO, division head or project co-ordinator is the ability to manage change effectively.
WE COMMONLY HEAR the phrase “just be yourself”, but following that advice is not necessarily the best thing do to if you want to increase your chances of influencing someone else. In fact, in many situations you are likely to have much greater success if you deliberately modify your own behaviour and personal style of communication to accommodate the person you are dealing with.
IT’S THE FIRST meeting with a potential client. Instead of launching into a pre-determined sales pitch you take a consultative sales approach. You use the BRACES process to guide you through the meeting. You started off well by briefly building rapport (‘BR’) to position yourself and your company. Now it’s time to move to the next stage - ascertaining (‘A’) in detail the prospective client’s situation and confirming (‘C’) your understanding.
IN THE WORLD of business, it is important to be seen to be moving with the times. That's because a big part of running a successful enterprise showing shareholders, clients, employees, partners and potential investors that the organisation is up with the best, forward looking and always in search of improvement.