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StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

The Big Picture of Business – How Business Advice Turns Into Company Strategy

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleWithin every corporate and organizational structure, there is a stair-step ladder. One enters the ladder at some level and is considered valuable for the category of services for which they have expertise. This ladder holds true for managers and employees within the organization, as well as outside consultants brought in.

Each rung on the ladder is important. At whatever level one enters the ladder, he-she is trained, measured for performance and fits into the organization’s overall Big Picture. One rarely advances more than one rung on the ladder during the course of service to the organization in question.

  1. Resource: equipment, tools, materials, schedules.
  2. Skills and Tasks: duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, contracting, project fulfillment.
  3. Role and Job: assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, follow-through, accountability.
  4. Systems and Processes: structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision, decisions
  5. Strategy: planning, tactics, organizational development.
  6. Culture and Mission: values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives, benchmarking.
  7. Philosophy: purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, long-term growth.

7 Levels of Authority Figure

  1. Self Appointed. Flash in the Pan. What they were doing five years ago has no relationship to what they’re now marketing. They reap temporary rewards from momentary trends. They’re here today, weren’t an authority figure yesterday and likely won’t be tomorrow. Yet, today, they’re demanding your complete trust, respect and allegiance.
  2. Temporary Caretakers of an Office. Public officials. Appointed agency heads in a government bureaucracy. Respect is shown to the temporary trust they hold.
  3. Those Who We Think Control Our Destiny… for the Time Being. Caretakers of corporate bureaucracies, departmental supervisors, short-term clients, referral sources for business development and those who dangle carrots under people’s noses.
  4. Those Who Remain Through the Peter Principle. Supervisors and public servants who made fiefdoms by outlasting up-and-comers. Longevity is due to keeping their heads down and noses clean, rather than excelling via special talents-achievements. Still living on past laurels.
  5. Those Who Really Empower People. These are a rare breed… the backbone of well-run organizations. Some do what they do very well in poorly-run organizations. They may not be department heads, but they set exemplary standards and inspire others toward positive accomplishments. Category 2, 3 and 4 authority figures either resent them and try to claim credit for what they do… or are smart enough to place them in effective, visible roles. Some advance into management and encounter similar situations there too.
  6. Have Truly Earned Their Position-Respect. Also a rare breed. Those who excelled at every assignment given and each stage of their career. Never were too busy to set good examples, share ideas with others and help build the teams on which they played.
  7. Never Stop Paying Dues, Learning, Sharing Knowledge. The rarest breed of all. Distance runners who created knowledge, rather than conveyed that of other people. Though they could coast on past laurels, for them, the best is yet to come.

7 Levels of Advice Given

  1. Answers to Questions. There are 7 levels of answers which may be given, depending upon how extensive one wants: Easy and Obvious Ones, Knee-Jerk Reactions, Politically Correct, What People Want to Hear, Factual and Complete Explanations, Answers That Get Them Thinking Further and Deep Wisdom.
  2. Observations on Situations. These take the forms of “When this happened to me, I did X,” or “If this occurred with me, I would Y.” It’s often good to see things through someone else’s perspective.
  3. Subjective Viewpoint. Friends want what is best for you. This level of advice is usually pro-active and is influenced by the advisor’s experiences with comparable situations.
  4. Informed Opinion. Experts have core-business backgrounds upon which to draw. Advisors bring facts, analysis and methodologies of applying their solutions to your case. Niche consultants provide quality viewpoints… as it relates to their talents and skills. Carefully consider the sources.
  5. Researched Options. Investments in research (formal, informal, attitudinal, demographic, sociological) will avert unnecessary band aid surgery expenses later. Research leads to planning, which is the best way to accomplish tasks and benchmark success.
  6. Discussion of Outcomes-Consequences. Most actions and decisions in an organization affect many others. At this level, advisors recommend that sufficient planning be conducted… please take their advice. The more strategic and Big Picture in scope, then planning reaps long-term rewards.
  7. Inspiring Directions. This gets into Visioning. Planning and going to new heights are stimulating. The mannerisms and substance by which any organization achieves its Vision requires sophisticated advice, deep insights and creative ideas.

7 Levels-Tiers of Qualifying Consultants

  1. Wanna-be consultants. Vendors selling services. Subcontractors. Out-of-work people who hang out “consulting” shingles in between jobs. Freelancers and moonlighters, whose consultancy may or may not relate to their day jobs. (26%)
  2. Entry-level consultants. Those who were downsized, out-placed, retired or changed careers, launching a consulting practice. Prior experience in company environment. (19.5%)
  3. Grinders. Those who do the bulk of project work. Conduct programs designed by others. 1-10 years’ consulting experience. (35.49%)
  4. Minders. Mid-level consultants. Those with specific niche or industry expertise, starting to build a track record. 10-20 years’ consulting experience. (13.5%)
  5. Finders. Firms which package and market services. Most claim they have all expertise in-house. The more sophisticated ones are skilled at building and utilizing collaborations of outside experts and joint ventures. (3.5%)
  6. Senior level. Veteran consultants (20 years+) who were trained for and have a track record in consulting. That’s what they have done for most of their careers. (2%)
  7. Beyond the strata of consultant. Senior advisor, routinely producing original knowledge. Strategic overview, vision expeditor. Creativity-insight not available elsewhere.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article

How to Encourage Teens to Get Jobs and Save Their Own Money

StrategyDriven Professional Development ArticleInstead of allowing your kiddo to laze around the house this summer, encourage your teen to get a job and save their own money instead. How so? Here are a few methods for talking your teen into taking on responsibilities and making their own cash this summer.

Encourage Your Kids to Search for Local Part-Time Jobs

Older teens, around 15 and older, can apply for part-time jobs. Check bulletin boards, encourage them to look at reputable online resources for hiring positions, and take them to fill out applications at local grocery stores, fast food restaurants, or retail shops. There are plenty of places that would be happy to hire a teen for the duration of the summer, on a part-time basis.

Or, for Younger Teens, Set Up a Chores and Rewards System Around the House

If your teen can’t apply for a job outside of the home yet, set up a list of daily chores and offer a rewards system for around-the-house help. Sure, they have the average chores that they should be doing anyways, such as cleaning their room, making their own breakfast, and doing their laundry.

Make it a Rule to Set Back 30-Percent of Each Paycheck

When your kiddo gets a job, even if it’s doing chores at home, you should implement a 30/70 rule. They should put 30-percent of their paycheck into savings, like a lock box or bank account, and then they can keep 70-percent for whatever they need, want, etc.

Help Older Teens with Resume, Job Prospects, and Goals

Older teens need to get a little more serious about job prospects and cash management in general, so help them make a resume for their part-time applications. Then, help them pinpoint both short-term and long-term job goals. For example, where would they like to work as a starter job? But where would they like to end up, career-wise, in the long run? You could even suggest recruitment agencies Boston for start-up opportunities in a plethora of niche markets.

Yes, your teen probably works hard in school, but a part-time summertime job will ensure their summer is productive. AND they still get some summertime downtime when they get home.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article

Top 8 Languages You Can Learn to Strengthen Your CV

StrategyDriven Professional Development ArticleYou can be absolutely brilliant in your field of work and yet miss out on the most lucrative career opportunities abroad, just because you don’t know the right language. Now, what if you are not the absolute best in your field? Most of us are not and that’s okay, but what it means is you probably can’t afford to miss out on any opportunity that could come your way, including that lucrative offer outside the country. As a student, it is important to add as many useful skills to your repertoire as possible because you will probably need them all down the line to broaden your career in this extremely competitive world that we all are trying to work in.

However, a foreign language is something that most of us cannot just learn without some guidance from an experienced teacher. The good news is that you won’t really have to leave your room after a busy week at college or work to go to your foreign language class because you can find a tutor from your laptop using a website such as Superprof. Home tuition is great, but if you would rather take your language classes face-to-face, that option is also there, and the best part is that you will almost always find tutors in any given location on this website. It’s the more time-efficient and cost-effective way to learn just about any language in existence. You can also use a language app such as Duolingo if you have less time to work with a tutor. You can do this anywhere – for example when you’re sat on the train – and it will send you reminders to ensure you keep up with it. Both of the options mentioned above are great ways to learn a language and strengthen your CV as a result.

Here are eight important languages that would very likely help you improve your life.

Mandarin

Most people get it wrong when they are asked what the most spoken language in the world is because they end up saying English or Spanish. However, the right answer is Mandarin (including all the various dialects) because China has the world’s largest population and everyone speaks Mandarin there. Given that China is right now one of the largest markets for just about everything and it’s growing bigger with each passing year, learning Mandarin is definitely a sure shot way to boost your CV and increase your chances of landing a job in a multinational company. After all, it’s a very tough language that in spite of being spoken by over 16% of the world’s population, is hardly spoken by anyone in the English-speaking nations.

Arabic

Arabic is one of the six languages officially adopted by the UN and about twenty nations use Arabic as their national language. However, the completely foreign nature of the language is one of the prime reasons as to why dealing in the Middle-East is a lot more challenging than it should be for businesses originating from other sections of the world. The wealth in the Middle-East has drawn the attention of several multi-billion-dollar companies from all parts of the globe over the years and if you know Arabic, then rest assured that it will instantly put you ahead of the competition when appearing for an interview for one of those companies.

Spanish

The second most spoken language in the world is Spanish and if you plan to work in any of the South American or Central American countries, you will probably need to learn Spanish before going there. In Europe, there’s Spain that you need to consider as well. A lot of native English speakers who know Spanish end up as English teachers in the US, where there’s a big demand for such jobs. While one may argue that the same logic applies to all the other languages as well, Spanish-English teachers are the most in-demand English teachers in the West.

French

Writing French is a lot easier than pronouncing it because there are visible similarities between English and French, but as far as the pronunciation is concerned, it involves a different phonetics altogether. From the perspective of building a career outside the UK, learning the French language could come in very handy since France is one of the premier places to work in within the European Union. Aside from France itself, there are a number of regions around the world which use French as their first language.

Russian

The Russian language is another very important and widely spoken language within the EU territory. The main reason behind the widespread nature of the language is because a number of the independent nations in the region only came into existence after the Soviet Union broke down. While the politics might have changed, Russian is still the dominant language in areas such as Latvia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. If you ever need to work in Russia or the nearby locations to boost your career prospects, learning the language would make you more acceptable to the 250 million+ Russian-speaking population there.

Sign Language

Learning sign language, or at least the basics of it, is a life skill that should come in handy in more than just one situation. Even just from a professional perspective, it opens you up to a whole new range of job opportunities such as teaching disabled children, acting as an interpreter at a number of government and private agencies, and working as an audiologist. If you are a therapist or a counsellor, learning sign language is particularly important as it will allow you to communicate with and provide help to people who are mostly unable to express their feelings in any other way.

English

If you were born and brought up in the UK, English is possibly not something that you will ever have trouble with. Then again, not everyone who lives in the UK was born there. If you happened to have migrated here from some other country where English was not the first language, then this could be a very big problem. While English may not be among even the top three most spoken languages in the world, rest assured that it is the language of the internet and the easy to learn nature of the language has also made it more internationally accepted than any other tongue in the world. Almost everywhere in the modern world, most people understand at least a few common English words, but despite Mandarin being spoken by over 16% of the world’s population, it is very unlikely that you will find too many people in the UK that understand a word of it! Therefore, take some time out to learn a bit of the English language and if possible, master it. Learning English will also make it easier for you to learn other languages such as French and German.

Latin

The final entry on this list is a somewhat controversial one because some people are of the opinion that Latin is a dead language and there’s no point in learning it. While there’s some truth to Latin being (almost) dead, that’s precisely why you should consider learning it. While you won’t be holding business seminars in Latin, knowing this rare but extremely potent language instantly makes you a member of an elite group. However, what makes Latin the most useful language to learn is the fact that if you have a good hold of it, you will be able to learn other languages such as Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Romanian quite easily and much faster. Latin is the parent language from which a number of these modern languages have evolved and it is also the most complicated one of them all.

Communication is one of the keys to success in work and life in general and learning even just one of these languages is like getting one of those keys for yourself.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor Hank Moore

Where Do They Go To Get Business Advice?

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleBusinesses operate at a pace such that they grab for help wherever it is available. More often than not, they reach toward the wrong resources, the untied advisors and sources that send them down rabbit holes.

It is lonely at the top. There are many demands upon entrepreneurs and senior management of companies. Each organization is confronted with challenges and opportunities, both real and perceived. It is tough to tackle all the obstacles and feel that substantial progress is being made.

Businesses spend so much time on momentary pieces of their puzzles that they neglect long-term Strategic Planning and miss potential successes. Costs of band aid surgery and make-good work cost six times that of planning for business on the front end.

The need exists for comprehensive business ideas and growth strategies. The need is ever-present for interfacing with senior executives and updating management skills, to avoid burnout and stimulate the seasoned professionals toward new heights. Top management regularly needs the creative inspiration to take the company to new heights. Cutting-edge executives (the very top and those about to take the mantle) need seasoned advice and inspiration.

Here is where they go to get ideas, strategies and help, in the order where they commonly go. The lower numbers represent introductory resources. The highest numbers are where they should be reaching.

1. Hearsay and third hand

  • Comments heard at parties and networking functions
  • Uninformed sources
  • Friends of friends
  • High participation networkers
  • Research and surveys

2. Special Interests

  • Websites containing educational material as a way to sell services
  • Surveys and their feedback

3. People Selling Stuff

  • Vendors who distract you, using expressions like “funding to grow your business.”
  • Online marketing firms
  • Internet solicitors and sellers
  • Website consulting

4. Internal Management

  • People you work with
  • Mid-managers and supervisors
  • Corporate leadership

5. Niche Experts and Consultants

  • Trainers
  • Freelance consultants, per industry niche
  • Banking, insurance benefits, human resources, etc.
  • Technology consulting firms
  • Researchers

6. Educational Programs

  • Speakers
  • Seminars
  • Panels at forums
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Material published or broadcast in the media

7. Books

  • Articles excerpted for meetings
  • Blog material posted online
  • Thin self-published books by people seeking to establish a platform
  • Online articles and blogs
  • Serious books in libraries
  • Cutting-edge books with original material

8. Advocacy Groups

  • Business clubs
  • Chambers of commerce
  • People with whom you work in community and charity leadership roles
  • Boards of directors
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • SCORE
  • Small Business Development Center
  • Trade industry groups
  • Associations
  • Political action committees
  • Community alliances
  • Professional alliances
  • Consortiums of business
  • Cross-industry cooperative initiatives

9. Mentors

  • Pier advisory groups such as Vistage, Silver Fox Advisors
  • One-on-one coaching
  • CEO roundtables
  • Corporate heir apparent training
  • Programs such as Shark Tank, Fox Den, Ted Talks
  • Leadership programs

10. Senior Business Advisors

  • Professional service firms, including lawyers, accountants, marketing, public relations, quality management

11. Major Business Gurus

  • Track record experts with many years in advising strategically

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article

Online or On Campus: Pros and Cons

There is no doubt that the internet has played a big role in changing the way we learn. Many people are not engaging in courses which are taught solely online. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should discount traditional learning environments entirely. In this blog post, we are going to weigh up some of the pros and cons of online learning versus on-campus study.

Studying Online

In the pros column, you can certainly put flexibility. You have the option to study courses which are based miles away from yourself and even in other countries. You can also fit your learning around the other commitments in your life such as work and family. As time goes on, you also have more and more options of what you can study, whether this is an online language class or something more specialised like an MSN degree online. Essentially, the choice in your hands.

On the downside, you have to be motivated and disciplined enough to study in your own time. There is also a degree of isolation involved as you are not face-to-face with teachers and other students – but improving communication methods are making this easier. Depending on the course and educational institution you have chosen, you may find that there is a lag time in asking your questions and having them answered again.

Studying On-Campus

Now let’s look into the pros of studying on-campus. If you find that you learn better in groups and face-to-face, this may be a better option for you. Help is readiliy available and when you are in a learning environment, you can simply raise your hand when you want a question answered. You also may want to engage in the social side of learning in a real life environment.

The obvious downside is that you don’t have the freedom and flexibility to set your own schedule, and you also have to be located close enough to your univerisity or school to get there easily. You may find that you have to put other aspects of your life on hold to complete your course – particularly if you are faced with a long commute. As well as this, on-campus study can end up being the more expensive option of the two.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you when it comes to studying online or on-campus. Essentially, you should weigh up the pros and cons just as we have in this list. Look at the different courses that are available in the area which you are interested in. Work out how best you are going to fit in the other commitments in your life. But there is no doubt that no matter what choice you make, further study is something which could end up enriching your life in many ways. You could find that you spark off a new passion or discover a career path which is more suited to you.