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The challenge of merging two corporate cultures
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Creating A Resilient Organisation
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Tried Direct Marketing?
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Recession Proof Your Business
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Effective Meetings

The challenge of merging two corporate cultures

teik oh oldTeik Oh

The most challenging change management initiative is the proper management of a successful merger between two organisations. While the actual steps and processes in themselves are not uniquely different or any more complex than any other business reorganisation, the cultural environment in which a merger takes place creates a very different situation.

Unlike any other change management engagement where disparate groups at least work under one singularly identifiable organisation, a merger brings together two totally unique groups with different core values and working environments that need to go through the same change and emerge united. In a merger, while there are usually areas of “fit”, it is unlikely that the deeper indicators of corporate culture such as corporate history and corporate experience will have any but the most remote of matches. Read More

Creating A Resilient Organisation

Organisational culture and behaviour rests on the prevailing climate that exists in the firm. This climate can encourage resilience to appear in an organisation, or it can in fact encourage a set of circumstances where the organisation breaks at the first sign of crisis.

A summary of the prevailing attitudes that encourage resilience (or lack of) is in the following table:-
Studies have shown common characteristics of “resilient” organisations, or organisations that have stood the test of time in the way they are managed, successful corporations and those that have “kicked in” the extra mile to out-strip competitors. In particular, Tom Peters’ work in “In Search of Excellence” (1979) and his later book “Thriving on Chaos” (1987) and Jim Collins’ work in “Good to Great” (2001) have identified characteristics of such successful companies.

In “Thriving on Chaos”, Peters summarised his earlier work into 5 characteristics of a successful corporation:-

  1. Total customer responsiveness
  2. Fast paced innovation
  3. Flexibility by empowering people
  4. Leadership at all levels
  5. Systems that can handle chaos

Read More

Tried Direct Marketing?

saleIn these recessionary times, business owners beat a retreat. SME owners look at cost savings, financial controls and expenditure. However if this is done in isolation, that is, if you rush to control costs without also looking at the top line, your bottom line will start to shrink anyway!

The other unquantifiable cost is, if you withdraw into a cost-saving shell, what happens to your business goodwill? How will you be seen by your customers? Is that affecting your brand? As you cut expenses, without looking after your market, perceived services may suffer. When the good times roll again – and they will – are you going to be ready to take on the competition again or will you be behind the 8 ball rebuilding your reputation and name-recognition?

Counter-intuitive as it is for SME owners in a period of financial slow-down, SMEs must continue marketing efforts. “Marketing” is not only “advertising” which is what SME owners think when they think of marketing. In fact, advertising may be your least effective marketing cost in a shrinking economy. Read More

Recession Proof Your Business

sorry closedIs this possible – to recession-proof your business?  Well no, probably not despite the wealth of articles about how to do so appearing on the internet (about 614,000 hits on Google).

However, what is possible is to secure your business as much as is possible by following a series of simple and common sense business strategies.  These strategies are no different from strategies you should employ under normal circumstances, but which application is much more acute in today’s economic climate, and with a different emphasis required.  Sadly when times are good, businesses allow themselves to get “fat” and some of these every-day disciplines are allowed to slacken.

The strategies can be grouped into defensive and offensive strategies.  As you look at your business performance it is likely that you will find profit performance heading south, and with the economy looking the way it is, it is difficult not to panic and begin to tighten all the hatches.  However you can tighten too much, to the extent that your business finds it difficult to operate normally.  Hence, while it is natural to concentrate on the defensive strategies such as cutting costs, it is important to keep in mind the offensive strategies – those that your business should take to ensure that you are the one in your industry that keeps selling when others are closing down. Read More

Effective Meetings

Your meeting should be an event that produces results or outcomes and not the “process of meeting.” Things need to get accomplished. Picture33To improve the results of a meeting, begin by defining and improving the meeting process and people’s commitments to it.

According to a study by the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (as cited in Forbes, 10/25/93)

  • The average meeting takes place in the company conference room and 11 in the morning and lasts an hour and 30 minutes.
  • It is attended by nine people — two managers, four co-workers, two subordinates and one outsider — who have received two hour prior notification
  • It has no written agenda, and its purported purpose is complete only 50% of the time.
  • A quarter of meeting participants complain they waste between 11 and 25 percent of the time discussing irrelevant issues
  • A full third of them feel pressured to publicly espouse opinions with which they privately disagree. Another third feel they have minimal or no influence on the discussion
  • Although 36% of meetings result in a “complete” resolution of the topic at hand, participants considered only one percent of those conclusions to be particularly creative.
  • A whopping 63% of meeting attendees feel that underlying issues outside the scope of the official agenda are the real subjects under discussion.
  • Senior executives spend 53% of their time in meetings, at an average rate of $320 per person hour.

Read More

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