"Heard In The Boardroom" A monthly newsletter from Markar Associates                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Thank you for viewing our newsletter Heard In The Boardroom

Volume 7, Number 6

Mike Chitjian, Publisher

 

IN THIS ISSUE

Markar - we provide you with the tools for success Consultant's Corner
Markar - we provide you with the tools for success The Wisdom Of The Ages
Markar - we provide you with the tools for success Improving Team Creativity
Markar - we provide you with the tools for success Tips of the Month/Clipboard

BOOK HIGHLIGHTS

SEARCHING FOR THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE, by Larry C. Farrell.

In this unusual, some might say radical, work, the author, who is himself a management consultant, suggests we discard the long-cherished concepts of management consultants and "experts." Instead, he recommends a return to the "old-fashioned" principles of entrepreneurship as the best and only driving force behind real company growth.

His prescription for instilling the spirit of enterprise in any company -- large or small, old or new -- is fourfold:

1. A SENSE OF MISSION

Entrepreneurs always start out with the very high purpose of creating value for customers. This is the real and only sense of mission that works. To legendary entrepreneurs like Matsushita, Walton, and Watson, this simple mission is a no-frills displacement for the failed tradition of setting corporate culture and strategies that had little to do with the real running of the businesses.

2. CUSTOMER/PRODUCT VISION

The world's great entrepreneurs have a single integrated vision of customers and products -- because they need both to survive. In fact, the functional separation of customer and product is the single most devastating blow to the spirit of enterprise. To regain this vital vision, we start by tossing out long job descriptions and replacing them with simple questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What are my products?
  • What must I do to satisfy my customers?

These questions are the essence of the consumer/product vision that has to be an obsession with everyone in the company if competitive growth is to be achieved.

3. HIGH-SPEED INNOVATION

This is the ultimate weapon that every entrepreneur comes by naturally. The trick is to keep this sense of urgency alive in the rest of the business, so that innovation becomes a necessity and everybody has the freedom to act quickly. Even when everyone's smart as can be, as is true in the biotechnology industries, you still need high- speed action if you want to finish first.

4. SELF-INSPIRED BEHAVIOR

Entrepreneurs love what they do and constantly try to get better at it. The tough question is how to pass this on to the employees. There's only one best way: Everybody needs to know what's in it for them if they perform well, and (this is where most managers fail) what happens to them if they don't. More planning systems and management courses won't get you a penny of growth. To compete and grow, you've got to dismantle the bureaucracy and start over with high purpose -- with the spirit of enterprise!End of Article.

To order a copy of this book or for information subscribing to The Fast Track's audio summaries of the best business books on tape call 1-800-BE-AHEAD (1-800-232-4323)

Highlights™ are based on an audio summary produced and distributed by the Fast Track Publishing Company of the book Searching For the Spirit of Enterprise by Larry C. Farrell. 1993 Larry C. Farrell. Summarized, recorded, and distributed by permission of Larry C. Farrell. Highlights™ 1995 Fast Track Publishing Company, Forest Park, IL.

Employers Most Common Interviewing Mistake

You're going to hire that manager you've needed. No one internally has risen to the challenge and now you've decided to use the services of your Executive Recruiter. You are presented with five qualified candidates. What approach do you take with them? You've looked at the resumes, you've listened to the comments of the Recruiter, and you've discussed candidate strengths and weaknesses with others in your organization. Some look a little better than others and so you begin to put them into some order of preference. They are all qualified, but after much thought, you have listed them from one to five. Finally, the Recruiter sets up an interview with the candidate who sits atop of the list. The interview is arranged after scheduling delays and takes place two weeks later. After two more weeks of courtship with this candidate, you want him or her, but he or she doesn't seem to want your position. So you call your recruiter and request an interview with the next candidate. After an additional two weeks, the next interview takes place. The second candidate is very enthusiastic but you're not excited. You just don't feel comfortable. You decide to go to candidate number three. A week later, the next interview is scheduled. However, at the last moment, the candidate calls to cancel because they have accepted another offer. On to number four.

A week and a half later, candidate number four is immediately eliminated because of a bad attitude.

Candidate number five's resume doesn't look as good as the others, but you want to schedule the interview two days later even though he's unemployed. The recruiter calls you back to say that number five took another position three weeks ago. Time just didn't wait.

Sound familiar? This is a common interviewing mistake. There is a better way. You don't have to go through an eight to ten week process just for the first round of interviews. See all five in close proximity rather than go through the entire process with one candidate before going on to the next. In fact, the best way to proceed is to schedule all five on the same day at one or two-hour intervals. By scheduling a screening interview with all candidates, you can easily compare and contrast each candidate, looking at real people, not just their resumes. There are too many things you just can't see on a resume. If you really want to find the best person, you must interview at least the three best qualified people available. That's why you use a recruiter.

The best business decisions are informed decisions. Unless you schedule screening interviews with all candidates, you really don't have all of the facts. Proceed this way and you may begin finding Mr. or Ms. Right in candidate number two or three. In addition, this procedure insures that you will never be told that so and so is no longer available before you have even had the opportunity to interview them.End of Article.

Cultural Diversity In A Quality Workplace

Bridging best of all worlds to new workforce wave

A new workplace cultural phenomenon is unfolding. It's destined to revolutionize the way that you and your teammates go about your search for quality.

Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and others have shed their "minority" labels. Along with Caucasian women, they're starting to dominate the workforce.

Moreover, these polyglot workers are unwilling to be assimilated. Instead, they've introduced much-needed cultural diversity into offices, stores, and factories everywhere. The melting pot is being replaced by a huge crock containing a savory stew flavored with many ethnic and racial ingredients.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau clearly indicate what's taking place. According to the 1990 Census, 80.3 percent of the population identifies itself as white. However, that group includes 22.4 million Hispanics. The non-Hispanic white population increased by only 6 percent between 1980 and 1990, but the Hispanic segment rose by 53 percent.

More than 49 million of America's 248.7 million people, Census reports, say they're members of an ethnic minority. Here's today's statistical profile:

Whites, 80.3 percent; blacks, 12.1 percent; Asians and Pacific islanders, 2.9 percent; American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts, 0.8 percent; and others, 3.9 percent.

Markar - we have your HR and Personnel answers Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and others have shed their "minority" labels. Along with Caucasian women, they're starting to dominate the workforce.

With people from other cultures working on your team, you must learn new ways to communicate. Spoken language is only one obstacle. You'll also need to know how to read body language. As one example, Judith Starkey, president of the Starkey Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm points out that Asians and Hispanics regard direct eye contact as impolite.

A barrier that many quality teams will face is the virtual absence of diversity training. In 1989, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) surveyed 121 Fortune 500 companies and learned that only 27 percent provided cultural-awareness instruction.

Worse still, most of that was confined to the executive, managerial, and supervisory ranks. Only 7 percent of the companies studied, ASTD reports, offered diversity training for hourly workers.

The influx of immigrants and others of foreign descent into your workplace will pose an awesome challenge. But it also will offer an opportunity to learn how the best techniques from other cultures can give you a sharper focus on quality.

"Developing cooperative and committed work groups in which diversity is respected will be the major task of corporate society during the next decade," say Marilyn Loden and Judy B. Boserner, Ph.D., co-authors of Workforce America! (Business One Irwin). "Organizations that truly believe in the importance of quality service also recognize the interdependency that exists between the value they place on their employees and the way those employees, in turn, serve the customer. They recognize that one cannot address diversity in the marketplace without also addressing it in the workplace."

If your employer hasn't yet offered cultural-awareness training, ask for it! And, on your own, study the work habits and motivations of your new teammates. What you do today will markedly affect the level of quality that you attain tomorrow.

by and reprinted with permission of "Effective Executive", The Dartnell Corporation, 4660 N. Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago. IL 60640.

The Wisdom Of The Ages

The old-timers have a lot of wisdom to share. If the universal mentor could talk, he or she might say...

"The strongest human emotion is neither love nor hate but the unquenchable urge to share a secret." Never talk about confidential matters in the elevator, rest rooms, or anywhere you can be overhead. The person who overhears could be a competitor, a client, or the new vice-president.

"If you don't know the answer to a question, say 'I don't know.'" If you make a mistake, admit it. If you owe someone an apology, apologize. Don't guess, don't bluff, don't bluster.

"If you get in over your head, never be too scared to admit it." The rule of thumb is, if you think you're in trouble, you probably are. So don't let the situation snowball. Ask for help. You'll discover something interesting: Most people like to give help. It makes them feel good.

"Don't discuss salaries with your peers." If they find out you're making more than they are, there will be jealousy and bitterness. The only people who need to know your salary are you, your supervisor, and the personnel department. Keep a secret about what you make.

"Don't underestimate your boss's knowledge, intelligence, or awareness of what's going on." Never confuse tact with ignorance.

"Share the credit." It makes your co-workers feel good and it makes you look good.

"Be nice to people you don't particularly like, especially if you outrank them." Very few truly nasty people get ahead.

"Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty." Better to clear the coffee cups after a meeting than to sit there and watch the CEO start doing it.

"Take your lumps." Life isn't always fair. Somebody else may get the promotion you deserve, the office you covet, more credit than you for a job well done. Don't whine about it. Accept the knocks with grace. It won't go unnoticed.

"Try very hard not to say, 'I told you so.'" Ever. (Michael Maxtone-Graham, writing in Training, Lakewood Publications, Inc. 50 S. Ninth St., Minneapolis, MN 55402).

by and reprinted with permission of "The Manager's Intelligence Report," Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc., 212 W. Superior St.. Suite 200. Chicago, IL 60610. (800) 878-5331.

Tips of the Month

Career Advice & Tips from Markar Associates Don't read publications you get at home while you're waiting in an airport. Reason:   Burglars look for discarded magazines and newspapers to get addresses of people who will be away.

Career Advice & Tips from Markar Associates You could irritate first-time contacts if you leave them long voice mail messages. Suggestions: Call your office and leave the same message on your voice mail. Then see if you like listening to it.End of Article.

Cited in "Communications Briefings," 1101 King Street, Suite 110. Alexandria, VA 22314. (800) 088-2084.

Improving Team Creativity

Markar Associates - Professional Personnel Placement Set an idea quota. Team members often express the easiest ideas first, and only then do they begin to come up with the more creative ones.

Teamwork - trust Markar to lead you to success A problem that seems formidable as a whole may become more manageable if you break it into parts.

Markar Associates - Professional Personnel Placement Have the team define and re- define. Example: The team is looking for a way to cure a late delivery problem. What was the breakdown in the old system? Are there better systems available to cure the problem?

Markar Associates - Professional Personnel Placement Reverse the question. Example: Your team is trying to reduce inventory. State the question: "How could we increase inventory?" The ideas generated may provide useful solutions to the actual problem.

Markar Associates - Professional Personnel Placement Use analogies. Example: The team wants to improve the inventory system. What is the inventory process like now? Does it compare to sorting mail? Cleaning house? Stockpiling for an emergency? By examining similarities and differences, team members will come across numerous ideas.

Markar Associates - Professional Personnel Placement Break up the problem. A problem that seems formidable as a whole may become more manageable if you break it into parts.End of Article.

Cited in "Communications Briefing," 1101 King Street, Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314. (800) 888-2084.

"A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing but collectively meet and decide that nothing can be done."

Gov. Alfred E. Smith


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