Examining the global workplace in two interesting sessions, my team of management students and I came to some conclusions that might be worth sharing:
- Having to start from scratch when a plan or project fails is not necessarily bad. It might provide you with a better chance at developing new methods and fresh insights leading to radical evolutions than when you try to elaborate on old, established patterns. This awareness can be best illustrated if we review the way West Germany and Japan managed to revive their economies after a total ruin in World war II, while the U.S., unharmed, continued to do things the old way. Result: while Japan and Germany were developing new quality and management systems, the U.S. raced toward an unbelievable but true collapse of an outdated mediocre production system in the seventies and early eighties. Fortunately, things have improved since then.
- You can be challenged by a crisis, or by a dream. Being challenged by a crisis reflects a reactive approach: It usually just leads to problem solving. But being challenged by a dream reflects a proactive spirit, which will most likely lead to the creation of the impossible, and result in a comparative as well as a competitive advantage in your area of interest.
- Perfection is a moving target. There is no environment where this applies more than business: just when you think you have achieved the highest level of perfection, an alternative emerges, and your perfect product, service, or process becomes obsolete. Therefore, one should always strive for improved quality, but even more for the attainment of a uniqueness that will keep customers intrigued.
- Old responses don't work for new problems: Situations change, challenges change, the environment evolves, and customers with it. If you want to be a good manager, you should realize that one of the most important tools to success is to learn and adapt: not just once, but continuously.
- Workplaces where the environment is kept as relaxed and open as possible will be more successful than the ones where the stress can be cut with a knife. Workers will feel encouraged to suggest improvements based on their practical experience and their contact with customers, and managers will be more receptive toward these suggestions. Result: dignity, satisfaction, motivation, and production!
- Elaborating on the previous note: The work environment that allows workers to be creative will reap higher benefits than its competitors that nurture fear and inhibition among their employees. It is imperative to apply the paradigm shift in which mistakes are no longer perceived as time wasters, but rather as opportunities to improve.
Customers have more choices today: they don't even have to enter a store to know what it sells. Customer loyalty is therefore hard to achieve, and easy to lose. Companies should realize that, and anticipate by changing. Not slowly and sporadically, but quickly and frequently!
Joan Marques, Burbank, January 30, 2004
About the Author:
Joan Marques, holds an MBA, is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Leadership, and a university instructor in Business and Management in Burbank, California. You may visit her web site at www.joanmarques.com Joan's manual "Feel Good About Yourself," a six part series to get you over the bumps in life and onto success, can be purchased and downloaded at:http://www.non-books.com/FeelGoodSeries.html
>It is better to live in serene poverty than in hectic abundance. Everything has a price. The price for nurturing your soul is turning away from excessive stress, destruction of self-respect, and the constant strive in lifestyle with the Joneses. But it's worth it.