The project management based approach to business planning represents information in a much more flexible way, using mind maps or dynamic lists

The project management based approach to business planning represents information in a much more flexible way, using mind maps or dynamic lists. Essentially your thinking is represented in small and large chunks, and grouped by area or ‘project’.

Let me demonstrate with a genuine example. My whiteboard contains all of my current and planned activities split into 3 areas – this week, medium term and long term.

My overall aims and goals for the business are listed on the right side. These don’t change much – but they are always there in front of me to keep me focused on what is important.  The middle of the board contains my longer term projects (3 months or more ), such as developing alliances and approaching magazines to write for articles. The left side contains the major activities to complete this week.

Every Monday I think about what activity needs to happen to progress my medium and long term goals. These go in the weekly side of the board. I also include any other things that need to happen during the week, refreshing each list as I need to.  During the week – if new things come up – they go straight up into the appropriate area.

You can use mind maps in a similar way. Put your long term goals in the centre, your medium term goals along each arm, and the detailed activity as the final level. Then cross things off or add new ‘arms’ as things arise. You can group your activities by topic, immediacy or any other way that suits you.

The key difference with this method of managing your work is that

a)       It’s always in front of you, not locked up in a drawer,

b)       it’s easy to add and subtract from the plan as you go, and

c)       it’s actually practical and fun to work with

You still need to think strategically, and be organised about your work. But you don’t need to feel guilty about not having a “traditional business plan!

If you’re not a ‘list’ person, give this method a try. I think you’ll get a lot more out of it.

Most performance measurement systems are never fully brought to life because of poor change management

Most performance measurement systems are never fully brought to life because of poor change management. The following prompts are a framework to design your performance measurement system, acknowledging that it is a change process, just like any other initiative your organisation faces in the spirit of continuous improvement and adaptation.

POINT 1: describe the difference your performance measures will make

What will it mean to have performance measurement working well in your organisation?

POINT 2: check who has control over initiating & maintaining this difference

Can you control the entire process of developing and using performance measures in your organisation? (Not likely.) Whose leadership, help and commitment will be important? Can you access, inspire and influence these people?

POINT 3: describe the differences in rich sensory detail

How do you want people to respond to developing and using performance measures? What will people be doing when then have performance measures? How will your organisation be different when it has and uses great performance measures? What old artifacts will be gone, and what new artifacts will replace them?

POINT 4: reflect on why you want performance measures

What is the ultimate reason why you want performance measures, why your organisation should have them? What can’t your organisation achieve without performance measures? Will performance measures really be an important way to achieve these things? What else will you need to do?

POINT 5: define the evidence that will let you know performance measures are making the difference they should

What are the signs of the kind of performance measurement culture you want to nurture and mature? What will convince you and others that you have the “right” measures? How will you know that people are producing and using the measures properly? What are the indicators or flags of unwanted unintended consequences, or performance measurement “going bad”?

POINT 6: explore how performance measures will affect other things and be affected by other things

How are people likely to respond to the changes that come with developing and using performance measures? Which organisational systems, processes or structures help or hinder developing and using performance measures? For each effect you ponder, how can you avoid, overcome, work around, work with or compensate for it?

POINT 7: articulate the principles that will guide the change you are trying to make

What will be important to role model as your develop measures for your organisation? How should people all throughout the organisation be involved in the process? What philosophy about the role of performance measures will be important to weave through everything you do?

POINT 8: plan what needs to happen, when & where and who’ll be involved

How will you engage the right people at the right times, stimulating their awareness, desire, knowledge and action? How will a framework that links measures to all levels of planning & decision making in the organisation be designed? How will those measures be brought to life, so they are regularly reported to the right people at the right times? How will you be certain that the measures will continue to be used, reviewed and replaced when no longer relevant?

POINT 9: work out the resources you will need to get from plan to reality

What amounts and types of funding, time, technology, space and knowledge do you need? Where will these resources come from? What will have to stop, be delayed or change to make this possible?

TAKING ACTION:
Are you treating performance measurement as an event, or as the process that it truly is? To build your performance measurement process, it helps to have a plan, just like any change project. Outline your plan using the prompts in this article. And if you want the step-by-step process to get you well and truly underway, read more about how the Performance Measure Blueprint can be your self-paced guide at http://www.staceybarr.com/PMBT.html.

The foundation of six sigma project charters

The Foundation of Six Sigma Project Charters

Although you may find some of the content of Six Sigma Project Charters to be similar, the key ingredients vary considerably – and to be more precise, it varies from company to company.

Some of these areas that help in forming the core of the Project Charter consist of the following aspects:

-Project Goals: Just as the name suggests, this aspect contains the objectives that are planned and defined by measuring the effectiveness of the plan (i.e., the predetermined goals that are to be included in the Six Sigma Project Charter).

-Measuring the Project: After the goals are clearly defined, the next thing on your agenda is to measure all the tools that are required with respect to assessing the results derived with respect to complying with the objectives of the project charter.

-Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ): When we talk about the Cost of Poor Quality, the first thing that comes to mind is identifying the causes for increases in processing costs and identifying the causes of any inefficiencies.

-Quality Improvement Processes: When we talk about Six Sigma, we always talk about quality improvement. This aspect is always given more emphasis when drafting the Six Sigma Project Charter.

-Elimination Factor: This is another aspect that we can’t forget with respect to the Six Sigma Project Charter. That’s because quality improvement can be brought about only after the elimination of the defects – and defects can be eliminated only after the root causes of the problems that are affecting the organization are known.

Saying “Yes” to Content Quality

Adding more quality to the Six Sigma Project Charter content calls for the organization to provide more detailed information that helps in defining the needs of the customer, thereby setting up a benchmark for existing, as well as future, competition in the market.

Sometimes, aspects such as better quality products and services for customers may not be enough. It should also be kept in mind that in addition to customer expectations with respect to products and services offered, there should be no compromise with respect to quality whatsoever.

Overall customer satisfaction should be the top priority on any organization’s list of objectives – and once that objective has been complied with, it will mean that the Six Sigma Project Charter has done its job.

Whenever additions are made to the Six Sigma Project Charter, keeping the content quality in mind, the implementation process becomes much easier – thereby contributing to the overall success of Six Sigma.

Network marketing, also known as multi level marketing (mlm) involves the process of distributing products through a team of independent business distributors, and has in its time been tainted with some very negative publicity

Network marketing, also known as multi level marketing (mlm) involves the process of distributing products through a team of independent business distributors, and has in its time been tainted with some very negative publicity.

But despite that, network marketing has survived and is a fantastic business model when you find the right company. It is one of the few business industries where the opportunity to earn money is only limited by your own mind! But the difficult question to answer is always “What company should I become a distributor for?”

Below are 7 very important aspects to consider when thinking about becoming an independent distributor for a network marketing company. If they can tick all the boxes mentioned here then chances are they will make a great company to become involved with.

Due diligence is important before you start because nothing is worse than finding yourself involved with a company that doesn’t last, or finding yourself ready to give up because you did not get the support you require.

1. Look at the experience of your sponsor

I have placed this first because it is even more important (in my opinion) than looking at the company. You can join the best company in the world and get no support, or a small network company and have constant daily support that helps you to achieve your financial goals.

The thing to look at is the experience of your sponsor in helping you with this business. Many people will be working full time while building their business, or they may be a sole proprietor earning extra revenue. Take a look at what they do or did in their main job and how those skills can help you when you are building your business.

You also want to find out how accessible they are. Can you easily get hold of all their contact details? How long does it take them to respond to your calls or emails? Of course this may not be an indication of how they will help you after you join. They may start off attentive until you are in their team. But it can also be an indication of a supportive sponsor.

Do they offer any activities or business building resources outside of the normal company ones? Maybe they run tele-seminars for their team, or provide worksheets that will help you plan your business.

You can succeed without an attentive sponsor, but it makes life so much easier, and really shortens the learning curve when you have one.

You should seek to align yourself with an experienced leader and learn as much as possible from his or her recruiting methods. Be sure to investigate your sponsor because that can be the one factor that determines success or failure for you. It is said that misery loves company; so does success.

2. How Stable Is The Company?

Now take a look at the company. Have they been trading for more than 5 years? Do they have solid financial backing? Excellent management? Training and Resources? A ‘distributor first’ philosophy? These things are important. You have the advantage of being able to choose from a huge range of network marketing businesses, so why choose one that doesn’t care?

You want to make sure that learning how to make money as a distributor is easy to understand, and you want to make sure that the company has been doing it long enough to believe they will be around for a while.

You know the saying that the proof of the pudding is in the eating; just so the proof of the stability of a Network Marketing company is in the duration of survival.

3. What customer support is available?

What support is offered for new distributors as they learn the ropes? How are established distributors looked after? You want to know this not only for you, but for everyone that you will introduce into the business. If you introduce someone who becomes unhappy with the lack of support they will give up and leave very quickly. It takes a lot of work to build your team, don’t let lack of customer support ruin it.

Usually as a distributor you are also the customer, so what support is offered on that end? Is customer support for your potential customers easy to get hold of and do they have a policy for answering questions quickly?

4. What products are available?

What you are looking for here is quality, it is a tough enough job to spend your time recruiting new distributors without having to deal with unhappy customers. High quality (unique if possible), reasonably priced products or services.

It has been a tradition of network marketing companies to produce high end, great quality products because the thousands saved on advertising is instead used in product creation and distributor training.

What you are looking to do is to be paid on a regular basis, you want monthly income coming in from your customers so look for products that will provide that.

Apart from being consumable, another important factor is how ‘needed’ this product or service is. If the product on offer is one that can be picked up locally then chances are you will not do as well as if you are selling a unique product that is hard (or at least harder) to find.

5. Compensation Plan

I have already mentioned that a successful MLM company will have a “distributor first” philosophy. In no other place should this be exhibited more than in the compensation plan. It takes only some simple arithmetic to see how many sales or distributors you need in your organization in order to be in profit. Most people don’t take the time to do the math and sometimes are “deceived” by the fancy potential income charts that are put out by the company.

Take a good long look at the whole compensation plan, do not skim through this because it seems “boring.” Also avoid getting taken in by claims of 60% compensation and other large percentage claims.

Many companies provide training and promotional materials for their distributors but it is often difficult to strike a balance between product promotion and distributor training. And distributor training normally takes a backseat (which is why a great sponsor is important – see No1 above). You should be wary of companies that charge exorbitant prices for their promotional materials. You are investing your advertising dollars so the company should not seek to make a profit from you here-although many do.

6.Terms and Conditions

Of equal importance to the compensation plan are the terms and conditions. Look to see whether you are tied in for a certain period and whether you are willing to comply with that. Check out whether there is anything stopping you from immediately leaving the company. In the company that I am a distributor for you are paying for a package. They provide a monthly option for those not able to pay the full price upfront, but you cannot turn around a few months later and decide to leave (although a settlement fee is available).

Once you join you must pay the full fee, and it is important for potential distributors to know this in advance. Rather than a hindrance this is actually an excellent policy for stopping potential distributors from joining who want to “try it out” or who are not serious about building a business. After all nothing is worse than spending 6 months of supporting a distributor to then have them leave because they found a better service. Having this in place means that distributors who join are immediate in for the long haul and are ready to begin building a profitable business with your help.

7. A wide and even global market if possible.

With the arrival of the world wide web you will find that many network marketing companies are now becoming global, and in fact if they are not I would question why not! Business survival now depends on being able to operate online and the internet provides you with the opportunity to widen your market reach.

Also look at the potential customer base as well. Does your opportunity appeal to all ages and groups, or is it limited to one or two in particular? Some of the most popular network marketing opportunities are those that run from the internet and offer you the chance to promote via a website.

Choosing a company that has a product or service for which there is no ready market will make it very difficult on the distributor. And in this industry encouragement and a fairly easy way to recruit are essential if you are going to survive!

Network marketing is one of those business models that provide success for people who are determined to succeed. You do not need any particular background or level of education, and as long as you have a “never give up” attitude and are willing to put in the hours it takes then you will go far.

The financially important aspect of network marketing is the fact that it provides you with an opportunity to earn continuous income. In fact once you have grown your team to a certain size you have very little to do and the money keeps on coming!

If you work in a job or run your own business it provides a welcome and important secondary income. Nothing is secure anymore and being able to tap into other sources of income outside your main one is being seen as an essential activity to engage in.

A sad reality of the MLM industry is that there are many scam artists that come along just for the quick cash just before they close shop and disappear, which is why due diligence is so very important. Watch out for scam artists that want to charge you a lot of money, make huge promises on commission, and are not delivering quality products. These people pray on the fact that we basically can be quite lazy and want things quick and easy. They also pray on human emotion, if we are stuck financially and believe that getting involved will earn us quick money.

Stick to a company with years of experience, a great product, a fantastic sponsor and support for its distributors and you really can’t go wrong.

Does this sound familiar

Does this sound familiar?  

  • “Our good employees are leaving the company as quickly as we train them.”
  • “We’re stressed out from being understaffed.”
  • “We’re losing too many people.”

 What can companies do to keep good people?  Let’s get started with these 5 ideas:

 1. Make people feel included

 Do you hear your coworkers saying, “Our leaders are always in meetings and inaccessible.  They don’t include us in decisions that affect us and our customers/members.”

 Solicit coworkers for their ideas on improving the work environment, inter-departmental relations, and procedures.  Report your findings … and watch how the changes can affect morale!

 2. Use both constructive feedback and positive reinforcement

 I’ve learned from research that good people are ridiculed just because they have constructive ideas on how to improve their department or company.

 People need to give both positive recognition and constructive feedback to get good results.  Good morale is built when people are told they’re doing a good job … and what they can do to do even better.  Try writing a note a week to a coworker – especially when someone took risks, calmed an irate customer, or attended a workshop.

 3. Make the environment as productive as possible

 - Partner new employees with veteran staff members so they can learn from each other.  This stops the we vs. they syndrome.

 - Find the team’s greatest assets and weakest links.  Ask what team members need from each other and other departments in order to be successful.  Then watch the team soar!

 - Learn a technique called Be Direct with Respect®.  It encourages people to tell others what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear.  Be Direct with Respect® is done in a positive manner to build rapport and relationships.

 - Create a ‘boost the morale’ committee.  Hold theme days, hold a talent contest, pipe in music, but most of all … FIRST find out what the department members consider fun!

 4. Food works

 The diversity of the workforce has introduced us to a variety of customs and delicious food, which encourages people to learn about each other.  Take a coworker out to lunch when he does something special … and of course, everyone always appreciates birthday cake.

 5. Awards make people feel great

 Suggest giving awards for perfect attendance, the best attitude, the employee who grew professionally, the safest department, the most enthusiastic team, the most organized department/desk, or even the person who brings in the best snacks.  These small gestures help people feel special and invested in their place of work.

 Conclusion

 Companies must motivate employees or fall behind in the marketplace … so join my clients in stopping your revolving door today!

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