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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

GETTING WHAT YOU WANT


One thing is certain. Negotiations are very important in conflict resolution, personal relationships and in business. Negotiation is an art and often it has to be learned to be effective. Every day we are involved in some form of negotiation, with oneself or sometimes called rationalizing, with another person, with a group of people, and even between nations. However, one should keep in mind that negotiations are possible only if both parties are willing to negotiate.  Negotiations occur in parenting, marriages, divorce, relationships, at work, at home, and within an organization or between companies.  A negotiation also happens in business dealings such as buying a house or a car. In the real estate industry a certified negotiation expert may have an edge in clinching a deal. Oftentimes we hear such saying as give-and-take, talks, dialogue, discussion, bargaining, mediation, diplomacy. These are in most instances really negotiation. The intended aim of negotiation is compromise and making concessions for agreement; after pressing and relevant issues are clarified, areas of common ground are identified, points of differences resolved, course of action has been decided, and mutually satisfactory agreement has been achieved. Knowing you have negotiation skills would immediately boost one’s confidence and assertiveness and preclude any possible confrontation. To be successful in negotiation, instead of coming to the negotiation table caught off guard or vulnerable, one should be totally prepared and spontaneous.  Instead of appearing intimidating one should be more relaxed, approachable and inviting. Instead of being impatient, one should be very patient, unhurried and tolerant. Instead of talking more, one should be more intent on listening. Instead of ignoring conflict one should pay more attention to it. Instead of arguing one should tactfully handle objections, identify common ground, and harness the power of persuasion by using both verbal and non-verbal persuasion skills. A win-win negotiation usually leads to long term gain and contentment. . “Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate” President John F.  Kennedy 1961.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

SO YOU WANT TO BE A PERSONAL BANKER?


Do you like meeting people from all walks of life? Do you like sales and marketing? Do you have excellent math skills and customer service skills? Do you have any educational background and /or work experience in sales, marketing, economics, finance, securities, commodities, investment, and the banking industry? If you have answered yes to all of the questions mentioned, then there is a likelihood that you may just be the personal banker everybody feels comfortable to work with when it comes to money management and banking services rendered by banking institutions.

A personal banker is a professional who performs banking duties and oversee investment and financial activities for personal accounts. A personal banker must have a very strong knowledge of the banking and investment industry. Certain characteristic traits that are desired include being polite and patient. Daily practice of listening skills is part and parcel of mastering the delicate art of customer service, which can spell a difference in acquiring and attracting new clients for the bank.

Completion of High School is the minimum educational requirement to work in a bank. However, for an entry level personal banker, a bachelor’s degree in economics is desirable. Most banking institutions provide intensive on the job training for new hires especially on numerous products and services offered to its customers. It is not uncommon for personal bankers to start as tellers before becoming personal bankers. And later on become licensed personal bankers, assistant branch managers, or branch managers.  A personal banker may branch out to being a business banker or a financial adviser. Along the way, personal bankers register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  To be registered with FINRA, personal bankers must be employed for four months and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. Other licenses may be required depending on the services a personal banker will be offering to his or her customers. Requirements may vary between states.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP


A leader is a person who guides or leads, and is at the helm of a group, an organization, a community, a state or a country.  Leaders are in the forefront of our society. They are everywhere, in the political or public sector or in the business or private sector. They are the civic leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, world leaders, industry leaders, technology leaders, corporate leaders, business leaders.  Leaders are said to have the power to charm and inspire people, has great influence, and possesses a compelling force on the opinions, actions, and behaviors of a big majority of the population. Leaders however are either respected, revered, well liked, even admired or hated, feared, disliked, frowned upon depending on the leadership traits, qualities, skills and leadership styles. Oftentimes, a leader is confused with the word manager. A leader is different from a manager. A manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate while a leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. Nevertheless a manager can be a leader if he or she possesses basic traits and personal leadership qualities, skills and developed leadership style.

Leadership on the other hand is the position or function of a leader. There are different versions written about the basic traits of leadership. However, here we want to focus on the basic innate traits of leadership which are desire, motivation, charisma, energy-level, and ambition.

Warren Bennis, a modern leadership guru identified six personal qualities of leadership as follows:

1.  Integrity
2. Dedication
3. Magnanimity
4. Humility
5. Openness
6. Creativity

In 1985, in his book titled: Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Warren Bennis interviewed 60 corporate leaders in America and found four common leadership skills as follows:

1. Management of Attention
2. Management of Meaning
3. Management of Trust
4. Management of Self


Just as the word leader is confused with the word manager, leadership is also confused with the word management. Leadership is an important part of management. Leadership is different from management. However they are both linked and complementary.  Management produces a degree of predictability and order while leadership produces change.  John Kotter, a former professor of Harvard Business School believes most organizations are under led and over managed. Effective organizations need both strong leadership and strong management.

There are different leadership styles. A leader’s beliefs, values and assumptions definitely have a bearing on overall leadership style. More importantly how a leader approaches the elements of motivation, decision making and task orientation will also affect the style of leadership.
In 1939, psychologist Kurt Lewin led a group of researchers and identified three leadership styles:

1. Authoritarian or Autocratic
2. Participative or Democratic
3. Delegative or Free Reign

Among the three styles of leadership the participative or democratic was found to be the most effective style of leadership.

Do you know how good are your leadership skills? Find out by taking this brief Leadership Skills questionnaire.


Friday, August 31, 2012

HAPPINESS IS A SKILL


Look at people around you, at work, at home, on the street, in your neighborhood. How many happy people do you see daily?  My guess is as good as your guess, not a lot. Why? It is a work in progress. Most people have not mastered the skill worth developing and that is HAPPINESS.  What is the end result if a person has mastered the skill of HAPPINESS?  Definitely a very positive benefit because not only is the person very approachable; a happy person is easy to be with and very flexible, simply because he or she is a happy person. Why are people unhappy with their lives, with their jobs, with their marriage, with their work, with their environment? Does more income or wealth necessarily make people happy? I guess not. Have you heard about happy peasants and miserable millionaires? Just like other skills, happiness is a skill that anyone can acquire, learn, develop, experience and reap tremendous benefit from. It is insignificant how long a person lives; it is of more importance how a person lives his life. Don’t you agree? Are you in most instances the person who wants to be right every time? Do you complain a lot and feel resentful? Do you fear change in your life and try to predict negative situations that hasn’t occurred yet? Are you unsupportive, cold and unforgiving towards other people? I hope you have answered NO to all these questions. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Keep in mind; in every moment of your life you have a choice.  Choose to be HAPPY. Do not wait or try to find Happiness because it might take a lifetime. Do something now.  Start learning a new skill, which is HAPPINESS.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SO YOU WANT TO BE A MANAGER?


When opportunity presents itself, are you going to seize it? Yes, take action; right now, accept the managerial position offered to you. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Aside from being able to Plan, Organize, Lead, and Control, here are Ten (10) questions to ask yourself in order for you to better understand what you are getting into as you go up the management ladder; first as line manager then as middle level manager and finally as top level manager
  1. Are you able to assume a figurehead role in your organization and achieve your organization's goal?
  2. Are you able to coordinate and interact with employees, train, mentor, and encourage high performance?
  3. Are you able to serve as a liaison, link and coordinate people inside and outside your organization to achieve desired goals.
  4. Are you able to keep track, monitor and analyze information internally and externally and use it to achieve your organization's goal?
  5. Are you able to effectively disseminate and transmit critical information that will have a bearing in influencing the attitude and behavior of employees?
  6. Are you able to assume the role of a spokesperson and use information to positively influence people in and out of the organization?
  7. Are you able to assume the role of an entrepreneur and decide upon new program and projects to initiate and invest?
  8. Are you able to assume responsibility for handling an unexpected crisis or event?
  9. Are you able to assume the role of allocating resources between functions and divisions, and likewise setting budgets?
  10. And finally, are you able to assume the role of a negotiator and seek to find solutions between other managers, customers, unions, as well as shareholders?
If you have answered yes to all the questions above; and as long as you do not misuse your power and influence, adhere to your vision, and use wisely your persuasion and communications skills, you will be a successful manager.

Monday, July 30, 2012

UNIVERSAL SKILLS


 Are you planning to apply for your next job? Then you must be thinking about knowing if you have transferable skills for your next job. The specific job-related skills that you may have at your present job may or may not be considered transferable skills. Examples of job-related skills are driving a bus or operating a forklift. Examples of transferable skills are using a computer or delegating authority.  If you possess transferable skills then you have universal skills.  So let us define what universal skills are. Universal skills are abilities and skills that are applicable or common and can be used in any job or in any location. They are therefore transferable skills.  The more universal skills you have acquired throughout your education or life experiences plus all the adaptive skills you have likewise acquired, the better chances you have in succeeding in your next job.

 Here is a list of eight (8) universal skills that all of us could acquire and be universally competent as well.
  1. Computer Skills- Essential computer skills are always required in the universal or global workplace. The more knowledge on information media and technology, the better.
  2. Management Skills- The ability to organize human resources and tasks to achieve specific goals is always needed.
  3. Interpersonal Skills- Simple, yet complicated day to day activities could have disastrous results if one does not have the ability to get along with others.
  4. Communication Skills- How a person conveys written, verbal or visual communication across an  organization reflects a person's ability as far as communication is concerned.
  5. Foreign Language Skills- The ability to speak a foreign language or several languages would be very ideal in getting the message across so to speak.
  6. Leadership Skills- The ability to motivate each and every one in the organization to contribute and work towards a goal and not letting anything get in the way is what makes a leader a valuable asset to any organization.
  7. Innovation Skills- The ability to think creatively, critically and the ability to solve problems and immerse in research work is one universal skill not everybody possesses.
  8. Teamwork Skills- The ability to be a group member and working collaboratively with a group of people, providing constructive and positive feedback and setting aside personal conflict between individuals is the epitome of universal skills.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

SO YOU WANT TO BE A STRATEGIC PLANNER?


Whenever an agency, corporation or organization starts talking about future activities or future expansion or growth, they are thinking and strategically planning to effectively reach a long term goal. In all likelihood the Strategic Planner is not only the person responsible for guiding a company through rough and tough financial obstacles, but also the person answerable for assisting the company achieve its primary goal of increasing revenues and consistent profitability. Nearly every industry has a need for a Strategic Planner.  The Strategic Planner is a vital member of the management team. He or she is involved in the CEO led strategic planning process. The Strategic Planner formulates strategies, suggests improvements or changes to existing corporate plans, policies and procedures by assessing the company’s environment, workforce and  resources;  carefully defining the mission and vision, identifying objectives and priorities, developing business plans and choosing strategies to optimize near-term growth. A Strategic Planner determines where an organization is heading over the next year or over the next five years by reviewing the organization to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. More often than not, the Strategic Planner is also involved in strategic management, strategic discussion and strategic initiatives.
As far as education, the position requires a bachelor’s degree in business management, marketing, or finance. Other degrees include engineering or science. An MBA from a leading business school is of course preferable as well as experience working as a Strategic Planner in major corporations. Certification and membership in professional organizations such as Association for Strategic Planning  or Strategic Planning Society or Strategic Management Society offers a lot of benefits as well as credibility for its members who wants to be updated with the latest trends and body of knowledge related to the field of strategic planning and management.

 Some of the skills that are important for a Strategic Planner include:
  1. Leadership skills
  2. Facilitator skills
  3. Conceptual skills
  4. Analytic skills
  5. Problem solving and decision making skills
  6. Judgment skills
  7. Project management skills
  8. Presentation skills
  9. Market research and financial analysis skills
  10. Interpersonal skills


Friday, June 29, 2012

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF STRATEGIC PLANNING


Strategic planning is a very complicated management tool. There are numerous approaches to the strategic planning process, yet there is only one focus which is on results or outcomes. One thing should be very clear, strategic planning is not concerned on how outcomes are achieved, but is bent on defining what those results or outcomes should be.

Strategic planning has a very colorful history that dates back to ancient Greek civilization.  The term “STRATEGY” is derived from the Greek word “STRATEGOS” which means “General” or army leader. Annually each of the ten ancient Greek tribes elected a “STRATEGOS” to be its leader. Most of the elected leader ended up to be both politicians as well as generals of the tribes.

In modern times, strategic planning has its roots from the Harvard Business School. The Harvard Policy Model was developed and taught in the early 1920s to students of the Harvard Business School. The systematic assessment of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats or SWOT Analysis came from the Harvard Policy Model.

In the late 1950s, Igor Ansoff, known as the father of strategic management came up with the Product-Market Growth Matrix which focuses on two dimensions, the products and the markets.

In the early 1970s, the Product Portfolio Model of strategic planning is attributed to the Boston Consulting Group founded by Bruce Henderson. It is also known as the BCG Matrix.  It revolves around the interrelationship between market share and market growth.

In 1979, Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School formed the business strategy model known as Porter’s Five Forces Analysis. The five forces are: Bargaining Power of Suppliers, Bargaining Power of Customers, Threat of New Entrants, Threat of Substitute Products, and Competitive Rivalry within an Industry.

Strategic planning became a standard management tool in almost every Fortune 500 company. Strategic planning continued to be a private sector undertaking. However, in the late 1980s, the public sector steadily emerged and embraced strategic planning as reformers expressed their desire to run government more like a business. Among the pioneering States that took a strategic approach to public sector planning were the State of Oregon and Texas. With the passage of the Government Performance & Results Act of 1993 all federal agencies are now required to write a strategic plan that includes first and foremost, the mission statement, followed by outcome based goals and objectives, description of how goals will be achieved, what are the resources needed and finally how objectives will link to performance plans. The strategic plan also includes a list of external influences on goals and a program evaluation schedule. Every year, all federal agencies are required by the GPRA bill to write an annual performance plan and to submit an annual performance report. The performance report will compare actual to planned performance levels.