The Right Approach

Author: Mandar Shinde / Labels: , , ,

The Right Approach

How many times have you tried to approach the senior-most person in your organization? Most of the times, the CEO's and MD's are approached for very wrong reasons, resulting in not_so_positive response from them, which you interpret as unwillingness to be approached. Mentioned below are some common reasons for which top bosses are approached:

.Personal touch – Highlighting your work in your organization is often mistaken with highlighting yourself. You try to e-mail or call or meet the top boss just to say 'hi'. People driving their businesses will never block you directly for personal reasons, as they understand the value of their employees – top to bottom. At the same time, they have neither the time nor interest in your personal matters. You send your wedding invitation, they will say, “I'll try to attend”. You send new year greetings, they will reply, “Same to you”. These replies do not necessarily mean you have the rapport with the top boss. Do not boast you receive 'casual' mails from them, many others too, might be receiving them.

.Detective reports – You feel your immediate boss is misleading the team and misguiding the management, what do you do? Send an 'inside' report to the top boss? Or try to make direct meeting to explain 'real facts'? Two questions for you. One, are you dead sure the top boss is not aware or involved in what your immediate boss is doing? Two, what are you hired as – a secret agent? At your level you never know who makes the decisions and who executes. And complaining about your own boss or department questions your own integrity. If the top boss does need your assistance, he will approach you for your inputs. And in that case, please provide “facts”, not “views”.

.Salary issues – Bargain your price at the time of joining an organization. Once joined, you become a part of the existing payment system. Try to influence the management with your work and achievements, not with personal requests of salary increment. Your stories about family responsibilities, loans, health problems, and other liabilities, can earn you sympathy from the top boss. At the same time, your capability and intentions to be with the organization are prone to criticism. Try to understand what you have to do to get a rise, instead of cooking stories of how badly you need more money.

These are some representative cases of wrong approach to the top. So, what could be a right approach?

.Business view – Not every employee can exactly share the top boss' vision. However, you are the master of your work, department, or activities. Try to think of a possible enhancement in your process or department, that could drastically reduce the cost or magically boost the sales. Now, try to approach the top boss with your idea, which purely is your initiative. However silly or small that idea be, the top will always be willing to give it a thought. Whatever fate your idea earns, you, as the originator, get noticed.

.Rise to the occasion – There are times when the top needs assistance from all the levels, especially the ground level. These expectations often cross the typical roles and responsibilities definitions. Grab these opportunities. Prove to the top that you can go out of the way, when required.

There may not be too frequent opportunities to approach the top, right way. But then, identifying the right one and grabbing it, is the key, isn't it?

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5S - Simple steps to improve working

Author: Mandar Shinde / Labels: , , ,

5S is a method of organizing your workplace and workflow, to improve efficiency and quality of work. Literally, 5S is combination of five Japanese words, starting with the letter 'S'. This method can be applied in your professional as well as personal life.

1. Seiri - Sorting. Remove the unnecessary.
- Sort your documents and items as per requirement. Keep only necessary and remove the unnecessary.
- Review files and folders on your computer. Store only necessary and delete/backup unnecessary.

2. Seiton - Systematic arrangement. Place for everything and everything in place.
- Keep frequently used items closer to you.
- Define specific locations to store all necessary documents and items. It is recommended to stick name tags on the drawers/shelves/containers, where these items are stored. Ensure that they are stored at their designated place only.
- Prepare a list of folders, broadly classified according to contents, on your computer. Ensure that all documents are saved in corresponding folders only.

3. Seiso - Cleaning. Keep the workplace clean and tidy.
- Cleaning your workplace should be a regular activity, rather habit.
- It makes the place more pleasant and worth spending time at. It also increases your confidence about availability and accessibility of necessary items.
- On your computer, clean your desktop, recycle bin, and major folders regularly. Remove unnecessary shortcuts, files, and documents. It will help improve performance of your system.

4. Seiketsu - Standardization.
- Prepare standard procedure of above 3 activities.
- Make index of items and documents, by numbering them in logical manner.
- Maintain a list of items, documents and their locations.
- Also, mention names of persons responsible to follow above 3S's. Explain the standard procedure to all concerned persons.
- Maintain a master document having links to all necessary documents on your computer. Prepare schedule for backup, upgrade, and cleanup of your documents and software.

5. Shitsuke - Self Discipline.
- Ensure that all above 4S's are followed.
- Once the procedure is standardized, everyone concerned must follow it, until new improvement is suggested or some unavoidable reasons are surfaced.

Benefits of 5S:
- Reduce searching time. You know where to look for particular item.
- Increase productivity. The time and energy for searching are saved.
- Improve quality of work. You can focus on core activities.
- Satisfaction of working, without draining your time and energy, and delivering quality results, all the time.

Hobby your work

Author: Mandar Shinde / Labels: , , ,

Hobby your work

Liking what you do can give you success; but doing what you like will give you both success and happiness.

What is a hobby?

Hobby is something you always want to do.
You do not compromise on anything related to your hobby.
You do not have to 'spare' time for your hobby; you always manage to follow it all the time.
You do not need to ask for permissions or assistance from others to follow your hobby.
You do not have to worry about money to be spent for your hobby, you always prepare for it.

Isn't that true, for any kind of hobby you follow?

Now, replace your 'hobby' with your 'work' in above scenario. How does it sound? Let's see.

Work is something you always want to do. (really??)
You do not compromise on anything related to your work. (is it??)
You do not have to 'spare' time for your work, you always manage to follow it all the time. (difficult??)
You do not need to ask for permissions or assistance from others to follow your work. (how nice it would be!!)
You do not have to worry about money to be spent for your work, you always prepare for it. (sounds interesting, doesn't it??)

Now that you have almost understood why 'your work is NOT as pleasant as your hobby', let us see if we can really eliminate that 'NOT' from this statement.

(Although you can try and implement these ideas in your job, this article would be most applicable for business oriented people.)

One basic challenge all business people face is, to maintain their interest in their work. In a job, you have an option to switch your company, role, boss, or domain. However, in business, you have to work out hundred things before you think of a switch in product, service, or even your location. So how will you ensure that you will always remain interested in your business product or service? Think over it this way – if your business offers a product or service that you yourself buy or use very often with your choice, things would be much simpler!

Now, you must be thinking - 'I buy branded products or avail service from experienced providers in market. How can I beat this competition?' Okay, improve your observation! Analyze the product/service from a critic's view. Look for any obvious loopholes or defects as your grievance in the existing (branded) product or (experienced) service. Also, think of any improvements that yourself would pay for, if added to existing product/service. Now, analyze what and how you can work to eliminate the defects and add value to the same product/service.

By now, you must have figured out something to start working on (that too related to your hobby!). Now who will pay for your product/service? Who should be your target customers? Simple – if you are ready to pay for this product/service, there would be many people thinking like you! You just have to identify them. How??

Join groups related to your hobby.
Discuss your hobby with your colleagues, relatives, friends, neighbors. (I am sure you do not need any training or preparation to talk about your hobby.)
Share your experiences about existing products/services and be prompt to grab the opportunity when others start looking for a better option.

How does it sound? Interesting, isn't it?

(If you can observe yourself, you have thoroughly read this article just because it emphasizes more on hobby than mere work. That's the key!!)


Author: Mandar Shinde / Labels:

"Success itself, is best defined as the progressive realization of predetermined goal."

The speed of our progress is of minor importance. Of major importance is the direction in which we are traveling. We must stay on the main highway and not be led astray into detours.

Case Study – Sales Communication

Author: The Performer / Labels: , , , ,

Case Study – Sales Communication

How many of you, working as Sales Executive/Manager, have experienced the frustration about your potential clients not returning your calls? Almost all of you, at some point of time, right? Let's analyse the case and see why this happens.

The Case:
The potential client typically said, "We need your product/services, please send us a business quote customised for our industry". Now after providing all the details and repeated follow-up calls, you are wondering, what happened so dramatically, that the client is not even answering your calls? Why do they behave in this way?

Possible Reasons:
- Client’s request is misinterpreted as immediate wish to buy. Enthusiastic sales people try to reduce ‘enquiry-to-order cycle time’ to seconds! This results in false impression, ‘Send me a quote’, being concluded, as if the client will place an order the moment he receives the quote.

- ‘It’s not a priority now.’ This can happen almost overnight. Changes in demand from customers of your potential client, tricky market situations, or simply a new Boss can be the most common reasons, why they no more need your product/services urgently.

- ‘I am an expert, I know in and out of this product/service.’ Many times, someone at the client’s end feels he has all the required information and there is no need for further discussion.

- ‘We are totally packed in another project/audit/daily work.’ This is not always a lie; you have to believe this sometimes. You can even judge this from the situation in your own office. In most of present organisations, people have many things to complete within tough deadlines. The client wants to come back and discuss with you, but just cannot make it right now!

- Just for reference and comparison. Many times client needs your quote for comparison, to justify to the management/team to place order with your competitor.

It’s important to find out the reason for client’s silence before further investing in this case. Let’s see how:

- Don't give up. Maybe your potential client wants you to maintain the follow-up. There should be no harm in contacting 5-6 times before jumping to conclusion.

- Keep adding value in each follow-up call. Don't just say, "Hi just calling you as a follow-up on our quote. Call me if you need any other information". Instead, you can say, "Hello, I believe you have realised how our product/services can be a great push to your efforts in cost control. We can discuss and explore some more ways to customize the product/services bringing it closer to your requirements." This way you can stress on potential loss due to delayed purchase decision.

- Are you following up too frequently? After 2-3 unsuccessful attempts, increase the gap in subsequent calls by days, weeks, or even months.

- Use different communication tools. Use phone calls with e-mails, invitations to the upcoming events, forwarding articles, testimonials etc. Try to express yourself as an expert in this field.

- Discover multiple contact points in the client’s organisation. Identify and develop multiple relationships within the potential organisation.

- Plan for future actions. Be prepared with the follow-up schedule and agenda for next meeting/call. By identifying symptoms of unwillingness, you can further evaluate the seriousness and/or urgency of the need.

- Try a little bit of fun. After repeated attempts to contact, leave a funny message as, ‘I know you're very busy person, but I also know that reducing your production cost is important for you. That's why I keep bothering you. Can I have an opportunity to talk to you instead of your answering machine?’

- Let them have some breathing space. E-mail the potential client stating, ‘We thought you were interested, but as we have not heard from you since long, we might have misjudged your need.’ This can get you a response and perhaps an explanation from the client (who might be feeling guilty of not communicating).

By trying out some of these different options, you should be able to get some clue on the status of the need. This should help you decide whether to look forward to the client as potential one or to move forward with another client.

Business Etiquette

Author: The Performer / Labels: , ,

Good Manners

It takes 15 seconds to make a good first impression. And you spend rest of your life to repair it, if it was negative one. Hence, be prepared to present yourself as the best of you.

Right Handshake
Handshake is universally accepted way to greet people and introduce oneself in the corporate world. It should be warm, firm and should lasting about 3-4 seconds.

Business Introduction
In business introductions, rank and designation are considered more important than age and gender. Whenever you are in situations where you have to introduce a colleague to a senior person or your client to your boss, always say the name of the most important person first to show respect.

Always call during regular working hours. Call back or answer voice messages within one working day.
Remember mobile phone is only for emergencies. Switch off your mobile while attending a meeting.

Effective Business Correspondence
Reply to all business emails within one working day, maximum two.
Always use sentence case.
UPPERCASE means you are shouting; lowercase shows you are lazy.
Always use email signature, giving your complete contact details.

Perfect Business Attire
What you wear is a sign of your respect for the other person or the organization you are working or interacting with.
Observe the dress code of your workplace.
On casual dress days, wear business casual clothes.

The Business Luncheon/Dinner
Remember, a Business Meal is for eating and networking.
Place the napkin on your lap and do not wipe your face or nose with it.

The Value Business Referral
Referrals are invaluable to business.
When people give you a referral or a sales lead, thank them.

Skilled Business Networking
Corporate parties, cocktail receptions, office parties are excellent places to network.
Office parties are an extension of the office environment; so appear on time, dress appropriately, drink in moderation.

The Smart Business Talk
When meeting prospective clients or business associates, to initiate the discussions and get the business talk going, start with introductions and by asking general questions.

Value Time, Value Business
Time is precious; time is money.
Be time conscious and stick to the rules of punctuality.

The Friendly Office Environment
Be polite and courteous, even to those you do not like, to avoid fights and negative tension.