Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meeting Facilitation Skills

If you have any interest in the future of your company, you need to consider formal training for your management staff. These men and women are in the trenches in almost every aspect of your business; managing customer issues, employees, daily operations and thousands of other concerns every day. Your managers must be equipped to handle stress and make decisions based on what will be best for your company overall. is an established management training company that provides new supervisor training along with many other specific courses that teach everything today's managers need to know; including meeting facilitation skills, diversity training, and project management skills. Your managers will feel much more confident and capable of making decisions during the course of their jobs if they have been prepared with formal training.

Good management skills are not something most people are born with. Technical knowledge and a good personality are no substitute for knowing how to get the best from your subordinates. While there may be a few people who have a natural predisposition to be good managers, most will need to be taught the specific tools for excelling in these positions.

This is especially true if you've hired someone with little or no management experience. New supervisor training from can prepare even your greenest manager for what lies ahead, and will give them the confidence they need to make assertive decisions about your business. A manager without experience can have a hard time maintaining the respect of your employees. Meeting facilitation skills, for example, can be the difference between a productive meeting and a waste of precious company time.

Don't send your managers out to do their jobs without the proper tools. Even if you've hired good people, they can always use additional support for taking on the constantly evolving challenges of today's workplace.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Start Up Business Financing - Are You in Search of Finance For Your Business?

The initiative of starting up a business is something very good. But the simple notion of starting up a business is sometimes plagued with certain thoughts of indecision or thoughts of canceling the whole idea of starting up a business. What is known is that a lot of people are afraid to get into business because they are troubled of loosing. This is because they might have previously experienced losses or might have seen others fail in business. It should be kept in mind that most of the failures often experienced in business are failures related to finances.

The fear of loosing should be something inherent in every business owner and particularly to those just getting into business. This fear is also experienced by those already established in business. But in most cases, they are very worried about sources of finance for their businesses.

One of the main ideas at the back of this article is to identify the various sources of financing a business as well as identify the various tools to take the business through to a stage of profit maximization. How can you seek for the finance necessary to run your business?


Loans are one of the commonest forms of securing finance for the business. Loans are commonly obtained through commercial banks and these will normally be made available to those who can show some convincing form of credit worthiness. However, the conditions over which loans are given will vary from one lending institution to the other.

One of the best ways to approach these lending institutions is to come up with a business plan which can be appreciated by the lending institution and also establish that your proposal has the least form of risk that can be thought of. Keep in mind that banks will prefer to put their money where they realize that risks are minimal or insurable than where risks cannot be insured. You must also make sure that you are a legal entity and that you have the necessary collateral to secure the loan.

Angel Financing

This is a type of scheme in which you will normally come up with a business program and present it to an individual or group of individuals who are willing and able to provide the necessary capital for the running of the business. It is common to find such groups working in a network today. You will also have to know about the various networks and how they function ahead of seeking financing from it.

Angel financing is also sought for and will be provided to businesses with very high risks. This will also warrant these financiers to demand for high returns on their investments. In most cases, what they stand to gain will be twenty or thirty times above the value of what they put in. This is a very expensive form of financing but it is probable that it can be made available to young business owners with businesses that have a high probability to expand. If you cannot get the required financing from a lending institution, you may opt for this form of financing.

Financing From Venture Capitalists

Venture capitalists are investors who gather money with the aim of putting it in businesses that are still at their inceptions or businesses that are experiencing insurmountable financial hurdles. Such business may lack the capital or personnel to direct the business and they may also be involved in businesses that have high prospects of making huge profits. However, those who provide finance under this type of scheme will want to have a considerable measure of influence over the affairs of the business. Business owners should therefore be wise enough on the amount of influence which they will accord to these investors.

There are other sources from which finance can be provided to the business. The business may decide to sell some of it shares to the public. It can also opt to sell what it acquired in the form of assets.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Today's Market Outlook

Let me introduce you the brand new "Today's Market Outlook".
Here comes the first...

DOW Closes Lower, US Futures Decline, Will BAC be Nationalized?

The Dow Jones Industrial average closed yesterday at 7465.95, its lowest in six years after breaking through its November 2008 support level. US Futures are also on the decline on concerns that government stimulus packages to the banking an auto industries will not prevent this recession from getting worse. As well, consumer prices were up 0.3%, the first gain since July 2008, as energy costs rose, however, inflation is expected to be nil for the next 3-6 months as the economy is expected to continue its downturn.

DOW Reached Lowest Point in Six Years


Thursday, February 19, 4:55PM EST

The Dow Jones industrial average is ending at its lowest level in more than six years. The Dow has hovered around its lows of November since Tuesday when the blue chips tumbled 300 points. The Dow's finish below the Nov. 20 mark leaves the index its lowest level since Oct. 9, 2002. Worries about the economy and, on Thursday, the strength of the technology industry, weighed on stocks. The Dow is ending down 89.68, or 1.2 percent, at the 7,466 level. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 9 at the 779 level.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Responsive Manager/Leader

The Responsiveness Paradigm outlined elsewhere in this newsletter is applicable at a number of levels. For example, it applies to organizations in general, and the ability of the organization to respond to the needs of customers, staff and other stakeholders (eg. politicians, etc). It applies to non-supervisory staff, and their ability to respond to the needs of their managers, customers and co-workers. This month we are going to look at responsiveness as it applied to managers, leaders and/or supervisors.
Influence Of The Responsive Manager

The responsive manager tends to succeed by building bonds of respect and trust with those around him/her. Staff respond positively to responsive managers; they work more diligently, work to help the manager and the organization succeed, and will go the extra mile when necessary. That is because responsive managers act consistent with the principle that their jobs are to help their staff do their jobs. So, a basic inter-dependence emerges based on behaviours that show concern, respect and trust.

Responsive managers also influence those above them in the hierarchy. Because responsive managers have the ability to read and act upon the needs of their "bosses", they are perceived as helpful and reliable, or in a simple way, very useful. This allows them to get the "ear" of people above them in the system, and further helps get things done when needed.

Contrast this with the limited influence of the UNresponsive manager. The unresponsive manager is restricted in influence because those around him/her do not respect or trust them to look out for their welfare. Influence is more limited to the use of power coming from the formal position, and fear, a motivational component that is hard to sustain over time. Unresponsive managers tend to be perceived as self-interested, or at best uninterested in the needs of those around them. They also tend to be perceived by those above them as less reliable and less useful due to their focus on empire building, organization protection, and self-interest, rather than getting done what needs to be done.
How Do They Do It?

Responsive managers apply a number of specific skills and abilities to the task (as outlined generally in The Responsiveness Paradigm article). Above all, they appear to be "withit". Withitness

has a number of components. First withit managers are able to put aside their concerns to listen to (and appear to listen to) those around them. As a result, they know what is going on, and know what is both said, and said between the lines. They have the knack of appearing to know what people need even if those needs are not expressed directly.

However, knowing what is going on, and identifying the needs of those around them is not sufficient. The responsive manager also acts upon that knowledge, attempting to help fulfil the needs of employees, superiors, etc. Responsive managers wield influence to solve problems for those around them, often before even being asked.

Here's an example:

I was responsible for automating an office system in a government department. As happens sometimes, the Management Information Systems people were not keen on our going our own way on the project, despite the fact that they had indicated they could not do it for us in the near future. As a result their cooperation (needed for the project) was patchy. As team leader, I faced a number of roadblocks, despite the fact that our Assistant Deputy Minister wanted to see this project come to fruition. I regularly reported back to our Director, outlining progress and roadblocks. Every time I communicated roadblocks to the Director, they were removed within a short time, despite the fact that I did not request direct action. In addition, the Director advised and counselled me on how to deal with the "systems people" so I could have maximum impact. Despite the roadblocks, the project was completed on time and was very successful, much to the chagrin of some of the systems people, who I think were hoping we would fail.

This is a simple story, but one full of meaning. In this situation the Director was able to identify the project leader's needs with respect to the project, listening carefully, and identifying actions she could take to "smooth the path". Not only was the Director able to remove obstacles and fulfil the need of the project leader, but the Director responded on a deeper level, helping to teach the Project Leader methods of becoming more effective, fulfilling yet another need. All of this was assumed to be the proper role of the Director, and was done without expressing all of the needs specifically or explicitly.

We can contrast this with the unresponsiveness of the MIS people. They lectured, they fussed, they predicted dire consequences, rather than offering consistent, responsive help. They focused not on responding to the needs of their clients, but on some other factors having to do with control, and their own needs. Eventually, their lack of responsiveness resulted in the very thing they did not want; loss of control of the project. As a result of this project their overall status in the organization suffered, simply because at both an organization and individual level they were seen as barriers, rather than useful.

Let's look at one more example.

An employee had been working for a government branch for about a year, having moved to the city as a new resident. In a casual conversation, the supervisor noted that the employee wasn't looking at his best, and asked how he was feeling. The employee explained that he hadn't been feeling well lately, and sounded very tired and overwhelmed. The supervisor determined that the staff member didn't have a local family doctor, asked if he would like the supervisor to arrange an appointment, and proceeded to do so immediately. The problem turned out to be a minor one.

In this example we see again the ideas of "withitness" and responsiveness. The supervisor was able to identify that the staff member was in need of some help, despite the fact that the staff member did not state this explicitly. Note that the supervisor didn't pressure the staff member to go to the doctor, but identified needs, checked them out, and then acted upon them. In this case, help consisted of direct, helpful action.


These two examples are the stuff of loyalty and commitment. They are remembered years and years after the fact, and continue to extend the influence of managers. In this sense responsiveness is a critical component of management success, because it allows managers and supervisors to get things done, for the benefit of all players.

In the limited space we have, we have attempted to give you a feel of what responsiveness means. You might want to extend your own understanding by considering some of the following questions.

1. If you are a manager or supervisor, how can you modify your own behaviours so that you become and are perceived as more responsive by a) your staff, b) your boss and c) your customers?

2. Again, if you are a manager or supervisor what is your definition of the "responsive employee"? Can you identify your "favourite employees", and consider how they are responsive to you? Our bet is you will find that your most valued employees are responsive.

3. If you are non-management, what would you need to do to be perceived as more responsive by the people around you?