Literacy, Numeracy– Crisis for U.S. Business: Lack of Basic Skills Threatens U.S. Ability to Compete Globally — Its Core…

Literacy is ‘core’ for the success of any business, organization, democracy… it’s the ability to read and write one’s own name, read basic information, write coherently, and think critically about written word. The inability to do so is called ‘illiteracy’ or analphabetism…

Strictly defined, illiteracy means the inability to read and write. Nuanced definitions take into account the context and purpose of the reading task; simple tasks may only require recognizing individual printed words, whereas complex skills involve comprehending the words and logic of a substantial piece of text. Some experts would include the inability to perform simple arithmetic, this deficiency is also labeled as ‘innumeracy’.

Together these rudimentary language and math abilities are often described collectively as ‘basic skills’… A few statistics: U.S. adults ranked 12th among 20 high income countries in composite (document, prose, and quantitative) literacy. More than 20% of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level – far below the level needed to earn a living wage. 44 million adults in the U.S. can’t read well enough to read a simple story to a child.

Approximately 50% of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs. More than three out of four of those on welfare, 85% of unwed mothers and 68% of those arrested are illiterate. About three in five of U.S. prison inmates are illiterate.

Nearly half of the nation’s adults are poor readers or functionally illiterate. They can’t carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job. 21 million Americans can’t read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can’t read their diplomas. 46% of U.S. adults cannot understand the label on prescription medicine. 50% of U.S. adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book…

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the– ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society

Numeracy is defined as the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts. Basic numeracy skills that consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For example, if one can understand simple mathematical equations such as, 2 + 2 = 4, then one would be considered possessing at least basic numeric knowledge. In the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report shows that among the western world countries the U.S. ranks 24th (i.e., last position)…

Workplace illiteracy is considered a business and social problem when workers are not able to read or write well enough to function optimally on the job… Perhaps most alarming is the fact that the highest levels of functional illiteracy can be found among the young, specifically, in the 18- to 30-year-old age bracket… At the heart of illiteracy in the U.S. is rapidly changing technology, and most importantly, the computerization of business and industry…

It’s not only computerization that has changed the workplace; however, the internal structures of many businesses are changing. For decades, a company would be neatly divided between managers, who did the thinking, and the rank-and file-employees, who carried out management’s ideas and plans. Nowadays, input and, especially, creative thinking are sought at all levels. Many believe meeting these challenges necessitates a literate, if not highly literate, work force…

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In the article Importance of Good Writing Skills by Randall S. Hansen and Katharine Hansen write: Academicians and business people view writing skills as crucial, yet increasing numbers of these professionals note steady erosion in the writing abilities of graduates. The summary of a study published in Personnel Update states: Writing skills … of executives are shockingly low, indicating that schools and colleges dismally fail with at least two-thirds of the people who pass through the education pipeline coming out unable to write a simple letter.

It’s been reported that 79% of surveyed executives cited writing as one of the most neglected skills in the business world, yet one of the most important to productivity. A  survey of 402 companies reported by the Associated Press noted that executives identified writing as the most valued skill but said 80% of their employees at all levels need to improve. Number of workers needing improvement in writing skills was up 20% from results of same survey, in earlier year.

Results of a study by a placement agency were almost identical: 80% of 443 employers surveyed said their workers needed training in writing skills… A report by the U.S. Labor Department noted that most future jobs will require writing skills…  According to a survey of 461 business leaders reveals that while the three R’s (i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic) are still fundamental to every employee’s ability to do the job, employers view ‘soft’ skills as even more important to work readiness.

The study also found that younger workers frequently lack basic skills including: Professionalism-work ethic; oral and written communication; teamwork and collaboration skills; critical thinking or problem-solving skills…

International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) is a twenty-country comparative study of adult literacy in the workplace and it highlighted the lack of basic skills in employed people in the U.S. and other highly developed countries. Results from the IALS study show that more than 40% of American adults lack enough of the basic literacy skills to perform most jobs adequately. For employers, this means that many employees at every level in their organizations need help to improve their basic skills in order to do their jobs well…

IALS defines ‘literacy’ as a particular capacity and mode of behavior; ability to understand and employ printed information in daily activities, at home, at work and in the community– in order to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and achieve one’s goals… IALS identified three distinct literacy types:

  • Prose literacy– knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from texts, including; editorials, news stories, books…
  • Document literacy-– knowledge and skills needed to locate and use information contained in various formats, including; job applications, payroll forms, transportation schedules, maps, tables, and graphs…
  • Quantitative Literacy ability to work with numbers and conduct quantitative operations, such as; balancing a checkbook, calculating a meal tip, completing an order form, determining interest on a loan…

In the article The New Literacy by David Warlick writes: Reading, writing, arithmetic no longer guarantee students a place in the workforce. A different skill set is in high demand… We live in a time when the very nature of information is changing; in what it looks like, what we use to view it, where and how we find it, what we can do with it, and how we communicate it. If this information is changing, then our sense of what it means to be literate must also change…

Being literate in our digital world mirrors our traditional sense of literacy. We’ll continue to access (read), process (arithmetic), and communicate information (write). But, like it or not, this information age requires skills that force 3 R’s (reading, writing, arithmetic) to evolve into the 4 E’s (expose, employ, express, and ethics on the Internet)… Traditional literacy taught us to take for granted the authority of the information we used.

With contemporary literacy, students must show evidence of that authority. Students should be able to: Find information within that vast global digital library that’s relevant to what they are researching; understand and explain what they find regardless of its format (e.g., text, images, audio, animation, video); evaluate information to determine its value; organize that information into electronic folders or other personal e-libraries… Numbers, numbers, numbers… Until about a decade ago, printed text was almost exclusively intended for reading and numbers were used for measurement and computation.

Today, thanks to digitization, almost all information can be described with numbers. They are the backdrop to music, pictures, and words on computers, handhelds, and cell phones. How we process these digitized numbers has also changed, as well as our notion of mathematics. The subject has become more important, and students can do much more of it using computers and the Internet. Students need to understand how to employ numbers to answer essential questions, solve real problems, and accomplish important goals.

They must be able to compute large sets of visible numbers using computer spreadsheets and data-processing tools… students must acquire the skills to effectively and creatively develop a message that will capture their audience’s attention. This involves being able to write convincingly and effective, and to incorporate images, sound, animation, and video. These are basics for contemporary literacy…

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U.S. literacy in crisis? According to an influential study; literacy and numeracy skills of young people in U.S. are among lowest in developed world. Young people in the U.S. lag behind most of the Western world in their mastering of basic skills of literacy and  numeracy… These findings may have major implications for the U.S.’s ability to compete in the global economy in future years – threatening it with a major skills shortage…

A federal study finds that an estimated 32 million adults in the U.S.– about one in seven (i.e., 1 in 7)– are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a child’s picture book, or understand medication’s side effects listed on a pill bottle…  According to Sheida White; they really cannot read… paragraphs or sentences that are connected.

According to Helen Osborne; to understand health information, people need a working knowledge of numbers– not just words… they need to read nutrition labels, correctly calculate medication dosages… According to David Harvey; adult literacy is a core social issue and low literacy levels are correlated with higher rates of crime, social problems, navigating the healthcare system, and we know that some of the folks who signed sub-prime mortgages didn’t understand what they were signing…

Illiteracy costs U. S. businesses billions of dollars annually, losing valuable work time providing basic skills training including English-as-a-second-language to workers. Workers who cannot read and interpret basic signs and instructions compromise safety, slow production and cause errors that affect profits, customer satisfaction, and compliance with laws and regulatory requirements. Illiteracy also affects the ability of workers to communicate with each other and function as teams…

As workplaces become more complex and technology-based, illiteracy creates a gap between the workforce and the needs of businesses. Illiteracy, which limits the pool of qualified workers from which businesses can choose, is also connected to crime, health issues and high unemployment. Business compete in a global economy that requires increasingly higher levels of education and training. Illiteracy among U.S.  workers and society in general, threatens the ability of businesses to compete on a global level. Illiteracy puts businesses at a disadvantage in competing globally with better-educated workers…

illiteracy and innumeracy in the U.S. is a crisis and policy makers must rethink the national priorities: Without question; healthcare reform, immigration reform… are important. But, literacy and numeracy are the very foundation of the U.S. as a democracy and they must take priority over all else…

Managing Expectations– Critical Difference Between Business Success and Failure: Perceived Value– Promised vs. Delivered…

Managing expectations: Expectation is the act or state of expecting something to happen… an expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen, and a belief that’s centered on the future, which may or may not be realistic…

Expectations are deeper and broader than ‘requirements’… they are a person’s/customer’s vision of a future state or action, usually unstated but which is critical to success… When the ‘law of expectations’ is taken to the extreme, it’s the media’s equivalent of heightened expectations, then it’s world of mind games, it’s– hype, spin, innuendo… and when used ethically, also known as managing expectations…

The six words every business person hates to hear are: You should have managed their expectations. For example: My customer wanted faster delivery… You should have managed their expectations. My customer wanted better performance… You should have managed their expectations. My customer is not satisfied… You should have… and so on.

However, despite all the emphasis on expectations, it’s important to be relaxed about the process; understand that you are dealing with the greatest variable ever– human beings– so if you are seeking a perfect understanding of what people expect, you will forever be frustrated… people’s needs change… markets evolve… and if you attempt to anticipate all of this– you will drive yourself crazy… In business, success can come down to one thing; satisfied customers. Yet, it can also be the most difficult result to achieve.

Perhaps the key to managing expectations is to balance what customers want and what you are capable of delivering. Managing expectations has a lot to do with perceptions, semantics, communication… Here are a few things to consider: Be specific about your customer servicing elements, such that the customer knows what to expect; never assume and don’t guess… Most important; communicate… stay organized… be open and honest…

According to Kevin Eikenberry; when you stop to think about it, expectations form quite a web having multiple connections, for example; your boss’ expectations of you and the organization; your expectations of the boss and the organization; your expectations of yourself… Think about it this way; how can you meet expectations if you don’t know what they are?

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In the article Managing Expectations by David Drennan writes: The ‘laws of expectations’, which determine people’s reaction to actual events, are as follows: Events which match expectations will gain ready acceptance. Events which exceed expectations will produce increasing degrees of happiness, delight.  Events which fall short of expectations will be met by expressions of dissatisfaction. Events which fall well short of expectations will produce increasing degrees of disappointment, complaint and protest...

The implications of these relatively simple laws are far-reaching for anyone involved in management, simply because of the frequency with which such situations occur, whether dealing with employees, customers, or colleagues (or even family and friends). Most of us have had an intuitive awareness about expectations; but, conscious awareness of their importance and power can radically alter how effectively people are managed…

According to Leo Bottary; managing expectations is one of those expressions to which we should pay more attention, but not in the way you might think. For most people, let’s face it, managing expectations is code for lowering expectations. It’s the time-honored practice of promising a Cadillac, but making sure the customer is satisfied if you have to deliver the Chevy…

What I mean by managing expectations is managing your ‘own’ expectations, such that they don’t become obstacles to you, co-workers, customers… Your choices are simple: 1) Respond negatively by clinging to what was supposed to happen; or 2) Embrace what’s about to happen… Your ability to manage your own expectations will indelibly shape your personal brand…

In the article Manage Expectations by David Alev writes: Expectations cut two ways: 1. They are a primary measure of your success: In your customer’s mind satisfaction is how close you have come to their expectations. Not, how close you were to the wording of the contract or the scope of work or even the performance criteria, but to ‘their expectations’. It may not even be the actual results of the project but the process with which you arrive there.

2. Expectations drive all of your customer’s actions and decisions: It’s not their everyday duties or their assigned role or your very rational explanations that drive them, but ‘their expectations’… In this figure, the red line represents client’s expectations, the black line a measure of the value you’re providing and the green line is client’s perception of that value.

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Notice the step down in the expectations line. That indicates expectations that have been successfully reduced. Perceived value is commonly below the actual delivered value, as the results are not always visible, not well explained or publicized. Your objective is to keep the gap between their expectation and the perceived value to a minimum…

My experience has shown that there are several components to managing expectations: Any time I’m asked about an expectations problem I respond with questions: How was the expectation set? Who set it? When did you find out about it? What have you done about it? The real advice is usually hidden in the answers to those questions…

In the article Managing Expectations by Darren Shirlaw writes: Business is about establishing relationships and managing them for the benefit of you and your customers. As a result, every company should be monitoring customer satisfaction as an on-going function. If your surveys show dissatisfaction or if you’re losing business to competitors, then look first at the product/service you offer: Your current contact with customers will fall into one of three categories: ‘Up’, where you are exceeding customer expectations… ‘Neutral’, where you are meeting expectations… ‘Down’, where you are failing to meet expectations…

According to Lisa Woods; managing customer expectations is not only about satisfying the customer but also about providing clarity within your organization, and between your organization and the customer. Clarity sets internal and external expectations. Once you have clarity, you can focus on efficiency… which leads to satisfied customers… So why do so many companies fail at managing customer expectations? Maybe it’s because they spend too much time measuring customer satisfaction and not enough time working together.

Here is an example of two different approaches a company can take: Fix problems to customer’s expectations via corrective actions, or proactively manage expectations to ensure problems do not arise… If you were the customer, which approach would make you happy, loyal and engaged? Which approach does your company take today? Managing customer expectations go beyond customer service… it’s a company culture that needs to be developed and managed. Get everyone involved and become a customer centric organization…

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In the article Golden Rules Of Expectation Management by Yaro Starak writes: The challenge when managing expectations comes down to two variables: Communication and Preconceptions; and to make things especially challenging, each person has different preconceptions based on their unique experiences… Success really comes down to understanding what people want and making sure they get it exactly how they expect to get it… If ‘normal’ is the standard and you deliver something so much better than normal, you win…

Expectations are based on what has come before; it’s important to be aware of; what is the accepted practice in your industry? And how you can do better… Managing expectations is about saying– what will the customer experience after they buy? Then, ask yourself if you’ve done a good enough job explaining about that experience to the customer before they buy…

According to Fieldwork; a major difference between usability in the sense of functionality and usability has a lot to do with people’s expectations. Indeed, expectations affect usability in several ways. Let me state three ways: Ambiguous– or worse– misguided expectations lead to non-use… People’s expectations affect the way they experience a product when they use it… A product/service that delivers on people’s expectations will, by definition, be more satisfying than one for which expectations and experiences don’t align well…

The failure to manage expectations is at least as big a culprit as the failure to make products with practical usage profiles… Managing expectations can be a real balancing act: Promise too much and people are destined to be disappointed. Promise too little and people won’t try your product…

Managing expectations is about perception, positive perceptions are critical for the success of enterprises. If the expectations of all parties involved are not clearly understood, miscommunication can easily occur resulting in; you guessed it– lost business, revenue, valued staff members… According to Frank Sonnenberg; a good precept to follow is to under-promise but over-deliver. Always try to do just a little more than the client expects.

According to Marc Angel; if you go into every day expecting that there should be universal acceptance of your ideas and thoughts, you set yourself up for disappointment: You are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, nor should you feel that others are here to live up to yours. In fact, the more you approve of your own decisions in life, the less approval you need from everyone else There’s an old expression: He who expects little is seldom disappointed; which bring up the topic of managing expectations of customers and others by ‘under promise and over deliver’.

The premise is simple: Don’t make overblown claims that get a person’s hopes up, only to disappoint them when you can’t deliver. Instead, make attainable promises that set realistic expectations, and then deliver in a way that exceeds those expectations… According to Robert Cordray; in order to successfully implement the ‘under promise and over deliver’ strategy, companies need to understand that it has less to do with lowering the bar on the ‘promise’ end, and all to do with raising the bar on the ‘deliver’ end. After all, no successful business was ever built on a weak promise. Only by offering the best possible promise– a promise that stretches limitations– and then going the extra mile to exceed the customers’ expectations, can a company experience the satisfaction and success that comes from, not just meeting, but exceeding its own expectations…

According to Annie Scranton; managing expectations is the single most important aspect to maintaining a healthy and rewarding relationship with customers… Reputation is everything; here are five steps I always try to follow for managing expectations: Be honest from the get-go; Under-promise and over-deliver; Anticipate customer’s needs before they know their own needs; Constant communication. In managing customer expectations; honesty is the best policy. Even if you have to turn down some business; making promises you cannot keep is not good business practice. Failure to live up to customer expectations will cost you business– it’s that simple…

Firmographics– Engaging B2B Target Market Segmentation: Matchmaking, Customer Profiling, Finding Market Subtleties…

Firmographics are descriptive attributes of organizations that can be used to aggregate individual organizations into meaningful market segments, for example, industries, non-profits, government entities… Think of demographics as helping organizations group ‘consumers’ by shared characteristics, then picture firmographics as helping businesses characterize ‘customers’ by shared business attributes.

Essentially, firmographics is to business-to-business (B2B) as demographics is to business-to-consumer (B2C). According to Tim Smith; companies use firmographics to define their target market, which enables them to focus resources on organizations that are more likely to be receptive to their individual messages…

In U.S. alone, there are roughly 28 million businesses as of the end of 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of these firms, roughly 75% have no employees and have little business activity, leaving only 6 million businesses in the U.S. with meaningful business activity… Firmographics can describe these organizations along many different dimensions and the most commonly used descriptive dimensions include; e.g., industry, location, size, status or structure, performance…

However, ‘Does knowing a business buyer’s revenue size tell you exactly how they manage their budgets or what types of products/services they purchase?’ No. Hence, firmographics alone is hardly adequate when trying to get a deep understanding of markets… If firmographics or demographics are all that you are using in targeting, then you must consider adding other dimensions of information, e.g., psychographics, sociographics, ethnographics… to the mix.

According to Daniel Korten; firmographics is not a one-size-fits-all approach and a go-to-market strategy based on firmographics alone will  have limited impact, e.g.; markets change, technologies change, competitors change, new distribution channels are uncovered…

For effective segmentation consider ‘best practices’: Create profiles and personas–know who’s more likely to buy by understanding current customers. Gather firmographics data and also include; demographics, behavioral… Target specific segments–tighter the fit, the better… Measure frequently–adjust as needed and evolve… Don’t get complicatedkeep it as simple as possible…

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In the article Understanding Core Customer and Building Personas by Christian Vanek writes: Most organizations define ‘most valued customers’ as any customer who has spent a large amount of money with them. If that’s how your organization works, it’s perfectly valid and that’s an easy list to pull, but here are some other factors you might want to consider before you, run off to your finance manager for a lifetime value export from your CRM and base your decisions off that alone. Here are several firmographics and behavioral factors that you might also consider in your analysis:

  • Average purchase size: How much do your customers spend in a single purchase?
  • Lifetime Value: How much money has your customer spent over their entire lifetime?
  • Acquisition Cost: How much was spent to acquire your customers?
  • Support/Retention Cost: What services do your customers use? How frequently do they need support and training? Customers that spend the most might also cost the most!
  • Customer Happiness: How happy are your customers with product, services… If you have a group of happy customers and a group of dramatically unhappy customers, what’s the difference between the two groups?
  • Value/Mission Alignment: What is the North Star for your business? Are you serving the customers you want to? If you are targeting a specific segment of market, but all core customers are in another segment instead, then you are out of alignment. That’s good to know!

Segmentation & Targeting: The ability to create and sustain a meaningful competitive advantage requires a deep knowledge of customer needs and disciplined business process to ensure that the ‘needs’ are effectively addressed. Market segmentation is a strategic process for achieving alignment between product offerings and customer ‘needs’.

Hence, the market segmentation essentials are: Optimize allocation of business resources by targeting high-value customers… Guide product development and customize service offerings to accommodate ‘needs’ of target segments… Increase promotional impact by positioning products, customizing messages to align with segment-specific orientations… But even so, successfully bridging the gap between segmentation principles and successful application is a major challenge for organizations…

Choosing the right approach requires both a clear understanding of organization objectives and intimate familiarity with the methodological options… There are literally hundreds of market-sensitive segmentation frameworks, including blended, tiered (or hierarchical), and multi-faceted segmentations, wide range of statistical techniques…

Segmentation frameworks are designed using several types of basic building blocks, often in combination, for example; demographics and firmographics or institutional characteristics, behavioral, needs and motivations, attitudes and ethos, usage or purchase occasion characteristics…

Market complexity or organizational objectives frequently require multi-dimensional segmentation schemes that draw on combination of variables to properly reflect or illuminate market structure… Hence, successful outcomes require matching a segmentation approach to a set of specific strategic market objectives and market environment…

A particular challenge posed in business market segmentation is the complex decision-making process that tends to drive selection of suppliers-products. Often, within organizations, many individuals are involved in decision-making process, each with different orientations, needs, motivations…

The challenge is to create market segmentation that properly reflects and differentiates between business customers, while simultaneously recognizing the heterogeneity of decision-making drivers that may exist within each organization. The ability to identify complex decision-making processes and mapping these interrelationships, within customer organizations, is a key concern…

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Like so many buzz words in business, ‘segmentation’ is one of those that are interpreted by folks to mean many different things. If the word ‘segmentation’ were blurted out in a room of 20 business people, chances are it would conger up 20 different images of all colors, shapes & sizes…

So, what is segmentation and how can you use it to propel your business? According to Doug Goldstein; customer segmentation is simply the grouping together of customers based on similarities they share with respect to any dimensions you deem relevant to the business. Dimensions could include; customer needs, channel preferences, interest in specific product features, customer profitability– the list goes on… The key is to determine ‘how to segment (or group) customers?’ in a way that will have the biggest impact on your business… Some experts say that ‘goal-directed segmentation’ is the only segmentation worth pursuing. It’s purely a means for achieving business ends…

The only way to answer the question of; ‘how to best segment customers?’ is to first define what your objective is for the segmentation. In other words, you must first define what you want the segmentation ‘to do for your business’… Common segmentation objectives might include; develop new products, create segmented ads and communications, develop differentiated customer servicing and retention strategies, target prospects with greatest profit potential, optimize sales-channel mix… Segmentation can be tricky and complex, and no doubt requires real expertise & experience. Putting in place a flawed segmentation strategy can be far more detrimental to a business than not having one at all…

Segmentation is by no means a cookie-cutter process and when designed the right way– segmentation strategies can provide tremendous returns relative to the default, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. No generic description of segmentation can be comprehensive, because of the infinite variety of permutations the concept invites. Just as each company is unique, so its segmentation plan will reflect that diversity– guided by your business imagination. However, there are certain guiding principles that provide a framework for segmentation process:

  • Identify best customers: Apply principles of profiling– firmographics, demographics, psychographics…
  • Identify customer needs and concerns: Identify the– what, why, when, how much…
  • Compare customer needs to strengths: One customer’s perception of value you add may be another’s disincentive to buy; and it’s important to know which is which and for whom.
  • Develop segments based on customer needs: You’re hunting for other current or potential customers who ‘look’ as much as possible like your best core customers, those whose needs best coincide with your strengths – because it is within their ranks that you’re most likely to be able to develop still more loyal, profitable customers…Here’s      where firmographics data comes into play, you may for example, discover that many of them share the same geographical, SIC code, company size, or other characteristics…
  • Grade customers within each segment: Grading is done within a segment, defining various levels of economic value within that segment. It’s a means of estimating the revenue currently and potentially available from that segment, allowing you to identify which groups are not only most responsive to what you have to offer, but can also help you to increase profits – and are therefore really key to the success of your business….
  • Validate segmentation model: Before you take action, you’ll want to validate your conclusions… the segmentation model you’ve devised should, first of all, make intuitive sense based on your marketplace experience …
  • Target resources in proportion to potential return: The reason we are combining targeting, segmentation, and grading is to optimize your ‘market-coverage strategy’.      We want to invest limited resources in inverse proportion to the return expected.      This mindset goes back to the fact that we cannot be all things to all people. Essentially, we are trying to identify best core customers and to add more of the same kind, while solidifying relationships…

Governing the Ungovernable: Ugly Organizational Conflicts, Lack of Leadership, Complexity, Disaggregating of Authority…

Ungovernable is a concept that describes conditions when– organizations, companies, governments… have such critical insufficiencies that it put them at risk for major crisis, chaos, gridlock…

Ungovernable is defined in many ways, for example; incapable of being controlled, incapable of being governed or restrained, uncontrollable, out of control, unmanageable, not governable, not capable of being governed…

The condition known as ungovernable results from organizations allowing or neglecting the rise of problems and conflicts that later turn out to be very difficult to resolve in an orderly and routine way… The question of whether or when an organization becomes ungovernable involves a normative component: A component that serves to define border or tipping-point between ‘adequate/tolerable’  and ‘insufficient’ levels of the ‘capacity’ of an organizational system to govern.

Typically, location of this border seems to be rather uncontroversial, for example; if organization, company, government… is chronically paralyzed in its ability to– make-enforce rules, provide basic services, resolve major conflicts… through adequate institutional means, then most people– including institution actors themselves– will most likely agree that a condition of ‘defective institution capacity’ is present, and that can only be healed through major organizational reform or other drastic measures…

In the phrase ‘governing the ungovernable’– the word ‘govern’ is just another word for  ‘control’ but, like it or not, organizations must be governed (i.e., controlled) in order to meet the needs of their constituency…

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In the article Simplicity-Minded Management by Ron Ashkenas writes: Big organizations are by nature complex and over the years they have encounter new and very difficult business challenges, for example; globalization, innovative technologies, regulations… just to name a few. These developments have conspired to add layer-upon-layer of complexity to the corporate structure, such that many of the leadership in these organizational is becoming dysfunctional…

As a result, the organizations are increasingly ungovernable and unwieldy; performance declines, accountability is unclear, decision rights are muddy… data are crunched repeatedly often with no clear purpose in mind… To avoid frustration and inefficiency, executives must systematically attack the causes of complexity in their companies…  Firms must develop simplicity-minded strategies: Streamline the structure; remove unnecessary management layers, prune products and services; build disciplined processes; improve managerial habits…

In the article World is Becoming More Ungovernable  by Adrian Monck writes: Global corporations are replacing the role of governments; corporations are answering the younger generations’ call for individuality… Speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Shimon Peres; said the world is becoming ungovernable; governments have found themselves unemployed because the economy has become global while governments remain national… global companies are replacing the role of governments.

The top forty global companies have more fortune-wealth than all the governments in the world, and these global corporations are answering the expectation of individuality, which defines the younger generations. Young people are not satisfied by the attempt to be equal; they are only satisfied by the attempt to be different. According to Peres; these same global companies are reducing racism; you cannot be global and racist…

Some of the main discussions at the Forum focused on three themes that will define the next generation: First, national governments– because they cannot run economies or companies, will be relegated to simple husbandry of the state. Second, there will be continuing empowerment of global corporations– they will handle global investment and innovation. Third, deeper understanding of the human mind will help people to make better decisions… According to Peres; I never lost anything by believing or by hoping… It’s better to create hope than to suggest hopelessness…

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In the article Global Survey: Who Do You Believe In Any More? by Sanjay Suri writes: In several global public opinion surveys it’s showing that people are losing faith in business government, even non-governmental organizations… Based on interviews with more than 20,000 people in 20 countries, one survey suggests– ‘an alarming picture of declining levels of trust’… According to Mark Adams; what the survey shows is people losing faith in a whole range of institutions, and this is very worrying for the world community…

The survey shows that ‘trust’– in a range of institutions– has dropped significantly to levels not seen since the months following Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the cement that holds world institutions together is coming adrift. According to Mark Adams; the loss of faith could partly be a consequence of globalization… In the world of 30-40 years, people relied on governments and companies to do everything…

But it’s now a more complicated and dangerous world out there… Governments, companies…  are themselves struggling to come to terms with a new world order, which suggests that these are no longer the firm edifices people had come to lean on in earlier times. In fact, this is a wake-up call: If institutions don’t regain ‘trust’ of people, the world will become ungovernable. People feel ‘rightly or wrongly’ that systems are not delivering… Among the highlights of the report:

  • Public trust in national governments, UN, global companies… is now at its lowest level since tracking began in January 2001.
  • Trust in government has declined by statistically significant margins in 12 of the 16 countries for which tracking data is available.
  • UN, while continuing to receive higher trust levels than other institutions, has experienced a significant decline in trust in 12 of the 17 countries for which tracking data is available…
  • Public trust in companies has eroded and declined for both large national companies, global companies… Trust in global companies is now at its lowest level since tracking began.

In  the article Land Of The Free Is Starting To Look Ungovernable by The Economist writes: When you are brawling on the edge of a cliff, the big question is not ‘who’ is right? But, what the hell are you doing on edge of a cliff? The U.S. needs to tackle polarization. The problem is especially acute in the House of Representations, because many states let politicians draw their own electoral maps. Unsurprisingly, they tend to draw ultra-safe districts for themselves.

This means that a typical congressman has no fear of losing a general election but is terrified of primary challenge. Many therefore pander to extremists on their own side rather than forging sensible centrist deals with the other: This is no way to run a country. Electoral reforms, such as letting independent commissions draw district boundaries, would not suddenly make the U.S. governable, but it would help. It’s time for less cliff-hanging, and more common sense…

According to Peter Wehner; we have heard the U.S. is ungovernable mantra before. In the fall of 1980, Lloyd Cutler, President Jimmy Carter’s counsel, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine: one might say that under the U.S. Constitution it’s not now feasible to ‘form a government.’ The separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, whatever its merits in 1793, has become a structure that almost guarantees stalemate today. The problem then, as now, was not with our system of government but with a weak chief executive…

According to John Rubino; politics has become irrelevant… not uninteresting and unimportant; but obviously the way a society organizes itself and solves problems– matters to its citizens and its place in the world…

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In the article Organization Conflict – Good, Bad & Ugly by Robert Bacal writes: Conflict that occurs in organizations need not be destructive, provided the energy associated with conflict is harnessed and directed towards problem-solving and improvement. However, managing conflict effectively requires that all parties understand the nature of conflict…

There are two ways of looking at organization conflict. Each of these ways is linked to a different set of assumptions about the purpose and function of an organization… The dysfunctional view of organization conflict is imbedded in notion that organizations are created to achieve goals by creating structures that perfectly define responsibilities, authorities, and other job functions. Like a clockwork watch, each ‘cog’ knows where it fits, knows what it must do and knows how it relates to other parts. This traditional view of organization– values orderliness, stability, repression of conflict that occurs…

However, virtually all organizations work within a very disorderly context–one characterized by constant change and a need for constant adaptation. Trying to ‘structure away’ conflict and disagreement in a dynamic environment requires tremendous amounts of energy, which will also suppress any positive outcomes that may come from disagreement, such as improved decision-making and innovation…

The functional view of organization conflict sees conflict as productive force, one that can stimulate members of the organization to increase their knowledge, skills… and their contribution to organization innovation and productivity. Unlike the traditional position, this more modern approach considers that the keys to organization success lie not in structure, clarity and orderliness… but in creativity, responsiveness and adaptability.

The successful organization, then, ‘needs’ conflict so that diverging views can be put on the table, and new ways of doing things can be created… So, the task is to manage conflict, and avoid what we call ‘the ugly’… where conflict is allowed to eat away at team cohesiveness and productivity… We have the ‘good’ (conflict is positive), the ‘bad’ (conflict is to be avoided), and the ‘ugly’. Ugly occurs where the leadership (and perhaps employees) attempt to eliminate or suppress conflict in situations where it is impossible to do so.

You know you have ‘ugly’ in your organization– when many conflicts run for years;  when people have given up on resolving and addressing conflict problems; when there is a good deal of private bitching and complaining but little attempt to fix the problem; when staff show little interest in working to common goals, but spend more time and energy on protecting themselves… When we get ‘ugly’ occurring in organizations, there is a tendency to look to leadership as being responsible for the mess, but it’s also true that the avoidance of ugliness must be a shared responsibility.

Leadership and employees must work together in a cooperative way to reduce the ugliness, and increase the likelihood that conflict can be channeled into an effective force for change… The notion that conflict should be avoided is one of the major contributors to the growth of destructive conflict in organizations…

Conflict can be directed and managed so that it causes both people and organizations to grow, innovate, improve… However, this requires that conflict not be repressed, since attempts to repress are more likely to generate very ugly situations; that’s when these situations become– governing the ungovernable…

Psychographics– Dig Deep, Know the Customers Personal Behavior Data: Understand Buyer Motivation– Go Psycho…

Psychographics describes customers; values, opinions, lifestyle… Think of psychographics as the kind of data a psychologist or anthropologist would use to profile someone, as opposed to the demographic data that a census surveyor wants to collect…

Psychographics are generally expressed as– activities, interests, opinions (AIO), and its customer research that blends demographics and psychology to give a more penetrating understanding of customer behavior. It analyzes the values, beliefs, and underlying motivations of target groups so that you can tailor your products and services to each group…

According to Anthony K. Tjan; customer research tends to be demographically-biased, and it’s time to go a little ‘psycho’ on customers– psychographics, that is… While there’s no standard psychographic profile, we can borrow some ideas from psychology: A psychographics profile should tell us about how a person interacts with the world, e.g., extrovert or introvert, analytical or emotional, what they value most– security, family, environment…

Psychographics offer an ability to understand current and potential customers in terms of the beliefs and values that drive their purchasing behavior… It’s been said demographics help understand who buys your product or service, while psychographics helps you understand why they buy. Another way to put it is demographics are things that can be observed from the outside, such as; age, race… while psychographics are internal attributes or attitudes…

According to Eric A Mann; in simplest of terms, psychographics helps you to identify your perfect customers within the pool of potential customers… perfect customers are the ones responsible for driving the bottom line – knowing who they are and why they’re your customers helps you improve your business… According to Drew Palmer; the more you know about the customer target, the better job you can do of building and delivering your message!

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In the article Psychographics by Lee Ann Obringer writes: To effectively target customers, you’ve got to determine not only who buys (or will buy) your product, but what makes them want to buy it. For example; spending patterns, whether they are brand conscious, what influences their buying behavior, what promotional efforts they respond to most often… Also, you want to know how they buy and what you can do to encourage them to buy more: The objective is to clone your best customers…

It’s important to really pick apart what motivates them to buy. The information you glean from a journey into your target audience’s brain is often key to the positioning of your products-services. This means understanding your audience’s activities, interests, and opinions, and working through– behavioral, economic, and even interpersonal factors to get to the root of purchasing behavior…

According to Marty Aquino; know your customer, that’s fundamental principle behind psychographic data in business. Psychographics allows you to see a more detailed picture of customers… Study your customers’ psychographics data to discover– spending patterns, habits…

Put yourself in their shoes, and see your product through their eyes. You may uncover that your customers prefer to be sold, for example; in-person versus over-the-phone, they enjoy sporting events with the family… Then, specific messaging can be tailored to the psychographics profile…

In the article Psychographics vs. Demographics by Barrett Crites writes: Many live and breathe by the inconsequential statistical characteristics known as demographics; often spending millions of dollars to reach a broad-as-a-barn target audience. But these demographics tell you nothing about ‘me–the customer’. Nothing about who I really am: Nothing about my interests: My hopes: My dreams: My desires: To understand those, you’d have to look at my psychographics…

Understanding the customers from the inside out will allow you to form true connection with them… Unlocking target audience’s psychographic takes work, finesse, and a keen understanding of branding. But first start by taking close look at your brand’s psychographic– understand its personality: Its nuanced essence; assess the type of products-services you offer; assign an ideal target demographic that aligns with the brand and offerings.

Then, simply put in the hours of research and psychographic modeling to understand how certain personality traits relate to the activation of consumer behavior: Do this again and again until you whittle it down to one ideal over-arching psychographic profile. Then go to market…

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In the article Psychographics Targeting Unhinged by Marty Weintraub writes: Psychographics is now the gold standard by which to hold marketers accountable. Now and forever, best-in-class execution means paid and organic campaigns that deliver seriously sliced and tagged traffic by empirical attributes, holistically across ‘social’ and ‘search’. Haven’t heard of psychographics?

Psychographics variables are any attributes connecting customers’ personalities, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. Some intellectuals also refer to them as IAO (i.e., interests, activities and opinions) variables. Psychographic variables complement and contrast classic demographic variables, e.g., gender, age… behavioral attributes (e.g., loyalty usage, habits…), and firmographic variables (e.g., industry, seniority, functional area…). Psychographics are deeper and should not be confused with classic demographics…

Here’s a word of borrowed wisdom; Zen— emphasizes the personal expression of experiential wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. Such is also the nature of ‘persona modeling’: Put yourself in the shoes, mind, actions and daily routine of a customer’s life and living habits, from mild to wild… Your creativity and intuition mean everything to this process

Humans have incredibly diverse sets of interests, personal predilections, vices, experiences, family history, pride and prejudices, and are laced with profound needs and wants. We’re all motivated by something, and afraid of other things… People are stimulated by humor, speak languages, study at colleges on advanced degrees, cheat on tests, smoke weed and get married…

They’re perverted, introverted and/or subversive, follow milk-toast political leaders and choose religions (or not)… Such characteristics can be systematically targeted in ‘search’ and ‘social’ and defined as cross-channel portfolio of attributes. Hence, persona modeling is the art of identifying which attributes are customer-definitive in confluence…

In the article Know Your Audience–Demographics & Psychographics by Connie King writes: Business success hinges on knowing your audience: Developing a demographic and psychographic profile of your audience is a crucial step in building business strategy and plan. Choosing the variables that best define the profile of their audience– variables that provide enough information about a typical member of a group to create a mental picture of the aggregate is crucial.

At this point there are two objectives: first, determine what segments or subgroups exist within an overall population; second, create a clear and complete picture of the characteristics of a typical member within the segment. Profiles change over time, and must be updated as trends and current events affect the population, in general– it’s recommended that you collect and analyze new data from time to time…

Psychographic factors are more fluid and subjective in nature and relate to the psychology or behavior of the group… Psychographic measures include, for example; customer values, opinions, political views, lifestyles, behaviors, leisure activities, desires, entertainment preferences, cultural interests and social activities… When used together demographic and psychographic factors can help target an audience with the right product-service at the perfect place and time…

According to Killeen M. Gonzalez; critical difference between demographics and psychographics is the type of information gathered. Demographics tell you who your customers are whereas psychographics helps you better understand why your customers buy in the manner that they do.

psycho thIn the article Psychographics: Science Of Knowing the Customer by Tom Buxton writes: Customer analytics goes far beyond demographics into the realm of psychographics. Although some use the terms ‘demographics’ and ‘psychographics’ interchangeably, in actuality, they are quite different: Demographics data identifies customers by broad categories, such as; gender, age, race, household income, educational level…

This information is useful, but tells very little about the customers and what sets them apart. After all, two people can have the same demographic profile and be totally dissimilar. One may be a fan of sporting events, and the other an avid devotee of crime dramas. One may read National Geographic magazine, while the other subscribes to Smart Money. Rather than viewing the customer as a small part of a larger group, psychographic analysis views each customer as a unique individual…

Virtually every person leaves a ‘data trail’ wherever they go, for example; when they use credit card, subscribe to magazine, complete survey, register to vote, change the channel on cable TV… By analyzing the data, it’s possible to know an individual’s specific buying habits and lifestyle preferences, revealing a distinct psychographic profile. With enough data, it’s possible to develop detailed customers profiles on virtually everyone… Once you know the psychographic profile of customers, you can do truly amazing things with data: It all boils down to better decision-making…

Demographics describe ‘who’ people are, psychographics explain ‘why’ they buy (and how to win their attention and motivate them to buy). By creating psychographic profiles, you are able to understand the motivational and non-conscious drives of a target audience… Psychographic profiling includes areas such as; lifestyle, culture, subculture, ethnicity, values, beliefs, hobbies, religious and political affiliation, and nearly every factor that involves subjective preferences as opposed to external classifications. Psychographics uses a host of analytic techniques derived from the psychological and sociological sciences…

However, good psychographics and psychological profiling can be difficult to do, since they require both empathy and a familiarity with psychology and psychological techniques, rather than with just a simple application of standard research techniques to subjective consumer experience… Psychographics is a valuable tool for understanding the consumer in-depth, and there are multiple data sources making this possible today. For example, social profile data, behavioral data and customer life cycle data can be leveraged to contact people who are ready to buy…

Profile data from social networks consist of all the fields users grant permission for brands to use on their behalf. Most things that users track on social networks can be leveraged to create a closer relationship with a customer… Social profile data is the critical cornerstone of psychographic insights. The level of nuance and insight provided by social data when compared to standard demographics is the difference between performing surgery with a scalpel or a butter knife…

Build a deep understanding of the customer or risk irrelevance… According to Jairo Senise; listen to the consumer: This straightforward di­rective lies at the heart of all successful businesses— by deeply understanding the potential customer’s preferences it allows you to more effectively engage customers, and better adjust business strategy accordingly…

Cost-Benefit Analysis– Important Tool for Decision Making: Yet Some Experts Say It’s Flawed, Misleading, Not Reliable…

Cost-benefit analysis: Most of us are familiar with the term ‘cost-benefit analysis’ (CBA), and have a basic grasp of it. It refers to how a project or decision might be evaluated, comparing its costs with its benefits. In many cases, it’s a like a quantified pros-and-cons list… It’s an analysis of the expected balance of benefits and costs…

Cost-benefit analysis sometimes called ‘benefit–cost analysis’ (BCA) is a systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a project, decision, government policy… CBA has two purposes: 1. Determine if it’s a sound investment/decision (justification/feasibility); 2. Provide basis for comparing investments, decisions, projects…

It involves comparing the total expected cost of each option against the total expected benefits, to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs and by how much… Cost–benefit analysis is often used by governments, organizations, businesses… to evaluate the desirability of an investment… CBA usually tries to put all relevant costs and benefits on a common temporal footing using time value of money calculations. This is often done by converting the future expected streams of costs and benefits into a present value amount using a discount rate…

The value of a cost–benefit analysis depends on the accuracy of the individual cost and benefit estimates… Cost benefit analysis helps to give management a picture of the costs, benefits, risks… The term ‘cost-benefit analysis’ is used frequently, although it has no precise-standard definition beyond idea that both positive and negative consequences of a proposed action are going to be summarized, and then weighed against each other…

The term also has no universally agreed spelling. It’s written as for example; cost benefit, cost/benefit, cost-benefit, benefit/cost… Because the term cost-benefit analysis does not refer to any specific approach or methodology, the people who are asked to produce one should take care to find out what is expected or needed. The term covers several varieties of  ‘case’ analysis, such as; return on investment (ROI), financial justification, total cost of ownership analysis (TCO)…  

All of these approaches attempt to predict the financial impacts and other consequences of an action, and they have the same structural and procedural requirements for building a strong, successful ‘case’. They differ primarily in terms of; how they define ‘cost’ and ‘benefit’ in practical terms, and the costs and benefits that are included in the analysis…

According to Nicole Gordon; cost-benefit analysis is used to decide if the cost of a solution and the economic benefits that would result from it are worth the risk. The main idea behind this strategy is that the benefits must exceed costs to justify the policy…

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In the article What Is Cost-Benefit Analysis? by Selena Maranjian  writes: Economists apply cost-benefit analysis when they want to estimate the effect of various actions, e.g., government incentive programs to support the housing market, or subsidies for certain industries, or changes in tax rates, or spending on infrastructure…

The analysis can take various forms, and can involve varying degrees of complexity and precision, everything from considering opportunity costs (i.e., what is given up by making a given choice) to applying probability estimates to outcomes, to calculating the net present value of various options (which involves translating future costs and benefits into current dollars).

Assessing the costs and benefits helps focus in on the action that offers the most bang for the buck. It’s good to remember, though, that these analyses are not necessarily precise, as they often include estimates, especially for qualitative factors… When pondering big decisions (or even some small ones), using cost-benefit analysis can help you be a bit more rigorous in your decision-making process and more confident in the final decision you make. It comes in handy in all sorts of situations, such as when you’re:

Weighing different career or job options; deciding whether to rent or buy a home, and what kind of home, too; deciding whether to attend a particular function; making financial decisions… Even if you can’t quantify all the factors involved in a decision, you might still include them on a list to help you come up with a final decision…

In the article Performing a Cost-Benefit Analysis by Stanley E. Portny writes:  Whether you know it as cost-benefit analysis or benefit-cost analysis, performing one is critical to any project. When performing a cost-benefit analysis, you make a comparative assessment of all the benefits you anticipate from your project and all the costs to introduce the project, perform it, and support the changes resulting from it. Cost-benefit analyses help you to:

  • Decide whether to undertake a project or decide which of several projects to undertake.
  • Frame appropriate project objectives.
  • Develop appropriate before and after measures of project success.
  • Prepare estimates of the resources required to perform the project work.
  • Everything gets a dollar value in a cost-benefit analysis.

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In the article Advantages & Disadvantages of Cost-Benefit Analysis by Renee O’Farrell writes: The main advantage of cost benefit analysis is its simplicity. You are simply looking at whether benefits outweigh costs. When you do this quantitatively, measuring the dollar amount of the benefits and the costs involved in a project, the cost benefit is very easy to see. This clarity means that everyone involved will understand the monetary nature of the project and the question of its continuance. Its simplicity also means that doing a CBA is easily possible for various scenarios, locations and more.

However, the simplicity of cost benefit analysis can paradoxically lead to complications; to gain this simplicity, you have to use a common measurement– one of the disadvantages of CBA. Determining the quantitative benefits of a project is relatively straightforward; you basically add up the costs and profits (benefits) and compare the two. However, when you factor in qualitative benefits, the picture can become more complicated. For example, if you are considering implementing an employee bonus program, you will obviously incur costs. In exchange, you may receive benefits like increased employee satisfaction, decreased turnover and greater productivity.

The benefits are significant but difficult to compare– apples to apples– to the costs involved… A frequently made mistake is the use of non-discounted amounts for calculating costs and benefits; typically the cost is tangible– hard and financial– while the benefits are hard and tangible, but also soft and intangible. Caution should be taken here against people who claim that ‘if you can’t measure it does not exist/it has no value’… Especially in more strategic investments, frequently the intangible benefits clearly outweigh the financial benefits…

In the article Cost-Benefit Analysis: Build a Model, Not a Number by Niel Nickolaisen writes: My frustration with this process is two-fold: First, costs and benefits often do not capture all of the things we should consider in making a decision. Second, this approach forces us to try to make decisions before we have learned enough to do so successfully… So, rather than trying to predict a number, we need to recognize that estimated benefits are highly uncertain. Even if we are good at guessing, the benefits are often beyond our control…

So break projects into pieces that do two things: first, deliver some intermediate, yet measurable value; second, allow you to better quantify the costs, considerations and benefits… So, rather than build a number, built a model… ask ourselves what you can learn, in stages, to discover whether or not you were achieving the desired benefits. Taking this approach, you established intermediate deliverables and benefits…

Not only did the piecemeal approach reduce risk, but it also gave the group the opportunity to kill the project if the decision model about the next phase did not prove accurate… Traditional cost-benefit works well for straightforward projects, but as costs or benefits become less precise and considerations become more important, I have found that building a model leads to better decisions…

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In the article Myth of Cost-Benefit Analysis by Denise Caruso writes: Cost-benefit analysis in government has long been extolled as the best method for stripping regulatory decisions of bias and anchoring them with objective, real-world economic consequences. To that end, President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1993 requiring that every regulatory proposal– even those mandated by Congress– undergo at least one cost-benefit analysis before being submitted for approval. This policy assumes that cost-benefit analysis is unbiased, but that is not the case in practice.

The flaws of cost-benefit analysis, which has gained momentum over the past 40 years, have become more apparent. Sometimes it gives government agencies or corporations a disproportionate influence over what goes into the analysis and therefore what comes out of it. Other times, it skews the results in unexpected ways simply because of hidden bias or unintentional misapplication of the data. Even when conducted with best of intentions the method is still problematic because it substitutes calculation for informed-considered judgment.

Although we need not abandon such analysis altogether, we must recognize how and why it’s subject to misuse and abuse… The main problem with cost-benefit analysis is that it requires translation of all value of a given proposal into economic terms. To proponents, this is its chief asset because the cost-benefit approach uses economic value as a universal metric; they say it’s a neutral tool that monetizes risk and benefit in least bias way to judge the impact of regulatory decisions.

But quantitative analyses are never neutral. To be useful, any data, including economic data, must be considered in the context of the decision that is being made. Also, no matter how clever the mathematics, certain key inputs in a cost-benefit analysis cannot be translated into economic value… For example; security and safety, the preservation of wildlife and open spaces, the reduction of fear in a community and scientific uncertainty in fields that spawn technology innovation… are all economic intangibles, and omitting them when they are clearly important factors should invalidate the analysis. But it never does…

Cost-benefit analysis can be an effective tool to analyze simple, one-dimensional problems, such as; whether to install dividers on dangerous stretches of highway, where relatively unambiguous data is in abundant supply and there is little controversy. It also is a good way to elucidate the trade-offs for a given policy or regulation, or to produce a summary statistic about its economic efficiency... But the cost-benefit method loses its authority when it’s used to assess more complex decisions. It’s inadequate for evaluations of interventions that will affect many different dimensions, such as; markets, economies, health, environment, endangered species…

Cost-benefit analysis is also inappropriate for products or processes over which there are disagreements about benefits or about which outcomes are important, such as; new medical technologies like genetic testing… And, it should never be used as the basis for regulation in the presence of scientific uncertainty or value conflicts, or in an area where there are no authorities one can trust to know all the answers, as is the case with biotechnologies, e.g., genetic engineering, stem cell research…

Decisions like these require a more expansive methodology– one that isn’t dependent on the affectation of translating all value into economic terms– that is more transparent and responsive to outside criticism– and pragmatically represents the interests of everyone involved: industry, government, citizenry…

Comparing Management Styles– Search for Best Most Effective Style of Management: U.S., Europe, Asia, India, Brazil, Russia…

Management style is a method of leadership that’s employed for running a business, organization, project… it’s methodology for managing people, resources, expectations… and for achieving business goals, objectives…

its getting employees to work together in harmony on a common platform and achieving the very best performance, productivity… it’s an approach for making decisions that relates to the organization, managers, and subordinates…

Management styles must be adaptable, such that they are consistent with the culture of the organization, nature of the task, nature of the workforce, and personality and skills of leadership. Every style has its own unique characteristics and strong points, shortcomings, methods for getting work done… According to Jack Welch; my main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds from time to time too…

According to Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt; the style of management is dependent upon the prevailing circumstance; leaders should exercise a range of management styles and should deploy them as appropriate… According to bhattathiri; Western idea of management centers on making the worker (and the manager) more efficient and more productive…but it has failed in ensuring betterment of individual life and social welfare. It has remained by and large a soulless edifice and an oasis of plenty for a few in the midst of poor quality of life for many.

There is an urgent need to re-examine prevailing management disciplines – their objectives, scope and content. Management should be redefined to underline the development of the worker as a person, as a human being, and not as a mere wage-earner. With this changed perspective, management can become an instrument in the process of social and indeed national development.

According to Björn Stansvik; there is no blanket answer to the question: What is the best management style? Different styles are called for at different times in different situations with different colleagues… There is no one style which suits all people and all situations. The most effective managers and leaders must find ways to adapt their individual styles– it’s often said of Sir Alex Ferguson; he knows which players need an arm round the shoulder and which ones need a kick up the backside...

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In the article U.S. and European Management Styles by James Heskett Baker writes; there are marked differences in the social environment for management in Europe and U. S. In some parts of Europe, they foster management policies that may encourage more balance in a manager’s life, between work and private activities and risk and stability; whether this will produce sustained economic superiority or a model to be emulated in the U.S. is debatable…

According to Antonio De Luca; if one has to generalize, it’s fair to say that U.S. pursue risk, and Europeans seek stability– (leading) to fewer opportunities with more limited financial rewards, but possibly more balance for Europeans. The solution, as usual, is a sensible convergence of these two nuanced cultural approaches…

According to Roy Bingham; points out that U.S. management style seems to work best when the key needs are– speed, aggression, last-minute genius, take-chance, inspiring leadership. In boom times when it’s expansion at all costs–pick U.S. style. At other times the more deliberate, consultative European approach is your ally…

According to Jose Pedro Goncalves; I take issue that there is a European style of management, pointing out that there is no one style. In some parts of Europe (as a manager)– I’m a human being. In other parts; I’m just a number. In general we (Europeans) are more human, but less flexible…

According to Dr. B.V. Krishnamurthy; the search for that elusive concept of the ‘best management style’ continues, although one could argue from lessons learned that there may not be a ‘best’ style, for example; centralization and decentralization can go together, flex-time and tele-working are meant to improve productivity, and many of the ‘either/or’ concepts can be treated as complementary, to be used with discretion…

India management style– according to Gunasekar C Raharatnam; I doubt if there is clear approach that can be described today. Some might point towards the many family owned and managed business organizations in India, some of these are large corporate entities and leaders in their industry but most are small tightly controlled family businesses. Even such family businesses are increasingly being controlled by the recent generations of well-educated inheritors. The management ‘styles’ are changing and perhaps shifting more towards Western styles that are being pushed by management schools…

India is an enormously hierarchical society and this, obviously, has an impact on management style. It’s imperative that there is a boss and that the manager acts like a boss. The position of manager demands a certain amount of role-playing from the boss and a certain amount of deferential behavior from his subordinates… Managing people in India requires a level of micro-management which many western business people feel extremely uncomfortable with but, which is likely to bring the best results…

Brazil management style considers a manager’s personal style to be of great significance and it could almost be said that his or her vision/bearing is viewed as of great an importance as their technical abilities… Relationships are of key importance in this Latin culture and the boss and subordinates work hard to foster a relationship based on trust and respect for personal dignity. First and foremost, managers are expected to manage.

The boss is expected to give direct instructions and it is expected that these instructions will be carried out without too much discussion or debate (if there is debate it should be done in private to avoid showing public disrespect to the hierarchy)… Decision-making in Brazil is often reserved for the most senior people. Taking the time to build the proper working relationship is crucial to success. Coming in as an outsider is often difficult, so it is advisable to have a third-party introduction… Often the people you negotiate with will not have decision-making authority. Decisions are made by the highest-ranking person.

China management style tends to follow Confucian philosophy: Relationships are deemed to be unequal and ethical behavior demands that these inequalities are respected: Older person should automatically receive respect from the younger and the senior from the subordinate. This is the cornerstone of all the China management thinking and issues such as empowerment and open access to all information are viewed by the Chinese as, at best, bizarre Western notions

Management is the directive, with the senior manager giving instructions to their direct reports who in turn pass on the instructions down the line. Subordinates do not question the decisions of superiors – that would be to show disrespect and be the direct cause of loss of face (mianzi) for all concerned… Although Western type management styles are beginning to have some influence with the younger generations…

Japan management style emphasis the need for information flow from the bottom of the company to the top: Senior management is largely a supervisory rather than ‘hands-on’ approach. Policy is often originated at the middle-levels of a company before being passed upwards for ratification. The strength of this approach is obviously that those tasked with the implementation of decisions have been actively involved in the shaping of policy…

The higher a Japanese manager rises within an organization, the more important it is that he appears unassuming and not ambitious. Individual personality and forcefulness are not seen as the prerequisites for effective leadership. The key task for a Japanese manager is to provide the environment in which the group can flourish. In order to achieve this he must be accessible at all times and willing to share knowledge within the group. Manager is seen as a type of father figure who expects and receives loyalty and obedience from colleagues. In return, the manager is expected to take a holistic interest in the well-being of those colleagues: It is a mutually beneficial two-way relationship…

Russian management style tends to be centralized and directive. The boss, especially the ‘big boss’, is expected to issue direct instructions for subordinates to follow. There is little consultation with people lower down company hierarchy. Indeed too much consultation from a senior manager could be seen as a sign of weakness and lack of decisiveness. Middle managers have little power over strategy or input in significant strategic decisions.

The most powerful middle managers are the ones who have the most immediate entrée to the decision-maker at the top of the organization. There is little point in wasting time debating with middle managers who do not have an easy access to the top. The most significant reason for delay in reaching a decision in Russia is that the decision has not been put in front of the real decision-maker…

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Several Observations About Management Styles by Noted Experts: Management ‘Theory Z’ is a name applied to three distinctly different psychological theories. One was developed by Abraham H. Maslow in his paper Theory-Z and another is Dr. William Ouchi’s so-called Japanese management style popularized during the Asian economic boom of the 1980s. The third was developed by W. J. Reddin in Managerial Effectiveness…

Abraham Maslow, a psychologist and the first theorist to develop a theory of motivation based upon human needs produced a theory that had three assumptions: First, human needs are never completely satisfied. Second, human behavior is purposeful and is motivated by need for satisfaction. Third, these needs can be classified according to a hierarchical structure of importance from the lowest to highest… Maslow’s Theory-Z in contrast to Theory-X, which stated that workers inherently dislike and avoid work and must be driven to it, and Theory-Y, which stated that work is natural and can be a source of satisfaction when aimed at higher order human psychological needs…

The original Theory-X and Theory-Y were both written by Douglas McGregor, a social psychologist who is considered to be one of the top business thinkers of all time… According to Dr. William Ouchi; Theory-Z must increase employee loyalty to the company by providing a job for life with a strong focus on the well-being of the employee, both on and off the job… The secret to Japanese success, according to Ouchi, is not technology, but a special way of managing people. This is a managing style that focuses on a strong company philosophy, a distinct corporate culture, long-range staff development, and consensus decision-making…

According to Brian Tracy; perhaps the most important single factor in what makes an environment a ‘great place to work’ is trust. Trust exists when you can say; I can make a mistake at work without being criticized or fired. When people feel free to try new things in order to do the job more effectively, increase quality, and improve customer service, all of their time, attention, and energy is focused outward, toward getting the job done better.

An inspiring leader is the most important person in any organization. The ‘leader sets the tone’ by the way he talks, behaves, responds to others, and treats people every day: When the leader treats people with courtesy and respect, everyone follows the lead and treats coworkers, and most important customers with the same courtesy and respect…

The biggest job of a manager is to drive out fear and, in fact, one of the best measures of a high performance workplace is the degree to which people feel free to question the boss and disagree with his ideas or decision… The greater freedom that people have to speak up and express themselves, without fear, the more positive and powerful the work environment becomes…

According to Lee Polevoion; successful business leaders must first understand their own management style, then they must be flexible enough to adapt-modify their style, as necessary, in order to motivate-cultivate the most productive work environment possible…