If you are in the business of selling, who are you selling to? Do you know the characteristics of your customers? To target your marketing well, you need an archetype, which marketers call the ‘Buyer Persona’ or sometimes the customer or marketing persona. And sometimes they use ‘Avatar’.
Each of these terms means the same thing. If you do the work, up front, of characterising the people you want to sell to, you can better target your marketing.
The story of stakeholder engagement is a familiar one.
The term stakeholder starts as a new coinage. It becomes a word of art, understood by a select few. It then takes on a very public persona, widely used and at the heart of public discourse.
So managers seek to manage their stakeholders because it’s what they do. That’s their nature. Until we start to realise the category error that represents. And so, a gentle revolution brings us to today, and stakeholder engagement.
Total Quality Management, or TQM, is more than ‘just’ a quality initiative. It is an approach to management that cuts across all aspects of an organisation. It has a deep story that stretches back to the 1920s and beyond, yet its principles are as relevant today as they have ever been.
While some of our Big Ideas came to the world of management and made themselves relevant there, Total Quality Management started in the business world. And here it remains.
But I’m not talking about the nasty mixture of cough syrup and soda that is hooking young Americans on codeine and promethazine.
I’m talking about the current favourite method for reducing corporate corpulence, which has been popular for nearly twenty years.
But don’t for one moment think Lean is a passing fad. Its day will come, for sure. But its pedigree is a rich one. And whatever will replace it must share many of its aspirations and principles, just as Lean shares much with TQM*, BPR* and much that has gone before.
For some people, the idea of networking seems less appealing than dental extraction. You’re in a room full of people you don’t know, and you have to ‘make contacts’. Business networking gets a bad rap.
But let’s look at it objectively. Talking to people, making alliances, helping others, and finding people you can trust… They are hardwired into whatever it is that makes us human. We are social beings.
The ‘Social Network’ that is Facebook did not become a global colossus because it invented something new. It did so, because it gave us an easier way to do what we do naturally: connect with other people.
Strip it of its management-speak baggage, and networking is not just a big idea. It is The Big Idea that gave humans our route to world domination. It is the source of our common humanity.
Teams are a good thing. No one doubts that. So, how can we doubt the benefit of team building?
Team building has become a multi-million Pound/Dollar/Euro… industry. Search for it online, and you’ll find dozens of service providers offering everything from cake decoration to high risk expeditions. But:
Mindfulness is your capacity to focus on what matters to you, and use your brain’s capabilities to their fullest potential.
Put like that, who wouldn’t want to enhance their mindfulness?
So, it’s little wonder that this Big Idea is constantly resurfacing through human history. The label ‘Mindfulness’ may suggest a Twenty First Century fad, but the ideas behind it and the techniques that underpin it have millennia of credibility.
How do you adapt traditional project management into a rapidly changing environment? One that is characterised by shifting priorities and high uncertainty. Arguably, you don’t need to – project management has always had the tools for this. But, with the Agile Manifesto of 2001, software projects have a new paradigm. A modification of traditional approaches, called Agile Project Management.
And make no mistake… Agile has become a ‘Big Thing’. In fact, it bears some of the hallmarks of a fad, while also having a lot to offer an informed organisation with wise and pragmatic project leaders to call upon. But, as with all good ideas, it also attracts its converts and zealots.
Of course, here at Management Pocketbooks, we tend to eschew extreme and simplistic ‘right versus wrong’ arguments in management. We’re here to suck out the good stuff and brief you on what it is and how to benefit from it.