It’s often more honoured in the breach than in the observance. But, CSR (or Corporate Social Responsibility) has moved from a ‘nice to have’ add-on to being an obligation many of the world’s largest corporations are embracing.
Yet, while some do it with relish, others display more reticence. And it sometimes seems that no two of them have the same interpretation of what it means. After all, the centuries old profit motive is easy to define and straightforward to measure. But social responsibility… Is that about development, fairness, environmentalism, or what?
We know what the oldest profession is… And the second oldest. But up with them, dating back to the earliest times in human history is the business of retail.
When Ug sold an arrowhead to Og, he became a retailer. And when Ig bought goods from Ug to sell, rather than make them himself, he moved sales from the factory gate to the retail market.
We may not all work in retail, but I’m prepared to bet that every reader of this article has experienced it as a customer. It is so pervasive, that one has to wonder: do we really need an article about it?
The Pareto Principle – also known as the ’80-20 Rule’ – is one of those ideas that crops up in many places. It is ubiquitous because it is an expression of a general principle of nature. It is an example of a power law. Extremely long rivers are rare. Small ones are very common. A small number of words appear frequently within a language, whilst there are very many words that we hardly use at all.
But what makes the Pareto Principle a valuable version of this phenomenon is that it is easy to articulate and understand. And it is therefore easy for managers to apply, to get better results. Consequently, since Joseph Juran rediscovered and named the idea in the 1930s, it has become an indispensable snippet of knowledge, for anyone in management.
Scientific Management was the first real revolution in management thinking. And it owes much of its vigour and many of its flaws to its founder, Frederick Winslow Taylor.
In the closing years of the nineteenth century, Taylor was observing inefficiencies in the manufacturing plants of the United States. And he was finding patterns of disincentives, poor work practices, and waste. If only, he thought, the modern workplace could be revolutionised by the Scientific Method. And he was the man to set about it. In so-doing, he created the discipline of Scientific Management.
Kaizen should be at the heart of every business and organisation’s operating model. After all, who could deny the appeal of Émile Coué’s* affirmation:
‘Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.’
But personal affirmations on their own, they don’t create change.
Kaizen does. It translates from the Japanese as change (kai) for the good (zen). And it comes with action. So, what is the origin of this big idea, and how can you implement Kaizen in your organisation?
Marketing is about making potential customers aware of your products or services. And the Marketing Mix is how you balance your investments across different ways to achieve this.
As recently as 100 years ago, marketing was hardly practised and didn’t have a name. Yet now, with so much choice of things to buy, businesses need to get our attention and grab our interest. They need to find ways to create a market for goods that our great grand-parents couldn’t have conceived of, let alone needed. So what are the different strategies they can use to do this? That’s the Marketing Mix.
Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is now increasingly referred to as Learning Needs Analysis (LNA). This is a reflection of the far wider range of options for how we learn at work. But, regardless of terminology, just what is Training Needs Analysis, and how can you do carry it out?
At the heart of this Big Idea is a recognition that we all need to learn new stuff, to improve our work performance. Life-long learning is a good thing in itself. But as job roles change, and as we move through our careers, it is a necessary part of working life too. So, Training Needs Analysis does what its name implies: it is an analysis of the training or learning we need, to do our job (or our next job) as well as possible.
When the idea of Monkey Management first appeared in 1974, it was a big hit. And, rightly so. It clarifies how managers easily get drawn into over-work, and sets out rules for how they can avoid it.
The Monkey Management idea comes from William Oncken Jr. It first emerged in one of the most-requested Harvard Business Review articles. He then revised the details when it became the subject of one of the best-selling One Minute Manager books.
No self-respecting manager can afford to be unaware of the principles of Monkey Management. So, let’s take a look at it.