Thursday, August 11, 2016

If appraisals need a tune-up, then what’s next? - CGMA Magazine

If appraisals need a tune-up, then what’s next? - CGMA Magazine:

Traditional employee performance appraisals are being called outdated and arbitrary. Here’s how to turn them into useful conversations.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, CPA, CGMAIf anybody knows the ins and outs of employee performance assessment, it’s Kathleen Fitzpatrick, CPA, CGMA (at left). As the former human resources director for Johnson & Johnson, she was responsible for the corporate wellbeing of more than 125,000 employees, helping the multinational corporation unify HR practices across roughly 250 companies.
Yet she can trace much of her perspective on performance reviews — a pressing topic for business leaders lately — to the experience with just one person.
Early in her career at the medical products manufacturer, she had learned that one employee wasn’t working well with others. Her direct report seemed to be faltering under the pressures of the job, an issue that Fitzpatrick knew she would need to address in her first performance appraisals with her new team.
The conversation happened in Fitzpatrick’s office. She delivered a score on a 9-point scale and an evaluation of the employee’s issues, per protocol.
The reaction? “A breakdown, right away,” she said. “Denial. Shock.”
The issue: It was the only major assessment that the employee had received that year. The meeting delivered months of feedback in one unbearable load to an employee who was feeling stressed and vulnerable already. The human brain doesn’t operate by the year — whether calendar or fiscal — especially when business roles can change by the day. So Fitzpatrick vowed to make a change.
“I’ll never surprise a person again,” she told herself as the devastated employee fled her office. She decided that from then on she would watch and instruct her team with the tenacity of a sports coach. She embraced constant communication.
Fitzpatrick’s experience is just one instance in a body of anecdotes and research foreshadowing significant changes in how companies evaluate and develop their employees.
The uncomfortable ritual of the infrequent or impersonal employee performance assessment is dying, or at least shrinking. In recent years, the performance review has been maligned as an outdated and arbitrary system that attempts to compress people into just a handful of variables, while ignoring factors that may be limiting or benefiting them.
Its most trenchant critics say there’s no purpose in ranking employees at all. At the least, companies are trying to make performance assessment a friendlier process. Giant after giant — Accenture, Adobe, Microsoft — has announced major changes, in some cases eliminating numerical ratings and increasing the frequency of communication in an effort to retain employees and meet the demands of an information-hungry new generation.
About 43% of respondents to a recent CGMA Magazine survey said that their employers had instituted major changes to performance reviews in the past three years or were in the process of doing so. They most commonly reported that reviews were becoming more frequent, with more self-evaluation, more peer evaluation, and a greater number of automated systems for tracking metrics. Still, some 55% said the reviews they received were not serving them well.
“Until recently, business leaders haven’t really been expected to be as rigorous about human capital issues,” said John Boudreau, professor of management and organisation at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, who has published extensive research on performance management.
“With increased volatility and uncertainty, there are lots of experiments today. But what’s consistent is this idea of empowering employees to make decisions themselves — to understand the connection between what they do and what motivates them.”

Find the roots of discontentment

Businesses have been trying for at least a century to distill the rules that will select and advance their best employees. At the dawn of World War I, industrial psychologist Walter Dill Scott brought scientific rigor, in the form of intelligence and aptitude tests, to the hiring processes of companies such as the American Tobacco Co.
Scott’s “man-to-man” scale, developed first for salesmen, came to widespread use by the US Army during the Great War. By the end of the war, a team of 7,000 analysts had interviewed and ranked more than 3 million troops on a slate of five metrics, from physical fitness to leadership qualities, according to an article published by Harvard University’s Business History Review in 1962.
Even then, the researcher saw his ratings as a way for companies to engage their employees. As the Harvard periodical described his philosophy: “The important thing was for the employer to have a sincere interest in the welfare of his men and to make each employee feel that his job was essential and worthy of his best efforts.”
But those higher ideals couldn’t hold back the surge of cynicism that has crashed against his creation. In fact, the revolt has been building for decades.
“This idea that performance reviews are flawed and bothersome to people, and don’t meet their objective — it’s been around since I started in the profession in the ’80s,” Boudreau said. And the latest revolt is the strongest yet, he said.
Some see it as a reaction to the cutthroat competition exemplified in the 1980s by policies that pushed out low-rated employees. Companies today are starved for talent and less willing to shed employees on a schedule.
The increasingly flexible job definitions of the knowledge economy may also be more difficult to capture in a standardised review form. Business literature, meanwhile, has come to emphasise a style of management that is far more empathetic to employees. No matter how precisely it’s defined, the new thinking goes, the traditional review might amplify the way a supervisor’s biases and the company’s own flaws shape employees’ performance.
But none of this should be taken, Boudreau said, as evidence that the performance review should be eliminated. Done right, he said, an assessment can be a crucial connection between employer and employed.
“I don’t think it’s really a rejection of being evaluated,” he said. “In a number of studies, people are saying, ‘I really want to be evaluated. I want to know how I’m doing.’ ”

Turn reviews into conversations

Research on performance management emphasises one key assessment: the quality of the discussion with the individual, Boudreau said.
In the new conception, the performance assessment doesn’t pretend to quantify the employee so much as it tries to assure and improve the relationship between the employee and the manager.
“You tell the boss, your job is to help the employee do a better job — first to learn what the employee wants and then to help him or her get it. The bosses’ job is to get the chemistry right,” said Sam Culbert, professor of management and organisations for the UCLA Anderson School of Management and author of the bookGet Rid of the Performance Review!
These relationships, of course, are murkily human things — but they still can be tracked and managed. In some post-review companies, the human resources department tallies the number of contacts between employees and their managers, offering cues at opportune times.
“I’ll send little triggers: You should start doing a quick review. Anthony’s an entry-level, he’s already worked 95 hours — he needs feedback,” said Kevra Esposito, human resources manager for Wilkin & Guttenplan PC, which recently eliminated its annual performance appraisal programme.
This change to a more frequent schedule also can encourage managers and employees to spread the work of assessment into more manageable chunks.
“One of the huge weaknesses I’ve observed in the process is people not setting enough time aside for the conversations,” said Rona Purdham, FCMA, CGMA, a UK-based management consultant who previously was finance director for European human resources at Kellogg Co.
“There’s all of these requirements to do evidence gathering, whether it’s customer feedback forms or examples of work — but, in my experience, people leave it to the last minute.”
More-frequent interaction can yield stronger relationships — or, at the least, deliver criticism and praise about a project before it’s lost to memory.
“Just using an annual cycle doesn’t really … allow you to have a consistent set of alignments and goals that you’re working on throughout the year,” said Brenda Morris, CPA, CGMA, senior vice president for finance at retailer Hot Topic. “I tend to like more routine get-togethers, and think that a quarterly goal and scorecard review is the better way to go.”
Christian Meloni, ACMA, CGMAChristian Meloni, ACMA, CGMA (at left), senior vice president for Belgian chemical company Solvay, suggested that this is a challenge for the entire organisation and that communication should be a focus for the training and advancement of managers. His company is trying to encourage a loop of continuous conversation, making its biannual reviews a “formalisation” of what’s discussed every week.
“You may be a very good performer in your role, but if you are not able to develop people, or develop your team, after a while this becomes a strong limitation — and this is a strong incentive,” he said.

Acknowledge bias to improve relationships

Some of the deepest concerns about employee appraisals can’t be addressed through more conversation alone. Assessors are vulnerable to biases — most obviously involving race, gender, and social status — that can result in unjustly lower scores and limited opportunities for some employees.
“By virtue of being in South Africa and being a black woman and being young, I’ve encountered all of that,” said Kume Luvhani, ACMA, CGMA, an operations technology manager for an international bank’s presence in Africa.
Older white colleagues have at times eyed her with suspicion, she said, perhaps thinking that her career was fast-tracked by diversity hiring practices.
“No matter what we do, the honest truth is biases will always be there, and all we can do to minimise them is to ask a vast range of people for their feedback,” she said.
An improved assessment system can somewhat alleviate those concerns by ensuring that a single person’s biases don’t shadow another’s career. On Luvhani’s team, employees and managers are reviewed by a diverse group of three to five colleagues. The group also is testing an application that will allow employees to leave comments anonymously about superiors.
“We’re trying to encourage those open communication lines,” she continued, “and remove the fear.”
Culbert suggested that employees will put more faith in supervisors who acknowledge the limitations of their judgements.
“People aren’t objective. Self-interests are intertwined in everything a person does. And trusting relationships are built on the basis that we’re in it together. You have to make it real,” he said.
“Use ‘I’ speak. The boss talks about what I believe, he believes, she believes — about their needs, not the employee’s deficiency.”
A well-designed appraisal also can help to balance the power dynamic between supervisors and team managers.
“You could have a tyrant, and you don’t realise it because they manage up really well,” Fitzpatrick said. “There has to be some mechanism to get feedback from their employees.”
And that balanced relationship can make a review far more effective, no matter how often it’s happening, according to Deborah Myers, CPA, CGMA, a manager of financial product performance for Warner Bros.
“It’s supposed to be a two-way conversation. The boss can learn things from me,” Myers said. “The annual process — if there’s someone who’s administering it who’s keyed in to their employees and their growth — it can work.”

Create new avenues for advice

With career paths increasingly unpredictable, the “review” can’t simply measure progress toward the next promotion. Instead, it’s a chance to plot the path ahead.
“People in the early stages of this career find this process very dynamic. They can identify where they want to go and where their gaps are,” said Richard Adam, financial controller for Omega PLC, a UK-based kitchen products manufacturer.
The manager and the performance review, in the traditional view, are the principal guides for an employee looking to ascend the ranks. The manager tells employees what to do, and the review shows how well they’ve done it. A new performance review system can turn that assumption on its head.
“On the other side, it’s also that the employee himself is invited to take ownership of his career, to be proactive, to ask for more feedback from his manager and from his other colleagues,” said Meloni, of Solvay.
But if that’s to happen, companies must offer new avenues for support and feedback. For example, peer-to-peer partnerships, Culbert said, can help “high-structured” employees adapt to a world where jobs are loosely defined and promotions aren’t a function of time on the job.
“Their buddy would come out with them once a month, look at the situations they faced, and make supportive suggestions,” he said. “It gives them alternatives.”
The same tactic can help new employees set their course through the company.
“You choose a mentor, and you’re expected to meet with that individual four times a year,” said Kirsten Thompson, CPA, CGMA, and human resources director for the advisory and accounting firm HW&Co. “The protégé sets the agenda: ‘These are the things I need to work on’ — and then the mentor gives their suggestions.”
Many companies also have incorporated colleagues’ perspectives into the assessment, surveying relevant parties across the organisation to create “360” evaluations. This strategy can ensure employees get credit (or criticism) for their work beyond the department’s boundaries, but Culbert warned against making this commentary anonymous, as many companies do.
“Everything needs to be contextualised,” he said. “It’s ignorant to assume that if it’s anonymous, it is objective. That would mean that hate mail is objective.”

Setting expectations

Dick Grote, who writes and consults on performance management systems, sees value in rating and differentiating employees.
“Performance appraisal, for all the gripes and kvetches and moans, is probably as much a vital business process as budgeting is,” he said.
“In spite of all the stories we read about companies abolishing performance appraisal, the reason it isn’t happening is simple. If people don’t know what they’re expecting of them, and they don’t know how they’re doing, they’re not going to prosper.”
What’s changing, most certainly, may be the form of those answers. They may come weekly instead of yearly. They may arrive as spoken words, not decimal-point figures. And the results, perhaps, will be seen as a reflection of employee and boss alike.
“Historically, we use [performance appraisals] as an opportunity to tell employees what it is that they’re doing wrong,” said Elizabeth Nilsen, CPA, CGMA, the CFO for FKP Architects in Houston.
“As managers, we need to be so much stronger, and we need to see ourselves as mentors and as guides.”
These ideas about the quality of relationships reflect Walter Dill Scott’s vision of an employee satisfied by an understanding of the connection between her daily tasks and the company’s bottom line.
“Ultimately, that’s what you’re reviewing,” Boudreau said. “That’s what performance is: the thing that connects the employee to the broader goals of the organisation.”
Editorial Director Jack Hagel and Senior Editor Samantha White contributed to this report.

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How to prepare for Brexit’s effects on supply chains - CGMA Magazine

How to prepare for Brexit’s effects on supply chains - CGMA Magazine:

Trade and the supply chain between the UK and Europe are two of many areas that will be affected over the coming years by Great Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Though the exact nature of the changes will not become apparent for some time, mapping supply chains can help companies understand both the risks and the opportunities these changes might bring.
Risks generated by Brexit include the possibility of tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU, leading to higher costs for manufacturers and higher prices for consumers. Customs controls would increase the administrative burden on companies, and revised border controls could make crossings between the UK and continental Europe less predictable, resulting in longer lead times. Possible changes to freedom of movement for EU nationals means access to talent is another risk for the UK’s logistics sector.
These factors and the lack of concrete information about future trade arrangements with the EU have caused concern among UK businesses and their suppliers across the Channel. However, the event provides opportunities for businesses that stay abreast of the changes and seek ways to capitalise on them, said Richard Wilding, professor of supply-chain strategy at Cranfield School of Management.

Mapping risks and opportunities

Mapping your organisation’s supply chain can help you assess your level of exposure to Brexit risks and identify any opportunities, Wilding said.
Brexit will affect the four areas of supply-chain design (outlined below), he argues, and companies should explore the likely impact on each and scenario plan for those eventualities. Though the details of what will change may be uncertain, the process of thinking about the scenarios is vital and will reap benefits for all areas of the organisation.
Process: The need to update, adapt, and modify processes so they remain relevant in the post-Brexit context provides an opportunity to improve efficiency.
Wilding gives the example of border crossings: Customs clearance could be achieved more quickly if data about a shipment were sent to the relevant authority in advance of its arrival in that country. Fewer issues are likely to arise, reducing delays, because the authorities are expecting them and can perform security checks in advance. Wilding likens this to the pre-arrival visa system whereby passengers have to provide travel plans and passport details to immigration authorities in the US and Australia prior to their journey. Officials can conduct security checks in advance, speeding up processing time at the airport.
Network and infrastructure: When goods or components are sitting on a dock or otherwise delayed, the associated costs can be massive, including warehousing costs, lost sales, a reduction in customer satisfaction, and, significantly, inventory financing costs.
If Brexit leads to tighter border controls and less predictable crossings, UK export businesses may wish to create a central hub in Mainland Europe from which to supply key clients on, for example, 24 hours’ notice (and vice-versa for European businesses serving the UK).
Taking the example of the automotive sector, companies generally build a supply chain for each new model of vehicle that they produce, to enable them to purchase the components needed for that model over, for example, a six-year period. When structuring a supply chain for a model that will be assembled in the UK, Brexit may prompt the company to source a lot more of the components within the UK. European suppliers may then move production capabilities into the UK to meet that requirement. On the other hand, a vehicle manufacturer may relocate the assembly plant to another part of Europe so it can easily access the required parts. It will be interesting to see how suppliers and automobile makers adapt their supply chains accordingly, Wilding said.
In general, if lead times are extended, this could result in companies’ having to carry more inventory and take on additional warehousing capacity. Another option would be to make existing warehouses work harder by reclassifying the inventory portfolio, establishing inventory holding levels that are appropriate to the market that those supplies are coming in from (whether China, the US, Europe, etc.). These should be re-calculated if the risk or lead times for a particular source country have increased.
But companies should not be focusing solely on Brexit because considering the range of technologies available and how they can enhance your supply chain also provides a significant opportunity.
Information flows: Questions that organisations should ask include whether changes to existing regulation will have an impact on the information flows in their supply chain.
The goal is for information to flow seamlessly, without the need for constant manual intervention. Companies could look to automate functions such as customs pre-notification, Wilding suggested.
Organisational: An example of a scenario in this category would be, “What would the impact on our supply chain be if we were unable to source EU migrant labour as we have done in the past?”

Resilient supply chains are built on relationships

Organisations can also minimise Brexit-related risk by nurturing their relationships with clients and suppliers.
“In the wake of the Brexit vote, your EU-based partners are likely to be doing a similar exercise, looking at the cost … of doing business with you. Reliability is a critical aspect. If you can still be the most up-to-date, technologically innovative supplier in Europe and deliver on time, they are going to keep coming back to you, because effectively what you’re doing is lowering the risk involved for them in doing business with you,” Wilding said.
The duration of existing relationships and the way that they have been built is an important factor. “When you look at a lot of the research, long-term relationships are generally far more cost-effective than putting people through short-term annual bidding rituals. I think we are going to have to work a little bit harder on maintaining those relationships and reassuring those suppliers or customers that we want to continue to work with them,” Wilding said.
Brexit also may provide opportunities for companies to enter into productive new relationships, he said.
“There is an awful lot of opportunity to be had outside the EU in terms of trade and supply chain, and companies should explore new partnerships, especially in light of any new free trade agreements,” Wilding said, as an FTA will immediately have an impact on the cost to serve partners in that country.

Existing EU-UK supply chains are adaptable

Supply chains between the UK and EU are generally built on supply-chain network design principles and are built to adapt to sudden disruptions, Wilding said. An example of this is the crisis at the Port of Calais in 2015, when crossings were disrupted when migrants seeking to get to the UK gained access to the port and stowed away on vehicles bound for Dover. This unapproved entry heightened the risk of contamination of cargo, and the goods had to be disposed of.
In response to events such as the disruption at Calais, businesses may find that other modes of transport, whether air freight, road, or rail, become more appropriate, Wilding said. Business leaders have to look at the cost trade-offs on these things. The total cost to serve will change – if you are putting massive additional security checks on road haulage, for example, it might make other mechanisms more attractive because the cost to serve will start to change.
The Port of Calais disruption prompted supply-chain professionals to think very differently about how they moved goods, how they secured the loads, and so on. The challenge resulted in dynamic re-routing as companies found the most efficient and effective routes to bring their goods to the UK.
In the case of Brexit, companies have two to three years’ notice of the potential disruption and have plenty of time to plan and put contingencies in place.
Given the interconnectedness of UK and EU trade, Wilding noted that it would not be beneficial to Europe’s economies to impose punitive trade barriers on UK companies when the time comes to negotiate the terms of Britain’s withdrawal.
In 2015 the UK imported goods with a value of £218.7 billion ($291 billion) from the EU, and exported £133.4 billion ($177.5 billion) of goods in the opposite direction, according to Gartner’s Supply Chain Brief: What Does Brexit Mean for Global Logistics?
Taking the example of the automotive sector, UK vehicle manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover currently buy a number of components from French and German suppliers for assembly at their UK plants. These can be shipped without the need for export declarations, import tariffs, or value-added tax. Some of the vehicles are then sold to French and German consumers. Tariffs would damage the competitiveness of Europe’s components manufacturers, make British vehicles more expensive for consumers in Europe, and make French or German vehicles more expensive for UK consumers. “I would argue that this is an incredible incentive to actually make this work,” Wilding said.
Samantha White ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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The case for cultural intelligence - CGMA Magazine

The case for cultural intelligence - CGMA Magazine:

Business interactions in the age of globalisation can be minefields. A glimpse into the world of cultural intelligence offers strategies for fitting in abroad.

The nation of Malta spreads across a cluster of Mediterranean islands just off the southern coast of Italy. Despite the proximity, several international business challenges arise from that aquamarine gulf.
In 2014, Nigel Scerri, ACMA, CGMA, found himself in the delicate early stages of a business deal between his Maltese financial services firm, Ennesse, and an Italian insurance company. Several leaders of the Italian company had come to Malta to discuss the new partnership, which had Scerri’s staff overseeing the Italians’ accountants and suggesting business improvements in Malta and Italy alike.
But it wasn’t conflicting accounting philosophies that tripped up this meeting. It was three words from the mouth of a man on Scerri’s team.

Non fa senso,” the staff member told the visitors. He had meant to say “It doesn’t make sense” in Italian, a secondary language for many Maltese people. And while his words were literally correct, the other party’s frozen faces told Scerri something had been lost in translation; they were somehow offended by the wording or delivery.
“First, they looked at us with a serious look,” Scerri recalled. “We said, ‘What have we said?’ ”
The staff member’s words, as it turns out, sounded a lot like an expression of disgust to the Italian party. Laughter punctured the moment as everyone realised the message’s innocent intent. “It was too offensive to do anything else,” Scerri said.
Business interactions in the age of globalisation can be minefields. A perceived slight could broaden into a split between parties in a financial negotiation. Conflicting cultural norms could leave a manufacturing contract unfulfilled months after a supposed deadline. In response, businesses have geared up with a new set of metrics and tools for cross-cultural competence, all in preparation for their ownnon fa senso moments.
For global management accountants, intercultural business is the new expectation. And while Scerri used instinct and experience to correct a faux pas, some researchers believe that a person’s ability to operate in other cultures can be reliably measured and improved through training programmes.

Culture shift

Building from previous work in management science and emotional intelligence, a cadre of academics and consultants has surveyed tens of thousands of people, largely over the past decade, to build theories about cultural interaction. They have asked how businesses can best cross borders — and why some people are so good at it.
The central danger for these border crossers could be called information asphyxia. Abroad, the mundane is transformed and unfamiliar. Even the smallest details of life abroad — such as greetings or the lettering of motorway signs — can seem new or puzzling.
“When you’re crossing cultures, you have a lack of information. That comes with uncertainty, and with uncertainty comes some sense of anxiety. It creates quite a lot of rigidity in the way you think,” said Soon Ang, a developer of the “cultural intelligence” theory. She leads the Center for Leadership & Cultural Intelligence at the Nanyang Business School of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
And cultural rules are evolving with the world economy, changing expectations for many business interactions. As Eastern countries rise in global commerce, the norms of acceptable business culture are being rebalanced.
“In the past, every other country in the world had to learn the American ways — because if they didn’t, the deals wouldn’t happen,” said Tim Flood, who teaches a course in cross-cultural competence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “… Different countries are coming up. It’s a broader deal, and there’s a much more keen sense that you can’t just be on the Western model and get business done.” Some say the ideal is “intercultural competence”. Others look to improve their CQ, or “cultural intelligence”, score. More than rote memorisation of handshakes and bowing techniques, these are philosophies meant to keep people on balance in unfamiliar terrain.
An attuned person might sense a taboo before it strikes, hear the true message behind a counterproposal, or read body language when words fail. A few people are naturals, and the rest just might be able to learn the art.

Eastern vs. Western

Leo Chan, CPA, has a front-row view of culture clash from the offices of Sino-Bridge Consulting, a Hong Kong company that helps international firms do business in China.
“It’s natural for partners to disagree on things — but here, when they disagree, because of all these differences, they tend to be very suspicious of each other,” he said.
Chan believes that Chinese groups, especially in state-owned companies, tend to communicate their goals and needs subtly. Western groups often are more direct, he said — and the resulting trampled toes and missed cues can create mutual distrust.
He has watched visitors to China deal with endless challenges, from a surplus of red tape to a deficit of personal space, at least by Western standards. But he figures that one simple factor best predicts how well foreigners will fare.
“The single most important thing, really, is the mindset,” he said of successful visitors and expatriates. “For some reason, they have the passion; they think there’s a lot for them in China.”
You’ll hear similar assessments from people at all ends of accounting. Scerri, of Malta, can sense in certain employees an enthusiasm for the details of others’ lives and the ability to build foundations of trust from those details.
“You have to get along with people,” he said. “You have to socially interact, understand them, have a good laugh with them as well. It’s not just good to be brilliant at your work.”
This analysis squares with one of the four pillars of cultural intelligence, the theory established by Ang and colleagues Linn Van Dyne and Christopher Earley. Their work describes four “capabilities” for the culturally competent, based on years of survey work by academics.
Among them: “CQ drive” or “motivational CQ”, a measure of how motivated and confident people are to interact with other cultures. Also rated are knowledge of how cultures differ; the ability to plan for cultural interactions; and the ability to adapt behaviour to different situations.
These may seem like obvious measures, but they outline foundational questions for CQ and other theories: Why do we care about other cultures? What draws us towards them, and what makes us afraid?

Diversity within organisations

Ang started her work on cultural intelligence in the shadow of a scourge: the Y2K bug. She was tasked in the late 1990s with assembling international teams to update computer systems on the island city-state of Singapore. She made her first selections by conventional standards, such as experience and IQ.
“It really didn’t work,” Ang said. Culture clashes frustrated an already complex process of updating legacy systems. In particular, the foreign teams had trouble matching Singaporean expectations of timeliness and efficiency, she said.
With the new millennium threatening major computer problems, Ang turned in 1998 to a new standard. She created a test to rate applicants’ “practical intelligence”, a concept that had emerged 13 years prior, to assess how adaptable candidates might be. Her selections got better, and she and her colleagues began to extend the concept to test intercultural competency. The result would be “CQ”, as described in the foundational 2003 book Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions Across Cultures, which Ang co-authored with Earley.
Today, the concept has reached deep into the world of business. Ang is working now with the Society for Human Resource Management and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to fit cultural intelligence into larger frameworks. For an accountant, cultural intelligence can give new insight into how various cultures affect management and financial structures, such as incentive models.
“There’s actually an increasing trend toward acknowledging the importance of culture, whether it’s a country’s or a company’s, to impact performance,” she said. The concepts, according to its practitioners, apply just as much to cultural diversity within companies as within industries.
Surveys and other personal assessments are an obvious starting point. Metrics offered by the Cultural Intelligence Center in Michigan and other groups rate people in various categories by comparing their responses to those of tens of thousands of earlier respondents.
New methods of training and assessment are evolving, too. Ang has helped to develop videos that present viewers with tricky scenarios and “micro-aggressions”. Their responses can both predict their performance in real life and help them to prepare for a trip, she said.
Meanwhile, Chan reports that several of his clients have encouraged cultural immersion, bringing people from China into Western offices in order to learn their subtleties.

Comfort with the unfamiliar

For all its metrics and strategies, the idea of cultural intelligence comes back to a simple difference between those who succeed and those who don’t in unfamiliar environments.
“Usually, there are two kinds of emotional experiences that one has when they cross cultures,” Ang said.
One is positive: curiosity. Some people seem to embrace the swell of new details, searching zealously for new neighbourhoods and underrated restaurants.
Flood suggested that travellers take a taxi ride; drivers often are sources of information about news, customs, and cuisine. David Livermore, president of the Cultural Intelligence Center in Michigan, tells clients to find a local cultural adviser — anyone who can fill in the gaps.
“The mindset going into a culture is actually very crucial,” Ang said. “Your authenticity and willingness to learn from the other side — it will come out unconsciously, and it will be picked up by the other party.”
But some people, understandably, stick to the more familiar confines of the international average. In fact, globalisation has made it possible to cross the ocean without changing much more than the scenery outside the boardroom window.
Livermore put it this way: “If you travel business class and you stay in the business class lounges in various airports, and you go to the Marriott or to the Intercontinental, and you just go to your own local office in a different place around the world, it’s pretty easy to start saying the world’s all pretty much the same.”
But your intercultural advisers wouldn’t endorse that assumption.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Why Enterprise Asset Management is Vital for Any Company

In any business organization, enterprise asset management is vital in achieving a greater return on assets. This primarily involves curbing operating costs, maximizing results on periodic asset maintenance, and effective management of capital. In any industry, the employees also need to recognize the importance of asset management, and have the knowledge on a variety of asset maximizing responsibilities.

Asset Management Elucidated

Essentially, asset management in any enterprise involves the effective administration of its physical assets, for the purpose of increasing profits and minimizing downtime expenses. The scope of this administrative function includes activities such as construction of facilities and fixtures, plant and office building design and engineering, production operations, and finally the maintenance of equipments and the replacement of the necessary parts.

As an example, physical assets would encompass machines like computers and printers as well as furniture like desks, chairs, and filing cabinets. Transport systems are also included, as well as cable and plant machineries, in the case of bigger industries. Of course fixed assets would differ depending on the type of industry the organization is engaged in, such as food production, textile, corporate services, or healthcare.

Thus, from the procurement of supplies and tools, operation of machines for production, to the maintenance of facilities, all these should be handled with asset value maximization in mind.

The modern approach to asset management by organizations and entrepreneurs has shifted from the traditional type, which had merely involved short term planning. Today, any organization is taking an active role in ensuring that its asset expenditures and utilities are geared towards achieving longer-term returns. Moreover, assetmanagement is very crucial for enterprises that maintain units across various locations or those that utilize fixed assets in different departments within one unit.

Why this type of management is essential

Effective asset management commands importance in the same manner that physical assets play very important roles in the day-to-day operations of any industry. The purchase and the ownership of fixed assets, while very important in any business, require excellent management and maintenance skills. Entrepreneurs for instance, should have a system wherein the cost of owning equipment or expensive machinery is minimized at all times. Poor performance, downtimes, and repairs all add up to the cost of these fixed assets over time.

Machine repairs and equipment maintenance are indeed important for any industry; however these should be effectively carried out so as not to hamper the daily operations of the industry, such as the production processes. Furthermore, whenever equipment or system downtimes happen, this subsequently affects the expenses of the company. Planning and management of assets, costs, and maintenance should all be done to increase the life cycle of the assets and for the business to perform more effectively even in the face of rigid competition.

The Essential Tools in Assets Management

These days, EAM tools are available for complex organizations and industries. These tools provide the best solutions in work and asset management and even asset information management. These are all geared towards helping businesses maintain their plants, maximize equipment value, effectively manage information for sales, and coordinate with production and maintenance personnel for improved quality and competence.

Successful enterprise asset management is certainly a requirement for any industry, especially in today’s rapidly globalizing and extremely competitive business settings. Through this, industry managers, business owners, and company top-level executives will be able to optimize and organize the daily operations of the business for effective performance and profitability.

'via Blog this'

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Mind Set Of Success - In The Beginning, There Was A Thought

Thoughts are the starting point to all that we do, both good and bad, either success or failure. People underestimate the power of thought. Thoughts are things. They are energy. Every thought leaves its trace upon our minds.

What we let into our minds and hold onto governs what our circumstances and our actions are.

Each individual has the seeds of success within him. The seeds of success are the thoughts that they carry around with them. We are all the product of our own thinking and beliefs.

"Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstances."

James Allen – “As a Man Thinketh”

Sustained mind control is one of the most difficult endeavors one may undertake but it is also one of the most rewarding.

Create and control your thoughts and you can become what you want to become. A person can live the way they want to live when they learn to think what they want to think.

You are what you think about most of the time. A person who is seeking success and a higher life, strives to keep their mind on the positive and the constructive. We gradually grow into what we are holding in our minds.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. And with our thoughts, we make our world.


If you want to make positive changes in your life, you need to begin with what is in your mind. Our thoughts are the tools with which we build our lives.

The key is to keep your mind on the big picture and the goals leading to it. Think only of what you want, not on what you don’t want.

Replace negative thinking, unproductive worrying, and thoughts of fear with positive, imaginative, and constructive thinking.

“Your life is controlled by your thoughts. Your thoughts are controlled by your goals.”

Earl Nightingale

A great way to keep your mind on what you want is to carry a goal card with you. The goal card lists the top goals you are working on. Just thinking of your goal, particularly, the end result, keeps your mind productive and under your control.

Keeping your mind busy with productive matters will prevent negative thoughts from creeping in.

“If you fail to control your own mind, you may be sure you will control nothing else.”

Napoleon Hill“

Mind control is a result of self-discipline and habit. You either control your mind or it controls you.”

Napoleon Hill
A controlled, focused mind pays attention to thoughts, words, actions, and plans. A person who lets their mind wander aimlessly around will never achieve lasting success.

Hold your ideal in your mind until it becomes a mental habit. Focus on it to the exclusion of all other things until it becomes a reality.

Slowly but surely, sustained positive thinking creates an irresistible momentum. People begin to notice a change in you. More opportunities come your way. You feel more confident. Gradually your outer environment begins to grow in the likeness of your inner environment.

The Nasty Ten: 10 Ways To Disrupt Your Success | Dawkins Brown FCCA,CA,ACFE | Pulse | LinkedIn

For some people who are failing to become successful, they are their own enemies.

From time to time, we are all guilty of behaviors that hinder our own success. If you commit the following blunders, you will be undermining your own success.

1. Forget your goals and visions, or not having them at all. What do you want to achieve in your business, in the short and long term? What do you visualize enjoying after you have achieved these goals - financial security, better life styles, a new home or car, a holiday? Set specific goals and the activities you will need to undertake in order to achieve these goals. If you do not set down specific goals, or if you forget about them during your journey towardssuccess, then you are sabotaging your success.

2. Lose confidence in yourself. You have the goals, but most importantly you will need the confidence that you can do it!

3. Lack of knowledge or stop learning. You do not need to physically go back to college to learn. There are now various channels through which you can learn. Often, what you need to succeed personally or financially is not learnt in a university degree! Search for personal and financial development training programs, and equip yourself with the knowledge and tools you will need to become successful. Successful people never stop learning; in fact they tend to have an insatiable desire for knowledge. Search the internet, find the best learning programs, read books - just learn, learn and learn. Invest a little in educating yourself as this will help you achieve your goals.

4. Think that you can become successful without any investment. This is a common reason why people fail to become successful. Everyone wants something for nothing! Well, if it is something that will make you a millionaire, then you must be prepared to investment some money and effort into it. No genuine long term business can thrive without initial capital outlay and consistent investment, whether they are an on- or off-line business. There are some genuine businesses which you can start and run with minimal capital outlay, but they do still need some money to grow them. Being cheap is not recommended, and it will not get you anywhere near your goals of becoming wealthy and successful.

5. Fear of failure. This is the toxic failing that keeps a lot of people away from their dreams of becoming successful. I like the quote which says "Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure". If you face a temporary setback on your quest towards success; learn from it, pick yourself up and soldier on towards your dreams. "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones tosuccess".

6. Procrastination. Yet another nasty one! Taking action TODAY is the foundational key to all success. By procrastinating, you are missing chances to be the best you can be; to make money, and to be successful. Get rid of all the bad habits that waste your time, break down your tasks to small manageable bits, visualize the end result of your project - do all that you can to fight this deadly habit that can keep you away from your goals.

7. Lack of focus. You can have clearly laid out goals on the success you want to achieve, but if you do not have focus, you will soon sabotage your success. There are a lot of 'business opportunities' that will arrive in your inbox daily - most of which are scams, no matter how genuine and promising they sound. When you are starting your online business, you can also easily become overloaded with information. Well, in some cases the information overload can simply stop you from taking any action! The trick is to be focused. Have a list of your things to do everyday. Everyday, do something towards building your business.

8. Be easily discouraged. This is a common one. Your family or friends may not believe that you will succeed. Do not let this discourage you. It is recommended that you have a good network of positive people who can support and encourage you as you work towards your success. People will say discouraging words, discouraging things will happen around you; but it is only you who can let that get to your mind and affect you.

9. Dislike constant change. In order to be successful, you must be constantly improving yourself, your business, and your products. If have an online business - this is even more important since the internet is very dynamic. Stay on top of recent developments and be constantly learning new ways of running and growing your business.

10. Lack of dedication. This is the vital one. If you want something badly enough, it will be yours. A lot of people fail because they do not have the necessary desire to become successful.

In conclusion, I will share with you these quotes on success: "Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire". "What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose". "A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him". "Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success".

Go get it, and be successful!