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50 Management Ideas by Edward Russell-Walling

 
 
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Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:08 am    Post subject: 50 Management Ideas by Edward Russell-Walling Reply with quote

Subtitle - you really need to know

I bought this book recently. I'm finding it a bit lightweight so I'm not necessarily recommending it. I'm just dipping into it one idea per day to think about, and I'm happy to share the ideas here with you.

Let's start at the beginning (actually, judging by the contents list, I think the ideas get more interesting later on in the book).

01 Adhocracy

This apparently is the opposite of bureaucracy. It's an unstructured, decentralised, and in theory, responsive organisational structure which is designed to bring out the best in people.

It's not a concept I'd heard of before, although it first emerged in the late 1960s, and I'm unconvinced that it's anything more than mumbo jumbo. Sure, excessive bureaucracy is a Bad Thing but a business really does need at least some systems to be efficient.

The main advantage of adhocracy is that with this structure you can cut across normal bureaucratic lines to "capture opportunities, solve problems and get results".

I guess those of us with small businesses are running an adhocracy to a certain extent. We can be flexible in our decision-making. I don't think I learned anything from today's idea - it's just a fancy word for what I was doing anyway.

What do you think?

Had you heard of adhocracy?

Does it help to stick fancy labels onto processes that evolve naturally?

Does your business operate an adhocracy?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, what a great ideas. These ideas are just awesome and I will try them out.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Hey that's really very helpful and nice post..!!

Thanks for sharing it..!!
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Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see my idea of discussing a management idea every week has gone down like a lead balloon. Laughing Perhaps I'll give up on it. Pity - I had 49 more to go... Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go on I'll chip in

There's a book by a guy called Tim Ferriss
"The 4-hour work week"
His style kindof eludes to this format
He runs his business in a sort of ad-hoc kind of way

Basically he sets things up & running then lets others do the grunt work whilst he enjoys life
In other words he spends 4 hours per week doing updates / responses etc and this can be from anywhere in the world
He doesn't employ anyone but uses companies like Elance for virtual PA's / secretaries etc

When I'm not dealing with clients I do affiliate marketing settng up websites to promote niche affiliate products that yield a recurring commission. This is the closest I come to his model.

Martyn Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Martyn. Crikey - a four hour work week. It sounds like a fantastic business model for someone smart enough to get it right. Must do some research on Tim Ferriss.

My biggest problem is starting too many things and having too many projects on the go at any given time. Then I don't do anything properly and run away from my own stuff and hang out on places like Aardvark instead.

Since you've given me the encouragement to carry on, the next idea in the book is:

02 Balanced Scorecard

I'd not really have thought of that as an "idea". It's more like a bog standard thing you get on any kind of business course. A lot of it is about looking forward - "You can't drive a car solely be relying on the rearview mirror".

Yeah, OK, so you need to look to the future as well as the past. As an accountant, Martyn, you'll know that much of financial accounting is historical reporting, but the more interesting work is providing information to help management to make decisions.

I said at the start that I thought that this book was a bit lightweight, now I'm starting to think it's telling me the bleedin' obvious. I feel sure it'll get more interesting later on. (It's not possible that it could get more boring! Shocked )

The "idea" of the balanced scorecard is to look at a business from four perspectives:

- The financial perspective

- The customer perspective

- The business process perspective

- The learning and growth perspective

Why do I feel like I'm back at primary school being fed conventional wisdom rather than anything of any use. At this rate, I'm starting to think I could write a better book myself if I had a weekend to spare. I'm really interested to discuss these sort of business issues but I can't help feeling a bit resentful that people are making money by selling pretty stupid business books that aren't really telling us anything we didn't already know.

Nice work if you can get it. Gi's a job.

The next idea is benchmarking - shall I proceed or just give it up as a bad job? Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried to offer services to SMEs for KPI dashboards / balanced scorecards etc
Most are driven by cash so want to know their overdraft position
But most look back and not forward.

So I tell em to knock up a quick "thumbnail" spreadsheet. each Monday add in summary performance / cashflow / orders from last week then do a forecast for the next 5 weeks
Each week replace forecast with actual and move on 1 week
It feels like the dashboard of a car if its simple like this
And it makes them look ahead and not gaze at their navel

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a good idea, Martyn. I've already had my knuckles rapped for not doing enough management accounting. Mostly what I've been doing is to throw every voucher and receipt into a file and then, a couple of weeks before Companies House deadline, have papers all over the living area floor until it's all sorted. I promise every year to try to do better, but it never seems to happen. Laughing

Ooh, you mentioned "cashflow". Aarghh! You have unleashed the beast within me by mentioning the C word. I'm normally a very calm and kind person but that word makes me go mental.

I am EVANGELISTIC about cashflow.

More seriously, it's my belief that more SMEs go bust due to poor cashflow management than for any other reason. I mostly don't really care if they're so stupid and knacker their own company, but what annoys me is the domino effect. A doesn't pay B, so B can't pay C, and C can't pay D. etc, etc. And then how many innocent people go bust?

I've had a bad experience of it myself, and have remained fairly discreet about it for the past few years - only talking to friends and on private forums about it. I've now got to the stage where I don't care any more who knows, so this is me coming out in public.

Dave's father and step-mother have no clue about how to run a business. It's her business but he's dragged all the family into the problems rather than being proactive to sort things out. I told her so many times for years to watch her cashflow but she always knew best. Rolling Eyes Now, several years later, she still owes me nearly five grand, has sold off many of their assets, the proceeds of which have gone to the loan sharks. And now Dave's father wants to have a "chat" with us this week. I can hardly wait. Yeah, I know I shouldn't discuss family matters in public, but I've been fairly quiet about it for several years and see no reason why I should continue to spare their blushes after all the lies we've had.

Anyway, what was the cause of the problem? The lack of understanding about cashflow. I don't know how much more simple I could make it for them. Try this: in a business you have money coming in and money going out. You need enough ins to cover your outs. You don't want to over-extend and commit to more outs than you have ins to pay for.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spending what you don't have is alien to me

So many new businesses I see have spent masses on alll the "trimmings" before even making a sale
By trimmings I mean fancy web graphics, office space, pre printed stationery, furniture etc

Crazy
Live off a shoestring and don't commit to overheads until the business is generating a regular income, Cause if its not earning, you're still in "testing" mode and may decide to change your business model along with the need to alter all the associated web graphics, stationery etc.

Then again I'm the ultimate in tightness. I don't see why anyone would want to spend 100/night on a hotel when a 30 B&B will do the same job. I used to have this argument with vain employees in every corporate role I held as FD.

IMHO if you're ruthlessly pragmatic and down to earth about costs and ditch all the crap about needing an image when you start a business, you'll manage fine.
OK, go spend on "nice to haves" once you're established, but keep it tight when starting up.

I regularly get into fisticuffs with web designers on this subject. I tell em the website needs to be found first and have a clear message before being made pretty with colours, graphics and all the other "creative stuff" that graphic designers get paid to do.
It didn't do Craigslist or Google any harm taking this approach Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loads of interesting points in there Martyn. I love a good discussion or debate. Very Happy

I'm really interested to read about your disagreements with web designers. I had a foot in both camps. I think of myself more as a business person, but in ye olden days we did do some "web design" for others. I couldn't hack it because invariably the clients drove me round the bend (that sounds as if I was sane in the first place Laughing ). We don't do that any more, although there are a few people whom we help out from time to time. Tradesmen mostly. I don't tell them how to do plumbing and they don't tell me how to make websites or do SEO and stuff. It works out fine.

Anyway, going back to your point, about the all-singing, all-dancing bear of a website, I agree - it's not necessary. I hope Paul doesn't kill me for saying this but look at how successful his http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com is. I wouldn't give it high marks for design, but it serves its purpose very well. It even got a mention in the Smellygraph as the best luxury travel blog in the world.
here

Ah, I've got off the point again. What I'm trying to say is that business people and web designers need to co-operate. They need to work as a team. I based my entire MSc dissertation on that. Yeah, I know it's very boring (I had to include a lot of stuff that didn't really interest me) and it's rather out of date now, but if you're a glutton for punishment you can read it at http://www.flowtheory.com

I don't necessarily agree with you about hotels. We usually stay in cheap and cheerful places, which is fine. Occasionally we go a little bit upmarket just for a treat.

[Edited to sort out the mess I made of the links earlier.]
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a couple of guys called Kyle & Carson who are a superb resource for affiliate marketing (Wealthy Affiliate). Unusually for a sector like that they're putting "helping" before "making money" - obviously one leads to the other for them and they're multi millionaires & still only 25ish. Very genuine characters though.
They repeat their philosophy to anyone thats joins that you shouldn't spend money till you've made it. And you take action asap to make the money.
Their audience is very much people who want to learn & do affiliate marketing in an honest way but have no money to invest.
Of course the majority can't take it all in or are not disciplined enough or shy away from hard work - thus leaving a few who gain credibility as the ones to work with.

Which brings me to the issue of treats
They recommend you set targets. Once you've earned the first 100, you can have a fancy meal out or whatever out of the money, but also reinvest some too.

I've applied this to my business and its a very healthy approach to take, furthermore you enjoy the treat that much more. Less about whether I can afford it, more about whether I've "earned" it.
Tell you what, I really valued the Xmas pressies I recently received as I no longer just buy things when the mood takes me.

Martyn Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL! I don't mind spending money on a treat if it's something I really want. I'm worth it! I don't wear jewellery or fancy clothes, but I occasionally want stuff like an expensive camera, or a posh meal out.

What I really, really like is getting things for free - usually by winning a competition prize. I lurve competitions and somehow the experience just seems all the more sweet. Maybe you have to be Scottish to understand. Twisted Evil

I'll keep an eye out for Kyle & Carson, thanks for the heads up.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you want more info on Kyle / Carson & Wealthy Affiliate, PM me
I've got tons of research reports into different niches - golf, insurance, voip, pets, web hosting etc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kay wrote:
Anyway, going back to your point, about the all-singing, all-dancing bear of a website, I agree - it's not necessary. I hope Paul doesn't kill me for saying this but look at how successful his http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com is. I wouldn't give it high marks for design, but it serves its purpose very well. It even got a mention in the Smellygraph as the best luxury travel blog in the world.
here


I'll concede it isn't a great design. It kind of did the job when it was first launched and I've never really had the time to update it since. As for 'successful', that's a little debatable. It's not a big money earner but it does gain a fair amount of exposure.
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