Showing posts with label business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business. Show all posts

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Customer as a Co-Creator

Businesses often forget that the customer is the end user and they determine the success of any product, service or organization. Designing products with the customer in mind is important but using customer’s feedback in innovating those products can create higher income streams. Reaching out and asking customers for their feedback can take different forms in today’s world. 

The product development process includes ideas generation, screening of ideas, development and testing, business analysis, marketing testing and commercialization (Finch, 2012). New ideas are reviewed for feasibility and then then tested to ensure they work. A thorough analysis of the profitability and marketability of the product is conducted before mass production. 

Great ideas can come from many different locations. An often untapped source is the customer themselves. Product reviews, focus groups, and questionnaires were some of the tools to gain insight into products. As Internet technology develops new ways of collecting and evaluating customer information is beneficial. 

The process of evaluating customer preferences can be as easy as reading online and asking customers directly or as complex as conducting living labs and designing in-depth psychological experiments to understand latent factors. Collecting that information and using the feedback loop to improve products/services over time is beneficial. 

Product and service development takes time. Listening to customer needs helps to develop higher levels of understanding of consumer needs that should be funneled through product/service design to increase customer satisfaction rates. Without this input significant resources are invested into items that don’t appeal to customers and won’t generate significant returns on investment.

Finch, J. (2012). Managerial marketing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Integrity and Moral Courage in an Environmental Context

Integrity and moral courage is something we discuss in the textbooks and seek to realize in our lives when handling sensitive issues. Unfortunately, its very existence is defined against the backdrop of difficult discussions that few else would have the courage to undertake. Whether discussing corporations or governments, creating environments that protect those who engage in helpful actions for the betterment of society is important for building a nation bent on improvement.

People with integrity  understand the difference between right and wrong before they can think about mustering the courage to tackle major ethical dilemmas. It is the internal code built upon ingrained values that makes it possible for a person to discriminate between those actions that are moral and those that are immoral. If one doesn’t understand the difference there is no moral dilemma for them to deal with.

Knowing that there is a moral issue at hand is based on the way the person interprets information and maintains their integrity. Moral principles are important for the understanding of information and the potential hazards associated with unethical activities. It is absolutely necessary for building stronger societies to expose and tackle problems.

In any situation where unethical or illegal activity is discovered and one must choose one path over another there is going to be stress. Stress comes from the processing of information and understanding the consequences of certain irreversible actions. Any step that changes a person’s course of history is of grave concern.

If one makes a decision to protect the greater good of society and one’s integrity over the needs of job security and personal gain is made, the consequences can be dire. Organizations don’t often assume liability for illegal activities and generally seek to minimize damage, skirt the spirit of laws, and use their powerful connections to influence outcomes of cases.

Taking action can be a life altering event as each side seeks to minimize damage and find the faults of others to mitigate responsibility. Moral courage occurs when one acts with integrity and is willing to accept the consequences of protecting the company, its products, and their own personal integrity; sometimes from themselves.

An open and progressive environment will determine whether or not this moral courage can be realized in any particular entity. The right environment encourages open lines of communication through protections, investigations, correcting misjudgments, and listening to issues before reacting. Blowing the whistle is not an easy process and relies on more than simple belief systems to realize and act. Environments that do not react appropriately will find themselves with less integrity as new expectations become culturally engrained.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Two Benefits of Hosting Comic-Con in San Diego

Over a hundred and thirty thousand people attended this year’s Comic-Con convention in their enthusiasm to submerge themselves in the spirit of “geekhood”. Comic enthusiast contributed $203 million and booked over 378,000 rooms in the area over the past three years (1). This means big windfalls for hotels, restaurants and other businesses in the area. 

There are two benefits from Comic-Con that helped to steer a course for San Diego. The first is the immediate benefits to local businesses and the second is the long-tail of marketing of San Diego to the world. Businesses may see a short burst of revenue but also may find their environment improving over the long-run. 

Sometimes people need an excuse to see the beauty of San Diego. Conventions such as Comic-Con give young people a reason to visit San Diego who might have otherwise have optioned for another place. Some of those people will be impressed by the area and may come back for a vacation or another time when a large event is being held. 

Just in the same way as Comic-Con grew from a small event in the 70’s, to the powerhouse draw of celebrities today, areas also grow in appeal. Because we are creatures of habit, visiting once often perks our interest into visiting again. The same mental processes occur in consumer choices in events or any other buying behavior. 

Some businesses will receive enough revenue during this period that it makes a difference between hiring another employee and laying off another employee during the year. Small businesses need this revenue to increase their profit margins and make small changes in their expansion. Hotels, restaurants, bars, retail, and other associated establishments should have seen a spike in revenue. 

Comic-Con offers value for the area and should be encouraged. Whether we are concerned about marketing the area to the rest of the world or getting a little extra cash into the hands of local businesses owners the value of similar events cannot be underestimated. With San Diego’s vacation weather it should be a popular option for future events.

Managing for Others or Managing for Yourself

Managing is an art form that relied heavily on critical thinking and communication skills to keep large groups of people working toward the same goals. Stronger managers focus on the development of their teams to meet market needs. People who can manage for others versus themselves is a great asset any organization. Managers who can meet performance goals and do so in a way that creates a better department should be in high demand. 

It is in our natural best interest to manage for ourselves and this can make it a difficult competing ideology against managing for others. When someone becomes aware they should manager for others they have done so against the backdrop of years of learning, insight and reflection.  People who create these conclusions have thought about what is important.

They must also be able to step above their biological and emotional needs to take a higher road in workplace decisions. When choices are required they look to promote the group over themselves. This can be difficult if someone is still struggling with unresolved issues.  We see this over and over again among people in leadership positions making self-interested decisions. 

Consider how one manager will take the credit for work by their subordinates while another will give credit where credit is due. The first still has overpowering needs to feel important, competent, secure and liked. They are willing to break social norms and trust in order to get the next promotion or raise.  The latter person has resolved their issues and can step above them to create greater trust with their team.

Hiring managers is more than meeting metrics. Even though meeting is important it is also necessary to continue to meet them over and over in a sustainable way. If a manager brings his/her team to a higher level of performance and solidifies their trust they can keep the performance at a higher level for longer periods. Poor managers will only hit the target for a short period of time until subordinate’s motivation decreases.  Building a team, keeping people engaged and motivating them to a purpose is the ultimate purposes of “management”.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

8 Standards of International Corporate Ethics

Ethics goes a long way in building trust in an international business system. As information spreads faster along quickening fiber optic cables the world will continue to integrate in terms of interrelated laws, regulations, cultures, and business standards. Having an international standard of ethics is important in ensuring that companies are encouraging  better business environment. 

 When companies move into international locations they will need to understand and respect the cultures of those nations. There is a difference between respecting local culture and becoming involved in unethical practices. When few options are left, organizations can seek to remove themselves from such countries. Each company will decide what they stand for.

Today’s world needs a new way of looking at business and how that business interacts with other countries. Developing strong international ethical systems means that both companies and countries come to an understanding of what a “good international citizen” is. Below you will find 8 ethical standards (Be George, 1997):

1.      Do not intentional direct harm.
2.      Produce more good than harm for host countries.
3.      Contribute to the host countries development.
4.      Respect human rights.
5.      Respect local culture.
6.      Pay a fair share of taxes.
7.      Cooperate with local government when beneficial.
8.      Withdraw from a country if it becomes impossible to act with integrity.

De George, R. (1997). Human rights and the multinational enterprise. Dilemma, 6, 6–14.

The Politics of Language-Personality and Expression

Language impacts just about everything our lives that range from our perspective on life all the way to how we react to new information. The book Symbol, Status and Personality by S.I. Hyakawan provides insight into the nature of language and how it influences our personality and our effectiveness in getting the things we want out of life. 

No one exists in isolation. We are cultural creatures that are part of a long line of ancestors, cultures, symbols, values, and people. In childhood we engrain people’s values and beliefs into our own. A few adults learn that these values and opinions are not always correct and can master them.  

Words also have emotions and images attached to them. In politics we use words to stir people to action on certain events. Creating the image, using certain types of words, and giving people an outlet for their concerns is a primary political activity. 

Within any conversation there are lots of needs, goals, objectives, and perceptions being shared.  Language is goal directed. It determines how we relate to others and create influence others. Politicians and entertainers have learned a higher skill of language used to gain influence and prestige.

As we develop as a person language becomes more subjective as our own grounded personality takes precedence. We are able to use that personality to step away from language and culture to see the similarities and differences between people’s communication patterns.  

It is important to understand that language is subjective and based upon the symbols a person uses and how they construct the view of their world. This view is deeply anchored to their early development as a person and is difficult to stand over and in judgement of one’s own language. As one masters this skill, they are better able of “controlling their tongue” and critically think about political rhetoric around them.  

Hayakawa, S.I. (1953). Symbol, Status and Personality. U.S: Wittenboar, Shultz Inc.,