Archive for April, 2011

Conflicts are a part of life and they happen frequently

Conflicts are a part of life and they happen frequently. It takes creative leadership skills to handle conflict by communicating effectively.

Most of us are happy when everything is going along smoothly, where people are respectful of one another’s feelings. When conflicts occur all of this can change very quickly. We can feel anxious, angry or threatened, and what seems like a good thing can very quickly turn sour.

Conflict can be constructive or destructive. How we react to it depends on our past experiences with parents, peers, bosses and co-workers. Many have learned to dread conflict because their memory reminds them that in conflict they lose. For most people conflict is about winning and loosing, a process where ultimately everybody looses. But conflict can also be about winning!

Disagreements

Disagreements can be constructive where both parties go deep into the issues, using creative leadership skills to gain new awareness and find new solutions. Constructive conflict builds deeper relationships and trust. It takes strong leadership skills to make this happen.

When conflict arises, it is important to focus your creative leadership, acknowledge the conflict and steady yourself. Disagreements often arise from not communicating effectively, but it takes leadership skills to recognize conflict and react accordingly.

When we face conflict, our bodies frequently send out the warning signal. We get tense, our hearts start pounding, our faces become drawn, and we sometimes even break out into a cold sweat. Our speech may become stilted while our thoughts get frozen. Some want to fight while others want to flee. Neither is the best answer, but without strong leadership skills, it’s easy to lose your grip on the conflict.

Leadership Skills Resolve Conflicts

Effective leaders recognize when conflict is occurring in themselves and in others; they employ their leadership skills to facilitate a harmonious solution for all concerned. They know when to speak, when to be silent and when to use their best leadership skill for this issue: dialogue.

Dialoguing is the name of this game. There are two skills that help us to manage this process so we can stick with it; handling our emotions in a way that promotes a healthy outcome.

1. Put your needs aside momentarily.

When two people are in a potential conflict, nothing will usually get accomplished unless one person concedes to ‘let the other go first’. The leader is the one who understands the relationship. Lead through your conflict by putting your own needs aside for a moment and letting the other person know they have your full attention in order for them to be heard. Know that you will get your turn soon!

2. Listen empathically.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of others and get a sense of what it would be like to experience what that person is feeling. Set your feelings aside momentarily and listen to their side of the story. Steven Covey reminds us first to ‘seek to understand’. When someone really feels heard, their need to hold rigidly to their solution is replaced with openness to new possibilities and dissonant feelings begin to unravel.

3. Disclose how the situation affects you without blaming.

This invites others to eventually return the favor and listen empathically to you as well. To disclose without blame is all about expressing how the situation feels to us. We share only our experience rather than evaluating the behavior of the other. Using a tone of voice that is non-judgmental and using open body language is key for an effective leader.

This process to resolve and handle conflicts can have miraculous results when people care enough about each other and their relationships to find a new solution to a problem. Remind yourself to communicate effectively, stick to your guns and your creative leadership skills will get you there.

It is an all-too-familiar scenario

It is an all-too-familiar scenario. Corporation X misses badly on its commitments several quarters in a row and the stock plummets. As a result, the Board loses confidence, the CEO “resigns,” and a new CEO is appointed who immediately announces a sweeping restructure of the corporation.

In the past few years, papers have been inundated with such reports. Even at corporations where top-level executives show signs of “vision” and have articulated what seems to be a sound business strategy on paper, results fall short of expectations.

We have all been there at one point or another in our careers. The leadership team spends long hours agreeing on a 3- or 5-year strategy to improve the performance of the business. Management teams work equally hard to come up with supportive annual budgets. Both teams populate long PowerPoint presentations and well-built, exhaustive spreadsheet files. Yet not much happens in terms of actual deliverables! Ambitious year-end targets are missed. Improvement curves keep being shifted to the right, until the scenario at the beginning of this article is realized. Now the process for restructure of the corporation begins.

Questions immediately arise as to why these events occur so often and include:
• What has gone wrong and why?
• Are the goals too aggressive?
• Are the visions and/or strategies inadequate?
• Are middle managers unable to execute?
• If the answer is yes to all these questions, then why is it so?

All are good questions, and many have been extensively addressed with proposals on how to find corresponding solutions. Based on my experience, however, a key element that needs to be addressed is the importance of strategic alignment.

What is strategic alignment?

Strategic alignment can be described as the linkage between the goals of the business, which quantify the progress of the implementation of the strategy towards the vision, and the goals of each of the key contributors. Key contributors include groups, divisions, business units, departments, or individual employees who have an interest in the continuation of a successful corporation.

Strategic alignment, put simply, is “everyone rowing in the same direction.” The tighter the linkage and the better the alignment, the likelihood of flawless corporate execution becomes stronger.

Strategic alignment has several advantages once implemented properly and practiced. Benefits include:
1. Allowing an efficient use of usually scarce resources,
2. Resulting in increased speed of execution, as a corollary,
3. Promoting team efforts towards common goals, and
4. Escalating employees’ motivation, giving them a keener sense of contribution to the results of their individual groups and of the corporation as a whole.

These are good results that many corporations would benefit from, but very few corporations are able to realize them. Since many corporations and their leadership teams attempt to gain strategic alignment, the question becomes what barriers must be overcome.

How can strategic alignment be implemented effectively and what are the key success factors?

The first component of a successful strategic alignment is the extensive communication necessary within the organization to understand the elements of the vision and of the key strategic directions needed. Relentless repetition by the leadership and management teams at every opportunity, including sales meetings, company meetings, and operational business reviews allow each employee to understand vividly how he/she can contribute to the overall progress. More often than not, however, these vital communication opportunities are restricted to boring presentations of high-level tables filled with data that are difficult for employees to associate with their day-to-day jobs.

The second component of a successful strategic alignment is absolutely essential to link the results of each employee’s job to the progress of the entire corporation strategy and to do it clearly and simply. This is best accomplished by using simple measures of key performances (KBMs= key business metrics, or KPMs= key performance metrics), which can be connected to the employee’s annual performance review.

One excellent example of effective strategic alignment is practiced at Thermo Electron Corporation, a leader in the field of analytical instrumentation, headquartered in Waltham, MA. Thermo Electron uses a cascading set of goals that quantitatively measure the progress of the strategic implementation. This “waterfall effect” or “goal tree” starts at the very top of the corporation and cascades down to all levels of the organization – from Corporation to Divisions; from Divisions to Business Units; from Business Units to Departments, and from Departments to Employees.

When it reaches the employee, the objectives are incorporated into her/his annual performance targets and these objectives directly support the key goals from the highest levels of the organization. This ensures both focus and alignment as the employee daily delivers on their objectives. Objectives are rolled back up the “waterfall” or “goal tree” in periodic reviews of goals at all levels in the organization.

Implementing strategic alignment is not rocket science. It requires, however, strong commitment from the top leadership and focus on relentless communication at every opportunity using simple management principles of focus, clarity and reinforcement.

In the end, effective execution of strategic alignment is a leader’s top priority and ensures that goals are met and success achieved.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2008)
Tire rotation or rotating tires is the practice of moving automobile wheels and tires from one position on the car, to another, to ensure even tire wear. Tire wear is uneven for any number of reasons. Even tire wear is desirable to maintain consistent performance in the vehicle and to extend the overall life of a set of tires.
By design, the weight on the front and rear axles differs which causes uneven wear. With the majority of cars being front-engine cars, the front axle typically bears more of the weight. For rear wheel drive vehicles, the weight distribution between front and back approaches 50:50. Front wheel drive vehicles also have the differential in front, adding to the weight, with a typical weight distribution of no better than 60:40. This means, all else being equal, the front tires wear out at almost twice the rate of the rear wheels, especially when factoring the additional stress that braking puts on the front tires. Thus, tire rotation needs to occur more frequently for front-wheel drive vehicles.
Turning the vehicle will cause uneven tire wear. The outside, front tire is worn disproportionately. Cloverleaf interchanges, and parking ramps turn right in left hand drive (otherwise known as right hand traffic) countries, causing the left front tire to be worn faster than the right front. Furthermore, right turns are tighter than left turns, also causing more tire wear. Conversely the sidewalls on the right tire tends to be bumped and rubbed against the curb while parking the vehicle, causing asymmetric sidewall wear. The symmetric opposite occurs in countries that drive on the left.
In addition, mechanical problems in the vehicle may cause uneven tire wear. The wheels need to be aligned with each other and the vehicle. The wheel that is out of alignment will tend to be dragged along by the other wheels, causing uneven wear in that tire. If the alignment is such that the vehicle tends to turn, the driver will correct by steering against the tendency. In effect the vehicle is constantly turning, causing uneven tire wear. Also, if a tire is under or over-inflated, it will wear differently than the other tires on the vehicle. Rotating will not help in this case and the inflation needs to be corrected.
Car manufacturers will recommend tire rotation frequency and pattern. Depending on the specifics of the vehicle, tire rotation may be recommended every 12,000 km (7,500 mi). The rotation pattern is typically moving the back wheels to the front, and the front to the back, but crossing them when moving to the back. If the tires are unidirectional, the rotation can only be rotated front to back on the same side of the vehicle to preserve the rotational direction of the tires. Most unidirectional tires can be moved from side to side if they are remounted; tires with asymmetric rims are a rare exception. More complex rotation patterns are required if the vehicle has a full-size spare tire that is part of the rotation, or if there are snow tires.
To clarify; the pattern for asymmetrical tires to be rotated, or positioned, is for the tires on the driving axle of two-wheel drive vehicles to remain on the same side of the vehicle as they are moved to the non-driving axle, and for the tires on the non-driving axle to cross over to the opposite side of the vehicle as they are placed onto the driving axle. For All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles and Four Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicles, it is recommended that the tires from each axle cross over as the fronts move to the rear and rears to the front. For the 4WD configuration, it is dependent upon how much 4WD driving is actually performed, whether it’s controlled via mechanical/computerized devices or in vehicle controls, the recommendation will likely be found in the Owner/Operator manual or can be obtained by speaking to the manufacturer or dealership.
Current thinking stresses the desirability of keeping the best tires on the rear wheels of the vehicle, whether it is front, or rear wheel drive. The reason for this is that if the rear wheels lose grip before the front ones, an oversteer condition will occur, which is harder to control than the corresponding understeer which will happen if a front wheel is lost. This is also the case if a tire blows out, so the intuitive belief that the front steering/driving tires need to be the best quality is not actually the case.
In rare cases, automobile manufacturers may recommend performing no tire rotation at all. Additionally, some vehicles are designed (or retrofitted) with front and rear wheels of different sizes, making rotation impossible.
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Categories: Tires | Automobile maintenanceHidden categories: Articles that need to be wikified from April 2008 | All articles that need to be wikified | Accuracy disputes from April 2008 | All accuracy disputes | Articles lacking sources from August 2008 | All articles lacking sources

The certificate for financial advisers (cefa ®) is awarded by the institute of financial services (ifs)

The Certificate for Financial Advisers (CeFA ®) is awarded by the Institute of Financial Services (IFS). All true professionals in this sector are aware that it meets the requirements identified by the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC), is accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), and incorporated into the National Qualifications Framework at level 3. Most importantly: it is recognized by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as an appropriate qualification.

It’s natural that more and more people want to achieve the CeFA qualification as experienced Financial advisers enjoy top incomes and great lifestyles. Now they have a real advantage: they can register online on the web sites of CeFA training specialists and choose from 3 study options: full time, part time and home study.

CeFA ® is required by any individual who wishes to advise customers on investment, retirement planning and protection options. CeFA® consists of four modules that enable you to develop an extensive knowledge and understanding of UK financial regulation, investments and the risks that go with them, retirement planning and protection. The final module will test your ability to synthesize knowledge of these subject areas as effective and consumer-focused financial advice

CeFA1 is regarded as the toughest of all three modules and as such special attention needs to be given to it! CeFA 1 is assessed by a two-hour, 100 questions, multiple choice examinations. 

Participation in the CeFA® training program does not have a requirement for any previous qualifications and is not subject to age restrictions. However in most cases to get employment people should be over 16 years of age and there is no upper age limit. 

Just as you’re reading this article, there is the Futuretrend Training Academy which prides itself in delivering high quality Full CeFA training at affordable prices. Once you decide to trust this company in helping you on your first steps to becoming Financial Advisor, they will do their utmost to ensure they continue to earn your trust. You will stay with them until you pass at no extra or hidden costs.

On passing your CeFA qualifications they can even help you attain competent advisor status. With their help and commitment you will enjoy a solid period of growth leading to a profitable level of trading in the coming years.

So, get ready to pass your CeFA 1, 2, 3& 4 quickly!

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