Posts Tagged ‘analyze’

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, leaders and entrepreneurs are required to be more adaptive, responsive, and innovative than ever before

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, leaders and entrepreneurs are required to be more adaptive, responsive, and innovative than ever before. Assessing situations quickly, and developing novel solutions have become a requirement. Differentiating your self, your product or your organization is essential–and requires creative thinking.

If you approach a new situation with the your habitual thinking, it’s impossible to generate new ideas, visions or solutions. Your thought patterns will travel down the same neural pathways in your brain the same way they always do–and the outcome will be the same ideas you typically have. Thinking in novel ways requires new connections within the brain. New thinking requires pattern breaking. Research shows that by actively engaging the brain’s capacities from both hemispheres, you have a larger “playing field” from which to create – there is more cross fertilization between neural synapses which leads to original ideas and “A-ha” moments.

The “left brain” organizes what already exists and thinks linearly. There is a sequential, analytical process toward a specific outcome. The often overlooked (but not less important) “right brain” imagines what can be and thinks in nonlinear interconnections. It has immediate access to insights and novel connections. Cultivating the use of both sides leads to breakthrough leaps and the ability to think on your feet under pressure.

I developed a simple Whole Brain Brain Dimensions chart to help you better understand your dominant thinking style. The words in the left hand column are typically associated with the “left brain thinking,” and the words in the right hand column are typically associated with “right brain thinking.” These are simple generalizations, designed to get you thinking about the habitual thinking patterns you use to approach your work. The more integrated your brain hemispheres are – accessing and using the elements associated with both sides of this list – the more effective you will be at generating elegant solutions and developing new solutions. Most individuals and most organizational cultures lean more toward one side or the other. Which are you? Which is your organization? Which is your culture?

Quickly scan the list for the words that apply to you in your work. Don’t think about it—go by initial instinct. Keep track of how many words in each column describe you. You don’t have to choose between the 2 columns – just check off each word that speaks to you as part of your own process, even if they seem opposite. For example, you may find you already use both detailed and big picture thinking in your work. If so, check both.

Whole Brain Dimensions Chart

Left Brain…………….Right Brain

Details Big…………….Picture
Verbal………………….Visual, Kinesthetic
Prove, Verify…………..Envision
Pattern Perception…..Spatial Perception
Sorts & Separates……Infuses & Blends
Conclusion…………….A-ha Moment
Levels & Stages………Dimensions

Add up the totals on each side to become aware of your dominant thinking approach. What are your dominant thinking patterns? Where is there room for skill development for more whole brain thinking?

Whole Brain Integration Techniques

The flowing are some quick and simple exercises you can use at your desk to begin to integrate the hemispheres and strengthen your less dominant side.

1. Opposite functions – Spend some time doing everything with your non-dominant hand. Every time you break a dominance habit, you create new neural pathways and give the brain more options. It become easier to think in new ways throughout your day, and easier to adapt, respond and create in high pressure environments.

2. Color and No Lines – Instead of using lined legal paper and a pen in meetings, brainstorming sessions or any other work related functions, try use unlined paper and colored markers. Lines have a subconscious effect on us which keep the brain locked in habitual thought patterns. By removing the lines, the brain is more free to think visually and instead of just in words. Using colored markers has a stimulating effect on the brain because the right brain thinks in color.

3. Sensory Immersion – engage all of your senses in your ideation process. Instead of coming to a situation from analytical thinking alone:

> Visualize it
> Use different types of music to stimulate thinking
> Use 3-dimentional objects to move around on your desk as your are brainstorming
> Talk about it out loud (left brain) as you are seeing it (right brain)
> Develop mindmaps with both images and words
> Use body nonlinearly, i.e., have the right and left arms doing 2 different tasks at the same time.
> Try Crossover Movements – cross the left hand over the right, or touch the left know with the right hand and vice versa for a couple minutes.

The more senses you use simultaneously, the more the brain sides work in harmony and the information you receive.

4. Embodiment – become the project, problem, vision, product and act from its point of view. New ideas will flood your mind. This is easy to prove. First, try imagining new features to add to any product in a certain time period, i.e., 5 minutes. You will come up with a number of features. Then, pretend you actually are the product – become the product -and start talking as the product, again for 5 minutes. You will learn exponentially more about what additional features it “needs.” The act of becoming a product or concept will give you new insights and awareness’ into the product, and therefore, potential new features, that you cannot get from just thinking about it.

Innovation has become one of the top business values today, and thinking creatively is requisite for sustainable innovation. Whole brain thinking is the one of the most effective – and accessible – approaches to break out of limited thinking and develop consistently fresh thinking patterns. Once you access your brain’s creative wellspring, business challenges can become innovative opportunities.

Queen sirikit national convention centre, thailand during crisis, most times, we think about training staff, stop overtime-time payments, cut expense on your human resources, unpaid leave policy or even lay offs

.. a talk at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, Thailand

During crisis, most times, we think about training staff, stop overtime-time payments, cut expense on your Human Resources, unpaid leave policy or even lay offs.  I cannot say this is wrong, as long as it is most suitable and relevant to the situation.

On August 6, 2009 I was invited to be one of the panellists talking about “360 degree management for the tourism and hospitality industry during a “crisis” – organized by KBank, Thailand at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.  (I personally admire KBank a great deal for their continuous educational activities for their clients and non-clients as what they have done reflecting a sincere banking business).

I was asked what the first thing was in my mind when a crisis happened. My answer was “people”! How all employees can work and help us to go through the crisis together as a team, as owner or general manager could never be the sole person to fight and survive a crisis.  I did question the audiences (All owners and managers) whether or not they arranged meetings, to strongly and specifically communicate to all level of staff (even the cleaners) about the crisis situation and on how everyone, as a team, will walk through all difficulties during such and such a crisis.

Of course, the owners / general managers must go to the meeting with clear goals and plans. The meeting must be arranged to purposely have a productive two-way communication as all the employees will need to buy the ideas and follow direction.

Some employees might like to contribute some good ideas as well.  I have personally seen hotels’ management who left the staff in the dark and let the staff think that during a crisis, staff better behave well, or they will be the first to be kicked out.

This is very unhealthy management!

Next, for me, is still “people”, this time about our potential target markets and our customers that may be able to help to get through a crisis.  Look into all of the guest history and analyze carefully and effectively.  You may be able to pull some good ideas out for your next sales trip or your sales planning.  This must come together with all your relevant pricing and service strategies.  In Thailand, I have seen many hotels cut down prices and believe that it will work to boost occupancy.  Sometimes, it does indeed work when certain factors just happen to fit in, but unfortunately most times it does not work that easily.

What I like to emphasize is the “cost strategy”! You really need to watch and audit every business activity to ensure the costs are at a minimum and effective.  Each selling price must be carefully set with a very correct and minimum cost.  And, this has to be well-communicated to all your department heads and staff.

It is easy –but very wrong – to say that the breakeven point or loss is fine as it creates some activities for staff.  This is mostly said by many SME (small-medium-enterprise business) owners or management with no or limited hotelier background. I did experience such a kind of statement as well in managing a hotel! I honestly think this idea is explored to benefit some people for some purposes that nobody knows!!!!! I think one does not need to be a General Manager to make a statement like  “It is fine not to make profit; at least we have activities for staff”.

I reminded the audiences that during a crisis, I do agree that sometimes the operators do receive some kind of customer and agent pressure to lower the prices.  Nevertheless, costing is ultimately an important factor for the real profit making.

I tried to explain that if you used to have a price of 370. – Baht per head for your banqueting business, and you cut the price down to 325. – Baht or even lower – you must be able to calculate an exact Baht and Satang of how much you finally would make. Consequently, how much of service charge your staff would earn.  The staff may work as hard as before or even harder with a lower service charge to be received by the end of the month.  In the hotel industry, some operational staff very much depend on the service charge for their living.

I come back again to the management communication in the meeting! You have to inspire and educate the staff and eventually convince them of how to go through the difficulties.

Some businesses can depend on lower pricing with a bulk selling strategy.  However, in the hotel industry, you cannot over do it.  It does not mean you cannot do, but, I say it again, don’t overdo it, unfortunately many non-hotelier background management or owner could not see the risk.

Many of owners or management accepted to sell at a price that did not making any profit to just show their good face and I think they disrespect their operating team.

Each and every hotel business process needs people. So, to lower the prices with the hope to have quantitative sales will finally affect staff motivation and the expense as you have to finally pay so much for over-time, extra casual paid workers and so on and so forth and please note that some managers never ever calculate things in detail in their whole lives.  Therefore, they only look at the revenue and occupancy, but not a detailed profit.

I added on another important thing!  E-MARKETING. I shared a good story of the company called Mai-BS (Thailand) which is very successful after only 2 months being in operation.  Its website is very participative and popular.  I told the audiences to leave this important work to professionals and all hotel owners must seriously invest in this as in Thailand, we can depend very little on our government for any help.  We all should better depend and rely on ourselves, Kbank, and I wish to extend here that if you are in need for more, you can also reply on Mai-BS.

Not to forget, you have to be very careful of your expense! What I like to extend here is: I do not mean you have to be tight with your expense.  You should be reasonable in your spending! For example; you can take out some of the light bulbs from staff canteen or lockers or even from guest corridors and put out an internal campaign on “saving” throughout the hotel.  However, in the mean time, it is not wrong to consider purchasing a “lazy susan” for your tables, as it gives convenience to your guests and your staff – especially when you receive many complaints about it.

  1. But once the business turned well enough, we were never called or asked for any cost saving meeting. I don’t know why?  To me, this truly reflects “crisis is an opportunity”, I think it is a learning that we gain during crisis and we can also apply some of the exercises during the booming period too,- FOR EVEN BETTER PROFIT AND OPERATING PROFITS!
  2. It’s like you are playing in a football (soccer) match! Every second you can hit the goal.

Before you develop or send any message, you should first take the time to identify which goal or communication goals you want to accomplish with the message

Before you develop or send any message, you should first take the time to identify which goal or communication goals you want to accomplish with the message. Understanding the goal will help you identify what kind of information, and how much information, the message should include. While there are any number of ways in which a communication goals can affect message content, here are a few examples:

1. When you’re informing a receiver who’s part of your organization about the current status of a project, you can probably just list a few key points. However if you’re briefing a new consultant who’ll be helping out with the project, you’ll need to provide more background information.

2. When you’re requesting a receiver to do something new or something that’s complicated, you’ll need to be sure your message contains enough details about the steps the receiver should take, and contains all the information the receiver needs to complete your request.

3. When you’re trying to persuade a receiver about an issue, you need to be sure to provide ample rationale for your position. For example, while a statement like ” The president of the company says we have to change this approach ” does obligate employees to respond accordingly, such a simple statement may not be enough to help the employees really accept and support the change.

4.  If your communication goals are to build a relationship, analyze the type of relationship you’d like to build, and structure your message accordingly. For example, if your business has 200 clients, but only four of those clients provide 80 percent of your revenue, you should spend much more time which follow-up for those four clients, and regularly reinforce that you appreciate the significant business each client provides.

In this article, you learned how to identify the communication goals for your message.

The dynamics of leadership was the subject of a study by stanford university

The dynamics of leadership was the subject of a study by Stanford University.  Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 company employees that rose from low levels to become president of the company were studied.  Was there a common trait that these leaders demonstrated during their rise to the top?  There was one common characteristic.  It was during times of crisis that leaders emerged.  The study found that this is not trained but rather inbred in the character of the leader.  With that said, our own leadership skills come to the forefront during times of great stress.

None of us can espcape setbacks, challenges and crisis.  One can’t avoid them and they don’t ever stop.  A problem solver is how a leaders job is defined.  The more responsibility the more challenges and crises there are to handle.  The only thing that a leader can control when these inevitable crises occur is how to respond.  If we could control it, we would have stopped it from occurring in the first place, but since we couldn’t…here it is.  This is defined as our response ability.  Our ability to respond to crunch times of modern life.  There are 7 steps, according to Brian Tracy, that can be taken during difficult times.

1.  Stay calm.  Take a deep breath.  The true test of leaders is effectively handling problems and challenges.  Top leaders keep their composure.  By staying calm, blood flows to the front of the brain, according to neuro-science.  The front of the brain, the thinking brain, is where we analyze, make decisions and take action.  However, when we get excited blood flows to the paleocortex, or the animal brain, which triggers emotions.  Anger, fear, flight or fight etc.  Our job is to stay calm so that we are activating the thinking part of the brain.

2.  Get the facts.  What really has gone on, get the real facts.  It is very common that when crisis occurs we don’t have all the facts.  The natural tendency of weak people is to jump to conclusions and run around in circles.  The way to stay calm and to get the facts is to ask questions.  Leaders listen.  Asking questions is what leaders do.  An critical skill is to withhold judgment until all the facts have been learned.

3.  Take responsibility.  This calms a leader down.  By saying the words, “I am responsible, I’m a leader it’s my responsibility to not get upset but to solve problems.”  Refuse to complain or throw a pity party.  What is done is done.  Don’t criticize other people.  Assume that people have the best of objectives.  No one is perfect and sometimes people make mistakes…it’s just the way it works.  When we are critical of others we shut down the thinking part of the brain and began to act of out emotion such as angry or resentment.  We can always take responsibility for how we respond even if we didn’t cause this particular problem.  A leaders role is to keep cool, stay calm and in control.

4.  Remain Confident.  As human beings, we have all the tools and intelligence to handle any and all problems that arise.  We are not given a problem that we can’t solve.  Show confidence.  Without fail, your people are a direct reflection of you. Our people are always watching and mirroring us.  If we maintain our poise then others will retain their poise.  If we are upset they will be upset.  Even if on the inside we feel fear or trepidation, on the outside we should just smile and remain confident as if the successful result is guaranteed.

5.  Unleash Creativity.  Ask the question, “How?” “How can we solve this problem?”  “How can we overcome?”  The mind only answers questions that we ask.  Utilize this:  Take a piece of paper and with your team ask the question, “How can we solve this problem?”  Involve others in the identifying the solution.  “We can do more of this or we can do less of that…”  Be solution oriented at all times.  Those that are weak place blame on others.  It is always the fault of others and they focus on blaming someone else.  Don’t focus on what can’t be changed, only focus on what can be changed.

6.  Concentrate on Priorities.  Stop. Time out.  Keep the main thing the main thing.  What is the most important thing at this moment?  Who are the key people to get on board?  Slow down and focus on the most important thing that can be done.  Concentrate on stopping the bleeding.  Keep asking, “What is the most valuable thing that I can do right now?”

7.  Counter Attack.  Go to work.  Stop. Think. Get the facts and get to work.  See the key people.  Talk to the players that need to be talked to.  Make the phone calls.  Attend the meetings.  Stay action oriented.  There is nothing like action to give us a sense of control and personal power.  As we take action then we get feedback to self-correct and take more action.  The more active we are the more ideas we get and more action can be taken.

Crunch time is expected.  Anticipate challenges, problems and crises.  The only question is how well we perform under those circumstances.  When we perform well during crunch time then we are leaders and will have a exceptional life.

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