- To best describe the situation between my team and I, is to say when the cat’s away, the mice will play. Whenever I go on a business trip or a short break, productivity at my department slows down. Most of my trips are interrupted by complaints about deadlines. My employees promise to be more responsible, but nothing changes. Any tips?
There are different possibilities why productivity takes a backseat in the absence of the team leader. Since you’re a frequent traveller, let’s use ‘destinations’ as an analogy for your options. First spot suggests Las Vegas’ worst tourists – think Hangover (Part I). Your employees are just not made from working material. In this case, be firm in explaining the consequences of their actions on the company and on their own careers and follow the HR procedures in documenting all actions. Be prepared to make an example of the most unproductive employee. Your decision may come across as harsh, but you want to take control and show them that you mean business and that instructions must be followed.
Second spot takes you to Russia just before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The people want to have an open economy and a better life, they just don’t know how yet. Your employees would like to deliver according to the agreed upon deadlines but they’re not mastering skills like self-supervision, time management and quality control. Coach the most promising ex-comrade to develop his or her project management skills and put that person in charge when you’re out of town. You may later want to rotate the coaching with other employees so they can grow as well. Final spot is London where every old corner has a story but you were driving too fast to notice. Ask them about the process itself and listen carefully; you might discover some obstacles that will change your mind. Bon voyage…and that’s just my two cents.
- Our advertising agency is pushing so hard for us to have a slogan attached to our new brand’s logo. The logo is text based. If we add a slogan, the visual will be crowded with too many letters. Are slogans that important to a brand?
We’re always told to ‘Think Different’, to ‘Just Do It’, and to eat the ‘Breakfast of Champions’. Advertising slogans help creating emotional connections with experiences related to the products and services companies offer. Yet, when you attach a slogan to a logo, it’s a different story. Brands with large budgets can afford to communicate their slogans over and over until they’re engraved in your brain cells. Smaller brands want to achieve the same goal, but their slim cash makes it more challenging. The situation gets more complicated for new startups, as they haven’t still established presence and familiarity with their target audience. It is possible that your agency fears this obstacle so they’re suggesting a tagline to speed up this process. Keep in mind though; if you choose one, it should stay for a long time.
Some brands need slogans more than others. For example, if you don’t know what De Beers sell, their tagline, ‘A diamond is forever’, gives you a clear message; and it’s attached to their text-based logo to this day although they were established in 1888. Toys“R”Us has a descriptive brand name and, therefore, attaching a slogan to their logo is not necessary. Toys“R”Us or any other business with a descriptive name might still add a slogan to their logo to differentiate themselves from their competitors’ products or to create a certain level of desire in the consumer’s mind. So, depending on your brand naming style, typography, marketing budget, and positioning goals you can evaluate your slogan needs. Until then, eat something that ‘Melts in your mouth not in your hands’…and that’s just my two cents.
- Every year, we plan ahead with the best intentions to achieve our goals, but we rollover about 40-50% of the set goals to the following year with some new ones. I don’t know why this doesn’t bother any of the executives yet. Am I the weird one?
Your executive board suffers from a well known managerial disease called Plan-a-titus. Usually, shareholders push the executive team for ambitious targets so they can make more money. The executive team, on the other hand, doesn’t want to annoy the shareholders with statements like “These targets are unattainable”, “We don’t have the resources to achieve such goals” or “We’re not really sure about the best ways to reach all these targets.” Most executives try to do their best or buy time; and as incidents and circumstances arise during practice they’ll use them to honestly or cunningly justify why they couldn’t reach these unrealistic goals. Depending on how convincing these justifications are some executives are given fresh chances while others hit the road.
Setting five exciting yet achievable goals is far more effective to the business and the teams’ morale than presenting a plan with ten goals to impress the board with nothing but wishful thinking on your mind. Naturally, this approach will worry many business owners and board members because they’re used to receiving plans that won’t be completed in full. This is where you need to passionately present your mission with clear evidence to support your claim about achieving all the submitted goals. Another good reason to follow this sensible school of thought is your bonus. Your will receive 100% of your bonus when all the goals in your plan are met…and that’s just my two cents.
For Loaay Ahmed’s advice on business or work matters, send a short email to [email protected] Regrettably, only the questions chosen for publishing will be answered. Loaay Ahmed is a management consultant and strategic expert. To learn more about Loaay and his consulting service, strategic business therapy, visit www.knightscapital.com.