Another Good Initiative

ImageNew initiatives are important at work to improve the existing work processes or initiate new process. Initiatives can be new products or another sub-product. Organizations usually encourage employees to present new initiatives frequently. Some organizations evaluate their engineers or experts by the number of initiatives they produce every year. I was discussing this issue with a consultant once, and he complained that some organizations evaluate the engineers’ yearly bonus on number of new “money-saving” projects. These organization end up with multiple projects by the end of the year waiting for execution.

The problem with “opportunity” initiatives or “money-saving” initiatives is in their evaluation. Many initiatives promise to solve the organizational problems, save $$$, or introduce found breaking products that will make the organization the best in its market segment. Very few initiatives produce %90 of promised result. Most of the initiatives stray in a side track or end up as an embarrassing memory. Initiatives should be supported with a strong change management  plan and good management support or it will be one of the arrows in the attached figure!

Products at the End of the Life Cycle

pirate_walk_the_plank_800_clr_14805The company can sell its product in a different environment. The new market can be domestic or international depending on the product specifications and the new market demand. Products at the end of their life cycle can be a burden on the company because the margin between manufacturing the product and its selling price is declining (Jevons et al., 2007). Low-tech cell phones are a good example for market relocation. The low-tech phones may be at the end of their life cycle in the developed countries, but there is a good demand for such phones in the developing countries because of their relatively low price. The cell phone users in the developing countries need simple to use phone to communicate in the remote areas and other high-tech functions are neither important or available in the remote areas.

Jevons, C., Ewing, M., & Khalil, E. (2007). Managing brand demise. Journal of General Management, 32(4), 73-81.

Is Balanced Scorecard easy to do?

custom_life_balance_13780Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a management tool to measure the organizational implementation of the vision and strategy against the business and operating Key Performance Indicators (Carpenter & Sanders, 2009). BSC transform the strategy into tangible and intangible performance measures that make the strategy a dynamic process (Carpenter & Sanders, 2009). BSC is an innovative method to dissect and direct the strategy into four principles. The principles or categories that each strategy should have are finance, external relations, internal business process, and learning and growth. The vision and strategy can be mapped through the BSC information to give a clear representation of the strategy to the stakeholders and shareholders.

Some organizations think that BSC is a complete waste of resources and takes time to set up the required measures (Linna & Seal, 2009). The measure maybe is outdated and need change within a few months. Success in the internal processes or human resources is sometimes not rewarded (Linna & Seal, 2009); however, the rewards are usually linked to the financial measures only. BSC may be a good performance dashboard if the tangible measures are updated frequently, however BSC will not be dynamic enough when most of the measures are intangible and cannot be updated frequently.


Carpenter, M. A., & Sanders, W. G. (2009). Strategic management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Linna, Y., & Seal, W. (2009). The balanced scorecard. Financial Management (14719185), 27-28.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Competitive Advantage

Market imperfections can be in the form of monopoly, externalities or public goods, but sometimes defined as anything that interferes with trade (DeGennaro, 2005). The organizational competitive advantage can be achieved by adapting to the external trends and events and adapt to the changes in capabilities and resources. The organizations can make the competitive advantages by formulating and implementing strategies that help adapting and taking advantage of these changes (Ogrean, Herciu, & Belascu, 2009). Organizations can definitely take advantage of the market monopoly and keep up its position until another competitor force its market penetration. Externalities can be used as a competitive advantage when the organization anticipates and plan for the positive externalities. Over fishing in a place would increase the demand when the fish supplied to the market is less than the demand. The organizations can take care of this externality by anticipating the decrease in the supply and importing enough supply of fish for the consumer in the local market.

Rolls-Royce found out that its automobile business was not competitive and its jet engine market was booming. Rolls-Royce sold its automobile business and concentrated on leasing jet engines to the airline companies (Carpenter & Sanders, 2009). The leasing strategy made Rolls-Royce take larger share of the jet engine business (Carpenter & Sanders, 2009). Xerox had good innovations coming from its research center in Palo Alto, which could have been good competitive advantages. Innovations like personal computers, bit-mapped, desktop, icons, and the use of mouse and menus (Carpenter & Sanders, 2009; Rothkopf, 2000). Xerox did not use these competitive innovations and lost a good chance to be a leader in these markets (Carpenter & Sanders, 2009; Rothkopf, 2000).


Carpenter, M. A., & Sanders, W. G. (2009). Strategic management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

DeGennaro, R. (2005). Market Imperfections. Journal of Financial Transformation, 14(2005), 107-117.

Ogrean, C., Herciu, M., & Belascu, L. (2009). Searching for sustainable competitive advantage– From tangibles to intangibles. Journal of US-China Public Administration, 6(4), 1-9.

Rothkopf, M. H. (2000). Under the Mike-R-Scope: What happened at Xerox PARC? Interfaces, 30(6), 91-94.

Enhanced by Zemanta

كيفة وضع الاهداف الشخصية والمهنية

I would like to apologize to the blog visitors and readers for presenting this post (video) in Arabic language. Many visitors and friends asked me to blog in Arabic and this is my first start in the blog.

Part 1

Part 2

Enhanced by Zemanta

Locus of Control

Locus of control is an indicator of the individual’s sense of control over their successes and failures (Navahandi, 2006). Individuals’ beliefs that events they are experiences are due to luck, fate, or their own behavior (Scott et al., 2010). Individuals with strong internal locus of control believe that their success and failures are caused their actions. Individuals’ with strong external locus of control believe that what is happening to them is the result of chance, luck, or fate (Navahandi, 2006; Scott et al., 2010). Navahandi (2006) stated that leaders with strong internal locus of control are more likely to lead their teams better than leaders with internal locus of control. Managers and leaders with external locus of control believe that external threats are unmanageable, but the ones with internal locus of control believe they can cope with stress and handle their future (Scott et al., 2010).


Navahandi, A. (2006). The art and science of leadership (4 ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.

Scott, S. L., Carper, T. M., Middleton, M., White, R., Renk, K., & Grills-Taquechel, A. (2010). Relationships among locus of control, coping behaviors, and levels of worry following exposure to hurricanes. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 15(2), 123-137. doi: 10.1080/15325020902925985

Wood, A. M., Saylor, C., & Cohen, J. (2009). Locus of control and academic success among ethnically diverse baccalaureate nursing students. Nursing Education Perspectives, 30(5), 290-294.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Technical Position Training

Technical employees need intensive technical training but also need managerial and leadership training to advance in their jobs. Some organizations start the administrative and managerial training too late which make the technical employees struggle in approving and implementing their ideas.

Technical Position Training Model

Enhanced by Zemanta

Prepaid SIM card

What is the best use of the extra credit in the prepaid SIM card. You may answer by “Using it” but please think again. Many of us can’t stop using their mobile phones even during their vacations. I was using my original SIM card during my international travel but I learned (the hard way) that roaming services are very expensive once I mad it back home and got the first phone bill. I bought a cheap mobile phone and used it as a secondary mobile phone with a prepaid SIM card from the country I am traveling to. My international roaming service costs came down drastically, so I found myself calling home more often because of the low cost of the international calls when using the prepaid SIM cards. The only problem with such plan is the remaining credit on the SIM card during the last day of your travel. I noticed many people use up their credit by calling their friends and relative or somebody they just want to wast time with. They do these annoying calls in the airport boarding gates or on the airplane just before taking off. You will be tired and look for peace but people around you keep on telling their life stories over the phone to somebody in another time zone. The women next to me in the plane is giving a detailed report to her friend back home just to use up the prepaid credit. I know now what she did during her vacation to the last detail. And almost half of the airplane overheard her annoying conversation. When she hang up the mobile phone she asked her daughter if her phone also have unused credit?

What Is Right For The Business?

Many employees work very hard to perform their  daily tasks, but they make mistakes and got blamed for it. The first reaction from their superiors is to look for the obvious mistakes and shortfalls in following the plans, procedure or regulations. Catching the obvious mistake is easy but will only solve the problem momentarily. Eliminating the cause of the problem is very difficult. Sometimes, the organization needs to change the procedures, review their assumptions or even ask themselves if they need the workers to perform that task at all. The following discussion and examples will show how mistakes and errors can take place and how we can we eliminate these mistakes immediately and permanently. Long term solutions needs time, effort and big budget, but eliminating a reoccurring problem will worth the cost, effort and time spent. Read More …

Survey or Questionnaire?

Birthday cake
Image by Sami Malallah via Flickr

I was asked by one of the blog readers about the difference between surveys and questionnaire. We can easily get confused because they are doing almost the same thing. Surveys are more popular because most of the researchers use them to collect information from large population. But surveys need statistical calculations to analyse and interpret. Surveys are mostly used for quantitative researches. The surveys are usual printed on few pages and distributed in classrooms, shopping centers or social gatherings. Recently, most of the surveys are conducted online thought free survey services like Zoomerang or SurveyMonky who can collect and analyse the data for competitive prices.  Questionnaires are used for qualitative researches and usually conducted in a face-to-face setting.

Survey is a set of questions prepared with answers to choose from. For example the question can be “what is your favorite sweet after a good meal?” the answer can be: 1) cheese cake 2) chocolate cake 3) fruit salad 4) fresh apple. The survey participant will choose one answer. Questionnaires are set of questions to ask open-ended questions to get the participants perception or experience on the studied subject. Question can be “What do you like to eat after you main meal when you dine in a restaurant?”

%d bloggers like this: