Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2013 Contents B5
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
One common tactic to make this information
known is to display diplomas, licenses, awards,
and other evidence of expertise in a prominent
location in one s office -- after all, if you ve
worked hard to gain knowledge, it s fair that
you get credit for it.
Another tactic is to make subtle references
to prior education or experience (eg, "When
I was chief engineer at GE, we had a problem
similar to this one"). Beware, however, this
tactic can easily be overdone.
Maintain credibility: Once established, one s
image of expertise should be carefully pro-
tected. The leader should avoid making careless
comments about subjects on which he or she
is poorly informed, and should avoid being
associated with projects with a low likelihood
Act confidently and decisively in a crisis:
In a crisis or emergency, subordinates prefer
a "take charge" leader who appears to know
how to direct the group in coping with the
problem. In this kind of situation, subordinates
tend to associate confident, firm leadership
with expert knowledge. Even if the leader is
not sure of the best way to deal with a crisis,
to express doubts or appear confused risks
the loss of influence over subordinates.
Keep informed: Expert power is exercised
through rational persuasion and demonstration
of expertise. Rational persuasion depends on
a firm grasp of up-to-date facts. It is therefore
essential for a leader to keep well-informed
of developments within the team, within the
organisation, and in the outside world.
Recognise subordinate concerns: Use of
rational persuasion should not be seen as a
form of one-way communication from the
leader to subordinates. Effective leaders listen
carefully to the concerns and uncertainties of
their team members, and make sure that they
address these in making a persuasive appeal.
Avoid threatening the self-esteem of sub-
ordinates: Expert power is based on a knowl-
edge differential between leader and team
members. Unfortunately, the very existence
of such a differential can cause problems if
the leader is not careful about the way he
exercises expert power.
Team members can dislike unfavorable status
comparisons where the gap is very large and
obvious. They are likely to be upset by a leader
who acts in a superior way, and arrogantly
flaunts his greater expertise.
In the process of presenting rational argu-
ments, some leaders lecture their team mem-
bers in a condescending manner and convey
the impression that the other team members
Guard against this.
Fires, floods, tornadoes---these are the things we
often connect with contingency planning. But what
if your main supplier suddenly goes bankrupt? Or,
what if your entire sales force gets sick with food
poisoning at your annual sales conference? Or, your
payroll clerk simply calls in sick on payroll day? These
things can all cause confusion and disorder if you
haven t prepared for them properly. Contingency
planning is a key part of this preparation.
As you see, contingency planning is not just about
major disasters. On a smaller scale, it s about preparing
for events such as the loss of data, people, customers,
and suppliers, and other disruptive unknowns. That s
why it s important to make contingency planning a
normal part of your everyday business operations.
The need for contingency planning emerges from
a thorough analysis of the risks that your organisation
faces. It s also useful in thinking about new and ongo-
ing projects: what happens when Plan A doesn t go
Sometimes Plan A simply means business as usual.
Other times, with more sophisticated risk management
plans, Plan A is your first response to deal with an
identified risk -- and when Plan A doesn t work, you
use your contingency plan.
Use these principles in your risk assessment process:
• Address all business-critical operations -- No
matter where your contingency planning starts, a
good plan identifies critical business functions, and
it outlines a way to minimise losses.
• Identify risks -- The first part of an effective risk
analysis is to identify the various risks that your busi-
ness may face. What has the potential to significantly
disrupt or harm your project or business operations?
The end result of a risk analysis is usually a huge list
of potential threats. If you try to produce a contingency
plan for each, you may be overwhelmed. This is why
you must prioritise.
• Prioritising risks -- One of the greatest challenges
of contingency planning is making sure you don t
plan too much. You need a careful balance between
overpreparation for something that may never happen,
and adequate preparation so that you can respond
quickly and effectively to a crisis situation when nec-
• Risk Impact/Probability Charts help you find
this balance. With these, you analyse the impact of
each risk, and you assign a likelihood of it occurring.
Then it s easier to determine which risks require the
expense and effort of risk mitigation. Business process-
es that are essential to long-term survival---like main-
taining cash flow, staff support, and market share---
are typically at the top of the list.
Continued on Page B6
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