Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 12th 2014 Contents BG14 | COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2014 • WEEK TWO
Keep your meeting
You can follow all the guidelines for holding
an effective meeting, but things can still go
wrong. The best way to handle problems is
to prepare ahead of time and to intervene at
the right moment to get things back on track.
Think about the attendees. Is there a wind-
bag in your group? Ask him to focus his com-
ments on a particular aspect. A constant critic?
Have the person lead part of the discussion.
Someone with a habit of being late? Give him
a job to do during the session.
Make sure everyone has a turn. If one person
is hogging the conversation, walk closer and
closer to him. This draws group attention to
you and away from the speaker. Thank him
and call on someone else.
Don t be afraid of silence. Allow silence for
one minute; people might need time to process.
Ask if you should clarify something, or if
there s an issue people are avoiding. Take a
short refocus break, or if people seem worn
(Source: "Running Meetings: 20-Minute
Attract the best
Many companies have on-campus recruiting
plans, where they focus their sourcing and
branding efforts, but being present on campus
isn t enough.
To build a brand among college grads, you
need to get your story out there. Use language
that millennials relate to, and go where the
students are (which is often not at college
fairs): go online. Invest in a visually appealing,
easily accessible, content-rich site where stu-
dents can go to learn about your company.
Showcase the right alums, intern experiences
and the basic message you want to deliver.
A good "brand page" should tell the story
of your mission, your culture and why someone
should join your team. You can also engage
through social media.
Look at grads specific interests, who they
follow, what they re talking about, etc. Most
online communities don t like being marketed
to, so be authentic, bring users value and be
cautious of blatant self-promotion.
(Source: "How Companies Can Attract the
Best College Talent" by Sanjeev Agrawal.)
Prioritise or perish in a
While poor time management hurts any
firm, it s especially pernicious at midsize com-
panies. These companies must move quickly
to make up for smaller competitors agility,
but they also need to tackle big projects to
compete with larger firms. Time, not money,
is the most important resource for midsize
Honor deadlines from the top down. Project
management is worthless if the CEO disre-
spects deadlines. Make missing deadlines unac-
ceptable at every level. Promote your best
time-managers, and make the consequences
of missing deadlines clear.
Ruthlessly cut projects until only critical
ones remain. When a company tries to do too
much with too few resources, projects
inevitably end up late, mediocre or unfinished.
Be transparent about a project s status. In
midsize companies, core projects affect every
department since the business isn t big. Leaders
must keep team members informed about
advances and setbacks, including missed dead-
lines, to assess the project s overall progress.
(Source: "Midsize Companies Must Prioritize
Ruthlessly" by Robert Sher.)
Stop trying to control
employees or make
For decades, two common thought processes
have influenced management. Managers take
a "hard" approach when it comes to addressing
challenges - creating new structures, processes
and systems. And they opt for a "soft"
approach when they need to boost morale -
launching initiatives like off-sites or lunchtime
The problem is that both of these are out-
dated in an age of mounting complexity. Stop
trying to control people or make them happy;
instead, give your employees more autonomy
and encourage them to work with each other.
Start by understanding what your employees
do and why they do it, and foster cooperation
by giving people the power and interest to do
so.If you increase the total quantity of power
(don t just shift existing power around), create
direct feedback loops and reward those who
cooperate, employees will feel liberated and
empowered to make critical judgments and
to come up with creative solutions to prob-
(Source: "Stop Trying to Control People or
Make Them Happy" by Yves Morieux and Peter
Choose one source of
To create a winning strategy, you must figure
out how to create value in a way that is distinct
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
from your competitors.
There are only two kinds
of competitive advantage:
to operate with sustain-
ably lower costs or to dif-
ferentiate by offering a
significantly better prod-
uct or service.
You can choose a low-
cost strategy, like Wal-
Mart or Southwest Air-
lines does, where you
profit by creating a lower
cost structure than rival
Or your company
might go with a differ-
entiation strategy, like
Whole Foods or Procter
& Gamble, and charge a
price premium for your
products or services,
because they re more
valuable to customers.
Whichever you decide
on, be sure to clearly
choose one. No company
can win by attempting
(Source: the "Playing to
Win Strategy Tool Kit.")
@2014 Harvard Busi-
ness School Publishing
Corp. Distributed by the
New York Times Syn-
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