In order for you to maintain your crucial management career there are a number of basic concepts and skills to understand and learn.
Master and understand them wisely .
1) Importance of analyzing cost variances
This is what accountants do with the difference between budgeted costs and actual costs. Significant differences (which accountants insist on calling “variances”) are reviewed and targeted for corrective action.
In many companies, accountants spend so much time identifying variances and making sure they’re allocated to the right accounting period that they never get around to telling management what the variances mean or what might have caused them.
Don’t assume that accountants know the meaning or cause of every variance, and don’t let them imply that you should, either. Make them give you a plain-language explanation of what caused the variances (you might insist on calling them “differences” to assert your position). If they don’t know, make it clear that you expect them to find out and get back to you.
2) Exports as a vital component of the company’s financial reports
“Export or die” is a highly overrated slogan. As an effective manager should regard this as a choice between two legitimate alternatives, and the second one might not be too bad.
Exporting is a pain in the neck. If you’re already doing it, it may be worth continuing, but you’re always
Your life and peace of mind are at the mercy of foreign exchange fluctuations, volatile political changes, legal problems, and bewildering cultural quirks that would challenge the patience of a diplomat or the-President’s chief of protocol.
In many backward Moslem countries , showing your host the sole of your shoe is a cultural insult serious enough to have you executed by a firing squad.
You will notice that in most photos of prominent American politicians visiting such areas the photos invariably show the politician or military leader’s feet planted firmly on the ground as if they are glued there.
Culture nuances can often be overlooked or not understood for their significance.
If you recall when Prince Bandr of Saudi Arabia visited the Bush ranch what the west saw in the photos was a nice foreigner dressed in blue jeans chatting with his good friend George W. Busch .
The message the west saw in their eyes was that he is our friend “ One of the Boys’.
The message to the other side was rather different.
First of all Prince Bandr sat on a pillow.
He was physically higher ( by several inches ) than the President of the United States . More important .
Secondly his finger was pointed at George Bush in the important photos which were displayed world wide.
The message was you stupid …. You had better know your place .
Who needs such aggravation .
Better to stay at home .
It’s been said that managers have meetings only when they don’t know what to do. That’s not entirely true. They also have meetings when they know what to do, but want to share the responsibility, or when they want someone else to do it or suggest it.
The purpose of many meetigs and the committees they span is to ensure that no one specifuc can held responsible.
Even with the most accurate meeting notes is very difficult to assign specific responsibility for actions and mistakes .
The meeting or committee is faceless .
Finance has close ties to accounting, and in fact many people who work in fiancé may be accounting majors who could not pass the exams.
The folks in finance figure out how to pay for things ( such as recently acquired companies or a larger more spacious head office building ) by selling more stock ( which they call “equity” securities “) or borrowing through the sale of bonds ( which they call “debt security “).
The finance department may also field enquiries from stockholders and suggest how much profit, if any will be paid to stockholders as dividends in each quarter.
Savvy recruiting is one of the most important weapons in your corporate management arsenal because you need a good team to work with.
As well a good team can help you shine through good weather and bad.
Most managers recruit so badly that you can look better than average just by avoiding stupid mistakes.
A vacancy offers two choices.
You can either fill the job or eliminate it.
If you decide that the position is essential then proceeds with care.
What you want to do is to hire people who meet the following two major criteria:
1) They are competent enough to their job, but not ambitious enough to come after yours.
2) They feel loyalty to you for hiring them, so you can count on them to stand behind you in a crisis or at least not stab you in the back .
I keep six honest serving men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are what and why and when
And How and Where and Who.
This passage from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Elephant’s Child” has lots of relevance in management.
Use it as a guide when you are
1) Preparing a presentation
2 ) Explaining something in a training or orientation session
3) Justifying a major project
4) Writing a letter or memo
Testing what you write or say against these six key words helps you explain your point to others —and help you understand it yourself.
Don’t fool around with advertising. Delegate the work to an outside ad agency. You can then plead ignorance (which is, of course, the truth) and crucify the agency if a campaign flops. Experts make ideal scapegoats when things go wrong.
I am sure that you can think of many advertising “duds”.
Who do you think bore the heat for the poor mistakes?
In all likelihood it was the advertising agency and never the management or especially the committee that hired them.
7) Managing Time
Management revolves around dealing with people and other resources. To do that well, you have to manage yourself. That boils down to managing your use of time. Good managers do this naturally or learn how to do it. Bad managers never master the art. .
Manage your time effectively by:
1) Minimizing interruptions
2 Setting aside thinking time
3)Controlling meetings with an iron hand
4)Refusing to get involved with activities that aren’t connected with their objectives
5 ) Demanding that subordinates never bring them problems without also proposing solutions
6 )Announcing to everyone within earshot that their schedule is packed, and they’d have trouble making time for one more meeting, conference, or obligations .
Lastly a “my door is always open” philosophy can be one of the world’s worst time-wasters.
You have to be available sometimes, of course, because you can’t afford to isolate yourself from the mainstream of communications. The key is to make yourself accessible at certain times, so that your day is not riddled by constant interruptions.
A secretary can serve as an excellent buffer to defend your schedule against unwanted meetings, drop-in visitors and casual employee chit-chat.
The two most common and most noticeable symptoms of poor time management are excessive overtime work and lugging work home at night and on weekends .
If you are doing either then you should analyze how you spend your day.
Some deviant corporate cultures actually value and reward behavior of an unbalanced personal and family lifestyle which in the end result is very poor economy of any sort.
You may have to “go with the flow” – at least with overtime work.
Taking home one’s work is the easiest ploy of all.
After all who can tell what is in the heavy briefcase?
Learn and understand these concepts and skills and you will be around for a long time.
As with most of the important things in life that really matter actually they are quite simple.
It all depends on the application and being thorough .
Remember that those that don’t know what to do go into a management career so your competition is minimal .