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    Free Essay
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    Software designed around your needs microsoft s new small business solution

     

    Microsoft has a new service designed with the needs of small businesses in mind—businesses with 10 or less employees. If you’ve thought about taking your business online, Office Live makes it easy for you. There are three different versions of this software to meet the particular needs of your small business: Option One—Basic This first solution is Microsoft’s core product and comes with several free services: • a domain name • web hosting • email in your company name If, for example, you open a hair salon called “Anne’s Coifs,” your first step would be to log into OfficeLive and see if that name is available. If it is, then Microsoft registers that domain for you, annescoifs. With your domain name, you also get a free email account for your business and a website which you can customize using a variety of templates. There are easy-to-use tools for setting up your free website. And just because you’re using templates doesn’t mean your site has to look like a cookie cutter. According to Terra Terwilliger, Microsoft’s worldwide business management director, “You get a tremendous amount of flexibility in those templates…You can have over 50,000 combinations just using the dropdown menus.” You can also upload your own logo, text, and pictures. Option 2—Essentials This is the more advanced version. You get all the features of Basic and some others as well: • Business management tools for managing your customer lists, company assets, projects, etc. • The ability to go beyond the template format and design your website yourself, or hire someone if you choose. • The ability to create password-protected shared sites. You can post documents and make them viewable to your customers, business partners, employees, or whomever. They can log in and see the status of your projects, review files and information, or see what tasks need completed. Depending on the level of access you give them, they can either view the site as read-only or they can edit those files to keep them updated. Option 3—Collaboration Collaboration gives you all the business applications without any web features. Says Terwilliger, “If you already have your own website, but you just want the business tools and the shared site, you can get that too.” Making It Work For You Office Live is in beta right now, with about 75,000 customers signed up for the free trial version. Basic Office Live is and will always be free. The upgraded versions will charge a monthly fee when the final product is launched, but are still more cost-effective than a server. And because the software’s in testing right now, all the services—including the subscription services—are free. Microsoft plans to release the completed version in late 2006, possibly November. In the meantime, users are encouraged to try all of the different features and give feedback to help make Office Live more user-friendly for small businesses.

         
    Solid time management for net marketers

     

    There are an endless number of ways an individual can get organized and make the most of their time. Here is the very simple method I use to keep my day to day efforts on track. I have created a daily checklist that covers all my basic tasks. Here is my list, and a brief description of each component. 1. Administrative Duties - First thing out of bed, I check all admin email accounts and respond to every message. This includes member/downline support, answering questions from prospects, confirming received payments, and any other vital correspondence that needs to be taken care of. I continue to check my email every hour throughout the day, so no response gets neglected. 2. Promoting - The next thing I do is work my advertising strategy. This includes posting ads to safelists, surfing or buying credits at some of my favorite traffic exchanges, monitoring any pay per click or banner campaigns I have underway, and checking my tracking stats. I also try to spend a little time each day looking for new advertising options to test. 3. Networking - Working my leads, participating in forums, swapping links, approaching new contacts; this is what it's all about, right? I can't allow myself to slip into robot mode, where I just sit and click all day. I have to spend time every day networking with other marketers. This is how I learn, grow, and profit from my efforts. 4. Development - This component covers making improvements to my website, composing my newsletter, building new banners, writing new ad copy, etc. 5. Reading - I spend at least 15 minutes per day reading. The goals here are education and inspiration. I might read a good javascript tutorial, or maybe just browse through a few marketing lessons. I feel it's very important to learn a little something everyday, and to keep my mind in the proper state for successful marketing and living. I make every effort to address each item on this list before the end of my workday. The feeling of productivity I have gained from this simple exercise is amazing. I still wish there was more time in a day, but at least I have a definite, realistic outline of what to strive for. Spending a few minutes to come up with your own checklist would be time well spent. Give yourself a concrete idea of what needs to get done each day, and you will not only improve your results, you will gain peace of mind.

         
    Solve your problems with wire decking safe and easy to use

     

    Wire decking is mainly used in large warehouses where the company does not have the time to spend on repairing wooden decks. They need a stable base because they need decking material capable of sustaining heavy loads. Decking made from mesh wire is easy to install because it just falls into place. It is self-cleaning, which means it is basically maintenance free. Although you can have wire decking for a residential deck, as a rule this material is basically used in commercial settings. For cheaper decking, used wire is also a possibility. Since the wire mesh is made from galvanized steel, you won’t have to bother with rust and corrosion. You can pick up the used wire decking at sales and realize tremendous savings in the cost of buying the wire you need for your decking. For decking, wire mesh is made in the sizes that you need. The custom deck rack is made to fit a specific depth and usually two pieces of wire mesh are set side to side to complete the decking. In the case of wire decking, the word deck means something completely different that it does when talking about other kinds of decking. For commercial uses in decking, wire mesh refers to large racks where businesses store large containers or heavy objects. The wire mesh is white and makes the whole area bright. With the holes in the mesh it is quite easy to see where everything is stored when you are looking for a specific product. The properties of the wire make it very long lasting and durable. For many homeowners who want to have this type of decking, used wire is a cost saving solution to having racks on the wall of the shed or garage. Wire decking is galvanized after it is welded to provide the customer with a lifetime of resistance to rust. Some manufacturers of this type of decking use a gray colored paint as the finish. You have to be wary of this type of decking. Wire mesh with this finish added to it often tends to chip and peel after years of heavy use and provides a used look to your warehouse. When you buy decking, wire that has been treated with an electro-galvanized finish will retain its new look for a lifetime. For cheap decking, used wire with this finish will look brand new. When you have wire decking in your warehouse or even your shed, the light will absorb through the wire mesh giving you a clear view of what you have stored on the decking. Because of the fire retardant properties of wire decking, you may also save money on your fire insurance costs.

         
    Staff or employee scheduling balances several requirements

     

    : Staff or employee scheduling or rostering relates employees, workplaces and work times. A workplace schedule lists the employees who will work there at different times. The times might be specific hours, dates, weeks or even months. A workplace can be retail store, manufacturing facility, head office, or even an external place for field sales persons. The key idea is that there should be clarity of who will work where and when. This would help the employee to know what is expected of him or her. And managers would know where an employee is expected to report for work on a given day and time. Rostering employees is not as simple as it might seem. You cannot just create an employee schedule by selecting any employee and including him in the roster. You have to balance a number of things, such as employee vacation plans, skill requirements for work being scheduled, employee unavailability owing to sickness, and so on. Different Kinds of Employee Schedules Employee rosters are typically created in a grid form with columns and rows. There are daily schedules where employees are typically listed in chronological order based on the scheduled times they will report for work. Weekly and monthly schedules list employees in the first column and dates (or days of the week) in the headings of the other columns. Against each employee under each date the scheduled working hours for that employee are indicated. In this kind of schedule, the employees are listed in alphabetical order for ease of finding a particular employee. Who Creates Employee Schedules? In smaller organizations, the owner himself or the manager of the employee creates the work rosters. In larger organizations, there could be a scheduling specialist in the HR department responsible for creating employee and workplace schedules. In these days, scheduling or rostering software is used for efficient employee scheduling. In addition to timesavings, rostering software can alert the person preparing the workplace schedule when there is a conflict between employee vacation time, sick time or compensation time with work time. Employee scheduling software can also accommodate differing requirements such as flexible working hours, optimizing worker, equipment and vehicle utilization, and better control over field personnel. The key benefit of using rostering software is that it can work extremely fast compared to humans, and at the same time consider many factors before scheduling each employee to a workplace at a particular time. Humans would find it impossible to handle this kind of complexity and produce timely employee schedules without causing problems with the scheduling. A rostering software can also revise an already prepared employee schedule quickly if it becomes necessary, as when a scheduled employee reports sick. The software can additionally accumulate the schedules in a database and analyze them for various purposes. The analysis can also help current scheduling by looking at each employee's work history so far. Conclusion Preparing a staff or employee schedule or roster involves balancing several requirements. For example, the scheduled work time must not conflict with an employee's scheduled vacation time. Similarly, if an employee is absent sick, the person cannot be scheduled until he or she is back. A rostering software can handle the complexity involved in employee scheduling and produce dependable schedules in short time.

         
    Standardize your process to improve the bottom line

     

    Standardize your processes! You can save time, money and prevent errors. Things you do over and over should be done the same way every time, if indeed you do the task the best way. They say variety is the spice of life, but for healthcare processes it certainly isn’t most of the time. Consider this, if you would. Would you buy your favorite brand of soda if sometimes your 12 ounce can were 3/4 of the way full and sometimes almost overflowing. Certainly not. You expect there to consistently be nearly 12 ounces every time. How would a patient behave if the results of a healthcare visit varied wildly? The patient would probably find a new provider. The best healthcare providers deliver a consistently good service; it helps attract new patients and keeps the old ones coming back. Standardization helps save time. As things become routine, a process is easier to do and is done more quickly. For instance, if a primary care physician makes sure that the necessary items for a patient visit are always in the examining room, the doctor won’t have to waste time going to look for supplies and waste time for the patient or the doctor. I recommend that primary care physicians along with staff sit down and list the things that should always be in examination rooms and make sure someone is responsible for these items every morning before patients arrive. If this is done, the doctor can save time, thereby enabling him or her to spend more quality time with the patient or see more patients. Standardization saves money. Most doctors face rising malpractice costs, but for one group this has not been true—anesthesiologists. According to an article in the June 21, 2005 edition of the Wall Street Journal, this group over two decades ago began implementing procedures that ensured the safety of their patients. Certain processes have been standardized across the profession so instead of one death per 5000 cases, there is now only one per 200000 to 300000 cases. Because of this, their malpractice insurance premiums plummeted. Standardization prevents errors, as in the above illustration. Another example is drawn form a local hospital. Recently the Chief Financial Officer of the institution and I were discussing the new facility they were building. Instead of building adjacent rooms so that the bathrooms would be back to back to save plumbing costs, each room was designed so that each room will be exactly the same with bathrooms all on the same side. Why? This will prevent errors and in the long run save money for the hospital. It is best if you can measure standardization. The best tool to measure standardization in statistics is variance or standard deviation. I am sure many of you have encountered this measure, but probably cannot calculate it. The best way to calculate it is either in a spreadsheet or on a calculator. For example, the standard deviation for the numbers 8, 12, 1, 4 and 5 is 4.18. For the group 5, 5, 5, 5, and 5 the standard deviation is 0, since there is no variety. So, when you are trying to standardize a process, see if you cannot find some significant measure that reflects the process and try to reduce the standard deviation as much as possible. In fact, this is the heart of Six Sigma—reduce the standard deviation as much as possible. The best manufacturers and service providers often use this tool. Once you have standardized a process and have achieved a satisfactory standard deviation, then write down the process in a manual that is a collection of all best practices. This way, anyone who needs to reference how a process should be conducted can refer to the manual. Too, it is an excellent training source for new employees. As you can see in these brief illustrations, standardization or the lack of variance provides safety for patients, a savings of time for the provider and patient, and contributes to an improved bottom line.

         
    Stars in a sea of sameness

     

    The training administration team at Glasburg Associates perform miracles on a daily basis. Not only are they preparing for next week's batch of training courses, they are assisting in courses running each day and they are covering the phones to sell training to new clients. Their job is never boring but it rarely changes from one day to the next. Oliver Hollins and Philippa Ibbitson are both on the team and, although Oliver considers himself to be better at the sales aspects of the job, Philippa has phenomenal accuracy and speed in producing course material. Neither seems to receive appropriate recognition of this. Unlike project teams, office teams do not necessarily have a beginning, middle and end to their main activity that you can easily gauge. Week-in and week-out they will plough through an unending landscape of sameness that they are well adapted to. For these teams recognition must be tied into efficiency, improvement and customer service measures. There is a 3-point guide to building a recognition and reward framework for office teams: Communicate and agree the reward and recognition scheme clearly and unambiguously Design the rewards to be tied into behaviors that are business critical Have a reliable measurement system that demonstrates progress Agreement is the key to formal team recognition. Clear guidelines about what is expected and sympathetic handling of questions about what happens at the boundaries will motivate teams to drive for results. The trainers at Glasburg Associates use "Delegate evaluation forms" to gauge how well they have been received by their audiences. Trainers receive a bonus if the forms demonstrate an average score of 8 or better out of a possible total of 10. So many questions were raised about "How many evaluation forms should be counted?", "What if the average score is 7.9?", "Can we exclude really low scores caused by trouble-makers?", "Can we take the average of all of the courses held that month?" that a decision was made to change the focus of the recognition scheme. It became clear that experienced trainers found the target easy to meet but inexperienced trainers became disillusioned because they were starting from a lower baseline. The 8 out of 10 figure is still retained as the standard to be worked towards and experienced trainers are recognized for maintaining high scores that exceed this figure. However the others are now rewarded for making more than a 0.3 improvement month on month. The system is not perfect but they now have a method of motivating everyone in the company to improve their performance. Teams exist to offset the weaknesses of individuals and to benefit from the strengths of each member. A recognition scheme can bring a greater awareness of this by highlighting the different skills necessary to achieve success. Glasburg Associates now use the same approach with their Admin team as with their training team allowing Oliver Hollins to be rewarded for his superior sales skills and for Philippa Ibbitson to receive acclaim for her efficiency.

         
    Starting a new business don t get floored before you get off the ground

     

    Staring a new business can be a very exciting experience. We often get caught up in the need to have the best tools available right now. Starting a new business does not have to become a nightmare. May businesses can be started for a lot less than you imagine. I have compiled a list of tips for getting your business off the ground without getting floored by over spending. Barter If you have a business you should be bartering goods and services with other businesses. You should try to trade for something before you buy it. Barter deals usually require little or no money. Network Try networking your business with other businesses. You could trade leads or mailing lists. This will cut down on your marketing and advertising costs. You may also try bartering goods and services with them. Wholesale/Bulk You'll save money buying your business supplies in bulk quantities. You could get a membership at a wholesale warehouse or buy them through a mail order wholesaler. Buy the supplies you are always running out of. Free Stuff You should try visiting the thousands of freebie sites on the internet before buying your business supplies. You can find free software, graphics, backgrounds, online business services etc. Borrow/Rent Have you ever purchased business equipment you only needed for a small period of time? You could have just borrowed the equipment from someone else or rented the equipment from a "rent-all" store. Online/Offline Auctions You can find lower prices on business supplies and equipment at online and offline auctions. I'm not saying all the time, but before you go pay retail for these items try bidding on them first. Plan Ahead Make a list of business supplies or equipment you'll need in the future. Keep an eye out for stores that have big sales. Purchase the supplies when they go on sale before you need them. Used Stuff If your business equipment and supplies don't need to be new, buy them used. You can find used items at yard and garage sales, used stores, used stuff for sale message boards and newsgroups etc. Negotiate You should always try negotiating a lower price for any business equipment or supplies. It doesn't hurt to try. Pretend you are talking to a salesman at a car lot. Search You can always be searching for new suppliers for your business supplies and equipment. Look for suppliers with lower prices and better quality. Don't just be satisfied with a few. By applying these tips you will be well on your way to entrepreneurship. Good Luck. A rewarding adventure awaits…

         
    Statistical software with six sigma

     

    Six Sigma is about numbers. Six Sigma produces a flood of data about your process that are critical to your success. If you don't measure it and understand what you are measuring, you can't manage it. Six Sigma's clear strength is a data-driven analysis and decision-making process — not someone's opinion or gut feeling. The value of statistical analysis cannot be underestimated. Through an analysis of all of that data, you begin to understand your process and develop methodologies to identify and implement the right solutions to improve your process. Statistical evaluation of the data identifies key areas which can have an adverse effect on product quality if not controlled. Once you have identified these key areas you can focus your process improvement efforts Given the importance of intelligently handling all of this data, you need to find an efficient and powerful method of crunching the numbers. Naturally, you want to avoid the drudgery of manual calculations and save a whole lot of time by using a statistical software application. You may be tempted to use Excel or another spreadsheet application as a calculator and database to store your statistical process control data. However, you will quickly find out that a basic spreadsheet is too cumbersome to handle the volume and sophistication of the data keeping and analysis you need to perform in a Six Sigma project. Advanced statistical software such as Minitab ( minitab/) or Statgraphics (statgraphics), are very useful if not essential for gathering, categorizing, evaluating, and analyzing the data collected throughout a Six Sigma project. Both Minitab and Statgraphics are powerful full standalone statistical process control software applications for performing statistical analysis. Both are highly recommended for Six Sigma use as they are tools that can help you utilize one of Six Sigma's biggest advantages: the ability to make better decisions based upon data. They will work with the DMAIC Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control methodology and Lean Six Sigma. Both Minitab and Statgraphics are designed to support the Six Sigma philosophy offering a range of tools for graphical analyses, collecting powerful statistics, quality analyses with potential for a range of custom designed uses. Statistical Process Control Charts Analysis of Variance and Regression Analysis Design of Experiments Factorial and Matrix Plots Relationships between variables Life Data Analysis and Reliability Process Capability Analysis Hypothesis Testing Correlation and regression Time Series Analysis and Forecasting Measurement Systems Analysis Regression Analysis Multi-variation analysis ANOVA tools and techniques Six Sigma Quality Assessment Both applications provide you with nearly real time statistical data, enabling you to respond quickly to prevent further defects. Statistical evaluation of the data identifies key areas to focus process improvement efforts on, which can have an adverse effect on product quality if not controlled. However, while it is easy to purchase a statistical software application, it is harder to use it effectively. It is smart analysis of the data that create real change. All too often, Six Sigma/DMAIC teams collect and load data into Minitab or Statgraphics only to find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of where to start and how to use their new tool to successfully analyze their data that comes up with, not just any answers, but meaningful and useful answers. As a result, Six Sigma/DMAIC projects often fall far short of the productivity expectations associated with statistical software. Training in use of Minitab is often offered integrated with Six Sigma training. Minitab training will focus on solving practical problems with Minitab. This includes learning the practical aspects of major statistical tools like Control Charts, Capability Analysis, Regression Analysis, and ANOVA. There is a strong emphasis on learning how to get data into Minitab, learning how to manipulate data once in Minitab and learning how to display graphically major findings from the data. Proper training will teach you how to drive Minitab like a pro and thus bring greater statistical power to your Six Sigma projects.

         
    Steps to take to accommodate the employee with cumulative trauma disorders

     

    The United States Department of Labor has developed a set of guidelines that can assist the owner, operator or manager of a business in accommodating in the workplace an employee that suffers from cumulative trauma disorders of CTDs. More information on these guidelines can be found through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which is an agency of the U. S. Department of Labor. OSHA maintains an Internet website at osha. gov. When it comes to workplace accommodation, there are different types of problems associated with CTDs. For example, one of the areas that people with CTDs suffer involves fatigue and weakness. Accommodations for this type of condition, according to the U. S. Department of Labor, include: -Reduce or eliminate physical exertion and workplace stress -Schedule periodic rest breaks away from the assigned workstation -Provide for the employee a more flexible work schedule and a more flexible use of leave time -Allow or permit the employee to work from home Some employees have found that they are suffering from fine motor impairment as the result of CTDs. The U. S. Department of Labor through OSHA has suggested accommodations for this type of impairment, including: -Implement ergonomic workplace and workstation design -Provide alternative telephone and computer access for the employee -Provide arm supports -Provide grip and writing aids -Provide a book holder and a page turner -Provide the employee with a note taker -Provide ergonomic workplace tools and other ergonomic adaptations Finally, there are people afflicted with CTDs that suffer from gross motor impairment. Once again, the U. S. Department of Labor through OSHA has recommendations for accommodating people in the workplace that suffer from CTDS. These accommodations include: -Modify the workplace to make it more readily accessible to the employee -Provide more accessible parking for the employee -Provide a more accessible entrance to the workplace for the employee -Install automatic door openers for use by the employee -Modify the workstation to make to more ergonomic and accessible for the employee -Make sure that equipment and materials used by the employee are accessible readily -Move the employees workstation closer to other areas which the employee accesses regularly -Provide the afflicted employee with carts and related lifting and moving devices Again, this information can be accessed in greater detail through the U. S. Department of Labor and OSHA at osha. gov.

         
    Stimulate company growth using accounts receivable factoring

     

    Accounts receivable factoring is the sale of part or all of a debt that someone owes to your company. When companies purchase a debt through accounts receivable factoring, they pay for your invoice at a discount. They then collect the debt directly from the company who owes you money. Accounts receivable factoring is distinct from using your accounts receivable as loan collateral because you are outright selling some or all of your receivable to a factor, such as a bank or insurance company, at a discount. You don't collect the debt owed to you from that account anymore, but you also don't have to worry about loan repayments. Accounts receivable factoring makes up about a third of all financing secured by American companies using accounts receivable and inventory as collateral; it's not an uncommon practice. And accounts receivable factoring can help you get large orders that you otherwise wouldn't be able to manage. Consider the following scenario: you have ten thousand dollars in cash on hand, most of which is currently earmarked for payroll or debt payment. As a relatively new company, you don't have credit enough to use your accounts receivable as collateral for a loan. A large new account becomes available, and you bid on it and win. The problem is, you only have a workforce of fifteen people, and the new contract requires you to staff it with twenty people, purchase several new computers, and find space for the new staff to work out of. And you must do this immediately. Your ten thousand dollars isn't enough to do this, and you can't get a loan. But you can engage in accounts receivable factoring, sell your current receivables at a small discount, and have the cash immediately on hand to hire the staff, rent the space, and purchase your necessary equipment. Another possibility - you have a large amount owed to you as in accounts receivable, but one company is paying much too slowly, despite the penalties for late payment. You can sell your not-past-due accounts receivable to an accounts receivable factoring agent in order to maintain your cash flow, and with penalties for late payment applied to the other company, you will probably break even. Using Accounts Receivable Factoring Wisely When you sell part of or all of an account to an accounts receivable factoring company, try to get a personal recommendation for the company from a trusted associate: another company's officer, a trusted friend, a bank, etc. If you can't, at the very least ensure your accounts receivable factoring agreement states exact conditions, charges, and procedures for the purchase of your accounts receivable. And don't use accounts receivable factoring just as a way to get ready cash. Accounts receivable factoring can help you determine whether your payment terms are overly generous, whether the companies to whom you're extending credit are credit worthy, and whether your collections arrangements are adequate for your business. When you speak to the agent arranging your accounts receivable factoring, be it a broker or the actual funder, ask about these things. Accounts receivable factoring companies are interested in long-term ongoing relationships with companies, and will be happy to help you ensure your procedures and information concerning accounts receivable are adequate for your needs. You should never use accounts receivable factoring for debts you suspect won't ever be paid. Again, you want to develop long-term relationships with accounts receivable factoring companies; they can help your company grow for a long time into the future. But if you sell them accounts they can't collect on, you can be certain they won't work with you again, and they may share that information with other accounts receivable factoring companies as well.

         
    Storytelling for high concept and high touch

     

    After hearing Daniel Pink speak about his new book A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age for the fourth time, I finally read it cover to cover (less than a day). I finally got what he's talking about when he says jobs that are high touch are here to stay. That is, jobs that builds relationships between business and client whether it's B2B or B2C. To that end, he advocates that we incorporate more storytelling into our relationships, that we make a point with a story, not just facts which everyone knows they need but still find boring. The reason is that stories are easier to remember. He goes on to list some of our contemporary characteristics distinguishing stories from facts: Facts illuminate..........Stories amuse Facts reveal..............Stories divert Facts are for real........Stories are for cover With the easy access to facts however, facts have become ubiquitous, available at the speed of light because of the internet and search engines like Google. So each fact becomes less valuable. What becomes more valuable is the ability to place these facts in context and deliver them with emotional impact. Stories exist where high concept and high touch intersect. This need is spawning the nascent movement called organizational storytelling at World Bank, NASA, even Xerox. It is even being used in branding advertisement on TV. And as Mark Turner says in his book The Literary Mind, "Most of our experience, our knowledge and our thinking are organized as stories". Why am I telling you? Here's Daniel Pink's answer: "Story is having another important impact on business. Like design, it is becoming a key way for individuals and entrepreneurs to distinguish their goods and services in a crowded marketplace." So I wanted to share with you a story I heard last week. I like this story for three reasons: 1. it's a story out of Wal-Mart's success. 2. we can each apply it as a mini-self-assessment. 3. it's inspirational. I hope you like it too. At Wal-Mart, in the beginning, everyone would start as a bagger, bagging the customer's purchases. Employees were monitored on a number of criteria. They were assessed on their attitude toward the job, attitude toward the customers, when they arrived for work, when the left, their enthusiasm for the job, contribution to the company and the company mission, etc. Sam Walton came up with a system for ranking all baggers. You were a 1 bagger, a 2 bagger or a 3 bagger. The way Wal-Mart stores are designed; being a bagger is a key entry level job. The job of a bagger is to bag purchases for customers on two registers. A bagger is supposed to be able to keep up with two lines. However, there are some baggers who can only keep up with one register line, some who handle two lines and some who can handle three or maybe more lines. One Baggers arrive at work on time, do the job to the best of their ability and leave on time, no matter what. They can only handle one register line. They don't see what needs to be done beyond their assigned tasks and don't concern themselves with anything else. Two Baggers are very similar. They arrive on time, leave on time, and do the job of bagging for two register lines very competently. While on the job, they do what needs to be done very thoroughly. In time, they can rise into supervisory and middle management roles. Now Three Baggers are a whole different animal - hard to tame, harder to contain. Three Baggers come in early, leave late, look for extra work that needs to be done, put the job first even at quitting time. They make sure that all the lines have baggers and will stay late until the replacement shows up. They pitch in, in a pinch or a crisis, without being asked. They love their job and the company. They are your cheerleaders, your enthusiasts. These stars are going someplace. Don't hold them back. If you can, use those star qualities to advance your business. After reading those three job descriptions: are you a One-bagger, a Two-bagger or a Three-bagger? And working for you, do you have One-baggers, Two - baggers or Three-baggers? And who do you want in those positions? Now isn't it easier to remember the distinctions between these skill sets/character sets from a story than antiquated job descriptions? Try using stories and metaphors to make your point this week. From Basics to Mastery For all of us, emotional intelligence encompasses five basic areas of mastery. They are: * Knowing your feelings and using them to make life decisions you can live with. * Being able to manage your emotional life without being hijacked by it -- not being paralyzed by depression or worry, or swept away by anger. * Persisting in the face of setbacks and channeling your impulses in order to pursue your goals. * Empathy -- reading other people's emotions without their having to tell you what they are feeling. * Handling feelings in relationships with skill and harmony -- being able to articulate the unspoken pulse of a group, for example. The scope of these skills means there is indeed room for all of us to learn, grow, and improve. There is a lot to learn here. Learning about emotional intelligence, learning about the tools for energy efficiency; that's only the beginning. It's like reading all the books on sailing and small boat sailing. You then have the theory mastered, but you have no hands-on practice. It's only with practice that we gain mastery of anything. That's true of our feelings and emotions too! The scope of these skills means there is indeed room for all of us to learn, grow, and improve. There is a lot to learn here. Learning about emotional intelligence, learning about the tools for energy efficiency; that's only the beginning. It's like reading all the books on sailing and small boat sailing. You then have the theory mastered, but you have no hands-on practice. It's only with practice that we gain mastery of anything. That's true of our feelings and emotions too! How do you address so many broad areas? - Assessment tools are a great way to learn to identify your emotions - Energy efficiency tools are invaluable in helping you tap into inner wisdom and resources to manage your emotions and understand what the best choices are when you are making life decisions. - Persistence can be learned. In fact, providing challenges and hardships to children, to give them an opportunity to develop persistence and stick-to-itiveness, is intrinsic in many cultures. Goal-setting and the 6 Most - Important-Things List are just two tools you can apply immediately. - Developing empathy is powerful in critical business situations like a sales call, a closing, your management style, etc. Using your energy efficiency tools will allow you to pay attention to your instincts in this area instead of second-guessing yourself. - Once you learn to be the manager of your feelings, it becomes an easy habit to apply in any business or personal relationship. Mastery of all the basics does not occur overnight. But with practice it comes very quickly - just like learning to ride a bicycle. Once you experience how it's 'supposed to work', how energy efficiency is 'supposed to feel', it's easier and easier to reestablish in a variety of circumstances. That's where mastery is achieved. That's where you and everyone in your business benefit from your mastery.

         
    Strategic business planning while you re still working

     

    Strategic business planning is very important to your business success. The perfect time to do your strategic business planning is when you are transitioning from full time work to a consulting business. You won't feel pressured to get things done too quickly because there is still money coming in. When you start your strategic business planning early you have the time you need to get all the elements of your business prepared before launch. 90 days is a good timeframe to give yourself for strategic business planning. You can get everything you need to do done and you are not giving yourself too much time to put off the launch. Some of the most important items you should be covering off during your transition time are listed in the Strategic Business Plan Checklist below: Strategic Business Plan Checklist Networking Start looking around for networking events. Get them on your calendar and plan on start going a few events within the next few weeks to get your name out there. Start telling everyone that you know to listen up for people whining about PC problems Marketing Think about a niche you c an build for yourself. Are there are any areas/industries/types of businesses, etc... that are under served in your community? Business Basics Develop a company name - make it memorable but not obscure. Get all your paperwork together including contracts, forms, agreements, etc... Develop and print business cards - take piles of them to networking events Develop a website - populate it with useful information as well as your marketing information These elements form the basics of your strategic business planning process. By attending to these business basics you will be in great position to prepare for launch. The Bottom Line On Strategic Business Planning Strategic business planning will take you from thinking about starting a business to actually doing the things you need to do to get a business going. The longer you put off your strategic business planning process, the longer it is until you launch. Use the transition time between your work and business launch to do the strategic business planning you need to do to be successful long term. Copyright MMI-MMVI, PC Support Tips. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

         
    Strategic checklists

     

    I've been through a couple of checklists in the past few days, and it's reaffirmed my faith in their effectiveness as a communication tool. Now, there are at least a couple of ways we can look at checklists: in the strategic and tactical senses. You'll probably recognize the tactical advantages of using checklists: a clear and logical, as well as economical, way to write. But, let's look at checklists from the strategic perspective today, and explore them as a tool for achieving our objectives. Specifically, that means we'll think of using them to reinforce or change the perceptions of others. For example, if you write out information about something that has to be done, a checklist sends a couple of messages. First, that you're a well-organized person, and that your message is quite rational. The creation of a checklist, in itself, should send a message that you've given more than cursory attention to the message. It implies that you've thought about the process you're asking others to follow. It also implies that you've taken extra time to compose your message; you've added value by adding additional structure. The recipient of your message, then, should have the sense that you take the message seriously, because you've taken extra trouble to develop it in an orderly way. And, that kind of perception, in turn should make the recipient more willing to follow your instructions. Having said all that, we should step back and ask ourselves where we can use checklists effectively. As I've written this article, I've asked myself if it shouldn't be in a checklist format. But, apparently not; at least I can't see how it work well. That's because checklists work best for very linear kinds of information delivery. The instructions for starting a computer or piece of equipment, for example. In these cases, there's no room for nuance or fine distinctions. A switch turns on, or it turns off; we don't discuss the way the switch looks or sounds. So, think of checklists as tools for developing lists or describing sequential actions. This context also leads to another strategic use for checklists, which is to ensure nothing is forgotten and nothing extra goes into the instructions. Make a checklist of the steps involved in a process and you have a tool for seeing that it stays on track. You can also use checklists for inclusion and exclusion. For example, when I travel, I print a packing checklist to make sure I pack the things I need, and perhaps just as important, don't pack items I don't need. In this case, the checklist also acts a memory jogging tool. Having started on the packing list, some non-list items may be recalled. For example, if I make a note to include a magazine to read on the plane, then I might also remember to stop delivery of the newspapers while I'm away. That's then something new to add to the next iteration of the checklist.

         
    Strategic importance of business plans in today s technological driven marketplace

     

    Business Plans Are More Essential than Ever As the pace of competition has accelerated, product life cycles have shrunk. It used to take 8 to 10 years to design and build a car. Now it can be in less than a year and half. Windows of opportunity open and close with blinding speed; and customers, who are constantly being wooed by the competition, are more demanding than ever. Some people will advise you that it is impossible to plan for the future and thus business plans are irrelevant and a waste of time. In fact, in this era the exact opposite is true. It is now more important than ever before to have a battle plan during what might, in retrospect, be viewed as "peacetime.”. Planning and preparation are required for your financial as well as your company's survival. No one is saying, "The world is more uncertain for you now, so plans are no longer relevant." The truth is that planning and that planning skills are now most important and more vital than ever. In this regard, businesses are no different from individuals. Success in this super competitive era depends on making very clear business plans and statements. Winners develop a vision of where they intend to be going, and this blueprint will allow them the flexibility to respond appropriately when the unexpected occurs... The basics of it all are that by not planning you limit your options and flexibility greatly . WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT Business planning now? Good business plans require different attributes. The networking revolution created by the Web for business-to-business activities and business-to-consumer products and services has offered new opportunities but has created a very different business environment. There are essentially only three central tenets that are a part of business plans: 1. A focus on speed in all of its manifestations 2. The integration of the Web into the core of what the company does 3. A focus on how the company adds value for its customers THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING FOR SPEED Planning is the essential element in the competitive battleground, and speed is the central weapon. Like all artillery, speed is an asset when a company is able to employ it in building its own business; it is a liability when an "armed" competitor is moving like lightning to undermine that core business. And whether it's being used for or against you, the ever-present element that must be factored into your plans. There is a great need and reward for “Speed”. Planning for speed involves an even broader view. To be successful you should take on the widest possible focus on speed and create your businesses accordingly. Build your plans with the following in mind: • The speed with which you need to bring a product to market • The speed with which your competitors might introduce a competitive product • The speed required to improve existing products and bring enhancement (or future generations) of your t product to market • The speed with which the industry, because of the Internet, could potentially be transformed When these factors are fully integrated into a business culture, they lead to a clear way of determining the intensity at which to approach the market: 1). Faster, better, cheaper. . . It's getting repetitive, but if a product is faster, better, or cheaper on the Web, companies need to exploit it immediately 2). Get your feet wet now so that you'll be prepared to swim hard Very soon. Even if your competitors aren't there yet, start exploring what the Net can do for your business 3.) Planned evolution is vital. If you that have the capability to rapidly evolve your products you will find it easier to stay ahead of your e competition, and developing this capability must be a goal of yours in itself. . 6). you cannot waste time being concerned about Cannibalization. Worry about "cannibalization" (creating one product to replace another) assumes that a company owns a market and has time to leave a product in the marketplace until the company is ready to replace it with something new. Smart planners realize that this is an outmoded way of thinking. The new breed of winners in most industries assume that the competition is right at their heels and any competitive advantage they have is fleeting. As a result, they worry about hurting sales of an existing product by bringing out a new one. Be much more concerned with constantly driving to stay ahead of the competition. Some brick-and-mortar companies have found it more difficult than others to let go of the "old way" and are sometimes less nimble than newcomers. To survive, they will need to find ways of eliminating excess baggage. You will be “ Ahead of the the game .” If you recognize the need for online success and can establish your operation, with an independent management style then you that can have the freedom and resources to win in a today’s environment. You will certainly be rewarded. . THE IMPORTANCE OF ADDING VALUE Lastly A good business plan should also answer this question: "In the evolving competitive arena, how does my product or service add value?" Focus on this issue and act on your findings and you are most likely to develop successful plans to which the customers remain loyal. This is certainly an integral most basic concept which your Grandmother would of insisted on .

         
    Strategic planning and resources

     

    Resource Planning: Before the Strategic Plan can be finally agreed and implemented, the leader(s) must ensure that there will be sufficient resources available for each activity at each stage of the plan. In reality the planning for the provision of resources must be viewed as a critical element of the plan itself. The strategic plan and the objectives within it will not be achieved if the activities needed to carry out the plan are not properly supported by appropriate resources. Resources Forecast: A resources forecast should be carried out. All planned activities, stages, and objectives, should be analysed for resource requirements (resources as in the list below). If the forecast identifies areas where the available or deliverable resources do not match the levels required, then this must be corrected or the plan must be altered. Once the leader(s) can be satisfied that the necessary resources will be available, the plan can be finalised and implemented with confidence. Prioritising Resources: It is tempting to rank these resources, perhaps arguing that human resources, and accompanying expertise and experience should be the highest on the list, but this is not logical. Lack of, or inadequate, financial, physical, or systems resources for any one of the many activities, or at any stage of the plan, can be as damaging as not having the required human resources. It is also tempting to think of resources as only human, financial, or physical, and also as coming only from internal sources. Again, this is not appropriate, as the strategic plan needs support from other areas, internally and externally, that should also be described as resources, such as systems, policies, suppliers, external stakeholders. Organisational Infrastructure: The shape and complexity of the organisational structure should be designed to serve the strategic direction taken. A structure that is as flexible, dynamic, and responsive a structure as possible is essential. In some business sectors, for example in many parts of the public sector, there will be constraints and barriers that will dictate a more bureaucratic and rigid structure that limits responsiveness and flexibility. Much of this may be unavoidable, but it should be continually challenged and loosened where possible. In most other sectors there is no excuse. The leaders of organisations in commercially driven sectors, and this now includes education, health, charities, and the utilities, must strive to structure their organisations so that they can respond to the fast pace and continual changes of today’s business world. Systems, Policies, Procedures: In functional areas such as IT, Finance, HR and Personnel, Performance Appraisal and Reward, Conditions of Employment, Working Patterns, Training and Development, the systems, policies, and procedures must be operating in support of the strategic plan and the accompanying operational activities. An appropriate Quality Assurance Management System should be in place, guided by the strategic objectives, constantly monitoring the quality standards of all the systems, including its own, to ensure that they are not hindering or damaging the chances of achieving the strategic objectives. Location: For most organisations the location is not easily changeable, and would not normally be challenged. But the leader(s) must look at the current location in terms of its strategic suitability. If the location is not supportive to the strategies, then alternatives must at least be explored. If moving to a more appropriate location is logistically and financially possible, then that relocation should take place at the earliest opportunity. Front-line Physical Resources: For manufacturing organisations this will encompass production facilities, plant, equipment, and so on. For service sector organisations this will mean the physical resources at the point of sale and-or delivery points. The condition and capacity of physical resources in these areas must be able to meet the operational demands dictated by the strategies. Support Functions Physical Resources: For most organisations this means activity areas such as procurement, design, research and development, administration, finance, human resources, maintenance, marketing, sales, distribution, and so on. Managers in front-line and support areas must focus on achieving the operational objectives that have been derived from the strategic plans. The leader(s) must implement a system of regular performance appraisal and consultation to ensure that these areas are resourced appropriately and operated effectively. Suppliers: A key resource, but because they are outside the organisation, are often forgotten. The quality of supplies, be they raw materials, equipment, parts, consumables, people, or advisory services, is a critical factor in the capability of the organisation. If inputs are not of the right quality then costs can rise, damage can be caused, delays can occur, and the operational performance of the organisation could suffer. In turn, the achievement of the strategic objectives of the organisation could be delayed or damaged. Human Resources: The question that the leader(s) must ask is whether the quality, quantity, and distribution of the human resources within the organisation, is sufficient to satisfy the needs of the chosen strategies. Existing staffing levels, degrees of expertise and experience, flexibility, distribution, predicted wastage or turnover, are all areas that need analysing. Intangible factors, such as levels of morale, motivation, cultural attitudes, should also be evaluated. A human resources audit must be carried out and where gaps or weaknesses are identified these must be corrected, and brought up to the required levels. Financial Resources: In simple terms, the leader(s) must be satisfied that the funding, the cash-flows, the budgets, will meet the demands of the activities. If necessary, and affordable, additional funding must be obtained, linking this resource need to external stakeholders as discussed below, such as banks, shareholders, and other investors. Marketing and Distribution: whatever the product or service that the organisation is offering, the marketing and distribution functions are as important, if not more so, than any other internal function. Without revenue, whether from customer sales, grants, government funds, or other sources, the organisation must persuade the purchaser, or provider, to deliver revenue to it. This revenue will be a critical element of the financial resources needed to support the planned activity, and the continued flow of this revenue must be protected. This entails ensuring that the marketing and distribution function is itself appropriately funded. External Stakeholders: This group of resource sources includes shareholders, investors and other funding organisations discussed in the section on Financial Resources. These need to be managed and informed appropriately. Other stakeholders could, depending on the nature of the business, include the local authorities, public services, local and-or national media, trade unions, local residents, national or international governments, national or international trade organisations, business partners, and so on. Where the support of any external stakeholder is identified as important to the success of the strategic plan, then effort and energy should be spent on building and maintaining a positive relationship with them. Maintaining positive relationships with external stakeholders is essential, as they are a vital resource in supporting the organisation’s strategic direction. Intangible Resources: These include goodwill, reputation, and brands. Individually and collectively these can be important to the success of the strategic plan. Goodwill is a value given to the reputation, the customer loyalty, the brand values, and in some cases the public image of the organisation. In monetary terms it is the difference in saleable value, or total value, between the tangible assets value given to the business and the actual value that a buyer would pay or an investor would calculate when deciding to invest or not. Reputation that the organisation has amongst its competitors, with its customers, in the public psyche, and although difficult to calculate, is also valuable. Brands can be highly valuable, as demonstrated by some of the best known, which generate immediate positive responses throughout the world. These intangible assets are resources, with a value, which the strategic plan will have considered and made use of, or planned to protect, or develop, as part of the plan. The leader(s) must ensure that these resources, these assets, are managed effectively and support the strategic plan as intended. Management: The effectiveness of the individuals and teams that make up the management of the organisation are critical to the success of the chosen strategies. Without an effective management network supporting the planned activity and striving to achieve the strategic and operational objectives, the strategies will fail. As discussed in an earlier article, the leader(s) must put in place an effective management network, and ensure that this highly valuable resource is itself resourced appropriately. The Operational Employees: Sadly this resource, this group of people, is often overlooked when the achievement of strategic objectives is discussed. Wrongly, it is assumed that objectives can be achieved as long as there is good management, good leadership, and appropriate financial and physical resources in place. Not true. Unless the workforce is appropriately skilled, experienced, qualified, continuously developed, and committed to support the achievement of the strategic plans, then the plans will fail. It is critical that the operational employees, in all functional areas, are involved, informed, and persuaded to support the strategic plan. The role of the leader(s) here is to ensure that the management team makes this happen. Leadership: The final resource that we look at is the leadership of the organisation. The role of the leader(s) is to lead the organisation into the future, in a direction and a condition that will ensure that the organisation is successful. Whichever direction is chosen and whatever the measure of success is, the leader(s) must make certain that the strategic plan is appropriately resourced at every stage and in every activity area. In addition, the leader(s) must ensure that they lead the organisation in an appropriate manner, adopting an appropriate style of leadership for each stage of the journey that the strategic plan is leading the organisation into. In Summary: At the start of this article it was stated that it was not logical to prioritise, or rank, the resources needed to support the strategic plan. The range of resources is broad and diverse, and all should be treated as equally important. Each stage and each activity area must be resourced appropriately, otherwise serious damage can be done to the chances of the plans being successfully implemented. However, there is one exception to this rule, and that is regarding Leadership. The leader(s) must ensure that the plan is resourced appropriately and then accept responsibility for being the most critical resource of all. Without the essential resource of effective leadership, regardless of how well other resources are provided and applied, the plans will fail.

         
     
         
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