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Management is Key:

High Quality Management is Essential…

This is one of my inclusive value rules. In my view: good business practices are always done by well-trained & educated appropriate people. I look very closely at the corporate culture of the company, the leadership skills management exhibits and whether or not respect is channelled down among the ranks. I look at how a company treats their staff, clients, B2B contacts. I’m also interested in the key category of how management directly affects productivity of its workforce.

You’ll hear routinely from investors that “its all about the bottom line.” Yet few of us ever realize that when you’re running a business, management & resources are what generate those returns. Running a business is therefore similar to how young children look up to professional athletes: your CEO is the role model. Generally speaking, the most profitable companies are often the ones with the best management.

My definition of successful management has always been: achieving results through others. Having management experience prior to entering nursing, I believe management is a function of a business and no decision by one person should ever be absolute. Proper management will understand that their role is to make decisions based on the best information available, yet listen to all appropriate alternatives.

Putting the “group” of stakeholders ahead of personal ambitions is always in the best interests of the company. This includes employees, customers, shareholders…everyone. Basically management needs to be aware of every need involved in the supply chain, production & distribution paths, marketing, front office & ground floor employees. A good indication for me is talking to regular or unionized employees about their views of management: how they are treated, respected, valued. What I don’t want is to hear of conflicts with management or either side unwilling to remain open-minded to the others positions. Low-balling your employees simply to lower costs or overhead will directly affect your ability to do business. Decreased productivity, lower quality and many other problems plague companies with this authoritarian outlook on management.

What I look for is management that empowers their employees to actively participate in the operations and success of a company. This is not only about increasing efficiency, productivity & output, but also ensuring that quality takes priority that translates into successes in the marketplace with customers. Without an appeased consumer – your company can’t sell enough product or service to stay open for long. I request information on employee retention numbers, contact the human resources departments for satisfaction survey information or simply called the union office to see if I can ask a few questions about the specific corporate culture. Often I do this as a “business student” writing a project for a strategic management course. I’ve been floored in the past by the access to information available to me by companies willing to show the efforts they make towards cohesion with staff & management.

I also like to know if employees buy the company’s products or service themselves without significant discounts or compensation. This generally shows that there is strong identification with a brand by the individual that most other consumers will share as well.

I also want to see that management is currently protecting, preserving or pursuing a competitive advantage. This includes patents, geographically strategic land, an improvement in supply-chain management or some other resource that allows a company to compete on margin well beyond its competition.

I also take a keen interest in how well management can accurately forecast demand, supply & costs. My general rule is +/- 5%. This shows me that management has a good grasp of all aspects of the business including demand from their consumers if there is a close correlation between expected & actual results. If you can’t adequately anticipate your costs or revenues, then I’m not interested in holding the company: plain & simple.

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