Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Intentional management 43: elaborating on the basic model for adding people and their management into the equation 4

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 23, 2017

This is my 43rd installment in a series in which I discuss how management activity and responsibilities can be parsed and distributed through a business organization, so as to better meet operational and strategic goals and as a planned intentional process (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 472 and loosely following for Parts 1-42.)

I have been addressing a series of issues in this series, leading up to here, first from the How perspective operationally, and then from the Who: stakeholder and participant perspective. And I repeat that list of topics points here for purposes of continuity of narrative for what I will turn to now, as offered in Part 42:

1. How is a business under analytical examination being managed now? (Note: this is a complex question because it raises issues of what it is doing in principle and as a matter of intended process and practice, and of what is actually being done and on a day-to-day basis and by whom and where in the organization and under what circumstances, and how consistently. The following questions in effect dissect out what would go into this question and what would go into answering it and from both the intended side and the actual in-practice side to that.)
2. Does this business actually follow a seemingly entirely ad hoc approach as if it had no past and as if the experience of here and now, could hold no informative value in its future either?
3. Or does it more systematically pursue at least a close approximation of the default model approach as laid out in Parts 38 and 39, with its systematically pre-planned out and followed processes and practices?
4. Or does it in some systematic manner differ from that, with non-default features brought in and included, and for at least specific areas of the business?
5. If this business does at least situationally resort to consistent non-default management approaches, where and how and when does it do so?
6. Is this resorted to in order to address specific perhaps recurring problematical situations or events, or in order to capture available value from specific perhaps recurring opportunities that the “standard” approach cannot handle in and of itself? Does this, in other words, reflect an alternative approach that might be resorted to on a needs and opportunities, functional process-defined basis?
7. Or do one or more specific areas of the business (e.g. specific departments or specific organizationally distinct sections of them, or specific satellite offices in a larger geographically dispersed enterprise) simply pursue their own course in how things are routinely done and across all functional areas and processes carried out?
8. This is only a starter list and one of the goals of any business review and analysis here would be to progressively, iteratively refine and elaborate on what is asked here, drilling down into the specifics of the particular business and away from the more generic as has been offered up to here.)

My goal for this posting is to step back from consideration of specific types of stakeholders in businesses and in their relevant outside contexts, and how they do and do not act and why. My goal here is to address, and in fact reconsider the issues that I have been discussing here from the perspective of an at least seemingly simple question, which I posed at the end of Part 42 in anticipation of this posting:

• What makes a good manager?

I have in fact been addressing this question in general, throughout this blog and as one of its central points of discussion, so my goal here is much more limited. For purposes of the here-and-now context of this series, I will focus on how a good manager identifies and understands the types of issues that I raise in my above-repeated list, and in the specific day-to-day contexts that they actually face at work. And I will focus on how that knowledge and understanding shapes and informs their decisions and actions too.

There are a variety of starting points that I could build this line of discussion from, but one in particular comes immediately and forcefully to mind for me: that of taking an ownership approach to the business that we work for, and regardless of any equity-holding or similar, fiscally grounded ownership considerations. I write here of a level and type of responsibility and of taking responsibility, and a level and type of pride in the quality of work done. And I write of commitment and follow-through, and with an ongoing goal of excellence as a basic standard to be worked towards.

For background material that more fully outlines what I mean by “ownership” and an internalized sense of it here, see:

Building a Sense of Ownership and Responsibility into Business Operations and Processes, and into Core Business Culture,
• And my seven part series: The Importance of Taking Ownership in Your Work and Your Business, as can be found at Business strategy and operations – 3 as postings 445 and following.

The issues that I raise there and that I return to here are crucially important. And they become more and more so in the context of this discussion, as a business scales up and as its senior and executive management that hold responsibility for overall strategic and operational planning, require more and more of their input on what is actually done and how it actually does and does not work, from managers and employees who work farther and farther removed from their own direct experience.

The single most important single thread running through all eight of the above numbered topics points is that of adherence to or deviation from a business’ overall planning and the expectations that they would be built from and that they would further advance. Beyond that, I focused on issues such as process and process system effectiveness, but with explicit acknowledgment that ad hoc and unofficial but standardized work-arounds that achieve positive results short term, can only create risk of larger problems long-term. These short-term work-arounds lead to and in fact help create the single points of failure that can seemingly suddenly bring at least areas of a business to their knees and without warning to those who supposedly lead the organization, overall. And even when they do not cause more abrupt challenge of that type, they do create friction and inefficiency that can cumulatively limit the business as a whole and even quite significantly and certainly when that business functions in a highly competitive context.

I have been writing about communications in this thread of discussion, and over the course of much if not most of this series. I am writing about this here too, and by highlighting some crucially important points:

• Good managers supervise and lead the members of their teams. And they both supervise and manage them as individuals, and they bring them together and coordinate their collective work in addressing and resolving larger tasks than any one person could not handle and succeed at on their own.
• But they do not and cannot do this as if they and their team of direct supervisees were functioning in a vacuum. They have to do this in the larger context of their overall business and in the context of its overall functionally connected environment: its relevant outside context with its market and customer base, its supply chain and other business-to-business partners and providers and more included.
• Good management faces and acts in multiple directions, and not just inward towards the smaller group of employees, or of the employees and their lower level managers, who happen to fall within a given business leader’s specific management purview. And their management of their direct and indirect reports is not always of necessity the most important direction that they face in all of this, and certainly not at all times and under all circumstances.

I have been offering and outlining this approach in general terms here, and will step back to consider some of the specific in-house stakeholders that I have delved into in recent series installments, in my next installment to this series – and with a goal of taking this posting’s discussion out of the abstract with real world examples. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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On the importance of disintermediating real, 2-way communications in business organizations 4

Posted in social networking and business, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 21, 2017

This is my fourth installment to a brief series on coordinating information sharing and communications needs, and information access filtering and gate keeping requirements (see Social Networking and Business 2, postings 275 and loosely following for Parts 1-3.)

I have been discussing business and organizational stakeholders, and both as they arise within a business (see Part 2) and outside of it (see Part 3.) And I concluded Part 3 of this, stating what I would continue this overall discussion here, by specifically discussing the fifth and last outside stakeholder listed in Part 3, and with at least a start to a discussion of communications in this series’context, and:

• Within specific stakeholder groups,
• Between separate stakeholders per se,
• And more specifically, between stakeholders: internal or external to the organization, and the business and its leadership and senior management as a whole.

I begin this with the last stakeholder group in my Part 3 list: outside regulatory agencies and organizations. And I begin addressing that by offering some general thoughts on what types of organized stakeholders I am specifically referring to here, as there is a lot of diversity that has to be included here, as well as a set of critically important unifying considerations.

• The outside regulatory systems that I refer to here, can be organized, adjudicated and enforced through dedicated organizations or agencies that primarily or exclusively focus on oversight, or they can be so managed and run by more wide-ranging agencies or organizations that also have other responsibilities and areas of action too.
• These entities might be set up and mandated according to specific legal statute and with their activities defined and prescribed according to specific law. And as such, they might be governmental in nature and structure, or at least governmentally regulated.
• Or they might be more private-sector in origin and nature, as for example when leading businesses in an industry seek to step out in front of possible outside governmental oversight by preemptively setting their own standards, for product or business decision issues that carry risk of conflict with consumer or marketplace needs and desires.
• A failure on the more private sector-managed option there and the hue and cry that this can lead to, might in effect force legislative response that would push such oversight into a more officially, governmentally managed position. And that can take a great deal of the oversight and the decision making choice that participating businesses would want to keep control over, out of their hands. So even more loosely defined and enforced, industry self-regulated efforts at organized oversight can be compelling for individual businesses to follow and they can be designed and enforced with legal statute in mind.

Let me take this out of the abstract with two specific examples:

• Truth in marketing and advertizing are in large part regulated through the enforcement of consumer protection and related law and this is in large part carried out officially and in accordance with underlying relevant law, and by legally mandated agencies: the offices of attorneys general definitely included in the United States.
• In the United States, consistent supply chain systems communications between retailers, wholesalers (for replacement parts) and original manufacturers in the automotive industry, are primarily carried out under the aegis of a private sector collaborative system call Standards in Technology for Automotive Retail (STAR), that has an organizational membership that cuts across wide ranges of competing brands and their owning businesses. This organization, as a private sector venture has to operate within agreed to boundaries and restrictions that are set by legally mandated governmental agencies, and in accordance with anti-monopoly laws and the case law that has arisen from their enforcement.

This last stakeholder category, as a case in point example, brings me directly to the issues of communications and their best practices. I will at least begin discussing these more general issues in terms of this example, and then expand this narrative from there to consider stakeholder involvement and participation in general. But let’s start all of that with the fundamentals:

• Communications only work when there are messages that sender and recipient would see as holding sufficient importance so as to justify the effort to organize and share them.
• A sufficient channel has to be available for this, with both adequate accessibility and bandwidth, and with adequate security as required too.
• And potential participants have to be able to use this resource at times that would work for them and with sufficient timeliness for the messages that they would have to share. Messages that can only arrive too late to matter, cannot matter or hold any real value and for anyone involved.
• And with the second, outside regulatory half of my STAR example in mind, communications have to be framed in accordance with the requirements of all involved and potentially involved stakeholders, which in this case includes their being framed in accordance with exceptions to anti-monopoly law that are carved out to allow for and support, permitted exception communications.
• In-house information management security systems can and do create their own filters and restrictions and their own systems for exception handling and the creation of special-case communications allowance too. And this has to be allowed for and specifically planned for too.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will consider communications within businesses, and both along and across the table of organization. I will also delve into the issues of publically traded companies communicating with shareholders, where traditional annual reports and legal document formatted stockholder reports and updates are only one approach that can be pursued – and particularly in an increasingly ubiquitous interactive online, social media driven context. Too many businesses still communicate at their stockholders as if they still lived in a pre-internet world and in too many ways and with too many limiting presumptions. That can be improved upon and it has to be for 21st century businesses.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. And also see Social Networking and Business 2 and that directory’s Page 1 for related material.

Business planning from the back of a napkin to a formal and detailed presentation 18

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 19, 2017

This is my 18th posting to a series on tactical and strategic planning under real world constraints, and executing in the face of real world challenges that are caused by business systems friction and the systems turbulence that it creates (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 578 and loosely following for Parts 1-17.)

I have been discussing a set of topics points in recent installments to this series, which I repeat here for purposes of continuity of narrative:

1. Different functionally focused stakeholders might reach different conclusions as to which processes and subsystems of them are core or peripheral to a business, and as to which might be secondary-peripheral of them – and if so of what type (e.g. necessary but outsourceable, or no longer needed and dispensable.) And it is important to both clarify and discuss those differences, and to reach a working consensus that all key stakeholders can come to at least tacit agreement upon, and certainly if a business is to enter into and carry through upon the right transitions for its own needs, and in the right way and with the right timing.
2. Then after that, and in the context of distinguishing between core and peripheral processes, I said that I would turn to consider areas and aspects of the business that can be linearly scaled up, and areas that represent true nonlinearities – places where simply scaling up according to the pattern in place would create inefficiencies.
3. And I added that I would discuss all of this in terms of crucial information availability and communications, and in terms of two types of case study examples: a retail business, and a software development business.

And after discussing the issues raised there in general terms, I turned in Part 17 to consider them from the perspective of the retail business case study example that I made note of in Point 3, above: Alpha Hardware as it expanded out from their original single storefront to include two specialty storefronts: Alpha Hardware and Alpha Home Goods.

My goal for this installment is to at least begin a discussion of how the issues of the above-repeated list, would play out in a second business context, that differs from the already discussed retail store case study in some significant ways. I offered to expand this discussion through consideration of a software development business, and I do so here, with a brief and selective analysis of a business that I will referred to in this series as the e-Maverick Group.

I have at least begun this case study analysis in Part 17, when I introduced that business with the following orienting comments:

• The e-Maverick Group is an e-commerce software developer and provider that seeks to offer cutting edge and next generation software solutions to their business clients. They see themselves as pioneer developers that offer the best of New to a largely pioneer and early adaptor business client audience.
• To put this business in comparative context with what you would find and expect in a business such as Alpha Hardware: while new products and even new types of products do arise and appear on the shelves of hardware stores and home goods stores too, a great deal of what is offered there is fairly standard and stable in function and in basic form. Change that appears on their shelves tends to be more cosmetic in nature – even if that can be very important for their customers and for their overall business success. That situation is not going to hold true for a business like the e-Maverick Group, where even seemingly consistent product types can fundamentally change in both what they offer to their customers in functionality and in how they do so. And this more fundamental change can only be expected to take place at a steady, rapid pace and certainly for any business that seeks to be a trend setter the way the e-Maverick Group does.

The e-Maverick Group is change-driven and even disruptively novel change-driven, and in ways that a business like Alpha Hardware would never be. And that has implications when considering the types of issues under discussion here. And I add with that in mind that fundamental, disruptively novel change in what a business offers, as noted in the above two bullet points, often means at least a need for equally fundamentally New in how they do that too at a business operations level.

Let’s start this analysis with a deeper and more detailed consideration of what these two businesses bring to market, as considered from the perspective of the above three numbered points. And I will begin this narrative with a more detailed consideration of the marketable offerings themselves, and then go on from there to consider business processes and decisions that would enter into providing them to a marketplace, and profitably so.

• I just noted that most of the products that a business like Alpha would offer (through its Hardware and its Home Goods storefronts), would primarily change cosmetically over time. Some new and even disruptively new product types and options would enter into their inventories over time but most of what they would offer would be relatively standardized and even long term. Novelty there, and disruptive novelty in particular in what they would offer, might matter for this type of business as it sought to stay current and competitive for its basic overall market audience. But the more important point here is that the range of products: the number of distinct stock keeping units (SKUs) carried and sold would be large and for the most part predictably stable and certainly when known seasonal and other trend patterns are taken into account.
• So the presence of more poorly performing items: products that do not sell very well and that primarily just take up shelf space, would be buffered for the most part by better performing product offerings that are also on those shelves. And the slow or seeming no-sellers would be weeded out and replaced with newer SKUs, and little immediate fiscal or other risk would have been faced from that. This type of store does not design or manufacture the items that it sells, so the only costs to the business faced from bringing them in and trying to sell them would be the more nominal ones associated with acquiring them wholesale, plus any losses accrued from their having in effect wasted what could be more profitable space in the business if they fail to sell. Stability and reliability in all of this would be central to the basic business model in place and would be goals in its basic strategy and for its overall operational systems.
• When you consider a business like the e-Maverick Group, a great deal of what I just noted in the two preceding bullet points, fails to hold true for it. This business offers a much smaller inventory of product types at any one time, so a great deal more of its success it tied up in the marketplace success of a much smaller number of products. And in fact the overall success of the business might very well depend essentially entirely on the success of its newest offerings, with older products and versions of them that are also still produced and sold, contributing to their bottom line but not fundamentally shaping it. And a business like the e-Maverick Group does make essentially the entire investment that goes into making this possible; it accepts essentially the entire risk associated with developing and producing and testing and refining their products, until they are reliable enough and desirable enough to a target market audience for them to succeed – at least hopefully. The sudden and unexpected release and sale of a disruptively new software offering by a competitor, can completely reshape a marketplace and in ways that make its buying consumers see next generation versions of what had gone before, seem last generation and outmoded, and even if they are significantly updated versions of that. And this type of change can and does take place literally overnight when it does.
• This all definitely holds true for businesses like the e-Maverick Group that live or die depending on how appealingly cutting edge they can be and how effectively they stay that way. I wrote of stability when writing about the Alpha stores in this narrative, and about how that is a goal that their business model and their strategy and operational systems would actively strive for. The e-Maverick Group would seek to find ways to survive and even thrive at what might at times seem to be the center of a storm of ongoing change that is taking place both all around them and within them.
• And the considerations that I have been making note of here would inform these business models for both of these business types, and their overall strategies and operations and their views and understandings of change: linear and predictable and disruptively transitional in nature. And they would shape the dynamics of any agreement or disagreement among involved stakeholders as to where their business is and where it is and should be going, and how.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment, where I will further develop the points raised in the last of those bullet points. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory.

Rethinking exit and entrance strategies 21: keeping an effective innovative focus while approaching and going through significant business transitions 11

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 17, 2017

This is my 21st installment to a series that offers a general discussion of business transitions, where an organization exits one developmental stage or period of relative strategic and operational stability, to enter a fundamentally different next one (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 559 and loosely following for Parts 1-20.)

I repeated a How oriented list of considerations in Part 20 that would enter into a determination of when a business would be best off pursuing a simple linear development course, basically continuing doing what it has been, and when a true disruptive change-based transition would make the most sense:

1. It can be vitally important to make explicit strategic effort to more deeply understand where your business is now and where that business is headed if it seeks to simply follow a straight-forward more predictively linear path, rather than making a more profound shift and going through a genuine transition.
2. And it is equally important to be aware of the possibilities, at the very least of what types of transitions could be possible, and their implications and consequences.
3. This leads me to the question of what would be planned for in a strategically considered, intentionally entered into business transition, and how such a transition plays out.

And I at least began addressing those same issues from more of a Why perspective there. And at the end of that installment, I stated that I would continue its line of discussion here,

• “Where I will consider accommodating response considerations to this, such as the development of urgency scales, and timeframe compression and extension responses.”

And I added That I will discuss this in costs terms that include but can go beyond the strictly financial. And I will turn this narrative back to more explicitly addressing business transitions while doing so, where I have addressed change and the competition between needs and goals here, in more general terms.

I begin addressing all of that from a linear evolutionary, primarily same as usual, and a true business transition perspective and with the fundamentals there.

• Businesses tend to pursue patterns of change and accommodation that have proven to work for them, until they cease too, and more disruptive change has to be resorted to and with all of the unknowns and all of the uncertainty that this can involve.
• And then they tend to pursue known disruptive change: patterns of change that might be new and novel to them but that have been successfully pursued and implemented by other businesses and often in at least relatively standardized ways (e.g. taking an initial public offering (IPO) route to raise working capital in order to accelerate business growth and resolve current growing pains issues.) Then, the new and unpredictably unexpected that they have to face will be more constrained and limited, even if it is very real as they take a simplified and even stereotypic “transition template” and seek to apply it in the specific details of their particular needs and contexts. There is a saying that I at least periodically find myself using, that comes to mind in this context: “the devil is in the details.” Angels can be in those details too – and positive opportunity and value. But at least potential challenge and risk are there too.
• When no such “transition template” is available, as would be the case for young businesses that decide to pursue an IPO route, or a venture capital financing route (to add a second more standardized financing-oriented possibility here), and they have to find and even define a more unique path forward, this might create greater potential positive opportunity for them, but it also carries greater risk as well, for a lack of basic track record guidance on how best to proceed and on how best to track performance for what is being done.
• Any genuine business transition carries greater risk, or at least apparent short-term risk, and greater uncertainty in that than simply seeking to hew to an already established linear path forward, tried and true. And any stakeholders who are adverse to change, will be quick to remind you of that. But there is an in-principle at least, simple test for determining when a true transition would be best and even if that would mean a more unique one rather than a more commonly pursued one:
• It is going to be better, long-term to stick with the tried and true if that means lower overall risk and costs long-term. And it is going to be better to enter into true disruptive change and a genuine business transition if that would lead to lower overall costs and risk, long-term. And the only real exceptions to this selection criterion would be expected if a business were in effect forced to take a disruptive change route in order to avert a sudden existence-threatening crisis.
• Setting that short-term possibility aside from consideration, at least for now, transitions build for viable futures where more familiar and less disruptively different might lead more towards long-term failure, or at least long-term avoidable weakness and business fragility.
• And the devil, as noted above, is in the details and for all of this, and with all of the uncertainty and discomforts that that can imply, and regardless of what basic type of path forward is pursued.

The issues and approaches that I said that I would address next, towards the end of Part 20 are all oriented towards making the risks and possibilities faced here, all more manageable and consistently so. And this brings me to the specific tools that I at least alluded to there: “accommodating response considerations such as the development of urgency scales, and timeframe compression and extension responses.”

I begin this with urgency scales and by bring that term out of the unfocused realm of colloquial expression with a more formal definition:

• And urgency scale is a consensus-based understanding of the relative levels of priority that competing needs offer.

Urgency scales are always relative value scales, so any given need faced, might be afforded a higher or lower value depending on what other needs it is pitted against at any given time. And a high priority, high urgency scale need might suddenly be downgraded for priority if a new and emergent need arises that would supplant it. Sudden single points of failure come immediately to mind there, where they can and usually do push aside any and all longer term goals and priorities for their sudden and immediate urgency.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment, and in anticipation of that, and to keep this narrative closely aligned with the issues of change and business transitions, I add that:

• It is impossible to make a valid choice between business change options, unless and until you have at least a basic understanding of the needs requirements faced that would drive that change – and for their details and for their costs and risks and for their relative priorities.

I am going to delve into a few of the approaches that can be applied in managing those details in the next installment to this series. And as part of that, I will consider how relative priorities change, and how possible attainable value and risk change as a consequence to that, and how that type of determination can tip the balance toward pursuing same-as-usual or toward pursuing a true business transition.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory.

Career planning 14: career planning as an ongoing process of analysis and synthesis 8

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on September 15, 2017

This is my 14th installment to a series in which I seek to break open what can become a hidden workings, self-imposed black box construct of career strategy and planning, where it can be easy to drift into what comes next rather than execute to realize what could be best for us (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 459 and following for Parts 1-13.)

I have been discussing change and disruptive change in particular in this series since its Part 12, focusing there on how this is coming to redefine employability and jobs and careers opportunity and for many. And I have focused for the most part on four specific still-emerging sources of such change, which I repeat here for smoother continuity of discussion:

1. Non-compete clauses in hiring and employment agreements,
2. Automation and the spread of artificial intelligence and robotization into the workplace,
3. Telecommuting and the emerging capabilities for people and for businesses to conduct work online and from anywhere to anywhere, and
4. The workplace impact of the cloud on all three of the other sources of change that I make note of here.

I then concluded Part 13 by stating that I would continue its line of discussion here, by looking into:

• How these changes and their impacts are shaped, and both from within businesses and from outside of them.

And I went on to add that after that, I will discuss how these factors and forces would impact upon work and career planning, in identifying and charting best paths forward for them.

I begin addressing all of this from an in-house perspective, and by acknowledging a point that should be obvious to all. No business with more than one employee (owners included) can be truly completely monolithic. A business’ official policy and practice guidelines can and usually do define and enforce commonly held and consistently followed perspectives and practices actually followed and on what can be very wide ranges of issues. And this includes regimentation if you will, as it arises through more strictly business practice-defining operational standards as laid out in the business model and its strategic and operational implementations. Consider standardized forms and the standardized documentation and reporting requirements that they specify as a working example of that. And this can arise through corporate culture and certainly as owners and more senior executives define and enforce their standards on their businesses, and on all who work there. Consider officially required dress codes as they can be passed down as if from on high at a business, as a working example of that. But even the combined influence of both of these sources of unifying process and practice can leave room for variation in understanding and interpretation on the part of both managers and employees. And that means leaving room for variation in what is done and how, and with what prioritization, even when “standard and approved” are basically adhered to.

Let’s reconsider Change 3 from my above-repeated list here and in this context: telecommuting as a terms-of-employment option. Businesses are not monolithic, and even if the owners of such a venture are consistent and clear as to how actively they would adapt new and different, that does not mean that all of their employees and managers would mirror them for that and in all ways and details and for any and all types of change. A business might pride itself on being cutting edge and New-embracing for how they work with and support their managers and employees. And they might basically be supportive of telecommuting and similar workplace accommodations as a matter of general principle. But different managers and at all levels in that business might take very different views from each other when it comes to more personnel and related process issues and options like that: holding very different standards in deciding on a case-by-case basis when they should allow employees to telecommute, and when and under what terms and how often and for how long if they do so.

If a basic business model in place is oriented primarily in terms of reaching performance goals, which most are, and a manager consistently performs well in bringing their team to reach those goals, it is not likely going to concern their supervisor if they take a somewhat more restrictive approach to this option than their supervisor would, or a less restrictive one: as long as the employees impacted by this practice continue to perform effectively at their jobs and everything runs smoothly.

• This type of issue only rises to a level of notable importance higher up on the table of organization when and if work flow and overall performance begin to suffer, specific employee dissatisfaction rises to a level that can create risk for the business, or both.

A terms of employment change such as Change 1: the significant expansion of use of non-compete clauses in employee contracts, would in most cases be applied uniformly across an entire business that has decided to make larger sale use of them at all. If they deploy and insist upon these terms of employment for jobs that do not involve special or proprietary skills or knowledge, they are most certainly going to require them for jobs that do, too.

A change like Change 3 would be expected to show more variation and particularly as different managers argue the need for in-house on-site work participation differently, and for both employee performance and for how best to supervise and manage them. And the level of consistency in how terms of employment are managed for employees who are kept on in the face of automation (Change 2), or in the face of increased reliance on technological innovation such as the cloud (Change 4) would be much less certain still, at least in general terms: much more variable depending on the specific business and industry under consideration and on precisely how those changes were implemented.

And with that noted, I turn this discussion more outward to consider how these changes and their impacts are shaped by factors arising outside of the business in question. I am going to turn to that aspect of this discussion in my next series installment. And after that, I will discuss how these factors and forces (and from both within and from outside of a business) would impact upon work and career planning there, in identifying and charting best paths forward. In anticipation of that, I note here that “disruptive” in disruptive change means “uncertainty”, so flexibility and awareness are essential here. I will also expand the set of specific disruptive changes under specific discussion in all of this, as I proceed from here in this series. And I add that I will address these issues in timeframe and related contexts as viewed from the individual participant perspective.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide.

Platt Perspective at eight years

Posted in blogs and marketing by Timothy Platt on September 14, 2017

This is posting number 2363 in this blog. And with that piece of bookkeeping trivia noted, I turn to consider where this blog is as I reach, and prepare to pass by this anniversary for its formally and officially going live online.

I finally feel a measure of confidence in being able to state that I have completed at least most of the foundation for what I would write of here. This is an open ended writing endeavor so I have not felt any pressing constraints to be as brief and as focused as possible in working towards that goal. So I have taken side paths. And I have made digressions. And I have posted about specialized issues as I have deemed to be contextually appropriate, and about issues and topics that I have at least found interesting, while working towards a basic foundation building goal too.

At what I currently estimate to be something over three million words posted here, I have finally (I think as of now) assembled much if not most of a foundation to what I construe to be a general theory of business. That said, I will probably be filling in gaps there for at least a few more years to go, before moving on to focus more entirely on emergent and more specialized topics and issues that would arise from that foundation.

I offer this brief note as a benchmark in what I am doing here, and from its day one up to now and as I look ahead from today.

Tim Platt, September 14, 2017

Meshing innovation, product development and production, marketing and sales as a virtuous cycle 7

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 13, 2017

This is my seventh installment to a series in which I reconsider cosmetic and innovative change as they impact upon and even fundamentally shape the product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales cycle, and from both the producer and consumer perspectives (see Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2, postings 342 and loosely following for Parts 1-6.)

I offered two case studies in this series, that were both based on restaurant planning and execution. The first, appearing in Part 3, represented a vicious cycle in which recurring bad decisions acted upon as consequences mount, lead to disaster. The second, appearing in Part 5 represents a more virtuous cycle example where success can lead to further success. But both of the action and consequence cycles that the restaurants of those examples follow, if taken to their logical extremes and without possible deviation, can and do lead to problems. And yes, this holds for the virtuous cycle example too: if their basic business model and strategy cannot be adjusted and even significantly course corrected in the face of the unexpected.

With those examples in place, in order to take subsequent discussion out of the abstract, I offered a to-address list of topic points in Part 6 that I repeat here for purposes of smoother continuity of narrative, where I would:

1. Discuss what businesses respond to, and in the specific context of this series, as they respond in patterns of decision and action, review and further decision and action that can have recurringly cyclical elements to them.
2. And it means addressing how they would respond at a higher level strategic and overall operational level and not just at a day-to-day, here-and-now details level, and certainly if they do so effectively.
3. In anticipation of that point, I cite agility and resiliency as organizational goals – and as buffering mechanisms against the down-sides of change. I have already touched on this third complex of issues (e.g. in Part 5) but will return to further consider it in light of my discussion of the above Points 1 and 2.

I at least briefly discussed Point 1 of that list in Part 6, doing so in terms of those case study examples. My goal for this posting is to delve into Point 2 and its issues. And I begin doing so here, with an at least brief and selective discussion of how Point 2 is worded, and what that implies.

• I raised in Part 6, an important point of distinction between the longer-term and bigger picture understanding of a business, as considered at a “higher level strategic and overall operational level,” and the shorter term and more situationally tactical focus of the “day-to-day, here-and-now details level.”
• My Part 3, vicious cycle example, which I refer to as falling into a “restaurant death spiral” pattern arises because no one there is actually carrying out consistent and inclusive, open minded strategic reviews or analyses to see how courses of action followed, are actually performing. And even when the restaurant owner and their senior staff are all aware that their business is failing, none of them seem able to connect the dots on their own as to how or why that is happening. Or at the very least, none of those stakeholders are able to articulate such an understanding in ways that would lead to remediative change for the business, and recovery.
• My Part 5 example follows a more virtuous cycle approach – but only as long as the conditions that it was initially developed in, continue unchanged and unabated. Disruptive change and challenge to that status quo, hold real potential for problems even then: if that is, this new recovery approach business model (leading a business out of a Part 3 downward spiral and into New), becomes an immutable given and as if set in stone too.
• Ultimately, both business model approaches fail if they are pushed to their logical extremes and left there and regardless of how circumstances change with new challenges and new opportunities arising.

Identifying those emerging changes: positive and negative, and planning and organizing so as to better address them, falls within the realm of strategy and the longer-term that it should be preparing the business for. If you wait until all of this: good and bad is already hitting you and if you only seek to address it tactically as a first response, you can only be reactive in doing so. And you cannot become proactive in this unless and until you step back and start addressing all of what you face and do right now, from a more specifically strategic perspective too.

Ultimately tactical can only succeed long-term if it is grounded in effective inclusive strategy – and that means strategy that is not limited by the types of blind spots that led the restaurant of Part 3 into so much trouble. Ultimately, the best that tactics can accomplish, absent supportive underlying strategy is to seek to arrive at an at least for now least-damaging reactive response, where longer term effectiveness essentially always calls for stepping out ahead proactively too.

I wrote the Part 5 scenario of the farm to table restaurant in terms of that restaurant and its operations and its business success. But I also wrote and discussed it and both there and in Part 6, in terms of larger communities that such an enterprise enters into: there, with local farmers and family owned dairies and related businesses. I stated at the end of Part 6 that I would begin addressing the issues of Point 2 of the above-repeated list, in terms of:

• “Where decisions have to be made that can be grounded in business ethics and related terms and in how a business and its owners enter into and participate in larger communities that only begin with their customers and their potential customer bases.”

I proposed that because those issues were weighing on my mind as I concluded that series installment. I in fact decided to develop some more organizing structure in this narrative, before assaying that set of issues. But I will return to consider the farm to table ethos in my next series installment, and the commitments that businesses make to other enterprises in general in supply chain and related value chain systems. And I will explicitly tie that line of discussion back to the core topical issues of this series as a whole, where businesses need to be change and innovation driven if they are to succeed. Then and in that context, I will finally turn to consider Point 3 of the above list, and:

• “Agility and resiliency as organizational goals – and as buffering mechanisms against the down-sides of change.”

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

Finding virtue in simplicity when complexity becomes problematical, and vice versa 5

Posted in social networking and business by Timothy Platt on September 11, 2017

This is my fifth installment to a brief series on simplicity and complexity in business communications, and in carrying out and evaluating the results of business processes, tasks and projects (see Social Networking and Business 2), postings 257 and loosely following for Parts 1-4.)

I began to more systematically discuss business communications in general in Part 4, doing so in terms of the types of business processes that those communications efforts would support, and as communications would connect those parts of the business into the organization as a whole. And I posited an organizing model that different types of business processes would fit into, at appropriate-to-them points along a continuum, that has two explicitly stated and defined endpoint extremes which I repeat identifying here:

• Type 1 business processes that are essentially rote-standardized and for what is done and how and by whom, and with what expected inputs and outputs, and
• Type 2 business processes that have to explicitly accommodate change and even explicit uncertainty – and that can even be in place and use in order to help the business to flexibly accommodate change.

From a communications perspective I added that:

• Type 1 processes can become rigid and resistant to change and certainly for business activities that have become so consistently standardized that they become taken for granted and all but invisible.
• At the same time, communications patterns and processes in them can become both automatic and minimal and with sparse messaging-only required, and certainly as long as usual and expected continue to hold true.
• Type 2 processes are built around change, and the people who take part in them or who depend upon their being effectively carried out as outside stakeholders for them, have to expect that.
• At the same time, communications become both less routine and more critically important. And the level and range of types of information that would have to be shared and effectively so in them becomes significantly greater too, and certainly when compared to the opposite end of the spectrum, of Type 1.

Types 1 and 2 here, represent opposite ends of a spectrum and when they are the only points along that spectrum that are considered, that creates what should at least be avoidable gaps in any analyses and planning that would take place. So I offered at the end of Part 4, to step back from these two extreme point considerations to consider business processes and systems of them in general. And in anticipation of that, I added that I will consider both within-business and external to the business factors that can effect and shape business efficiency and resiliency there too.

I will begin all of this with two key words that I have cited numerous times in this blog, in a business systems context: efficiency and resiliency.

• Business resiliency and agility: another term that I repeatedly use in this blog, both require rapid and timely, and accurate and error-free communications, and certainly when the people involved there and the processes that they carry out, face the novel and unexpected and where that is consequential. And when this means rapidly and effectively addressing the unpredictability of the disruptively new, that means having an ability to create new and perhaps unexpected communications channels on the fly, when and as needed, and bringing new participants into these conversations as needed.
• Business efficiency per se, however, is largely about optimization. And when this of necessity has to include secure information management, as is more common than not for increasingly data-driven businesses, this means following vetted information channels with known participants exchanging and sharing information through them.

Ultimately, the only way to reconcile “resiliency and agility” and in the face of the consequential unexpected, with “efficiency” as an overriding, defining goal, is to build flexibility into areas where conflicts of the type that I address here, could arise. That definitely includes the information access and control systems in place, but also includes how information security is viewed and a number of other basic parameters of operation. And one of the places where any such conflicts will arise, if and when they do is in communications and joint information development and sharing contexts.

• What other possible collision points are there in place in businesses, and both generically and in general, and in specific businesses as special case issues for them?
• And how would they best be identified, characterized and understood, and acted upon?

When a business seeks to accomplish this type of reconciliation, better connecting together its information management systems and communications systems, and all other functional areas that would potentially collide here, that creates a measure of robustness in the overall operational system created. And when such a system is designed and organized and tuned and corrected so as to arrive at an overall work process flow that is as simple and as free of exceptions and complexities as possible, that organization is pursuing a lean and agile approach.

These perspectives apply whether the areas of business activity and functionality under specific consideration are carried out entirely in-house, and remain effectively invisible to any outside contexts or viewers, or whether they involve processes that serve as explicit connection points to the outside: in a business’ markets and marketplace, or in how it connects into and participates in supply chain or other value chain collaborations.

I have written this posting in largely abstract terms, and with a goal of defining and reframing some basic terms that go into analyzing businesses at a higher, broader brush stroke level. I am going to return to these issues in a next series installment where I will at least begin to take this posting’s discussion out of the abstract, by way of more concrete examples. Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And also see my series: Communicating More Effectively as a Job and Career Skill Set, for its more generally applicable discussion of focused message best practices per se. I offer that with a specific case in point jobs and careers focus, but the approaches raised and discussed there are more generally applicable. You can find that series at Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, as its postings 342-358.

Building a startup for what you want it to become 26: moving past the initial startup phase 12

Posted in startups by Timothy Platt on September 9, 2017

This is my 26th installment to a series on building a business that can become an effective and even a leading participant in its industry and its business sector, and for its targeted marketplaces (see Startups and Early Stage Businesses and its Page 2 continuation, postings 186 and loosely following for Parts 1-25.)

I focused in Part 25 on the raw data and the processed knowledge that a business accumulates that it uses, in one direction to help shape its strategic and operational plans, and that it uses in the other direction when executing them and evaluating the results achieved. And as part of that, I posed a brief set of questions, the likes of which would go into any quality control effort for managing and more effectively using those data stores, which I repeat here for purposes of continuity of narrative:

1. Is this data reliable, and if so for what? I parse that question, offered here as a general point of principle, into a set of more focused related questions.
2. Where did it come from? And how reliable is its source from prior experience?
3. Is it complete and unedited or has it been pre-filtered or re-represented in some way, by a stakeholder who might be bringing their own biases or agendas with them when offering it? Answers to this question would in most cases be more presumptive than conclusive but evidence of possible filtering or bias should raise red flags and should always be considered as a possibility. As an example of how pre-filtering can be carried out without any intent of adding bias into a data set but still end up adding that in, consider how data can be “cleaned up” before use by deleting from consideration, unexpected and seemingly out of pattern outliers and other “anomalies”, while removing second copies of duplicated records and the like and doing similar data cleansing. That happens and it should raise red flags.
4. Is this data consistent with other data gathered and with expectations in place, or is it divergent from or contrarian to that? Note, new and different and unexpected should not rule out new data findings. But they should prompt closer and fuller examination and particularly if their inclusion would significantly shape conclusions drawn and actions taken.
5. And of course, what would this data suggest, and certainly when considered in the larger context of what is already known?
6. And what are the consequences of that, and both if this data is correct and reliable and if it is not?

I then added at the end of Part 25 that I would “discuss this set of issues in more detail in a next series installment where I will focus on specific types of raw data as business intelligence, and in the more specific context of an at least briefly sketched out working business example.”

My goal for this posting is to set up a conundrum, or at least a realistic-seeming systems example that highlights within it a combination of competing needs and requirements. And I begin that with a set of seemingly simple questions, that I pose in the context of a retail business that maintains a complex inventory of products that it offers for sale. A store of this type is data-driven, with their overall business performance depending on the aggregate sales performance of what they offer, as cumulatively determined on a product by product basis.

• What sells at what rate and at what volume, at any given point in time? This might or might not have a seasonal or other cyclical element to it, as just one reason why this type of question has to be recurringly reconsidered.
• How is this trending, for the various stock keeping unit (SKU) product types offered?
• What is their turnover rate for the business?
• And what is their profit margin when they do sell? That is actually a more complex question than it might at first seem, where a product that simply sits on a self or in back room storage as inventory waiting its turn on a sales floor shelf, accumulates additional cost to the business by taking up room that faster selling items might fill, and more profitably so. But even that more expansive evaluation leaves out the possibility of loss leader product offerings that might intentionally be sold at or even below cost in order to bring in customers, with them offered as marketing tools for driving larger sales.
• What products might be calling for greater shelf space or greater specific model diversity offered, or both? And what would best be reduced for the shelf space that it commands, or even discounted for clearance sale and discontinued, and either for now because of seasonal or other shifts, or permanently?

These are just sample orienting questions, even if they were selected here for their specific relevance to most retail businesses. And all of them require both specific data, and in quantity, and specific analysis to answer them. More generally:

1. What questions would you need to ask and find answers to, in order to more effectively optimize your business, and both to make it more agile and effective in the face of changing market demands, and to make it more profitable and consistently so?
2. Now what data would you need to answer those questions, and both by type and by quantity, and with what data quality control in place?

There are several ways to parse and categorize data but one that is particularly relevant here is:

• Data that is subject to direct statistical analysis, which can mean numerical, binary (e.g. yes or no) or similar
• And data that cannot be so coded and used, such as free form text responses.

For simplicity, let’s assume that all of the data to be gathered and used fits into the first of those categories, making straightforward statistical analysis possible. The more questions you seek to address through such statistical analyses, the more complex they become for types and combinations of data required to address them. And the greater the certainty in any conclusions reached when doing these analyses, the more data you would need in order to carry out these statistical analyses too. And this leads me to my third and fourth questions:

3. How much data do you actually need, in order to answer your statistical questions and do the statistical modeling that you would require?
4. And precisely what data analysis-based questions do you really have to ask in order to meet your business planning and performance review needs?

I will set question 4 aside for the moment and focus on number 3 of this list. Data becomes expensive and certainly in volume:

• To systematically gather it in and store it in usable forms in usable database records
• And with effective data management systems in place to clear out duplicated or defective records, and old and no longer reliable ones (e.g. for “current” customer identification and tracking) – and without adding in bias.
• And data analysis that is based on this, becomes expensive too and particularly when outside expertise is required for carrying out complex statistical tests, on appropriately scaled data sets.
• And the more complex the tests to be performed, the larger the data samples are required to be, and the larger still, the overall pool of raw data that those test samples would be at least semi-randomly drawn from.

Most retail stores would in fact look for outliers (e.g. items that all but fly off the shelf in sales, or that alternatively only gather dust there.) And costs and timing demands would constrain them to at most, doing only simple and even cursory data analyses and business performance modeling for all that lies between those extremes and with that largely based on aggregate analysis of product categories and not of individual item types. That definitely holds for smaller and even for medium sized businesses. Massive retail business systems, tend to be the ones that truly dive into the data, and with all of the effort and expenses involved as mistakes or lost opportunities take on scales of impact, financially, that they cannot leave to chance.

This posting and this series are about startups and businesses that are still small, even if growing, so that second possibility would only be a still-distant one for them. So I finish this posting with some open questions:

• What data is available and in what quantities and with what quality and reliability?
• What questions really have to be answered, and with what level of assurance in that, from this data? (Question 4 from above, expanded)
• And closely related to that, why are answers to those questions important, and specifically so? More specifically, what specific strategic and operational questions would they help address? This bullet point is all about keeping all of this focused and relevant and in a very practical value and returns on investment-oriented sense. And what would be the consequences of simply proceeding on without rigorously addressing them?

I rephrase that last question for a startup context, by asking:

• What really consequential decisions do you face as a business founder, and which of them are data driven and in ways that would be amenable to more rigorous analysis?

If this posting sounds too abstracted from real world businesses, for it to make meaningful sense when planning and executing their strategies and operations, and certainly in young new ones, I will at least attempt to bring its rationale into clearer focus in my next series installment. My goal there is to at least begin a discussion of when and how to add greater rigor and order into a new business, to facilitate its orderly development and growth as it moves forward. Everything, or at least seemingly everything might start out looking ad hoc and new and novel at first. When and how should order be developed and added to this mix? When and how should it take over and become the basic rule for how things are done there? I tend to write about organized and systematically structured systems, and about the ad hoc approach as an often problematical alternative. My goal in the next installment of this series is to at least begin addressing how that circumstance arises.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at my Startups and Early Stage Businesses directory and at its Page 2 continuation.

Some thoughts concerning a general theory of business 17: considering first steps toward developing a general theory of business 9

This is my 17th installment to a series on general theories of business, and on what general theory means as a matter of underlying principle and in this specific context (see Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, Section VI for Parts 1-16.)

I began this series with a discussion of general theories and what they consist of, as a matter of general organizing principle (see Parts 1-8.) And after laying a foundation in that, for focusing in on a general theory of business as a special case, I began addressing the more specific intended topic of this series as laid out in its title. And I have focused essentially entirely since then on the organizational level of the business as a whole. I then switched orientation, and level of organization in Part 16, to consider business theory from the perspective of the individual participant in these systems. I offered Part 16 as a whole, as an orienting start to that discussion thread, and in the course of that offered two basic approaches that can be and that frequently are pursued:

• That of the entrepreneur who takes a more consultant approach to their work and to dealing with their employer,
• And that of an employee who in effect leaves their own longer-term jobs and career planning to their employer and in the hands of the people who they report to there.

I at least briefly argued a case for pursuing the first of these approaches but acknowledged both, and a need for a general theory of business to accommodate and include both as well. And with that stated, I offered a brief to-address list of points in Part 16 that categorically list how different types of stakeholders would participate in business systems. And I added that I will at least begin to address those topic points here, which I repeat for purposes of continuity, considering businesses:

1. From the perspective of the individual employee, whether hands-on and non-managerial or managerial, or executive or owner, and with consideration of a still wider range of stakeholder types as well.
2. From the perspective of how each of these groups of stakeholders see themselves and other stakeholder types, and in both risk and benefits, risk management terms and in game theory terms,
3. And according to how the members of these groups see themselves as strictly in-house employees with their leaving their longer-term planning in the hands of their employers, or as more independent entrepreneurs and consultants who take direct ownership over and responsibility for their own work and career planning and its execution.

And I said that I would begin doing so by way of offering an orienting scenario, which I framed in general terms that “begins with the individual career developer and the hiring and promotion-directed strategies that they follow, and ends with the approaches that those same individuals follow when actually working at a business. And as part of that, I will also consider the strategies and the tactics of others who work with them or who otherwise become stakeholders to these transaction flows (games.)” And I said that I will approach this from both the individual and the business perspective. I begin that here.

When you are looking for a new job and you put at least a measure of thought and effort into that proposition, you seek to find an organization to work at in which you can gain value for yourself in meeting your own needs, while offering value in return that would make you an attractive hire and a valued employee. This means you’re having and effectively presenting skills and experience that you would want to use and build upon in a next job and as you pursue further development of your overall career. And it means presenting them to potential employers who would find value to themselves and to their enterprises, in what you can demonstrably do.

This is not a friction-free system and particularly in an age and an employment context where so many would-be job seekers send out hundreds and even thousands of copies of the same generic resumes electronically, at no cost or additional effort on their part to essentially every business that might be hiring that fits within what might be a very vaguely defined target audience. The result is that essentially all hiring businesses these days, push all resumes received into digitalized database systems and effectively filter out and discard all that do not meet the initial screening criteria of automated search queries. No human ever reads the vast majority of the flood of what is essentially spam and background static that goes into those systems, and all of the submissions that are received that do not make any first cuts, is generally mass-deleted after some set period of time in limbo in them, never to be considered there again.

I would argue, in a more explicitly jobs and career best practices context that this means we should all be more focused in what we submit and where, and that we need to know and use the same wording that the businesses that we would apply to, use in their posted job descriptions that we would apply to, and both for the skills and experience that we offer and for precisely how we phrase them. From a business theory perspective, I focus here on how the hiring process takes place in the context of what communications theory would refer to as noisy channels that are filled with background static, and in a context that I refer to (in more economics theory terms) as being limited by business systems friction.

This flood of often and even usually non sequitur resumes would overwhelm the hiring process if it were not for automated, database screening filters. That work-around can and does add entirely new forms of constraint on those who seek to find work and certainly for any position that is not entry-level or otherwise highly standardized. I write here of the emerging 21st (and undoubtedly beyond) context that hiring now takes place in and increasing as a universally applicable source of constraints and for any job offering that would draw in wide ranging interest and response of any type.

If as a job seeker, you send out enough copies of your e-resume to enough businesses you will probably, eventually get something of a response – but the level of chance in where that comes from and in what you might achieve as a next job out of that will be very limited, and certainly insofar as you would seek to strategically pursue a longer-term career and advance in what you do. So I will presume in what follows that you take more of a planned approach, as I discuss in my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development in its postings and series (see its Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 listings.) And I presume that any hiring manager and other stakeholders who screen and select applicants, and who help determine who a final selection hire will be, are equally systematic in their hiring processes and decision making too.

• Basic underlying assumptions made are important. And I assume here, as an at least for-now axiomatic assumption that the people on both sides of a potential hiring process are following something of an at least relatively consistent and rigorous logic in what they do and how, and that they act accordingly.

This is very important. I will delve into the issues of reductionism and of emergent properties and processes as they arise at higher levels of organization, later on in this series and in some detail for that. But hiring new employees and I add the management of ongoing employees at a business is always carried out by individual people, and even if and when they do follow detailed strategically organized approved business-wide operational processes and procedures.

There is a dynamic balance in that. Most hiring managers in general, do seek to pursue courses that would benefit the businesses that they work for. But at the same time, they also seek to take actions that would facilitate their own personal success in their jobs too, and ones that would help them to advance their own careers, and to maximize their own job security and their own compensation received for what they do in the process. And they interpret what is best for their employer at least in part in terms of that.

The people on both sides of a hiring process participate in it as individuals, and even when they are also serving as agents for the hiring business when on the hiring side of that table. And this enters into their thinking and into their decision making, and both as they perceive and evaluate possible risk and possible benefit as they make their hiring decisions. And this shapes any emergent, higher level organizational factors (e.g. the overall business side to hiring here) that they might enter into.

Turning back to consider the employee side of this again, this addresses the emerging situation for employee participation in a business up to the point when they are first hired. Now let’s assume for purposes of continuity of discussion, that they prove themselves as a best candidate, are offered the job and accept it for the terms of employment and of compensation offered. I am going to switch directions in my next series installment here, and consider this narrative from their day one as a new hire, and how perspectives change, and for both the new hire and for their manager and other stakeholders involved. In the course of that, I will begin to more explicitly discuss the issues raised in the three numbered to-address points listed at the top of this posting.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material about what I am attempting to do here at About this Blog and at Blogs and Marketing. And I include this series in my Reexamining the Fundamentals directory, as topics section VI there, where I offer related material regarding theory-based systems. And I also include this individual participant oriented subseries of this overall theory of business series in Page 3 of my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, as a sequence of supplemental postings there.

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