Software Review: The Modenus Project Manager

Resources are crucial for designers, but the management of those resources is even more important. Modenus offers a free tool for the design trade that allows them to find and manage resources profitably. Modenus has created a full fledged project management application that allows trade professionals to save products to a specific project, assign products to specific spaces and complete final specifications for to approval.

Log in as trade and try for yourself.

(Note: The project manager is to verified trade only. Upon registration please complete the trade application that you will find on your dashboard so that we can allow access to many more pro-features. )

Keep checking to see for the debut the next set of new, very exciting features.

Six Sigma Project Management: Is it Right for You?

Photo by Vangelis Thomaidis
 As interior design professionals, planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of project are skills that are needed and demanded of us daily. If you're like most designers I meet, you're always on the lookout for more efficient, cost-effective ways to accomplish your goals and meet client expectations within set budget and time parameters. Without a great project management tool, doing all of the above can sometimes present extraordinary challenges.

During Q&A at a design seminar that I spoke at recently, Six Sigma Project Management became a topic of discussion. Many designers weren't sure what Six Sigma Project Management was and if its process could benefit them and their design teams.

In this article, Peter Peterka, President of Six Sigma, gives us an inside look at their project management process and how it differs from the typical model. Read on to find out if what Six Sigma is and if it’s a right fit for you.

V. Carr
Managing Director

Photo Vangelis Thomaidis
The Difference Between Typical Project Management and Six Sigma Project Management

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) became an accepted standard (as established by the Project Management Institute) that is still widely used in many industries around the world. At a basic level, many of the methodologies advocated by PMBoK and Six Sigma have a great deal in common. Both seek to establish a sound plan; identify and communicate with stakeholders; conduct regular reviews; and manage schedule, cost, and resources.

Six Sigma is not just another project management initiative or process improvement program. Six Sigma is not just a new term for project management nor is it a mere repackaging of old concepts. It is more than that because it is a robust continuous improvement strategy and process that includes cultural and statistical methodologies. Six Sigma is complementary with existing project management programs and standards but differs in significant ways. Both disciplines seek to reduce failures, prevent defects, control costs and schedules, and manage risk. Generally, professional project management attempts to achieve these goals by encouraging best practices on a project-by-project basis, often through the mechanism of a project office that promulgates policy, provides templates and advice, promotes appropriate use of tools such as critical path method, and perhaps performs periodic project reviews.

Too many project management methods have failed not because they weren't adding value but because you couldn't measure the effectiveness of the methodology or quantify the value added by process changes. Six Sigma provides a structured data-driven methodology with tools and techniques that companies can use to measure their performance both before and after Six Sigma projects. Using Six Sigma, management can measure the baseline performance of their processes and determine the root causes of variations so they can improve their processes to meet and exceed the desired performance levels.

Six Sigma allows managers to take their projects to new levels of discipline and comprehensive commitment. For standard project management ideas, you can approach them ad hoc and implement them as you learn them. You can't do Six Sigma halfheartedly, and that is a good thing. Six Sigma is not for dabblers. You can't implement it piecemeal. If you’re in, you’re in deep, and you’re in for the long haul. Again, that is a good thing because that level of commitment not only gets everyone involved and keeps them involved but also leads to more substantial and far-reaching change in your processes.

There are many challenges facing project managers: data gathering and analysis, problem solving, understanding and evaluating existing processes, developing and tracking measurements in a standardized manner, and making quantitative evaluations. Six Sigma methodology provides tools and techniques to help a manager be successful in all of these challenges. This success is accomplished by means of understanding what the methodology is, how it is applied, and how it used.

Six Sigma is not simply another supplement to an organization's existing management methods. It is a complementary management methodology that is integrated into and replaces the existing ways of determining, analyzing, and resolving/avoiding problems, as well as achieving business and customer requirements objectively and methodically. Six Sigma can be applied to operational management issues, or it can directly support strategic management development and implementation. Six Sigma's set of tools are more broadly applicable than those commonly applied within typical project management. Six Sigma is more oriented toward solutions of problems at their root cause and prevention of their recurrence rather than attempting to control potential causes of failure on a project-by-project basis.

The breadth, depth, and precision of Six Sigma also differentiate it from typical project management. Six Sigma has a well-defined project charter that outlines the scope of a project, financial targets, anticipated benefits, milestones, etc. It’s based on hard financial data and savings. In typical project management, organizations go into a project without fully knowing what the financial gains might be. Six Sigma has a solid control phase (DMAIC: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) that makes specific measurements, identifies specific problems, and provides specific solutions that can be measured.

Six Sigma is a robust continuous improvement strategy and process that includes cultural methodologies such as Total Quality Management (TQM), process control strategies such as Statistical Process Control (SPC), and other important statistical tools. When done correctly, Six Sigma becomes a way toward organization and cultural development, but it is more than a set of tools. Six Sigma is the strategic and systematic application of the tools on targeted important projects at the appropriate time to bring about significant and lasting change in an organization as a whole.

Peter Peterka is President of Six Sigma us. For additional information on Six Sigma Green Belt or other Six Sigma Certification project programs contact Peter Peterka.
By Peter Peterka


Goethe-Institut Design Competition Call for Entries

The Goethe-Institut Washington announces a competition to create an identity design for the façade of its building in Chinatown. Design entry deadline: October 15, 2010. A panel of expert Washington-area designers and architects will judge the entries. The winner will receive a $1000 prize and the top five submissions will be displayed at the Goethe-Institut and included in our 20th anniversary festivities in December 2010. The twin goals of this project are to highlight the Institut’s location more creatively and to make its function and purpose more visible and inviting to the public.

Goethe-Institut is the German cultural center that organizes a wide range of arts-related events such as films, art shows, poetry readings and discussions, as well as providing German language classes. It is a private non-profit organization with its headquarters in Munich.

The Institut seeks to update its exterior – through creative design of the window space, awnings and outdoor banners -- to present a face to the community that is more compelling, and reflecting the contemporary aesthetic of German culture. The end result should integrate the objectives of the Institut into a new façade that is inviting both from the interior and exterior during the day and at night.

Located at the intersection of Seventh and I Streets, the Goethe-Institut Washington has a prominent position in the historically important Chinatown neighborhood of the District. The area’s rich Chinese and German cultural heritage serves as a backdrop for the crowds who work, shop, dine and visit the museums and entertainment venues around Gallery Place.

The Institut occupies the first two floors of the building and has just over 100 feet of frontage running along 7th and I Streets. There are floor-to-ceiling windows regularly spaced along both floors. These windows can serve as a frame for any genre of innovative artwork and design that also allows for some flexibility, e.g., posters, wall hangings, lighting installments, window treatments, LCD screens/monitors, videos and/or other technological installations. The existing two-yard-high canvas banners hanging outside the building can be changed as well. Any innovative design that meets our criteria is welcome!

The Goethe-Institut’s red brick building, with its Art Deco-inspired features, is subject to DC historic preservation guidelines. While this law prohibits any alteration of the structure, our proposed changes offer a great opportunity for innovative creative design.

The Goethe-Institut Washington invites all interested parties to submit a design for this project on or before October 15, 2010.

Submission process: Digital submissions only (pdf or jpeg documents) to Your drawings should be detailed renderings of your design concept with information on materials required, but we do not require production-ready blueprints at this stage. Please identify drawings as “Goethe Façade Design Competition 2010”. Your submission may be accompanied by a written description in a Word document.

All enquiries about this project should be directed to: Holly Rodgers Wescott at or by phone: 781 361 5144.

For more information on the activities of the Goethe-Institut Washington, please see our website:

Partnering With Designers: Recruit Owners - Not Employees

The three top issues that I seem to work with my executive clients on are Effective Recruiting, Maximizing Production and Time Management. Today I’d like to share some thoughts on how to better identify candidates that are more likely to succeed in your business.

Have you ever brought someone on as an independent sales agent, only to have them act like an employee? You told him he was an independent businessman. You explained to her that there were no benefits. You made it clear that their success depended on their own efforts. Yet, …

They begin to act as if someone else will be there to pick up the slack or cover them when they act irresponsibly. They will be casual with funds. They don’t file license renewal paperwork in a timely fashion. They don’t do what they say they will do and then complain about their finances. You know the kind I’m talking about.

Let’s discuss some ideas on how to better weed out candidates with an "employee" mindset and more effectively identify candidates with an "owner" mindset. What we’re talking about here is an art rather than a science. Clues can be picked up from their past as well as through effective questioning. Obviously, a red flag ought to go up when you hear certain "employee" types of questions:

• What kind of benefits are provided? (after knowing that they would be a "1099er")

• What kind of hours would I be working?

• Are there any paid vacations?

Usually we’re sensitive to the kinds of questions that are plainly employee-oriented. But I find that in the absence of these blatantly employee-oriented questions, many managers have difficulty in getting a clear sense of whether their candidate has an entrepreneurial perspective. Keep in mind that most candidates, naturally, will provide answers that they believe you want to hear or that they think they should give. If you ask whether they’re prepared to work whatever hours it takes to succeed, the answer will almost always be "Yes". If you ask whether they have the self-discipline to be their own boss, the answer will almost always be "Yes". If you ask whether they’d be willing to work some evenings and weekends to succeed, the answer will almost always be "Yes". Understand that while some people will feel differently but give you the answer they think you want, many people truly don’t know themselves well enough to give an honest answer about themselves. It’s up to you to read between the lines and ask effective questions.

Using Their Background for Clues

Clearly, many people who consider a sales career come from a background of employment. Never having owned a business before isn’t really an indication of their ability to succeed as an independent business person. However, in looking over their history, there are several things you can look for that can lead to clarifying questions:

• Have they stayed in jobs for extended periods? If they have, it may demonstrate loyalty and perseverance. While these are good traits, the job stability may also indicate a preference for employment rather than independence. Asking good clarification questions (below) can uncover their true feelings.

• Have they changed jobs frequently? If they have, it can show instability, poor self-discipline, and a tendency to have problems. On the other hand, it may reflect frustration with the employment environment and a desire to be self-directed and independent. Again, asking good clarification questions (below) can help you decide which it is.

• Have they ever owned a business before? If they have, it demonstrates an entrepreneurial spark. Of course the question remains as to what happened to that business? Again, clarifying will help in evaluating its significance.

Clarifying Questions

The facts surrounding someone’s past give us an idea of where they’re coming from. However, their feelings and thoughts about their past experiences can offer a better insight into their make up. Some questions will be oriented towards clarifying past experiences and decisions; others are directed towards revealing their entrepreneurial thinking capacity. As you become proficient at questioning, you’ll be able to reveal a candidate’s motivation for considering that specific career. You’ll make better recruiting decisions and as a consequence have more time to devote to the candidates that will succeed. Having more agents who are likely to succeed will lead to better time management and faster growth.

By Michael Beck

Written by Michael Beck, "Head Zookeeper" at, a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:

Mr. Beck's credentials include an MBA from the Wharton School of Business along with degrees in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Michael has held a variety of executive positions including CEO, COO, CFO, EVP, VP of Finance, and VP of Business Development. In addition, he worked several years overseas as a Business Advisor to a member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. He is a Founding Member of the International Association of Coaches and a Past-President of the Denver Coach Federation.

Helpful Clues to Build Rapport

How to Read the Cards
Now that we have a general idea of each social style (previous article "Build Rapport Quickly and Drive up Your Closing Ratios!"), let’s look at how to spot styles in others. Remember that we’re all complex, unique individuals – made up of aspects of all styles. What we’re going to do is to uncover clues about someone’s style(s) and form an opinion. It takes practice. But it’s well worth the effort.

Clues can come from four areas: Clothing, Body Language, Surroundings, and Speech. Sometimes the clues will help us determine who someone is; sometimes they’ll help us figure out who they’re not.

Clothing: Not all styles will give you clues through their clothing, but often, Analyticals and Expressives will. Analyticals will frequently dress conservatively - clothing pressed, buttoned-up, and muted colors. Expressives, on the other hand, often wear very colorful, sometimes outlandish clothing. Their clothing will often stand out in a crowd. If a prospect isn’t wearing something colorful (especially in a business setting), chances are, they aren’t an Expressive. The other two styles, Commander and Stabilizer, generally won’t offer clues through their clothing.

Body Language: You can pick up some great clues here. Both Analyticals and Stabilizers tend to be introverted, and reflect this by the way they interact with others. They’ll often sit back in their chair while talking to you. They hold their feelings close to the vest, so to speak. Commanders and Expressives, on the other hand, tend to sit forward when interacting. Notice how some people will move into your space and even touch you on the arm, while others will keep their distance during a conversation and may even cross their arms? The ones that come closer and seem more open are the Commanders and Expressives, while the more distant ones are the Analyticals and Stabilizers.

Surroundings: How an individual keeps their office or home can offer excellent clues as to their predominant social style. As you might expect, an Analytical’s space will generally be tidy, neat, and organized. A place for everything and everything in its place! Expressives, on the other hand, aren’t exactly known for their neatness. If someone’s office seems cluttered or filled with fun, playful items, they’re probably an Expressive. If their space is practical, but sparse in its trappings, you may be with a Commander. If they seem to focus on family and relationships in the things surrounding them (like a family picture wall) you could be dealing with a Stabilizer. Remember, these are just clues, not absolutes. Try to gather as many clues as you can before making a decision as to their social style(s).

Speech: One of the easiest ways to spot someone’s style is through their speech. By that, I mean the pace of speech, the volume of their speech, and the words they use. Analyticals speak with a measured pace, maintain an even, almost monotone, volume, and will use words that they best relate to. You’ll often hear them use phrases such as: "let me have the details", "I need more facts", or "let me think about it." Commanders will speak at a much more rapid pace, much louder than an Analytical, and will use expressions like: "what’s the bottom line here?", "get to the point" or "how long will this take?" Expressives often speak rapidly, loudly and expressively, and will often laugh and smile. They love to tell stories and jokes, and will generally talk much more than the other styles. Stabilizers will speak more slowly and softly, and often will start conversations with discussions of leisure time or family. They may use words and phrases like: "help", "team", or "work together" Picking up clues takes practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Practice wherever you are – in line at a coffee shop or at the bank, waiting at restaurants or with the wait staff, with coworkers, or at a party. One of my favorite ways to get an indication about a prospect is to listen to their voicemail message when you call. After you’ve made a determination as to their social style(s), keep observing and see whether on-going clues confirm your guess or contradict it. As your ability to read others improves, you’ll be able to read someone and then predict how they’ll react to certain situations.

Playing Your Hand

Now that you have a better understanding of the four social styles and how to identify them, how can you use that knowledge to improve your ability to build rapport and close more sales? Remember not to follow the Golden Rule! (Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.) Instead of communicating in the style you’re most comfortable in, work on communicating in the style they’re most comfortable in. With Analyticals, use facts and figures. Details matter. They’re the ones that, when they say, "Let me think about it," they really mean it! Don’t go too fast, be too pushy, be inaccurate, or be too light-hearted. With Commanders, get to the bottom line. Don’t burden them with the details (yet), just have them ready if asked for. Don’t let your presentation ramble – stay on track and make your point. They don’t want their time wasted. With Expressives, details make them glassy eyed. Keep your presentation light, colorful, and somewhat entertaining. They’ll buy because they had a good time with you, rather than on the logic. With Stabilizers, relationships rule. If you get right into your business, they won’t connect with you. They want to connect with you. They want to have you understand them and they want to understand you. Don’t rush them, and "work together", to solve a problem.

Summing Things Up

If you truly want to have a thriving book of business, you need to understand people and have them connect with you. Study the traits of the four social styles (Analytical, Commander, Expressive, Stabilizer). Practice picking up clues from prospect’s clothing, body language, surroundings, and speech. Then, make a conscious effort to modify what you say and how you say it to match your prospects

social style(s). You’ll connect more easily and comfortably, and you’ll see your closing ratios climb!

By Michael Beck

Written by Michael Beck, "Head Zookeeper" at , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:

Mr. Beck's credentials include an MBA from the Wharton School of Business along with degrees in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Michael has held a variety of executive positions including CEO, COO, CFO, EVP, VP of Finance, and VP of Business Development. In addition, he worked several years overseas as a Business Advisor to a member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. He is a Founding Member of the International Association of Coaches and a Past-President of the Denver Coach Federation.

Is Your Personal Image Up to Par?

Because you can never retract that infamous first impression, perhaps it’s time for you to consider how to make a great one.

Is there a better time of year to assess your image or is there only now? There are numerous, perhaps even hundreds of people in your world who have a perfectly formed concept (in the privacy of their minds) of who you are without even speaking to you. "Who cares?" you might say. "If I don’t know them, why do I care what their opinion is of me?" You may be surprised at the many ways a bad image can come back to bite you. It takes less than seven seconds to create a first impression, a difficult image to change. Perhaps you are a meager staff person today, yet will be running the company in a few short years. Be aware of the image you project on your way up the ladder. And we all know of ‘C’ level leaders behaving badly—CEO’s, COO’s, CFO’s. It’s never too late to upgrade your personal image.

What composes your image? Not merely losing that ten pounds or the shape of your belly. It is your essence - everything from the way you speak to office assistants, to the way you walk, your eye contact, and of course your physical appearance. It’s also how you feel about yourself and those around you. This is all weaved into the way you present yourself to the world, and the way those in your world accept or reject you. Physical appearance: I know that a client is taking more responsibility for themselves and their image when he or she comes to a coaching session excited about having cleaned out their closet and saying "It was easy." Clothing that they bought even a few months ago no longer represents who they are today. And for those "What was I thinking?" items, better to have them out of sight now.

In Dress to Express, Tracy McWilliams puts it this way: "The image we create for ourselves directs what is possible for us. The key to looking great in clothes is understanding that you are the best judge of how you want to look. Connecting your outer image to your inner depth is the first step. If you can dress to express your own personal image, your self-confidence will shine through. You can take yourself further along the path to being the person you aspire to be."

Confidence Level
How you feel about yourself: You simply cannot hide a lack of confidence. You can hide it temporarily, as in ‘fake it until you make it,’ but unless you create a solid confidence foundation on which to stand you’ll be lost in the crowd. There are plenty of more confident folks to take your place in any arena.

What makes a person more confident? Taking time to asses your strong points. Focusing solely upon your week points allows little room for growth. In what areas do you excel today? How can you build upon these? How can you use the same talents, traits or magic formula to improve in other areas?

Body Language
How you feel about those around you: 93% of your communication is reflected through body language in the following ways:

  • Sub verbal (38%)tone of voice, speed, softness or loudness, anger, excitement, sincerity, enthusiasm or lack thereof

  • Body Language (55%)your stance, how you walk into the room, where your eyes are, placement of your hands and feet, your smile or frown. If you do not agree with, approve of, like or feel comfortable with the people you are with, it shows. Be very aware of what you subconsciously (albeit boldly) emanate.

This is a week to take inventory for upgrading your personal image. Be honest with yourself; ask for feedback from those you trust, or hire an image consultant. Because first impressions cannot be taken back, eliminate what no longer works for you. You’ll feel lighter, more free, fun and productive. Even slight changes to a bad image can bring dramatic results. Go out and shine this week. Enjoy your discoveries!

By Ann Golden Eglé
Image by Stock Source
Ann Golden Eglé is a Master Certified Coach and President of GV&A Success Coaching working with top level executives, entertainers and sports figures. Ann has a ten year track record of 100% thrilled business and executive coaching clients and 30 years experience in working with highly successful, top rated individuals. Ann holds a BS-Business Administration from the University of Nebraska, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach certificate from the Coaches Training Institute and numerous certificates to practice from the International Coach Federation. Sign up for her free e-zine Success Thought of the Week @

Time Management Skills: Tips and Techniques


Have you ever taken a look around at your workplace? If you were an observant person, you would have probably noticed how certain people complete their task with great ease before the stipulated time while some struggle laboriously with the same. You may have thought it probably has to do with the particular abilities of a person. Yes, it does hint at a person’s capability but it does not mean others do not have skills. The thing missing out in case of others who fail to perform well is the knowledge about time management skills.

Time management is important for those who wish to have a balanced professional and personal life. Having the knowledge of time management skills is all about being more productive at work while keeping stress at bay. Slogging for long hours at work does not always mean he/she is really a hardworking employee. An employer would then need to check if the particular person is unable to manage his/her time well enough to complete the task within the given hours. If you are often caught in this trap of being unable to manage your tasks well no matter how hard you try, read all about some tips and techniques about time management skills.

Time Management Skills: Techniques and Tips
Get your priorities right: Think about the set tasks for the day. You would then need to know how much time should be allotted to a particular task. Focus your energy on the important tasks that are completely significant to you. Is there a particular time of the day when you feel most productive? If your thinking powers are particularly sharp in the morning hours, try to finish your important tasks during that period. You can use the rest of time to finish the seemingly smaller tasks later.

Set clear goals for yourself and the team:
Setting goals for the week or even a day would help you in managing the time more effectively. Ensure the distribution of work is also done effectively. Decide the target you wish to achieve and manage your team well to get the desired results. Make short-term goals so that you can achieve your targets with ease. This is also indicative of your personal life.

Maintain a planner/diary:
Having a diary with all your activities for the day may seem a little cumbersome to you but you must maintain a diary to know the way you plan your day. Make a to-do list to organize things. Mark all the important tasks for the day. Include some time for your personal self as well.

Keep some extra time on hand:
Time management is all about dividing your work schedule in your planner but there would be certain hitches along the way. Sudden meetings or additional time spent on a particular project may require you to change your schedule. You must be aware of these situations and add more time to a particular task in advance to have some extra time on hand. In this manner, even if there were any issues that take up some more time, you would still be left with a comfortable amount of time for other tasks!

Learn to say no!
Well, when you are delegating your tasks and if you really can’t fit things in the schedule, learn to say no when required. There is a major difference between realistic goals and the completely impractical ones. Find out another alternative in that case. Every problem has its solution and you are not a one-man show, so learn to refuse when required.

Avoid procrastination of tasks:
Procrastinators end up working more than required and often end up feeling stressed about work. Avoiding work so that you can do it later is not a wise idea. Know the reasons why you are avoiding a particular task. It would be a wiser idea to finish the particular task beforehand rather than keep it piled for the month end.

Have focus and a vision:
Know about your goals and maintain your focus on the important tasks. Many times people often waste precious time on tasks, which are not really important to a particular project. A clear focus would help you to attain your objective. A vision would give you the right direction for the same.

Always keep time for yourself:
To be energized for work would require you to plan for some things, which you really enjoy apart from the work schedule. Going for a dance class or exercising at the gym would give you a chance to feel geared up about your work as well. Explore a new place at the weekend. Plan some time for yourself in between meetings; this is absolutely necessary if you are aiming to finish all the tasks on time!

It is therefore very necessary for one to be aware of time management skills and feel more organized at work. These tips and techniques are bound to help you manage your work in the most effective manner!

By Kashmira Lad

Developmental Delegation: Kindling The Inner Spirit of Your Team

When you delegate jobs in order to develop people, you build on the greatest resource you have. Here are the 6 steps to doing it right.

If you manage others, one of your most important roles will be to develop the resources that you have under you and that includes the people themselves. Here is a 6-step guide to how to develop people through delegation.

1. Kindle The Inner Spirit.
The first step in developing others is the belief that everyone in the team is capable of growth and development. We demonstrate that belief by being genuinely interested in what they are doing and helping them discover ways in which they can build on their strengths. In this way, developmental opportunities open up almost by themselves. "In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who re-kindle the inner spirit." (Albert Schweitzer)

2. Get To Know Your Team’s Strengths.
The biggest disasters in people management arise when we fail to recognize the natural abilities of our team. It’s what happened to "Rabbit" when he went to school.

When Rabbit first went to school, he was delighted with what the instructor told him. "Rabbit, you have fine legs. You hop well, spring well and jump well. With some guidance, you can be an excellent jumper." Rabbit loved every minute of the Hopping class and excelled.

Then the Head Teacher said: "But Rabbit, you don't swim well or climb trees at all well. You must stop the Jumping class and concentrate on swimming and tree climbing."

So, Rabbit left the Jumping class that he loved and went to the Swimming class and Tree climbing class that he hated.

After a while, miserable and dispirited, he begged his parents to take him out of school. "If only I'd been allowed to stay in Jumping," he thought. (Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson)

Moral of the story: Develop what people are already good at and you’ll help them excel.

3. Find Jobs That Match Your Needs and People’s Needs.
The art of delegating lies in finding a match between the potential of the individual and the needs of the business. When you find that match, you hit on a win-win situation: you gain and the individual gains. By contrast, when you delegate jobs that don’t need to be done, or to people who don’t have any real interest in them, or can’t do them, or don’t want to do them, you simply de-motivate and frustrate. As a result, people become convinced they’re inadequate and lacking in any real talent.

"Don’t try and teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." (Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson)

4. Agree A Delegation Plan.
When you decide to delegate a job to someone in order to develop their strengths, it is important to create a delegation contract so that you both know what is expected of each other. This contract can include anything you want but useful areas for agreement include: time scales; levels of freedom; levels of authority; constraints; methods of working; worries; how others are affected. You are unlikely to be able to do this without sitting down with the delegatee to agree the contract and then having regular chats as things progress.

5. Let Them Go.
Unless your delegation contract stipulates a very tight amount of control by you, you must let the person get on with things without unnecessary interference. OK, that may sound risky. And it is. After all, the delegatee may foul up. Well, that’s a risk you have to be prepared to take, since this may be the only way they’re going to learn. But unless you let them go, they won’t be able to stretch their wings and fly. Delegation is an act of faith on the part of both you and your delegatee. "Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing I can do. Because then they will act." (Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric)

6. Keep Your Eyes On.
Working out how near or far you need to be in a delegating relationship is the true art of managing others. Too close and you don't give people enough freedom to take risks and learn; too far and they lose hope. One rule is to take your hands off but keep your eyes on. This relationship is similar to parents teaching their children to swim. At the start, they stand right next to them with their hands under their tummies. They never let go. Then gradually as the children begin to gain in confidence and skill, they move back. First they let one hand go. Imperceptibly. Then the other hand. Then they take a step back. Then another. And eventually they move out of reach to the side of the pool. In the end they leave the children alone and get out of the pool. But all the time and even now, they never take their eyes off them.

Developmental delegation is by far the most important of all the acts of delegation. It is delegation with a purpose. It grows the one resource that is free and unlimited, your own staff. When it works, you increase all your assets at a stroke and both you and your delegatee are the richer for it.

By Eric Garner

© Eric Garner, Eric Garner is Managing Director of an elearning company that creates and sells a range of etraining software for businesses in management and personal development. Eric by profession is an experienced management and soft skills trainer. His last big contract was for the UK Department of Works and Pensions training new recruits in the Pensions industry. Garner have over 20 years' experience as a Human Resources Manager and is a Chartered Member of the UK Institute of Personnel and Development. Eric hold degrees from Cambridge University.  For instant solutions to all your management training needs, visit ManageTrainLearn and download amazing FREE training software. And while you’re there, make sure you try out our prize quiz, get your surprise bonus gift, and subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter. Go and get the ManageTrainLearn experience now!

Management Succession Planning

Appointing an intelligent and responsible management panel is necessary for the smooth working of any organization. This process of recruiting and appointing suitable people at the management level is termed as management succession planning. Read on to know more about the concept of management succession planning in this article.

Management succession planning can be defined as a top-level management recruitment process. This type of planning is usually done by projecting the future and current requirements of employees for higher management positions in the organization in case of resignations, death or retirement of any of the members of the management committee. A procedure wherein candidates are invited to fill in the management positions in the organization after interviewing them and putting them through tough tests in order to judge their management skills. The most suitable and capable amongst them are appointed by the organization.

The process of management succession planning can be implemented not only by appointing people from outside the organization but also people within the organization. There are many concepts associated with management succession planning, such as the planning procedure, the need for management succession planning and the benefits of the same. All of them will be further discussed in detail. Read on...

The Importance of Management Succession Planning

Many people ask, why it's important to utilize management succession planning in the organization? And I say why not? Business competition is increasing every moment. Only the best and the fittest survives in this competitive market and to hold the organization's position in this competition, you need to have clever people involved in planning and management.

Management succession planning gives you a clear idea of the capability of each and every individual for the respective position. If you do not have good planners and good leaders, your organization might lose business and sometimes even face the risk of closure. However, these can be observed in a company that does not use management succession planning. Therefore, it becomes necessary from the business development point of view to have good leaders in the organization.

Procedure for Management Succession Planning

Generally, people from the human resource management department are responsible for management succession planning as they are the ones who are in charge of recruiting. But, sometimes what bothers them is how to succeed in management succession planning, as they do not have proper knowledge of the procedure or do not know where to start. The steps discussed below will give you an idea of starting the management succession planning procedure.

•The very first step in management succession planning is to foresee your business in the next five years or so by studying the overall business strategy. Determine the expansion of your business for a certain period of time. Consider the requirements of the current positions in your company as well as the future positions likely to be generated with the advent of business expansion.

•Once you decide on the positions, figure out the responsibilities for that position and set up the criteria to apply and work for the position.

•Next, develop interviewing techniques, tests and material that would help you to judge the right candidate for any position.

•Once you have recruited the future leaders of your organization, make sure that you are ready with the grooming and management training programs necessary to cope with the position.

•Impart proper training, by giving the overview, explaining the job description in detail and also the expectations of the organization from them. Assigning projects to the candidate which involve the study of all the higher management functions such as planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling should also form a part of the training program.

•Besides continuing the planning procedure, also keep a periodic check to ensure that the process is heading in the right direction and also whether there are any loopholes in the planning process.

Benefits of Management Succession Planning

•If you develop a management succession plan within the organization, you can ensure the recruitment of people, already in the business and those who already have knowledge about organizational culture. This eliminates the risk of recruiting strangers in the organization for such an important position.

•Moreover, recruitment within the organization contributes to employee retention and reduces the cost incurred in the same.

•On the other hand, recruiting people from outside enables fresh talent to enter the organization, therefore management succession planning proves to be beneficial from both sides.

•You can have the best people planning and handling business for the organization, as you have tested them for their capabilities and other requisites.

So folks, this was a general discussion of the various aspects related to management succession planning for any organization. Do you know the use of management succession planning for family businesses? Management succession planning can be applied to handover responsibilities to your successors in a family business too. Even there, you need to groom your future leaders, make them understand the whole business and take decisions on their own. Now it is up to you to use your leadership skills as a tool in management succession planning and how to go about with the succession plan to help your organization in achieving newer heights!

By Ujwal Deshmukh

Strategic Management Process

Nowadays, it is very important for companies to plan processes and procedures and work accordingly. They necessarily need a step-by-step management process which would make corporate goals and ambitions easy to achieve. The strategic management process is an efficacious tool that helps companies carry out their processes in a smooth manner.

What is Strategic Management?

Strategic management is a particular course of action that is meant to achieve a corporate goal. It is really significant in defining and setting up the organization's mission, goals and procedures. Generally, the owners and the founders of the company take the first step in creating a strategic management process. This process is responsible for carrying out several functions such as providing direction and guidance to the employees, setting up mensurable goals and a time span to achieve them, and designating duties to all corporate personnel. Marketing and sales projections are the most important elements in a conventional strategic plan which also includes the steps to assess the accomplishments of every department.

Mission of the Strategic Management Plan

Every company has a mission statement which is the primary reason for running the business. The mission statement should mainly concentrate on the ambitions and purposes of the organization. Defining the mission statement is the first step for initializing a strategic management process, and all other work procedures are a part of devising a strategic plan. The organizational goals need to be set up after the mission is determined. The goals include fiscal anticipations which strongly emphasize on sales growth, profit levels, customer retention and attraction, and expenditure factors. The goals set up in the strategic planning process are required to be measurable and achievable, and effective schedules should be put into practice to review every aspect of the goals.

Strategic Management Plan Assessment

After the realizable goals have been properly set, the strategic management planning team needs to carry out the information-collecting tasks. A successful strategic plan is executed when employees, advisors, and freelancers contribute to every phase of the planning procedure. Sales and marketing practices provide data regarding the present scenarios in which the organization is operating. The Human Resource Management (HRM) department is responsible for providing data on aspects such as employee retention, health care expenses, and employee performance assessments. Freelancers are assigned the responsibility of studying market research and surveys and competitive intelligence to give a clear idea of the present business situations. After all the information and data is sorted out, the strategic management team then evaluates the reports and relegates the organization's strengths and weaknesses to formulate a final strategic plan.

The Strategic Plan

Plans need to be devised and implemented once all the data is readily available. The advertising and marketing processes can now be put into practice. Cutbacks and cost-cutting measures may be executed to maintain and increase the profit levels according to the organizational goals. At this point of time, the company management may also take the decision of introducing new products and services in the market. All factors that increase the profitability of the company should be thought upon by the management, and the strategic leadership should be planned according to different strategies. The managers are required to be given time lines for deliverables, level of expectations, budget parameters, and certain obligations.

Review of the Strategic Management Plan

Efficient strategic thinking and a strategic management plan will always have controls and periodic reviews incorporated into the process. Each stage should be elaborated and then the changes should be made accordingly. The management team needs to keep a detailed record of the allotted deadlines, and the required particulars should be presented to the clients or stakeholders. The strategic planning team is required to review the integral strategic management process annually. Business situations, market projections, and technological furtherances demand present and regularly updated strategic planning to enable an organization to be successful in today's highly competitive environment.

The periodic incorporation of the strategic management process is crucial for the smooth running of the company. As a result, companies are giving more importance to the strategic management process implementation.

By Stephen Rampur

The Creative Entrepreneur - Building a Team

A creative team can make the difference between a lack of inspiration, and a brilliant idea.

The creative mind doesn’t fit inside a box. It isn’t black and white. It doesn’t follow a pattern and it isn’t ruled by mathematical formulas. The creative mind is fluid, constantly changing, finding inspiration in its surroundings. A creative entrepreneur must find a balance between the need for structure and the need to be free to express their creativity. This is the creative’s challenge.

It takes a lot of effort to get a business started. Aside from deciding what type of business to register, determining where to invest your dollars, and coming up with a business plan, you still have to somehow find time to work on creative projects and meet deadlines. It also takes time to build a client base and obtain a steady flow of income. Many times an entrepreneur just starting out will take any project they can just to get started.

Because of this, we sometimes accept projects simply because we need to make a living, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that we have an interest in the subject matter. This is one example of why a passion, once a hobby, can become unpleasant when it becomes an obligation. It’s not that we no longer have a passion for it, or that we aren’t good at what we do, it’s that the extra element of pressure, and sometimes dull subject matter, can strip the life out of our inspiration. For a creative individual with dreams of perfecting their talent, this can be very frustrating, especially if the ideas just aren’t flowing.

Because creativity is usually free flowing, it doesn’t always cooperate when we want it to, and quite frankly, being creative can be tiring. How can you commit to a deadline for a creative project when you just aren’t feeling creative? What if you are working on a project that provides little, if any, inspiration? What does it take to light the spark that will become a masterpiece? Sometimes having the presence of other creative people in our lives, whether as a formal ‘team’ or a group of friends you can call when you need a lift, can help alleviate pressure and keep us inspired. This is why a creative entrepreneur needs a team.

Since most creative people are inspired by external stimuli, it helps to have a creative team in place to open our minds and strengthen our ideas. They help us form new ideas and look at things in a way we may not have envisioned before. They also help to motivate, inspire and encourage us. We also need others to help keep us on track and offer a unique perspective if we are falling flat on a project. Most of all, we need them to remind us of our passion for the arts and the very reason we became entrepreneurs in the first place.

Chances are, if you are a creative person you probably surround yourself with creative people already. If this isn’t the case, my suggestion for building a team would be to start placing yourself in creative environments where you can meet other people with similar interests. Get involved with a creative group in your area, check for networking sites on the Internet, attend workshops, classes and seminars, or go to places that support your particular talent. Because summer is a great time of year to get out and meet people, now is the time to start. Many areas hold outdoor art shows, concerts and other similar events that bring people together. Scan your local paper or the Internet for events in your area, and check out the local talent.

This is also a great way to see what other people are creating. Talk to them about how they sell their art and follow up with those that could be potential partners on projects. You never know what opportunities could come your way by simply placing yourself in an artistic environment, and you have nothing to lose by starting a conversation about art when it is of mutual interest. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make acquaintances right away, because even just being in a creative environment can help make the difference between a complete lack of inspiration, and a brilliant idea.

I would encourage any creative entrepreneur to seek out other creative people. Collaborate on projects together, or just get together once a week to talk about your craft, the ideas you have for future projects, and the direction of your business. I believe that we can find strength in the passion and talents of others, and that this passion fuels the creative gifts that burn inside of us. Extracting and renewing this passion with others can be the key to great success. It creates a bond, a community almost, of extraordinary people who think outside the box and believe in the power of art. It is the seed by which all other ideas are formed and by which masterpieces are made. One team can give birth to countless opportunities.

By Jennifer McLynch

Interior Design Law Unconstitutional?

Patti  Morrow is Establishing the Freedom Movement

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive multiple inquiries as to why I became involved in fighting the interior design cartel and how the interior design Freedom Movement started. I’m not an attorney, not a lobbyist, never wanted to be a political activist. I’m just an interior designer who couldn’t bear to see the entire interior design industry destroyed. Yes, interior design is more than decoration, but it’s also more than just being able to read codes. All designers want their clients to be safe in their spaces, but our opponents’ drive to deny the aesthetic aspects of the profession smacks of lack of confidence in their ability, vision, and creativity.

I now find myself in a totally unforeseen career – educating, organizing and mobilizing grassroots and traveling the country with pink slingshot and pink boxing gloves in tow.

Last month, after sharing my story with a fellow designer, she said, “That’s so inspiring. You should write a book.” So after giving it some thought, I decided to craft not a book but instead a short autobiographical documentary which details my motivation, experience, and the pathway to protecting the design community’s rights to earn a living.

It’s been one wild rollercoaster ride, but second only to motherhood, no other endeavor has ever been so gratifying. I know, we’re not curing cancer or solving world peace, but saving thousands of jobs, well, that’s a good thing.

The Beginnings of the Movement
The Establishing of the Movement
The Future of the Movement

Click here to read entire autobiographical article:

Courtesy of Patti Morrow/

Beehive Hotel Competition? What the...???

Arup Shortlisted for Beehive Hotel Competition
Five hotel designs have been shortlisted as part of Beyond the Hive, a competition launched by British Land and The City of London Corporation.

The five shortlisted hotels will be built by their design teams June 7-19, following which the public and expert judges will be invited to vote for their favourite.

Entrants to the competition were required to submit proposals for an ecologically sustainable and creative insect habitat. The shortlisted designs include:

The Bumblebee City Nesters by Fisher Tomlin

This design is inspired by the City of London’s prestigious tower buildings and uses a flexible system that allows it to be adapted to create anything from a two-storey wildlife B&B for smaller spaces, to a complete 5 star hotel for larger gardens.

The team will create a series of five towers ranging in height from 900 mm to 1,200 mm and made entirely from recycled materials, including recycled timber, recycled broom poles and garden and building waste.

Brookfield Bug Buddies by Brookfield Europe in collaboration with consultants Arup, DP9, Hilson Moran Partnership and Sir John Cass’s Foundation school, Stepney Way

Taking its inspiration from the City of London and the juxtaposition between the ancient past and the modern age, the hotel uses pipework of different widths and lengths sourced from the Pinnacle project. These are fixed together in a sweeping line, rising up from a recycled wood planter base.

Reinforcement bars used to create the framework will both support the structure and allow a plant climber, such as native traveller's joy, honeysuckle or hop.

Beevarian Antsel and Gretel Chalet by Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen

The design features reclaimed bricks to attract solitary bees, rotten logs for invertebrates, louvred boxes filled with bark for hibernating butterflies, a log drilled with holes for ladybirds and eaves filled with bamboo for lacewings. Set over three floors, all materials used to construct the hotel will be collected from within the City

The Insect Hotel by Arup Associates.The Insect Hotel by Arup Associates

The façade of the hotel consists of a series of compartments based on a Voronoi pattern found in the natural world, which generates a series of voids varying in size at a depth of 500m.

A variety of recycled waste materials and deadfall are loosely inserted into these voids, whilst the sides of the hotel are accessible for butterflies and moths, and the top is suitable for absorbing rain water through planting.

Inn Vertebrate by Metalanguage Design.Inn Vertebrate by Metalanguage Design

Designed to reflect the diverse architecture of London, the Inn is a multi-storey habitat with different-sized cavities to accommodate a wide variety of invertebrates. The inn will be constructed from recycled and reclaimed wood, bricks and off-cuts found in surrounding areas.

Cavities will be filled with soil and stones collected from the garden, whilst seeds for planting wildflowers will be donated by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Each of the sites will be visited by a panel of celebrated industry experts from the property, architecture and insect world.

Courtesy of Architecticture & Design