Learning Provider Profile
Mr. Shortt is a Certified Learning Provider (CLP) at Appleton Greene and Co (AGC) as well as the owner of an international business education and consultancy company which focuses on individual, personnel and overall business optimization. Mr. Shortt is honored to provide AGC services through a wide array of past business experience that includes such industries as Biotechnology, Healthcare, Government and Utilities. In these industries, Mr. Shortt has held various roles in operations management, product management and design, sales, and workflow optimization.
Historically, Mr. Shortt has worked with many of the Fortune 500 global leaders in diagnostics, information technology products and services, such as McKesson, Roche, and Danaher, and has also served in the US Army as an officer in the Medical Service Corps, where Mr. Shortt provided not only leadership expertise, but also workflow optimization utilizing IT and hardware applications, leveraging such workflows aids as robotics and automation. Mr. Shortt’s personal education, which is highlighted by an MBA with an Executive certification, has been structured for him to be able to provide leadership perspective and expertise in how to identify a business’ foundational current state in such areas as Financials, Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy, and Personnel Management, and then to leverage that expertise to prioritize and optimize a business’ path to success. Mr. Shortt holds various certifications, such as Business Analysis from a managerial perspective, and also possesses a Six-Sigma Black Belt certification. Mr. Shortt’s personally-owned business, Ascension Advising Solutions, LLC, which is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, as well as in Tallinn, Estonia in the EU, has provided business training and consultation services for various international companies in Europe, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and recently in China. Mr. Shortt is the author of two books on finding financial success and empowering your business, as well as a business optimization blog. Mr. Shortt is also the primary author and life coach of a self-optimization website dedicated to the long-standing benefits of mindfulness meditation in today’s modern world. Mr. Shortt’s service skills for AGC notably incorporate: leadership optimization, business strategy and optimization, personnel management, and program education and development.
Any established business consists of the innerworkings of many moving parts. Many inputs contributing to across many threads to provide many outputs. Corporations are generally structured as tiers or layers of operations, all contributing in an upwards fashion to what is considered to be the overall goal(s) of the organization. Business optimization as a system that drives towards a particular outcome, can be constructed to be implemented at a process level within only one particular workflow within one small department, and likewise, can also be applied globally to the organization as a whole. This Business Optimization Program at its core is devised to be pliably overlaid and implemented either microscopically or scaled macroscopically within an organization, based on the perceived needs of the leadership team(s) within a said organization; i.e., this program can be implemented in series or simultaneously throughout departments to optimize processes at the departmental level, or can be zoomed out to be presented to C-Suite executives with a more global perspective concerning the overall needs of the organization as a whole. The Overview of the program will be presented informationally as a means to establish initial awareness to the leadership team(s) and generate internal discussion as to its implementation. The intent of the program is to enable the leadership team to look through an established lens in order to identify areas of improvement, act upon them accordingly, and ultimately increase profits and positively affect return on investment. Further, this program is designed to expand accordingly based on project scope, as well as having an innate capacity to be implemented multiple times within an organization, within and across departments and/or business units.
01. Baseline Assessment: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
02. Understanding Structure: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
03. Structural Assessment: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
04. Team Structure: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
05. Executive Leadership: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
06. Resource Optimization: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
07. Best Practices: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. 1 Month
08. Tribe Leads: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
09. Skills Assessment: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
10. Employee Buy-In: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
11. Goal-Setting: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
12. Vision Setting: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
01. Baseline Assessment: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
02. Understanding Structure: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
03. Structural Assessment: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
04. Team Structure: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
05. Executive Leadership: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
06. Resource Optimization: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
07. Best Practices: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
08. Tribe Leads: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
09. Skills Assessment: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
10. Employee Buy-In: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
11. Goal-Setting: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
12. Vision Setting: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
01. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Baseline Assessment.
02. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Understanding Structure.
03. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Structural Assessment.
04. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Team Structure.
05. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Executive Leadership.
06. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Resource Optimization.
07. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Best Practices.
08. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Tribe Leads.
09. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Skills Assessment.
10. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Employee Buy-In.
11. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Goal-Setting.
12. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Vision Setting.
How Can Organizational Structure Be Optimized?
The best techniques for managing and structuring the most effective teams will be covered in this course manual. The knowledge that organizations will eventually need to be restructured is to be considered inevitable, as an organization grows and adapts to market trends and shifts. Clearly, a smaller business in the stages of its infancy operates and is structured much more simplistically than a larger more matured organization.
We’ll give you a quick rundown of some considerations for maximizing organizational structure. The objective is to assist in enhancing your organization’s efficacy and efficiency, which will lead to improved team performance. Yes, this directly affects the products and/or services you are developing for your target market(s).
One of the initial possibilities that you should consider implementing for your team is a flat organizational structure. A flat organizational structure has a lower hierarchy between managers and workers who work closely with one another. Since this structure invites more direct employee cooperation with less focus on what constitutes a “team,” then this more direct interaction tends to improve communication.
In order for product and/or services portfolios to effectively evolve to their optimal state, managers and workers must be able to collaborate. Effective organizational functioning is the result of such group efforts in management, product management and product development.
Setting goals and assessing the effectiveness of efforts will be made easier with the support of clear measurements. These measurements need to indicate what is necessary for the product to succeed.
When certain roles within an organization are no longer contributing productively to the departmental or organizational goals, it may be necessary to modify or even to eliminate them. Since organizations ultimately view employees as an expense, it is of utmost importance to adapt roles and employee placements as needed to maximize productivity per dollars spent.
Organizational structure indicates which area(s) of a company should have ownership of the various tasks within the products and/or services delivery cycle. It then becomes clearer that an effective organizational structure is necessary for achieving and maintaining a successful product and/or service portfolio.
The organizational structure of every corporation is among its most crucial components. It outlines how people form groups, what they do, and how they collaborate. Companies must, however, adapt their organizational structures as they expand in order to work more effectively.
Organizational Structure: What Is It?
Organizational structure is how individuals and teams are coordinated within the company. To achieve organizational goals and objectives, individual effort must be coordinated and managed.
To accomplish the goals of an organization, specific tasks are managed according to an organizational structure. Among the activities are rules, positions, and duties.
Information flows inside a corporation are also governed by organizational structure. For instance, decisions are made at the top-down in centralized structures. However, a decentralized structure distributes decision-making power among the many organizational levels.
What Kinds of Organizational Structures Exist?
So far in this section, we have laid some foundational knowledge about organizational structure. Let’s now examine the various kinds of organizational structure along with the seven categories of the organizational system.
Let’s discuss them and discover the rationale for their use:
Hierarchical Organizational Structure
A pyramid-shaped organizational structure is a hierarchical organizational chart. When the chain of command is established from the top and moves down, this is the most common organizational structure.
Functional Organizational Structure
The functional structure starts at the top with roles that have the most authority and flows down, much like a hierarchical organization does. The organization of employees depends on their skills and the corresponding goal of the company. Each component functions separately.
Horizontal Or Flat Organizational Structure
Organizations benefit from a horizontal or flat organizational structure when there are few levels between senior management and staff members. Most new businesses use a horizontal organizational structure until they are big enough to create several departments.
Other businesses continue to use it, though, as it encourages greater staff engagement and less surveillance.
Divisional Organizational Structure
Sectors of an organization are given control over its resources thanks, in part, to the divisional organizational structure. Within the larger companies, this operation may appear to be quite autonomous. The departments of sales, advertising, and information systems will be present in each division and acting according to common goals. This organizational style is advantageous for larger companies because it enables many sectors to make decisions independently.
Organizational Structure In A Matrix
Cross-functional teams assembled for particular projects are represented in a matrix organizational chart, which generally looks like a grid. For instance, an engineer could occasionally have a temporary assignment but be assigned to the engineering department on a standard, daily basis albeit under the supervision of an engineering director (led by a project manager).
The matrix organizational chart includes both roles and reporting.
Organizational Structure Based on Teams
It should be given ample consideration that a team-based organizational structure, such as one that employs the use of Scrum teams, is necessary in many organizational settings.
The traditional hierarchy is intended to be advantageously broken up by taking on this team organizational structure. This design places a strong emphasis on teamwork, problem-solving, and giving people more empowerment within their respective roles.
Network Organizational Structure
Today, very few businesses offer all services within their domain(s) under one roof. This necessary distribution of resources is explained and accommodated by the network organizational structure. This organizational structure can also be used to describe an organizational setting where open communication takes precedence over hierarchy.
What Functions Do Organizational Structures Serve?
• With a thorough understanding of a company’s organizational structure, you can more easily comprehend the current objectives and guidelines of your firm. Relationships between authority and duty then become quite evident.
• The organizational structure specifies the organization’s communication paths and methods. One of the core benefits can be realized in how a properly chosen and implemented organizational structure greatly eases the process of managing a growing company.
• It encourages the coordination of crucial elements’ tasks to make the organization’s goals possible.
• It makes it easier for an organization to grow and engage in a variety of activities.
• Employee participation in the organization promotes teamwork and workplace enthusiasm. It promotes initiative and creative thinking.
• Simple and effective policy implementation. also achieving objectives swiftly.
• It eliminates redundant functions and enables the best performance with the least amount of work.
Examples of Organization Structure
Example 1: Many companies divide themselves into departments for finance, advertising, and staffing. Then, a manager is in charge of each of these departments. This manager is under the supervision of a manager who oversees multiple departments.
Example 2: An automobile manufacturer that separates its business into divisions for SUVs, electric vehicles, and sedans is an example of a divisional organization. While each branch has a specific function, they all aim to accomplish the same thing: to close a sale.
Which Organizational Structure Is Ideal For Your Business?
Considerations include personal beliefs, competitiveness, the environment, your company’s mission and guiding principles, etc. These factors aid in your decision-making on the most appropriate organizational structure for your company.
New and upcoming enterprises tend to be more adaptable since they are not as constrained by convention and outdated corporate culture characteristics.
Businesses that were founded 50 to 150 years ago are more established in their procedures for a good reason. However, introducing more complex and market-appropriate structures gradually may still be advantageous for even these organizations.
It all boils down to proper management and optimization of the routine activities, brand recognition, employee productivity, and performance. Regardless of the type that is chosen, corporate change always requires a clearly defined organizational structure.
How Can Organizational Structure Be Optimized?
It’s crucial to identify the gaps. The gaps can be considered as the difference between what has failed in the past versus what is currently effective. Have those past failures been identified? Have any of those failures been attributed to symptoms of a poor organizational structure? How are your organization’s employee costs, productivity, agility, and customer satisfaction stacking up in relation to how your organization is structured?
Taking into account the company’s culture, its products and/or services, and how it wishes to interact with customers is one of the greatest ways to optimize an organizational structure.
Analyze Your Team’s Expectations and Needs
You can also observe how other businesses organize their teams. Finding what works best for your business is crucial; you shouldn’t just imitate another company’s example.
It’s time to begin restructuring the team once you have a grasp on the action plan. The task of restructuring is challenging since it is likely to upset the established boundaries with your team and colleagues. It’s also crucial to have clearly defined goals for the new structure and how it will increase team productivity.
It is best to remember that a reformed team is temporary. Every few months, you should evaluate it again to make sure that it continues to satisfy everyone’s needs.
Establish Tribe Leads
There are three Tribe (or Value Creation) leads, where each of them serves a necessary purpose:
• A Product Manager (PM) that manages product or portfolio viability and value
• A User Experience Engineer (UX) that interprets Usability and Human Factors Design
• Engineering that manages resource availability and design feasibility
The aforementioned content indicates that the PM’s should make sure that the product portfolio offers clients value. UX designers should ensure a user-friendly design, whereas engineers are concerned with developing a technical solution. Additionally, it means that your tribe will include a product manager, designers, and engineers.
The team members can communicate with each other as much as possible through this approach. They don’t have to go through a number of individuals to receive a response from someone else in a different department.
This strategy promotes knowledge sharing between departments, resulting in a more efficient organization. This approach stresses the fact that it is critical that everyone comprehends the product that is being developed.
The next step is to appoint a general product owner, who will be responsible for the product’s vision and collaborate with the tribe leads to guarantee distribution. This role can be a product manager, just is generally considered more of a business analyst role.
Here, delivering features is more important than having an in-depth understanding of the product and how to construct it. It is important to distinguish this position from a project manager.
Ensure That Your Team is Skilled Enough to Accomplish the Goal(s)
Either employing workers with the necessary skill set or retraining current employees can ensure that the team has the right set of skills.
The cost of hiring individuals with the necessary skill set tends to be higher. However, having the right skillsets on a project will ensure that you produce a superior product. When your ultimate goal is business expansion, your people resources can be some of your most valuable assets in accomplishing that.
Conversely, training current personnel can be less expensive, but achieving the desired competency levels can take longer as there may be associated learning curves.
Once you have selected the ideal candidates and set them up properly, it is crucial to ensure that you can monitor their progress. By developing a product roadmap and making investments in it, you can monitor the development.
The ultimate objective of this organizational structure is to grant autonomy to individuals at each functional tier and encourage team productivity. At no point during the development of these internal benefits, should the end user (customer) be considered to be of a lesser priority.
Your Users Should Take Center Stage in This Process
Product teams should be set up to represent the objectives and preferred working methods of the organization. Think about these three aspects when structuring your product team:
• One, keep an eye out for those who are deeply concerned about an issue.
• Second, focus on giving them the tools they need to solve it on their own.
• Third, throughout this process, keep your end user in mind.
Sometimes, certain stakeholders have a propensity to feel a bit disconnected from the project. They’re may be unsure of their particular endgame and what they will ultimately be responsible for.
The organizational structure of the product team should match the business’ goals. It is your duty as a product manager to see to it that this occurs.
The utilization of Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s) is one method to empower your team and maintain their attention on the end user. This approach helps to ensure that all stakeholders will remain focused on the project’s goals.
Four Key Benefits When OKRs are Strategically Aligned
Embrace Your Team’s Potential with Mini-Projects
As they advance through the project, this strategy will help them feel a feeling of ownership for the outcome. Personas and user stories are the best tools for maintaining end-user focus. It enables you to comprehend their requirements and how to meet them.
It’s acceptable to occasionally need to make changes as you go. It’s crucial that you’re always learning and refining your process.
It’s acceptable to make mistakes occasionally. What matters, though, is understanding your errors and learning how to prevent them in the future.
All businesses, no matter how big or little, may benefit from empowered teams. The secret to success is being able to alter and evolve with your business.
Monitor your Discovery Sessions for Signs of a “Cargo Cult”
Be aware of this phenomenon– This is essentially a mindset that copies an existing, successful approach to a different issue without properly analyzing and understanding the workflow and/or the real outcome. Or in other more layman’s terms, it’s when we copy an existing project’s workflow onto another one without necessarily understanding how it works in the hope of achieving the same results. Obviously, it is a poor approach to designing a solutions-based project with its own unique set of challenges.
You should give ample consideration to understanding your team’s motivations, as well as your own. Additionally, you should comprehend how these motivations fit into the organization’s overarching goals.
When activities become a bit too repetitive or habitual, it is common to feel less creative. If leadership within the organization is consistently pushing for progress, you can take the necessary precautions to prevent this within your team.
Knowing The Advantages of Optimization
Companies do not implement business process optimization just because it is a trendy term in the business world. Knowing the advantages it offers your company gives you a yardstick for gauging your progress.
Your time and resources are extremely valuable and limited as a business owner or CEO. As a result, it is of utmost importance to learn of real-world success stories where business process optimization has greatly impacted a company’s bottom line.
Consider the success of the US-based, e-commerce logistics startup, ShipCalm. Through business process optimization, this company was able to resolve and get beyond many of its more notable problems. When you decide to optimize your processes, your company will get a number of advantages, including the following:
1. Adherence to Regulations
Industry regulations are in place to uphold law and order for the benefit of society as a whole. Businesses that violate the set norms and regulations can ultimately be prohibited from operating within the US market and/or can be subject to strict penalties.
When processes are disorganized, regulatory criteria tends to not be followed consistently. When you streamline your business processes and take regulatory compliance into mandatory consideration, your business will operate more efficiently and greatly minimize and/or hopefully eliminate regulatory shortfalls.
2. Lessening of Risks
When there is an optimal process to accomplish a goal, there is also a suboptimal process. And the risks tend to increase in the presence of a suboptimal workflow.
Some negative outcomes, if they occur, can be more far-reaching than others depending on the nature of your business. Regardless of a risk’s severity, it can be avoided by strengthening your procedures and, inherent to those procedures, you are accounting for worst-case scenarios.
At a minimum, as a business owner or executive, it is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of your workers and clients. Through the development of an enhanced technique of operations, business process optimization detects hazards resulting from the execution of your current processes and aids in minimizing or eliminating them.
With standard operating procedures (SOP’s) that have been validated and been deemed risk-free or minimal, you can provide your staff with the assurance that their safety is key as they perform their tasks. They will be more able to contribute at their optimal capacity.
3. Simplified Operation
Every business process is most effective if there were no bottlenecks or constraints. A constraint is any input into a process that impedes workflow or throughput, simply by its presence.
Task turnaround times are prolonged by bottlenecks. Finding accommodations or solutions/workarounds for constraints is a major component to streamlining a workflow.
When business procedures are improved, even the most complicated ones can become the simplest. By accommodating and/or eliminating bottlenecks, optimization enables the connection of separate operations into a single, fluid workflow.
Automation is a wonderful example of optimizing business operations especially when it comes to repetitive tasks. Automation of these repetitive tasks can then free up resources for concentrating on optimizing more crucial ones.
By 2024, 69 percent of typical managerial labor will likely be automated, according to Gartner, a company that provides executives and their teams with actionable, unbiased insights. Therefore, suffice it to say, automation is not only a viable optimization option in the present, but will continue to be in the future.
4. Continue to uphold consistency and quality control
Are you hoping to attract more clients and boost your client retention rate? In addition to marketing, perhaps you might focus more on boosting the caliber of your products or services by streamlining your operational procedures.
The value of your product(s) and/or the quality of your service(s) will influence whether or not you retain new or existing clients.
Your ability to consistently provide high-quality products or services provides you with a competitive edge. Your ability to replicate superior quality throughout your portfolio gives your clients confidence. Customers will feel confident to call you whenever they need you because they know they can always count on you to provide the value they are paying for.
You can automate some of your more complex procedures to reduce human error while you improve your business processes for consistency and quality assurance. There are fewer errors when complicated operations can be reduced down to only the most minimal inputs.
5. Better Resource Management
Your resource management procedures should indicate for how long those resources can be maintained. Inefficient processes tend to require that you spend more resources than necessary to complete tasks. Further, the outcomes will not be optimal, which, as a result, necessitates an even greater investment of resources. Ultimately, inefficient operations will be depleting your resources, and more importantly, eating into your profits.
Eliminating redundancy is one approach to stop your processes from consuming all of your resources. For every stage of a process that serves a clear purpose, there should also be a process around it that eliminates waste, whether it is in activities or resources.
Lastly, because every layer of your process is results-driven, business process optimization aids in the creation of efficient processes with clear goals. By eliminating bottlenecks, i.e., constraints, resource utilization tends to be optimized. You get optimal use out of your resources more effectively and maximize their benefits.
6. Increased Client Satisfaction
The goal of the majority of tasks performed at work should be to please your customers and ultimately, your shareholders.
Customers tend to purchase a given product or service when their requirements are addressed in exchange for the perceived value given.
The “how-to” of gratifying your customers is defined in the implementation and ongoing nature of effective business processes. Achieving customer delight is challenging if your operations are inefficient.
Perhaps some of your current business procedures cause you to fall short of putting a smile on your customers’ faces. Not to worry, you can correct that shortcoming by optimizing your business processes.
Where are you and your customers failing to meet one another’s expectations right now? What are the complaints of your clients? Examine the procedures that are utilized to accommodate them in those areas of your business and perform research for a more effective way to carry them out.
As you’ve read here, business process optimization has several advantages. However, is optimization truly necessary for your company? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” and we will continue to examine that in the upcoming segments of this program.
When it comes down to it, there is no ideal template to set up a product team. However, part of the overall strategy is comprehending your company’s objectives and adapting them where necessary to meet those objectives. Reorganizing and restructuring as necessary is beneficial.
Therefore, it may not be judicious to cut costs on the labor involved in reorganizing. In order to realize the full potential of your business, it may be a necessary element of further success.
Making sure that the appropriate individuals are in place to successfully deliver on optimization tasks is also crucial. If your current team seems to already have its redundancies, you may consider reallocation of resources early on. Consider applying their individual value towards other areas of the project.
A reorganization may be necessary if there is limited opportunity for expansion inside your organization, or if interacting with other teams is challenging due to organizational structure.
These are just a few indications that it may be time to reorganize your business. However, being proactive rather than waiting until things drift further out of control is key.
Having a defined framework and maintaining organization are two of the best methods to be productive as a product team. It may be vital to continue to reallocate your team so they may work on many projects at once as your business expands.
Chapter 1: Baseline Assessment
The Nature of Baseline Assessments and the Different Types
There are four main Baseline applications with several variations for other business applications.
The key areas are:
1. A Comprehensive Organizational Analysis gives firms a way to measure their entire organization objectively and quickly identify their best opportunities for organization optimization programs. Think of it as an “MRI” that swiftly and easily assesses business disciplines. This is a fantastic tool for assessing general management and employee alignment as well as the extent of executive alignment or misalignment. You will assess factors that are important for building high-performing, long-lasting companies, such as competitive advantages, marketing, finance, sales effectiveness, execution, required technologies, building teams, rewards/compensation, values, and credibility.
2. The Sales Baseline for a “deep dive” into topics pertaining to sales and marketing specifically. You’ll go over areas where better marketing, sales tools, procedures, work habits, and environments will result in more productive salespeople and more sales.
3. Leadership Development for your present and your up-and-coming leaders. You assess leadership competence (what a leader knows) and leadership character (who a leader is), two crucial competencies. Competence without character can raise moral concerns, result in some of the most recent business-related headlines in American history, and cost shareholders billions of dollars in value. Character without competence may lead to companies that are moral but underwhelming because they are too laid back. or which are missing out on important changes in their business because they are going down the wrong path.
4. A Board Baseline is a board of director’s assessment that quickly assesses a board of directors’ overall effectiveness from two perspectives:
(1) their capacity for collaboration, and
(2) the extent to which they are in compliance with governance best practices and significant regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley.
Organizations in the governmental, corporate, and nonprofit sectors can benefit greatly from this type of assessment.
In summary, I am sure that you have heard the phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now”? You may get the information you need right away from the Baseline Assessments to keep on top of your business.
From the assessment phase of the larger organizational optimization process:
• You will gain a more focused, motivated, and aligned organization that can address your greatest opportunities and threats after completing the baseline evaluation.
• You will gain clarity regarding the measures required to accomplish your goals within a given time frame
• You will learn to make decisions based on objective data instead of depending solely on educated guesses or gut feelings,
Chapter 2: Understanding Structure
Online communication has grown and improved in the last several years at a never-before-seen rate. Software has expanded the possibilities for business communication beyond email to include creative intranets and social media platforms. The workplace has been significantly impacted and is undergoing transformation as a result of the reduction in traditional communication techniques and the sharp increase in internet communication.
Optimizing communications via emerging technologies can help firms move to a successful new organizational structure as they continue to restructure in order to remain competitive. According to research, businesses can enhance their trust with employees by implementing several organizational communication initiatives.
Leadership must be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of communication technology in order to build internal communication channels that are appropriate for the organization’s objectives, strategic goals, and structure. Employers must be aware of and equipped to handle the typical communication difficulties that arise in different organizational systems. For instance, firms can now form virtual teams and offices thanks to communications technology. Members of a virtual team collaborate virtually while working on a job, using tools including email, instant messaging, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and web-based workspaces. Although virtual teams have many benefits, including less travel expenses and flexibility in personnel and work schedules, they can present difficulties. Managing team logistics and learning new technology can be challenging for virtual teams. The lack of nonverbal cues like body language and intonation makes communication extremely difficult. According to research, firms can overcome these difficulties by providing efficient support and training.
Organizational structures frequently need to be altered as businesses grow internationally. Before operating offices abroad, a company’s executives should make a thorough plan.
When an employer plans to establish a foreign branch, hire foreign personnel, and develop a globalized strategy, many problems come into play. The following are a few of the questions that need to be addressed:
• How do national legal standards and procedures for human resources differ from one another?
• Should a corporation open an HR office in the other country or should HR representatives at the headquarters handle the work?
• Should a company use consultants to handle personnel services and local hiring on the local level?
Employers risk failing if they enter another country without a solid HR strategy in place.
When a company creates an overseas office, HR specialists and other business executives should be able to connect with employees there just as successfully as those nearby. That might be difficult. Face-to-face communication can be replaced by using videoconferencing and a strong intranet.
Employees must be aware of language, cultural, religious, and social distinctions among coworkers and business contacts due to the rapid developments in technology that effect worldwide communication. All staff members should receive cultural literacy training at the company, not just managers and CEOs who travel.
Employers should also be aware that global virtual work is much more complex than local structures due to language limitations, time and distance issues, the lack of face-to-face interaction, and, most importantly, the barriers provided by cultural variations and individual communication styles. These procedures can improve connections between international virtual teams:
• Using video and audio conferencing, online chats, and e-mail in addition to one-on-one communications.
• Publishing team member profiles that describe their backgrounds and responsibilities inside the company.
• Being aware of the level of engagement team members may provide if they are required to meet at unfavorable times across several time zones.
Chapter 3: Structural Assessment
Products for Organizational Assessment
The following are the main outputs from the organizational assessments:
• Organizational Impact Assessment (OIA): Offers details on the readiness of organizational entities and staff to implement the transformation. The OIA will identify the direct and indirect effects of the transformation on the workforce, direct and indirect stakeholders, and the sponsor’s mission.
• Organizational Risk Assessment (ORA): This tool gives sponsor executives information on the nature and seriousness of transformation risks and concerns, as well as viable mitigation strategies. An overall organizational impact assessment may include the ORA.
NOTE: Sponsor executives are given the business intelligence to design the organizational change management (OCM) direction by the organizational change strategy generated from the OIA and ORA.
• Optional Deliverable: Workforce Transformation Strategy: Describes the transformation plan and how it will be integrated with the sponsor’s technical and deployment teams. It also outlines how the transformation program management team will oversee daily OCM activities and briefings.
• Communications Planning: Systems engineers must be aware that a system science approach entails communications planning and outreach techniques to begin and maintain communications with impacted organizational entities and significant transformation actors (e.g., internal and external stakeholders). The creation of short-term communications and subsequent implementation of the plans are required for communication planning. The SEG article “Effective Communication and Influence” provides additional details on implementing and creating communication strategies and plans.
Chapter 4: Team Structure
Team structure is a type of organizational structure where workgroups or teams make up the entire organization. Employee empowerment is essential within this organizational structure since there is no clear chain of management authority running from top to bottom.
Additionally, “team structure” refers to the make-up of a single team or a system of multiple teams. It is fundamental to the teamwork process. Effective leadership, communication, mutual support, and situation monitoring are ensured by a well-structured team.
Today, a company’s everyday operations are distributed among teams rather than the traditional organizational structures where each business activity was handled by a different department. Teams are adaptable and capable of creating products, striking deals, negotiating pricing, offering services, coordinating projects, etc. There are production teams, marketing teams, sales teams, research and development teams, etc.
Every business uses one of the following six main team structures:
• Problem-Solving Teams: Typically, this kind of team consists of five to twelve people. The group meets once a week to discuss and resolve issues pertaining to the functioning of one particular department.
• Cross-Functional Teams: These teams are known as cross-functional teams when officials from diverse business operations but from the same organizational level work together to complete a shared operation.
• Self-Managed Teams: While problem-solving teams may provide recommendations, they lack the power to put those recommendations into action. Self-managed teams are created to address this issue because they are responsible for putting solutions into action and for the results as well.
• Virtual Teams: The idea of a virtual team makes it easier to manage remote members in the age of internet and mobile technology.
• Matrix Framework: The majority of firms establish their teams using this structure. Basically, it blends functional departmentalization with product departmentalization.
• Bureaucratic Teams: These groups are organized around formally regulated, largely regular tasks. The duties carried out by these teams are extremely specialized, and decision-making occurs along a particular line of command.
Chapter 5: Executive Leadership
How to Improve Your Executive Presence in Five Key Areas
“I’m a top performer, I’m doing great, and my company is meeting its goals, yet it seems like people think I’m a jerk, and I have no idea why.”
This is coming from a rock star executive whose company was producing amazing results for her business while also leaving “dead bodies” and a trail of tears in its wake.
Believe it or not, this is not unusual. You have the combination of excellent work, incredible talent, and amazing people but you still have a struggle with unforeseen consequences or outcomes. However, if the person wants the outcomes to consistently be different, it’s not a difficult fix.
Three things can help to determine a leader’s leadership style and the culture (team, organizational, or both) they are cultivating:
• Their presence and the way they “show up,”;
• The value they place on others;
• And the size of the “container” they hold for them, as well as their desire to be honest with themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and go for what they want.
These are not an insignificant set of characteristics, so let’s start with the first one, which has to do with being present and also the application of self-management. The hidden ingredient that determines whether a leader has an influence is called IEP (Intentional Energetic Presence). Whether or not the leader realizes it, it is constantly in motion and having an effect on those in the leader’s vicinity. In the majority of cases, the leader’s IEP needs to be given consideration when talented individuals are feeling burned out or aren’t quite having their usual impact.
IEP has two components:
• The internal: This is in regards to how you feel, how you feel energetically, how much room and joy you have for yourself
• The external: This is in regards to how you make other people feel, your presence, your ability to have people follow you because they want to, not because they have to.
The internal side of IEP, which serves as the basis for leadership, often feeds the external side of IEP, which is obviously the most visible aspects of leadership. The external will be simpler and more effective as the internal component becomes more robust. This interaction of internal to external is like a skillful dance. This dance is continually occurring through one’s level of intention, energy, and self-care as well as through the quality of one’s presence with others. This includes how one perceives the individual leader in their physical presence and the atmosphere they create (which is really just their underlying attitude, intention, and energy).
Here are five suggestions for improving your leadership presence so that your IEP serves as both an invitation to others and a source of support for you.
1. Your Physical Presence
How do you present yourself physically? Pay close attention to your tone, posture, breathing, and facial expressions.
2. Your Mental Presence
How fully engaged are you in this conversation, with this person, and even with this article right now? Remain alert.
3. Your Presence Emotionally
How attentive are you to the events taking place in your life? Are you living your life and giving yourself permission to feel and act authentically? Repressed feelings have a habit of surfacing, frequently at the strangest times. Allow yourself some room to feel.
4. The Extent of Your Accountability
Are you experiencing your life or simply existing? Or are you making it happen? Is everything that is not currently going right in your life seen as someone else’s fault? Accept responsibility for your role in contributing to subpar outcomes, strained interpersonal connections, and/or simply not receiving what you desire.
5. Your Purpose
How deliberate are you about your influence, the way you want others to perceive you, who you want to be, and the way you want to live your life? Make some resolutions. Also, take note of your intentions for other people. A little bit of self-awareness and deliberation can go a long way.
All of these factors affect one’s internal and external presence, which in turn affects one’s efficacy and power as a leader and as a person. Finding the areas in which we contribute to our own difficulties or negative influence and presence can be difficult, and even painful at times. However, taking the responsibility to address these areas can also be wonderfully freeing since we have the power to change these outcomes as we lead ourselves.
Chapter 6: Resource Optimization
How To Use Resource Optimization Techniques Successfully
Resource optimization approaches will aid managers in making sure that there is always the appropriate number of processing, memory, storage, and network resources available to handle the workload in IT-driven organizations. As a result, these organizations may use current resources more effectively by scaling their IT infrastructure up or down in response to demand.
Studying your organization by examining its problems, strengths, and future objectives is another technique to successfully apply resource optimization. Can you identify any untapped resources? Are there any instances where departments have an excess that eventually degrades and becomes waste? You can properly manage and utilize resources by analyzing these types of areas of your business.
Selecting The Best Resources
You should maximize the following five resources as a leader:
Utilizing resource optimization technologies will aid you in the successful optimization of each of these categories.
Tools For Resource Optimization
The days of managing projects manually are long gone. Today, you can greatly benefit by employing resource optimization technologies. Utilizing resource optimization software makes it simple to see how the project is progressing and who the stakeholders and contributors are. As examples, you can determine whether there is a demand for personnel and also whether there is a specific constraint, simply by reviewing the dashboard of job scheduling software.
Resource optimization software is an advanced set of tools that streamline projects by helping to identify areas of need (and surplus as well) in order to minimize human error and/or oversight.
As another example of a resource monitor, the review of employee skillsets enables you to determine whether you need to acquire more personnel rather than assigning highly skilled activities to workers who lack the necessary qualifications. This will aid in keeping product and/or service quality at a maximum.
Software for project resource planning is used by many professional services businesses. By employing this software instead of antiquated project management techniques, leaders can make decisions faster and thereby fulfill their goals more efficiently.
It is advisable to employ resource management tools and procedures to make sure even single tasks are completed when you are managing multiple projects. Utilizing these technologies will facilitate work while maximizing resource and employee potential.
Because the resource management systems can forecast manpower based on historical data it has stored over time, you will be able to manage resource restrictions better by viewing trends. Operations can be maintained by managing your projects on a portfolio level.
Chapter 7: Best Practices
Guidelines for Improving Performance
As stated earlier, it is a recommended practice to monitor for problems and analyze performance, but if your technology doesn’t enable you to prioritize and optimize inputs into a given process that are adversely affecting that process’ performance, you still have some work to do.
Get Everything in Order
Establishing your internal performance best practices is step one. Considering the vast array of front-end performance optimization techniques available, it may at first seem daunting to define your best practices. Don’t worry, just begin modestly. Similar to how you defined your business KPI’s, start by posing a few questions to your team. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to a given system’s performance. Use the inquiries you generate to identify the performance best practices that most closely match your company’s needs and the way you want to use the output (such as a website). You can always add to your list of best practices as you go, so start out by asking just a few questions.
Additionally, think about assembling a group of various organization stakeholders to assist in figuring out how your best practices may completely fit with and support your business needs. Obtain viewpoints from various divisions of your company, such as development and/or operations. Together, develop your list and decide what constitutes “mission essential” issues vs performance losses that are tolerable.
The following are some possible discussion topics around our website optimization example:
• How many resources are we loading per page? Should there be a cap on that amount that we never go over?
• Are content delivery networks being used? If not, should we go that route?
• Is there a desired page load speed?
• Is every image and piece of media optimized?
• Do we use caching for resources that are static? If so, how long are the items cached for?
• What kinds of performance lags are deemed tolerable? What do we consider to be “critical”?
Not even sure where to begin with questions? Make a list of your best practices and begin analyzing your website using online tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, YSlow analyzer (based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance websites), and Rigor monitoring and optimization.
Be The Performance Policing Force
It’s time to put your best practices into action after you’ve decided what they are. Build an internal tool or use a commercial optimization tool similar to functionality on the above optimization websites to test your best practices as part of your continuous integration process. You’ll require a tool that can evaluate your best practices in light of policy parameters, suggest a fix, and notify you of any performance flaws or issues that fall inside your pre-specified thresholds.
1. Review Your Policies: Once your best practices have been established, you should continue to evaluate your website, taking care to consider any ongoing changes. You can also set thresholds that correspond to your defined restrictions and develop custom check criteria to flag areas that could use improvement. Run your test, and if any component of a page deviates from your best practices, your website optimization test should indicate the error when the error threshold for reporting is met.
You can integrate optimization into your build system or continuous integration processes to automate regression detection which will allow you to find any new bugs right away, and most importantly, before they are published.
2. Address the Issue: Your analytical tools aren’t very useful if they don’t assist you in solving the issue, as previously stated. At length, a prioritized list of optimizations from a library of industry best practices can be found online.
3. Produce Smart Alerts: When individuals get too many alerts, those alerts are eventually perceived as noise and get ignored, due to the effects of notification fatigue. Further, no one wants to open an inbox full of low-priority messages and have to manually separate the crucial messages from the somewhat irrelevant ones. Create your own alert criteria depending on the thresholds you set in your performance best practices to reduce noise. Determine who and when to warn for the most urgent and important concerns by setting alert parameters.
Chapter 8: Tribe Leads
Since the first commercial enterprises adopted the United States Navy’s organizational structure in the 17th century, this classical organizational structure has served as the standard model for the ideal organizational structure, giving rise to titles such as chief executive officer. Many businesses are still structured using this idea today. This top-down hierarchy, however, can hinder agility and hamper workflows. Additionally, there can be a lack of client focus, with the executives’ particular ambitions and aspirations taking precedence.
The network organization avoids using conventional structures. It is structured in a process-oriented way and does not call for a traditional management approach. Teamwork and the advantage to the consumer are always prioritized in this situation.
Individual teams take initiative and responsibility for their respective contributions towards the goal(s). This approach selects for flexibility and independence.
There are various types of network organizations utilizing pathways to better team agility other than the Spotify model, and are implementing such model concepts as holacracy and sociocracy 3.0. In these pathways, teams self-organize in rings by way of their roles. Further, there is a hierarchy within the circles. A circle of a higher level is comprised of circles of a lower level.
The unique position of the lead link/circle lead (holacracy) or leader (sociocracy), which is best comparable to the position of the product owner or the position of a project or team coordinator, is one example of how this pathway is different. She or he keeps tabs on the objectives, plans, and tactics of his or her circle. The parent circle’s interests are also represented through the main link.
There isn’t a manager. The organizational structures are extremely comparable. Holacracy is a model with a paid license, while Sociocracy 3.0 is available under a 4.0 International Creative Commons Attribution license. Compared to the Spotify model, both are far more complex.
All of these types of corporate organization pathways allow for some degree of agile working methods.
The use of management techniques, such as OKR (Objectives and Key Results), and agile techniques, such as Scrum or Kanban, does not alter the traditional organizational structure, but gives teams the ability to work more autonomously and with a results-oriented approach.
The OKR technique can be used by businesses already using agile methods as a productive way for implementing strategies and setting goals. As the “successor” of MbO (Management by Objectives), OKR is applicable to all organizational structures.
Chapter 9: Skills Assessment
How To Use Your Organization’s Talent To Its Fullest Potential In Order To Develop And Expand In The Market
Maybe you have come to the realization that some team members aren’t quite reaching their full potential. Have you taken the time to consider whether or not these unique individuals actually fit in these positions within your organization? Perhaps your best achievers are beginning to look restless, which only tends to exacerbate the situation. It may be vital to look at your time allocations to these sorts of issues around getting your staff in peak performance shape.
According to Meghan Bilardo, director of Organizational Strategy and Assessment at Corporate College, “Talent optimization is so important today because businesses and the economy are starting to recover, and now business leaders are challenged by a new concern: talent,” the author said. “No longer are they cost-cutting and trying to survive; they’re really looking to innovate and grow, and that takes a new strategy and approach to talent.”
Why Is Talent Management So Crucial?
Organizations need qualified and motivated personnel to succeed in the coming year and beyond. Either they may develop the talent they already have on staff through training, mentoring, and assessment procedures, or they can try to lure talent away from rival companies. Be able to provide employees with the capabilities to innovate and having opportunities to grow and advance within an organization are very crucial this year, especially for those in supervisory and mid-level manager positions. For the sake of assisting the company in achieving its goals, managers must be aware of their staff members’ aptitude for new and evolving skill sets.
What Are Some Repercussions For Corporations If They Ignore This?
Businesses that only use the outdated hierarchical structures are going extinct. Our business climate is more skill-based than ever, and we are more and more aware that performance is driven by ability. Some challenging aspects are that businesses (and leadership) do not clearly scope where their talent is, what their employees are capable of, and what they need them to be able to do differently in order to succeed. Talent optimization must be incorporated into an organization’s strategic planning procedure.
The selection process, which entails everything from identifying the important positions required to accomplish company objectives, to sourcing candidates, and finally recruiting them, are other key factors to consider. Many organizations lose out on opportunities to succeed because they lack the procedures and resources necessary to take these important steps optimally.
Chapter 10: Employee Buy-In
Getting the support of the staff who will implement and utilize new optimization measures is essential if you want the deployment of new optimization programs in your company to go as smoothly as possible.
Most workers are aware that change is a constant in today’s workplace. However, adopting new structures, processes and workflows can still be challenging for employees, who must balance new workplace initiatives along with the challenges of completing existing projects.
As stated above, if your company is introducing optimization processes, you want the transition to go as smoothly as possible. To do this, you must gain the support of the staff members who will be using the new procedures. Take into account these suggestions for considering employee needs in order to win over your team:
Make Your Intentions Known
Early and frequent communication is essential. You want to give all team members who will use the system as much lead time as you can, regardless of the changes you’re making. You can do this via workplace assessments or leveraging the collaborative functions of other platforms such as Trello, Confluence, or Slack. You can start the process of getting buy-in by simply announcing that a change is on the horizon. Keep in mind to consider collaborative platforms that best accommodate any remote teams as well.
Early On In The Process, Solicit Input
Take the time to solicit employees to learn more about their needs and how they view the optimization strategic plan before you construct your official implementation strategy. If it is not possible to speak with every team member, attempt to at least sample a few different departments to get a sense of how the new solution might impact workflow. Tech-savvy departments will obviously contribute more in any technological adoption, and they will most likely have more insightful ideas to share.
Make A Practical Plan
You can create a plan with an acceptable rollout timeline after obtaining data from various stakeholders. Without a detailed, step-by-step plan, your implementation will suffer. Even if you can’t plan for every eventuality, you can brainstorm with your team about potential problems and different scenarios/outcomes.
Take Your Time Implementing
Don’t give in to the need to hasten the implementation once you’ve created a timeline that works for the majority of your team. There will be numerous things that pop up during rollout that you could not have foreseen during preparation, so you will need some degree of buffer to react without overworking your staff.
Give Proper Instruction
Once the measure is installed and tested, your implementation is still not finished. Providing adequate, continuing training is essential for maintaining staff engagement and gaining support for upcoming rollouts. Provide specialized training so that employees can integrate the new solution into existing workflows with the least amount of disruption feasible. Employees will need flexibility to adjust to their new roles and accompanying tasks when a new program is introduced.
Chapter 11: Goal-Setting
The Guide to Optimize Your Goal-Setting Skillset
Only around 20% of business owners actively track business goals, per a recent “Inc.” magazine poll.
Only 23% of businesses succeed in achieving their strategic goals. If these two percentages are related, then consider the following: Monitoring a company’s development in relation to its strategic goals has inherent value. The overall accumulation of best practices for goal setting, however, has been contested, criticized, and even resisted over the years. Goal-setting is actually a combination of art and science, and different management teams will approach it in different ways. The following are responses to typical inquiries concerning goal-setting:
Why Even Bother Making Goals?
A team can come together around shared objectives. People often feel fairly ecstatic after accomplishing their objectives. The foundation for the budgeting and performance management processes can also be accounted for by corporate goals.
How Do SMART Goals Work?
The meaning of the SMART acronym varies depending on the interpretation, although it is universally acknowledged as a standard for goal planning. One widely accepted definition is:
• Time Bound
Should I Set Attainable Or Challenging Goals?
Your response to the first question will heavily influence how aggressively a company wants to pursue its goals, i.e., why are we setting goals in the first place. In situations where growth is a priority and as a result, there is a need to push departmental capabilities and personnel, some businesses set aggressive growth targets that serve as the basis for incentive plans, etc. Realistic objectives must be set in order to create a budget. For this reason, many businesses establish lower targets for their budgets and stretch goals to inspire employees. It’s crucial to create goals that are actually attainable since persistent failure to achieve them can be quite demotivating.
What is a BHAG?
Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG, is a term that was initially popularized by Jim Collins in his number-one bestselling book, “Good to Great”. The ultimate stretch goal is a BHAG, which unites a management team and an organization around a highly ambitious long-term objective, frequently with a 10-year or longer time horizon.
What Should The Ideal Time Horizon Be?
Once more, the goal-setting purpose determines the suitable time frame. Companies have shifted their attention more to the short term in recent years due to increased perceived market volatility. The most common time frames for setting goals are five years, three years, and one year (short term).
What Occurs if My Team Doesn’t Succeed in Reaching Our Objectives?
It is crucial to understand that encountering obstacles does not automatically equate to failure. It’s possible that the market has changed, or that success will require new and/or additional resources. Setting goals helps a business concentrate on a value driver, among other things. By tracking your progress, you can give a problem area more attention while looking for solutions like retraining or enlisting the help of other experts. Only when an uncontrollable external component has changed should a goal be reformulated, e.g., an unexpected increase in raw material cost.
Chapter 12: Vision Statement
Even the most articulate business owners may find writing a vision statement to be a difficult undertaking. You can write a purposeful vision statement using the advice, instructions, and examples provided here.
One requirement is that it must identify your business and, more crucially, its future.
You don’t want your Vision Statement to be so non-descript that it gets reduced to a forgotten poster in the foyer of a corporate office. A compelling mission statement, like Disney’s “to make people happy” or Instagram’s “capture and share the world’s moments,” sticks with you. Your organization’s essential beliefs can be captured in a vision statement that offers a blueprint for where it wishes to go if you are intentional in your efforts and dedicated to putting in the hard work.
What Is A Vision Statement?
Similar to a mission statement, a vision statement offers precise information about the meaning and goals of your company to its stakeholders, and more particularly, its employees. A vision statement highlights the anticipated long-term outcomes of your company’s activities, as opposed to a mission statement, which outlines the who, what, and why of your organization. An early vision for Microsoft, for instance, called for “a computer on every desk and in every home.”
According to Katie Trauth Taylor, CEO of the writing firm, Untold Content, “a company vision statement indicates, at the highest levels, what an organization most hopes to be and achieve in the long run.” It accomplishes the relatively high goal of condensing all the business’s wisdom into a single, powerful statement.
Why is this important? According to research, employees who believe that their company’s goals are important have engagement levels of 68 percent, which is 18 points higher than the national average. Employees that are more engaged tend to be more productive and also be better representatives of the company in the community.
Given the influence a vision statement can have on a business’s long-term success and bottom line, it is important to take the time to create a statement that captures your desire and inspires your team.
Organizational Optimization – Workshop 1 – Optimization Overview
- Baseline Assessment
- Understanding Structure
- Structural Assessment
- Team Structure
- Executive Leadership
- Resource Optimization
- Best Practices
- Tribe Leads
- Skills Assessment
- Employee Buy-In
- Vision Setting
Welcome to Appleton Greene and thank you for enrolling on the Organizational Optimization corporate training program. You will be learning through our unique facilitation via distance-learning method, which will enable you to practically implement everything that you learn academically. The methods and materials used in your program have been designed and developed to ensure that you derive the maximum benefits and enjoyment possible. We hope that you find the program challenging and fun to do. However, if you have never been a distance-learner before, you may be experiencing some trepidation at the task before you. So we will get you started by giving you some basic information and guidance on how you can make the best use of the modules, how you should manage the materials and what you should be doing as you work through them. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction and help you to become an effective distance-learner. Take a few hours or so to study this guide and your guide to tutorial support for students, while making notes, before you start to study in earnest.
You will need to locate a quiet and private place to study, preferably a room where you can easily be isolated from external disturbances or distractions. Make sure the room is well-lit and incorporates a relaxed, pleasant feel. If you can spoil yourself within your study environment, you will have much more of a chance to ensure that you are always in the right frame of mind when you do devote time to study. For example, a nice fire, the ability to play soft soothing background music, soft but effective lighting, perhaps a nice view if possible and a good size desk with a comfortable chair. Make sure that your family know when you are studying and understand your study rules. Your study environment is very important. The ideal situation, if at all possible, is to have a separate study, which can be devoted to you. If this is not possible then you will need to pay a lot more attention to developing and managing your study schedule, because it will affect other people as well as yourself. The better your study environment, the more productive you will be.
Study tools & rules
Try and make sure that your study tools are sufficient and in good working order. You will need to have access to a computer, scanner and printer, with access to the internet. You will need a very comfortable chair, which supports your lower back, and you will need a good filing system. It can be very frustrating if you are spending valuable study time trying to fix study tools that are unreliable, or unsuitable for the task. Make sure that your study tools are up to date. You will also need to consider some study rules. Some of these rules will apply to you and will be intended to help you to be more disciplined about when and how you study. This distance-learning guide will help you and after you have read it you can put some thought into what your study rules should be. You will also need to negotiate some study rules for your family, friends or anyone who lives with you. They too will need to be disciplined in order to ensure that they can support you while you study. It is important to ensure that your family and friends are an integral part of your study team. Having their support and encouragement can prove to be a crucial contribution to your successful completion of the program. Involve them in as much as you can.
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes or workshops, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. But unlike traditional internal training courses, it is the student’s responsibility, with a distance-learning program, to ensure that they manage their own study contribution. This requires strong self-discipline and self-motivation skills and there must be a clear will to succeed. Those students who are used to managing themselves, are good at managing others and who enjoy working in isolation, are more likely to be good distance-learners. It is also important to be aware of the main reasons why you are studying and of the main objectives that you are hoping to achieve as a result. You will need to remind yourself of these objectives at times when you need to motivate yourself. Never lose sight of your long-term goals and your short-term objectives. There is nobody available here to pamper you, or to look after you, or to spoon-feed you with information, so you will need to find ways to encourage and appreciate yourself while you are studying. Make sure that you chart your study progress, so that you can be sure of your achievements and re-evaluate your goals and objectives regularly.
Appleton Greene training programs are in all cases post-graduate programs. Consequently, you should already have obtained a business-related degree and be an experienced learner. You should therefore already be aware of your study strengths and weaknesses. For example, which time of the day are you at your most productive? Are you a lark or an owl? What study methods do you respond to the most? Are you a consistent learner? How do you discipline yourself? How do you ensure that you enjoy yourself while studying? It is important to understand yourself as a learner and so some self-assessment early on will be necessary if you are to apply yourself correctly. Perform a SWOT analysis on yourself as a student. List your internal strengths and weaknesses as a student and your external opportunities and threats. This will help you later on when you are creating a study plan. You can then incorporate features within your study plan that can ensure that you are playing to your strengths, while compensating for your weaknesses. You can also ensure that you make the most of your opportunities, while avoiding the potential threats to your success.
Accepting responsibility as a student
Training programs invariably require a significant investment, both in terms of what they cost and in the time that you need to contribute to study and the responsibility for successful completion of training programs rests entirely with the student. This is never more apparent than when a student is learning via distance-learning. Accepting responsibility as a student is an important step towards ensuring that you can successfully complete your training program. It is easy to instantly blame other people or factors when things go wrong. But the fact of the matter is that if a failure is your failure, then you have the power to do something about it, it is entirely in your own hands. If it is always someone else’s failure, then you are powerless to do anything about it. All students study in entirely different ways, this is because we are all individuals and what is right for one student, is not necessarily right for another. In order to succeed, you will have to accept personal responsibility for finding a way to plan, implement and manage a personal study plan that works for you. If you do not succeed, you only have yourself to blame.
By far the most critical contribution to stress, is the feeling of not being in control. In the absence of planning we tend to be reactive and can stumble from pillar to post in the hope that things will turn out fine in the end. Invariably they don’t! In order to be in control, we need to have firm ideas about how and when we want to do things. We also need to consider as many possible eventualities as we can, so that we are prepared for them when they happen. Prescriptive Change, is far easier to manage and control, than Emergent Change. The same is true with distance-learning. It is much easier and much more enjoyable, if you feel that you are in control and that things are going to plan. Even when things do go wrong, you are prepared for them and can act accordingly without any unnecessary stress. It is important therefore that you do take time to plan your studies properly.
Once you have developed a clear study plan, it is of equal importance to ensure that you manage the implementation of it. Most of us usually enjoy planning, but it is usually during implementation when things go wrong. Targets are not met and we do not understand why. Sometimes we do not even know if targets are being met. It is not enough for us to conclude that the study plan just failed. If it is failing, you will need to understand what you can do about it. Similarly if your study plan is succeeding, it is still important to understand why, so that you can improve upon your success. You therefore need to have guidelines for self-assessment so that you can be consistent with performance improvement throughout the program. If you manage things correctly, then your performance should constantly improve throughout the program.
Study objectives & tasks
The first place to start is developing your program objectives. These should feature your reasons for undertaking the training program in order of priority. Keep them succinct and to the point in order to avoid confusion. Do not just write the first things that come into your head because they are likely to be too similar to each other. Make a list of possible departmental headings, such as: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing and Production. Then brainstorm for ideas by listing as many things that you want to achieve under each heading and later re-arrange these things in order of priority. Finally, select the top item from each department heading and choose these as your program objectives. Try and restrict yourself to five because it will enable you to focus clearly. It is likely that the other things that you listed will be achieved if each of the top objectives are achieved. If this does not prove to be the case, then simply work through the process again.
As a guide, the Appleton Greene Organizational Optimization corporate training program should take 12-18 months to complete, depending upon your availability and current commitments. The reason why there is such a variance in time estimates is because every student is an individual, with differing productivity levels and different commitments. These differentiations are then exaggerated by the fact that this is a distance-learning program, which incorporates the practical integration of academic theory as an as a part of the training program. Consequently all of the project studies are real, which means that important decisions and compromises need to be made. You will want to get things right and will need to be patient with your expectations in order to ensure that they are. We would always recommend that you are prudent with your own task and time forecasts, but you still need to develop them and have a clear indication of what are realistic expectations in your case. With reference to your time planning: consider the time that you can realistically dedicate towards study with the program every week; calculate how long it should take you to complete the program, using the guidelines featured here; then break the program down into logical modules and allocate a suitable proportion of time to each of them, these will be your milestones; you can create a time plan by using a spreadsheet on your computer, or a personal organizer such as MS Outlook, you could also use a financial forecasting software; break your time forecasts down into manageable chunks of time, the more specific you can be, the more productive and accurate your time management will be; finally, use formulas where possible to do your time calculations for you, because this will help later on when your forecasts need to change in line with actual performance. With reference to your task planning: refer to your list of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to achieve your program objectives; with reference to your time plan, calculate when each task should be implemented; remember that you are not estimating when your objectives will be achieved, but when you will need to focus upon implementing the corresponding tasks; you also need to ensure that each task is implemented in conjunction with the associated training modules which are relevant; then break each single task down into a list of specific to do’s, say approximately ten to do’s for each task and enter these into your study plan; once again you could use MS Outlook to incorporate both your time and task planning and this could constitute your study plan; you could also use a project management software like MS Project. You should now have a clear and realistic forecast detailing when you can expect to be able to do something about undertaking the tasks to achieve your program objectives.
It is one thing to develop your study forecast, it is quite another to monitor your progress. Ultimately it is less important whether you achieve your original study forecast and more important that you update it so that it constantly remains realistic in line with your performance. As you begin to work through the program, you will begin to have more of an idea about your own personal performance and productivity levels as a distance-learner. Once you have completed your first study module, you should re-evaluate your study forecast for both time and tasks, so that they reflect your actual performance level achieved. In order to achieve this you must first time yourself while training by using an alarm clock. Set the alarm for hourly intervals and make a note of how far you have come within that time. You can then make a note of your actual performance on your study plan and then compare your performance against your forecast. Then consider the reasons that have contributed towards your performance level, whether they are positive or negative and make a considered adjustment to your future forecasts as a result. Given time, you should start achieving your forecasts regularly.
With reference to time management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual time taken in your study plan; consider your successes with time-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; consider your failures with time-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to time planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your time expectations. You need to be consistent with your time management, otherwise you will never complete your studies. This will either be because you are not contributing enough time to your studies, or you will become less efficient with the time that you do allocate to your studies. Remember, if you are not in control of your studies, they can just become yet another cause of stress for you.
With reference to your task management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual tasks that you have undertaken in your study plan; consider your successes with task-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case; take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; consider your failures with task-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to task planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your task expectations. You need to be consistent with your task management, otherwise you will never know whether you are achieving your program objectives or not.
Keeping in touch
You will have access to qualified and experienced professors and tutors who are responsible for providing tutorial support for your particular training program. So don’t be shy about letting them know how you are getting on. We keep electronic records of all tutorial support emails so that professors and tutors can review previous correspondence before considering an individual response. It also means that there is a record of all communications between you and your professors and tutors and this helps to avoid any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation. If you have a problem relating to the program, share it with them via email. It is likely that they have come across the same problem before and are usually able to make helpful suggestions and steer you in the right direction. To learn more about when and how to use tutorial support, please refer to the Tutorial Support section of this student information guide. This will help you to ensure that you are making the most of tutorial support that is available to you and will ultimately contribute towards your success and enjoyment with your training program.
Work colleagues and family
You should certainly discuss your program study progress with your colleagues, friends and your family. Appleton Greene training programs are very practical. They require you to seek information from other people, to plan, develop and implement processes with other people and to achieve feedback from other people in relation to viability and productivity. You will therefore have plenty of opportunities to test your ideas and enlist the views of others. People tend to be sympathetic towards distance-learners, so don’t bottle it all up in yourself. Get out there and share it! It is also likely that your family and colleagues are going to benefit from your labors with the program, so they are likely to be much more interested in being involved than you might think. Be bold about delegating work to those who might benefit themselves. This is a great way to achieve understanding and commitment from people who you may later rely upon for process implementation. Share your experiences with your friends and family.
Making it relevant
The key to successful learning is to make it relevant to your own individual circumstances. At all times you should be trying to make bridges between the content of the program and your own situation. Whether you achieve this through quiet reflection or through interactive discussion with your colleagues, client partners or your family, remember that it is the most important and rewarding aspect of translating your studies into real self-improvement. You should be clear about how you want the program to benefit you. This involves setting clear study objectives in relation to the content of the course in terms of understanding, concepts, completing research or reviewing activities and relating the content of the modules to your own situation. Your objectives may understandably change as you work through the program, in which case you should enter the revised objectives on your study plan so that you have a permanent reminder of what you are trying to achieve, when and why.
Prepare your study environment, your study tools and rules.
Undertake detailed self-assessment in terms of your ability as a learner.
Create a format for your study plan.
Consider your study objectives and tasks.
Create a study forecast.
Assess your study performance.
Re-evaluate your study forecast.
Be consistent when managing your study plan.
Use your Appleton Greene Certified Learning Provider (CLP) for tutorial support.
Make sure you keep in touch with those around you.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. They are implemented over a sustainable period of time and professional support is consistently provided by qualified learning providers and specialist consultants.
You will have a designated Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and an Accredited Consultant and we encourage you to communicate with them as much as possible. In all cases tutorial support is provided online because we can then keep a record of all communications to ensure that tutorial support remains consistent. You would also be forwarding your work to the tutorial support unit for evaluation and assessment. You will receive individual feedback on all of the work that you undertake on a one-to-one basis, together with specific recommendations for anything that may need to be changed in order to achieve a pass with merit or a pass with distinction and you then have as many opportunities as you may need to re-submit project studies until they meet with the required standard. Consequently the only reason that you should really fail (CLP) is if you do not do the work. It makes no difference to us whether a student takes 12 months or 18 months to complete the program, what matters is that in all cases the same quality standard will have been achieved.
Please forward all of your future emails to the designated (CLP) Tutorial Support Unit email address that has been provided and please do not duplicate or copy your emails to other AGC email accounts as this will just cause unnecessary administration. Please note that emails are always answered as quickly as possible but you will need to allow a period of up to 20 business days for responses to general tutorial support emails during busy periods, because emails are answered strictly within the order in which they are received. You will also need to allow a period of up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Please therefore kindly allow for this within your time planning. All communications are managed online via email because it enables tutorial service support managers to review other communications which have been received before responding and it ensures that there is a copy of all communications retained on file for future reference. All communications will be stored within your personal (CLP) study file here at Appleton Greene throughout your designated study period. If you need any assistance or clarification at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us by forwarding an email and remember that we are here to help. If you have any questions, please list and number your questions succinctly and you can then be sure of receiving specific answers to each and every query.
It takes approximately 1 Year to complete the Organizational Optimization corporate training program, incorporating 12 x 6-hour monthly workshops. Each student will also need to contribute approximately 4 hours per week over 1 Year of their personal time. Students can study from home or work at their own pace and are responsible for managing their own study plan. There are no formal examinations and students are evaluated and assessed based upon their project study submissions, together with the quality of their internal analysis and supporting documents. They can contribute more time towards study when they have the time to do so and can contribute less time when they are busy. All students tend to be in full time employment while studying and the Organizational Optimization program is purposely designed to accommodate this, so there is plenty of flexibility in terms of time management. It makes no difference to us at Appleton Greene, whether individuals take 12-18 months to complete this program. What matters is that in all cases the same standard of quality will have been achieved with the standard and bespoke programs that have been developed.
Distance Learning Guide
The distance learning guide should be your first port of call when starting your training program. It will help you when you are planning how and when to study, how to create the right environment and how to establish the right frame of mind. If you can lay the foundations properly during the planning stage, then it will contribute to your enjoyment and productivity while training later. The guide helps to change your lifestyle in order to accommodate time for study and to cultivate good study habits. It helps you to chart your progress so that you can measure your performance and achieve your goals. It explains the tools that you will need for study and how to make them work. It also explains how to translate academic theory into practical reality. Spend some time now working through your distance learning guide and make sure that you have firm foundations in place so that you can make the most of your distance learning program. There is no requirement for you to attend training workshops or classes at Appleton Greene offices. The entire program is undertaken online, program course manuals and project studies are administered via the Appleton Greene web site and via email, so you are able to study at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home or office as long as you have a computer and access to the internet.
How To Study
The how to study guide provides students with a clear understanding of the Appleton Greene facilitation via distance learning training methods and enables students to obtain a clear overview of the training program content. It enables students to understand the step-by-step training methods used by Appleton Greene and how course manuals are integrated with project studies. It explains the research and development that is required and the need to provide evidence and references to support your statements. It also enables students to understand precisely what will be required of them in order to achieve a pass with merit and a pass with distinction for individual project studies and provides useful guidance on how to be innovative and creative when developing your Unique Program Proposition (UPP).
Tutorial support for the Appleton Greene Organizational Optimization corporate training program is provided online either through the Appleton Greene Client Support Portal (CSP), or via email. All tutorial support requests are facilitated by a designated Program Administration Manager (PAM). They are responsible for deciding which professor or tutor is the most appropriate option relating to the support required and then the tutorial support request is forwarded onto them. Once the professor or tutor has completed the tutorial support request and answered any questions that have been asked, this communication is then returned to the student via email by the designated Program Administration Manager (PAM). This enables all tutorial support, between students, professors and tutors, to be facilitated by the designated Program Administration Manager (PAM) efficiently and securely through the email account. You will therefore need to allow a period of up to 20 business days for responses to general support queries and up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies, because all tutorial support requests are answered strictly within the order in which they are received. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Consequently you need to put some thought into the management of your tutorial support procedure in order to ensure that your study plan is feasible and to obtain the maximum possible benefit from tutorial support during your period of study. Please retain copies of your tutorial support emails for future reference. Please ensure that ALL of your tutorial support emails are set out using the format as suggested within your guide to tutorial support. Your tutorial support emails need to be referenced clearly to the specific part of the course manual or project study which you are working on at any given time. You also need to list and number any questions that you would like to ask, up to a maximum of five questions within each tutorial support email. Remember the more specific you can be with your questions the more specific your answers will be too and this will help you to avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or duplication. The guide to tutorial support is intended to help you to understand how and when to use support in order to ensure that you get the most out of your training program. Appleton Greene training programs are designed to enable you to do things for yourself. They provide you with a structure or a framework and we use tutorial support to facilitate students while they practically implement what they learn. In other words, we are enabling students to do things for themselves. The benefits of distance learning via facilitation are considerable and are much more sustainable in the long-term than traditional short-term knowledge sharing programs. Consequently you should learn how and when to use tutorial support so that you can maximize the benefits from your learning experience with Appleton Greene. This guide describes the purpose of each training function and how to use them and how to use tutorial support in relation to each aspect of the training program. It also provides useful tips and guidance with regard to best practice.
Tutorial Support Tips
Students are often unsure about how and when to use tutorial support with Appleton Greene. This Tip List will help you to understand more about how to achieve the most from using tutorial support. Refer to it regularly to ensure that you are continuing to use the service properly. Tutorial support is critical to the success of your training experience, but it is important to understand when and how to use it in order to maximize the benefit that you receive. It is no coincidence that those students who succeed are those that learn how to be positive, proactive and productive when using tutorial support.
Be positive and friendly with your tutorial support emails
Remember that if you forward an email to the tutorial support unit, you are dealing with real people. “Do unto others as you would expect others to do unto you”. If you are positive, complimentary and generally friendly in your emails, you will generate a similar response in return. This will be more enjoyable, productive and rewarding for you in the long-term.
Think about the impression that you want to create
Every time that you communicate, you create an impression, which can be either positive or negative, so put some thought into the impression that you want to create. Remember that copies of all tutorial support emails are stored electronically and tutors will always refer to prior correspondence before responding to any current emails. Over a period of time, a general opinion will be arrived at in relation to your character, attitude and ability. Try to manage your own frustrations, mood swings and temperament professionally, without involving the tutorial support team. Demonstrating frustration or a lack of patience is a weakness and will be interpreted as such. The good thing about communicating in writing, is that you will have the time to consider your content carefully, you can review it and proof-read it before sending your email to Appleton Greene and this should help you to communicate more professionally, consistently and to avoid any unnecessary knee-jerk reactions to individual situations as and when they may arise. Please also remember that the CLP Tutorial Support Unit will not just be responsible for evaluating and assessing the quality of your work, they will also be responsible for providing recommendations to other learning providers and to client contacts within the Appleton Greene global client network, so do be in control of your own emotions and try to create a good impression.
Remember that quality is preferred to quantity
Please remember that when you send an email to the tutorial support team, you are not using Twitter or Text Messaging. Try not to forward an email every time that you have a thought. This will not prove to be productive either for you or for the tutorial support team. Take time to prepare your communications properly, as if you were writing a professional letter to a business colleague and make a list of queries that you are likely to have and then incorporate them within one email, say once every month, so that the tutorial support team can understand more about context, application and your methodology for study. Get yourself into a consistent routine with your tutorial support requests and use the tutorial support template provided with ALL of your emails. The (CLP) Tutorial Support Unit will not spoon-feed you with information. They need to be able to evaluate and assess your tutorial support requests carefully and professionally.
Be specific about your questions in order to receive specific answers
Try not to write essays by thinking as you are writing tutorial support emails. The tutorial support unit can be unclear about what in fact you are asking, or what you are looking to achieve. Be specific about asking questions that you want answers to. Number your questions. You will then receive specific answers to each and every question. This is the main purpose of tutorial support via email.
Keep a record of your tutorial support emails
It is important that you keep a record of all tutorial support emails that are forwarded to you. You can then refer to them when necessary and it avoids any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation.
Individual training workshops or telephone support
Please be advised that Appleton Greene does not provide separate or individual tutorial support meetings, workshops, or provide telephone support for individual students. Appleton Greene is an equal opportunities learning and service provider and we are therefore understandably bound to treat all students equally. We cannot therefore broker special financial or study arrangements with individual students regardless of the circumstances. All tutorial support is provided online and this enables Appleton Greene to keep a record of all communications between students, professors and tutors on file for future reference, in accordance with our quality management procedure and your terms and conditions of enrolment. All tutorial support is provided online via email because it enables us to have time to consider support content carefully, it ensures that you receive a considered and detailed response to your queries. You can number questions that you would like to ask, which relate to things that you do not understand or where clarification may be required. You can then be sure of receiving specific answers to each individual query. You will also then have a record of these communications and of all tutorial support, which has been provided to you. This makes tutorial support administration more productive by avoiding any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation.
Tutorial Support Email Format
You should use this tutorial support format if you need to request clarification or assistance while studying with your training program. Please note that ALL of your tutorial support request emails should use the same format. You should therefore set up a standard email template, which you can then use as and when you need to. Emails that are forwarded to Appleton Greene, which do not use the following format, may be rejected and returned to you by the (CLP) Program Administration Manager. A detailed response will then be forwarded to you via email usually within 20 business days of receipt for general support queries and 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Your tutorial support request, together with the corresponding TSU reply, will then be saved and stored within your electronic TSU file at Appleton Greene for future reference.
Subject line of your email
Please insert: Appleton Greene (CLP) Tutorial Support Request: (Your Full Name) (Date), within the subject line of your email.
Main body of your email
1. Appleton Greene Certified Learning Provider (CLP) Tutorial Support Request
2. Your Full Name
3. Date of TS request
4. Preferred email address
5. Backup email address
6. Course manual page name or number (reference)
7. Project study page name or number (reference)
Subject of enquiry
Please insert a maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Briefly outline the subject matter of your inquiry, or what your questions relate to.
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Please note that a maximum of 5 questions is permitted with each individual tutorial support request email.
* List the questions that you want to ask first, then re-arrange them in order of priority. Make sure that you reference them, where necessary, to the course manuals or project studies.
* Make sure that you are specific about your questions and number them. Try to plan the content within your emails to make sure that it is relevant.
* Make sure that your tutorial support emails are set out correctly, using the Tutorial Support Email Format provided here.
* Save a copy of your email and incorporate the date sent after the subject title. Keep your tutorial support emails within the same file and in date order for easy reference.
* Allow up to 20 business days for a response to general tutorial support emails and up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies, because detailed individual responses will be made in all cases and tutorial support emails are answered strictly within the order in which they are received.
* Emails can and do get lost. So if you have not received a reply within the appropriate time, forward another copy or a reminder to the tutorial support unit to be sure that it has been received but do not forward reminders unless the appropriate time has elapsed.
* When you receive a reply, save it immediately featuring the date of receipt after the subject heading for easy reference. In most cases the tutorial support unit replies to your questions individually, so you will have a record of the questions that you asked as well as the answers offered. With project studies however, separate emails are usually forwarded by the tutorial support unit, so do keep a record of your own original emails as well.
* Remember to be positive and friendly in your emails. You are dealing with real people who will respond to the same things that you respond to.
* Try not to repeat questions that have already been asked in previous emails. If this happens the tutorial support unit will probably just refer you to the appropriate answers that have already been provided within previous emails.
* If you lose your tutorial support email records you can write to Appleton Greene to receive a copy of your tutorial support file, but a separate administration charge may be levied for this service.
How To Study
Your Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and Accredited Consultant can help you to plan a task list for getting started so that you can be clear about your direction and your priorities in relation to your training program. It is also a good way to introduce yourself to the tutorial support team.
Planning your study environment
Your study conditions are of great importance and will have a direct effect on how much you enjoy your training program. Consider how much space you will have, whether it is comfortable and private and whether you are likely to be disturbed. The study tools and facilities at your disposal are also important to the success of your distance-learning experience. Your tutorial support unit can help with useful tips and guidance, regardless of your starting position. It is important to get this right before you start working on your training program.
Planning your program objectives
It is important that you have a clear list of study objectives, in order of priority, before you start working on your training program. Your tutorial support unit can offer assistance here to ensure that your study objectives have been afforded due consideration and priority.
Planning how and when to study
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. This approach is designed to let you study efficiently away from the traditional classroom environment. It is important however, that you plan how and when to study, so that you are making the most of your natural attributes, strengths and opportunities. Your tutorial support unit can offer assistance and useful tips to ensure that you are playing to your strengths.
Planning your study tasks
You should have a clear understanding of the study tasks that you should be undertaking and the priority associated with each task. These tasks should also be integrated with your program objectives. The distance learning guide and the guide to tutorial support for students should help you here, but if you need any clarification or assistance, please contact your tutorial support unit.
Planning your time
You will need to allocate specific times during your calendar when you intend to study if you are to have a realistic chance of completing your program on time. You are responsible for planning and managing your own study time, so it is important that you are successful with this. Your tutorial support unit can help you with this if your time plan is not working.
Keeping in touch
Consistency is the key here. If you communicate too frequently in short bursts, or too infrequently with no pattern, then your management ability with your studies will be questioned, both by you and by your tutorial support unit. It is obvious when a student is in control and when one is not and this will depend how able you are at sticking with your study plan. Inconsistency invariably leads to in-completion.
Charting your progress
Your tutorial support team can help you to chart your own study progress. Refer to your distance learning guide for further details.
Making it work
To succeed, all that you will need to do is apply yourself to undertaking your training program and interpreting it correctly. Success or failure lies in your hands and your hands alone, so be sure that you have a strategy for making it work. Your Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and Accredited Consultant can guide you through the process of program planning, development and implementation.
Interpretation is often unique to the individual but it can be improved and even quantified by implementing consistent interpretation methods. Interpretation can be affected by outside interference such as family members, TV, or the Internet, or simply by other thoughts which are demanding priority in our minds. One thing that can improve our productivity is using recognized reading methods. This helps us to focus and to be more structured when reading information for reasons of importance, rather than relaxation.
When reading through course manuals for the first time, subconsciously set your reading speed to be just fast enough that you cannot dwell on individual words or tables. With practice, you should be able to read an A4 sheet of paper in one minute. You will not achieve much in the way of a detailed understanding, but your brain will retain a useful overview. This overview will be important later on and will enable you to keep individual issues in perspective with a more generic picture because speed reading appeals to the memory part of the brain. Do not worry about what you do or do not remember at this stage.
Once you have speed read everything, you can then start work in earnest. You now need to read a particular section of your course manual thoroughly, by making detailed notes while you read. This process is called Content Reading and it will help to consolidate your understanding and interpretation of the information that has been provided.
Making structured notes on the course manuals
When you are content reading, you should be making detailed notes, which are both structured and informative. Make these notes in a MS Word document on your computer, because you can then amend and update these as and when you deem it to be necessary. List your notes under three headings: 1. Interpretation – 2. Questions – 3. Tasks. The purpose of the 1st section is to clarify your interpretation by writing it down. The purpose of the 2nd section is to list any questions that the issue raises for you. The purpose of the 3rd section is to list any tasks that you should undertake as a result. Anyone who has graduated with a business-related degree should already be familiar with this process.
Organizing structured notes separately
You should then transfer your notes to a separate study notebook, preferably one that enables easy referencing, such as a MS Word Document, a MS Excel Spreadsheet, a MS Access Database, or a personal organizer on your cell phone. Transferring your notes allows you to have the opportunity of cross-checking and verifying them, which assists considerably with understanding and interpretation. You will also find that the better you are at doing this, the more chance you will have of ensuring that you achieve your study objectives.
Question your understanding
Do challenge your understanding. Explain things to yourself in your own words by writing things down.
Clarifying your understanding
If you are at all unsure, forward an email to your tutorial support unit and they will help to clarify your understanding.
Question your interpretation
Do challenge your interpretation. Qualify your interpretation by writing it down.
Clarifying your interpretation
If you are at all unsure, forward an email to your tutorial support unit and they will help to clarify your interpretation.
The student will need to successfully complete the project study and all of the exercises relating to the Organizational Optimization corporate training program, achieving a pass with merit or distinction in each case, in order to qualify as an Accredited Organization Optimization Specialist (APTS). All monthly workshops need to be tried and tested within your company. These project studies can be completed in your own time and at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home or office. There are no formal examinations, assessment is based upon the successful completion of the project studies. They are called project studies because, unlike case studies, these projects are not theoretical, they incorporate real program processes that need to be properly researched and developed. The project studies assist us in measuring your understanding and interpretation of the training program and enable us to assess qualification merits. All of the project studies are based entirely upon the content within the training program and they enable you to integrate what you have learned into your corporate training practice.
Organizational Optimization – Grading Contribution
Project Study – Grading Contribution
Customer Service – 10%
E-business – 05%
Finance – 10%
Globalization – 10%
Human Resources – 10%
Information Technology – 10%
Legal – 05%
Management – 10%
Marketing – 10%
Production – 10%
Education – 05%
Logistics – 05%
TOTAL GRADING – 100%
A mark of 90% = Pass with Distinction.
A mark of 75% = Pass with Merit.
A mark of less than 75% = Fail.
If you fail to achieve a mark of 75% with a project study, you will receive detailed feedback from the Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and/or Accredited Consultant, together with a list of tasks which you will need to complete, in order to ensure that your project study meets with the minimum quality standard that is required by Appleton Greene. You can then re-submit your project study for further evaluation and assessment. Indeed you can re-submit as many drafts of your project studies as you need to, until such a time as they eventually meet with the required standard by Appleton Greene, so you need not worry about this, it is all part of the learning process.
When marking project studies, Appleton Greene is looking for sufficient evidence of the following:
Pass with merit
A satisfactory level of program understanding
A satisfactory level of program interpretation
A satisfactory level of project study content presentation
A satisfactory level of Unique Program Proposition (UPP) quality
A satisfactory level of the practical integration of academic theory
Pass with distinction
An exceptional level of program understanding
An exceptional level of program interpretation
An exceptional level of project study content presentation
An exceptional level of Unique Program Proposition (UPP) quality
An exceptional level of the practical integration of academic theory
By Florian Niedermann, Sylvia Radeschütz and Bernhard Mitschang
Gesellschaft für Informatik
“Deep Business Optimization: A Platform for Automated Process Optimization
Abstract: The efficient and effective design, execution and adaption of its core processes is vital for the success of most businesses and a major source of competitive advantage. Despite this critical importance, process optimization today largely depends on manual analytics and the ability of business analysts to spot the “right” designs and areas of improvement. This is because current techniques typically fall short in three areas: they fail to integrate relevant data sources, they do not provide optimal analytical procedures and they leave it up to analysts to identify the best process design. Hence, we propose in this paper a platform that enables (semi-)automated process optimization during the process design, execution and analysis stages, based on insights from specialized analytical procedures running on an integrated warehouse containing both process and operational data. We further detail the analysis stage, as it provides the foundation for all other optimization stages.
In this section, we first briefly discuss the reasons for and our understanding of process optimization within Business Process Management (BPM) and the role of analytics within this context. Based on this, we briefly analyse weaknesses in today’s optimization tools and techniques and introduce our deep Business Optimization Platform as a means to address these weaknesses.
1.1 Business Process Optimization
In the past decade, businesses have moved from tweaking individual business functions towards optimizing entire business processes. Originally triggered by the growing significance of Information Technology and increasing globalization [HC93], this trend has – due to the increasing volatility of the economic environment and competition amongst businesses – continued to grow in significance. Hence, achieving superior process performance through BPM is nowadays one of the key sources of competitive advantage for businesses.
Historically, process optimization in BPM has its roots in Business Process Reengineering (see [HC93], [Cha95]). Within this context, process optimization was often considered to be an exercise, where one static (process) model would be transformed into another static model. Within our work, we also include dynamic optimization – that is, optimization during process execution – so that we (similarly to e.g., [WVdAV04]) arrive at the following three stages of optimization within BPM:
1. Design: Design refers to determining the a priori (i.e., before execution) structure of the process. The goal is to design an optimal process based on “best practice” knowledge and experience/data from similar processes.
2. Execution: During the process execution, the goal of the optimization is to make optimal choices within the given process structure (e.g., allocation of optimal resources).
3. Analysis: The goal of this a posteriori redesign of the process is to change its structure in order to achieve optimal results with respect to the execution results.
1.2 Motivation for a Deep Business Optimization Platform Despite the importance of process optimization, it is still often conducted in an ad hoc manner. Typically, when designing or analyzing a process, analysts try to get as much data about the process as possible (often in an unstructured way). Then, they try to “find” deficiencies as well as implement appropriate optimizations. There are a number of challenges associated with this approach that are at least partially linked to missing capabilities of current tools (such as [Ora10] and [IBM10]).
First, there is a high chance that even a capable business analyst is not able to identify all improvement levers, especially in complex processes. This is partially due to the fact that BPM tools (and for that matter, most books on optimization, as discussed in [SM08]) offer no guidance as to how to actually change the process to achieve optimal results. Second, as current tools typically fail to provide data integration capabilities, the analysis does not take into account all relevant data sources [RML08]. This might mean that some improvement opportunities are missed, since they can’t be inferred from a single data source. Third, during the design and execution stage, optimization decisions typically rely on either static models or artificially generated data from simulation. Hence, experiences and improvements already made in existing processes might not be applied to new processes. Finally, since analysts have to “find” all the improvement areas themselves, the analysis requires significant time and resources. This incurs both costs for the analysis itself and opportunity costs due to delays in the implementation of the optimized process [Hac02].
To address these challenges, a deep1 Business Optimization Platform (dBOP) is required, that supports optimization within BPM during process design, execution and analysis. Figure 1 gives a brief comparison of this approach to “traditional” optimization approaches.
In this paper, we first sketch the architecture and the requirements for such a platform (Section 2). Then, we move on to provide the details about the analysis stage of the optimization cycle: in Section 3, we discuss methods and techniques used for integrating and analyzing the data pertaining to the process. Next, we take an in-depth view in Section 4 on how the actual process optimization is conducted during the analysis stage. In Section 5 we discuss this paper in the context of related work before providing the conclusion and the outlook on future work in Section 6.”
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By Geoff Simmons, Gillian A. Armstrong and Mark G. Durkin
”An exploration of small business Website optimization: Enablers, influencers and an assessment approach
The literature reveals a need for more integrated research contributions to small business Internet adoption and theoretical development. There is also a need for these developments to relate more closely to effective, or optimized, use of web applications in business processes and growth. To address this, and building upon recent integrated theoretical developments, the aim of this study is to explore the determinants and outcomes relating to small business Website optimization. Five determining variables isolated from recent theoretical developments relate to small business Website adoption outcomes. Utilizing an optimization rating instrument with these variables a methodological approach produced four key findings. From these findings we develop an optimization model and focus important contributions as propositions. These propositions provide a new understanding of the enablers and influencers of small business Website optimization and a basis for research to develop further insights in this area.
For small businesses, Internet opportunities and threats have led to a research focus on what determines adoption and adoption outcomes (Poon and Swatman, 1999; Raymond, 2001; Houghton and Winklehofer, 2002; Pflughoeft et al., 2003; Jones et al., 2003; Fillis et al., 2003; Fillis and Wagner, 2005; Bengtsson et al., 2007; Parker and Castleman, 2009). However, small business Internet adoption is not clearly understood with limitations relating to its determinants and outcomes (Houghton and Winklhofer, 2002; Downie, 2003; Fillis et al., 2003; Martin and Matlay, 2003; Harindranath et al, 2008). Additionally, a compelling argument positions marketing centrally within theoretical development (Jones et al., 2003; Martin and Matlay, 2003; Elliott and Boshoff, 2005; Bengtsson et al., 2007; Simmons et al., 2008). However, the role of marketing has yet to be adequately positioned and explained.
A major criticism of extant literature relates to its fragmented nature, which constrains theoretical development (Fillis et al., 2003; Pflughoeft et al., 2003; Fillis and Wagner, 2005). Previous work has integrated several theories (e.g. resource-based view; theory of planned behaviour; technology acceptance model; diffusion of innovation), without synthesis. Only very recently has research begun to grapple with the need for a more integrated theoretical framework, providing preliminary insights (Simmons et al., 2008; Parker and Castleman, 2009). Additionally, there have been calls for a closer association between Internet adoption research and adoption outcomes related to business processes and growth (e.g. Tagliavini et al., 2001; Levy and Powell, 2003; Mendo and Fitzgerald, 2005; Webb and Schlemmer, 2006). This is particularly the case with the central application of small business Internet adoption: Websites. For most small businesses Internet-based e-commerce is realized through Website adoption (Mendo and Fitzgerald, 2005; Fillis and Wagner, 2005; Simmons et al., 2007).
In addressing these issues, this article builds upon recent integrated theoretical developments, providing new insights into the determinants and outcomes of small business Website adoption. Specifically, the aim of this study is to explore the determinants and their outcomes relating to small business Website optimization. The optimization concept, presents a unique contribution through focusing adoption outcomes upon marketing tools and applications that can engage customers and create opportunities for business growth.
The first part of the article focuses on small business Internet adoption and adoption outcomes. We build on this by introducing the optimization concept. This is followed by the research methodology before presenting four key findings. We analyse these findings within an optimization model before presenting propositions that represents important study contributions and guide for further research.
Website adoption determinants and outcomes: Towards optimization
In addressing criticisms of the fragmented nature of small business Internet adoption research, recent work has attempted to create synthesis. Parker and Castleman (2009) critique a range of theories and their ability to explain small business e-commerce adoption and outcomes. Simmons et al. (2008) build upon extant work to conceptualize determinants of small business Website adoption, with outcomes again key. Given the stated importance of the marketing context, they positioned their conceptual framework within the unique small business marketing context. Determinants were identified within specific themes: Decision Area; Instigators; Influencers; and Industry, as well as specific Website adoption outcome areas.
This work holds particular relevance for this article, with its focus on marketing-focused Website adoption determinants and outcomes. From review of adoption determinants and outcomes, and the wider literature, we isolate five determining variables. These variables provide a focused basis for study within what is an extensive framework. The variables are: Owner-manager; eVision; Customer influence; Online value proposition; and Small business size. Due to their theoretical relevance to this study they are now developed, before moving to a concept that represents their outcome: optimization.”
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By Farzad Kamrani, Rassul Ayani and Farshad Moradi
”A framework for simulation-based optimization of business process models
The Assignment Problem is a classical problem in the field of combinatorial optimization, having a wide range of applications in a variety of contexts. In general terms, the Assignment Problem consists of determining the best assignment of tasks to agents according to a predefined objective function. Different variants of the Assignment Problem have been extensively investigated in the literature in the last 50 years. In this work, we introduce and analyze the problem of optimizing a business process model with the objective of finding the most beneficial assignment of tasks to agents. Despite similarities, this problem is distinguished from the traditional Assignment Problem in that we consider tasks to be part of a business process model, being interconnected according to defined rules and constraints. In other words, assigning a business process to agents is a more complex form of the Assignment Problem. Two main categories of business processes, assignment-independent and assignment-dependent, are distinguished. In the first category, different assignments of tasks to agents do not affect the flow of the business process, while processes in the second category contain critical tasks that may change the workflow, depending on who performs them. In each category several types of processes are studied. Algorithms for finding optimal and near-optimal solutions to these categories are presented. For the first category, depending on the type of process, the Hungarian algorithm is combined with either the analytical method or simulation to provide an optimal solution. For the second category, we introduce two algorithms. The first one finds an optimal solution, but is feasible only when the number of critical tasks is small. The second algorithm is applicable to large number of critical tasks, but provides a near-optimal solution. In the second algorithm a hill-climbing heuristic method is combined with the Hungarian algorithm and simulation to find an overall near-optimal solution. A series of tests is conducted which demonstrates that the proposed algorithms efficiently find optimal solutions for assignment-independent and near-optimal solutions for assignment-dependent processes.
The demanding and complex task of improving the performance of a business process may be viewed from various perspectives. Different disciplines have provided a vast range of approaches to the problem, which have been employed by business and other types of organizations over the years with varying degrees of success. Among examples of suggested measures that may improve a business process, the following can be highlighted: (1) increasing the quality and performance of the workforce by education and training; (2) improving the structure of an organization and work process; (3) improving the quality of the management of organization; and (4) automation and introducing technical aids that can enhance the performance of the personnel. Common for these solutions is that they are more or less long-term measures, which are complex and costly to implement and may require changes to the organization and the business process.
Nevertheless, another equally significant approach, which is the focus of this paper, is to improve the performance of a business process by selectin