General business advice

In today society, business women and men need to have business management skills in order succeed.  The activities of such a manager can thus be classified as planning, organising, leadership, control, communication, negotiations and problem solving.  These skills form a vital part of the organisation.

Planning is the most important skill, as it occurs at all stages and levels of the enterprise and is also part and parcel of all the other tasks performed.  It includes the purposeful reflection of the objectives that the project, or one of its phases, wants to achieve within a given time.  It is also the means and activities that are needed and the problems that may be encountered as well as drawing up the most appropriate plan of action to achieve the said objectives.

Organising is the first step in implementing the plan.  Organising thus means making arrangements as to who will do the work, how will it be done, what resources will be used and exactly when the operations will take place.

Organisation needs leadership.  Leading has a strong interpersonal character and is not only focused on activities, but as much, if not more so, on people.  Leadership or leading is responsible for the actual execution of the activities.  Motivation forms a major part of leadership and leadership should be used to convert the abilities of subordinates and peers into willingness and thus encouraging people voluntarily perform their duties to the best they can

During the planning stage standards have to be set according to which the plans have to be executed.  Control is that necessary management skill that controls and regulates the execution of plans to ensure that it is done according to the prescribed plans and standards and that the objectives that have been formulated have been achieved.  This incorporates pre-control, concurrent control and post-control to ensure success.

Communication involves the exchange of information and is vital for any decision to be made.  Correct and timely information is of utmost importance for the success of any project.  Communication includes acts such as self disclosure, paraphrasing or confirming, empathy, respect and keeping track of past communications.

Negotiation involves conferring with others in order to come to terms or reach an agreement.  Agreements may be negotiated directly or with assistance; mediation and arbitration are two types of assisted negotiation.  Negotiations occur around many issues, at many times, and at many levels of the project such as the scope of a project, changes to be made, terms and conditions, assignments and resources

Problem solving involves a combination of problem definition and decision-making.  It is concerned with problems that have already occurred (as opposed to risk management that addresses potential problems).  Problem definition requires distinguishing between causes and symptoms.  It may be of internal or external origin; it may be technical or interpersonal.

People tend to just look at the symptoms and then they try and fix it.  This will only cause the problem to re-occur at a later stage.  In effect we are just killing fires.  It is thus vital to determine the pattern or patterns of these symptoms in order to put down a structure, and therefore a structured approach in fixing the cause of these symptoms.  In other words, we need to fix the core of the problem.

By implementing these business management skills, the well-being of an organisation is given the vital tools to grow.

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