The Four Cs marketing mix

Consideration of the four (or seven) Ps isn’t the only approach to assessing an organisation’s marketing mix. In fact, the traditional Ps approach is highly concentrated on the operations of an organisation rather than the requirements of its customers.

An alternative approach is to consider the Four Cs:

  • Customer needs and wants
  • Cost to the customer
  • Convenience
  • Communication

(Source: Tyler, 2007).

Top ten tips for collaborating

First of all, a warning. These tips are not the ten commandments of collaboration, they are guidelines. The only ones that can be taken as a given in any collaborative project are the first and the last. Most of the rest could be argued to be basic management principles.

  1. Don’t do it unless you have to! Collaborating is fraught with difficulty, and consumes a lot of resources. Unless there is genuine potential to gain collaborative advantage, it’s better to do something on your own.
  2. Budget a lot more time for the collaboration than you would otherwise expect.
  3. Don’t assume that the other party (or parties) have the same goals, values and objectives. Focus on your agenda, but be prepared to compromise.
  4. Build trust by starting with small, achievable tasks.
  5. Good communication is key: avoid jargon, strive for clarity, and seek clarification where required.
  6. Don’t assume that other organisations or individuals have the same work practices.
  7. Allow those managing the collaboration a degree of autonomy.
  8. Build trust by avoiding power plays where possible.
  9. Don’t just act as a director – be a facilitator.
  10. Assume that you cannot be wholly in control, and that the parties involved will be constantly changing, and use skill, energy, commitment, and continuous nurturing to achieve collaborative advantage.

(Source: Huxham and Vangen, 2005).

Principles of the theory of collaborative advantage

I’ve been reading a chapter in one of the B325 course readers about the principles of the theory of collaborative advantage. One of the most profound insights I got out of this chapter was the way learning about collaboration, and discovering the inherent difficulties involved in collaborating can boost one’s confidence.

There are frequently recurring themes in collaboration, including common aims, communication, commitment, determination, compromise, working processes, accountability, democracy, trust, and power. Individual approaches to collaboration are different, but they often tackle a variety of these themes in different, sometimes contradicting combinations.

Everybody struggles with collaboration!

Realising that, and discovering the theme-based framework proposed by Huxham and Vangen (2001), is quite empowering.

(Source: Huxham and Vangen, 2005).

How to improve psychological climate

Improving the psychological climate can have a beneficial effect on job satisfaction, work outcomes, stress, absenteeism, commitment, participation, sick leave, and creativity.

So what can a manager do?

  • Trust people to make and take work-related decisions.
  • Do not micro-manage.
  • Allow people to plan and prioritise their own work.
  • Let people decide how best to do their job.
  • Develop a willingness to work together.
  • Foster loyalty between team members.
  • Create a sense of unity.
  • Encourage commitment to goals and achieving them.
  • Build trust.
  • Offer support through meetings and non-work-focused discussion.
  • Give specific, consistent, and fair recognition where deserved.
  • Be fair and sensitive to others.
  • Support innovation and creativity.
  • Support new ideas.
  • Encourage debate and discussion of ideas.
  • Build cross-functional cooperation and support.

Recruiting and selecting staff

Although I don’t really get involved in the recruitment process as a recruiter, as an interim manager, I am regularly involved in the recruitment process as a candidate, so chapter 9 of the B628 course book was particularly eye-opening as a window into a side of recruitment I rarely see.

The concept of separate person specifications and job specifications was new to me, as were the ideas of person-job fit and person-organisation fit.

The chapter went into the whole process of job analysis and preparation of a job description, preparation of a person specification, marketing of a job vacancy (including writing the advertisement), shortlisting applicants, selecting applicants (including various low-cost and higher-cost selection methods), designing and conducting a selection interview, ethics in recruitment and selection, and induction and socialisation.

Some very useful information in this chapter – including a redux of effective questioning techniques (covered in chapter 2).