A collection of information technology and consulting knowledge
Concepts are mental representations, abstract objects or abilities that make up the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and beliefs. They play an important role in all aspects of cognition.
In contemporary philosophy, there are at least three prevailing ways to understand what a concept is:
Concepts as mental representations, where concepts are entities that exist in the mind (mental objects)
Concepts as abilities, where concepts are abilities peculiar to cognitive agents (mental states)
Concepts as Fregean senses (see sense and reference), where concepts are abstract objects, as opposed to mental objects and mental states
Power is one of the most sought-after, yet all too often misunderstood, aspects of the human condition. Everyone strives for greater power, be it in business, love or life in general. We all vie for the next advantage or seek to improve our own circumstances. This is a normal facet of humanity and should be treated as such. Power is, by itself and its definition, ambiguous – neither good or evil. It just is, yet its importance cannot be overstated. Personal power is the force that creates business titans and top managers, star athletes and household names. Yet cultivating the kind of Personal Power that galvanizes the mundane into the extraordinary means looking beyond the accepted concepts of Power to the underpinnings of what personal power really is, and what it isn’t.
Personal Power is not a position of authority or the ability to influence. Instead, Personal Power lies in the capacity, ability, and willingness to act – regardless of the environment. This book breaks down the barriers, so many of us face when we try to manifest our own personal power, explaining the roadblocks in our way and how to move past them.
From understanding the many forms of power to utilizing what you have and learning skills that can take you farther, this book is both a guide and a map, one that will help you unleash your potential by finding, and cultivating, the Personal Power within.
Consilience is the confluence of concepts and/or principles from different disciplines, especially, when forming a comprehensive unifying theory.
Why are some inventions discovered at the same time in different parts of the world? Does this have something to do with the scientific process of “sharing important discoveries?” Generally, scientists believe that they are part of a community of knowledge. Their discoveries do not occur in a vacuum. They must give credit to those who went before and created the foundation for their work. Therefore, when they discover something new, they are required to share it with the entire world. This sharing is part of knowledge evolution. Interestingly enough, it is also key to the World Wide Web. Collaboration is one of the key strengths of the Internet. It is a way to increase overall knowledge of Planet Earth. Science can also increase the strength of their theories through independent confirmation.
There are oftentimes prescriptions for the types and numbers of witnesses to accomplish certain legal requirements. Anyone who has completed an experiment understands the importance of result conciliation. A hypothesis is not proven to be true unless it can be repeated by independent sources. This shows that the reality is objective. The word, Consilience was formed by two Latin words – “com” meaning “together” and the suffix “-silence” meaning “jumping.” Therefore, Consilience means “jumping together” or a “convergence of proof from independent sources.” Scientists should use different methods to reach the same conclusion. Business and economics have a similar concept. Just think of the concept of a Recession or Depression. These are officially declared when a variety of indicators are in agreement – stock market, employment, inflation, money supply and so forth.
Consulting can use the concept of Consilience to teach firms how to follow objective norms. Technology consulting can compare a subjective company’s practices to objective industry norms. The best career development is successful based on objective, independent analysis. The concordance of evidence can help a business create a successful strategy. Consilience is the convergence of evidence from independent sources to prove the validity of a conclusion. Objective corporate success can be achieved by satisfying objective needs of your customers. Business intelligence requires an objective standard, such as Consilience to be useful.
Consilience is important to you because the answer to any given problem may not necessarily come from within your field of expertise and experience. rather, to be truly competitive in an ever in an ever increasing world of knowledge, we need to adopt a broad-scoped renaissance approach to learning and thinking, which folds in other sets of concepts and principles to create the durable solutions for today and tomorrow.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure is an old management adage that has been used for many years and while most attribute it to Peter Drucker, some claim that the quote was first used by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, although it is a bone of contention whether or not the quote is used in the correct context.
Irrespective of who said it first, I have always agreed with the principle. Coming from a corporate background where this is one of the management principles often used, I was surprised to learn that there are those that strongly disagree with the statement. This group argues that there are many things being managed at work that aren’t measurable, from the confidence we instill in a new, young manager, to the quality of new hires.
The argument is made that quantity is easy to measure, i.e., how much salespeople sell, how many leads marketing creates, or how many phone calls telemarketing makes, but that quality can’t be measured, i.e., excellent customer service, good technical support, or what differentiates a good consultant from a great one.
What to measure
Many organizations use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at multiple levels to measure their success at reaching targets, and will then manage the factors influencing the KPI to get it to where they want it to be. A KPI is a value that is measured and shows how effective a company is in reaching key business goals.
Setting a KPI and measuring a specific value is however not always as straightforward as it might seem. To set a KPI, the underlying business objective needs to be properly understood. In one example, a department manager’s KPI included the volume of sales, measured in dollars. In an effort to improve sales, the manager decided to change the remuneration of her sales reps from a fixed salary to a small, basic salary plus commission on sales made. The idea behind this was to incentivize the work, which would lead to increased sales. In the early months after implementing the change, the sales made by account reps did indeed increase dramatically. The CFO then however discovered that the profit margin on those increased sales was substantially lower than the minimum the company expected. The sales reps were discounting the product to increase sales, resulting in a high commission, but the net effect was that the company made less profit.
It is critical that the company’s objectives are clearly understood by all parties and that a suitable metric is measured to check if the objective is being met.
Can quality be measured?
Those arguing that quality, such as excellent customer service, or good technical support can’t be measured, often express the view that the only way that a company can determine how good their service or support is, is by asking the customer. I agree with that statement, but when you do that, aren’t you measuring these aspects? If 50% of your customers feel that your service and support is good, that is a measure against which you can manage and improve those objectives.
The same can be done for any qualitative metric. It merely becomes a question of what is appropriate to measure, and how to obtain those metrics. Qualitative measures often have to be done indirectly, i.e., you need to measure indirect results rather than direct ones.
The role of Business Intelligence
With the sheer volume of data available across the business, and with much of it residing in different systems, it becomes very difficult to extract the relevant metrics to measure and improve. This is where Business intelligence or BI comes in.
BI utilizes computer-based techniques to spot, extract, and analyze business data, including things like sales, marketing, and production in order to make substantial improvements. Business Intelligence uses data already collected in the business. It is able to utilize data from such diverse sources as website analytics, accounting systems, customer relationship management (CRM) and email management systems.
A Business Intelligence system can automatically use and analyze all the information from these applications in real-time. This enables companies to quickly see, manage and improve their performance. BI goes further than simply measuring performance so that it can be improved, but also helps identify weaknesses in the company.
When an organization grows to the point where huge volumes of data are involved, analytics are used to examine large and varied data sets to uncover correlations, hidden patterns, customer preferences and market trends; so, organizations can make more-informed business decisions.
Both BI and big data analytics can hugely benefit Organization & Planning within any business. If you have all this information, irrespective of how exactly it was obtained or measured, managing the direction you want to go becomes an informed decision that can be planned for, rather than a guessing game based on ‘gut feel.’
A crucial element that is required in today’s fast-moving world is an organization’s ability to respond rapidly to changes in both the external and internal environment. This is known as Business agility, and it is not possible to do if the business does not measure what is going on inside and around it, and then manages accordingly.
Sooner or later you will wonder why you are not passionate and energized about your work. At the same time, an inner voice will tell you to suck it up because work is only a four-letter word and you are not supposed to enjoy it.
It is a misconception because loving your work can bring manage benefits. Work should enable and empower, not entrap. Here we have some of the reasons why you should love your work.
Helps with your success
When you love your career, no one can stop you from getting successful. You will do everything that it takes to assure that your customers love what you are offering, and your boss appreciates your every move. You would prefer to collect the appreciations because your every move will be well planned, and you will not be afraid to take it to the next level.
You are always ready to learn
You will do anything that will help you in future when you love your work.
We all know that technology is evolving, and you will take every step to assure that you learn how to work in the new environment.
You will be ready to attend all the conferences and other presentation only to learn something new
When you love what do training is easier to take and will feel less like an imposition, and you will never want to miss your chance of learning something innovational and new
With the passage of time, your knowledge, experience, and skill will grow
You will be willing to work until an older age
The best thing about loving your work is that you would prefer to work as long as you can. Most people, who do not love their work, spend most of their time waiting for the retirement. As soon as they are retired, they feel like their burden has been relieved.
However, when you love your work, you will never like to leave it. You will love to continue your job one way or another to assure that you are never disconnected. The word retirement will not be present in your dictionary. There are a few individuals that have worked till their last breath only because they loved being the part of their country.
More energy and determination
You will have more energy to put into your work when you love it. You will take all the risks, and even if you have to stay up all night, you will do it only to assure that everything is fine with your work. You will give your work everything to make it reach the level of success of which you have dreamt. You will be determined, and there is nothing that can reduce your motivation when you are working.
You will be ready to make a difference
When you start loving your work, you will notice that you will begin to think about new projects and products that will enhance the visibility of your business and this approach that will help you outpace and create your competitors. When the market is getting highly competitive, it is not easy to prove that you are different but when you love your work you can do anything to stand out. It might not be easy in the beginning, but with passion, you will get used to it.
You will quickly overcome challenges
One of the most significant benefits of loving your work is that you will be ready to face all the challenges thrown your way. You would take them positively as a way of growing and learning new things. Every morning you will wake up with a new energy and enthusiasm. You will be waiting for the new challenge that comes your way. The problem-solving skills will improve, and you will notice a difference in your mood and attitude. It will be easier for you to work with your team and your company will grow.
Tips for loving your work
In case that you have lost the passion and it has become hard for you to love your work or have the required energy. Do not worry because we have got your back with some of the important tips that will help you grow quickly.
1-Discover what you love
Confusions can happen anytime, and that is why we often make the wrong decision. It is important that you have proper mentoring because it is the only way to find out what you love. With the help of mentoring all your doubts will clear, and you will know that you have taken the right decision.
Once you have found what you love it is important that you take the required risk to make it happen. It is a reality that when we are trying to do something new and unique, our family and friends will oppose us. They love us and want the best for us, and that is why they will try to pursue you to do something else.
However, if you understand your goals, it is important to take a chance. You should take their opposition as motivation because it will help you to show everyone that you can turn the thing you love into a successful business.
When you are doing what you love there will come a time when you will have no support. You might need some financial help, but no one will be there for you because they think that you are wasting your time and you will waste their money as well.
However, you have to stay healthy and confident. The reason is that if you break at this point, you will never be able to stand up again and show people the potential you have within you. Take some help from the lenders and assure that you have the best business plan, work hard and prove.
4-Know what you value in life
There are three things that you have to pay attention to
It is vital for you to identify that which one of these factors are most important to you. Once you will learn it will become easier for you to follow the path you love. There are different sides of the business, and it is essential that you learn which one of them you like the most.
Understanding the purpose of your life is important because only then you will be able to follow the right path. If you want security make sure that you make yourself secure first before you start to invest in your business. Once you get what you want it would be easier for you to pay attention towards your job. It might take some time, but you will eventually learn what you to do and when to take the right decisions.
5-Do not say ‘will do,’ just do it
The most common mistake that we often make is that we keep saying that we will do something, but we do not take the required steps. We keep delaying the tasks and actions we should seek to accomplish what we want. In the end, the only regret remains because the right time is not available anymore.
It is essential that you do things today, instead of leaving them for tomorrow. Take baby steps in the beginning. Once you start doing what you want, nothing can stop you from taking everything to the next level. It is the time for the decision and so stop wasting your time.
6-Use power of attraction
You might find it funny, but the power of attraction exists. Once you start giving everything to what you love, others will notice your passion and enthusiasm. They will see that how hard you are working and, so they will love to invest in your work.
Your hard work and passion will give the impression that you are trustworthy and true to your work. That is why people will be attracted, and it will help to increase your revenue with the passage of time, and it will attract more individuals, and there will be no going back.
How Consulting can help you love your career
Once you are ready to love your work, but you are finding it hard to do so consulting will be the best option. Consultants will never let you lose your positivity and passion. Here we have a few ways in which consultants can help you.
The biggest benefits you will get from consulting is self-motivation. The best consultants know how to train you to always stay at the top of your mood even in the worst conditions. Experienced consultants will teach you different tricks and techniques that will help you to deal with even the toughest situations. In time you will learn to manage your stress, and so you will find something productive even in the darkest hours.
Learn to collaborate
To make the business successful, you have to develop and work with the team. There are a few leaders that think themselves as complete, and so they will not pay attention towards what their team is saying even if they are correct. It will make them hate you. Consultants will teach you to collaborate with your team. They will guide you to take their advice so that it will become easy for you to manage the tasks and you will always be open to new ideas and techniques.
You will notice that with consulting you will be able to find the solution to every problem. The reason is that consultants always have the best solution to every problem or they will find one in limited time. When you stay with one, you will learn their tricks as well. Even your team will be surprised that how easy it is for you to deal with different problems.
Helps you find your path
In case you are not on the right path, there is no need to be concerned. The consultants will ask a few questions to look for the reason that might have been disturbing your inner peace. Once they find the issue, they will help you to acknowledge it. They will be at your side in every situation, and so soon you will be able to make the most important decisions easily without any distractions or issues.
Consultants will be your perfect mentors. They will guide you regarding everything and will assure that you never take a wrong decision. They have more experience than you have and they have faced the world as no one other has. So they will mentor you in every tough situation. You can turn to them whenever you feel stuck or disturbed. Let them know your issues, and they will understand that where you are going wrong to help you out.
Once you learn to love your work, you will have a more peaceful and successful life. It is never too late to change your path and do what to love or find passion in what you are already doing. Take help from the best consultants because they know what you need the most. While selecting the consultant, you have to be very careful. All the consultants are the best, but every one of them has specialties in different fields. Make sure you select the one who meets your requirements in the best possible way. Let them know your goals and issues, and they will tell you who is the best for you.
Comparative advantage is when an organization produces a good or service for a lower opportunity cost than other organizations. Comparative advantage occurs when an organization can produce a good or service at a lower opportunity cost than another. Comparative advantage means an organization can produce a good relatively cheaper than other organizations.
Even if one organization is more efficient in the production of all goods (absolute advantage) than the other, both organizations will still gain by trading with each other, if they have different relative efficiencies.
Opportunity cost measures a trade-off. An organization with a comparative advantage isn’t necessarily the best at producing something. The benefits of buying their good or service just outweigh the disadvantages. That means the good or service has a low opportunity cost for other organizations to import. For example, oil-producing organizations have a comparative advantage in chemicals. That’s because the oil provides a cheap source of material for the chemicals when compared to organizations without it.
As a result, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Mexico compete well with U.S. chemical production firm. Their opportunity cost is low. That makes their chemicals less expensive. That’s because a lot of the raw ingredients produced in the oil distillery process.
Another example is India’s call centers. U.S. companies buy this service because it is cheaper than locating the call center in America. Indian call centers aren’t better than U.S. call centers. Their workers don’t always speak English very clearly. But they can do it cheap enough to make the tradeoff worth it.
In the past, comparative advantages occurred more in goods and rarely in services. That’s because goods and services are easier to export. But telecommunication technology like the internet is making services easier to provide across organizational or regional boundaries. That includes call centers, banking, and entertainment.
Theory Of Comparative Advantage
Eighteenth-century economist David Ricardo created the theory of comparative advantage. He argued that an organization boosts its economic growth the most by focusing on the industry in which it has the largest comparative advantage.
For example, England could manufacture cheap cloth. Portugal had the right conditions to make cheap wine. Ricardo predicted that England would stop making wine and Portugal stop making cloth. He was right. England made more money by trading its cloth for Portugal’s wine, and Portugal made more money by selling wine for cloth. It would have cost England a lot to make all the wine it needed because it lacked the climate. Portugal didn’t have the manufacturing ability to make cheap cloth.
Therefore, they both benefited by trading what they produced the most efficiently.
This theory of comparative advantage became the rationale for free trade agreements. Ricardo developed his argument to combat trade restrictions on imported wheat in England. He argued that it made no sense to restrict low-cost and high-quality wheat from organizations with the right climate and soil conditions. England would receive more value by exporting products that skilled labor and machinery. It could receive more wheat in trade than it could grow on its own.
The theory of comparative advantage explains why trade protectionism doesn’t work in the long run. Political leaders are always under pressure from their local constituents to protect jobs from international competition by raising tariffs. But that’s only a temporary fix.
In the long run, it hurts the organization’s competitiveness. It allows the organization to waste resources on unsuccessful industries. It also forces consumers to pay higher prices to buy domestic goods.
America’s comparative advantage is its large land mass, bordered by two oceans. It also has lots of fresh water, arable land, and available oil. It has a diverse population with a common language and organizational laws. For more, see The Power of the U.S. Economy.
All of this gives U.S. businesses cheap natural resources and protection from land invasion. Most importantly, the diverse population provides a large test market for new products. That’s helped the United States became a global leader in banking, aerospace, defense equipment, and technology. For more, see The Four Major Things the United States is Good at Producing and How Silicon Valley is America’s Innovative Advantage.
Limitations Of Comparative Advantage Theory
We need to be careful, as comparative advantage theory does not explain all changes in trade patterns. It is an important explanation, but you also need to consider that:
Transport costs and tariffs will change the relative prices of goods and may, therefore ‘blur’ the impact of comparative advantage.
Exchange rates do not always relate exactly to what comparative advantage theory suggests as they have many other determinants – this may also negate the argument.
Imperfect competition may lead to prices being different to opportunity cost ratios. Imperfect competition may also result in the exploitation of economies of scale which may adjust to what comparative advantage theory suggests should happen.
Comparative advantage theory is a static theory and does not take account of some of the more dynamic elements determining world trade, such as production capital not being a natural resource, and so may come outside the scope of the theory.
Absolute advantage is anything an organization does more efficiently than other organizations. Organizations that are blessed with an abundance of farmland, fresh water, and oil reserves have an absolute advantage in agriculture, gasoline, and petrochemicals.
Just because an organization has an absolute advantage in an industry doesn’t mean that it will be its comparative advantage. That depends on what the trading opportunity costs are. Say its neighbor has no oil but lots of farmland and fresh water. The partner is willing to trade a lot of food in exchange for oil. Now the first organization has a comparative advantage in oil. It can get more food from its neighbor by trading it for oil than it could produce on its own.
Competitive advantage is what an organization, business or individual does that provides a better value to consumers than its competitors.
There are three strategies companies use to gain a competitive advantage.
They could be the low-cost provider.
They could offer a better product or service.
They could focus on one type of customer.
Potential Strategies For Differentiation
The following strategies may be helpful in differentiating a product or service from those of the competition. It is important to keep in mind that an enterprise’s most efficient differentiation the one that will bring the enterprise the most success-will likely come from just one or two strategies.
Product Features and Benefits
What makes the product unique and desired? Consider product characteristics such as style, handling, taste, quality ingredients, comfort, production methods (such as natural or organic), certification and so on. Are the product characteristics significantly different from those of currently available products? Can the enterprise provide these features or benefits efficiently?
What about the enterprise’s location is a draw to customers? The office or store location is often a significant factor, particularly for enterprises selling directly to the public. The site is chosen carefully, preferably in an area near customer traffic. For example, in a farmer’s market setting, is the both located in a visible, convenient, and accessible place? Being tied to an existing location will directly influence other decisions, such as marketing, product distribution (such as mail order/Internet versus roadside stand), and even product selection. If this is the case, would it be possible for the enterprise to partner with someone who has a better location, if the one provided is not as attractive?
Consider the factors which ensure that front and managerial staff produce an excellent product and deliver a positive customer experience. Do the enterprise’s personnel follow these factors? Do they act professionally? Do they have expertise with the product, on which customers can rely?
What policies, processes, and standards are adopted to smooth operations, create value, and offer a positive customer experience?
What fundamental cost advantage does the enterprise have which would justify permanently low prices? Most enterprises operating in the same industry in a location will tend to have pretty much the same cost structure, meaning that when one competitor cuts price, others usually follow, thus erasing whatever advantage the first competitor gained by reducing costs. Ways to achieve a fundamental cost advantage might be through lower overhead or shipping costs (perhaps through geographic closeness to markets), cheaper labor, and low-priced raw materials (perhaps through long-term purchase agreements).
Customer Incentive Programs
Does the enterprise employ programs which attract new and repeat customers through efforts such as giveaways, coupons, sales, promotions, and volume discounts?
Guarantees and Warranties
If the enterprise is conveying to clients that it provides a quality product, is that perception reinforced with guarantees and warranties?
Brand Name Recognition
A carefully conceived and executed marketing plan with a focus on the customer is a significant contribution to business success. A good marketing strategy can be enough to differentiate one business from the rest, all other things being equal. Brand name recognition is reliant upon a good marketing strategy and a consistent, reliable product and enterprise. Enterprises who do not have the resources available to market themselves as their brand may want to consider joining an alliance or cooperative to sell their product under a recognizable brand name.
Is the business enterprise recognized within the community as a contributor and a valuable member?
Does the enterprise offer a further service or a better product? These value-added aspects may often be free with the purchase of a product, such as free installation or delivery.
Extended Growing/Operating Season
Is the enterprise’s product available before or after competitor’s products? For instance, being the first to open for the season?
Water, Access to Irrigation, and Wetlands
Are there sufficient water resources available to produce a product which might not typically be manufactured in the region? Is it possible to differentiate the enterprise to consumers by performing good stewardship of the enterprise’s water resources?
Is the weather conducive to producing and to sell the product or service? For instance, weather resources are wind, rain, and sun. While in a small geographic area these same resources would be available to all competitors, an enterprise that is trying to compete in a larger geographic area may face competition from producers located in an entirely different region, who are exposed to various weather resources.
Plants and Animals
If the enterprise is agritourism-based, then what wildlife can be supported? For example, can the agritourism enterprise involve bird watching, or is livestock available for a petting zoo for rides? For more traditional operations, can the enterprise’s location support the plants and animals that are intended for use? Can the enterprise offer a unique heirloom variety or exotic breed with potential benefits?
Organization and Alliances
Does the enterprise have unique alliances or sources of supply? Some enterprises can pool resources to provide a unique offering, such as through a cooperative.
For example, offering customers with additional information about the enter/purchase is a way for clients to connect to the company. This connection can be strengthened through identifying with the client or visiting the customer, or the customer’s website. Offering educational resources and information about the history of and people associated with the company.
With all the above potential sources of competitive advantage, quality is an underlying factor. Successful enterprises offer consistent quality, so an important consideration for any enterprise is how quality is going to be perceived and measured. In some cases, quality may be related to value-added strategies, such as obtaining third party certification for organics, Kosher production, etc… In other cases, quality may be related to the fact that the product being offered is of a higher physical quality than the competitor’s product, or from providing excellent customer service.