Practical Business Tips: Signs of Poor Fiscal Management

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When it comes to managing business finance there are many cases where poor money habits create dwindling profits and drains on cash flow. If your business can use a dose of financial reality then read on. This article provides five truths about poor fiscal habits and how they impact the bottom line.

Overspending Impairs Financial Judgment.

When there is poor financial management in business the decisions for spending become clouded. Companies think more cash is available than there actually is and it causes them to use cash flow inappropriately. To take the reigns, financial officers need to make decisions that are based on facts, not assumptions.

Poor Fiscal Management Robs Your Time

For every moment of time that you spend creating sales, poor financial habits can steal them. The mishandling of cash flow causes you to have to work harder. So instead of being free to use time as you desire you must constantly think of ways to increase profits, cash flow, and capital.

Puts You In Debt to Others.

Being unable to determine your financial position can put your business in the hands of another. For example, companies that carry heavy debt are bound by the terms of investors, lenders, and other creditors. These stakeholders have rights in your business because they have the number one claim to your profits. Take caution when adding credit to your capital structure. With proper financial management it can serve as a means of growing your business rather than a means of saving it.

It Negatively Impacts Credibility.

When a business is out of control, it shows up on internal financials and credit reports. As a result, negative performance can cause employees, vendors, and customers to lose confidence in your business. It is important to have accurate, timely and reliable financial data to help you make sound decisions and use money wisely.

It Hinders the Ability to Move Forward.

Growing a business with poor financial habits is difficult, if not impossible. Proper financial habits in saving, investing, and spending removes limits and enables you to take advantage of growth opportunities.

Having a strong ability to handle money well is a key factor in business success. Now that you know the truths about poor fiscal management, ask yourself, do you have the right person in charge?

And to learn more about how your company can become more fiscally sound and get the financial accountability it needs, visit the financial center for tools and resources at http://www.tbsusa.com.

Copyright (c) 2010 Benita Tyler

TBS USA is committed to helping small business owners by providing proven financial management strategies to help them achieve their profit goals, minimize tax liabilities, and build wealth. Business advice and tax tips are available at http://www.tbsusa.com

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Main Functions of Management

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There are four main functions of management.

1. Planning.
2. Organizing.
3. Leading.
4. Controlling.

Planning.

Planning is an important managerial function. It provides the design of a desired future state and the means of bringing about that future state to accomplish the organization’s objectives. In other words, planning is the process of thinking before doing. To solve the problems and take the advantages of the opportunities created by rapid change, managers must develop formal long- and short-range plans so that organizations can move toward their objectives.

It is the foundation area of management. It is the base upon which the all the areas of management should be built. Planning requires administration to assess; where the company is presently set, and where it would be in the upcoming. From there an appropriate course of action is determined and implemented to attain the company’s goals and objectives

Planning is unending course of action. There may be sudden strategies where companies have to face. Sometimes they are uncontrollable. You can say that they are external factors that constantly affect a company both optimistically and pessimistically. Depending on the conditions, a company may have to alter its course of action in accomplishing certain goals. This kind of preparation, arrangement is known as strategic planning. In strategic planning, management analyzes inside and outside factors that may affect the company and so objectives and goals. Here they should have a study of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For management to do this efficiently, it has to be very practical and ample.

Characteristics of planning.

Ø Goal oriented.
Ø Primacy.
Ø Pervasive.
Ø Flexible.
Ø Continuous.
Ø Involves choice.
Ø Futuristic.
Ø Mental exercise.
Ø Planning premises.

Importance of planning.

* Make objectives clear and specific.
* Make activities meaningful.
* Reduce the risk of uncertainty.
* Facilitators coordination.
* Facilitators decision making.
* Promotes creativity.
* Provides basis of control.
* Leads to economy and efficiency.
* Improves adoptive behavior.
* Facilitates integration.

Formal and informal planning.

Formal planning usually forces managers to consider all the important factors and focus upon both short- and long-range consequences. Formal planning is a systematic planning process during which plans are coordinated throughout the organization and are usually recorded in writing. There are some advantages informal planning. First, formalized planning forces managers to plan because they are required to do so by their superior or by organizational rules. Second, managers are forced to examine all areas of the organization. Third, the formalization it self provides a set of common assumptions on which all managers can base their plans.

Planning that is unsystematic, lacks coordination, and involves only parts of the organizations called informal planning. It has three dangerous deficiencies. First, it may not account for all the important factors. Second, it frequency focuses only on short range consequences. Third, without coordination, plans in different parts of the organization may conflict.

Stages in planning.

The sequential nature of planning means that each stage must be completed before the following stage is begun. A systematic planning progress is a series of sequential activities that lead to the implementation of organizational plans.

The first step in planning is to develop organizational objectives. Second, planning specialists and top management develop a strategic plan and communicate it to middle managers. Third, use the strategic plans to coordinate the development of intermediate plans by middle managers. Fourth, department managers and supervisors develop operating plans that are consistent with the intermediate plans. Fifth, implementation involves making decisions and initiating actions to carry out the plans. Sixth, the final stage, follow-up and control, which is critical.

The organizational planning system.

A coordinated organizational planning system requires that strategic, intermediate, and operating plans be developed in order of their importance to the organization. All three plans are interdependent with intermediate plans based on strategic plans and operating planes based on intermediate plans. Strategic plans are the first to be developed because they set the future direction of the organization and are crucial to the organization’s survival. Thus, strategic plans lay the foundation for the development of intermediate and operating plans. The next plans to be developed are the intermediate plans; intermediate plans cover major functional areas within an organization and are the steppingstones to operating plans. Last come operating plans; these provide specific guidelines for the activities within each department.

Organizing.

The second function of the management is getting prepared, getting organized. Management must organize all its resources well before in hand to put into practice the course of action to decide that has been planned in the base function. Through this process, management will now determine the inside directorial configuration; establish and maintain relationships, and also assign required resources.

While determining the inside directorial configuration, management ought to look at the different divisions or departments. They also see to the harmonization of staff, and try to find out the best way to handle the important tasks and expenditure of information within the company. Management determines the division of work according to its need. It also has to decide for suitable departments to hand over authority and responsibilities.

Importance of the organization process and organization structure.

Promote specialization. Defines jobs. Classifies authority and power. Facilitators’ coordination. Act as a source of support security satisfaction. Facilitators’ adaptation. Facilitators’ growth. Stimulators creativity.

Directing (Leading).

Directing is the third function of the management. Working under this function helps the management to control and supervise the actions of the staff. This helps them to assist the staff in achieving the company’s goals and also accomplishing their personal or career goals which can be powered by motivation, communication, department dynamics, and department leadership.

Employees those which are highly provoked generally surpass in their job performance and also play important role in achieving the company’s goal. And here lies the reason why managers focus on motivating their employees. They come about with prize and incentive programs based on job performance and geared in the direction of the employees requirements.

It is very important to maintain a productive working environment, building positive interpersonal relationships, and problem solving. And this can be done only with Effective communication. Understanding the communication process and working on area that need improvement, help managers to become more effective communicators. The finest technique of finding the areas that requires improvement is to ask themselves and others at regular intervals, how well they are doing. This leads to better relationship and helps the managers for better directing plans.

Controlling.

Managerial control is the follow-up process of examining performance, comparing actual against planned actions, and taking corrective action as necessary. It is continual; it does not occur only at the end of specified periods. Even though owners or managers of small stores may evaluate performance at the end of the year, they also monitor performance throughout the year.

Types of managerial control:

* Preventive control.

Preventive controls are designed to prevent undesired performance before it occurs.

* Corrective control.

Corrective controls are designed to adjust situations in which actual performance has already deviated from planned performance.

Stages in the managerial control process.

The managerial control process is composed of several stages. These stages includes

Determining performance standards. Measuring actual performance. Comparing actual performance against desired performance (performance standards) to determine deviations. Evaluating the deviations. Implementing corrective actions.

2) Describe how this each function leads to attain the organizational objectives.

Planning

Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the process of planning includes planners working backwards through the system. They start from the results (outcomes and outputs) they prefer and work backwards through the system to identify the processes needed to produce the results. Then they identify what inputs (or resources) are needed to carry out the processes.

* Quick Look at Some Basic Terms:

Planning typically includes use of the following basic terms.

NOTE: It is not critical to grasp completely accurate definitions of each of the following terms. It is more important for planners to have a basic sense for the difference between goals/objectives (results) and strategies/tasks (methods to achieve the results).

Goals

Goals are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, in order to achieve some larger, overall result preferred from the system, for example, the mission of an organization. (Going back to our reference to systems, goals are outputs from the system.)

Strategies or Activities

These are the methods or processes required in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals. (Going back to our reference to systems, strategies are processes in the system.)

Objectives

Objectives are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals in the plan. Objectives are usually “milestones” along the way when implementing the strategies.

TasksParticularly in small organizations, people are assigned various tasks required to implement the plan. If the scope of the plan is very small, tasks and activities are often essentially the same.

Resources (and Budgets)

Resources include the people, materials, technologies, money, etc., required to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these resources are often depicted in the form of a budget. (Going back to our reference to systems, resources are input to the system.)

Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning

Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the basic planning process typically includes similar nature of activities carried out in similar sequence. The phases are carried out carefully or — in some cases — intuitively, for example, when planning a very small, straightforward effort. The complexity of the various phases (and their duplication throughout the system) depends on the scope of the system. For example, in a large corporation, the following phases would be carried out in the corporate offices, in each division, in each department, in each group, etc.

1. Reference Overall Singular Purpose (“Mission”) or Desired Result from System.

During planning, planners have in mind (consciously or unconsciously) some overall purpose or result that the plan is to achieve. For example, during strategic planning, it is critical to reference the mission, or overall purpose, of the organization.

2. Take Stock Outside and Inside the System.

This “taking stock” is always done to some extent, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, during strategic planning, it is important to conduct an environmental scan. This scan usually involves considering various driving forces, or major influences, that might effect the organization.

3. Analyze the Situation.

For example, during strategic planning, planners often conduct a “SWOT analysis”. (SWOT is an acronym for considering the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats faced by the organization.) During this analysis, planners also can use a variety of assessments, or methods to “measure” the health of systems.

4. Establish Goals.

Based on the analysis and alignment to the overall mission of the system, planners establish a set of goals that build on strengths to take advantage of opportunities, while building up weaknesses and warding off threats.

5. Establish Strategies to Reach Goals.

The particular strategies (or methods to reach the goals) chosen depend on matters of affordability, practicality and efficiency.

6. Establish Objectives Along the Way to Achieving Goals.

Objectives are selected to be timely and indicative of progress toward goals.

7. Associate Responsibilities and Time Lines with Each Objective.

Responsibilities are assigned, including for implementation of the plan, and for achieving various goals and objectives. Ideally, deadlines are set for meeting each responsibility.

8. Write and Communicate a Plan Document.

The above information is organized and written in a document which is distributed around the system.

9. Acknowledge Completion and Celebrate Success.

This critical step is often ignored — which can eventually undermine the success of many of your future planning efforts. The purpose of a plan is to address a current problem or pursue a development goal. It seems simplistic to assert that you should acknowledge if the problem was solved or the goal met. However, this step in the planning process is often ignored in lieu of moving on the next problem to solve or goal to pursue. Skipping this step can cultivate apathy and skepticism — even cynicism — in your organization. Do not skip this step.

To Ensure Successful Planning and Implementation:

A common failure in many kinds of planning is that the plan is never really implemented. Instead, all focus is on writing a plan document. Too often, the plan sits collecting dust on a shelf. Therefore, most of the following guidelines help to ensure that the planning process is carried out completely and is implemented completely — or, deviations from the intended plan are recognized and managed accordingly.

Involve the Right People in the Planning Process

Going back to the reference to systems, it is critical that all parts of the system continue to exchange feedback in order to function effectively. This is true no matter what type of system. When planning, get input from everyone who will responsible to carry out parts of the plan, along with representative from groups who will be effected by the plan. Of course, people also should be involved in they will be responsible to review and authorize the plan.

Write Down the Planning Information and Communicate it Widely

New managers, in particular, often forget that others do not know what these managers know. Even if managers do communicate their intentions and plans verbally, chances are great that others will not completely hear or understand what the manager wants done. Also, as plans change, it is extremely difficult to remember who is supposed to be doing what and according to which version of the plan. Key stakeholders (employees, management, board members, founders, investor, customers, clients, etc.) may request copies of various types of plans. Therefore, it is critical to write plans down and communicate them widely.

Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER

SMARTER is an acronym, that is, a word composed by joining letters from different words in a phrase or set of words. In this case, a SMARTER goal or objective is:

Specific:

For example, it is difficult to know what someone should be doing if they are to pursue the goal to “work harder”. It is easier to recognize “Write a paper”.

Measurable:

It is difficult to know what the scope of “Writing a paper” really is. It is easier to appreciate that effort if the goal is “Write a 30-page paper”.

Acceptable:

If I am to take responsibility for pursuit of a goal, the goal should be acceptable to me. For example, I am not likely to follow the directions of someone telling me to write a 30-page paper when I also have to five other papers to write. However, if you involve me in setting the goal so I can change my other commitments or modify the goal, I am much more likely to accept pursuit of the goal as well.

Realistic:

Even if I do accept responsibility to pursue a goal that is specific and measurable, the goal will not be useful to me or others if, for example, the goal is to “Write a 30-page paper in the next 10 seconds”.

Time frame:

It may mean more to others if I commit to a realistic goal to “Write a 30-page paper in one week”. However, it will mean more to others (particularly if they are planning to help me or guide me to reach the goal) if I specify that I will write one page a day for 30 days, rather than including the possibility that I will write all 30 pages in last day of the 30-day period.

Extending:

The goal should stretch the performer’s capabilities. For example, I might be more interested in writing a 30-page paper if the topic of the paper or the way that I write it will extend my capabilities.

Rewarding:

I am more inclined to write the paper if the paper will contribute to an effort in such a way that I might be rewarded for my effort.

Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who is Doing What and By When?)

Plans should specify who is responsible for achieving each result, including goals and objectives. Dates should be set for completion of each result, as well. Responsible parties should regularly review status of the plan. Be sure to have someone of authority “sign off” on the plan, including putting their signature on the plan to indicate they agree with and support its contents. Include responsibilities in policies, procedures, job descriptions, performance review processes, etc.

Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly

It is OK to deviate from the plan. The plan is not a set of rules. It is an overall guideline. As important as following the plan is noticing deviations and adjusting the plan accordingly.

Evaluate Planning Process and the Plan

During the planning process, regularly collect feedback from participants. Do they agree with the planning process? If not, what do not they like and how could it be done better? In large, ongoing planning processes (such as strategic planning, business planning, project planning, etc.), it is critical to collect this kind of feedback regularly.

During regular reviews of implementation of the plan, assess if goals are being achieved or not. If not, were goals realistic? Do responsible parties have the resources necessary to achieve the goals and objectives? Should goals be changed? Should more priority be placed on achieving the goals? What needs to be done?

Finally, take 10 minutes to write down how the planning process could have been done better. File it away and read it the next time you conduct the planning process.

Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important as Plan Document

Far too often, primary emphasis is placed on the plan document. This is extremely unfortunate because the real treasure of planning is the planning process itself. During planning, planners learn a great deal from ongoing analysis, reflection, discussion, debates and dialogue around issues and goals in the system. Perhaps there is no better example of misplaced priorities in planning than in business ethics. Far too often, people put emphasis on written codes of ethics and codes of conduct. While these documents certainly are important, at least as important is conducting ongoing communications around these documents. The ongoing communications are what sensitize people to understanding and following the values and behaviors suggested in the codes.

Nature of the Process Should Be Compatible to Nature of Planners

A prominent example of this type of potential problem is when planners do not prefer the “top down” or “bottom up”, “linear” type of planning (for example, going from general to specific along the process of an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, mission/vision/values, issues and goals, strategies, objectives, timelines, etc.) There are other ways to conduct planning. For an overview of various methods, see (in the following, the models are applied to the strategic planning process, but generally are eligible for use elsewhere).

Critical — But Frequently Missing Step — Acknowledgement and Celebration of Results

It’s easy for planners to become tired and even cynical about the planning process. One of the reasons for this problem is very likely that far too often, emphasis is placed on achieving the results. Once the desired results are achieved, new ones are quickly established. The process can seem like having to solve one problem after another, with no real end in sight. Yet when one really thinks about it, it is a major accomplishment to carefully analyze a situation, involve others in a plan to do something about it, work together to carry out the plan and actually see some results.

Organizing.

Organizing can be viewed as the activities to collect and configure resources in order to implement plans in a highly effective and efficient fashion. Organizing is a broad set of activities, and often considered one of the major functions of management. Therefore, there are a wide variety of topics in organizing. The following are some of the major types of organizing required in a business organization.

A key issue in the design of organizations is the coordination of activities within the organization.

Coordination

Coordinating the activities of a wide range of people performing specialized jobs is critical if we wish avoid mass confusion. Likewise, various departments as grouping of specialized tasks must be coordinated. If the sales department sells on credit to anyone who wished it, sales are likely to increase but bad-debt losses may also increase. If the credit department approves sales only to customers with excellent credit records, sales may be lower. Thus there is a need to link or coordinate the activities of both departments (credits and sales) for the good of the total organization.

Coordination is the process of thinking several activities to achieve a functioning whole.

Leading

Leading is an activity that consists of influencing other people’s behavior, individually and as a group, toward the achievement of desired objectives. A number of factors affect leadership. To provide a better understanding of the relationship of these factors to leadership, a general model of leadership is presented.

The degree of leader’s influence on individuals and group effectiveness is affected by several energizing forces:

Individual factors. Organizational factors. The interaction (match or conflict) between individual and organizational factors.

A leader’s influence over subordinates also affects and is affected by the effectiveness of the group.

* Group effectiveness.

The purpose of leadership is to enhance the group’s achievement. The energizing forces may directly affect the group’s effectiveness. The leader skills, the nature of the task, and the skills of each employee are all direct inputs into group achievement. If, for example, one member of the group is unskilled, the group will accomplish less. If the task is poorly designed, the group will achieve less.

These forces are also combined and modified by leader’s influence. The leader’s influence over subordinates acts as a catalyst to the task accomplishment by the group. And as the group becomes more effective, the leader’s influence over subordinates becomes greater.

There are times when the effectiveness of a group depends on the leader’s ability to exercise power over subordinates. A leader’s behavior may be motivating because it affects the way a subordinate views task goals and personal goals. The leader’s behavior also clarifies the paths by which the subordinate may reach those goals. Accordingly, several managerial strategies may be used.

First, the leader may partially determine which rewards (pay, promotion, recognition) to associate with a given task goal accomplishment. Then the leader uses the rewards that have the highest value for the employee. Giving sales representatives bonuses and commissions is an example of linking rewards to tasks. These bonuses and commissions generally are related to sales goals.

Second, the leader’s interaction with the subordinate can increase the subordinate’s expectations of receiving the rewards for achievement.

Third, by matching employee skills with task requirements and providing necessary support, the leader can increase the employee’s expectation that effort will lead to good performance. The supervisor can either select qualified employees or provide training for new employees. In some instances, providing other types of support, such as appropriate tools, may increase the probability that employee effort leads to task goal accomplishment.

Fourth, the leader may increase the subordinate’s personal satisfaction associated with doing a job and accomplishing job goals by

Assigning meaningful tasks; Delegating additional authority; Setting meaningful goals; Allowing subordinates to help set goals; Reducing frustrating barriers; Being considerate of subordinates’ need.

With a leader who can motivate subordinates, a group is more likely to achieve goals; and therefore it is more likely to be affective.

Controlling.

Control, the last of four functions of management, includes establishing performance standards which are of course based on the company’s objectives. It also involves evaluating and reporting of actual job performance. When these points are studied by the management then it is necessary to compare both the things. This study on comparison of both decides further corrective and preventive actions.

In an effort of solving performance problems, management should higher standards. They should straightforwardly speak to the employee or department having problem. On the contrary, if there are inadequate resources or disallow other external factors standards from being attained, management had to lower their standards as per requirement. The controlling processes as in comparison with other three, is unending process or say continuous process. With this management can make out any probable problems. It helps them in taking necessary preventive measures against the consequences. Management can also recognize any further developing problems that need corrective actions.

Although the control process is an action oriented, some situations may require no corrective action. When the performance standard is appropriate and actual performance meets that standard, no changes are necessary. But when control actions are necessary, they must be carefully formulated.

An effective control system is one that accomplishes the purposes for which it was designed.

Controls are designed to affect individual actions in an organization. Therefore control systems have implications for employee behavior. Managers must recognize several behavioral implications and avoid behavior detrimental to the organization.

It is common for individuals to resist certain controls. Some controls are designed to constrain and restrict certain types of behavior. For example, Dress codes often evoke resistance. Controls also carry certain status and power implications in organizations. Those responsible for controls placed on important performance areas frequently have more power to implement corrective actions. Control actions may create intergroup or interpersonal conflict within organizations. As stated earlier, coordination is required for effective controls. No quantitative performance standards may be interpreted differently by individuals, introducing the possibility of conflict. An excessive number of controls may limit flexibility and creativity. The lack of flexibility and creativity may lead to low levels of employee satisfaction and personal development, thus impairing the organization’s ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Managers can overcome most of these consequences through communication and proper implementation of control actions. All performance standards should be communicated and understood.

Control systems must be implemented with concern for their effect on people’s behavior in order to be in accord with organizational objectives. The control process generally focuses on increasing an organization’s ability to achieve its objectives.

Effective and efficient management leads to success, the success where it attains the objectives and goals of the organizations. Of course for achieving the ultimate goal and aim management need to work creatively in problem solving in all the four functions. Management not only has to see the needs of accomplishing the goals but also has to look in to the process that their way is feasible for the company.

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Conversations in Management: Peter F. Drucker

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“Most people think they know what they are good at — they are usually wrong.” -Peter F. Drucker

Peter Drucker, the Father of Modern Management, was born in Vienna, Austria in 1909. He earned a doctorate in Public and International Law from Frankfurt University in Germany before moving to London where he worked as both an economist and financial news writer. In 1937 he again moved, but this time to the United States where he almost immediately established his reputation as a management expert with the 1939 publication of The End of Economic Man. Drucker was the first to conceive of management as a discipline–and like all disciplines, something that could be taught. He recognized that the nature of business was not a customer buying a product, but a customer satisfying a need. From this recognition, Drucker formulated management theories that spanned competitive strategy, entrepreneurship, organizational design and cost accounting. Frequently decades ahead of his time, he introduced both the concept and term knowledge worker–a term most associate with the Information Age–back in the 1950’s. Through it all, Drucker was a champion for the individual. He was clear that people hate to be managed. Effective managers, therefore, attempt to maximize the productivity of a knowledge worker by focusing on performance and results in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

In that spirit, much of Drucker’s later work focused on self-management. He argued that today’s knowledge worker will most likely outlive their employing organizations. Coupled with the fact that the average worker’s career is likely to last 50 years, individuals will have to learn to develop themselves, change to meet new requirements and stay energized through a long and multi-faceted career. To do all this, folks first have to figure out their strengths.

Drucker believed that people were only dimly aware of what they did well because they rarely examined the long-range consequences of their decisions. To remedy this, he suggested doing a personal feedback analysis. Whenever you take a key action, write down what you expect to happen. After a few months, check back to see if you got the results you expected. In this way, Drucker claimed, you will begin to discern your competencies. Once you learn what you are good at, place yourself in situations where your strengths can produce outstanding performance and results. Then work on improving your strengths. Fill in knowledge gaps and expand your understanding. Look for blind spots in your knowledge–places where not knowing is compromising your ability to succeed. Equally important, overcome your bad habits. If you are a visionary, start paying attention to details. If you revel in the specific, train yourself to think globally. Finally, learn from your feedback analysis what not to do. Not everyone does everything equally well. Don’t waste your time trying to develop skills at which you’ll never be more than mediocre at best. Strength is never built on weakness. Leverage what you do right to get the results you want.

Drucker added a final caution to everyone who engages in the world of management: mind your manners. He called manners the lubricating oil of the workplace. They reduce friction and make cooperation possible. In the end, simple courtesies and pleasantries are often the difference between success and abject failure.

Build on your strengths, respect others and mind your manners–not bad advice.

George Ebert is the President of Trinity River Seminars and Consulting [http://www.trinityriverseminars.com], a firm specializing in the custom design and delivery of team building, personal growth and ethical development programs. Mr. Ebert is a highly sought after speaker, educator, and consultant with over thirty years experience in both the public and private sectors. He has presented widely throughout the Unites States. George is the author of the management cult classic, “Climbing From the Fifth Station: A guide to building teams that work!”

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A Standard Procedure For Quality Assurance Deviation Management

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What is a Deviation:

A Deviation is a departure from standard procedures or specifications resulting in non-conforming material and/or processes or where there have been unusual or unexplained events which have the potential to impact on product quality, system integrity or personal safety. For compliance to GMP and the sake of continuous improvement, these deviations are recorded in the form of Deviation Report (DR).

Types of Deviations:

1. Following are some examples of deviations raised from different functional areas of business:
2. Production Deviation – usually raised during the manufacture of a batch production.
3. EHS Deviation – raised due to an environmental, health and safety hazards.
4. Quality Improvement Deviation – may be raised if a potential weakness has been identified and the implementation will require project approval.
5. Audit Deviation – raised to flag non-conformance identified during internal, external, supplier or corporate audits.
6. Customer Service Deviation – raised to track implementation measures related to customer complaints.
7. Technical Deviation – can be raised for validation discrepancies. For example: changes in Manufacturing Instruction.
8. Material Complaint – raised to document any issues with regards to non-conforming, superseded or obsolete raw materials/components, packaging or imported finished goods.
9. System Routing Deviation – raised to track changes made to Bill of materials as a result of an Artwork change.

When to Report Deviation:
A Deviation should be raised when there is a deviation from methods or controls specified in manufacturing documents, material control documents, standard operating procedure for products and confirmed out of specification results and from the occurrence of an event and observation suggesting the existence of a real or potential quality related problems.

A deviation should be reported if a trend is noticed that requires further investigation.
All batch production deviations (planned or unintended) covering all manufacturing facilities, equipments, operations, distribution, procedures, systems and record keeping must be reported and investigated for corrective and preventative action.

Reporting deviation is required regardless of final batch disposition. If a batch is rejected a deviation reporting is still required.

Different Levels of Deviation Risks:
For the ease of assessing risk any deviation can be classified into one of the three levels 1, 2 & 3 based on the magnitude and seriousness of a deviation.

Level 1: Critical Deviation
Deviation from Company Standards and/or current regulatory expectations that provide immediate and significant risk to product quality, patient safety or data integrity or a combination/repetition of major deficiencies that indicate a critical failure of systems

Level 2: Serious Deviation
Deviation from Company Standards and/or current regulatory expectations that provide a potentially significant risk to product quality, patient safety or data integrity or could potentially result in significant observations from a regulatory agency or a combination/repetition of “other” deficiencies that indicate a failure of system(s).

Level 3: Standard Deviation
Observations of a less serious or isolated nature that are not deemed Critical or Major, but require correction or suggestions given on how to improve systems or procedures that may be compliant but would benefit from improvement (e.g. incorrect data entry).

How to Manage Reported Deviation:
The department Manager or delegate should initiate the deviation report by using a standard deviation form as soon as a deviation is found. Write a short description of the fact with a title in the table on the form and notify the Quality Assurance department within one business day to identify the investigation.

QA has to evaluate the deviation and assess the potential impact to the product quality, validation and regulatory requirement. All completed deviation investigations are to be approved by QA Manager or delegate. QA Manger has to justify wither the deviation is a Critical, Serious or Standard in nature. For a deviation of either critical or serious nature QA delegate has to arrange a Cross Functional Investigation.

For a standard type deviation a Cross functional Investigation (CFI) is not necessary. Immediate corrective actions have to be completed before the final disposition of a batch. Final batch disposition is the responsibility of Quality Assurance Department.

If a critical or serious deviation leads to a CFI, corrective and preventive actions should be determined and follow up tasks should be assigned to area representatives. Follow up tasks should be completed within 30 business days of the observation of deviation. If a deviation with CFI can not be completed within 30 business days, an interim report should be generated detailing the reason for the delay and the progress so far.

After successful completion of the Follow up tasks Deviation should be completed and attached with the Batch Report /Audit report/ Product complaint report /Safety investigation report as appropriate.

What To Check During The Deviation Assessment:

QA delegate has to conduct a primary Investigation on the deviation reported and evaluate the following information

1. Scope of the deviation – batch affected (both in-process and previously released)
2. Trends relating to (but limited to) similar products, materials, equipment and testing processes, product complaints, previous deviations, annual product reviews, and /or returned goods etc where appropriate.
3. A review of similar causes.
4. Potential quality impact.
5. Regulatory commitment impact.
6. Other batches potentially affected.
7. Market actions (i.e. recall etc)

Essential elements of a good quality management system are described in this article for pharmaceutical industry. Check more in Pharmaceutical Quality Procedures

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Workflow Management in Business Process

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Workflow management is a heart of business process because without a suitable workflow management a business can not grow. A workflow consists of a sequence of linked steps and it plays an important role in each part of business. Before 10 years ago no one uses this strong concept in their business. But now it uses all sectors of business like banking, finance, travel, software, IT, Medical, construction and many more. Today each business first makes strategies for their workflow process than they start their process to implement in business. Business Process Management (BPM) is quite similar to this but both are different. Both have different meaning in the business and also implemented in different way.

Records Management, document management and ERP systems uses a lot this useful concept. In case of records management there are certain way and flow to manage records through lower to upper management (from Associates to CEO). The similar case with the document management and ERP also.

The workflow is a chaining process in which so many different related tasks come in a chain and finally it produce an absolute result. The workflow not uses only in the business but our daily real life routine process also (eg. home, food, cloth, transportation provides out put for Live). In case of construction firms the architect first develop the workflow that how the building will look after the made so the main aim of workflow management is produce a final result by taking different process comes in a different way.

A workflow can usually be described using formal or informal flow diagramming systems, showing directed flows between processing steps. Components can only be plugged together if the output of one previous (set of) component(s) is equal to the mandatory input requirements of the following component. So workflow management is now a need of every organization because it gives the visual representation of a task before implement.

Every day we update our self with collaborative technology solution. We always focus to provide best possible solution for any organization which uses technology related to workflow and document management.

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The Four "D"s of Sales Management

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Recently I stumbled across some notes that I had kept from a project I had been involved in which involved looking at manager behaviours. The aim of this project was to identify “preferred behaviours” in sales managers when they were working closely with their sales representatives. The outputs were interesting and helped my colleagues identify four main types of sales managers and the differences between effective and ineffective behaviours.

Four Types of Manager.

A few years ago when working as a coach for a multinational Pharma company my colleagues and I were given the task of designing a framework that enabled managers to work more effectively with their sales representatives out “in the field”. There had been considerable discontent from the sales representatives in that, a large proportion of them “dreaded” the “field visit” from the manager as it was deemed stressful and seen very much as an assessment and the manager “checking up” rather than being motivational and developmental.

We studied the behaviours of twenty-five sales managers and interviewed both the managers and a sample of around one hundred representatives in order to come up with guidelines whereby managers (and representatives) could adapt their behaviours in order to make these field visit days far more productive than they had been previously.

In this article, I will outline the four types of manager that we found were “operating” and the effect that each type had on the development and motivation of the sales representative.

The “Do as I say” or “Dictator” Manager

There were a group of managers which we termed “Dictators”. This type of manager “rules the roost” and “dictates” what should be done in his or her opinion. Listening skills are limited and they tend to take a very traditional approach to tasks. A typical response is along the lines of “Do it this way because it has worked this way in the past.”

An advantage of this approach is that people know exactly where they stand and that the rules and company regulations were fully understood and guidelines were adhered to with the result that overall the team was seen as “well disciplined”. People also knew that if the rules and guidelines were not adhered to, then discipline would follow.

The major challenge with this “do as I say” approach was that the representative reported that there was little risk taking and that their opinions and ideas were not listened to, and as a result they often felt frustrated, under valued and in some cases threatened.
The sources of this behaviour appeared varied. Firstly some of the managers were simply mirroring the behaviour of previous managers that they had had themselves and in many ways did not know any form of management. Very little management training had been given to either the senior managers or the managers themselves…

When we worked with some of these managers we found that their behaviours changed very quickly and many were glad to be out of their “do as I say” role as they had never felt very comfortable with it. . Other managers, although having been trained continued to “dictate” either through fear of their own superior, an inability to influence peers and reports through collaborative discussion, and in one case, a misguided belief that their people did not have potential unless they were told what to do! The managers who continued in this fashion tended to be average performers.

The “Now you see me, now you don’t” or the “Disappearing” Manager.

This group we found was the largest group within the twenty-five that we observed. Characterised by seemingly always having other things to do, this group appeared not to like to spend days visiting the sales representatives. They seemed to attend endless meetings, trips to head office and were apparently more comfortable spending time in front of the computer writing reports or pouring through sales figures.

A day “in the field” usually consisted of a quick visit, meeting up late morning, chatting over a cup of coffee, perhaps suffering a visit to one customer before having a “discussion” over lunch and then heading off back to a report or meeting. This type of manager always seemed to want to keep the mobile on during visits – “I’m waiting for an important call” was a favourite catch phrase.

Representatives reported back that this type of manager was the most frustrating. Very little time was spent with the representative and when there was there was time spent there was usually very little coaching and review. The time was spent either idly chatting or issuing directives. It was as if the representative was un-important or perhaps because the manager was uncomfortable listening to the reps ideas and challenges. This might bring about change and impact on the manager’s routine!
The man reason for this type of behaviour we found was that these managers were on a succession plan. They were only going to be in the job for a sort period because the company had identified them as having future potential elsewhere in the organisation. The sales manager position was a stepping-stone to higher things and as such these managers were not given enough training and coaching and were also stretched in that some of them still had Head Office projects. Some of the “Disappearers” though simply were not able to handle their immediate manager and as such jumped at every request that was made by the senior manager. They had to attend every meeting, write every report and answer every voicemail and e-mail in order to keep in the senior manager’s “good books”. This group in the main needed to basic managerial training and training in how to influence their senior managers.

The “Let me Do It” or the “Super Salesperson” Manager -(The “Demonstrator”)

The main characteristic of this type of manager was their inability to let people work for themselves. This type of manager would love to get back into the field and would do as many field visits as possible. They actually missed the customer contact and when out with the sales rep would immediately engage the customer and “take over” the sales call. Very little coaching would be done and the manager would tend to tell the representative the best way to do things based on his or her experience and success.
Again, many representatives found this behaviour frustrating and annoying. Firstly, they actually saw far too much of the manager and secondly, when the manager took

over the sales call they felt that their integrity in the eyes of the customer was being threatened. Sometimes the customer felt very uncomfortable also.

Having said that many representatives reported that actually watching this manager operate did help them as the manager more often than not had been a good sales executive and sales did tend to improve as a result of the representative implementing what they had observed.

This type of manager really has to learn to let go. They have to learn that they are no longer sales representatives themselves and that they must empower their team to deliver the sales. They should be coaching their representatives more, as opposed to always showing them how to do it. This is OK with some of the younger less experienced reps whose capability is low but this type of approach with experienced more able reps can usually be counter-productive.

The Coaching Manager. – (The “Developer”)

The Coaching Manager takes time with his or her people. Field visits are planned in advance, Agreements as to what each person wants to achieve out the day are reached and objectives are set and reviewed. Time is taken to plan good quality sales calls and time is also put aside in order to discuss the business plan and also to work through any ideas and challenges that the sales rep may have.

A full day will be spent whenever possible and the manager will coach the representative to assist them in identifying their objectives and also coach them through how best they are going to achieve them. Coaching will also take place when reviewing how the sales call went and good quality feedback will be given in order to raise the sales representative’s awareness of their skills and interactions.

The coaching manager will be seen as support but will also be seen as the manager and not just a “friend”. Sometimes the feedback will be tough but because there is mutual respect the sales representative will realise that the manager is giving constructive feedback in order to assist them in their development and ultimate success. The coaching manager will be skilled in using behavioural analysis, the skill/will matrix, motivational models and coaching models such as GROW and OUTCOMES®.

Unfortunately our research showed that only two out of the group of twenty-five came anywhere near our ideal coaching manager. Those two managers were seen as role models and as such their representatives looked forward to them visiting them on a regular basis. Needless to say the sales results of the teams involved were excellent

Allan Mackintosh ©2004 All rights reserved

Allan Mackintosh is Head of Performance at Team Performance Specialists, Reivers Development. He is the author of ‘The Successful Coaching Manager’ and the creator of the OUTCOMES® and CARERS™ performance coaching models. He also oversees the management coaching consultancy, PMC Scotland. He can be contacted on 0776 416 8989 or e-mail , allan@reivers-dev.com , web [http://www.pmcscotland.com] and [http://www.reiversgroup.com]

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The P-O-S-D-C Of Management – A Student Aid

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Pupils need every available edge when it comes to studies, whether they know it or not. They should take advantage of every bit of information available, i.e., research articles, white papers, periodicals, magazines, and yes…blogs.

This wee bit of information should prove useful to the aspiring business management, marketing, accounting, secretarial sciences, business law, and/or programming student(s). These extra tools will aid the student in his/her preparation for successful management endeavors. Management students will first need to know the P.O.S.D.C.’s of management.

PLANNING: the process of setting objectives and determining what needs to be done to successfully accomplish the assignment-mission of an organization.

ORGANIZING: the process of task assignment, the coordination of resources, team structuring, and work activities for the organization.

STAFFING: the process of building the team by attempting to attract and retain qualified people to the organization.

DIRECTING: the process that provides leadership, arranges motivational opportunities, and builds a good working environment.

CONTROLLING: the process of establishing enterprise-wide standards, analyzing results, measuring actual performance and monitoring to see whether standards have been met. Controlling also includes making the right decisions and corrective actions, if needed.

Students should also become familiar with the process of management and what is required to become a manager. The best managers are well informed and are acutely aware of team needs. The needs of the team are met with the managerial support reflecting alternatives and suggestions for a team coordinated solution.

The process of management involves planning, organization, leading, and controlling the use of resources to accomplish target performance goals. “All managers, regardless of title, level, type, and organizational setting(s), are responsible for the four functions. However, they are not accomplished linear, step-by-step fashion.” John R. Schermerhorn Jr., goes on to say…”The reality is that these functions are continually engaged as a manager moves from task to task and opportunity to opportunity in his or her work.”

While agreeing with Mr. Schermerhorn as well as several other experienced, teachers, and gurus of this profession, the ultimate goal of a manager is to help the company/organization achieve its highest performance with the utilization of resources, human and material.

Henry Mintzberg wrote, “Although the management process may seem straightforward, things are more complicated than they appear at first glance.” Ever-present e-mail and instant messages are added to his list of executive/managerial operations.

Remember my message “IT and BI”, the non-hyperbole of the marriage between Business Intelligence and Information Technology? “BI and IT virtually, methodically, and basically go arm-in-arm.” Just look around you. Technology and Management is everywhere. But in order to ascend to the highest level(s) in management, one must begin with the P.O.S.D.C. of management.

Happy Studies.

Til next time…

Boulware Enterprises is the main contact and family attribute(s) web site. We have posted links that entertain, inform, educate, service, and introduce people and business. Our site offers an insight to the background, accomplishments, abilities, and aspirations of Mr. Gregory V. Boulware.
http://www.BoulwareEnterprises.com

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99495-99496: Two New Codes to Report Transitional Care Management (TCM) Services

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Primary care specialties will receive the largest increase in payment by virtue of a new payment for managing a Medicare beneficiary’s care when the beneficiary is discharged from an outpatient hospital observation, inpatient hospital, community mental health center, partial hospitalization services or from an SNF. While announcing its new policy, CMS acknowledged that the extensive non-face-to-face care coordination provided by physicians and nurses was not considered in the existing payment schedule for E/M (Evaluation & Management) services. The new directive will provide payments for physicians as well as other healthcare providers for coordinating care transitions of Medicare beneficiaries after they are discharged from hospitals/skilled nursing facilities to assisted living facilities or their own homes. The new rule is effective from January 1, 2013.

The New Codes: 99495 & 99496

CMS has a clear objective in introducing these new codes for Transitional Care Management (TCM) services. They are intended to prevent emergency department visits and re-hospitalizations during the first 30 days after discharge. Apart from primary care physicians who would be billing for most of these services, specialists who provide necessary services can also bill these new CPT codes.

TCM Code Requirements

99495, TCM: Communication (direct contact, telephone, electronic) with the patient and/or caregiver within two business days of discharge; Medical decision-making of at least moderate complexity during the service period; face-to-face visit within 14 calendar days of discharge.
99496, TCM: Communication (direct contact, telephone, electronic) with patient and/or caregiver within two business days of discharge; Medical decision-making of high complexity during the service period, face-to-face visit within seven calendar days of discharge.

It is to be noted that both these codes necessitate communication with the patient and/or care provider within two business days of discharge, plus a face-to-face visit with the patient within a fixed time period. Decision regarding medication and management must be made at least by the day of the face-to-face visit.

Non face-to-face care coordination services can be carried out by the provider and/or licensed clinical staff under his/her direction. However, the face-to-face visit is to be performed by the providers themselves with staff assistance.

Fee Schedule for the New TCM Codes

The values assigned to the new TCM codes are 4.82 relative value units for Code 99495 and 6.79 relative value units for Code 99496. Provided the Congress prevents the impending 26.5% cut to payments for physicians and maintains the current conversion factor of $34.0066, the payments for these codes will be:

In non-facility (Physician office) settings:

Code 99495: $163.91Code 99496: $230.90

In facility (Outpatient hospital) settings:

Code 99495: $134.67Code 99496: $197.58

These codes can be billed only after at least 30 days post discharge, when the service period is completed. The primary care incentive payments will not be added to these amounts.

Points to Keep in Mind

Make sure that you bill only for post-discharge patients who require moderate or high-complexity medical decision making.
The initial face-to-face visit need not necessarily be in the office.
The first face-to-face visit with the patient after discharge is part of the TCM service and cannot be reported separately. E/M services provided additionally can be reported separately.
Documentation guidelines for E/M are not applicable to these codes. Providers must therefore take into account how they would like to document the non face-to-face services that are required by codes. Complexity of the medical decision making, timing of the first communication after discharge, and date of the face-to-face visit will have to be documented.
Providers can use these codes to bill for new as well as established patients.
Discharge services and the face-to-face visit required under the TCM code cannot be provided on the same day. However, the same practitioner who bills for discharge services can also bill for TCM services. Importantly, the same practitioner cannot report TCM services provided during a post-surgery period for a service with a global period since it is understood that these services are already included in the payment for the underlying procedure.
A very important point to remember is that only one practitioner can bill for TCM services during the 30 days post discharge of a patient. The first practitioner to bill for the service alone will receive reimbursement. Therefore, practitioners should necessarily communicate with the patient and/or caregiver, and the discharging physician to be clear about who will be managing the TCM services.
Practitioners can bill for TCM only once in the 30 days after discharge even if the patient happens to be discharged 2 or more times within the 30-day period.
Providers cannot bill for other care coordination services (such as care plan oversight codes 99339, 99340, 99374 – 99380) provided during the TCM period.

Outsource Strategies International (OSI) offers medical billing services for a wide range of specialties. We offer timely and accurate medical billing outsourcing services.

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Starbucks Target Market and Management

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Originally when Starbucks began they targeted the young college students, with slightly higher than average income levels. After this initial target market Starbucks has since realized that they could target specific neighborhoods and social classes. Different customers are more willing to pay for luxury good now more than ever. With that in mind, through Starbucks aggressive expansion techniques they have begun targeting almost every demographic.

“McDonald’s is planning to capitalize on the public’s willingness to pay $4 for a cup of coffee by hiring baristas and dropping espresso machines in 14,000 of their fast-food outlets. Meanwhile, Starbucks, with business lagging, is fighting back with an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” strategy, by offering heated breakfast sandwiches and adding drive-through windows to some of their locations.” (Tancer, 2008)

As McDonalds and other chains realize the money in luxury coffee more companies will begin to enter the marketplace. One the other side of the spectrum you have the small local coffee bars that were around before Starbucks took over the marketplace. These smaller coffee shops have their core customers who will not give their business to anyone else. These smaller coffee shops can offer specialized products and services or serving to the local markets needs. However Starbucks has a much larger buying power then the local smaller coffee shops giving them a competitive advantage. Coming back to our original quote, we believe that McDonalds has a customer base that is extremely large that now has the option to get their coffee where they get their breakfast already. McDonalds also has an extremely large bargaining power and runs each franchise with impeccable automation. McDonalds cup of coffee costs a lot less money than Starbucks and tastes the same in a lot of cases. One of Starbucks biggest competitors is the economy; Starbucks provides a luxury good that will be a good that people cut out when they want to save money. This has been witnessed with the recent closing of over a hundred Starbucks stores.

Tancer, B. (2008, January 10). Brewing Battle:Starbucks vs. McDonalds.

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Trading Trilogy-3: Money Management

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30 feet-the old Kilo Class submarine dives deeper onwards to 100 feet-200 feet-400 feet-600 feet-800 feet-an explosion occurs, maybe the batteries were faulty? The submariner notices the creaking sound of the extremely high pressure of water against the submarine hull. Water rushes in. Automatically the high-tech systems of the submarine seal the flooded chamber. Luckily the engine room is intact, and the submarine painfully tries to resurface from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The remaining compartments are dry, and the incumbents are safe.

You must be wondering whether this is a prelude to a thriller short story, or an article on money management, in trading. This had to be made dramatic because your money, that is, your capital is like blood in your body. Your body needs blood to survive; in the trading scenario, your account needs money for you to survive in trading, so treat it very carefully, like a mother lioness takes care of her cubs, without letting go for a moment.

Like a submarine, you’ve got to divide your capital into equal compartments, or parts, so that if one compartment gets flooded, that is, if one trade goes bad, your chances of recovery will be good. Remember, however good you or your method may be, the markets are not always conducive to trading. If you get shortchanged multiple times in a short period, step back, analyse whether the problem is with you, and your method, or the markets in general. If it is with you, course correct, trade with smaller amounts till you get the confidence back, or stay out till you get in sync with the markets. If the markets are finicky, and non-tradeable, stay out till some semblance of sanity returns, then re-enter.

Do not trade without stop-losses;most experts advocate putting them in the system, some traders write them on paper, and execute the trades manually. Do not keep a position open, if accessibility to the trading terminal is an issue.

It’s your take, what methodology you would like to follow. Keep the stop-loss to not more than 5% on every trade;when your account size grows, limit it to 1% to 2%. You have to live to trade another day. Trade with the amount you are comfortable with;do not try to emulate others. It has been noted that when one crosses one’s personal threshold, the subconscious mind tries to sabotage the effort, because it is uncomfortable with larger than normal amounts allocated to trading. The Peter Principle comes into play, that is, the person rises to the level of his/her incompetence. If it so happens, cut down on the account size, and trade similar sizes till you get into the flow.

Always keep a record of the amount left after every trade. It is a barometer as to how you are doing as a trader. Ignore this at your own peril. A rising equity curve suggests that you are on the right track to becoming a successful trader. Remember, money flow in trading equals blood flow in the human body. Your survival as a trader finally depends on it, and is not to be taken lightly.

I would finally like to acknowledge Dr Alexander Elder, the legendary teacher of traders who has written books which delve into the various aspects of trading-the mind, the method, and the money management, as he puts it.

Afterlude: The old submariner had done well for himself. After the miraculous escape from the Kilo Class submarine, he retired from the Soviet Navy and went into trading with his meagre retirement benefits. He decided that if he were to grow his capital, he had to learn the lessons from his previous vocation. He divided his savings into two parts: 80% he put into fixed income instruments; he traded with the remaining 20%. That 20% he divided into 10 parts like the compartments of his submarine. He followed Dr Elder’s methodology-he risked no more than 2% of his capital on a single trade, and if he lost 6% of that compartment(trade), he would stop trading for that month. His account grew gradually, so did his peace of mind. He would no longer be among the traders, whose account equity lay deep down, caressing the dark depths of the Pacific Ocean.

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