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How to avoid getting help that you don't really need

WORKING and delivering expected results in the most effective and efficient manner are what most employees aim to achieve. In a complex enterprise, difficult work can be carried out successfully through a well-managed system involving cooperation and collaboration among departments. It is important that each function ascertains that it is performing its task properly and effectively by meeting the key performance indicators and corporate targets that it had committed to.

It is not unusual to find some functions failing to handle their work successfully. Eventually overall performance can be negatively affected. Sometimes the condition may deteriorate over a long time before management becomes aware of a situation that really needs rapid correction.

Several problems within an organisation can be resolved at an early stage as long as managers review and analyse their work on a regular basis, otherwise unwanted help may be provided that can cause difficulties to existing employees. Here are some examples:

lUnclear procedures. These can occur because of new types of operations and transactions brought on by business growth or new legal requirements. It is better for management to discuss and finalise work procedures that should be applied by all parties. Company-wide communications should be considered so that everyone has the same information.

lBig project. It is possible that a company will come across a project that requires special resources. This means that each function may have to allocate part of its resources, for example, people, equipment and knowledge, to turn the project into reality.

lUnexpected situation. As the business environment can change so rapidly that it becomes difficult for businesses to adapt in a timely manner, close monitoring and responsiveness become key success factors that management should not overlook.

Effective managers usually review their performance from time to time to check and discover problem areas that need close attention. Ignoring the problem can lead to an unwanted situation when it is too difficult to fix the problem.

By that time different forms of help may be offered, including organisational change and job rotation. Getting help can be considered kindness from higher management. But in serious cases, such help can come together with a big change that affects not only individuals but also the whole organisation. It would be wiser for management to self-check and self-correct systems and make sure operations are under control.

Here are some sample cases:

lTo understand the customs-duty issue, the head office in of a US firm sent a team of managers to the subsidiary in Thailand to find out the causes of the problem. This led to a change of the responsible person under the import department.

lA continuing quality issue that took quite a long time without progress in tackling the problem resulted in the reorganisation of the whole quality department and also production-line supervision.

lHigher production costs were discussed. After a few attempts without success, this finally resulted in the change of the financial controller and the plant manager.

lContinued low productivity was raised in weekly meetings several times. It was inevitable that the production manager was replaced by a more capable one.

These are examples of unwanted help that normally will not come suddenly. It would take some time for the responsible managers to try to correct themselves. Well-managed companies will not waste too much time resolving difficult problems. Necessary actions must be taken to sort out the long-lasting problems. This should be well noted by everyone in an organisation and considered as a rule for the winner in the marketplace.

Yanyong Thammatucharee is senior vice president for accounting and finance at Central Marketing Group. He can be reached at yanyong.thammatucharee@gmail.com


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