Managing toward success Featured

6:12am EDT September 22, 2006
Today’s business world is both dynamic and volatile. Beyond skills that guide business operations, the most successful corporate leaders possess exceptional managerial skills that ensure progression for their business.

From making decisions that positively affect a company’s bottom line to decisions that affect overall employee morale, managers have more diverse responsibilities than ever before. In order to retain quality employees and create a strong growth pattern for the company, numerous components of management must be addressed, says Elden Monday, state vice president for University of Phoenix’s three local campuses in Pennsylvania.

Smart Business spoke with Monday about the important role solid organizational management skills play in creating effective and efficient business strategies that ensure profitability, accountability and growth.

What are the most critical factors in strong organizational management?
Safeguarding the flow and function of business should be every manager’s top priority. Additionally, it is management’s responsibility to effectively communicate the company’s goals to employees. To ensure managerial excellence and efficiency, three key components should always be taken into consideration: communication, management skills and leadership.

Communicating goals and successes, offering constructive feedback, and persuading clients and employees on a number of issues are communication situations that managers face daily. Clear and concise articulation in these circumstances assists employees in making decisions that will positively impact both themselves and their companies.

Fundamental management skills are imperative in today’s business world. The ability to think critically and pro-actively, solve problems, effectively manage projects, build superior teams and multi-task provides a solid managerial foundation.

In addition, good managers can become leaders with clearly defined ideas for the future. By outlining long-term business visions and becoming the driving force to achieve goals, good leaders will inspire others to accept the business’ goals as their own. They achieve them through delegation and follow-through.

How can business owners take steps to create well-organized companies?
Superior management performance can be achieved through personal dedication and a commitment to education. Continuing education offers a way for up-and-comers to learn new skills, sharpen existing skills, and stay informed of current business trends. There are a myriad of ways managers can stay educated, from degree programs and formal training to workshops and published materials.

Education is crucial to keeping on top of managerial situations. Leaders with a strong educational background generally have exceptional critical-thinking skills, work effectively in teams, and communicate well with others. Colleges and universities that emphasize real-world experience as part of the learning goals help students clearly bridge theory to practical application. In this setting, students can practice skills necessary to become better managers in a safe environment through simulations, case studies and other real-world examples.

What business trends should corporate leaders understand?
With the dynamic nature of business, managers need to be continually aware of important trends that are affecting business today, such as market changes, company culture changes, globalization and compressed or alternative work weeks.

As people relocate nationally and internationally, the market is constantly adjusting. Who is your target market? How will you effectively reach that market? By answering these questions and staffing accordingly, managers will be poised for success.

While looking at staffing, managers should take note that there is a new generation entering the work force, and their needs and ideals can differ greatly from those of the baby boomers who are now approaching retirement. Re-evaluating the needs of staff members might necessitate an adjustment of your organization’s culture.

As electronic commerce grows ever more popular and globalization creates smaller communities, you will need to be aware of what effects technology and the world market will have on your company and its employees.

And finally, with employees looking for work/life balance, compressed or alternative work weeks are gaining in popularity. Telecommuting and working from satellite offices minimize face-to-face interactions among your employees, and between your employees and clients. Look at this challenge as an opportunity to create nontraditional relationships within your organization through interactions outside the confines of the traditional workplace, such as teambuilding activities.

ELDEN MONDAY is state vice president for the Pennsylvania campuses of University of Phoenix, a national leader in higher education for working adults, offering both campus-based and online programs. Reach Monday at elden.monday@phoenix.edu or by phone at (610) 989-0880, ext. 1131. Additional information also is available at www.phoenix.edu/philadelphia.