Guide to management practices

  • SIX Sigma, one of the hottest topics in today's manufacturing circles, is a statistical concept that characterises nearly zero defect in any process.  

    But its successful implementation involves a whole new set of management practices.  

    Six Sigma for Managers (McGraw-Hill) has been written as a guide to help managers better understand this concept and how to facilitate the learning, cooperation, skills improvement, and commitment required to make Six Sigma processes a reality in any organisation.  

  • In Unleash Your Potential (Pelanduk), author V. Mohan claims to lay bare the seven secrets for success and assures that you will achieve total control on all aspects of your life and realise that they need not be generated by outside circumstances.  

    Is this another run-of-the-mill motivational book? You are in charge.  

  • Islam & Business (Pelanduk) by Nik Mohamed Affandi (edited by Ismail Noor) states that Islam offers alternative business practices and perspectives, many of which are universal in nature and quite similar to conventional ones.  

    However, there are some that are different and unique: for example, the principle of partnership and sharing of both profit and loss in Islamic lending. Islam requires a proper balance between commercialism and humanitarianism, and between profit and social responsibility.  

    This balanced ap- proach therefore offers a ready solution to serious current problems of profiteering, consumer exploitation, irresponsible corporate governance and environmental degradation.  

    It is fascinating that many important business principles were in- troduced by Islam more than 14 centuries ago: examples include the principle of minimum wage for employees, basic consumerism principles such as the right of buyers to return purchased goods, and the principle of venture capital.  

  • In Big Brands Big Trouble (John Wiley), Jack Trout, who is one of the most respected marketing gurus in the world, shows why some of today's biggest brands are having trouble and how to avoid repeating their mistakes.  

    In this important predecessor to the classic Differentiate or Die, “the king of positioning,” Trout, with the help of in-depth case studies chronicling the events leading up to the fall from grace of Sears, Miller Brewing, Xerox, Crest, Bur- ger King, and other past market leaders.  

    He identifies the 10 most common mistakes that big brands make, and he develops a set of expert guidelines for marketing managers and executives on how to build, protect, manage, and expand their companies' brands and avoid brand-killing blunders.  

  • In The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing in Asia (John Wiley), authors Al Ries, Jack Trout and Paul Temporal write of many cases of Asian firms that are prospering by following their marketing rules.  

    Each law or chapter is usually about five pages long, which requires only a short attention span to read quickly.  

    Some laws that stand out are:  

  • Law 3: The Law of the Mind – It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.  

  • Law 4: The Law of Perception – Marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions.  

    You can have a much better product than your competitor but perception wins out most of the time over product.  

  • Law 12: The Law of Line Extension – There is an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.  

    The book is very condensed and a lot of the business scenarios depicted are more complex than they appear. 

  • Literally, the form and order of doing things in Japan, “kata,” is the cultural conditioning that causes the Japanese to think and react in the way they do.  

    In Kata: The Key to Understanding and Dea- ling with the Japanese! (Tuttle), Boye Lafayette De Mente says the secret to understanding Japanese business, culture, and society is explained by this cultural framework upon which Japanese behaviour and etiquette are built.  

    Insight is offered into the art of bowing, the im- portance of apology, the origin of the Japanese ob- session for quality, and other key cultural ideas when mastered, unlock the mystery of Japanese professional and social interaction.  

    The book contains more than 70 brief essays that detail the origin, nature, use, and influence of kata. – Compiled by ALVIN TAY  

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