Nimbus Helix Funiture - Business Plan

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BUSINESS PLAN

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Nimbus-Helix Furniture Co. Ltd. is a medium-sized furniture manufacturer operating for over 10 years, specializing in traditional living and dining room furniture. As the competition in the market increases with constant changes in the home and office designs, the enterprise decided to innovate and expand the types of products.

This paper will discuss the different barriers the company may encounter and the strategies to counter them and will enable the creation and seamless implementation of the innovations and reward strategies for stakeholders’ enthusiasm, drive, and values parallel to the development of innovation.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS

Innovation macro barriers and their resolutions

  • Political. These may include the different policies and regulations that may affect the business, such as the limitations on the number of trees allowed to get cut down every month in New Zealand. This will affect the availability of resources and, consequently, the availability of goods.

In this case, Nimbus-Helix can consider using synthetic materials, like steel and plastic, instead of or in combination with the wood that they are used to work with. Another solution would be finding a supplier from another country and import more wood in addition to their NZ supply.

  • Resources. As more products are planned to be introduced, higher amounts and more types of resources will be needed. Aside from the materials, more manpower and funds are necessary for the innovation.

As for the materials, it would require the firm to look for new suppliers who can provide quality materials of the desired quantity in a specific time span. For the manpower, the human resources will need to find competent new staff and to send the current staff to trainings that are suitable for the innovations. Finally for the funds, Nimbus-Helix can resort to bank loans and other investors to fill up the need in purchasing new facilities and technology.

  • Trends. Since the company is used to making only limited types of furniture, it will be a challenge for them to start making new ones to suit the new trends of the market. New styles, new materials, and new technology will definitely push them out of their comfort zone.

It would be very helpful to have new employees or consultants from the real estate industry who can suggest innovations based on their knowledge in modern real estate. Hiring staff who are fresh to the industry will also be good in generating fresh ideas in to the company. Surveys and market research are still very useful tools to cope up with the barriers on trends.

Innovation micro barriers and their resolutions

  • Conflict. Conflict can be categorized as internal or external. Internal conflicts come from within a person, usually arising when the employee’s moral values are challenged or compromised. This can highly influence an employee’s performance level. On the other hand, external conflicts come from the environment and result to a hostile working environment. Examples are bad management and unsatisfied customers.

Conflicts can be addressed by:

  • Mediation. This involves having a third party mediator, who is unaffected by the conflict and therefore has an unbiased opinion. He manages any discussions with regard to the problem. In organizations, this is usually the human resources manager but sometimes necessary to get an outsider.
  • Considerations. This refers to developing a set of guidelines that should be followed when resolving any conflict. These rules should be documented on the employee manual so everyone knows what to expect and how to deal with the problems at all times.
  • Culture and attitude. There can be many different unpleasant attitudes that can affect the operational excellence of a company. Examples are of the most dangerous habits are:
  • Having no initiative
  • Having a “conspiracy theory” in mind
  • Unhappy people
  • Being the “frog in the well,” pulling others down to one’s level
  • Having a passive aggressive behavior (Oorjabizops, 2013)[1]

Employees with any of these detrimental behaviors should be addressed swiftly to avoid any huge impact from occurring. People should be talked into, coached, or removed from the innovation team if he does not understand and support the goals of the project.

  • Politics of working relationships. “Office politics” happen when people take advantage of the circumstance or of other people in order to advance for personal reasons or for a cause they support. Many people think politics is something to avoid, however, it is practically impossible eliminating it because there will always be people who are more powerful than others, everybody wants to get promotion, and everybody will have to compete for the limited resources.

The best way to deal with this barrier is to make the politics work for you using the strategies below:

  • Re-map the organizational chart. The organisation may need some adjustments considering the political power. One should see who are the highly influential individuals, the “brains” of the company, and those who have authority but are not practicing it?
  • Understand the informal network. Aside from the formal positions of employees in the organisation, one should also understand the social networks within the firm. One should know what cliques are formed, who gets along with whom and who does not get along with others.
  • Build relationships. After understanding how current relationships work in the firm, one should build his own social network accordingly. It is important to get to know the politically powerful people and to make sure that you build relationships in all levels of the hierarchy. One must not associate oneself to a certain clique, but should work to be a part of multiple networks.
  • Listen carefully. Everybody loves anyone who actually listens to them. Besides, the less you talk, the less things others will have to use against you.
  • Make the most of your network. It is important to learn how to use one’s network to promote oneself or one’s team positively. Networks can also be a good source of information, publicize one’s achievements, and see new opportunities for growth.
  • Neutralize Negative Play. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” perfectly applies in office politics. Ensure that you understand your competitors within the company, what their goals are and what motivates them.
  • Govern Your Own Behaviour. Identify the model behaviours that help people be successful and apply it to oneself. It is important to be always positive and assertive and a person of integrity (MindTools, 2014).[2]

Innovation reward management theory and practice

Reward management refers to the development and implementation of tactics and guidelines which purpose is to recompense employees consistently with justice and equality, according to how much value they are adding to the organisation. It usually involves the study and manipulation of employee remuneration, compensation, and other employee benefits.

Rewards can come in two different forms:

  • Extrinsic rewards. These rewards are concrete and are focused on recognising and motivating employee performance. Examples are pay raise, bonuses, gifts, and promotions.
  • Intrinsic rewards. These, on the other hand, are intangible and are focused on employee satisfaction and happiness. Examples are feedback, recognition, and empowerment.

There are several motivational theories under reward management, categorizing the reward system based on the type of rewards and how they are used.

  • Content theories. Such theories aim to identify and study the elements that motivate better performance ad higher efficiency from the employees. These are highly related with extrinsic rewards. An example is the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
  • Process theories. On the other hand, these theories focus on the effects of the different personality types to employee behaviour. Process theories are more inclined to intrinsic rewards. A famous example is the Equity Theory.

Other famous theories are:

  • Frederick Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory. This theory considers satisfaction and dissatisfaction as two independent factors that should therefore be measured separately. Real motivation is believed to originate from the work per se, while rewards are introduced to stop any dissatisfaction from occurring from completing the tasks.
  • Expectancy theory. This theory works best for employers who can calculate the motivation effort and can forecast a defined numerical return. It determines the interrelationship among performance, motivation, and ability, expressed as:

Performance = Motivation x Ability

From Wikipedia (2014).[3]

Techniques for managing stakeholder expectations

Poorly managed stakeholders can result to a series of problems that may be detrimental to the progress of innovation if not addressed quickly. Since stakeholders participate from the start through the end of the projects, it is vital that stakeholder expectations are properly managed all throughout the innovation cycle.

Stakeholder expectations can be managed by these three essential tools:

  • Communication methods. Face-to-face communication, individually or in meetings, is always the best method to resolve any communication concerns. However, results from this communication should be followed up with a written communication containing the summary of all decisions and actions agreed upon.
  • Interpersonal skills. This is a vital characteristic of the project manager but it is also important that all members of the project team possess good interpersonal skills. These skills refer to the ability to establish trust and to express any information lucidly and positively.
  • Management skills. Obviously, the project managers should be able to expertly manage the stakeholder perception and therefore have strong communication skills, motivation, and leadership skills (Dave Litten.com, 2014).[4]

Change/performance curve theory and application

The change/ performance curve theory presents the different stages an individual or an organisation goes through during a transition or innovation. In businesses, it helps the managemenent predict how to handle their employees and their company as a whole during the transition for the innovation.

The stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Shock and denial. This stage is very critical for communication. The employees involved need information in order to understand the situation and to know that help is available.
  • Stage 2 – Anger and fear. At this stage, the people or the organisation already starts to react to the change, actively or passively. Employees will start to express their feelings towards the transition, which is usually anger. For organisations, this stage is considered the “danger zone” as poor management at this stage can lead to chaos and project failure.

Change Curve Diagram

Figure 1 Change/performance curve theory (MindTools, 2014).

  • Stage 3 – Acceptance. After the “danger zone” is the “turning point,” where employees’ acceptance grows and starts moving onto the success of the project.
  • Stage 4 – Commitment. In this stage, the innovation or the change becomes natural, the employees have finalally adapted to the improvements, and the benefits of the innovation are started to get realized (MindTools, 2014). [5]

Strategies for identifying obstacles and barriers

  • Awareness and knowledge
  • Motivation
  • Acceptance and beliefs
  • Skills
  • Practicalities

Strategies for minimising barriers to communication

  • Educational materials
  • Meetings
  • Conferences, workshops, training
  • Outreach visits
  • Opinion leaders
  • Reminder systems

Organisational culture self-awareness strategies

Organizational culture refers to the traditions or practices that the group has naturally developed in order to adapt with the internal and external problems, which have been successful and are therefore considered official. These are not documented but new members of the team are trained and are expected to follow. Thus, it is important to know if the existing culture is still beneficial during the transition period upto the new state after the innovation.

Below are self-awareness strategies a company can use:

  • A Need for Order and Consistency
  • The Strength of a Culture
  • Invent, Discover, or Develop
  • Taught to New Members
  • Work Well Enough To Be Considered Valid
  • Perceive, Think, and Feel
  • Analyzing the Process and Content of Socialization of New Members
  • Analyzing Responses to Critical Incidents in the Organization's History.
  • Analyzing Beliefs, Values, and Assumptions of "Culture Creators or Carriers.
  • Jointly Exploring and Analyzing with Insiders

PERCIEVED KEY BARRIERS

  • Inadequate funding

Unable to keep up with current trend

Our business or organization might look old fashioned

Unable to invent new technology in the business

Unable to expand the business

Strategy Plan

Getting bank loans on the new investment

Joint venture with another fast growing company with least share holding

  • Lack of effective communication

Might create rumors about the organization innovation

Unable to convey the fact of real innovation accordingly to public and stakeholder

May interoperate wrong impression on the business reputation

Strategy Plan

Conduct business meeting among employees

Conference with stakeholders

Email blast communication

  • Lack of resources

Shortage of skill staffing

Shortage of raw material aspects

Skilled expatriate are too costly

Strategy Plan

Send internal employee for Skill Training programs

  • Lack of leadership

Lack of productivity from the team

Hard to achieve organization’s goal

Personality clashes between Leader & Team members

Strategy Plan

Develop a leadership training program & people management

Create two communication, coaching may be appropriate

  • Stakeholder resistance

Misunderstanding

Low tolerance of change

Different assessment of situations

Strategy Plan

Carried out communication of the problems

Proof stability

STRATEGY TO DEVELOP SELF-AWARENESS

Below are self-awareness strategies a company can use:

  • A Need for Order and Consistency
  • The Strength of a Culture
  • Invent, Discover, or Develop
  • Taught to New Members
  • Work Well Enough To Be Considered Valid
  • Perceive, Think, and Feel
  • Analyzing the Process and Content of Socialization of New Members
  • Analyzing Responses to Critical Incidents in the Organization's History.
  • Analyzing Beliefs, Values, and Assumptions of "Culture Creators or Carriers.“
  • Jointly Exploring and Analyzing with Insiders

COMMUNICATION STRATEGY PLAN

  • Group meetings. It can increase informational awareness of the barriers because of the interaction between employees and the top management ( e.g. Conferences and lectures, training sessions)
  • Feedback. Feedbacks are always important in order to realize the opportunities for improvement that were unseen.
  • Educational materials (booklets, CD-ROMs, DVDs). These tools can raise awareness on working the strategies to overcome the barriers.
  • Notice boards. These have always been an easy access to information for the employees.
  • Brainstorming. This is usually done in small groups to discover the solutions in minimizing the barriers.

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING SUCCESS

The key barriers and the strategy plans for each of them are discussed earlier in this paper. The effectiveness of the strategy plans mentioned above can be measured respectively with:

  • Investor enthusiasm.
  • Level of awareness of stakeholders.
  • Availability of quality resources.
  • Well-managed team and performance levels.
  • Stakeholder satisfaction.

CONCLUSION

Nimbus-Helix Furniture Co. Ltd. has been known for 10 years for their quality furniture products that serve traditional living and dining rooms. However, due to the changing fashion and lifestyles, the enterprise decided to innovate new types of furniture.

The different barriers that Nimbus-Helix may encounter were discussed and are known to be mostly inevitable. However, for every problem, a different set of solutions and strategies were suggested, and with proper management and implementation, innovation success is surely achievable. Noteworthy, above everything, it is very important to have self-awareness and strong communication within the organisation.


[1] Oorjabizops. (2013). Five toxic employee attitudes that should be banned from the work-place – People barriers to operational excellence. Retrieved August 19, 2014 from http://www.oorjabizops.com/five-toxic-employee-attitudes-that-should-be-banned-from-the-work-place-people-barriers-to-operational-excellence/

[2] MindTools. (2014). Dealing with office politics. Retrieved on August 19, 2014 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_85.htm

[3] Wikipedia. (2014). Reward management. Retrieved August 19, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reward_management

[4] Dave Litten.com. (2014). Manage stakeholder expectations. Retrieved on August 19, 2014 from http://www.pm-primer.com/manage-stakeholder-expectations/#sthash.grm5H6Gq.dpuf

[5] MindTools. (2014). The change curve. Retrieved August 19, 2014 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_96.htm

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