When to Delegate – The Responsibilities of a Manager

‘That manager can’t delegate’ is a common complaint against the ineffective manager. The senior manager will berate the junior manager for holding on to all their workload, and not appreciating that they have a team to whom they should delegate.Delegation is one of the key responsibilities of the manager, and yet some managers find it impossible to delegate and others delegate really badly.Delegation is not something that happens instantly. Delegation is the end goal of a process that every good manager works on continuously. The process is one of the manager developing the team and each team member through various stages until the time is right to delegate.Coaching the Team for Delegation
The aim of the effective manager is to know when his or her team or team members are ready for delegation. The good manager will not just wait for this moment to arrive. The manager is coaching their team and team members through various stages to prepare them for the time for delegation.
The manager will work with each person through the stages of development:The first stage is directive or telling. The manager will clearly state what is expected, the procedures and protocols and will expect the team member to follow these guidelines. The manager will give feedback on performance and areas for improvement.
The second stage is the coaching stage, where the manager is encouraging their reports to think for themselves. The manager will ask prompting questions to guide the person, and will reinforce or correct appropriately. The aim is to develop and guide the team member. The manager wishes to build up both their knowledge and experience, and their ability to make good judgements.
During this stage, the manager ensures that the person he or she is coaching has a full understanding of the business, and the management ethos of the company. This helps them make decisions and take action in a way that is aligned with the business.
The third stage is mentoring. The manager now frames the issue for the team member, and asks the team member to develop solutions. The manager will work through the stages with the team member, ensuring they are on track, but this is more of a reporting in scenario that a coaching one. The manager will agree the issue, and the reporting methods. They will agree the freedom and limitations for the staff member, how far they can go before gaining the approval of the manager.
The fourth stage is delegation. When the manager has coached the team member sufficiently, and has good reporting systems in place, the manager will delegate a project or an area of responsibility to the team member. Delegation is where the entire project or area of responsibility is handed over to the person. The manager trusts the judgement of the staff member, and trusts the effectiveness of the reporting system.The manager will clearly agree what decisions can be made entirely by the team member, which decisions must be approved before action, and which decisions will remain in the hands of the manager.The same four stages apply to delegating to the team, or to project groups within the team. When the stages are worked through carefully, the manager can be confident when to delegate and will find it much easier to delegate effectively.

What Markets Should You Use for Your Portfolio?

A couple of years ago I made a fundamental mistake: until then I had my portfolio focused mostly on index futures markets. For years I have had with this approach really nice results. But that year, I experienced how frustrating it can be, to go through a couple of periods when index markets are underperforming. That was when I have decided to work really hard and improve my intraday portfolio composed of automated trading systems (ATS).Smooth equity isn’t just about the systems – it is a smart combination of markets, timeframes, trading approaches, and, later on, also innovative position sizing. When you think about it, there is the logic behind it.Even though in times of financial shocks and surprises there is barely any negative correlation in the markets, there are still some markets which live their own lives – and they offer us smart way for diversification.The result is that when one of the market groups is not doing well, there is another, which compensates the losses from the first one – and makes the equity overall smoother.What market groups you should useThis is the first question – what markets groups you should combine in order to get the desired result – smooth equity.We have following futures groups: Index, Currencies, Metals, Energies, Bonds, and Grains. Every market group lives its own life and you can find at least one noticeable market in every group that can represent the whole group.Personally, I have experimented with all groups and, besides currencies, I can highly recommend any combination. The currencies are, from ATS point of view, highly unstable (for example in Forex, ATS are failing really fast and it is really difficult to find profitable ATS for Forex). It also depends on how many markets you create a system for, and how many markets you trade with your account. But even with rather a small account, you can trade 3-4 markets. For such cases, I would recommend following combinations:Combination of 3 markets (pick one market from each market group):



Combination of 4 markets (pick one market from each market group):





Nowadays, I trade several portfolios that are based on the 4 groups mentioned above. Here is an example of one of them (breakout strategies, 30-minute chart, 5 markets, equity for the last 8 years, trading 1 contract per system):The net profit for all 8 years and all markets combined is 421,548 USD and the max drawdown is just 12,315 USD.Smoothen the equity by using multiple timeframesThe second way how to smoothen your equity curve (in a combination of trading several markets from different groups) is using several timeframes for every market (ideally without changing system parameters, or with just small changes).It is more like a final touch than smoothing the equity, but it brings up an interesting idea that it might be better to add new timeframes instead of trading multiple contracts in the same timeframe. Another option is to optimize also the timeframes (check the results of your system on several timeframes and pick one timeframe for each market – it can, but doesn’t have to be the same) – but then, we need to ask ourselves how much of over-optimization this is.Anyway, here is another example of the portfolio mentioned above, when for every market we add the second, 15-minute, timeframe. The equity is slightly smoother, the drawdown hasn’t increased so much, but the profit has.The net profit is 812,457 USD and the drawdown is 18,815 USD.What systems to useThe best variant is to have in a portfolio both trend and also counter-trend systems. Still, it is sufficient to have a system that can smartly react on both situations (equally, if possible).I am specialized in breakout strategies and I can say that it is all you need to have a balanced portfolio across several markets – but only if you have systems trading both long and short. Sometimes you just need a simple breakout strategy that doesn’t have great performance (that you wouldn’t trade individually), but in combination, you have a nice portfolio with smooth equity curve. You need to constantly focus on the performance of the portfolio – it is more important than the performance of underlying systems. Remember when there is a huge drawdown for one market (system), the others can compensate that and you can still make a profit.For that, you need to have a quality workflow setup how to create new and new strategies, as you will need a lot of them and for several markets. At the same time, it is crucial to have a setup of robustness testing procedures so that we can add to our portfolio really robust strategies.

Small And Midsized Company Marketing And Marketing Communications – A Lesson From Large Agencies

Over the past few years, rapidly developing technologies have changed the way marketers think about marketing and marketing communications strategies, plans and tactics. However, somewhat quietly but perhaps more importantly, a significant change has occurred with the world’s largest communications agencies – the dramatic growth of consulting companies at the expense of traditional advertising agencies.Management and accounting consulting companies with new services are now ranking sixth through tenth among the world’s biggest communications companies. The specialized divisions of Accenture Interactive, PwC Digital Services, Deloitte Digital, Cognizant Interactive and IBMix had total global revenue of over $20 billion in 2017, with an eye-popping 32 percent growth in US revenue versus a year ago.While traditional advertising industry giants WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic and Dentsu are ranked as the top five, with global revenue of nearly $62 billion, US revenue barely increased at 0.3 percent (Advertising Age).Why is this change happening and what can small and midsized marketers learn from it?Consulting Companies Focus On ROIThere are many reasons for the growth of consulting companies – in B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketing and marketing communications areas – but the top reasons are:
Consulting companies already have deep ties, experience and credibility helping organizations improve their profitability, because of a sharp focus on ROI;

Their existing familiarity with digital technologies, along with the financial resources to acquire specialized digital companies for expansion;

Maintaining a data-based strategy with clients and prospects – not creative alone – which means they are focused on understanding customer wants and needs, as well as customer experiences at all pre- and post- customer purchase points;

A focus on marketing and marketing communications effectiveness and not just efficiency, resulting in a very big difference to a brand’s profitability.
In short, a history and vision of focusing on and improving a brand’s profitability and its ROI. Keeping an eye on the bottom line – cost per customer, not just media cpm efficiency.ROI Focused Marketing And Marketing Communications ConsultantsAs a small of midsized marketer, what can be learned from this dramatic shift of larger marketers? With only a small (sometimes inexperienced) staff, limited financial resources and time constraints, what should be considered?Start with established marketing and marketing communications consultants who are clearly focused on a brand’s profitability and ROI, and not just “likes” or “clicks”. They should have significant experience across industries and brands, both for profit and nonprofit, and have a broad understanding of customer, prospect (and employee) motivations to purchase and repurchase, regardless of the business environment.But, above all, they must be media neutral and not selling “one size fits all” solutions. As Tom Bradley, former head of marketing at Nestle said, “The best source of marketing communications leverage is the quality of the message… not the media vehicle, new or traditional, that does or does not deliver.” And that also means you must be sure that your consultants have the ability to cultivate and manage the creative process.Selecting A ConsultantUnsure of how to select a consultant, much less what type of professional to look for? If your business is floundering and in serious need of overall repair, along with financing, you probably would be better served by either a management or accounting consultant.If, however, your primary need is to establish or improve a weak marketing or marketing communications program for the short and long term your selection should be apparent. You should be looking for rigorous and objective counsel on the entire scope of traditional marketing and marketing communications opportunities available to you (traditional vs. new media; conventional vs. digital; etc.).Beyond the qualities of the consultants previously mentioned, be sure to look for:
Someone who is disciplined, apolitical, down to earth, and willing to be part of your team; consultants who will promote candor across all levels, who will listen and explain what needs to be done to everyone’s satisfaction; teaching, not lecturing, is very important’;

Professionals with the ability to develop successful strategies, plans and executions with your team or, if necessary, who can provide outside specialists to improve part or all of the program;

People who have strong convictions to use research and measure not only what has been done but also what is proposed to be done; measurement is key to evaluating success or the need to modify a plan;

A flexible organization that can bring in marketing and marketing communications specialists when and as needed so that overhead isn’t an on-going expense.
Most small and midsized companies find themselves with not enough time, skill or financial resources to develop and execute a profitable marketing and marketing communications program. These challenges are growing exponentially, and consultants can be of great value in navigating this complex environment and adding value to your brand.Hopefully, these ideas will give you food for thought, but as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Balance Transfer and Housing Finance

The Indian immovable property has come of ages. Consumer is the King now and gone are the days of monopolistic behavior. And definitely, if you are the one with sound financial background and impeccable credit record you can strike a better deal with the banks in terms of interest rates and other payment conditions and purchase your dream property without any hassle.

Interestingly, the same criteria is equally applicable on those, as well, who have already availed a loan from a bank. Near about all the major public and private sector banks in the Indian banking system are now offering the option of ‘Balance Transfer’ on housing finance. Often, banks in the housing finance sector tend to increase the interest rates when the benchmark interest rates increase. But, such alacrity is not shown by them in decreasing rates whether the Repo rate comes down or not. In such circumstances, balance transfer help the customer a lot. He can replace the higher rate loan and avail a lower rate one by paying some extra charges. These charges are lower compared to the total payable interest.

What is Balance Transfer and how is it relevant in the housing finance?

There are times you find that the interest rate on your home loan is at a higher level. Take an example. Suppose you were paying at the rate of 10.5 per cent per annum. This rate is quite high in comparison of 9 per cent offered by some other bank. In such cases balance transfer of housing finance comes into rescue. You can trigger off the balance transfer option with your existing bank or lending institution, under which the unpaid portion of your housing finance would get transferred to your desired bank, thereby taking benefit of the difference in the housing loan interest rate.

Things to take care of at the time of balance transfer:

* Tenure of loan amount should be taken care: Ideally, you should consider taking the balance transfer option when the remaining part of your payment period is more than 5-years and in such a case you have the time for speculative gains. There is no profit in transferring the home loan from one bank to another if you end up paying early payment penalty and other processing charges even more than the difference of housing loan interest rate and the amount you had to pay towards interest in the normal condition.

* Early Payment Charges associated with the housing finance scheme: Banks like State Bank of India, IDBI and ICICI offer benefits like exemption of the early payment charges to your existing bank if you transfer the balance. So you must confirm the same with the new lending institution that are they ready to deal with this matter. Otherwise, the deal is not profitable.

* Additional charges involved with the loan amount: You must confirm that the desired amount for your home purchase loan is perfectly at par with the balance you had in your previous bank. It may be the case that that your new bank pays all early payment penalties and processing charges on your behalf and later add the amount to the principal of your housing loan. So, in such case your total owing remain the same and the transfer is not profitable. In this situation, you have to suffer the impact of debt compounding, which does not favour you in the long run.

Seeking balance transfer as a burden reduction option needs the similar degree of caution and study that you undertake while taking housing finance. Definitely with balance transfer, you can save a considerable amount of interest charges under this option once you strike the right chord!

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