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.

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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):

Index

Grains

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

Index

Grains

Energies

Bonds

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.

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Quick Tips For Getting Your Home Based Business Online

The advantages of starting a home based business outweigh the time and small expense involved in setting up a viable business. For the long term, the overhead costs for starting a business in your home are very low. The government provides several tax incentives for individuals who have businesses set up in their home. There are some strict rules and regulations that must be met to qualify for the home-based business deduction but once confirmed, the tax refunds for having a home based business are very lucrative.In addition to the tax advantages, home based business owners have no daily transportation expenses. home based business owner has unlimited flexibility in balancing work and family commitments. Using technology for communication and business processes makes working from home a sensible and practical solution to the high price of gasoline, commuting time and costs of buying new clothes.Home-based businesses play a crucial role in the free enterprise system. These entrepreneurs contribute to the overall economy as well as the financial viability of their families. The ultimate dream of a home based business is to provide financial independence for the owner, their family and the community at large..Some of the most widely recognized software retailers and cosmetic companies had their beginning in a garage. Companies like Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Microsoft, Lotus and even the cosmetic giant, Mary Kay, were initially started as home based business enterprises.But, like any other type of business, a home-based business requires initial preparation, start-up capital, registration and ongoing marketing. Home based business are traditionally set up as a sole proprietorship. The home based business owner has to be an expert in all phases of the business. At some time in the business start up process, the home based business owner must know the details of the operational, strategic, legal, financial and marketing concerns.The following checklist covers the essential points to help you stay focused so that you can set up your own home-based business.Plan to SucceedEvery business needs to create a comprehensive business plan. The business plan will focus your efforts from selecting a product to sell all the way to the actual marketing of the product. This plan will cause ideas to generate and perhaps new methods of distribution for your business.The basic business plan contains a, executive summary, mission statement, marketing plans and profits that you want to achieve. The business plan is the blueprint that will guide you to your desired results. It is of utmost importance to prepare a draft of your business plan. The business plan will keep you on focused on your goals. If you intend to seek any type of funding for your business, it is imperative that a business plan is part of the start-up process.Selecting the Business StructureThe selection of your long term goals for your business will determine which structure you chose for your business. The choices include:o Sole Proprietorship
o Partnership
o CorporationThere are several different types of Corporation structures that you can choose. There are specific tax implications for each of the choices listed. Deciding on the business structure for your home based business enterprise is perhaps one of the most critical decisions you will make.You can search online to find out the specific requirements for each of the business structures listed. Your decision will have far-reaching consequences and will depend on important factors like capital, ability to do business in specific locations and the type of your business you are starting.To register or not to register?It is important for all legitimate business to register their business name. For tax and other proprietary purposes you should secure all necessary business licenses. Registering your business protects the name of your business. It is also important to become aware of the compliance requirements in your area. Local zoning regulations should be acquired to assure you that the business does not contravene local zoning laws.Insurance for Your Business?It is just smart to purchase insurance for your new business if you need to acquire financing. Business insurance is a prerequisite of lending institutions in case you plan to borrow money for your startup operations For online businesses that do not sell physical products, having insurance is a choice.Purchase Equipments Remember to keep all of your receipts when you purchase any office equipments or supplies. Your new computer, fax, printer, cell phone stationary supplies, and business cards are necessary business tools and are all tax deductible for your new business.Time ManagementHome-based entrepreneurs also require better time management skills than a corporate employee. Home based business owners must learn how to leverage their time and money. It is easy to get off track when your office is located in your garage, a den or the basement. Decide how much time you will devote to your business each day and stick to your time schedule.Automate as much of your business as possible so that you are always available to your customers. Schedule each phase of your business day and set up systems that will automatically reply to inquiries. Automation of your menial tasks is a critical element in your overall time management strategy.Web SiteBusinesses are longer restricted to brick and mortar locations. There are no limits to the number of customers that home based business owners can acquire. The home based business owner can no longer limit themselves to doing business in their local community. The Internet allows global business interaction from anywhere in the world. Having one website may not be sufficient to accomplish the level of success that a home based business owner requires.Home-based businesses compensate for their lack of a physical presence with a virtual presence in the World Wide Web. This presence may take the shape of several websites on several domains.Organization & AutomationTo conduct business in a professional and efficient way, it is important to organize everyday tasks into simple automated processes. Your home office should include everything you need to complete a transaction. It is easier to stay on top of daily tasks when the work-space is well organized. It is so much easier to complete the daily grunt work when these menial tasks are automated.Inventory and SuppliesFor home based business owners who sell physical products, it is important that these products are kept in a specified location. If you use your garage to keep stock you need to know the exact dimensions of your garage that is designated for this purpose. The best way to handle stock is to have the company send and maintain the bulk of your inventory. This eliminates a time lag for your customers. If you sell digital products, this process is handled automatically.Open the Door and Let Business BeginYou are now ready to open the virtual doors of your home based business to the global community. You have completed all the steps to insure that your business will be successful. You have a product, a website that allows you into the global marketplace.

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