The Final Graduate Business English Test for the Management Training Program
FIRST TIME LEADER
Taking on a leadership role for the first time is tough. There is always pressure on you to do the right things, and to be seen to be doing them. But, unless there's something that needs sorting out urgently, your first few months in the role will be better spent in understanding the people and the situation. One easy mistake to make is to think that you, as leader, the top person with the top salary, have the sole responsibility and the know-how to solve every single problem yourself. And you can be sure that others will encourage you to think that way, since it takes the pressure off them, and it satisfies their natural urge to leave the solving of problems to others. Instead try using existing resources to identify the current position and the ways to change it for the better.
Start by consulting widely, beginning with the people who now report to you direct, as these are most likely to be the people with the expertise and experience to tackle some of the problems that are identified. A series of one-to-one meetings, though time-consuming, will be worthwhile, especially if they are structured to provide you with the information you need to make decisions later on. Two useful questions are: 'What do you see as the biggest problem facing the department now?' and 'What one change would make the most difference to our success?' From their answers you can build up a picture of your people, as well as of the issues. Some will consider the needs of the department as a whole, while others may just concentrate on their own particular concerns. You will also have had personal contact with each person and can judge who you will work well with in the future.
Overlap in their responses is a useful pointer to the priorities needing your attention. If there is no duplication in problems or solutions, it means that you have inherited a disunited group which will need some team-building and restructuring. If no clear picture emerges, it means that your people are part of the problem: you will need to make them aware of this.
At the same time, consult with customers. Be open to criticizm and to praise. Compare the views of your department with this external viewpoint and see where the biggest gaps are. This will help to identify areas for action.
While you are data-gathering, have a look at the figures. Apply different measures from the standard ones. You probably lack knowledge about which company products are profitable, and you recognize that staff costs are a key factor. So, ask for an analysis of profitability per employee. There will be some grumbling that the new figures involve extra work, but the analysis will reveal how many and what kind of staff your company really needs.
Finally, a key issue for you as a new leader is to establish priorities. If you have done your research well, you will have identified a number of areas for action. Bring your senior team together and tell them about your research findings, both the problems and the suggested solutions. Together, plot the solutions on a big graph, with one axis relating to the amount of difference the action would make; and the other axis to the ease of implementation. This will prompt useful discussion on the issues and the means of resolving them. In selecting priorities, you might well gain volunteers to tackle some of the tasks. Agree actions, assign responsibilities and establish dates for completion and progress reviews.
|Read the following article, and check that you have understood the main points by choosing the best answer, A, B, C or D, to these questions. |
Employees encourage their boss to believe that he or she should solve all the problems, because they
A) really don't want to have to solve the problems themselves.
B) believe that the boss is paid to solve problems.
C) know that the boss has a lot more information about the issues than they do.
D) feel that they shouldn't have to solve problems created by other people.
How should you structure your first meetings according to the writer?
A) Explain to each member of staff the problems facing his or her department.
B) See people individually and ask each one the same questions.
C) Ask each member of staff to help in setting priorities for action.
D) Bring everyone into the discussion to get an agreed plan of action.
Getting the same answers from different people during your research tells you that
A) the people who are under you clearly do not work well together.
B) a lot of your department's problems are caused by the people themselves.
C) you have identified the most urgent issues needing your attention.
D) your department is working well despite a number of problems.
It is useful to talk to customers about the performance of your department because
A) they are likely to be more honest and open than your own staff.
B) it makes your customers feel that their opinions are important to you.
C) it gives you an opportunity to criticize or praise them.
D) you can evaluate what they say against what your own staff told you.
What might you learn from the kind of financial analysis that the writer recommends?
A) That you need to employ fewer people, or people with different skills.
B) That you can increase profitability by using different measures.
C) That this kind of financial analysis involves a lot of extra work.
D) That financial data must be combined with other information to give a full picture.
Complete the article with the sentences below.
Plans to regulate the chemicals industry in Europe approved by the European Commission on October 29th are a minor victory for industrial lobbyists over environmental campaigners. "I can live with it," was the less than enthusiastic comment by Margot Wallstr++m, the Environment Commissioner, who had wanted something far more ambitious. Her colleague, Erkki Liikanen, the Commissioner for Enterpise, was happier. He claimed that the right balance had now been struck between growth and employment on the one hand and health and the environment on the other.
Behind the Commission's proposal is the fear that the world is full of unknown chemicals doing damage to health and happiness. It proposes that any business making or importing more than one tonne per year of a chemical must register safety information on a central database. Those chemicals seen as riskiest to health or the environment, or produced in the greatest quantity, will be subject to evaluation by the authorities.
But the Commission has given in too easily to industry, say the greens. These three politicians jointly wrote to Romano Prodi, the Commission President, giving warning of the dangers of excessive regulation. So how far have the Commission's original proposals changed? A requirement to provide safety information has been softened for some 20,000 chemicals produced in quantities of less than ten tonnes per year. Also, a requirement to switch to alternative chemicals is now less binding. And there will be fewer limits on what can be imported into the EU.
Yet still the chemicals industry continues to complain that European producers will be put at a competitive disadvantage. This is because restrictions are not as strict elsewhere, particularly on chemicals that have long been in widespread use.
The lobbying battle will now move into international arenas like the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. While it goes on, the Commission should think about what it is doing. Increasingly, it justifies its actions by saying that it is trying to protect consumers. For Europe's three biggest economies, the price proposed was much too high.
1. The process could easily take another few years.
2. Very dangerous chemicals, such as carcinogens, will need authorisation before use.
3. Firms will have the right to keep some information about products confidential.
4. But the fight over chemicals has shown that consumer protection comes at a price.
5. Pro-industry lobbyists include Gerhard Schroder, Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair.
Complete the article with the correct options A-D.
In South Africa's mines, workers are struggling to keep up with ___ (11) ___ demand for the precious metal, a key element in catalytic converters - and now worth almost twice as much as gold.
Of all the metals, platinum probably has the strongest ___ (12) ___, some analysts consider. Despite new technologies that use less of the metal in catalytic converters and a growing trend to recycle, the demand for platinum has continued to increase, while production ___ (13) ___ . Industrial demand has been the primary factor driving up the metal's price, but the ___ (14) ___ image of platinum as purer than gold continues to make the metal popular in the jewelry market, particularly in Asia.
Because of the overall perspective for platinum demand the world's largest platinum companies are straining to keep up the ___ (15) ___, and smaller firms are scrambling to expand. One survey found that several new platinum mining companies planned listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange ___ (16) ___ money for operations. Some of the new players have benefited from government requirements that big mining companies transfer part of their assets and mineral rights to firms with black South African owners.
___ (17) ___ rules are only one of the challenges faced by the big companies.
A. to collect
B. to increase
C. to rise
D. to raise
|You will hear an interview with Paul Keene, an expert on arts sponsorship, who talks about corporate sponsorship of arts events.|
Listen to the recording twice and for each question (1-5) mark one letter (A, B or C) for the correct answer.
Прослушать audio mp3 (2 Mb)
|Вопрос #1 |
What, according to Paul, is the main advantage of arts sponsorship for large companies?
|Ваш ответ: |
A) They have parts of buildings named after them.
B) They improve their reputation.
C) They reach a wider audience.
|Вопрос #2 |
Why, according to Paul, do companies sponsor operas?
|Ваш ответ: |
A) Members of the board enjoy them.
B) It is good for brand image.
C) They hope it will boost their share values.
What recent development has encouraged greater corporate sponsorship in Europe?
|Ваш ответ: |
A) Lower government funding for the arts.
B) Changes in tax rules.
C) More aggressive fund-raising.
Companies nowadays are more interested in sponsoring
|Ваш ответ: |
A) Art exhibitions.
B) Classical music concerts.
Sponsorship helps big art organizations to
A) Become more popular.
B) Become more professional.
C) Spend more on travelling performances.