March 16, 2009

Reflections on Debating

Although its been a couple of days since the debate which took place in class, i would just like to share my thoughts about it...

Frankly, it was a very rewarding and stimulating process...And this is for a number of reasons..

Firstly,because on the one hand we explored a completely new field and got some very good insights about it..So it terms of knowledge generation it fulfilled its goal..

Then the fact that we all sat around a table...Discussed our thoughts with the rest of our team mates was ideal in terms of knowledge sharing...But perhaps the most substantial knowledge sharing took place during the actual debate...When each team stood up and supported their views...It was interesting to hear the other side and especially listen to their arguments...It was not just a "I believe this...." it went a step beyond that by being  a "I beileive this, because..."Meaning that there was solid grounding supporting the views... 

I think it was stimulating, because both teams were passionate about defending their side...There was a lot of commitment and dedication by all the memebers of the teams to contribute and make the arguments strong...Although I have to admit it is a bit sweaping, especially beceuse of the time constraints and some people might feel a bit num...But even so I personally saw an eagerness to "do my best" from everyone...

There was a bit of competitiveness but just because we have developed our relationships over these months it was a healthy kind of competitiveness...Maybe if we had done it at the begining of the year this aspect would have been different.

As far as, the usefulness of this learning will be in the future is concerned...First of all, content wise the theme on innovation/creativity and standards develped a team output which I would like to call "Typical MBE" meaning that in this case it goes beyond the surface of what things might seem to be and traces the responsibilities organisations ought to fulfil at an internal level, by touching upon issues about leadership and culture...

On the other hand i think it made obvious that there is always another side to consider apart from what you think...Sitting there and hearing the other team's opinions made clear to me that it is critical to respect what other people think... understand why they have that standing...but in terms of being fair arguments are also  required...


March 15, 2009

Six Sigma, Lean & Soft Issues

As i have been going through  the similarities and differences of six sigma and lean, i found it quite interesting that all the sources emphasise on the importance of the so called soft issues....

Whether it is leadership support, staff involvement or cultural change....

There is always reference to this side of the Lean and Six Sigma..

From, my point of view it makes total sense...In a way it is impossible to expect such a radical project to actually work whithout having the right foundations...

Its like building castles in the sand....sooner or later the waves will come and bring everything down...

Therefore, it is implicit that leaders ought to be committed to the idea of improving from within and actively supporting it...I remember how the word congruent came up in the one of the mini project presentations...And right know I realise how important it is for a leader to stay true to what he preaches...Most importantly its about getting involved with the real project..and not just planning it...and then expecting everyone to buy into it..

On the other hand, employee commitment is crucial in order for any initiative to actually take off...I have been reading about the importance of motivation...both intrinsic and extrinsic..as well as the importance of ownership...  

But in the end..it is all a matter of mind set..where to people stand...what do they beleive...and when i talk about people mean in their organisational environment...what is their organisational culture like? Can it support lean or six sigma..? If not..can it change> Because after all six sigma and lean is about changing and improving

In the end, i think that no matter how effective the tools are..if people are not up to it then it will be impossible for any improvement procedure to finds its way...

Therefore for future reference I will remember...Culture...Leadership...People


March 14, 2009

Lean and Toyota–Initial

I have completed the Lean part of my Pma..and some important learning outcomes have been generated..

First of all it is obvious that once again the Japanese have outbeaten the west, primarily in terms of forward thinking...

I was impressed i found out -according to my readings- that Toyota had been practising lean without even knowing it for nearly 80 years...I mean obviously they knew the system they were applying but for them it wasn't some groundbreaking/magical discovery..It was simply a management approach covering nearly all operations from manufacturing, to assembly and employees which was developed especially for them.

In particular, I was reading that the Japanese engineers who in a way "invented" lean had actually visited Ford plants in the USA were they observed activities such as waste and life cycle cost management...Even though they "appreciated" the western mass production ways, they realised that they wouldn't fit the Japanese reality, therefore they had to introduse a unique concept suitable for Toyota in specific...

Lesson learnt: Simply adopting what other people are doing wont really add value...it is necessary to understand the specific needs of each situation and treat it accordingly...perhaps ADGUSTING external solutions to your reality might be helpful but simply copying wont add any value....

For this reason it makes total sense why lean as it was later called, has become so famous and desired..The concept of reducing waste, increasing wealth from within, driving continual improvement and most importantly considering customer requirements during all this...is an approach which can easily distinguish world class companies from the rest...And there is no doubt that Toyota has come to become a world class company..


March 12, 2009

Knowledge Management/ PMA and other impulsive thoughts

I am sure that for the past one and a half weeks or even two weeks, most of us have been exploring the vast fields of knowledge and asset management as an attempt to produce an ideal KM/AM solution for Waveriders-at this point i would like to wish everyone Good Luck for tomorrow...!!!! I know it has been a hectic week with many many many obligations but we are all still fighting, which is encouraging. To think off tomorrows presentation will be the final presentation for all of us on MBE...which makes me feel a bit nostalgic and of course stressed because project seems much closer...

Anyway...enough with the moaning,

What i am trying to get at is linked to knowledge management. As i was reading an article from the Harvard Business Review:Balancing Act- How to capture knowledge without killing it by J.S Brown and P.Duguid they mentioned that the main problem in capturing knowledge is to "know what you know". There is quite a difficulty understanding what you know because we do things without really realising them or what they cause, meaning that there is a difference between what we think we are doing and what we are actually doing/produsing. The other issue causing confusion is that a task might appear to be something but actually it is something else...Hoping i am making sense here...

Perhaps the most impressive thing i read in that article (and many others to  be honest) were the solutions suggested in order to develop a better understanding of what one knows... The prepositions were socialising, storytelling, experimenting...

I was thinking about the solutions...and i immetiately thought about how deal with our PMA's...

I mean...we attend the modules...we keep notes...we blog (not all-nor always)..we consult books and journals..but sometimes we feel a bit lost...even though there is substantial "knowledge" in our head but we just cant seem to get around the task... 

Therefore we often discuss with our class mates about the issues that are causing us trouble, we meet on MSN, for launch or randomly in the computer lab and just talk (socialising)...

When some of us have done some progress then we answer questions according to what we have done up to that point, for example : I did a mind map, or I started from the second question is much easier or I found that good article...meaning that we share our experience and narrate the way we have gone about with the PMA (storytelling)

After that, we have come in contact with our fellow students, discussed with them and bearing in mind their method...then its time for us to start practising with our PMA...(experimenting) 

I found that very interesting because in a way it seems that we generate and manage knowledge in ways that are not always that obvious...And even if it might seem so easy for us MBE students what happens in a organisation out there in the real world?

From my point of view there ought to be provision in order to allow employees to develop and practise such processes...It is actually funny but we were discussing with Mariana how some articles very seriously consider the water cooler a tool to generate socialisation and consequently a KM tool, because when employees get up to have some water they will probably discuss their job and exchange opinions...

Personaly, after working for 2 and a half years at the Hellenic Children's Museum i think that bringing emplyees together at the end of each day (perhaps a bit extravigant for a company, but for the Museum it was ideal) is pretty implicit...Especially when you have new members...Because through discussions and sharing you acquire a better understanding of your tasks which increases the level of involvment and makes it easier to make improvements ...


March 10, 2009

Six sigma–initial

Since i am doing the fifth question about six sigma and lean, it is possible to say that i have decided to consider following:

overview of six sigma...overview of lean...

similarities and differences between the two and whether the one concept can contribute to the other by filling in any gaps...

is six sigma and lean in harmony... 

examine how effective integrating six sigma and lean has been (with examples where possible)...

As far as six sigma is concerned after considering various sources, it has become clear to me that it is always connected to Motorola because they implemented it to improve their manufacturing line and develop defect-free products. After Motorola implemented six sigma other mega corporations in the US adopted it such as GE, Xerox and Kodak.

Gradually as the concept of six sigma evolved it moved away from being simply a quality management tool towards becoming an entire philosophy which drives business strategy. As discussed in class I also constantly read that six sigma is  an improvement process which uses statistical tools and aims to reduce by ultimately  developing a product or service which will satisfy customers.

Apart from customer satisfaction perhaps the most beneficial element of six sigma from a business's point of view  and the aspect which has probably ensured its success, is the fact that is reduces waste and cost...meaning that it saves a business a lot of money.

As mentioned before six sigma is a improvement, process meaning that it involves the element of change, as discussed in class mainly due to the mini project on management of change and a six sigma project, there are important people implications that needs to be taken into account during the application of six sigma. Interestingly enough, in all the sources about six sigma application special mention is made towards the importance of creating the right project team, having top management commitment and involvement, providing training for the employees,  and above all establishing an environment of effective communication.


Stress and Knowledge/Performance

Considering what we discussed in class on Monday about stress and how it links to innovation/creativity and generaly speaking knowledge I did some research on stress and stress management (some valuable information can be found on the website of the American Institute of Stress, there is a separate part especially for job stress, if interested u can check it at http://www.stress.org/)

Anyway I found this figure which connects stress with human performance...I apologise for the quality of it, I am afraid I couldn't find a better one...By looking at this figure hopefully it becomes clear that the "amount" of stress experienced by an individual has a tremendous affect on the way this person is going to perform...

According to the figure total absence of stress is useless because it keeps someone in apathy and indifference...While as the stress level increases performance improves...I think we all are aware that a specific amount of stress can be useful or even advantageous  not only in terms of performance but also in aspects of everyday life, like for example a dance competition. It is the kind of stress that keeps us interested and mobilised, for example when we go to a job interview we feel very tensed but thanks to this feeling we become eager to do our best, prove that we are the best for the job and  the end all this will give a good impression. That is the good and healthy stress...

However, an overdose of stress can be catastrofic..for both performance and personal wellbeing. As shown in the figure when the amount of stress goes beyond the desired level then the result is disastrous...Anxiety and Panic take over and as a result performance goes down the drain...Unfortunately, I think that most of us have experienced this feeling and seen our performance decrease as our mental health disappears...

kissing.jpg

As far as linking the figure above and what i have mentioned until now, to knowledge I think we can simply replace the word performance on the left side with knowledge...

Just think of this, when in a year's time we are sitting in our office and feeling bored to death and in total relaxation i don't think there is any chance of approaching knowledge or making any significant contributions to the knowledge capital of he organisation.

On the other hand, with the right amount of stress I personally think that can function as a form of motivation to explore new possibilities, experiment, be creative and innovate. Provided of course, stress dosent go of the limits because then in a state of panic..agony..or even stomach aches knowledge is unreachable.

Probably a depressing example of how an overdose of stress paralyses knowledge could be a bad time managed PMA, because if I start dealing with a PMA 3 or 4 days before the deadline, my stress levels will be so high it will be impossible to actually learn something out of the whole task....


January 20, 2009

Memories…(and leadership)

Just some quick thoughts I wanted to share...

As I mentioned in my previous blog I have been working on the transformational theory-actually I am thinking of combining it with the transactional theory-, anyway I found something that related to my first presentation here at MBE. Probably, you dont remember but my first presentation was on the comparison of the excellence models during CBE module.

I recall that when I was talking about how much does Deming, the EFQM model and the MBNQA emphasise leadership, I made a comment about leaders supporting non-leaders. When the presenation was over Paul asked me what I ment by this statement, and whether there is such a thing as non-leaders...To cut a long story sort the meaning was that most people can be leaders -in their own special thing- provided they are given such opportunity....

Quite surprisingly-or maybe not- during my research about transformational leadership I discovered that according to the academics a genuine transformational leader is supposed to create new leaders.... His duty is to empower and emancipate his followers in order for them to lead themselves....

Isn't that grand..??

I personally find it so altruistic, because its not about yourself anymore but about what you can do for others...Its beyond the common idea, where the staff works for the manager, it should be both ways the one working with the other and for the other.

I don't think any other way can really work.... 


January 16, 2009

Theories in the Mist…

I have been doing research about the leadership theories and the goals I have are two

1) understand more about the leadership theories and approaches the academics have introduced over the years

2) decide which theory/ies approach/es are suitable for Waveriders

Up to this point I have consulted books mainly  Theory and practice of leadership by Gill, R. (2006).. London, Sage, and  Management: concepts & practices by Hannagan T., & Bennet, R. (1998), London, Financial Times/Pitman Pub.

As far as the theories are concerned I believe that it is quite clear that there is a plethora of different models and approaches trying to explain leadership, this issue is probably conected with the difficulty to give leadership a single and unanimously agreed definition.Something we had discussed during the model.

Apart from this it appears that leadership models are a mirror of social economical and cultural circumstances which means that leadership perspectives adapt to the reality they exist in. I think the most credible example of what I am trying to say here, is trait theory since it evolved at a time when "natural" qualities where appreciated. By "natural" I mean characteristics one is born with such as height or even intelligence according to some academics....The point is that external or internal these traits obtained "naturally"are what make a leader according to trait theory -which has been curtsied emphatically

After reading about various other theories such as contigency leadership, emergency leadership and action learning leadership, I have to admit I felt a bit awkward because  I thought there was something missing, in terms on people empowerment or vision or even something else..... The theories just didnt seem enough to cover various elements....

This probably is happening because for OPP PMA I used a  book I had read during my undergraduate degree, by Handy called the "Elephant and the Flea" (2001). Among other things this book suggests that people’s professional aspirations are not the same any more. People are looking for occupations that go beyond simply making ends meet, they want to contribute and make a difference. I was very much influenced by this idea, probably because I feel this way....

Quite similar was the comment by Xerox guru John Seeley, Paul and I included in our CSR presentation during the model: A leader’s obligation is not to make money anymore, but to provide meaning. Anyway what I am trying to get at is that i feel that a leadership theory has to include all these...in order to guide the leader towards intrinsically motivating the employees and indicating  why the goals set are meaningful to the followers and show the way to accomplishment...

And that is when I read about the transformational leadership.... Its emphasis on internal motivation and empowerment, as well as leadership flexibility and morality impressed me. I feel that this leadership theory reflects the demands the employees of today and tomorrow have and will have. However, as Gill mentions in his book, transformational leadership needs to be supported by transactional leadership which being more management focused will provide some sort of reward (e.g. bonus or recognition) and as a result it will more controlling towards the employees, because they will know what is expected from them and try to deliver.

To one extent I understand why this controlling perspective is needed especially in a business like Waveriders which is seeking to improve its position in the market... Although control can have various meanings...-i think-

I will be back when I have a clearer picture about what leadership theory is suitable for Waveriders


December 06, 2008

End of LE

As the module has come to an end and i am trying to be reflective about what took place over these past two weeks, i realise that i dont know much about leadership...

I mean...

Yes, i can talk about its meaning, analyse the features a leader ought to have, debate whether leader is born or made, and all sorts of other interesting things but does this subject close here, and can anyone honestly say that he or she has leaned everything there is to know about leadership...?

I dont think so, and i feel that the beauty of this subject lies in exactly that....you cant learn everything in 2 weeks..that's not the point...

In a way, it is impossible to truly learn what leadership is even throuout a lifetime...As u move on u taste a piece, and then another...and so on..

For me an urge to learn more about leadership has been created...And not just read, but actively experience what is leadership and what leaders have to do...At least we experienced some of that in the module

Having the opportunity to lead and most importatbly experiecing what a good follower is, mihght be the most important elements of this module...

What I got out of it...is hundreds of thoughts about values, skills and behaviours that define the person u will be in your team.. 


CSR and Leadership

I must admit that one of the most important features of this module was the opportunity I had to find out more about Corporate Social Responsibity. The truth is that i followed 2 modules on Csr and Business Ethics in my undergraduate course but it seems that i cant get enough of it...

Probably because I have a personal interest in this area....

At this point I would like to share a personal experience i had recently connected to CSR...A few weeks ago at a careers fair here at Warwick I asked a representative of one of the high and mighty enterprises what are the perspectives of working in the Csr field of their business...The answer was shattering...to begin with she had no idea what i was talking about...then after i expained to her what is the concept of CSR she thought for a while and told me that IF something like that exists in their company, it will probably be run by the PR department...

Disappointment....

Considering what Paul mentioned this morning about convincing businesses to engage with the idea of csr, I feel that there is no other way but to present it as an indirect way of boosting brand image...

Afrer all Strategic Csr is Csr...Is it the why that matters..?I mean as long as they are doing it (no matter the reasons) that is good enough...Of course the idea of dong something is that u truly support what it stands for but is that always an option...It goes without saying that adopting a true CSR approach is far better...but how do u prove it...

In a way I wish that CEOs thought the way that guy from Xerox John Seeley thinks, who said that:

The job of leadership today is not about making money, its about making meaning

If u think about it the world is not lacking in money...but in meaning....

So maybe a more meaningfull approach can make the difference...

Because i fell that at the end of the day that's what counts...Making a difference


December 2017

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Nov |  Today  |
            1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Search this blog

Tags

Galleries

Most recent comments

  • Hi Lila You said Csr is Csr as long as companies are doing it, it doesnt matter why they do it is go… by on this entry
  • Yes Paul I think you are totally right~ And this realisation should come obvious to people doing the… by on this entry
  • A good reflection on the module Lila, and you may wish to extend this to the whole course. Is it pos… by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • Lila, an interesting post about the difference between strategic CSR and what I call values–led CSR.… by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • About Identity Theft and stolen passwords, recently I came across a site that uses Biometrics of fin… by biometric01 on this entry

Blog archive

Loading…
RSS2.0 Atom
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder
© MMXVII