May 10, 2007

Learning from KBAM–PMA Research

Thoughts Derive from Journals

Maintenance should not be treated as an extra cost. To me, it is a chance, a chance to differentiate your business from rest of competitors; a chance of quality improvement whilst act as a cost (long term and Cost Of Poor Quality) saver; it could bring profit and competitive advantages. Many authors recognized the value to have a holistic, strategic and proactive maintenance policy that combine different type of approaches to maximum flexibility and reach better cost-effective position. But just understands the issue is not enough, people need to start acting on it. An article that published at 2005 indicates that many businesses had awareness about the importance of maintenance, but the actual spending that committed to maintenance is inadequate.

In my opinions, many companies still can not get rid off the old habit of chase Quick Fix, or Big Move. In here Quick Fix refer to short term solutions that create temporary benefit without thinking about its afterward impact or even ignoring the further development. I use the word ?¡ãBig Move?¡À to represent the solutions such as, buying new machine (capital investment), redundancy (cut out headquarters, middle managers, and workforces) or Business process restructure. The approach of Big Move is flawed, but the main reason is people abuse them. Company tend to use these approaches as the only hope of improvement, and most of time they applied it without strategic view and carefully consideration on its consequence, they just abuse these methods or blindly follow the fashion.


May 09, 2007

Learning from KBAM–PMA Research

Thoughts Derive from Books

There are some interesting points that have been found from the research so far about the Knowledge Based Asset Management (KBAM) essay. As many authors mentioned, the focus of Knowledge Management should be on Knowledge sharing rather then Knowledge creation. In my opinion, the underlying reason is for the best use of knowledge and increase probability to maximum the value of existing knowledge.

For one single entry of knowledge, different people will have different use of that knowledge and therefore, create different value from same thing. With a large collection of the idea for potential application. This knowledge is become valuable asset to the organization.

And also, this single entry of knowledge will bring different clue to different people and create / derive innovative thinking. This knowledge is become valuable lesson learned / experience to individuals (as a personal improvement)

Therefore, the most important thing is not blindly analysis knowledge or collect data, the focus should be sharing, let more people get involved and create an opportunity of contribution and sharing thoughts / ideas. It leads to a proactive team effort that could increase the probability to generate maximum benefit from knowledge.

Organizations should not just create condition for knowledge collection, but also create a culture, company policy and facilities that enable and encourage people (become habit) to sharing their experience / thoughts and with discussion, learning from others and even apply brainstorm or other seminar techniques to best use the existing knowledge and create valuable asset / capital from it.


March 30, 2007

Review of module – KBAM

Improvement to EEE module structure:

During the discussion after the AM&KM approach presentation, we have once again, mentioned the purpose of EEE course and its module structure. Seems this non-lecture style really caused many concerns and confusion to students. Apart from my thoughts that wrote down at previous two blogs, I think EEE provides a true learning opportunity.

I do appreciate the importance of lecture, but to me, learning from lecture = only learning tutor’s own experience on the field. Look at the way of having open topic seminar, mini project, teamwork and practice presentation, EEE = Self-motivated research; willingness to study the topic; sharing and learning colleagues’ knowledge. It leads to improvement of communication skill, active listening skill, better understand of how to deal with people, appreciate other’s knowledge and contribution. To me, knowledge is gained from discussion with colleagues. By sharing and exchange knowledge, we will no long just mastery our own individual-knowledge. Instead, we receives a collection of knowledge and insight from the entire EEE team.

In EEE, teamwork and projects also gives us an experience of project management, and human resource (plus other intangible asset) management. And by study other people’s view, we can gain an insight by raising question such as ‘Why I did not think that way? Why they do not understand me’ These reflective questions also improve our ability of influence people, interchange each other’s view and gain better understanding of psychology.

From my experience and actual observation, after one week of lecture, students could feel ‘Satisfied’ because they covered all the area in lecture notes, regardless to the real amount of knowledge captured, learned and reviewed. But after EEE, we could all feel ‘a bit lost and confused’, having concerns such as ‘Did we covered that area? Is that enough? Are we on the right track?’ In fact we have researched and captured knowledge that covers more then lecture note, curry out thoughtful discuss through the week and exchange knowledge between each other. Done a great job but still not feel right, something missing. One reason could be we are so get used to the traditional ‘duck feeding’ style of learning and Lead by Someone. We just not feel comfortable without instruction. Secondly, the nature of topic is large and wide, cross different aspect of management, philosophy, sociology, culture and people behaviours. There is just no boundary for us to say ‘I covered all’.

For the further improvement to the course structure, it will be really helpful to have extra presentation at first week, rather then just one big project at the end. And my personal favourite – industry talk. It could introduce more reflection and learning. If could find company to talk about real-life practice of KM&AM approach right after our team presentation, it will bring direct impact on our learning progress. Differences could be discovered and studied, we will no long just live in the academic world but to have an insight to real practise.


Review on Seminars

From Thursday Seminar

The topic for today is 9. What is the relationship between Individual and Organizational knowledge? How can they be transformed? Tacit to Explicit and Explicit to Tacit. From the team discussion, we have go through the possible definition of Individual and Organization¡¯s Tacit and Explicit knowledge and build up scenarios that how to transform between those four types of knowledge. For me, the most important gain from this topic is the awareness of in the real organization – how to translate people tacit knowledge into organizational knowledge. Below is a simple summary of thoughts that in form of basic procedures (not all necessary) to achieve it in terms of effective Knowledge Management.

For Organization:
Consider the impact of Leadership and a balanced reward system.

(1)Individual Tacit to Individual Explicit:
Achieved by motivate employee to share tacit knowledge, encourage them to exchange both form of knowledge. Organization should have a health organizational culture that involves tolerance-failure, people empowerment, appreciate people value and respect to employees¡¯ contribution.

(2)Individual Knowledge to Organization Explicit:
Need capture employees¡¯ knowledge, test of understanding and avoid misinterpretation. Encourage people express their suggestion and appreciate its potential value.

(3)Organization Explicit to Individual Knowledge:
Achieved by exchange of knowledge, such as provide access to the collection of knowledge database, better organize and store of database structure.

(4)Organization Explicit to Organization Tacit:
This procedure is take place while collected knowledge is reflected, studied and keep reviewed. Create value for organization and bring insight to other people. All about manage (include create value) of knowledge, and make use to knowledge.

Example of organization tacit knowledge is when a successful leadership is performed in a certain level of the organization, even if that person left the organization, the way of leadership that have been introduced are likely to remain into the organization and act as part of the organization tacit knowledge or culture. And this organization tacit knowledge is the most valuable asset of the company.

Once organization explicit knowledge is translated to tacit knowledge, its value is unlikely to be lost (hard to discover or have an awareness of existence) to other company or studied and copied (only physical and surface could be observed and copied). Consider the unsuccessful examples for external companies try to study and implement Toyota Production System.

For me:
In order to transfer individual tacit knowledge to others, I need to consider the issues of:
Introduce the Win-Win mindset and Find support;
Awareness of SoPK ¨C understands the company as a whole system; Appreciate its value and culture; Understand people philosophy and Variations embedded in the system; Keep learning / reflecting on necessary knowledge.
Ability of influence people, individual¡¯s thoughts and behavior, value and mindset, and organizational culture,

Thoughts about introduction of mark-reward blog reflection:

As we know Dr.Deming says 80% of errors is due to the system, but in terms of attitude and purpose – I believe, 100% due to individual, or human influence (external element do have influence, but once again, depend on individual people how strong their believe holds).

Look at Paul’s approach, I am not saying that is the most perfect one. But we need have an awareness, that is all we have – the current best solution. We suppose to view this mark reward as the short term profit that encourage us to try blog, and we should discover by ourselves that the true benefit lay in the reflection process that curried out on daily basis. And then, we can keep this blog version of reflection without external reward, because we understood its true purpose and embedded benefit.

I admit that, this method is misleading, But I have to say, this is our best shot. Look at six-sigma, method itself did no harm to people, but still, many people now view it as a completely rubbish. Are the tools that stupid? Is the theory really old-fashion? Sure many people fail to implement it, and discovered its limitation and misleading. But ask once again, did the tool failed them or their own quality stopped them?

Consider years ago, people are crazy about six-sigma and rush into it without understanding, for this kind of behaviors, are they in good quality? I treat them more like gambler and unreasoning (blindness) follower rather then thoughtful businessman or don¡¯t even mention the word leader (also leader for himself). I believe many companies apply six-sigma because they heard the ability to cut down cost, if that is all their attitude and purpose, no wonder (not accident) they fail ¨C It is a consequence of their input (mindset, attitued, behavior).

We say people control their own destiny, but we do not say people only control 20% of the destiny. My view is, you go as far as your effort, only your imagination could stop you.


March 29, 2007

Review on Seminars

From Wednesday Seminars

Today¡¯s seminars are much harder to progress then others, the topic itself drag in other complicate issues and create confusion through the session. Apart from the progress, I am actually satisfied with the outcome and learning gained. At the beginning, I could not see any link between Knowledge Based Asset Management and Business excellence, due to lack of the awareness of KBAM, I did not see the point to have it as an EEE module. After the seminar topic on How AM and KM contribute to business excellence, I learn quite a lot and able to ¡®hook¡¯ previous learning to this module. Gained a better insight of how managers deal with issue, how to manager / encourage self-motivation on hard and soft resources. Most importantly, ¡®How to make judgment without discourage employees¡¯

I always have a thought that, ¡®Measurement is the second-best solution (best solution not feasible, just like in Performance Appraisal)¡¯, and ¡®Measurement actually kills¡¯ this could be explained from my view to the implementation of Six-sigma. Six-sigma always emphasized on how much have been saved in the project, cut cost in million dollars become the advertisement of six-sigma. Apart from I do not think it is accurate and wise to say ¡®we saved $11,500.43 in one project¡¯. This advertisement actually misleads people from work toward business excellence to chasing cost cutting. Once the purpose and attitude is change, the result will be different in matter of time. But things is there due to a requirement in market, the six-sigma customer—CEOs and top managers, most of them are driven by short term profit, no wonder every improvement have to shown a figure on financial gain.

After the seminar on How to measure the achievement of AM and KM improvement, especially after the metaphorical explanation using Cp (potential), Cmk (system capability without human involved) and Cpk (current performance, department capability) It really introduced a new way of viewing and solve this issue. This seminar also bring me another meaning of measure: although the accuracy is low, result is poor, the key issue is how people use them.

Disadvantage could be turned into advantages, value could be created, it all up to the way people view, treat and use them.

[View about this Non-lecture style of EEE model: To me, self-discovery on the topic is exciting, meaningful and forever ¨C as part of my own; lecture material only work as long as the exam period goes; but I do miss industry talk, a really good chance to learning the real practice.]


March 27, 2007

Review on Seminars

From Tuesday Seminars:

For the seminar topic:
5. To what extend does it make sense to be environmentally friendly?
I have couple of thoughts for the discussion in seminar session.

1. While average people life in modern society is getting longer then before, how can we say the environment is getting worse? For this case, we need to consider about HOW does this long-living age be achieved? Is it natural cause or modern health care under operations and medicines? In fact, new and mutated disease appeared frequently cross the world, for example, in China, new case of oafish infant appears due to their mum lives in just decorated house while pregnant. From investigation, it is caused by toxics decoration material, such as paint. Environment is not actually getting better, people still got harmed from it. Modern medical technology could only save victim (to certain level) but can not prevent it.

2. Focus on earlier education for next generation? It is actually the most important issues need to be done. It changes the mindset of future customers, business owner and shareholder, and will be the best and most effective approach, in long term. What about now?

3. Let us wait for regulation? Actually, regulation will not be that effective. Strict regulation could only be effective under certain point, people will always figure out way to get around it. In order to increase profit, organization will do anything necessary: play the word game, other alternatives, hides to shadow, and use of corruption. Paper shown electronic cars have been invented more than decade ago, mature technology and good performance, economical and environmental friendly. But where are they now? Or maybe ask, Who killed it? Many evidence shown the true reason is from those big organization of oil company and oil export (large oil reserve) countries, if that is the case, even regulation will not work.

Then if this environment issue is so important, why can we only learn (appreciate the real situation) it from disasters to ourselves (sadly, tragedy happen to others normally can not ‘weak up’ people)? I think one big reason is due to the payback to be either environmental Friendly or Harmful to environment is too long to foreseen, most organization is not driven by long term vision. Another reason is the allowance from competition and market is limited, environmental friendly activities do not have much allowance and bad practice still tolerated. In other word, need call for the awareness of general public—customers.

The current solution learned from this seminar: since environmental issues and CSR is part of business excellence, we have to shown that, the investment made to be environmental friendly will be recovered and maximum the profit as the return to be business excellence. Without significant cost and even a sign of increase profit, business organization will only then slowly react and truely become environmental friendly.

ps, suggestion to next year EEE advertisement: ‘Develop Your Intangible Asset!’


March 26, 2007

Review on Seminars

From Monday Seminars:

Three mind maps from morning seminars are quite helpful, bring a better view to the topics and also highlight several aspects that I didn¡¯t concern at the preparation stage. For the first seminar, my preparation end at the ¡°Exchange of Information¡±, but this is not the whole knowledge management. From the seminar, it reminds me the next stage ¨C need to do something about gained knowledge, not just exchange or capture information and knowledge.

Organization need to effectively transform and manage gained knowledge to generate value. This value is not just in the form of profit / money, it also could be customer loyalty, competitive advantage, create new market etc. Without generating value, the knowledge gained from exchange is meaningless and useless. Successful knowledge management (collection, analysis, recognition and transformation to value) should be the next key issue after exchange knowledge between people inside and outside the organization. Another point is the need to have organic implementation about knowledge management, avoid any sign of quick fix. Seek true improvement from incremental ¨C step by step change and effort.

From those three seminars, it seems the Pre-requirement / Barriers / Required Leadership for effective knowledge management is almost identical to other quality improvement approach, such as EFQM / Lean / Six-Sigma / TQM etc. The reason is quite straight forward, because any kind of business activities (include improvement activities) require human input, involvement, contribution, effort. The critical success factor is the Willingness from people. By achieve this factor, it will bring result such as change in people¡¯s mindset and behaviors, performance beyond expectation. Therefore, be successful in any implementation of business activities.


Thought for Seminar

Preparation about Monday Seminar:

1. What prevent organization from developing knowledge?
2. What are pre-requests of knowledge management?
3. What sort of effective leader is require for effective knowledge management?

For the first topic: from articles and learning from previous EEE module, my first impression is ¡§C there are just so many barriers. Many issues could stop or at least not encouraging knowledge development inside an organization, and each barriers should connected to each other, have interrelationship. In order to get away from this magnifying¡§Cglass view, maybe helpful to think from top: Look at how knowledge could be developed under natural condition.

First, knowledge could be self-developed by one person with great wisdom. But in certain percentage, that person needs previous experience and other knowledge, which means assistance or influence (indirect ?¡ãhelp?¡À) from other people. Secondly, knowledge could be developed by learning and adapt from family, school, sociality, from other people. Therefore, the keyword appears is Sharing. It??s about Exchange of information, any form of information: experience, expertise, thought and knowledge etc.

Then what stops people exchange information to each other in an organization? It could be two major and deeply connected issues:
(1) Physical issue ¡§C Organization structure that not encourage it happen.
(2) People issue ¡§C Organizational culture and people??s mindset not willing to perform / contribute to it.

The physical issue should include sub¡§Cissues about company police, structure and equipment. Involve communication channel; data sharing channel; synergy / re-education establishment and environment; balanced and healthy reward system etc. I would say the people issues are huge in size and much harder to solve compare to the first one. It contains sub¡§Cissues of Leadership, organizational culture and behaviors, people??s mindset. For example, effective and successful leadership; organizational culture; employee relationship and motivation; build cooperate team based organization etc. After sort out the barriers in first topic, the answer toward second and third seminar topic will appear, easier for analysis.


January 10, 2007

Current Experience of TeamWork

Thought

Clew
It all starts from the first day of Financial Accounting and Control System model. Basically, this model is mainly delivered by a very good simulation game. Each group has five members, working together like a company top-management. Set the objectives for the end of year three and work toward it. Involve quick decision making, applying accounting knowledge, connect theory to reality and teamwork – cooperation.

At the beginning, I was planning to be the purchase manager. Because I know I am so bad at trading and make deal, really want to practice it. But after the introduction, it seems that’s not the kind of thing we do in this game. And also Tim asks us to pick some non-expert area in this game, for the purpose of practice and learn from mistake. So, I nominate myself as the commercial manager of the business.

Apart from the purpose to test my knowledge and learn on this role, I also want to know what the most important thing in the business is, from the view of a commercial manager. Because I know, in real-life, people normally treat their area of expertise as the most important thing to business/life. (I.e. consider the example of the kind of decisions made by a CEO who promoted from a financial accountant position). In order to avoid this bias mind, I’d like to view the other side of the “five pound note” (Soliman 2006-PPE, good one, ha-ha, we all miss you:)

Philosophy
Actually this is the teamwork/life philosophy I am thinking about these days. I think:” No matter who you are. There is ALWAYs a chance that the one make mistake is You.”

1. So, think again before any action. This kind situation includes debate between people or any business/life affair. “Is that what he really means?” Did I consider and distort/aggrandize it from my point of view.

2. Be patient, always give people chances to explain, avoid misunderstand, it is a waste of time and energy. If colleagues didn’t show up in time, before you start comment on this, hold on, and think again. Do you know what is really happened here? No? Wait and ask. Assume? Don’t rush to action until discover the truth.

3. Look at yourself, some quick reflection. Did I do/represent any misleading information (literal or physical) to him? Am I the one actually encouraged/not-stop it happen? If from other’s point of view, did I miss something? Did I forget about the “big-picture” and the team goal? etc

4. After you calm down and did not push hard on others. Now we all have a peaceful and clear mind to have a holistic view of the entire event and found out WHY it happened? HOW to deal with it and avoid it in the future? Save the energy on problem-solving not the blame game.

The reason to use the word -chance is to remind myself to always wait and reflect on my self??s behaviors (so hard to remember when get exciting). This really minimize the misunderstand going around me and save my anger and use the energy to find the root of the proplem – work hard – strive for the team goal.

Consider Teamwork
By end of the phase one of FACE model, it was another brilliant teamwork. Joyful and beneficial teamwork. Learned a lot about cooperation in organization and management accounting. From the aspect of delivery the result, our team achieved best results (still room for improvement, as usual). We made that business profitable, health in cash flow, no worry on loan/gearing, become on going concern and valuable company.

WHY? or HOW?
There is only a few common point I can sum up from limited experience of teamwork:

1. All team members have knowledge on the system – the system of simulated business organization, the system of effective teamwork.

2. Knowledge on the required area – accounting, production operation, affects on single decision. Knowledge on how business works as a whole. Knowing the importance of teamwork and the approaches to achieves collaboration -.

3. Philosophy that mentioned above, maybe we get same result without fully realize or understand that philosophy. At the beginning (first team work, PPE) we did that by politeness and be friendly. But that philosophy did save us from non-necessary debate, loss of focus and energy.

4. Each member of the team found a place that fit to him and willing to contribute beyond expectation. This role was not clear or fixed at the beginning, but it emerged and changed.

  • Nelly- our perfect general manager, multi function, generalist. source of solution -> evaluation
  • Helen- ?big-picture? embedded financial manager, source of reference -> experience. oh, plus food provider:) matt and i will really put on some weight…
  • Matt- source of theory ->creation, team’s idea pot, ingenious mathematician…...compare to me.
  • Ray- our firm hand treasurer (he actually grip cash in hand, ha-ha), venturous and precise ->propose big investment and still measure business money in unit of half coin.

None of us can achieve the objectives just by ourselves. In single, we may able to produce at 90%, by in teamwork, we can generate 120% and shown team performance that is a multiplication of our effort.

Potential
With above points in the team, I feel we can complete all kind of task. I think even includes task of introduce new members. I believe everyone has potential, but we need to find the right angle to see them shining. But this kind of task cannot be done by single team member, as always, we need team effort. Together we can create an environment that suitable for the transform and fit to our team. By applying knowledge and teamwork philosophy, it allows us to take time and find the truth behind issues. Avoid misleading information that blinds our mind, especially at the beginning.

With more teamwork experience, the pattern of successful / effective teamwork and leadership / management will emerge. There is no dead end in reality, but only one in our mind. Extend our imagination, there is always a chance.

Doable, but difficult.
At least, we know how.


January 01, 2007

Reading Through the New Year

Method or Natural?

Found one really interesting story from the book “Learning to Lead”. The main point of the chapter is: “A core of becoming a leader is the need always to connect your voice and you touch”. It is a story about how to let infant feel the love and care from the parents. In the term of leadership, this is indeed one fundamental aspect – a higher level expression of “influence”.

After knowing the way of influence, the leader needs to understand the proper way of using it. This is why many people call it Art~ no textbook will show when it is not enough or when it is too much. I think we need to make decision by our knowledge, feeling/experience plus situational variables. Hope next year will be the time I find the answer or may be – find more question…


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