All entries for April 2011

April 26, 2011

RDM– the right portfolio

I think making the right portfolio is one of the hardest things an organisation has to face. Whether to divest or invest is the big querstion. There is always an element of risk involved. You maybe a huge risk taker but its the entire organsiation that you have to take in mind. Risky decisions may often given high returns, but risky decisions are not always the best decisions. Even though we innovate and come up with all the new things, it can be quite hard to make customers accept them. Launching a product is as important as all the decisions relating to its production. Rdm presentation was just a small and very straightforward glimpse of the real world. Considering the market externalities and dynamism it is so difficult to decide on the most appropriate and suitable product mix and then also how to  successfully launch it.

What I find is that decision making tools can be extremely helpful right from the conception stage itself. Currently, when im looking into portfolio planning, the BCG matrix, I find that such tools can proove very helpful in getting the overall view of the organsiation. It plays a cruicial role in evaluating the current perfomance of each the different products, their contribtuion towards the total growth of the company. The best part is that it just doesn't analyse the perfomance of the product but it also suggests what we can do with that product in the future based on their contribution. By classifying each product into a star, question mark, cash cow or dog we can decide to hold, build, harves or divest in it. I'm finding it extremely interesting to learn about such tools. More than the tools theorietical implication, it is their practical implication that plays a stronger role. The best part about the tools is that apart from their practical implication, many of these tools are straightforward and easy to understand. They require minimum effort and reflect the best results. The business analysis becomes so much more simpler by employing these...

April 25, 2011

RDM– PMA the next step

Its fun doing the RDM pma. Its pretty straightfoward and thats what I appreciate. While doing the PMA I've come across so many different aspects of these decision making tools that I have previously ignored. I guess thats why PMAs are there and are the next step. What Im liking most about the PMA is to actually sit and now analyse our own decisions we had taken as a group. This is also helping us in actally identifying certain aspects of decisions where we went wrong or have ignored or some aspects that we should have considered. Previously, during the in module time due to the lack of time we couldn't profoundly look into our decision methodology and evaluate them. Certain decisions were also made in haste. Moreover,  tasks of the presentation were divided between groups, although there was exchange of information and we all had basic ideaof each of the decision making tools we had used, I managed to gain expertise only in the tools that I had chosen to work. As a result the extensive knowledge of theother tools. Fort me, the PMA is very prooving very helpful in overcoming this problem. 

Oreviously,  I was extremely happy when I got to know that PMA is just for 2000 words. But unfortunately there is so much to write that I can easily write much beyond 2000 words in these. This makes me wonder that a PMA should actually be long enough else its very very hard to pick up the most relevant and meaningful information and fit it in within the word limit. Its quite challenging to write a good PMA within the given word limit. 

April 07, 2011

KBAM– Finally done!

Well well, today's meeting lasted for roughly about 10 hours and it feels so good to finally finish this task. So much has been achieved in the last few days of this modul..Although our journey wasn't very easy.. we started off as a group of five very confused and blank faces and now I smile thinking about how much we have already explored KBAM in the last couple of days...and all I can say is the KBAM was definitely not a very easy journey..

KBAM encompassed the entire wholistic view of the organsiation, these are not merely some problems that we need to solve as consultants, its much beyond that... its giving the company a comprehensive approach to manage all there assets to produce long term benefits. Firstly, we didnt know where to start, the company could possibly have thousands and thousand of assets. It was difficult to first assume what assets to cover, then came the part of understand and investigating the material related to these things... and you'll be amused to find that each component is such a massive topic by itself.. Once that was done, it was difficult to decide which material to pick and fit into the presentation... everything seems just so relevant!! There were times when our presentation slides could actually reach a count of 70-80 or so....The last bit and the most important was our implementation plan where we really had to think hard and had to think real..everything is suppose to make sense, the prpoposal should be cost effective and feasable..tis was quite challenging and then ofcourse, not to foget that there were times when someone would come up with a whole new way of looking at things and at those times we'd have to pause and completely change our entire methodology (for the better ofcourse!)...

KBAM was a long long journey... however, its not always the result that matter, the journey is equally important and I must say it was quite a fantastic one.. But I must admit it such a good relief to finally finish this presentation, it was quite a task!!

KBAM– Keep them healthy and safe

The meeting no. 5 is going on quite well. Finally everyone seems to know where they are going. We've had a tough week, specially since we just finished leadership PMA as well..KBAM has made us research so much and made us look into even the tiniest details that an organsiation must pay attention to.

Over the days, one crucial aspect that I've come across in the organsiation is Health and Safety.. I am actually suprised to see that so many organsiation today tend to overlook this crucial aspect. To me, Health and safety is beyond all aspect in the organisation. It is sad to see how silly mistakes, irresponisbility and igonrance can cause employees their life. It is very very sad because such things are very common and actually happen... Especially in developing countries.... Health and safety aspects vary across countries, where western countries have more stringent health and safety practises, the developing nations are still struggling to identify these best practices. The worst part is that these countries still maintain a boss-servant relation with their employees where employees are not values or treated with respect. As a result, they usually ignore the importance of health and safety practices and leave employees to their misery. It makes me sad to see how bosses can completely ignore such important aspects just cause they think its time consuming or costs money.

Value of life can never be measured in monetary terms... treat people with love, respect and care.. treat them with responsiblity and this world will be a such better place to live in...

KBAM– Meeting Number 4

Today is a Wednesday, quite close to Friday's presentation... Today was our meeting number 4..which went on from 2 pm till late night (and late means really late).. I am tired and confused ..KBAM is such a huge topic... I can write a dissertation on every subtopic within KBAM. So much information but how to pick the most relevant information?? How do we know if we're in the right direction or not? Paul said be creative and we're trying to be.. we're thinking real. Yet, there is some fear whether have we done enough? Have we achieved the goal?

And then comes in elements such as group think and bias? Are we picking up information that we think we like and ignoring the ones which we dont feel strongly towards? Bias can be such a crucial factor.. Another thought, are we making decisions based on groupthinking? Sometimes, you dont even know when groupthinking is happening... you're not aware...sometimes someone says something and because you dont have any idea regarding just end up saying yes.. group thinking is to an extent impacted no only by individual behavioral aspects but also by lack of information.. sometimes you dont have enough information to support or appose views..and then you fall into the trap of groupthinking...

You have to always be aware...dont make decisions without having adeqaute information..dont be intutive be rational... infact, have diverse people with different skills in your team..that way the bias and groupthink will reduce..

April 06, 2011

KBAM– The right decisions and the best decisions

Another point that came across in the seminar was that sometimes CEO and managers have to take decisions that are difficult... differentiating between the right decision and the best decisions..

As Paul said in class that sometimes Managers have to take decisions that are in the best long term interest of the company but may result but may end up disengage employees...  Although these decisions may bring them closer towards organisational goals but will actually make them very unpopular.. but at the same time be an effective leader you need the continuous support from your can you be an effective leader and yet be unpoupular?? Does it actually happen that a leader is able to do good for the organsiation but is not liked by his employees? I think such a leader may be able to bring in drastic changes in line with the long term vision of the comapny but will not be able to sustaing his leadership for a long time with the disengaged employees...

So the tradeoff is important? A leader must take in interest not only of the organisation but also in terms of his employees... Another thought.. if he is popular, he may be able to bring in drastic changes anyhow without getting his employees disegngaged or annoyed.. For example, a CEO treats his employees really well, does a lot for them and is extremely poupular.. when he tries to change  a policy which will result in their coffee breaks being cut down from 20 mts to 15....will he be able to bring in this change smoothly?He might just be able to if he's convincing enough and liked by employees...

Again, tradeoff between the right decision and the best decision is very critical... I believe that a leader should be such who does good for the employees and can yet take drastic steps in favor of the organsiation without caring too much about his popularity. Its easy to be poupular but very difficult to bring in drastic changes in favor of the organisation...

KBAM– The decision making process

Are we intutive decision makers or rational ones?

In the situation awareness exercise I witnesses that intutions tend to drive our decision making process in the absence of adequate information. Infact, sometimes we even tend to make intutive decisions in the presence of limited information. We believe that whatever information we have is adequate,  the point is we often dont challenge the exisiting knowledge that we have. And this is common practise.The questions we need to ask ourselves before making robust decisions is that is this information aequate? Is there any more information that I can find supporting this view? Then go a step further and challenge your own research..find information that apposes your thoughts. We often stop when we find adequate supporting information and don't take that extra step. And this is one of the major reasons people tend to make mistakes in their decision making.. they take all the information that supports their ideas and completely ignore the contrary views on it. This way although we collect convincing information to support views, it is still not sufficient..

This applies anywhere and everywhere... in our day to day life... taking this extra step would actually lead us towards excellence :) I hope I am able to make this as common practise in ny own decision making process...

April 04, 2011

LE– The leadership PMA that was

LE PMA although very exhausting,  was a very enjoyable and engaging. Not only did we learn so much about the theories, it gave us the freedom to explore the application of these theories. Often what happens  is that we sit and rephrase all the knowledge that already exists in the literature, But with leadership it was different! we created our situations, we made our own assumptions, we defined leader's personality, we described what leadership theroy will suit him the best and how to apply it. From the start till the end, there was so much learning taking place, infact the whole PMA was critical evaluation and application of everything that we had learnt about leadership so far (And trust me thats a lot!!)

There was just one problem, leadership has so many aspects to it, it is never ending. You can never learn everything or even close to enough about leadership..There is just so much of research and literature that exists that its very hard to compile  the crucial points you'd like to cover. Sometime, you get diverted and start exploring some other aspects of leadership that you read and find interesting. Its very hard to produce a PMA and that too in 5000 that sufficiently covers important bits. The more you reasearch, the more point you'll find.

The best part about the PMA that I find is that it gave us the opportunity to be creative. I actually realised that creativity in PMA can actually make it much more appealing and interesting to write. During the post module work, learning was constantly happening. There were times when I would just sit with friends and somehow we'll end up discussing leadership for hours!! Also, there were so many behavioral aspects of these leaders that I could personally relate to. By reading and analysing these theories I could create a picture of the type of leader that I'd like to be.

I am thankful to Paul for giving us the opportunity to experience Leadership and Excellence! An excellent module that it was!!

April 01, 2011

LE– Leaders are everywhere

I'd like to share with you something interesting I read about leadership today, its something obvious but I found out it quite interesting. This is how a Navy commancder describes leadership....

The USS San Antonio stands 694 feet long, 105 feet wide, 13 stories tall and 25,000 tonnes and can be quite intimidating to us but not to Commander Brad Lee, a 40 year old officer from the Navy. He is responsible for approximately 400 soldiers, twice as many Marines, numerous smaller vessels, fighter aircrafts and vehicles and also the tactical support team for the marine Air Ground Task Force. For him “Every sailor is important and success is never a one-man mission”. According to Lee, leadership is about making a difference to the lives of the others and the society. It’s about having love and passion for what you do while trying to create a better world to live in.

Most of us when we think of leaders, we tend to think about historical figures and “big names”, however Leaders like Brad Lee are make difference in their own ways. Leadership can be applied anywhere, in any organisation in any organisation and at any scale. In our individual way we can contribute towards our society by leading some kind of change.

LE– how to apply theories?

With whatever I am reading about leadership theories, they seem to be extremely theoretical (ofcourse they are theories, thats why)!! Although, these theories part vast knolwledge, they somtimes seem too idealistic and bookish knowledge. Why is it so difficult to find practical application of these theories? You can find leaders who are a perfect example of such leadership styles, but is hard to find a model which suggests the practical way to achieve such leadership styles. I want to read a book which identifies effective leaders of today, and how did they achieve that, did they use any leadership theories? were they just born this way?? etc etc

Motivate employees, how? Be a role model, how? Be charismatic, how? Improve your communciations skills, how? Identify the needs of the employees, how? Its interesting to read about these theories, but it'll be more interesting to actually find out how to do it in realistic terms??

April 2011

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