April 01, 2011

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??

LE– Need for leadership in Libyan protests

Leadership is needed everywhere, its not just restricted to organisations. This makes me reflect back to something interesting that I witnessed a couple of days back...

Few days ago I was watching Sky News, the reporter was taking interviews of Libya's civilians who particapate actively in mass demonstrations and protests again Gaddafi. Mind you, these civilians possess  all sorts of fire arms, weapons and ammunitions. He asked them a simple question:

Reporter: When you want to carry out protests and demonstrations, who leads you?

Civilian (a software engineer holding a gun) : We just randomly start attacking when we want to...

Reporter: Okay, so who is your leader/commander:

Civilian: I don't know

Reporter: Does anyone here know who their leader is.

No civilian knows the answer.

What we see here is although thousands of  Libyans are passionately and voluntarily fighiting for their rights against an autocrat and bully, much of their effort goes in vain parrticularly because there is no guiding force to direct them. There is no one to give orders. No leader? There is so much of chaos everywhere!! Won't there efforts produce better result if there was a leader? It is important that the civilians elect a leader for themselves if they want to be successful, else it can be very difficult. Their rebel will have a much more powerful impact with effective leadershsip. Leadership is needed everywhere!!

LE– Leaders are not born, they are made

While doing my PMA, aa question that often arises is whether the leaders are born or made. In my understanding, the way people behave, their personlity and their nature is not esentially by birth. I think its the learning that takes over the years is what moulds us to be the way they are today. I strongly believe its our upbringing, our observations, the mistakes we makes, the values taught to us by our parents, peers, school, education etc etc that is responsible for the basic fundaments/elements of our behaviour. Will I behave the same way if I had different parents, different kinds of friends, or if I went to a different school?? Yes.

Moreover, I think my thinking is also influence by the fact that I dont believe in destiny. I think whatever happens to us if not our fate, its the result of our actions. We are the creators of our destiny. We control our destiny and not the other way round. Same way, I think that when we are born, we are like clay and slowly moulded by external and internal factors into what we are today. Also, I like the flexibility and the openess of the idea that leaders are made and not born, this makes me believe that anyone can be a leader (whether situational, motivational, charismatic etc.), anyone can transform, continuous imporvement is always happening. We are not what we are just by nature, we make ourselves! We are the creators.

March 28, 2011

LE– A popular topic

Over the last few days I have been going over the literature for Leadership. I find that Leadership is such a hot topic in the modern day orgnisations. organsiaitons are slowly trying to learn more and more about this subject. Within such a broad topic, What I find is that there are so many different thinkings and perspective on leadership theories. If few authors support a perspective there are many against it. I'm finding it quite hard to sum up all the information in the PMA, yes ofcourse there is no end to learning and acquiring knowledge but this doesnt seem to end. I have already started writing my PMA but with each book or journal I find new information that I need to take into account. Everytime this happens I am back to square one and questioning the fundamental aspects of PMA. 

The real problem is that even though there is so much literature that is useful, its very difficult to pick up the appropriate and relevant bits. Leadership is such an interesting PMA and I want to write it well. Whats motivating me is that Im thinking it in real terms. I view each aspect as how my recommendations and suggestions will affect the actual perfomance of a company. Infact this is precisely why I wanna get this right,  you can't afford to make mistakes when you're consulting an actual company. Our role as a consultant hold a lot of responsibility, our suggestion can either excel a company or proove disastrous...

March 18, 2011

RDM– Brining together MBE

RDM was different. The module gave MBE the opportunity to work together as a whole rather than as MBE- A or B. It was an opportunity to interact and work with MBE students that we had hadn't previously worked with. I am in MBE-B and I knew my little seminar class of 24 students so well. I was extremely comfortable working with any of these 24 students as I was quite familiar with their working styles. But RDM required us to break out of this tiny shell that we had created for ourselves over the last few months. I must say it was quite exciting yet challenging.

I was looking forward to working with new people  but at the same time I was quite skeptical as well.  Especially since my group had majority of the pople I hadn't previously worked with I wasn't too much at ease at first. I wasn't too familiar with the nature of the people I was going to work with and it required me to break out of my comfort zone. However, too my great astonishment working within this team was quite a learning experience. I had a fantastic team and I was comfortable within few minutes of the start of our first meeting itself. Ofcourse we had our 'Eureka' moments and some  some rought times as well but regardless it all eneded up in something constructive. I had the opprotunity to work with some very smart, , responsible and efficient team members. There was so much I learning invovled. Their dedication and passion towards the goal was admirable.

I look back at the transition that has happened over the days during the RDM module. From being resistant to change to the one now embracing change and ofcourse not to forget the ongoing learning process that has been taking place simultaneously. But then again I wonder have I really embraced the change or has the change integrated itself with time. Am I back in the comfort zone? Will I experience the same emotions and go through the same process if I am given a new set of people to work with? Because change is inevitable. Anyhow, I must praise Jeff for desinging the module in a mannder that gave way to new opportunities and new learnign experiences.

RDM– Quaitative aspects

Being an accounting and finance graduate I admit its quiet hard to embrace and accpet qualitative aspects of decision making. Three years of undergraduate in acf had trained me to make  judgments solely on the basis of cost and benefit relationships. Anything with a postitive and the highest npv is the best decisions. Anything with the maximum risk also gives the maximum return. But RDB goes much beyond this. It taught me how finance is fundamental but yet only a small part of the broad and extensive decision making that companies have to undertake. You can't always be a risk taker and believe that you will end up making maximum profits by that approach. We do have to keep in mind that we our an organsiation with a number of stakeholders including our employees and a single wrong decision can put their job at stake.

RDM has actually infused in me a new way of approaching robust decision making. Making judgements purely on the financial aspects is never the right approach, unlike my previous thinking on decision making. I always believed that profits are the best way to judge the viability of a decisions. But in the long run, its all the different combined qualitative and quantitative aspects that make up the best decision that leads an organisation towards achieving its vision.

RDM– The journey of an intutive thinker to a rational being

There is a perfect rationale for every decision that we make and this is something I was hardly aware of.

I am an impuslive decision maker, I make decisions based on my intutions and feeling rather than logic. Over the days I've realised that there are actually perfectly logical means and methods that exist which can aid our decision making and are applicable even in our day to day life. . These decision tools are not only limited to an organsiation but anywhere and everywhere. For example, a simple Paired comparison can help me set my priorities right, or even help me shop :P or I can actually easily measure different scenarios for a situation by simply constructing a decision tree. Now I actually believe the decision tools can wisely and logically help us measure the impact of many decisions that we make in our lives prior to even making those decisions. First when I saw the presentation question on day 1 of the lecture, I never thought we'll be able to do as much justice to the question as we have by the end of this week. At first, I thought that these decisions tools are so subjective but now I've realised that as we go on to research and collect data, we can actually make a definite and successful analysis which are not even biased. As a result of this, I can finally that decision tools are actually so helpful and widely applicable. 

From being an intutive, impulsive decision maker to a more sort out, rational and planned decision maker has been quite a learning experience. What a journey! This makes me reflect upon the first day of RDM lecture when Jeff presented the very interesting slides on common sense. I can finally conclude that common sense is actually not that common. MBE has taught me so much. Every module is a turning point. MBE is actually not just a course, its a way of thinking, a way to live your life :)

March 08, 2011

LE – Me, the Leader

I'd like to trace back my experience of leadership to one of the in module simulation. I had the opportunity to play the role of leader for simulation in which we had to bid for the hotels. Althought at first I wasn't too comfortable getting into the shoes of a leader, I was inspired by the events of the previous day. There was a comment from one of my group mates who said that anybody can be a leader, we just need to give it a go, just breakfree from the comfort zone and try it and everything will then fall into place. His words in particular did influence me, they  motivated me to go on and do the role play. Its quite interesting to see how simple motivation from peers can be so effective and can help us grow.

As the days events unfolded, I observed and reflected my behaviour as a leader. Its so easy to sit in a chair as an employee and complain about all the things that go wrong in the organsiationbut its so difficult to actually be a leader and run the organisation. When I started off as a leader, I was extremely nervous. I didn't show it but I knew I knew how badly I wanted to get this right. I felt responsible for the entire team, for its success and faliures and its not a very easy feeling to cope up with. I strongly believe that whatever we achieved as a team was because of the contribution of each and every member. We are what we are  because of our team. I was fortunate enough to work with some extremely supportive, intelligent and efficient team memebers. I also discovered that the approach that works the best with me for leadership is to be a democratic leader. I believe that my expertise and skills cannot always be the best in a team. I have to trust others and believe in them. Therefore, we took a collective decisions from a sytemic point of view rather than being autocratic and independent thinkers. And as a team we did great. But I do sit and wonder that if I hadn't got a good team would we still achieve the same results?? Is being democratic always good?? Are we successful cause of the decisions we take or does luck play a big role in this? What is there are urban terrorists, am I capable enough to tackle them?? Ofcourse, you cant just become an effective leader in a day. Its a journey. Even the smallest experience can teach you a long. I believe that as I take this road in MBE, i would have fortunately taken some very long strides in this journey :)

February 08, 2011

LE–Can we really define Leadership ?

Our first task for the module was to define leadership. Although as a group we were able to make sense out of the matrix and use it an effective way, it was very hard to create a precise and accurate definition for leadership. Defining leadership was just not as straightforward as it first seemed. It was a great help that Paul had already provided us with some very good definitions given by academic authors. However, every definition although similar in nature constituted of different elements that the authors considered important. The question was can we really provide a single and a concise definition to leadership?

I believe leadership is subjective in nature. For example, in the activity that we performed on the first day of the module (the boat example) in which each group had to select a leader and a deputy leader, there were variations across groups on who they think should be the perfect leader. In the end, there was no correct or incorect answer, leader was chosen based on our perception of and expectatitions from a leader and resultant, groups in general had different combinations. Therefore, definition of leadership would vary across organisations, situations.

Also,a leader has to deal with employees. Employees are human resource and humans in nature are unpredictable. We all are different individuals and we all think differently. Therefore, how we perceive a leader to be and what we expect from him may be different from the others viewpoints. As a result, in my view there is no such thing as an ideal' or a 'perfect' definition of leadership. It may be easy to establish what we think should be the qualities of a leader and in what way should he ideally act in an organisation  but it is impossible to give a single definition to leadership.

January 15, 2011

Games Workshop Plc towards a greener future

While analysing the GW Annual Report 2010, an interesting observation was made. The company in 2010 focused on cutting cutting costs by reducing energy usage. GW was able to reduce its light and power usage by 6% (equivalent to 328 tonnes of CO2) and therefore, costs were reduced by £42,000 compared with 2008/09. Improvements included rezoning office lighting, allowing employees to turn on only the lighting they need, replacing over 270 bulbs with LEDs in the cabinets, replacing existing lights with low energy fittings and the repositioning of low energy lighting and removal of surplus lighting in production areas.

I think companies should see environmental issues as a primary concern today and should take initiatives to maximize their contribution towards the environment and the community. A company like GW could make a large difference to the environment just by reducing 6% of its light and power usage. I’m sure most of the companies today are not fully utilizing their potential in making such a difference. If companies invest in R&D that helps in cutting costs by reducing energy usage, we all could have a ‘greener future’.

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