July 06, 2014

KM and the Environment

It is said that knowledge is tantamount to achieving organisational goals so also is it equally to achieving an effective environmental management system (EMS) in an organisation. Working on EM, I have come to realise that it has so much roots in the idea of concurrent engineering i.e. the design for environment etc. whose effectiveness is also how organisation manages its Lessons learned and uses its knowledge. I have overall learnt that to achieve excellence in a business EMS, One have to view employees as key strategic partner because it’s within them lies the knowledge to improve processes to achieve efficiency in operation. Even from the concept of Lean to TQM, it is the continuous effort put into knowledge management and training of staff that helps to achieve continuous improvement of processes and product designed to suit the environment.

Managing knowledge would enable organisation to tackle its environmental problems at the source instead of putting much effort in a reactive problem solving means.

Befriending the Environment

I was wondering why organisation engage in environmental management, is it for ethical reasons or financial gains. Any time I have my coffee, I could see on the cup the eco labelling: ‘ethically sourced’ to show that their activities are inclined towards environmental sustainability. Sometimes I believe that organisations do engage in environmental sustainability to boost their brand image and financial gains and not because they actually care about managing the environment.

Looking at SME’s who have limited financial resources to play with, one could say they are the least fans when it comes to ‘befriending’ the environment and who can blame them. Aristotle once said “we can know what ought to be done, we can even desire to do it and yet we find ourselves giving in to temptation”. why invest so much in ensuring your suppliers are environmentally responsible or in cleaner technologies when the consumers of your product don’t even know whether you telling the truth or lie when an organisation eco-brand itself.

But one thing I have learnt in my life is that the cost of not doing something right do outweigh the cost of engaging in wrong practices in the long run. Being environmental friendly shouldn’t be a means to an end of financial gains but rather a genuine act of giving back to the society in every possible way. Just like the idea of knowledge sharing. For most organisations in my country, environmental management is usually a challenging task to achieve no matter their size .This idea of giving something and expecting nothing in return is the key to any successful environmental practices and this starts by setting out to do the right thing from the onset of an organisation and not for the purpose of the fancy recognition of ISO14001 certification but for the genuine sake of the world and the people living in it.

July 02, 2014

Best Fit: KM and AM.

They say ‘prevention is always better than cure’ but without in-depth knowledge of how to prevent the disease, one can only keep curing. Improving processes with lean production or implementing an Environmental Management System without Knowledge of how to sustain such change can be detrimental in the long run for any organisation.

Trying to analyse the concept of Asset Management and KM , and see how they ‘fit’, I have learnt that in fact an effective KM system is the only way at which organisation can make use of its physical asset to its full potential. I believe it helps organisation to be proactive in their asset management process rather than to keep playing ‘whack-a-mole’ i.e. waiting for problem to actually surface and tackling them. Most importantly, I have learnt that merely transforming an organisation into a learning institution isn’t sufficient although this might help the organisation to be step ahead of its competitors in terms of Know-How but ability to use that knowledge and put it to good use is that which would distinguish an organisation that keeps investing in research and development to be informed against that which uses its own internal knowledge as a competitive weapon.

July 01, 2014

Thoughts on KM as a competitive weapon

I keep coming across the phrase of “KM is the means by which organisation can gain competitive advantage in the 21st century” which I very much agree with. It becomes obvious that organisations do have all the processes that generate information and encourages knowledge sharing but the real benefit of knowledge management as a competitive weapon and means to achieve organisational goals lies in the way they process their knowledge or lessons learned.

As individual, when we share or acquire knowledge we all have a different and unique way in which we process such information. This also applies to organisations. Organisations who actually have the necessary knowledge to be innovative and yet fail at it do realise that most time it isn’t the sharing of the knowledge that made them fail but rather the way they process the information they get from their Knowledge Management System. Personally I feel much emphasis should be on the processing of the knowledge that organisation possess because if an organisation keeps sharing knowledge without processing it in a way that they can get the best out of their KM system that would enable them to stand out then the purpose of knowledge sharing becomes vague.

June 04, 2014

Knowledge gathering in Conflicting Ideas

The idea of actually gathering knowledge when ideas conflict is something that seems hard nowadays. Coming across the theory of Hegel Triadic ‘T.A.S’ Dialectic which is a framework for acquiring knowledge out of conflicting ideas. Breaking down the acronym, where T-THESIS (is about one idea) and A-An-thesis is the idea that conflicts the original idea and S-Synthesis is the merging of the conflicting opinions in order to acquire a robust knowledge. The Synthesis is what caught my attention because people don’t often get to that stage whereby they would actually synthesis the two ideas to acquire a robust knowledge. It is actually comfortable for people in teams to play ‘Russian roulette’ in order to see which idea that would survive without reaching the synthesis phase.

To actually appreciate the importance of Synthesising conflicting knowledge, one would first have to appreciate and welcome contradictory ideas to start with because that’s the only way one would be able to move on to the third stage of actually synthesising the ideas. The importance of getting ideas that are conflicting in knowledge gathering is that not only do they allow humans to think outside the box but would enable them to actually derive better ways in tackling issues. The gateway to acquire and create quality knowledge thinking and sharing is to sought and welcome conflicting ideas.

June 03, 2014

Leadership and Situational Awareness.

It has been said that when a failure occurs in a system it is due to various human error. Errors of which would always find its way back to the leaders because they were not being situationally aware’ in the first place. As individuals we sometimes perceive something to be ‘THIS’ (0ne thing) only for it to turn out to be ‘THAT (another thing). I think this a common mistake leaders make in organisations. They believe that since all the important process are in place, then everything other thing should be fine or can be overlooked.

To actually minimise the level at which human error occur in organisational context, it has to start with the leader actually being ‘Genuinely Involved’ because being involved is totally different from being genuinely involved. Leaders might actually be fully aware of happenings around them and not make any changes about it but to be genuinely involved actually kick starts the whole process of putting measures in place that would reduce the level of human error to the barest minimal.

March 29, 2014

'Transformed' in order to 'Transform'.

This topic looks so funny to me but this is one thing i have learnt from the whole transformational leadership theory. i guess when scholars were looking for a name to give the next in line to the various endless leadership theories, the first thought that came to their mind is that unless an indidvidual can transform himself there is no way for such a person to transform an organisation where he leads or even a country.

Transfroming onselves for this theory goes beyond being self aware, its all about how do i get the best out of the people i lead and out of oneself so as to reach a desired and common purpose. when a transformational leaders ask this questions, i have come to realise that it not only helps the person to be more aware of oneself but helps the leader to transcend beyond the usual i.e leaving any form of vested interest aside for the good of others and the good of the institution he leads.

This is hard in reality because as humans we all think about ourselves first before others but inorder to be better leaders anywhere we find oursleves i think we have to keep vested interest aside.Transformational leadership is the key to any sucessful leadership i say!!!

March 16, 2014

Management and Ledership

Reflecting on a scene from my childhood Alice in Wonderland movie where Alice met the rabbit and was asking what door to go through and the rabbit asked her what direction is she going and she replied that she doesn’t know and the rabbit told her to take any door then since she doesn’t have a direction. The same thing too applies to a management leaders who wants to transcend the vision of the organisation. If a leader doesn’t have a direction for the organisation then any path the organisation goes through is fine. Most leaders who fall under this category are the laissez Faire leadership style. Management and leadership are concurrent in nature. For any leadership to be successful, it needs management skills and for any management to be successful its need full leadership skills. When an organisation have the perfect strategy or vision it wants to implement it doesn’t just need an ordinary leader to bring those vision to pass but a leader who can achieve those purpose by transcending the whole organisation. A leaders journey isn’t just picking up leadership skills along the way but also management skills is also essential to lead change and maintaining a balance between this two is also important i.e knowing when to use either of the skills to influence result

'Carrots and Sticks' Style

I came across and adage that says “what get measured gets done”. This is the watchword of a leader who adopts the carrots and stick approach in particular the Transactional leader. One can’t deny the fact that in some context it might be ideal especially from my past experience in organisation I witness a lot of leaders either directly using this style or indirectly and they have achieved the desired result. Reading through the transactional leadership style, the thought that came to my mind was that how sustainable is this approach in driving an organisation towards its long term goals and vision?

I learnt during the module that is either you treat your employees as an asset or view them as just human resources or I think any organisational leader that adopts the transactional approach is likely to view employees as human resources.

A transactional leader who is notable for is carrot and stuck approach either offers his employees some nice carrot if they perform above his expectation, don’t offer them carrot if they perform within expectation; (thinks after all it’s their job) then offers them a ‘wide variety of stick’ (public scolding or shows them the fire exit) if they don’t perform up to expectation. As easy as this approach tends to provide a short run success but not a long run sustainability of such an organisation. Personally I believe that if a leader is to adopt this approach, he should use various reward medium from group reward to a simple thank you and respect, then the stick approach should be a last resort when all other corrective effort have failed and should be used in such a way that it won’t be glorified to become a watchword for employees.

March 13, 2014

Authenticity in Leadership

When someone buys a product we first check to see whether it fulfils our quality standard and we use it to see if it’s a product we can rely on i.e. ‘it does what it says it can do without doing otherwise’. This is what I would like to describe as authenticity in leadership.

A leader wants to be perceived by his followers as authentic. Followers tend to lack trust in their leader when they perceive all his act is a façade. From my little knowledge, I believe in organisations today , most followers are being betrayed by their leaders, it’s so hard to give respect so much to someone only to find out one has been sleeping under a burning roof. This tends to affects the productivity of followers because why would I work for someone I can’t trust at the end of the day. Effectiveness is all about also being authentic as a leader and Authenticity leads to integrity in leadership. Reflecting on the Enron business and its scandal I just thought that an organisation can have all the best processes in the world, but the personal integrity of the individuals and the leaders in the business is the key I guess this was what led to the fall of Enron. I believe that GE was able to achieve greatness because of the authenticity of their leader and CEO Jack welch. He was the kind of leader who wasn’t afraid to show who he was and what he wants for GE and pursuing those interest by all means by being true to his followers. If a leader isn’t authentic enough not only does he loses the trust of his followers but his whole vision and purpose in his leadership role seems pointless.

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