March 02, 2014

Lessons in Ethics

Ethics is something I have had to try to understand over and over the years. I come from a culture where organisations acclaim values doesn’t match their ethical standards.

At the root of every high or low ethical standard in an organisation lies the leadership of such an organisation and also at the root of that leadership is the individual. Looking back at some organisations in my country and wondering what could have been the common cause of unethical behaviours that often exited organisations out of business and competition. But from what I have learnt so far in my leadership module this week, I could see the role a leader play in shaping an organisational ethics and this starts from the ethical stance of the leader as a person. I have learnt that if as an individual if we don’t stand for something, we would fall for anything and this all goes back to our values. If we don’t figure it out and stand for something as an individual then when we becomes leaders it’s going to be more difficult because the pressure to succumb would be higher. Our ability to translate our values into our ethics and act in line with them would determine the way we conduct the affairs in our lives which at the end of the day would also determine the course we are going to take on as a leaders of teams and organisation.

February 25, 2014

Listen more,Talk less….Effective Leader.

The power of highly effective people lies in their ability to ‘understand’ others first before seeking to be ‘understood’ by others (Steve Covey ‘habits of highly effective people). It so hard nowadays to see leader who is interested in understanding his followers but most leaders want to be understood first.

Looking at the story of a parent who have a rebellious teenager a dirty what do they do? If all they do is tell the child how wayward he/she is and how bad things are going to happen if she doesn’t change, then they are going to be in for long chase of an ugly cat and mice game. If the parent don’t understand the needs of that child there’s no way they can understand and get the best out of that child. Leadership in organisation are like this today.

One thing leaders have to learn is that you can’t change way your followers act if you don’t change the way you approach them and the foundation of all this is seeking to understand your follower’s first then learning to listen to them. Most often than not when followers act irrationally it because they are trying to prove a point, they want to be understood and as a leader one shouldn’t give them a justifiable reason to keep acting that way by firing them. Most individual and followers desire is to be understood, listened to, and respected and to be involved. In summary, in order for a leader to unlock the potentials of all his followers especially the ‘walking dead’, he needs to practice the act of listening more talking less and understanding first and seeking to be understood afterwards.

February 13, 2014

The 'Superman' leader (2)

As i said earlier, an effective leader dont just understand peoples values but also try to find ways to align his own with that of others.

the power of influence in a leader is the ability to understand what makes peoples tick. A leader should unederstand his follower and a follower should understand his leader. Reflecting on a Car dealer and a potential customer scenerio,before the car dealer can sell a car to a customer,, he understands firsthand what are the needs of the customer, maybe a family guy of four who often goes on camping trips, he sure needs an SUV, the seller wont market a Sports car to him in this scenerio.This applies to leaders and followers to.

Uderstanding or being able to discern peoples unique selling point and being sensitive to them(Emotional Intelligence) is important for both a leader and also a follower. overall both the leader and follower should always have it in mind that there is more to a leader or follower that lies beneath the surface and our approach should always be exloratory rather than stereotype.

The 'Superman' leader

In reality, there are no superman leaders(perfect leader) there are only effective leaders and anotrher dimension i have discovered to an effective leader is that he focus on 'TASK','TEAM',and 'INDIVIDUAL'.

An effective leader knows how to get the task done through his team while making sure no individual is left out or invinsible in the whole process. But in most organisations nowadays especially from past experiances, the idea of everybody being invovled seems like a facade.

i think this is where some superman skils are needed afterall in every leader comes to play afterall, a leader should always bear in mind and prep himslef for change, as a leader who wants to embark on a journey of changing an organisation, he or she must be flexible and ready to accept change.

February 11, 2014

To be or not to be a leader???

"LEADERS ARE BORN NOT MADE". This is an old adage that engaged my thought on leadership today as a sat in class trying to decipher the old adage.Remixing this adage, i would say "LEADERS ARE BORN AND MADE".

There is a leader in everybody,some naturally display the key characteristics and some grow or i would say develop those key charcteristics. For a 'Born'(EMERGENT LEADERS) and 'Made' leader, it all boils down to Self discovery and self awareness.

For a leader who is born, its more of a journey of self-awareness. He knows that he already dislay those trait that makes a leader but what makes the ideal leader out of a born leader is being self aware of those traits and getting the best out of it . A 'Made' leader on the other end is a combination of both self awareness and self discovery, discovering those hidden traits and building on them to get the best out of it. whether we aspire to be or not to be a leader, we all have a leadership capability some established,some explored but not tapped and some not explored.

February 10, 2014

Making sense of Leadership

Who is a Leader? why do we need leaders?....... sitting and pondering on this questions,i realised that there are so many dimensions to answering this questions just like my tutor said.

i have been in situations where i have experinced both 'effective' and 'ineffective' leadership. from today's task on choosing a leader, i have realised one thing, as indidviduals we percieve the world differently and some of us hold a stance on some moral convinctions lik, we all have our own views on politics, religion e.t.c. this can also be said of leadership.

we all have our definition of what we deem as morally right and wrong and this are directly tied to our values. our values tend to define the way we percieve different aspect of life and also leadership. My understanding of leadership or an effective or ineffective leader are directly tied to my values. A situation where i percieve a leader as ineffective someone can deem him fit as effective.

values are something that affcets our thinking and perception and for a leader to also effectively relate with his follower, such a leader must understand his own vaues and then understand that of his folllowers so that they would 'meet halfway' without the leader or follower compromising his values.

January 19, 2014

Learning in Mistakes

As humans, we are bound to make mistakes and this involves mistakes in our product and process. But I would say errors are beneficial to our processes because we learn from them and they help us improve our product. I have learnt this week the importance of lesson learned (LL). LL helps organisation to capture errors by eliciting the expert knowledge directly related to that process and then analyse and identify those areas of improvement and most importantly use the information to continually improve their products in terms of making them more robust against those previous errors.

One truth is that without making errors, business would never find better ways to improve on their product and learn. Making mistake is healthy to an extent but it’s important for business to control the gravity of the errors they make in their product or process and this is what six sigma and DFSS does reduce the errors to a desirable level and the little error left we are able to capture the information using Expert knowledge, QFD, FMAE etc. and reapply it to the current product to achieve robustness. As for Toyota, i guess they have been able to apply the lessons learned from their product error to improve their current product and this is one of the main importance of making mistakes and learning from them.

January 17, 2014

FMAE vs Reliability test

We all have been subjected to testing at one stage in our lives and this is to show our areas of weaknesses or strength and same applies to reliability test. We test because we want to verify that our product design can be trusted to perform what is supposed to do in any condition and in case it falls below our expectation, we can recreate the design and build robustness especially against those Noise factors that are beyond the control of the design engineers.

After what I learnt today, I think the reliability test is more important compared to FMAE because the reliability test would actually subject the product to that extreme situation and then design robustness into the product against all those extremities but FMAE is using only our imaginative judgment and its possible that a little hazardous detail could have been missed or not captured in the brainstorming session. The reliability testing would be very important in any industry that has to do with product that are directly attached to human lives e.g. healthcare,pharmaceutical,transport, food industry e.t.c

January 16, 2014

Understanding FMAE

After learning about the design for reliability this week, today we learnt about the tools that organisation used to design reliability into their product which would help them avoid the cost of unreliability and warranty cost. The FMAE focuses on the processes that manufacture the products.

The FMAE technique is a proactive approach whereby organisation project the worst case scenario that could occur in their process and hereby build a better understanding and robustness with the help of the FMAE technique. FMAE helps organisation avoid the cost they would incur as a result of unreliability of their product. Apart from the Tea process we used the FMAE technique on today, I think the technique can also be applied to every process in different sector i.e. service, manufacturing and construction. But I think the FMAE major shortfall is that it requires an expert knowledge and in the case where this is lacking, then the cost of unreliability can’t be avoided by the organisation especially if the organisation is small in nature and can’t afford to commit the necessary time needed for the FMEA implementation. But apart from this I think organisations should have Systems that exists that permit proactive evaluation of vulnerabilities before close calls occur.

January 14, 2014

QFD and Mind Games

Having being introduced to QFD in class today, i thought to myself that it feels like a game of chess (much thought and strategy) well I guess there is much to QFD than it actually meets the eye. QFD is like a game of sensitivity, response, commitment, foresight and drive to meet our customers’ needs way before the customers realise they even need them.

Trying to relate QFD to a football match where teams compete to thrill their fans and also win a cup. The fans are the customers and the teams represent the organisation. Before a coach can send his team out there, they prepare the team comprising of their finest players and have a strategy or formation that would help them ‘wow’ their audience. This applies to organisation to before they launch their product.

The truth of the matter is Customers don’t really know what they want precisely. As a customer myself when mobile phones were first launched, i felt life couldn’t be any better. After, came the launch of the QWERTY keypad mobile phone and am like ‘wow I didn’t know I needed this, now i can type my messages faster’ (am sure most people felt this way too). If they asked me for a customer feedback then on mobile phones without a QWERTY keypad i would have not given a precise feedback that i want a phone with a QWERTY keypad i can only hint them of my needs. This is where the importance of QFD comes to play i see customers feedback as an hint not an answer so QFD help organisation to analyse and find answers to the voices of customers amongst the feedback . i guess this is how ‘Apple’ have been able to keep our credit card out of our pocket for so long.

QFD provides an organisation with a magnifying glass that helps them to have a better understanding of their customer’s needs, product design, competition and their processes.

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