March 24, 2011

Leadership for me

A thought struck my mind while I was thinking about my entrepreneurial venture (dissertation topic) by which I mean a very small scale organization to begin with. The question that I asked to myself was, ‘What I want my role to be?’

In search for an answer, the first thing that came to my mind is me working around 12 hours a day, files and folders around me. Then this suddenly lead me to think, is this what I thought when I wanted to be an entrepreneur!?

NO! So then I realize, I cannot generally be a part of the daily activities, and running projects. This is too much of an underutilization of my potential. What I need to do is, look at things from a distance, which means, looking at where we’re heading, if at all we are, and where we wanted to head to in the first place. And this is from where the roots of continuous improvement will be laid in the organization. Even if it is a small scale organization, I cannot allow it to be static over the years, and to break this staticity, this is one thing I have to be sure of. I cannot let myself fall in the trap of solving the urgent and important only and forgetting about the not-urgent and important!

This is probably the essence of an MBE over any other standard business management masters course. Either of them would teach you to manage people and day to day activities. But this is something that most organizations wouldn’t even realize they are lacking without having lost a number of years!

Halfway through the course, I can now see a bit of clarity in my mind, how am I going to put the wisdom (it is worth being called that) that I gain from this course, to practice. The beauty is, I have something to begin with!

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  1. This suddenly reminds me of a previous discussion about whether or not leadership and excellence concepts are practical in ‘Eastern’ countries. Maybe this could be a good starting point to think, because I dont think there is much complexity involved in this, as long as the mind does its job of continuoulsy striving to generate ideas to improve..

    24 Mar 2011, 23:41

  2. You are so right AWAL…............ This is especially truth for small business (my dissertation) as well. What SMEs do is to look only in short term and not in long term. At least this is what i have understood from my literature review since now. So a crucial aspect is to establish strong mechanisms for scanning the environment which is the first step for strategic management. We can say that long term planning is the fundamental part of strategic management. However there is one problem with SMEs. Strategic maangement has a lot of risk included. So it requeires knowledge and knoweledge is something that SMEs do not know about…........ There are surveys that demonstrate the lack of education of small business leaders.

    So yes i agree with you that small firms require a leader that will see the future and will establish a long term thinking approach. However it is the problem of low financial support that SMEs have…........So expensive mechanisms are not allowed….....

    PS: I am thinking of taking that as part of my dissertation’s conclusion. Will be copying my self? ahahaha

    25 Mar 2011, 12:00

  3. Awal, I hope no-one in your organisation has to work for 12 hours a day! :P I agree though, BE the leader, you can always hire someone to do the managing. Although, of course you should never take yourself entirely out of the day-to-day running!

    Vagelis, you say that the lack of education in SME leaders is the problem that prevents them from thinking long-term and managing risk well, but what do you mean when you say expensive mechanisms are not allowed (because SME’s have low financial support)? What sort of mechanism are you talking about? Because if it’s a simple matter of getting a better education, wouldn’t most SME’s be able to fund this? Or do you mean something else?

    It’s interesting that you have both been finding/thinking about similar things regarding the short-term and long-term. Actually, my project is now also heading towards the direction of this kind of thing. CSR often implies ideas of sustainability anyway, but these ideas sit well with what I hope to do regarding collaborative projects that create shared value, perhaps through some kind of social enterprise. Thank you both for the nudge ;-)

    26 Mar 2011, 10:49

  4. Hey Awal, I have just been thinking of the similar thing – having any kind of a small company, what are my chances for success?

    What I realised is that assuming I could put everything (don’t get me too literally) we learn during MBE the result should be impressive and would give me a competitive advantage. If this assumption worked out, it means we could set up any kind of a business, let’s say a new deli shop next to an existing one and getting things right (customer focus, sustainability and else ;) we could be successful, right? The main advantage would be, in my case, long term thinking, as Vagelis pointed that it’s an issue with SMEs…

    Of course setting up new ventures doesn’t come easy, as there is a lot of paper work etc but still this vision is very nice to think of – start doing anything you like, be it even next to your competitor and get your share. On the other hand, this sounds very selfish but if I were supposed to be by any chance unemployed this would seem to be a solution. Next thing you know, you could cooperate with the ‘competitor’ to improve your service (in the beginning, benchmarking against him would be clearly available :P).

    26 Mar 2011, 11:16

  5. Guys,
    Great inputs I must say. Yanik, I am actually thinking the same. The idea is not very clear for me too when Vagelis points out lack of education.
    Though, what I think is, a learning mechanism in an organisation is as important an investment as is any other ‘fixed asset’. Though it is worthy of a higher position, as it will always remain with the organization. Most organizations invest in the direct and indirect inputs but forget this.

    Marcin, I can certainly not guarantee that! What you need is to clarify your thought. MBE doesnt come with a guarantee certificate of success in businesses, but what I’ve tried to do is over the past few months, tried to figure out how are we going to apply it. When I say this, i mean literally! To an extent that, try asking yourself, if I were to start a business, what would be my routine? What are the areas I’d be looking at? You remember Hoshin Kanri? It taught us to think in the sense that, what is it hidden under big goals? Disecting a strategy to the extent that your people know what they are going to do tomorrow..

    26 Mar 2011, 23:44

  6. I didn’t make my thoughts clear…...... i am sorry about that…................. There are mechnishm like ERP systems of IT services that cost a lot…........... I have tried to ask for an ERP back for my organizaiton in Greece and they said me with some seminars for learning how to use it (90000 euros)......... This for a Small mainly and Medium as well orgnaizaiton is a high amount of money….. especially if you operate in Greece….. ahah…....... I hope this make it more clear…........

    I am sorry again…..........

    26 Mar 2011, 23:56

  7. Hey Awal, it’s really worth thinking how to apply our lesson but that’s not what I meant in the previous entry.

    As you will probably agree working it out is a huge task and I haven’t finished thinking about it yet. What I was trying to say is in THEORY (it would be better if I underlined this word but I can’t edit it this way ;) our MBE course gives us powerful set of tools that should lead us to great results.
    My point then is that whatever we will do and however we will apply it, our practice will hopefully give us competitive advantage (although this is not only that matters but I will stick to that as I had started writing this way in my previous enrty).
    Does it make any sense now?

    You keep on going this way as it’s extremely important! :D

    27 Mar 2011, 11:06

  8. Great to hear different perspectives on something I’ve been thinking for a while now.. and Marcin, indeed, it will give us competitive advantage!! ;)

    27 Mar 2011, 21:35

  9. Hey guys,

    After reading all this great comments, Awal I would like you to read this and consider it as sometimes we get too much into facts that do not allow us some time to think and create our dream and ask to ourselves what would I like to do as a leader?

    “There are three categories of people – the person who goes into the office puts his feet up on his desk, and dreams for twelve hours; the person who arrives at 5 A.M. and works for 16 hours, never once stopping to dream; and the person who puts his feet up, dreams for one hour, then does something about those dreams.” (Ross, Steven, 1993 ‘’former chairman and co-CEO of Time Warner’’ cited in Rowe, 2001)

    Rowe, W. G. (2001) Creating Wealth in Organizations: The Role of Strategic Leadership. The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 15 (1): 81-94.

    29 Mar 2011, 12:55

  10. Juan David,
    You’re absolutely right dear. The need is to realize the responsibility of being a leader.
    I think this will help, Just imagine what the state of the organization was on the day you joined, and what you’d want it to be. If you’re involved in mere problem solving there would hardly be a difference in the two. If there is a difference you want to see, plan it now!

    This though sounds very simple and obvious. But I have experienced, it is very difficult when you are in the situation, to step back and think!

    29 Mar 2011, 21:28

  11. AWal great post….......................

    “Step back and think”

    Everyone should think at least 3 seconds before speak “Covey”. I am not sure about the number but the point is to step back think and then speak.

    29 Mar 2011, 22:51

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