May 27, 2010

“Soft” issues are the hardest ones

Asset management gained a great recognition in business. Its importance grows since companies begin to understand that the ability to manage asset effectively could improve operations of the company and as a result improve the performance. However in order to manage assets effectively organization need to have a knowledge about them which should be generated in order to enhance performance of assets. This is where Knowledge Management becomes important area to assist the work of Asset Management. However, Knowledge management is not an easy area to manage, because it highly depends on people, on culture of the organization which need to foster knowledge sharing. Someone is said that “soft” issues are the hardest ones. But which could be a source of competitive advantage if organizations are able to manage it. Many successful organizations now are working towards those “soft” issues and realized that future success of the business depend on ability to manage them. It is the soft issues, which are drives of improvements of the hardware of organization.

May 17, 2010

Knowledge management balance

It is interesting that in KM much emphasis is given to people who need to share their knowledge for organizational benefit. However, in my opinion, also important is for organization to continually feed that source of knowledge that is to say to feed and develop the brains of people in order for them to produce knowledge. Because usage of knowledge of people without giving back result in exploitation and deterioration of sources of that knowledge. It is very necessary to develop people, to give them opportunities to learn, to challenge them, encourage them to try new ways of working, emotionally support them, investing in their capabilities and knowledge. In that case only people will learn and produce knowledge, which then could be used for creation of value for organization. Thus, it is very important to keep a balance between results and sources of that results, if organization wants people produce and share knowledge, it has to invest time, money and support in the sources of that knowledge, in people and their capabilities.

Knowledge management: People, IT and organizational culture

KM concept includes both people and technology dimension. However, before introducing any technological systems for KM, it is important for organization to have a right culture which will foster knowledge sharing in organization. If organization have a competition based culture it is fairly unlikely that individuals will share knowledge, since everyone will perceive knowledge they possess as competitive advantage over other people. IT can greatly assist to dissemination of knowledge within organization; however, it could not encourage individuals to share their knowledge. What contributes to sharing knowledge is a relationships aspect which organization needs to take into consideration, how people interact in organization, whether trust between individuals exist. This relationship aspect is mostly shaped by organizational culture. Therefore before blindly introducing IT and encouraging people to share it is necessary to examine whether organizational culture promote knowledge sharing.

April 12, 2010

Asset management

So far we learned how to create business excellence, what are the frameworks which help us to implement and sustain effective business, how to improve organizational processes and eliminate defects from it, how to lead organizations to excellence, how to produce excellent products and how make design of that products robust. We learned about main aspects of running a business – design and development and operations (processes). However, in order these elements to be effective there need to be support functions, which make those primary processes easier to implement and manage. Without managing resources (inputs), facilities (buildings and equipment), without thinking about environment and health and safety of employees at work there will be poor conditions for main processes to operate. It means that asset management has a significant impact on processes of organization and results of the company.

How to utilize resources more efficiently and avoid overstock, how to make working environment more organized, safe and clean, equipment to be reliable and less subject to maintenance, how to manage waste and do not harm the environment, etc are the issues of asset management and it seems that today they are not support functions but important processes, which could bring a real value for organization.

There are so many tools available to companies to manage their assets, however the main aspect is how effectively company could use that tools and more important how knowledge regarding assets management are shared in organization. It seems that so often companies seek external knowledge and help, without realizing that knowledge is already in the company. How much money could be saved if company could effectively extract, store and make available that knowledge to people and teams in organization. Asset and knowledge management are very complementary, knowledge embedded in people heads, experience, organizational routine need to be available in order to improve asset management.

Management of knowledge, challenge for managers?

It is interesting how often word “management” is used and applicable to different categories –“asset management”, “knowledge management”, “change management”, “technology management” an many orders. It seems that soon it will be applicable to everything around us – “mobile phone management”, “life-management” and maybe “relationship management”? It is silly, however the root of that in understanding that everything’s that important need to be managed in order to bring value. Every aspect important to business need to be understood and managed so that business could extract maximum benefit  from it.

Gradually management as concept shift from focusing on something tangible such assets to more intangible things such as knowledge, competencies, ideas, something we can not measure we can not see, but if managed effectively could bring significant benefits. However, because they are so difficult to measure, it is difficult to manage them. However, those companies who succeed with this task have significant competitive advantage over other companies. As many companies today have access to different resources, to different tools and consultants services, the competitive advantage now locate in heads of those working in organizations and the task of an organization to extract that knowledge and use for organizational benefit. What is more, it is difficult because it deals with the people, complex substances with their own specificities, emotions, preferences, experiences. Is the great challenge to make that people share what they have, but it is largely depends on the ability of organization to create an environment where people will be willing to share their knowledge. Current way of working should be changed, not immediately, gradually, making those people to adapt to new ways. Leadership at levels of organization promoting knowledge sharing culture should be established. And the most important thing is belief in what you are doing; because without belief and with skepticism most people have you can not achieve even simple things, let alone such a challenge to make people share their knowledge.

January 21, 2010

Leadership vs. Positional power

From my own experience I know it is really not easy to make people follow you without positional power. I used to be a leader of student organization in university, when people work not for money, no one pays them, but they work on their pure enthusiasm and it is task and really challenge for leader to maintain this enthusiasm and make people work and follow you. You need a set of different skills and one of the important skills, in my opinion and my experience, for the leader is ability to speak, and by doing so influence and inspire people.

Now after having know more about leadership I think if I was in that situation again I could have change my leadership st I would have change this and that, but I will be never again in that particular situation and if I will be in leader position again in some company in the future I need to make sure that I learned from mistakes I have made and use the knowledge I gained from LE and in particular lead not relying on positional power, but the power of leadership.

Coffee time

The important skill which leader should have is ability to be assertive, because sometimes teams could have an influence on the leader and the task of the leader not to bend under the opinion of majority, which could be direct opposite of the opinion of leader. Leader should be a good listener, carefully and with respect take into account all opinions, however if leader strongly believe that is not what he wants, he has to be confident in his opinion and convincing. He needs to show employees why he thinks its right and by doing so influence and make people think in the way he wants. It’s something which deals with the power, but not positional power, a power of influencing and shaping thoughts of other people.



The important thing I learned from coaching session is that leader should not give direct answers to his employees, giving direct answers means that employee become dependent on his leader or manager, it could lead to situation where employees could not solve the problems themselves and come to ask their leader to provide answers. If leaders want their team members be more independent in problem solving leaders need to guide their employees towards right answers rather than give immediate responses to problems. Leader need to lead towards right answers at the same time do it in a way employees feel that they themselves find answer to their problem, when they feel that they find it themselves they will be more willing to cope with this problem. Often psychologists use this method to help their patients and it is true that leader should be indeed a psychologist, should know the people, their thinking, and their feelings. I think it is very important learning point regarding leadership at work as well as daily life. Sometimes when friends ask help to solve different problems, we try to give them advises and our experience, (we should never give employees answers from our own experience, its their problem, not ours), instead we should try to show them a way to find answer, make them think about their problems. It’s really important skill for a leader to be a coach and as Paul said we need to practice it on our peers; parents and I definitely want to learn and develop this skill.

Salvage the Black Swan exercise

What I learned from today’s exercise is that leader and team are interdependent. Leader needs team. In order to achieve goals leader use the skills and expertise, energy of the members and this synergy of different skills and abilities joined with leadership could produce significant results. At the same time team needs leader, who effectively could organize and direct the team in a right way. The role of leader is to think and see things strategically, that is to say able to see things in a big picture, be attentive to important things and details, which team members likely to miss, keep team focused, not allow them to sway in different directions. Leader should not be necessarily clever than his employees, he need to be able to assess skills of team members and use them in right way.

January 18, 2010

Leadership :–(

There are so many things I learned and discovered about leadership, about myself and teamwork during this module. A lot of information and ideas coming and my brain could hardly cope and digest and structure all of them, it requires time and understanding and assessment against myself. I do not know but as more I learn about leadership the more I become aware that it is really not so easy to be an effective leader and by trying to assess myself against those things I learned I am confusing could I really be a leader? Could I really to devote myself and keep an eye on all of these things, which so important to leadership…..

           The thing I consider in leadership as one of the most important is coping with that balance between task and people. As far as task is concerned it is fine, I am really a task oriented person. But when it comes to people… its really hard to me, I always try to care about, but in the actual process I could forget about people and just listen to myself. Leadership as I understand is more about relationships between people and leader.

           One of the problems I encountered in teamwork of mini-projects that when we actually gather often I am a person who take imitative and say “ok guys lets start o lets try this”. Because sometimes people hardly could make a start or just do not know where to start I just try to push them and do things in fast and efficient way. But some people in our group as I feel think that I imposing my views and opinions on them. In that situations I want to be just quiet follower, “living dead precisely”. I do not want to be a leader in teamwork, I am not presenting and pushing myself as a leader but I do not want at same time spend too much time on things that could be done in more efficient way. The second issue that there are strong personalities in our group and it some times hard to understand each other. A am sorry guys if I made something wrong I am just used to be disciplined and focused in everything I do and often it is my great weakness.

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  • Hi, Albina, I agree with your points. Organization has right culture is very important for people. I… by on this entry
  • Hey Albina, I personally believe that you making the start and saying OK guys lets do this, because … by on this entry
  • cheers albina=] i feel the same that we have learned so much about leadership these 2 weeks and it's… by on this entry
  • A good question that you have here. In my opinion; if we can manage solve this problem of implementi… by on this entry
  • A nice reflection Albina in which you recognize that a system is as strong as its weakest part and t… by Paul Roberts on this entry

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