January 15, 2010

Leaders are people who work with the nature not against it

What I have learned so far from LE module is that leader is a person, not necessarily manager who influence thoughts (I think primarily thoughts and then behavior changes itself) of other people and who make them follow towards the purpose people and overall organization could benefit from. Leader is a person who respects followers, who hold them in their arms and inspire them to follow alongside him; it is the person, who lead the change not manage it. Leader is person who understands people and their motives and makes them to be pride in their job and have a joy at work. How could I be leader, what qualities I already have to be an effective leader and what qualities and skills I lack? How I make people follow me and trust me? First of all I need to understand that people regardless their education have big natural potential and each person want to be respected and to have pride in himself. How can I ensure that with a help of the work people doing they will develop and open their abilities? When such opportunity will be open to them they will be more willing to contribute and work better. It is interesting that how we sometimes act against the nature. Managers want better results and performance; buy best resources and equipment without paying attention that big potential is in people, in their minds, in their abilities, not in best technologies. They force people to do their job and not to interfere with other activities not related to them. But people are by nature have a desire to be involved, to be important, to be heard. People want to develop it a natural desire. When people work for 20, 10, or even 2 years without any development, personal as well as professional they become bored and indifferent and do not like Sundays, because they now that the Sunday is day before Monday, when five day in the dark will start.

January 14, 2010

I do not agree with L = (L, gm,s)

I am a little bit confused of my thoughts in my first blog entry of LE and what Paul’s said yesterday about leadership function. As I wrote earlier I thought that leadership is not dependent on situation, that leadership should be applicable to all situations. I am still not believe that leadership is linked to situation, despite that Paul said that it just my assumption. But in my opinion, if a person has leadership skills he wants to take a lead in every situation. If this function of leadership L = (L, gm, s) is right, then it is saying to us that for example, CEO of the company and leader as well could not be effective in every situation and we should not expect him to be leader in every situation, he could not be effective in another organization with different group members and in other environment. This function telling to me that leadership skills are not transferable, that they stick to a particular situationI do not believe that. When companies recruit people they search for leadership skills which are transferable, don’t they?

January 12, 2010

Leadership vs. Management

Which I definitely understood from the exercise we were involved yesterday that leadership are not linked with situation, that is to say truly leader is a person who regardless the situation, emergency or daily life could bring people together, inspire and make them follow. I always have question in my mind when it comes to leadership theme. You could be effective manager, but at the same time ineffective leader. Leader vs. Manager. If leadership qualities could be transferable, manager qualities are not necessarily? For example, you are educated to be a business or manufacturing manager, could you be effective hospital manager or manager in specialized industry, where you do not have even an idea how it works. In this case comes leadership. If you are a leader and manager you could adapt, could contribute and change, but if you are manager, with weak leadership skills I doubt if someone could make significant contribution or change something. I think you could be educated to be a manager but you could not to be educated to be a leader. Leadership, in my opinion is something in nature of person, you could read numerous of books on leadership, but if you do not feel inside of you that something drive you forward, something force you not to agree with current situation or current circumstances, regardless the fact that you well educated and you no in theory know how to be a leader, it is not the case that you could be a leader in real life. So the conclusion is that leadership could survive regardless any situation and management is not always. That is just my way of thinking and I could be wrong and I will try to find answer during LE module.

January 10, 2010

Developing from shop–floor to strategic level

Interesting thing in both lean and six sigma that they have many things in common and most obvious are their origin and evolution. Six sigma and lean are two practices which initially originated from Japanese quality methodologies and tools. Despite they became most popular in the West; both of them are combination of tools used in Japan. Among different improvement Japanese tools six sigma and lean was organized so that to target particular problem, faced at different times by the West and Japan (poor quality vs. deficit of resources). The second issue is their evolution. Nowadays six sigma and lean are presented as mature methodologies, which developed beyond their origins, initially they regarded as operational level improvement tools and today they regarded by many as business strategies and even organizational philosophies.

Improving the same process from different angles

Six sigma and lean today could be seen as most popular improvement methodologies with many followers across different industries. Both methodologies proved their effectiveness and ability to work and be successful on their own. As they develop scholars and companies realize their strengths and limitations and try to combine them with other quality initiatives, which could eliminate those benefits and support strengths. However sometimes attempts fail because of contradictory or conflict nature of combined approaches. As far as six sigma and lean are concerned combination of both is seen as successful in both literature and practice. Their combination, in general, is easy to implement. There is no rigid structure both in lean and six sigma and there is no barriers for their combination as they just themselves a combination of different tools and techniques. Both lean and six sigma are organization of different tools to solve particular and different from each other problems, but the problems, which could occur in the same process, therefore six sigma and lean do not contradict each other as they see and cure the same process from different, non-conflict angles and aspects.

November 27, 2009

Learning how to be a learning organization is never ending…

Learning organization is not a stage, which organization could achieve, they can not achieve it, they can not say: today we became a learning organization, because learning how to be a learning organization is never ending. Today we have a defined (arguable?) shape what is learning organization, but it is ok for today, but not for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s learning organization could be different, because new capabilities should be required from organizations, therefore new characteristics of learning organization will emerge. Therefore the important question of organization should be not how we will know that we are learning organization, but how we can ensure that we will continuously and consistently learn. It also can be applied to people. People want to be successful and they are graduated from universities and acquire necessary professional and interpersonal skills to be successful, however despite the fact that these skills could ensure success for some period of time, they can not ensure that people will be successful for the rest of their lives. The meaning of success changes over time. Therefore people need to learn continuously how to be and in order to be successful people, as well as organization need to learn how and in order to be successful.

Please, give me a tool to be a learning organization?

The concept of learning organization is fairly old, because scholars began to research this issue since the second part of the 20th century. However, for practice it is new theory. Today many organizations in developed countries try to be a learning organization and it is not just their desire, but life necessity. The environment of today’s business force organizations to find new ways to satisfy their customers and to be competitive and those organizations, which do not want to adapt, more likely will not survive. It is interesting how theory outstrip practice. Is it because what is done in theory does not work in practice, or because companies are not yet ready for ideas which theory suggest? There are so many ideas of scholars what is and how to be a learning organization, however business could hardly develop their ideas in practice. What is missing?

November 12, 2009

Understanding the system

System of profound knowledge is the philosophy suggested by E. Deming to transform Western style of management. Traditional style of management still used in many organization today and known as result and goal-oriented approach (often without understanding how process works), more focused on short term profits, quick fixing of problems, setting targets, rewarding or punishing their employees, regarding them as a resource rather than potential for learning and improvement and finally  it is based on internal competition. There are many contradictory things can be find in this approach. The most obvious one is struggling to achieve goals of organization simultaneously with sharp internal competition.

The main problem of this approach is that management has no understanding how their organization actually works. Deming philosophy offers approach based on understanding of the process and improving it. Four components of the philosophy are about transformation of the organizational thinking. Jan Jillet in his work “Working with the grain” notices that all what Deming suggest is natural thing, how it is really supposed to be. And we always try to act against the nature instead of understanding it. For example, the Psychology element of the philosophy, people are naturally is intrinsically motivated, they are sociable, they always want to interact, to be a member of some group, to try new things, to take risks, to learn, its a nature of the people. But traditional management ignores it, and motivates people extrinsically (this kind of motivation is needed, however it is not the most important thing) artificially sets targets, rewards, punishing people making mistakes (mistakes can be a good source of learning), blaming people, still regarding them as “commodity”. Or system thinking, it’s all about the nature. I usually think than Power, created our universe build it so that all the parts dependent from each other, no one can win without other part winning and how we can talk about development of world economy, for example, in condition where developed countries take an advantage and make developing and poor countries more poor, where they think about their own goals and indifferent what was happening out there, outside their boundaries. How can we talk about development of mankind, in the world of war, terrorism? Financial crisis, natural disasters, illnesses are the signals that something wrong in the system and that people act against their nature. Without understanding that we always a part of larger system we cannot make a contribution to development of any organization or country.

November 08, 2009


Two weeks passed. At first time I didn’t understand why modules were so short, just one week? Now I begin to understand that modules gives just an overview of the subject and PMA allows go deeply and find answers to questions during the module.

There are no really right answers to PMA, it just the matter of how you understand the question, but the challenging thing is to not go away from the question.

The second thing is time management. If we are given only 60 hours or less on PMA, how to allocate time so that it really is 60 hours, should we count the hours we spend every day? It is important because we also need time for our project and other modules.

Doing PMA is not an easy task it’s a mini-project, you need really to think about planning (outline, my outline have changed several times during 2 weeks), organization of work (time spent, process itself – selection of material to read (takes a lot of time for me), reading, note taking, understanding, analyzing, writing), control (whether I am answering this particular question or not, progress – what I have done already, how it can contribute to overall paper and what I have learned). However, despite its difficulties it teaches a lot of thing, like tacit knowledge for yourself, because you really start understand yourself, how it is better for you to organize work, what time in day to allocate for it (people have different time when they are productive- my time is, for example – from 5 to 8 in the evening).

Thus, during the model I have pieces of knowledge and I hardly could link it with each other, but doing PMA helps me to organize it and find links.

October 25, 2009

The importance of cooperation

It is still really hard for me to realize the idea that cooperation is more beneficial than competition in organization. We always had to be told that competition is the crucial aspect and the more competitive you are the more chances you have to be successful. However, system approach reveals drawbacks to this way of thinking. Organizations are systems, which locate in broader systems such as industry, national economy and world economy. That is to say every organization is the subsystem or part of another system. All parts within a system need to be integrated in order to maintain normal condition of the system, therefore if one part of the system does not work properly overall system will be “ill”. Organizations competing within one industry can not be successful, because different part of one system do not allow system to develop and achieve goals, in the long run someone win, and someone lose, however the success of one part is not long-term. This is the case for competition within the organization. Competing departments are parts, which destroy the system and they never can achieve goals of organization. If someone lose you can not win, this is the important law of life, which can be seen everywhere – society, politics, economy, technology. So the cooperation within the organization, within industry etc. becomes crucial aspect for organizations. Moreover, the effect of synergy, which recognizes that system has new characteristics which are not just a summary of its individual part’s characteristics, encourages us to cooperate with departments (organization), organizations (industry) and people around (society, life).

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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
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  • 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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