July 10, 2016

EFQM: From now On, always in my heart

Being honest with myself, I didn't understand the EFQM Model the day we had the EGQM seminar. Being more honest, I didn't get it 100% after one week. The process to develop an appreciation for the EFQM took me more practice and time. The good news is that now I feel it has become a part of me. It took me time to digest the concept but using it on KBAM has helped more to do it.

First of all, the EFQM can be applied to any business; European or non-European ("after Brexit will there be a BFQM, British Foundation for Quality Management :o?" Jajaja great joke of Omair), any small, medium or large company and without importance of the industry, it belongs to.

When using the EFQM criteria to analyse the 5 Years Resources Allocation Plan I made, it helped me understand how the proposal contributes to the whole organisation and what could be its opportunity areas to contribute more the success of the company.

I could have applied it when I worked in all my important projects. Of course, I missed the chance because I didn't know the EFQM before but from now on, I can apply it to future ones. That way, I will always assure that the projects of the company aim the path of excellence!

More Resource Allocation Issues (and solutions)

As mentioned before, allocating resources is a difficult and important process every organisation has. I would like to mention a few more issues I have encountered:

Keeping habits: Humans practice habits. It can be very helpful, like waking up every day 6:00 a.m. sharp to start studying... but what if the habit isn't good and we just repeat it as an inherited custom. For example, allocating our resources on X or Y... maybe X and Y aren't profitable for the company but they are still there.

This happens often in companies. I had a few projects that to be honest although we weren't sure they still work we still did them because they were part of the Status Quo. To stop it, we need to acknowledge where are we putting the company's resources. A good proposal from Goedhart, Smit and Veldhuijzen (2013) is to track the resources of each year versus the last one in order to make comparisons. That way I will know if I have been just re-allocating the resources because tradition or because a more intelligent move.

Another important issue I have found is what I've already mentioned in a post... Individual Benefits. I liked much the unorthodox solution given by Lovallo and Sibony (2010). After analysing the proposals, give a pile of poker chips to each participant and ask them to bet on projects they deserve the funding. This is a fun way to concentrate the minds on the big picture and avoid the individual issues

The last issue I would like to mention is something that is difficult for most of us: Letting Go. It is in our nature to hold the things we possess. Just as it happens in private life, it does in the professional. It is very difficult to leave a business that has served well a company in the past. An approach recommended by Horn and Viguerie (2006) is to imagine the company isn't ours and ask whether the market fundamentals would make investments in each of them. That way it is probable to have a more honest view of the resource allocation.

These are some of the issues we can encounter when allocating resources. It is important to address them to improve the quality of the process.

July 09, 2016

Resource Allocation Importance and bias

Every company in the world allocates resources. It is merely seen as an event where the resources are given to each team and project. Nonetheless, I've discovered that it is one of the most important processes of the company where even the CEO should participate in the higher levels (Charan 2013).

When I used to work, I remember every project champion fighting for resources. They wanted to get the most for them. I wonder if they ever cared if it was the best for the company as a whole which actually reminds me of Demming and the System of Profound Knowledge, specifically the part of The Knowledge of a System. Therefore, now that i think about it most of the resource allocation processes are biased because project champions can exaggerate information to obtain more resources or simply they present better than their colleagues and have a competitive advantage on it.

I think that there exists an important need for companies to develop a process where the allocation of resources be unbiased and based on the truly nature of the projects.

June 12, 2016

SME Knowledge Peculiarities

SMEs have certain peculiarities for knowledge transfer. Desouza and Awazu mention a few peculiarities of SMEs Knowledge Learning. While analysing it, it was very interesting for me to be able to relate a few of these to the SME my mother worked for:

Socialisation is predominant for knowledge Learning: The pijama's company was like that. There were no manuals or written procedures to follow. Everything was taught on a social way

Few problems related to knowledge loss: This refers to many SMEs being familiar ones meaning that the leaders of the company are normally also the owners. By this happening it is very difficult that the directors leave the company as its their company. This happened as well, my grandmother, mother or aunt never left the company so the leadership knowledge has gone away. Different to a Large company where the directors can be hired and fired.

Great at exploit external knowledge: As they don't have so many nor strict processes it can be easier to bring knowledge from the outside. Nonetheless, learning knowledge externally can be biased. It the company my mother used to work she was able to bring a lot of external information and apply it but there was always the risk of misinterpreting it :o !

The Knowledge Spiral (Tacit and Explicit)

On 1995 Nonaka published on the HBR an article about the Tacit and Implicit Knowledge Cycle.

Nonaka explained that knowledge could be created by a spiral of 4 steps; Socialization, Externalization, Combination and Internalisation. First, during the socialization the individual learns the tacit knowledge that can be via sharing experiences, observing or imitating. Then, there exists an externalization that could be writing the knowledge down, communicating or modeling where it becomes from tacit to explicit. As a third step, there's the combination which means standarizing the knoledge in an Explicit -> Explicit transfer such as making a manual or a product combination. And last happens the Internalization where the knowledge enriches its own tacit knowledge base. The importance is that it keeps as a cycle and doesn't stop.

It may be common that in companies, the employees do not know explicitely this process but it is important that the HR function and leaders do. That they are conscious that their processes are supporting the cycle. By assuring it, they will be able to predict a good knowledge translation in their company from tacit to explicit knowledge.

I worked in HR in three different companies (Nestle, Mercedes Benz and Procter and Gamble) and in none of them I heard ever about this topic. I hope it is because this is spoken like this explicitely on the highest levels, otherwise I would be a bit worried about it. What I want to do for sure is implement it on the next place I work. If I get the consulting job I'm looking for I will try to implement it and explain to my customers as well. Maybe it doesn't need to be exactly with the official names but I can translate it into easier words with examples, something to make it even easier to remember and to apply it.

Nonaka Knowledge Cycle

June 10, 2016

Link with EFQM

EFQM sounds like a very proper sounds and it is because it is a very proper framework.

It is very interesting how our first module started with the EFQM... and how the last concludes with EFQM. To be honest, it was not easy. It took me 9 months to start understanding it...Just like a baby to be born... 9 months. But I can proudly say that now I have started to understand it.

The last proyect had the task (KBAM) of linking the Asset and Management Strategy with the EFQM. Basically we sat together as a team and analysed if each segment of our plan met with the EFQM guidelines. Doing that as a team was what enabled me to have a further understanding of the EFQM. I found it very interesting how we were able to link the Asset and Management. This made me realize how I could be doing the link with anything on the company that helps it to excel!!

Back home, we have nothing (at leat that I'm aware) like that. It should definitely be something worth to implement. For example, for my mother's SME... I will teach her the framework and hope she wants to try it :) !!!

June 07, 2016

Errorrs in Situation Awareness

There exist three different kinds of errors in situation awareness: (1) Gather information errors which is the most common, interpretation errors and anticipation errors.

Gather information arrors are those that happen when trying to obtain information as it might not be available, not observed, difficut to detect or a memory error. Interpret Errors are those obtained when using an incorrect mental model. Last but not least, anticipate errors are those that like its name are anticipation errors.

Its important to categorize the errors as it can help to understand the issue. Not to blame the person who commited it and punish him/her but to learn about it and avoid repeating it. This can be of high importance for a learning organisation in order to keep learning and never stop innovation by repeating the same actions and errors.

Furthermore, this can help us to avoid what manking has been categorized for:

As they say, the only animal that repeats errors are the humans

June 06, 2016

Factors Influencing Situation Awareness

There exist 4 factors that influence situation awareness. There are (1) Stress and Fatigue, (2) Training and Experience, (3) Workload and (4) Clear Goals and Objectives.

These are important because they can help to identify the reasons why an error happened. It is not important to use them in order to accuse or blame somebody about a mistake but to be able to learn about it and avoid repeating it.

For example, last weekend I went to help a racing team in the Formula 4 races at Oulton Park close to Crewe. There was a car that on the qualifiers had a problem and couldn't finish. Therefore, the driver started on last place on the following races suffering a great disadvantage!!! The problem was a mechanical error that didn't allow the formula car to finish the competition. The factors could have been by used by the racing team manager to understand what happened and do not let it happen again. I think it was probably a workload factor as the that racing team had so much work that could not give proper maintenance to the car. Therefore, the manager could redesign the job of the mechanics or maybe hired a new one to avoid this repeating.

This is just an example, but it can be very useful to apply the influencing factors to understand mistakes.


June 03, 2016

Knowledge Management via Learning Organisation?

One of the ways to improve the Knowledge Management that our team has found so far is developing an Organisation into a Learning Organisation. A very interesting framework Garvin et al. (2008) is to focus on the following 3 blocks:

1. The environment

2. The Processes

3. Leadership

It is important to foucs on the three. For example, if in the future I have the task of transforming a Organisation into a Learning organisation i would focus on the following: (1) First, that the environment of the organisation is psychologically safe, appreciates the differences and is Open to new ideas. (2) Second, that the processes enable the learning by having concrete learning proccesses and practice. And (3) third, I would assure that the leaders of the organisation support this model; Othwerwise it would not work.

Having a Learning Organisation is one of the dreams of ecery HR department. It is extremely difficult to obtain, but at least it is desired, it needs to start somewhere

June 02, 2016

Management difference between the Tangible and Intangible

Managing an organisation is already hard when speaking about the human factor. Furthermore, there are more factors that managers have to considerate. The team investigation that we have done has helped me understand that a division that can be made to facilitate the management of non human factors is between the tangible and the intangible.

By doing so, it could be split into Asset Management strategies for the tangibles and Knowledge Based Management for the intangibles. Therefore, it could be given a more specific and strategical use to each type.

On my jobs, I've been taught explicitely about asset management, specifically for budgets. Nevertheless, I have not been involvesd in any strategies to manage the Knowledge. Learning a few will be very interesting...

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  • WOW, I do agree with you Mac, some of us can possibly learn and understand the EFQM in only one week… by on this entry
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  • That is an interesting thought Orfil. If the theory says it should be like this but all of its pract… by on this entry
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