February 28, 2013

WaveRiders and making decisions

The decision making process for WaveRiders has been a great learning process for me and the team. Working on the financials of the team and constructing the decision tree and cost benefit analysis gave us a very clear idea of how such factors could determine the location of the new WaveRiders factory.

It was an eye opener how options which seemed viable in the beginning to the team are proved to be unsuitable when an in-depth analysis is conducted. Being extremely lifelike our team meets on a strict timetable and works diligently, as we would have if we were in a real company.

This exercise will definitely be beneficial to the team in the long run.


February 07, 2013

Ahoy matey…!!! :P

The Black Swan…and her treasures.

The black swan exercise gave my team members and I a great and fun way to learn about how to strategies the different potentials in our team to reach to a positive outcome. Our leader Jessica played a great role in overviewing all our processes and not getting knee deep involved in the process herself (which is what a good leader is supposed to do…Lead!).

Ade and I were good at Finance and so we did the gross profit calculation in a jiffy.

Vijay emerged as a leader during the process… (a natural born leader in my opinion)

We all played a vital part in our teams success and everyone helped out in anyway they could and in the END… Teamwork made us prosper…

The outcome of this simulation again confirms my beliefs in teams work and the delegation of roles to best suited team members.


Communication skills (With a twist)

The simulation we did about counseling was a fun way of learning how to guide subordinate (or even colleagues) if there is something bothering them, which would most probably affect productivity. During the game Maria and I were paired up and she had to guide me in my time management problems. I decided to play a very stubborn character with a depressing story line (which incidentally made Maria quite flustered as she had no idea what she could say to change my mind and make me positive towards life).

I pretended to be a workaholic with time management issues and the reason for me being tired and overworked all the time was that my personal problems (one after the other).

I must admit it was a bit funny as we were both laughing over it in the end. But it was a great learning point. The reason being that in the real world there will be points where a leader has to step up and communicate with a work force member if productivity is lagging. Be it someone’s emotional/ personal problems it is the duty of the leader to guide the work force to think in a certain way (at least in the work place).

Good Communication is KEY.


February 05, 2013

Hotel Simulation

The simulation today was quite exciting and a great learning tool about methods of leadership and being part of a team which handles a company, or in this case a hotel. Being part of a team responsible for making the hotel reap profits and becoming successful in the long run was invigorating.

All the team members were assigned individual tasks which we had to perform and make the hotel start earning profit.

It pleases me to say that we were the first group to actually have a positive gross profit figure. A motivational approach by our team leader was the main reason I believe why we were performing so well. However, with the changing of the leaders the situation began to change and we were slowly loosing our edge. But we were still making a positive gross profit.

In the end we ended up in 3rd place which was not that bad but we could have done better. The basic I’m of this exercise was to establish the complexities of leadership. The observers were able to judge what the teams lacked in their approach and the leaders became observers after one round.

As our instructor mentioned an efficient leader is one who observes his team and through that observation is able to make the most efficient decisions.


Assertiveness VS Encouragement

There is no point in being a leader who enforces his/her own ideas on to the subordinates. We had a discussion in class about the effect of a leader on the work force and how it is the easiest thing in the world to get the work done in an organization through the use of authority.

In todays class I was assigned the role of being a leader of a firm which has a serious issue of employees spilling coffee on a new and rather expensive company carpet. The office was meant to be a place where high profile company personalities often visited and of course stain on the carpet would not have a good impression on them.

I was assigned with the task to resolve a employee conflict issue. I decided the play the role of an autocratic leader to make my employees feel pressured in to something they didn’t want to do. My team members also decided to be uncompromising in their approach. Of course it started out with a lot of screaming and shouting but sadly in the end my personality gave in and I became the understanding and compromising one.

This little experiment leads me to a conclusion. It is something I believe in but this experiment confirmed my belief. Listening and supporting your subordinates will reap far better results than trying to enforce your decisions on them.

The aim of any organization to motivate and inspire their work force… not to oppress it and build a relationship of fear. That would only lead to conflict.


February 03, 2013

Leading with purpose

The basic aim of every leader is to lead his/her subordinates in a single track so that they do not loose their way and are focus on a particular goal. It necessary that this goal is achieved for organizations to be successful in the long run but it can be really hard to define the “ideal” method of leadership. Its necessary to have a particular strategy in mind when a leader makes a decision as strategies are pre-planned and are not a decision made on a whim.

It is obvious that most managers/leaders in organizations make decisions on pure authority and whim. This is the reason why their subordinates become demotivated. There needs to be a concrete plan in order to achieve a certain goal with an organization and the sooner leaders let go of their authoritative attitude and start getting involved in teams and team work the work environment in any organization can drastically change for the better.


February 02, 2013

People are our greatest assests

Leaders and leadership have come in to prominence in the last few decades because in order to become more efficient an organizations leaders need to be encouraging and helpful instead of being rigid and autocratic.

Its not easy to maintain a certain level of authority in the eyes of your subordinates and still be helpful but if one thing countless research’s and authors on the subject have discovered is that it is necessary to stress upon leaders to be encouraging. In the 1950s Peter Drucker came to talk about the importance of people in the work force as the most important assets in his book “Management challenges of the 21st century”. Even Edward Deming came to the same conclusion as he was more focused on trying to organizations to start working as teams.

As the saying goes there is no I in team. Managers have to start letting go of their autocratic ways and start focusing more on listening to their subordinates and giving them guidance instead of fear.


February 01, 2013

The carrot instead of the stick.

Leadership is a vast topic. There are so many forms of leadership and so many different opinions that it is hard to keep up. However, one thing that is clear to me is that the form of leadership should not be autocratic in nature.

One thing that history has shown us is that the working masses can start a revolution if they are being treated unfairly. (Key examples would be the French revolution)

If you notice the theories on Human resource management from the beginning of the industrial revolution started to change and started to become more team based and workers were given their rights. (Trade unions etc.)

Management theories began to evolve and became less focused on command and control forms of leadership and began to skew more towards the encourage and guidance form of leadership.

This is mere proof of the fact that leadership as to be more sensitive to its workers needs and instead of trying to force the work out of them the leader should be more understanding and offer guidance. As they say offer the workers a carrot instead of as tick and they just might perform better than you would expect.

Prime examples would be works of Deming and Drucker who believed that "People are our most important asset".


January 30, 2013

The epic debate

What is a leader in essence? And why is there always confusion about the leaders role in an institution? What are they allowed to do without it seeming too authoritative to their subordinates?

It seems that there is always a confusion surrounding this topic of leadership. This is because if a leader in power is too assertive his/her subordinates will view it as being autocratic and tyrannical. Which obviously will lead to inefficiencies in the organization and overall decrease in moral.

Another question that arises from this discussion is whether leaders are born or created. This in turn leads to even further debate and confusion. The views on this topic are quite mixed. As we had discussions during the module, which discussed how some leaders, are molded in to the way they are today because they have been trained to lead their followers.

In a strategic direction journal I read an interesting article, which discussed the topic of whether leaders are truly born or made.

The article was quite insightful and helped further my understanding of this interesting topic. It discuses that there are many forms of leadership for example while some leaders might have to work hard to get to where they are today others bulldoze their way to the top and are merely “bullies with ambition”. That is the antithesis of being a good and effective leader.

It was identified by Jay Conger’s in his book “Learning to lead” that there are four approaches to leadership development”:

  • Personal growth
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Feedback
  • Skills building

It is necessary for leaders to try to develop themselves and in order to become effective leader they need to listen to their subordinates and not bully them in to submission.

So are leaders born? Well in my opinion. I think having confidence is a natural thing which people are born with or are not born with. It is what you do with your talent, which matters. Even a shy person could be able to become the most effective leader out there. What is important is that a person learns how to handle situations and people effectively though training and courses such as the one we are doing now in MBE.


January 10, 2013

DFSS and Business Excellence

As a methodology to redesign or design products the Design for six sigma is often held in high value in today’s world. Using DMAIC or DMADV processes the first for already existing products and the later for newly created ones. The method of DFSS uses statistics to report findings and figure out how to improve a business.

In our group we had the basic task of answering the way DFSS leads to business excellence through a presentation.

We first defined what exactly business excellence is.

We came up with three different properties:

  • Customer focus
  • Stakeholder value
  • Process management

These three properties are the gist of what business excellence is all about and through explaining in detail the concepts/importance of these concepts we set about answering the question even further.

Through in-depth research we were able to figure out some benefits for using DFSS and how it achieves business excellence the most important being effective use of resources, increased customer satisfaction, cycle time reduction so on and so forth.

We managed to find an interesting case study by Samsung which talked about how in order to reduce the research and development costs of the company they implemented the DFSS process. They were able to figure out the problems in the company high occurrence of defects and a lot of variation in the production cycle. By identifying the problems the company was able to makes sales shot up to a staggering $4 billion in 2004. The cost of quality was also reduced from 0.38 billion USD to 0.30 Billion USD. Which in my opinion is quite a feat.


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