All entries for Monday 15 March 2010

March 15, 2010

ENVC Exercise 4

There is this opportunity to lead a new team that will introduce a new (or substantially amended) service. Conduct a self-assessment exercise as suggested in the notes and outline how your sectoral, managerial and personal skills match the service.

Being a predominantly sales and sales support person for more than 10 years it may be seen as a challenge for me to start working for delivery and development part of the business. In case of getting a new comission and having responsibility for a team of system developers which I found nice and friendly, but mentally remote from the way I see things and the World at large.

The fun part of this tasks would be in the creativity of finding new and more user friendly solutions connected to internet banking. These are including new ways of payment and added services that system developers are continously making and improving.

It is in many ways amazing bordering woodoo how the technologies applied work under the hood and that I in generall know very little about coding, Java, HTML programming, de-bugging and many other wonderful terms. Applying Bhide's (1996) 3 steps of Evaluation Process I would say that the motivation for doing the best job is:

1. Clear goals are important

My motivation was to bring the department to another level since such departments are often mismanaged and ineffective and usually led by "programmer-turned to-manager" people manager. Although my predecessor is probably an excellent techical resource there will be a lack of right skills to manage people or organise work. My goal would be to set targets for the department and all empoyees within the department.

2. Ensure you have the right and achievable strategy 

Bhide (1996) suggests that it is necessary for entrepreneurs to establish priorities among the opportunities and problems that are at hand. My priority was to make everbody feel like a team and that I have the right mix of skills for the tasks I expected were coming. Managing a team of developers a few years back, it took me a while to assess the situation and find out about gaps in our portfolio and assess our capabilities. Department consisted of many older guys some of whom were doing the same or similar job for 20 years. I solved this by employing new blood and most of the new people I hired were straight from the university and women! Needless to say, we achieved in a short time span (a matter of few months) to change the group and the team dynamics completely and start applying new methodology that was more fitted to our current work tasks. 

3. Assess my capabilities

Looking back at the example above I can say that it took me a while to assess the situation and find out about gaps in our portfolio and assess my own and my team's capabilities. This was partly because the job itself that demanded a people manager but there was also a need for project manager and technical team leader that could help me in dividing tasks and projects among people. My capabilites came to short when it came to technical knowledge and I could not estimate how much time would for example a programming of change in the account statement take. For this I needed a strong technical lead that could assist me in meetings with the client and internally when the divison of tasks took place.

At the same time I was able to organise ie re-organise the entire team in small groups of 2 or 3 where there was always a senior and a junior in the same team, supporting and learning from each other. 



Belbin (1984) give a good overview of people's managerial styles according to their personality. He further suggests that the best performing teams are a mix of different type of people that complement each other. I have taken Belbin test earlier on two occasions and my results show that I qualify somewhere between "Coordinator" and "Team Builder" which is how I see myself also for the most part. I am not afraid to take up challenges and affirmative action even though I do not feel too secure about the situation or the surroundings.

Considering the 3 Leadership Styles described in out textbook, the most suitable in my case would be Commitment/Action which is characterized by leading by example and personal involvement.

March 2010

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