All entries for October 2008

October 31, 2008

Saving my face…

Hi all!

This entry is about the notorious "imperial" word I used last week in the presentation about the comparison of the excellence models....I have to admit I am pleased to see it generated such deep discussions-I have read all the relevant blogs and comments- although it was not my intention... But i like the fact we are a very vivid team passionate about what we are doing at MBE.

Anyway here goes...

First of all I based that comment on this journal:

Of course I looked at other journals and websites, but I was particularly impressed by this one because in implies an unusual meaning of leadership for the Deming Prize...or at least that's what I got out of it..

So to begin with, at one point in the journal it is mentioned that the Deming Prize included at some stage aditional perspectives exclusively for executive senior managers. These  perspectives concentrate  on various areas such as HR and CSR, but what stood out for me was that it talks about vision and strategy... Are these two subjects only a CEO's responsibility?    

Then moving further down, you will find that the journal suggests that according to the Deming Prize "guidlines" top management -leadership- should demonstrate enthusiasm about TQM whilst everyone else will be dealing with the basic categories...

Now about the word imperial.... I used it to describe someone who has supreme authority... I know that sounds a bit absolute....But I think that Deming suggests that the journey towards continuous improvement starts from the top of the pyramid-as Aykut mentions in a comment-  and is forwarded towards the other parts...

Everything must begin from the top management... (?)

I think that Paul told us that when Deming went to Japan he gathered all the top managers and taught them how to think...! Is't this an indication?

I am not trying to jump to conclusions, I just felt that this introduces kind of leadership which is quite different to what we have been discussing all this time...

Finally, I would like to stress out that this information is based on the Deming Prize and might be different to the philosofy of Deming...

October 28, 2008

I have a Vision

When in the 60s Martin Luther King spoke so passionate about having a dream that would make the United States of America truly united, very few understood the significance of his words. I wouldn't like to talk about the political context, lets focus on  the power a dream can have....

A dream,an aspiration or a goal -although they dont have the exact same meaning- can empower any inividual and offer the strength and inspiration one needs in order to achieve something...

For example, I like to believe that we were all brought here at MBE by an aspiration....Of course not the same one, some are after the experience of studying abroad, others are motivated by the calibre of the University and some would like to add a marketable advantage to their CV...We all have visions of how our future should be and hopefully with a little help from our MSc we will be a breath closer to our dreams.

The reason I am writing this is because I think it is connected with what Paul was saying last weak - yes,  I know I am late, still struggling with time management i am afraid-  about how critical it is for an organisation to  have a vision.

I  was thinking about it all the time and then I suddenly realised why it makes sense. A vision is the motivation you need in order to reach somewhere. But in a company you never work solo...You are part of a team, not just your team...HR, PR or Marketing. The whole organisation is a team and it is necessary for them to share and support the vision. But if you expect from someone to support a vision you have to give them the opportunity to contribute to it!

Not many companies have succeeded in this which means it must be pretty difficult...I think there comes a time when you as a CEO or a manager or even as     when you decide if you are going to perceive the employees as pons trained to execute orders. The choice is there....are the people working for you or with you?

Finally, I feel I would like to give an might be inappropriate because it could be a matter of brilliant marketing...Anyway, I was thinking of Benetton -the clothing company- their combine good quality at affordable price. But they are not just selling clothes!They are making a point! Just look at the photos below....

photo        photo

Their vision  could be about making a difference. What I think is interesting is that their are making the customer part of they are saying...You feel you are cintributing in a way...

October 21, 2008

Just a thought

It has been a long time since i last blogged but time is just slipping away, although I must admit i haven't got the hang of time management as yet....

Anyway, I have been contemplating for quite a while whether or not i should write about this thing that is bagging me, since last week...I have decided to go on and write what i think, even though i have discussed it with several of my MBE colleagues...

After this mysterious introduction allow me to begin. As you remember last week we all attended the GBE (Global Business Environment) module, a very intriguing and insightful experience, particularly because we touched upon current issues such as the economic growth of China and of course the "Credit Crunch".

The most interesting point of this module-according to my opinion-was the fact that during the afternoons we were doing case studies...Real problems had to be solved and we had to do our best-always as a team-to ensure the survival and then success of our group whether we were producers, suppliers or even better a company...

Speaking of case studies, brings me to what i have been thinking about...

In many of the case studies in order to reduce the cost of production and to boost profits, companies decided to move their plants to developing countries in order to make use of the cheep labour.

Several times we had to make decisions about where is the best place to transfer the plant,Turkey?Bangladesh?or India?

Forgive me but i think this made me feel unethical....

I understand that the global market is extremely competitive, so every business is trying constantly to reduce cost and that cheap labour can be the easy way out...

But it seems that some business are taking advantage of underprivileged people's needs and aspirations of having a better life...

Besides i think that we are all more or less aware of the bad publicity certain companies have had because of being involved with child labour or other mall practices towards employees...

Maybe for a strict Business or Finance student this mentality makes sense but, we as MBE students are after quality...are this practises in accordance with excellence ??

Am i overreacting? What do u think?

I hope i didn't cause any uncomfortableness....

October 10, 2008

When do you know you have researched enough?

In a few hours our team will be meeting after researching for nearly three days non stop.

It has been rather interesting and quite challenging to tackle projects I have barely any knowledge about.

At first we thought books would be a good idea, so Toon and I went to the library in order to find any relevant books. The truth is that even though we found several books connected with our projects    -iso vs efqm model, Deming prize, Malcolm Baldrige award ect-  their were outdated (an issue we had been warned about during induction week). So instead we decided to consult electronic journals and websites...

What a task! First of all there are so many journals to study and even more websites to look at! So inevitably I decided to select the most recent journals and the most reliable websites...But even then there were difficulties, because of the difference of opinions expressed, so who do you trust?

The one minute you are reading that ISO 9000:2000 thousand is bad for business and the next that it necessary to have the isoaccreditation in order to "do business"....

Am I doing something wrong?

So the question I pose is: when to do you stop? I am used to stopping when I have acquired an in depth and solid knowledge of the issue.... But I am starting to wonder whether that is always an option....

Do you stop when you feel exhausted because of spending endless hours searching for the right information?

Or do you stop because you feel there is nothing more you can do so you give up? 

But then again I dont think there are any quitters in the MBE course, so I guess you just go on researching...

I think that the end result is going to be worth it, right?

October 09, 2008

To lead or not to lead?

I have to admit that I have always been very sceptical towards the leadership issue.I understand that in todays circumstances an increasing need for decisive and daring people has been created. But a leader? Isn't that a bit farfetched?

Maybe I think like this because I am intimidated by both having a leader and of course being one(if possible)
To think of it, this could be one of the many reasons why I choose this course: to discover what a leader is.

So who is a leader? Or even better what makes a leader?Is it power?Experience? Or talent?
Is it like a role playing game where someone gets to be a leader and has the "pleasure" of ordering people around?

I really don't know( I can't wait to find out though)
I am guessing that in a way, a leader is his team.A leader is nothing without his team, because with no team who is the leader going to lead?-very obvious thought-
So a leader should watch out for his team!After all they are all working together and trying to reach the same goal.That only comes through cooperation-or at least that's my opinion-

Finally, as I accept the fact that there are "leaders" all over the place...I realise that there are also different kinds of leaders for example I have met a democratic leader and unfortunately, an arrogant leader.

What I would to meet (or even be some day)is a leader gifted to inspire. One who will reveal his vision, a vision his team will follow and support religiously.
Who could ever refuse to support a vision?

Certainly not me...

October 07, 2008

An excellent start

Writing about web page,

According to our MBE (Management for Business Excellence) time schedule on Friday 3/10/08 we had a lecture on “Team Build” at 9:00 am. I have to admit that I was very quirious about what a lecture on “team build” could entail. Well, let me start by telling you that it was nothing close to a lecture.

It was a game! It was fun!But at the same time it was important and useful! It was all about cooperation, time management, leadership and above all teamwork!

At the beginning there were questions! Difficult questions!

So our team,Ally, Toon, Mei, Gilber, Louis and myself, were sitting there raking our brains to find the right answers.It is a good thing that the virtues were equally distributed, some were good at the logical questions while others could handle better the arithmical ones. At all times the whole team was trying to contribute in order to reach our goal….

And then, after a little help from Paul –I am afraid we were in a tight spot-our next task was revealed:”Make a tall giraffe”. Seriously, we had to make a giraffe as tall as possible using only newspapers and selotape.After discussing and brainstorming for a couple of minutes we all had different responsibilities e.g. make the legs or create a long neck which of course we had to finish in time, because our deadline was close…..

At the end our giraffe was a success….But the real success was our cooperation and the dedication we all showed in order to fufill our goal….

There is no doubt that the experience we all shared on Friday morning will be extremely useful in the future….were making a tall giraffe unfortunately won’t be the objective.

Below is a photo of our team and our giraffe


(sorry about publishing this again but I erased it by mistake)

October 2008

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