April 27, 2012

Asset Management + Benefits – Costs = ?

During this module while we were working on creating a plan for a company about its asset management, the financial aspects were at the back of our minds. Of course we knew that we were dealing with a SME, thus we didn't consider anything extravagant. It is true that some things in improving AM may cost nothing in terms of money.

Nevertheless, it is natural that some suggestions will require spending certain amounts of money. But on the other hand, it is not advisable to companies to spend more money on things that cannot afford. So, can a company do both? Improve significantly its current practices and spend as little money is possible?

To my mind, this in not always easy. A certain budget needs to be allocated for improving the asset management activities, but it needs to be flexible. Because, if companies want to improve their AM, but they have only financial criteria during their decision-making process, instead of the potential long-term benefits, then excellence seems impossible.


KM not only in companies!

Knowledge management is not important only for the companies, but for students as well! Let me explain what I mean by that. Today, after the team presentations we had a discussion about them, concerning more technical aspects of them. It was a common agreement that our presentation skills have improved significally! Yet, there are more things to be done in order to achive excellence in this part!

Although I was very confident about my team's presentation in the first place, we didn't actually have the time to finish it. As this thing has happened before, in other modules and other teams, we should have been more aware of it. Instead, we were thinking that we will have the time.

Thus, the 'lessons learned' for me from this fact can be compared with what companies can learn from KM. All the time knowledge and learning is generating. But you need to manage how to apply them, and what to include so that you pass the message across.


April 23, 2012

Situational awareness and confirmation bias

biasSituational awareness is more than common sense. However, common sense and emotional intelligence can be vital parts of it. In other words, situational awareness can be simply defined as knowing what is going on in the surrounding environment. As we learned today, situational awareness can be affected by several factors and can result in errors.

One of the most interesting things though in this situational awareness, is the confirmation bias which means that you see what you expect to see and you pick up signals that can support the mental model you've already created, even though the signals may say the opposite. This kind of bias can happen to us any time and I am quite sure that we all have experienced it several times so far.

In fact, this happened to me recently when I submitted a PMA. I was working on it to finalise it for almost two days and after the submission I realised that something was missing. Of course my omission is 'harmful' only for me and the potential mark that the tutor will assign, but when this thing happens in real-life situations where the stakes are higher and human lives can be involved, confirmation bias can have fatal results unfortunately.


April 20, 2012

Making decisions on Asset Management

article_checklist.jpgFor managing assets appropriately, decision-making is vital in this process. First of all, not all things apply to all companies and suit their culture. Thus, even though a specific aspect of asset management might seems interesting and temting to address it, it should go under the discussion of its appropriateness for the company in question. Take for example the facilities management aspect. There is a huge list with things that companies need to address, but it doesn't automatically means that all these things are part of their day-to-day business. What is more, decision-making seems more relevant given the facet of several constraints, such as the budget and resources that each company has available for spending in each part of asset management.

You can picture this process like packing your things for a potential trip. It's for sure that you won't pack everything in the suitcase just for a 5 day trip! Either because you don't need a lot of things or because there are weight or space limitations. You have to be able to decide what to take with you and what to leave behind!


April 18, 2012

Can excellence be achieved…?

Follow-up to Managing knowledge and assets: easy or difficult? from "It's not a MBA, it's a MBE"

In my previous entry I posed the question if excellence in knowledge and asset management can be achieved within a company. And the answers I got so far indicate that indeed, excellence is possible by having the right people and right infrastructure.

However, I am still not totally convinced. My 'inhibitions' lie in the fact that both issues are too big to be addressed properly or at least sustained over time. But just for now let's assume that attaining excellence is achieveble. Then, how can a company (company 1) be sure that it is considered as excellent in these fields? And don't just say by self-assessment and benchmarking! Because this is like comparing and competing with other companies which one knows the most things and manages its assets better and so on...

And is it possible that another company (company 2) does something differently in knowledge and asset management that puts it in a pedestal of excellence that the assuming previous excellent company (company 1) does not?

A Greek philosopher, Socrates, said that “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing” and as long as we live we keep learning. That thing also applies in companies as employees are those who learn. Aren't they...?


April 17, 2012

Managing knowledge and assets: easy or difficult?

Knowledge management and asset management are two quite broad issues that companies have to deal with. Each one, and even each perspective of them, takes a lot of time to be explored and understood. Yet, an exellent company needs to address both in such an effective way that gives it sustainability and successful results. Thus, how easy can these processes be?

To my mind, so far, these two things, knowledge and assets are more than difficult to be managed effectively! Not only because they are too broad, but also because they involve many people. And usually the more complex a situation is, the more difficult is to handle it properly. And what seems to be even more difficult is to sustain a certain (effective) management level on these issues and the same time to keep doing business.

Therefore, how can a company ensure that it can achieve excellence in managing knowledge and assets? Or maybe there is not such a thing in these areas?


Wrong decisions

Iright & wrongn every PMA we all make decisions about what to write exactly. However, we are never 100% sure that we make the best decision and usually the feedforward and the marks can prove us right or wrong. In a recent PMA though I made up my mind to use a specific model to apply a change. When I made the decision I was pretty sure that it was appropriate and suitable for my case. Nevertheless, when I asked the tutor about it, it proved that I made the wrong decision. Luckily, there was still plenty of time to fix this 'mistake'.

Having that incident in mind, I was wondering what happens when companies face a similar case (not for PMAs of course!). If they make a decision which that particular time seemed to be the right one, but after a while they realize that was actully wrong, what happens next? Some situations are reversible but others not... And is there always enough time to make things right again?


April 02, 2012

Who's the decision–maker?

Reading a book, I came across the following phrase of John Atkinson, “If you don’t run your own life, someone else will”. And it is quite true! Our whole life is a decision-making procees, but the decision-maker may differ. In other words, most of the times we are the ones who make our own decisions and form our destiny. However, there are times that other people make the decision for us and we accept them.

This fact is also true at many companies. And I think that both cases prevail at the same rate. For example, usually the senior management team is the one who makes the decisions and the rest of employees have to follow. Other times, external issues and trends may determine the decisions of the company, leaving less flexibility and ownership for the final decision.

Thus, we can be in either case, the decision-maker or the decision-recipient. The question though is which one will you pick...?


March 24, 2012

Great wo(men) leaders…?

manWhen someone thinks about a great leader, usually a man comes in mind. And I think that this applies to both sexes. Althought we live in the 21st century and women have great career opportunities, still men have primacy. This is quite weird, because women have major leading roles in organisation with influence and power! Yet, when it comes to name a great leader, most times would be a men.

Is it because people trust more male leaders or because female leaders act differently? Many leadership studies have been conducted about women leadership and there are sectors that women outweight men. The other day I came across an article which suggested that women leaders tend to be more transformational than male ones. But still, it seems that although the efforts that women put on acting as leaders, they have to prove themselves over and over again.

Maybe we are still belive that this is a man's world...


Leadership & change

Having just finished the MOC module, I found many connections with the LE as well in terms of leadership. When you try to implement a change, leadership is crucial and that became apparent during the simulation. Change won't happen by itself! It needs leaders that are willing to change and motivate the rest towards this change.

During the LE module there was a lot of discussion about followership, but sometimes can be vague. In the case of leading a change though, things can be more tangible. In other words, in order people in an organisation to commit into the change, the leader has to buy them in, to win them intellectually and emotionally! The leader has to show the promising land and engage people to work towards this direction.

However, either in change or not, the leader should be the first to believe into the change and know why. You cannot sell something if you don't support it. The same applies to any leadership moment. Leaders need to be trusted and become the example. And if leaders believe in the change, it's easier to identify its merits and encourage other people to follow them towards it!


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