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October 12, 2005

Industrial Experience

I thought that discussing ISO900:2000 vs EFQM would be much more difficult for me that others in the group because I had little practical experience with it. How could I comment as I clearly knew so much less than the rest? I hate feeling like that so I decided that something had to be done!

I wanted to get up-to-speed quickley so I decided to try to use my network a little more. I'm sure my friends and colleagues are sick of me asking questions by now, especially my boss who I interviewed about EFQM and ISO9000. She gave me some really useful insights which I thought about and discussed in the seminar. We spent a while evaluating EFQM in the SME context which is a topic which seems quite elusive in the literature I think. I learned that having industrial experience not really a big deal after all – there are ways to bridge that knowldge gap. It takes a little confidence and effort but it can be done.

So some learning points i'd like to share with others who feel in the same situation as me:

Just because a person doesn't have industrial experience doesn't mean that they are at a disadvantage. Feeling at a disadvantage is mostly in the mind (or at least for me it is).

Everyone knows someone who knows someone else, unless you're a hermit, and people like talking about themselves and their own experiences, so just ask. In this way, a person may even be able to contribute more as they have a broader base of knowledge.

Every one of us interacts with many different organisations every day and I don't think that many people really look at what's going on inside them. It interests me why organisations do the things they do and I seem to find out new things every day. I think that keeping your eyes open and asking questions is essential. It's good to have a feel for when you're irritating someone though…:-)

I suppose this ties in nicely with the idea about how we absorb knowledge from others. It helps to have a use for it, such as interviewing a contact about a subject in which you are going to have a seminar. Don't search for somethng unless you have a question that you want to answer!!!

October 10, 2005


I really like this course! It's great to be able to pose questions for discussion in seminars. A lot of the questions that others suggested were questions that I have also. I can only hope that the ideas I suggested are of interest to others also. It's good to think that the boring lecure is a thing of the past (well almost). A far superior way of learning.

October 03, 2005

What is excellence?

Today i've been thinking about the concept of excellence. I find that I can't really explore something until i've attempted to define it. Understand more about it by attempting to define it. When studying the conept of entrepreneurship last year it was immediately obvious that there was no single definition of an entrepreneur or being entrepreneurial. In fact, most a lot of the literature that I studied were different viewpoints on what entrepreneurs were and who could be one. The point of the exercise was to point out that there was no definition and that people were still arguing about it today.

As a mathematician at heart (!) I like to define things; to understand a question thoroughly before answering and being precise in my answer. It is taking a little adjusting but I think i'm getting there. I'm feeling my way at the moment and i've found that it's hard to plan time when I haven't 'got the feel' of how deep to delve into a topic and how long that is going to take as i'm still getting to grips with the concept of a VLA and how to use it to get the most out of it.

This course is all about application so big debates about how to define excellence seem a little out of context. But that isn't to say that they don't have value. The criteria for an organisation to achieve excellence may be different depending on the type of organisation.

And this is where the EFQM excellence model comes in. It is a non-prescriptive model which gives scope for different levels of importance to enablers and results. After a quick inspection i'm not finding any real critique of the model in academic journals. Am I not looking hard enough?

Personal critique of EFQM excellence model to follow.

September 30, 2005

This week…

…has been a little different! The learning process is completely new to me but I have a really good feeling about it. I'm going to take it slowly this weekend and process my feelings about this week and plan for the next.

It's weird being sans notes. I associate learning with taking notes. Indeed, the best way of learning (for me) is to make notes. I like the distinction between 'learning' and 'learning how to learn'...

The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn; the one who has learned how to adapt and change; the one who has realized that no knowledge is secure, that only the process of seeking knowledge gives a basis for security. Changingness, a reliance on process rather than upon static knowledge, is the only thing that makes any sense as a goal for education in the modern world.
Carl Rogers

The above is mercilessly ripped from the EEE website. Forgive me for not using the Harvard System :-P

Time management is the buzz-word and Iím going to take a more structured approach to it rather than just using my diary. A week planner is a fantastic idea. Saturday will be my planning day as Sunday is written off with rugby matches (and rugby planning). EEE and OLRFC are separate parts of my life at the moment. They've got their own spots in my diary which shouldn't change throughout the year so that should be sorted.

It's easy to ask lots of questions about the course and what will happen but I think that it is better for me to slow down and go with it. I feel that on this stream it is better to do that than to over-analyse at the start. So the plan for the weekend:

  • Relax (and most importantly spend some quality time with the wife)
  • Focus my mind on what is required of me for this module
  • Plan for the following week

Mental preparation is just as essential as time planning. It's important to think about what will be required so that it doesn't all come as a big surprise when you're into the time you've allocated to it.

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