May 22, 2011

Information communications systems: A knowledge based asset

I was quite suprised to find that not many people have blogged about the application of ICT as Knowledge based assets. I understand that here are MANY aspects to asset management that exist, however my choice may be down to the recent boom in Nigeria within the telecommunications and IT services fields. I gues you can say that it is within my best interests to focus in an area that has a wide impact for my future career.

I've had experience of and observed the use of information communications technologies back home and can see the differences between here in the UK and lets say my bank branch in Lagos. In Lagos, there seems to be this notion that the computer is merely a 'data-entry' tool accessible to only the 'chosen few' without links to anyone else. In the UK, there's a shifting paradigm as to what the IT infrastructure is used for especially with the near-robust internet and mobile devices available. It has been observed that IT goes far beyond the mundane to a tool that can be utilised in the identification, capture, storage, dissemination and application of knowledge whilst remaining a key asset within an organisation.

One might say "It's time Nigeria embraced the Knowledge-based view of strategic management"... The real question is are Nigerian organisations ready for this style of strategic management? Is COMPLETE (please note, complete) KM always best.... Can too much information leave an organisation open to harm? When every piece of information is captured, accessible and useable, is this always best? and when every asset is maximised for knowledge... is this always best.

Many will argue YES... this is the only way to achieve the profits, performance and organisational benefits prophesed...

In my view, a very tailored and strategic approach needs to be employed as well as holistic approach involving other aspects of management, such as employee enagagement, performance management and many more. I believe that is through the additional support of these concepts that we will see the negatives of having a lot of knowledge eliminated in organisations.

May 21, 2011

Knowledge as an Asset

During the research conducted for the post-module assignment, I focused on knowledge management as I had spent a considerable amount of time on the asset management area during the presentations held in the module week.

What became clear was this shift in thinking from assets just being physical goods, to assets going beyond the physical. For instance, the Institute of Asset Management (IAM) has further classified assets to include both the tangible and traditionally intangible assets such as brand reputation and recipes to include the human factors which in my interpretation of this also include the knowledge held by people within the organisations.

I guess this ties in nicely with the understanding that knowledge is now seen as an asset within forward thinking organisations. Knowledge is gained and lost as people come into and leave an organisation, hence the vital importance placed on the harnessing, storage, dissemination and application of knowledge (using assets) within an organisation.

Throughout today, I’ve thought of how one can convey this concept to firms back in my home country. I’m not aware of any explicit methods of capturing knowledge and as such I believe some may have found this out for themselves and exploited the situation. My idea is to start with my own organisation (where ever I find myself) and prove how vital knowledge based asset management is through the culture within my organisation. Hopefully, this will change mindsets and prove to other organisations that knowledge alongside assets are of importance. I have the tools, its time I apply them.

April 04, 2011

KBAM learning process – Part 2

This module is rather interesting. The learning process is described as 'Research-based' in which we have been provided with the learning materials and a team project with which to solve.

My intial thoughts on this were a little daunting. I do enjoy private reading, however for a topic I'm not used to I worry I may miss something of importance... BUT I guess it's importnat you start to learn completely by yourself at some point.

With the task set, I also worry that my learing will be narrow as I only try to address the question set within the limited time frame.

What if there were an exam as opposed to the groupm project, would my approach to this research-based approach to learning be different? Would I try and cover every piece of information provided on the webpages?

... I wonder...

At the end of this, I hope to be able to understand how my Learning has eveolved through teh refelective piece and entries in this blog...

KBAM learning process

So we've started a new module, KBAM and theres a team project to be done.

The question set seems so simple and easy, but some fog of confusion has developed again and I find myself asking:

1. Is it really as straight forward as it looks?

2. Is there some sort of trap laid out in this question set?

3. How do we approach this as a team and not argue over minute unimportant questions?

So far (and thankfully), no. 3 has not occured probably due to some fatigue from past mini-projects of which I am grateful for. At least we can get on with the task set and deliver a response to the question set.

It could also be because a leader has been elected in this instance removing the need for the jostling of position I've witnessed over the past group meetings. One thing I can say is that we are more willing as a group to be led - A major achievement for the MBE 02 class and possibly myself. I've grown to trust the knowledge and diversity of thinking within the class with teh realisation that there are bever completely wrong approaches.

I do wonder though, that this new willingness may have dampened that good old friend called challenge and discussion. Have we grown meeker and more accepting as a group? Or have we really developed our approach to learning, thinking and apprach to tasks?

I'm still battling with the issue of reading much into questions set. With limited time and much to learn, it sems like an imppossible task. Luckily, my Leaders delegation appraoch agreed by all team members may just be the ticket to covering the relevant areas of the task ahead.

March 28, 2011

RDD Feedback

Feedback from the RDD module could not have arrived at a better time. I'm embarking on a new journey with the same faces (as I've worked with all my group members and leader at some point on the other) on the KBAM module affording me the opportunity to try a new style of team work and contribution that I feel might be of benefit to myself and my team mates.

I was told to improve on my blogging. Not sure if that's quantity or quality, but I'll endeavour to improve on both in this KBAM module. I can't lie and say bloggin is entirely new to me. The concept of writing ones thoughts or pieces of knowledge is something i've done through a diary over the years. Maybe its the knowedge that the whole world is reading the content that makes the process so unappealing and harder to do. Having reviewed many blogs though, I guess it doesnt have to be perfect. Just blog...

Also, I have seen how different decisions and trains of thought should be taken into consideration when doing a group project. If a final outcome cannot be reached, it may be worth considering both issues or solutions instead of one. To be honest, I entered the mini project thinking only one outcome was a possibility for the project continuation and location due to the size and finicial constraints, but I guess not. I don't know how many people or organisations would be willing to pursue two factory developments at the same time.. : s. Maybe its my risk averse nature that affects my decison making ability?

All in all, I actually really enjoyed this module with its twists and turns. A lot of learning and My team mates and I worked very hard. Infact, maybe a little too hard.

March 25, 2011

Thoughts on Charismatic leadership.

It's PMA time and Leadership and Excellence is the topic of focus.

Reviewing all the different theories of leadershiop has been very interesting and I've looked to relating these theories with everyday leaders I know or have heard about.

I've found charismatic leadership the most interesting so far due to the characteristics proposed by House (1976) in Northouse (2007):

Dominance Strong role model Trust in leader's ideology
Desire to Influence Highly competent Belief similarity between leader and follower
Confident Highly articulate Unquestioning acceptance
Strong values Communicates high expectations Affection towards leaders
Expresses confidence Obedience
Arouses motives Identification with leader
Emotional involvement
Heightened goals
Increased confidence

Notable charismatic leaders include Ghandi, J.F.Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What strikes me is that there seem to be an abundance of this style of leadership in the political arena. What about in organisations setting.

Based on the findings by house listed above, I'm not sure I'd be totally happy working with a leader with ALL the identified characteristics and behaviours. The particular effect on followers in terms of unquestioning acceptance is rather worrying. Why should I follow someone blindly just because they have been identified as a leader? I think in this day and age, its easy for people to get swept over by sparkling words and waffle and it's up to us as individuals to see through the fog in our leaders.

Also, Charismatic leadership behaviours imply a relatively rigid style of leadership. Not being able to adapt to change through their strong values and dominant nature in this modern and dynamic world is not something I'd look forward to.

It's not all bad however, there are positives by way of confidence in team members and good communication skills.

I just don't feel like I can fully trust a charismatic leader. Having an individual with such strong views is just a little too worrying for me. I''m not sure I might be able to express myself as a team member. I hope to experience this form of leadership (in an organisational situation and not a political one) at some point to see if my thoughts and views are the same following the experience


House R.J. (1976) a 1976 Theory of charismatic leadership In J.G. Hunt & L.L.Larson, Leadership: The cutting edge (pp.189-207). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Northouse P.G. (2007) Leadership, theory and practice. 4th Edition. USA: SAGE Publisihing.

March 19, 2011

Who/What has the final say in a decision process?

Having reviewed about 11 tools during the RDM mini project, decisions still had to be made as to what the FINAL decision would be. Its not just about the numbers and what the tools say, I guess its still down to us to decide (yet again) whether or not a decision is right.

It is most evident when comparing two outcomes and the figures are so close. I guess it boils down to the bias we have as individuals when assigning grades or ranks to factors... It' all subjective and will chnage from person to person.

I believe that these tools are a useful guide in the decision making process, but it still boils down to the human to decide the final decision. This is because numerous books will point to the benefits, but also flaws and limitations of these decision making tools.

Humans as we know are also subject to in-built bias, howeverm in combination with these tools, these biases can be reduced.

The value of Decision Analysis – RDM Mini Project

Over the last week, I was assigned to Group D within the RDM module. We had to make use of the decision analysis tools taught over the earlier week in making decisions for the Waveriders case study on:

  1. Whether or not to launch a new product - The 'Sea Catch'
  2. What location to begin production if the answer is to continue with the project.
  3. The advertising mix for the new product.

In all honesty, before the course began, I did not think I would make much use of this module in everyday life or ina future working environment due to my erlier experiences of working life. In my previous company, a lot of decisions were made using the SWOT analysis tools and the Cost Benefit Analysis tools and I felt that was it! Also, I did not feel I would be in a role that required me to make decisions using such complex sounding tools!

I have to give a big thumbs up to Jeff! Although many of us found the theoretical aspects of the module, i.e. the leactures a bit demanding on our attention, I'm not sure how else it could have been covered. After the first few tools, I was immediately struck by the array of tools out there that can be applied in reducing bias in decision making.

Looking at the WaveRiders Mini project assigned to us, my team and I wanted to eliminate as much heuristic bias as possible by applying the tools to the approporiate decisions to be made. We all went away to apply assigned tools to the different scenarios and found some tools were inapproporiate due to the availability of information presented to us (We worked on the assumption that all the information in the wave riders case study was accurate and the only information available to us). It was interesting to look at the questions at an in-depth level in order to justify decisions that have to be made with the availbility of information provided.

The exerscise had a benefit impact on me personally as I now value the use of these tools much more. I have even applied two toos in a  crucial decision making process with regards to my life. I also hope to make more use of these tools in a real work environment so as to justify the decisions being made.

In short, I value decision analysis!

February 21, 2011

My Top 5 qualities of a Leader

Having been through a week of leadership mini-assignments, group work, presentations and simulations, I would like to present my Top 5 qualities (or attributes if you will) of a leader based on my own reflections.

I believe a leader should be calm. Yep, Not the most exciting of qualities is it? But trust me, if I've learnt anything over this past week, its being calm that can keep a group together. This is a quality I have to develop fully myself as I have lost my cool once or twice with my group during the Leadership 'experience'. Be it poor communication skills across the group, blatant confusion or genuine lack of interest, I believe it is up to the leader and team members to maintain a level head, enquire about the situation or improve on communication in order to maintain order and keep everyone engaged.

Second on my list is Focus. Focus to me (in this context) ensures clarity of the direction in which a group of people want to go to. It means drive and continuity till the end is reached or the goal has been attained. It means steadfastness and an unshakable desire to reach a destination. This I believe is very inspiring. I often hear people comment on an individuals academic or career success where by the usual statement is ushered .. "He/She is sp focused..." I believe focus provides that vehicle which a leader can use to drive team members towards that shared goal.

I want to know that my leader is the man/woman 'with a plan'. Having a plan within a group is much more important than actually knowing what to do (this is for the leader). I don't expect a leader to have ALL the skills necessary to dig the group put of ditch, but I expect a leader to have a skeletal plan of how to get out of the ditch. This is where the fourth quality comes in, delegation. Having a plan and the ability to delegate tasks to the appropriate team members ensures that all are involved and the leader can maintain an overview of the whole situation. Afterall, why have team mates when you have to do ALL the work yourself. Have a plan that the team can work from and you will maintain some sort of order and provoke action from team members in order to complete a task or achieve a goal. A plan also permeates team members to be creative in the way the goals are achieved, but at least they have some direction as opposed to jostling for the leadership position in the group, which will only slow everyone down.

Finally, I believe a leader should have integrity. The "Western world" may overlook this as the norm, however, this is a quality that is so very important to me. In my own mind, it covers fairness to all, courage to do what is right and is a quality that ensures trust. A leader should be all these things to the team and the external world.

These are the qualities I hope to develop further personally.  I want to be the leader who stays calm under pressure, a focused leader who may not know what to do but how we can get there, the leader who is able to fairly select and entrust a task to the skilled team member and a leader who has integrity.

All  I know is, I am human, not perfection and will have to work hard to get anywhere as close to my view of a perfect leader, however, as the saying goes " Determination leads to success"

Before I end...

... What kind of leader do YOU want to be?

February 09, 2011

Idolatory versus Leadership

I'm currently studying the Leadership and excellence module and we had a striking debate today on idolatry in terms of modern day celebrities and not the Biblical image of idol worshippers offering sacrifices of day old lambs versus the academic definitions of leadership.

In order to set the tone of today's blog entry, i'll provide a summary of the key debate. Basically, there were divisions amongst the group that D-list celebrities such as Katie Price and Victoria Beckham are not leaders according to the definition provided by Paul Roberts, however, 'Great Leaders' such as Ghandi, Martin Luther King and even Hitler (not my personal choice, just recalling what others said) are the definite representaton of Leadership.

The definition of leadership provided by Paul was:

"Leadership is the process of influencing thoughts and activities of followers towards the achievement of shared goals"

- Roberts, P. (2011)

The definition of idolatry provided by Merriam-Webster dictionary:

" immoderate attachment or devotion to something" OR " the worship of a physical object as a god"

Now, if we are to use the above definitions as a basis for Leadership and Idolatry, lets examine how the D-lists compare to the greatest leaders of our time.

Katie Price and Victoria in my opinion constantly influence thoughts and activities. It might not be to everyone liking, but the key fact remains that they DO influence both thoughts and actions of their followers. Young girls get it in their minds to emulate these individuals. Others might argue however that in this case, its idolatry in that people who look up to these women follow them blindly... Are they worshipped? Yes, to a certain extent, through the purchase of material content in the form of magazines and also through collection of items they publish.

Great leaders may also be idolised in that they are revered, followed and people might have a certain atatchment to them.

Both groups ave followers, however, the main area of discord lies in the achievement of shared goals. Are their goals shared? Or are the followers left to create their own set of goals due to a lack of clear guidance from the leaders? This is a question raised by Kieran, a colleague of mine.

In my view, this is a possibility, but should we discredit the D-list celebrities because they have not released a perfectly orated speech on what they stand for? Their goals I believe are implicit in their actions and interviews they give in magazines, newspapers and TV documentaries. I agree they are not earth shattering or change triggering on a  global scale and they are not to the majority of the populations tastes, but does remove them from the umbrella of Leadership?

Its a hard line to draw as this is not a debate on good, bad, effective or ineffective leadership. One needs to take away the judgemental aspects of the debate and look at the hard facts in the above definitions.

All I can draw from this is that Leadership is different for different people. We all find Great leaders in different places.

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