April 27, 2009

KBAM Post–Module Reflextion: LCM

Life Cycle Management is about maximising the benefits an asset during its usage life while minimising its associated cost as much as possible. One of the most important aspects of LCM is that enviromental considerations are taken in order to achieve this target. In today's world, where people can't stop talking and associate all the ills with the global warming, I think that this approach is what companies need to implement in order to survive and comply with ever increasing enviromental regulations. At the beginning I thought that LCM was all about reducing costs and taking the most out of an asset or product, but the idea of designing it in a way that special considerations are given to the materials used in order to make it more friendly to dispose or recycle or disassembly was fascinating. When I was working in Venezuela, I can't remember have seen a manual or procedures or not even a leaflet talking about LMC. Had I known more about this topic in my time there I think I'd have taken the idea to at least to the plant manager, because I am sure the company was not making the best profits out of its equipments or products. I remember have seen this product that used a considerable amount of cardborad and plastic for its packaging and I wonder if anyone did ever questioned the necessity of that extra material. That is just one case in which the company could have saved some money by reducing material used and saving the environment from more waste. I just hope more companies realise how important and effective this approach is.

December 04, 2008

15 years of debate

OK, here I'm again blogging for the second time this week, for me this represent a milestone in my blogging history hehe but I'm trying to make this an habit, as Paul recomended, but to be honest it hasn't been easy, dunno way.

Well straight to the point I want to share with you, this week we had another heated debate on whether a leader is born or made and, as you can expect we had several different opinions on the subject. In fact, there where so many that we struggled to come up with points in which all of us agreed, now I really understand the reason why there are more than 40.000 books published about leadership, because it's like a fingerprint it varies from person to person. Although I think there are common elements that mould and shape a person into an effective leader.

Some say this elements are inherent to the person, that means that there is a particular gene in our DNA in charge of our leadership skills, others say that is the way you were brought up and the experiences you lived wich are going to determine how effective a leader you are. For me is not one nor the other, it's a mix of both, in which exact proportion we'll never know, but I believe that the way you have lived your life has more weight than your genetic code. Who can tell that someone else is not genetically designed to be a leader?? Of course people born with traits an talents that can maximise their leadership skills but people born as well with the right to change who they are whenever they want. Like I said to one classmate before, I don't feel like a natural born leader as I lack of some inherent traits but if I work hard and put huge effort in settting up my company and I have success, many people will say in the end: ohh he is a natural leader!. How come??? Do you know what I mean??

In that sense, I strongly believe that everyone have the potential to become a leader but not the key to unlock it.

In the end,  for many people the question remains, do people born with this key or do they find it along the way???

Hope to have been coherent ;)

December 03, 2008

Authority and effective leaders: do they need it???

This week we had a very interesting discussion about the importance of authority in leader's role. Everyone had different opinions about it, some said that it was important in time of crisis or when everything else in the leader's toolkit failed, others argued that effective leaders do not need to resort to authority as they will always find a way to make things happen without an "executive order".

In my opinion, I believe that authority needs to exist but just as a word not an action, like a deterrent to maintain order and control and prevent unwanted behaviors. Otherwise there will be chaos everywhere, because no matter how excellent a leader you are, without authority there will be always someone that will not think like you and do things in his own way. So yes, I think authority is a bit important but not crucial while being a leader, people awareness of it will help leaders to influence people without the need of using it.

In the end, effective leaders have a plethora of tools and mechanism to impact in people's mind, positively and negatively (very sad!), and is up to them (us?) to take the best use of these resources leaving the need of authority for extreme and rare cases.

November 29, 2008

Creating Business Excellence: The adaptability of the EFQM model. Cultural issues

While doing some research for my PMA I have found very useful information about how the Excellence Model has been implemented not only in the private sector but in the public one as well. As two completely different areas they share similar challenges when trying to adapt the EFQM model into their management process, like the cultural one, how to sustain among the employees an attitude for continuous improvement? Or a more process-based one like how can we integrate the activities that we are doing well into the new framework of excellence and how can we align them to our new strategy?

It is interesting how the public sector is becoming more and more aware of the benefits that working under a continuous improvement framework, be it EFQM, Baldridge or Deming’s, etc. brings upon an organisation. They have been using the model for not so long ago, mainly because lots of people within the sector believed that its purpose was only to be applicable in the business and manufacturing sector. Wrong! The non-prescriptive nature of the model makes it adaptable to any kind of business as long as people understand their needs and how they can found some leverage in the model. Eventually, people in the public sector have realised this, and now they are using a slightly different version of the model, most of the changes made in the wording, from a business focused one to a more suitable vocabulary, ie. patients or students instead of customers.

For this reason is that I found the EFQM a powerful framework of developing change for improvement no matter the kind of organisation its going to be applied in.

What is drawing my attention now it’s the issue of how effective can be the model if applied in my former organisation? Where the gap between shop-floor employees and office executives is huge, mainly because of educational factors. For this reason, the cultural barrier is going to play a key role here, making the sustainability of the cultural change too difficult a task to achieve. I think that is why before coming to the U.K. I’ve never heard before of these quality frameworks, of course we got TQM, improvement circles, 6 sigma, etc. but nothing as big as this. So why then is the reason that in South America we haven’t come up with a widely accepted quality framework of our own???

A cultural issue?........

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  • well yes Luis … I think there are two sides to this LCM… while you are right in saying one shoul… by on this entry
  • I believe everyone is a born leader, in many different ways… we don't have time for the "direct" a… by on this entry
  • Agree!!! by on this entry

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