March 17, 2016

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is usually linked to Jesus and his service to others. However, you dont need to be religious to execute this serve first-lead after type of leadership. Something I find interesting about servant leaders it is their belief that they are in ther leadership role to benefit and support those they are in charged to lead, and it remainds me Paul's question of how can I help you?...It is about putting first the needs of someone else and letting aside your ego.

At the begining I though servant leadership was just an emotional thing, but I was wrong, servant leadership is about SERVE, which means:

See the future

Engage and develop others

Reinvent continuously

Value results and relationships

Embody the values

So it is pretty much a balanced thing, there is vision, change, results, people and values, but to become a servant leader one needs to work in several characteristics...In my case, I will start by trying to be a better listener and be more open to others opinions.


March 14, 2016

Leadership PMA – Blog 2 – Deciding leadership theories

When I started my PMA, I got overwhelmed by the huge amount of information available about leadership, then I remembered that to filter and discard theories I first needed to have a picture that will represent (for me) the universe of information from where I would start analysing. I finally got my picture but I was a bit insecure on how to proceed with my decision of the selected theories, then I remember that Paul once told me that all the resources that I need to solve my problem are inside me, so I went back to what I have learnt and I ended up using RDM info to reduce the scope of theories I would read on more detail. My reflection at this point is try to use the knowledge you already have, the things you have learned in the master until now are interconnected, so apply what you know.

I am only half way on the PMA, and I am finding it really challenging but at the same time exciting, the information available is too much, but you have your critical thinking and your knowledge, so make use of them. I am trying to do this PMA a bit different from others, I am trying to be a bit more creative and I am trying to make the process real.

I am learning to trust myself in the process and make decisions that make more sense to me, it has been a bit hard not to have much boundaries from Paul, but it is also good to have the opportunity to imagine and work in a non-prescriptive way, so…let’s keep learning.


March 13, 2016

RMD team work

This week we had to work on making two decisions for WaveRiders, the first one was to identify in which place the production plant will be located and second one, what would be the marketing channels we will use to promote the new product.

Something I realised doing the project, it is that when you don’t really understand the tool you cannot be a critical evaluator of the decision making process. For the first time in my academic life, I was finding hard to follow what people in my team was doing and the only tool I understood properly was the tree. I could ask smart questions when constructing it to evaluate if it would be good or not, but in the other two tools I was just agreeing on what the person who understood the most said.

So how good it is the application of a tool by a group in which half of the members don’t really understand what is going on? …I think that the potential for good group decisions is dependent on the knowledge of all the group members on the tools used and the topic (marketing, location, production, etc.). I can say that thanks to my group I now understand a bit more; however, my critical thinking on the decision making process was really weak because of my lack of knowledge.

Moving on from this point, something else I learnt this week is that you need to base your assumptions in real data, like customer characteristics, market research, even government information (like what skilled labour means), the more basement you have the less biased you get. Even though we did a good research on market, we did little about information for the location, we took as true the fact that lymington had more skilled labour than Exmouth when in reality is the other way around. So informed assumptions are much better than our own assumptions.

Finally, I learnt that you should not blindly trust the data you have been given, make sense of the numbers and dates you have received, they can be inaccurate, like the years of start production, irrelevant like the info of other products and incorrect as the skilled labour info, make sense of the data before using it!!!


March 06, 2016

RDM Week 1 reflection

We make decisions everyday of our lives, we decide from simple things like where to go to eat with our friends to more complex ones like in which country to live, what career to have or whether getting married or not. However, most of our decisions are made using our intuitive system 1, instead of using a rational process (system 2).

The problem is that our judgement is biased because we use heuristics (strategies to make our decision process quicker), so when we use system 1 we are more likely to make BAD decisions. To identify how good is our judgement in relation with the heuristics we answered 12 questions in the first class and from that I could find out that my representativeness heuristic is not working fine at all, it seems that my estimations on samples and comparison of things with my mental stereotypes are not very accurate so I should not relay on them.

The good thing is that now I know that this bias can affect my decision making process and to avoid it I should be open and consider all the possible relevant data, be aware of the base rate and learn that likelihood is different to probability.

Off course it is better to use our system 2 when making decisions; however, our heuristics and some other aspects such as our personality, the process and the tools we use will always be present to affect our decision. So at the end of the three days of study, I end up with the conclusion that RDM is not something simple, to make robust decisions one needs to be aware of all the things that can make my decision non-optimal and try to balance those points to ensure that the decision can be as good as possible.

I believe is very uselful to use system 2 more often and try to be more rational about our personal life decisions, I used once one of the decision methods to decide if I should accept a job and move back to my home town or not, and I think it provided me with the opportunity to think more about my criteria, the two alternatives and future effects of that decision, so even when the decision wasn't 100% perfect (decision making is not exact science), it is a better decision just for the sake of leaving system 1 behind.



March 04, 2016

Situational Leadership–First PMA reflection

According to the Situational leadership theory, leader' style and behaviour should change with the situation, so being task oriented, instead of relationship oriented can be very useful in some situations. At the end there is not good or wrong style, everything depends.

This theory, although no perfect, make leaders think about the application of different behaviours with different people, for example, I am somehow just starting my job as a waitress, I am an incompetent with positive attitude, I make many mistakes, so the best leader behaviour here is one telling me what to do and showing me how things should be done. With the time, I will get more experience and I wont need such a directive leader style.

This theory answer my question of why I had to be more directive with somepeople than with others and the point is that every person is different, with different degree of experience, confidence or skills, so the way of working with each of them should be different.


February 27, 2016

Receiving Feedback

Since I was leader 4 times this week (lucky me) I had the chance to receive lots of feed back and I learned that giving and receiving feedback is a process of caring and love, because the person giving you feedback only wants the best for you, that person is taking the time to think about you and what things you have done well and what things you need to improve to be even better.

I know sometimes can be difficult to hear which are the improvement areas, but if you just receive them with gratitude, with a possitive mentality they can become focus points to be better. Anyway excellence is a journey sorrounded by the need of continuous change, so by taking your feedback as an input of the process of improving yourself and changing to better, you are just being a living representation of what excellence means.

The leadership and excellence module have thought me lots about humility, transparency, caring and love. At the end, being a leader has lots to do with human aspects, and even though I am task oriented-person, I am more than convinced that there must be a balance between reaching goals and constructing an enviroment in which my people want to work, not because I autocratically impose it but because they want to.


The leadership Challenge

Yesterday was the last day of the module, and once more I had the opportunity to lead, this challenge was more diffucult than the others, since as a leader I was the only one who had read the rules, requirements and characteristics of the task. I was a bit afraid when the excercise started because in the preparation time, I could not finish reading the rules and I had no time to make a plan of action, I came to my team without all the information and without a full understanding of the what to do or how to do it. At the end of the activity the goal, which was to was to identify in one and a half hour, the routes and stops from one city to another, spending only the budget and days allocated while earning at least 1800 points, was not reached.

So, we actually could not win the game. However, now that I reflect on the experience I can see some of the good points I made and also others I need to improve:

First, good ones:

1. Honesty is something really important in a leader, so the first thing I did with my team was tell them that I could not finish reading the rules, that I was sorry about that but that and that I will go back and ask for the folder later and finish reading.

2. I am clear when I explain requirements, so I explained clearly what was the objective of the game, the way to earn points and the rules.

Second, areas for improvement:

1. I need to be able to not follow the details and let the team work more without me, I think this way I empower them more.

2. There was too much discussion and we were moving forward really slowly , I believe it could be better if since the begining, the team was divided into two to define the two routes.

3. I need to control my body to not show my stress, the team should not notice that I am stressed when things are not going as expected. My job as a leader is provide vision and motivate my people to reach that vision.

4. Time management, we did not follow a plan on when to finish certain points, and at the end we were runing and we did not finish the task.

As a conclusion, in any activity that you lead, you need to make the most of the resources you have (information, money, people, time...), and your role as leader is to motivate, inspire and help your people picture the where we are going and get there, without you looking stressed or without you getting into the details of the task. I know the way the leader acts should depent on the situation and the people; however, I am learning that the idea is not to run as a crazy person knowing how to do everything, you need to understand the big picture, the goal, your people but all the solutions dont need to come from you, there is a team with you composed with people with different talents that you must assess so you put them to work in the right area or problem.

There is no need to overstress, explain the objective, empower, motivate your people and trust them. Provide vision, support when they need and learn to step back to see the whole picture, analyse when things need your action and when they dont, and remember your people is valuable and inside them there is a lot of potential to get things done.


Employee loyalty to the firm

During the module there was this seminar about how to make employees loyal to the firm and not to the leader and I link the answer of that question is related to the organisation culture. If the organisation has a culture in which people's intrinsic motivations are addressed, people's carrer and personal grow fit within the organisation's goals, people is valued and recognised and there is respect for the individuals, people should be loyal to the firm. But there is loyalty to the firm because the aspects mentioned above come from the company, its policies, normes, etc., because they are embebed in the way the company lives day to day.

When is just a leader and no the company who provides the culture, then there is a risk that when the leader leaves, the people will want to leave the company too. I have heard about many cases in which when a good leader leaves he takes many of his followers to the new company with him, and for me this happens because it is he and no the company the one addressing the employee needs.

So the challenge here is to help our companies create the culture in which no matter what leaders leave, the people stay because they enjoy working here and they feel valued.


February 24, 2016

Coaching class

Today we had our coaching class with Greame. I worked coaching Nilsu, which made things a bit easier since we are close, so we could jump the establish rapport point.

I summarise here some of the things I learned with the excercise:

- The key of coaching is asking questions to help people open up and talk.

- Coaching is not about you, it is not about what you thing is the person problem or what you think they should do to solve it, it is about them finding out what they need to solve and defining a solution they believe in.

- The objective of coaching is unlocking people's potential.

- Avoid using the question 'why' ...why did you do this? why did you react this way?..this type of questions can make people feel defensive.

- Be patient, listen and summarise what the coachee is saying.

- Gain commitment to change and define next step, without this the whole process is lost.

I particulary like the coaching class because I links with the idea that effective leaders care about their people and are concerned about developing them, so couching fits great with this line.


February 23, 2016

My leadership experience today

Today we had the hotel excercise...at the begining I had to play the observer role in my initial team...it seems that life is teaching me to be more quiet, observe more and listen more...at the end we have only one mouth, two ears and two eyes!

After my quiet moment, I was changed to a group and became the leader and sice the group was doing well already, I felt like I had the pressure of maintaing or improving the performance of the hotel...I appreciate so much working with this group, not only because we increased profits but for the learning experience they provided me. My learning points after the excercise were:

1. Make decisions based on facts...not on guts.

2. Listen to your people ideas.

3. Keep a good time management.

4. Ask the opinions of your team members before making decisions.

5. Keep an open mind even if the ideas are different from what you conceive as the right call.

6. Make effective use of the information available.

7. Step back sometimes, when you get too much time inside the details you can lose the vision of the whole picture.

8. Summarise points to see if everyone is understanding what is required.

9. If you are new, ask what is the current situation, what are the roles people is playing, how things are working.


Thank you very much guys for your feed back! It is nice to see the good thing and the areas for improvement...I apreciate it a lot.


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