February 17, 2014

Does leadership style matter

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

It was very surprising to note one very important aspect of leadership. Each groups performance varied with the different styles of leadership. This means each and every leadership style plus the leader’s actions determine how well a team will perform. The exercise given to us today was that each team leader was given a specific role to play. There were a total of four roles, charismatic, lazy, autocratic and democratic. I was one of the team leaders who had to choose one style. I wanted to try and act as the lazy leader just to see what happens. Luckily, I was given the lazy role to play. During the activity, I did not give any input into the task. All I did was brief the group and then I left them on their own. When they asked me what I thought about their design of the tower they had to build, I replied by saying its up to you all, you are free to choose any design. They realized that I would not be their guide through the process of making the tower, thus they did not ask me for my opinion again. It was nice to see how dedicated my team was. They were working very hard, however they lacked one important thing; direction. They did not wait to choose whether to make a creative tower or a tall one, they rushed into making the tallest one. They started to make holes on one side of the cup, which later had to be destroyed, as their first design did not work. Then they finally decided to put one cup on top of the other and constructed the tower, which was reasonably tall.

The most important lesson that I learnt from this activity was that the leader is responsible for giving the team direction, keeping the team motivated and determined. The leaders behavior and attitude shapes the behavior and attitude of the team members. Every leadership style can play a role in influencing the performance of the team. But, this does not mean that a lazy leaders team will be the worst to perform. It could be that every member in the team is responsible enough to perform which is why leader faded away. The team could still perform the best without an active team leader. This means that every situation is different and every team leader must adapt to the different situations and change his style of leadership depending on his team members. If the team members do not like a lot of interference, then the leader must refrain from doing so, as too much interference may lead to poor performance.


Does leadership style matter

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

It was very surprising to note one very important aspect of leadership. Each groups performance varied with the different styles of leadership. This means each and every leadership style plus the leader’s actions determine how well a team will perform. The exercise given to us today was that each team leader was given a specific role to play. There were a total of four roles, charismatic, lazy, autocratic and democratic. I was one of the team leaders who had to choose one style. I wanted to try and act as the lazy leader just to see what happens. Luckily, I was given the lazy role to play. During the activity, I did not give any input into the task. All I did was brief the group and then I left them on their own. When they asked me what I thought about their design of the tower they had to build, I replied by saying its up to you all, you are free to choose any design. They realized that I would not be their guide through the process of making the tower, thus they did not ask me for my opinion again. It was nice to see how dedicated my team was. They were working very hard, however they lacked one important thing; direction. They did not wait to choose whether to make a creative tower or a tall one, they rushed into making the tallest one. They started to make holes on one side of the cup, which later had to be destroyed, as their first design did not work. Then they finally decided to put one cup on top of the other and constructed the tower, which was reasonably tall.

The most important lesson that I learnt from this activity was that the leader is responsible for giving the team direction, keeping the team motivated and determined. The leaders behavior and attitude shapes the behavior and attitude of the team members. Every leadership style can play a role in influencing the performance of the team. But, this does not mean that a lazy leaders team will be the worst to perform. It could be that every member in the team is responsible enough to perform which is why leader faded away. The team could still perform the best without an active team leader. This means that every situation is different and every team leader must adapt to the different situations and change his style of leadership depending on his team members. If the team members do not like a lot of interference, then the leader must refrain from doing so, as too much interference may lead to poor performance.


February 14, 2014

Why is a team leader important?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Having a leader in the group has changed the group dynamics a lot. The previous groups where there was no leader was very different as compared to the current group in which we have a leader. Following are the differences I have noticed while working in a team with a leader.

  •  Proper direction is chosen and given by the leader
  •  Leader tries to get all team members to participate
  •  The goals of each meeting are set before the meeting
  •  Every voice is heard and conflicts are reduced due to the leader creating a sense of harmony within the team
  •  Delegation of tasks is very effective
  •  Feedback given and received from team leader motivates the team as a whole

Prior to this when we worked without a leader, there were some members of the group who wanted to take the leaders position, however it was not possible since it could result in conflict. When the leader is chosen within a team, it signifies that one person is superior who has the ability to make decisions. This gives the team a sense of direction, but only if the leader has certain qualities. The most important one is to move with the team, not ahead of the team nor lag behind. It is the leaders responsibility to ensure each and every team member is keeping up with what is going on. In addition, each member must feel that they are valuable. If this is done, it will be very easy for the leader to tap into the inner person of the team member and get the most out of him.


February 12, 2014

Values determine leaders characteristics

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Paul mentioned a very important concept today regarding the values of the leaders. Values of a person determine what kind of a leader he would be. Each leader has a responsibility to align his value with each of his team member. If this is not the case, then it would be very difficult for the team to focus towards one goal. When a leader understands his values, he can understand his own identity and think about the purpose and how to achieve it. As a leader, one must get other all his followers engaged in the purpose! One way to keep the values aligned is to recruit people who have similar values to the leader and can contribute to the organization. When this is done, automatically the productivity will be higher than the regular compliance level. Recruitment process must automatically recruit people who shares similar values and can contribute positively to the organization; in addition they should want to contribute.

Atttitude vs energy graph-->Stars are on positive side of both, fans have negative energy, WD (walking dead) have negative attitude and negative energy, and UT (have positive energy but negative attitude).

Feedback is a very important characteristic for the leader to develop his personality as a leader. Feedback as a team effort is also necessary as it helps the team members to understand and analyze their areas of improvement and continuously improve their style of working. In class today, when we as a group gave each other feedback it helped me realize what I should and should not do a team leader. It also helped me analyze what kind of a leader my teammates want and are happy to work with. However, this is not the real world and my classmates are not afraid to give honest feedback. I fear that in the real world, the team members may be scared to give honest feedback to the leader. This may result in miscommunication and lack of information transfer within the teams. Another issue that may arise could be that the leader may not be willing to receive any feedback and may take it as criticism. This may result in a conflict within the team.


February 10, 2014

Leadership: What it entails?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

One of the key issues a leader faces is limited time and resources. In our case during the module, time is a key resource. We have to utilize efficiently the time we have as the resources are readily available. Being 100% late is actually worse than being 95% on time.

Another metaphor that was mentioned in class today was that too many cooks spoil the broth, or in other words too many people for a decision will result in a problem, hence the resources available must be used appropriately and the people who are making the important decisions must chose wisely.

Leader also has to be careful as each individual in his or her team is different, each follower will expect something different, different groups will be expecting different things from the leader. Perception of different groups of the same person would be very different. Be it a political leader, a sports team captain or the CEO of an organization. There are a lot of different groups that follow the leader, follow his decisions and would even comment on the effectiveness of the decision. One group may think that the leader has taken the right decision and that he is the best suited for the job. Others may feel that the decisions are completely wrong. A leader may not be able to meet everyone’s criteria for the best suitable leader. However, it is a major responsibility, every action of the leader is being recorded by someone, hence the leader has to always be careful in his actions.

Another important concept that was taught in class today was the difference b/w leadership and headship. Headship is when people depend on their position to get them to do what they want them to do. This normally gets only do 75% of the work done as people will do just enough to be perceived as just correct. This does not mean work is not being done, but with an effective leader, productivity may increase, as motivation levels may be higher among the work force.

One more quality of a leader is that he should know how to adapt to change. Circumstances change, situations change, people/leader has to adapt in order to cope up with any situation. This would also show that he is ready to face any kind of challenge.


January 24, 2014

How important is reliability testing?

Writing about web page PEUSS

Yesterday a very important concept was discussed known as reliability testing. In my opinion this is the most important aspect of the product excellence module. Why I say this is that without which it would be hard to determine,

  1.  Whether a product meets the certain configuration
  2.  Whether the configurations are optimum with respect to performance.
  3.  Whether the item being tested meets the requirements of performance and reliability.

Testing is highly important in almost all industries but in some it is more significant than the rest. One example of such an industry is the pharmaceutical industry. Every raw material that comes in has to be tested and compared to the required specifications. If the raw materials don’t met the standards set will be rejected by the quality control department of the company. Every new product is tested for reliability and performance. Mostly generic products have a lifetime of an average of two years. It is very time consuming and costly to keep a product in testing phase before launch. Hence the QC departments of pharmaceutical companies use HALT extensively. The products are run much faster than the normal cycle. The two-year testing phase is shortened to six months in order to save time. This does not in any way impact the results as the products are placed in areas where temperature and humidity are controlled. In addition, some pharmaceutical companies also test their products at the normal testing period. Before the products are dispatched into the market for consumption, the product batches are also tested for reliability.

Why I say that testing is vital in the pharmaceutical industry is because the drugs produced are consumed by the customers either orally or injected. The formulation of the drugs have to be precisely followed as a little variation may result in extreme side effects on the consumers that in some cases may result in death. Human life is really a very serious matter and if any mistake by a pharmaceutical company may have dire consequences. Hence, it is extremely important for the industry to be very careful and conduct proper testing.


January 21, 2014

Voice Of Customer

A reflection on yesterdays learning, customers are the people who are the end users of the products or services provided by the organizations. There would be no sales to report if the customer does not feel satisfied, hence their would be no need for production. When there is no production, there is no need for the organization to exist. Every organization must understand the importance of the customer and aim to meet and satisfy their requirements.

“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them not you.” – Mark Cuban

A tool used under the six sigma methodology is known as Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer Model (SIPOC). The main aim of using this tool is to identify both, internal and external customers. This tool summarizes the complete value stream and recognizes the output from each process established to produce the product. Through the summary of the value stream, it is easy to point out the input and output of each process. Using this tool, the management can understand the relation of each process with the final outcome of the product. This particular tool is very beneficial when an improvement is necessary. The management can easily identify the process that needs to be tweaked in order to change the final outcome and meet the changing needs of the customer. However, this particular tool is only available for a production-based organization. Such a tool can be very beneficial in a service-based industry, as it would identify the key processes that affect the final outcome. In other words, it can be used to identify processes that add value for the customers and those that do not. Such a tool would summarize the customer’s journey with the organization. Offering successful journeys results in a cultural change that involves the whole organization from top to bottom, triggers excitement, innovation and a focus on continuous improvement


January 07, 2014

QFD–Golden Matrix

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a tool that is very useful in an organization that incorporates six sigma as a strategy to inculcate a customer focused continuous improvement culture. This particular tool can be used for both, production based as well as a service-based organization. The main objective of this particular tool is to involve the customer through every stage of the process, starting from research and development till the time when the product or service is delivered to the customer. It is a technique that is used to maintain or improve the quality of the product/service to the customer. This technique is purely focused on making the journey customers take with the organization a pleasant one. Once the product features are identified using the KANO model, a QFD matrix is built. This matrix allows the management teams to identify the attributes that are of great importance to customers when developing new products or upgrading existing products. These attributes are referred to as the characteristics required by the customers and each characteristic has certain engineering characteristics necessary for the production of the products. Each characteristic required by the customer is rated against the competitors in order to provide a comparison between the different competitors. By looking at the correlation matrix, attributes that need to be traded off are identified. However, in order to choose which feature to trade off, management must look at the customer rating for each attribute. The one that is less important for the customer must be traded off. This is judged by the absolute scores at the bottom of the matrix. Empty rows tell the management about the characteristic that is not fulfilled by the engineering characteristics of the organization. Empty rows tell the management of the extra engineering characteristics that are not needed by any customer requirement.


November 24, 2013

WV Model–Method of Improvement

Finally, submitted my PMA for Creating Business Excellence. It was a great experience writing the PMA. First time I ever did something just to learn and gather an understanding of the subject. Finding perfect resources to answer each question I had when writing the PMA gave a sense of satisfaction. Models such as Kaizen, Total quality management, learning diagrams, lean Culture and WV model of Improvement. WV model is a very interesting concept that is explained brilliantly by Shoji Shiba, WV Modelà Continuous improvement is based on 2 major ideas systematic (scientific) and iterative. Shoji Shiba modified Kawakita’s W model to create what Shiba calls WV model.

  • § Explains the concept of continuous improvement as a problem-solving concept. It is not a prescription for improvement, rather it helps management to remember the different stages in quality management and improvement.
  • § Depiction of the model is based on problem solving through swinging between thought and experience. EGàYou sense a problem, then collect data, chose an improvement activity and then collect data about what is wrong, plan a solution then collect data to be sure it works, and then standardize on the new solution.
  • § Not move from problem to solution, collection of data is imp, and WV model helps in reminding management of the proper process.
  • § ProcessàReally simple, Works on the cycle referred to as SCDA(Standard, do, check, Act). Following a process, if any result goes out of limits, the management must act and correct the process to get the right results.



WV Model–Method of Improvement

Finally, submitted my PMA for Creating Business Excellence. It was a great experience writing the PMA. First time I ever did something just to learn and gather an understanding of the subject. Finding perfect resources to answer each question I had when writing the PMA gave a sense of satisfaction. Models such as Kaizen, Total quality management, learning diagrams, lean Culture and WV model of Improvement. WV model is a very interesting concept that is explained brilliantly by Shoji Shiba, WV Modelà Continuous improvement is based on 2 major ideas systematic (scientific) and iterative. Shoji Shiba modified Kawakita’s W model to create what Shiba calls WV model.

  • § Explains the concept of continuous improvement as a problem-solving concept. It is not a prescription for improvement, rather it helps management to remember the different stages in quality management and improvement.
  • § Depiction of the model is based on problem solving through swinging between thought and experience. EGàYou sense a problem, then collect data, chose an improvement activity and then collect data about what is wrong, plan a solution then collect data to be sure it works, and then standardize on the new solution.
  • § Not move from problem to solution, collection of data is imp, and WV model helps in reminding management of the proper process.
  • § ProcessàReally simple, Works on the cycle referred to as SCDA(Standard, do, check, Act). Following a process, if any result goes out of limits, the management must act and correct the process to get the right results.



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