All entries for March 2014

March 21, 2014

Decision making tools, always useful or not?

Writing about web page Robust Decision making

A reflection of last week, it was great working with the team, as they were no arguments whatsoever! Everyone was really cooperative and we were well prepared.

Choosing which decision tools was a difficult task, as we had to first understand how the tool would help us analyzing the problem question and then coming up with the decision. Each tool had its own advantages and disadvantages. Some tools were just really straight forward like SWOT. Others were a bit more complicated like SMART and the decision tree.

One thing that I noticed while working in the group was how the decision makers influence the decision. When using tools such as SMART and AHP, the decision makers have to give the weights to the most favorable and the least favorable characteristics. They base their decision on research, but their gut feelings also have a role to play in the decision tools. This may lead to biased results.

My team had divided the work in such a way that each of us was responsible for using one decision tool. Some of us were unable to do it as group thinking was required for assigning weights. This led us to work as a group and apply the decision tools to the given situation. Since a lot of information was not available to us, we were forced to base our decisions on assumptions leading us to come up with the final decision we intended on. I say this because there was one team that justified through the decision tools that they chose Exmouth, whereas none of the tools that we used gave us that result. I wonder how they came up with calculations that supported their claim when there were four groups who decided to go ahead with Lymington.

As discussed today in class how everyone had a different decision tree. The reason for this was that everyone's mind works differently and each problem is solved with a different approach even if the decision tool is the same. So I guess there is no right or wrong decision tool. The decision depends on the decision maker. This is what I think after going through the robust decision making module..

Would look forward to hearing what you all think!!


Goal Setting theory, is it useful?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Goals setting theory is a motivational theory that helps in sustaining and improving performance. Assigning of goals would direct attention of your team towards what needs to be accomplished. Goals would help in boosting the energy levels of the employees. High energy levels would result in greater motivation levels and increased persistence to achieve the assigned goals. Goals may encourage strategy development and action plans being prepared and implemented within the teams.

It is very important to note that specific goals are more efficient compared to general goals. Goals that are hard but accepted by the team may result in the team accomplishing them. But it must be noted that if the goals are not realistic then it may so happen that the task is not completed. In order for goals to be effective they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, result oriented and time bound). If goals are measurable, then only can the performance be evaluated. When employees know that their performance will be evaluated against their goals, the effect of goals increases. Another important fact about goal setting is feedback not just when the task is completed but also during. This allows the person to understand the areas of improvement and strengths resulting in improved performance. Upon completion of goals, rewards and recognition is needed to keep the employees motivated to achieve more demanding goals in the future.

In order to foster teamwork, team goals must be assigned rather than individual goals. This will allow the individuals to work together as teams rather than compete against each other. Team results will start showing improvements. Sometimes making the teams compete each other for rewards may also be helpful but the employees should always be reminded of the fact that only healthy competition is favorable.

But goal setting has a downside to it. Goal setting is a technique that is known to be very dangerous for organizations in the past and it may cause unethical behavior, inhibited learning and decreased intrinsic motivation. It is essential for the leaderto specify exactly how he expects his team to achieve the goals. The leader has to put special emphasis on ethical behavior.

In order to avoid situations where teams could do anything to achieve their aims, teams that are not successful in achieving their goals should not be punished. Rather, it would be better if feedback were provided on their performance. In addition, it will be great if the reason behind the team not achieving the task is investigated and lesson is learnt from their failure.

For instance, if the goal was not achieved due to the goal being unrealistic, then goals could be set again based on what the team thinks is achievable. If they still fail to achieve the goal, then there must be something else that is going wrong, as they were the ones who set the goals for themselves. This means proper investigation of the reason behind unsuccessful tasks must be done in order to understand why the teams failed.


March 20, 2014

Manager and Leader… Different or the same

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Is leadership very different than management? There are conflicting views about this. Some authors believe a manager can never become a good leader as he would not know how to inspire and influence his team. Moreover, a leader has the ability to create a vision whereas a manager is responsible to implement the vision.

According to Harvard business review article that I read today, a manager was made a leader of a business department and he was heading 3000 employees. He had a lot of difficulties heading the department as he was focusing on the areas that he was comfortable with and was ignoring areas that he was not a specialist in. The article proves that a manager needs to transform himself to become an effective leader.

Quote from the article

“They must learn to move from specialist to generalist, analyst to integrator, tactician to strategist, bricklayer to architect, problem solver to agenda setter, warrior to diplomat, and supporting cast member to lead role.”

This clearly shows the difference between the two roles, i.e. leadership and management.

However in my opinion in order to become a good manager, one should be an effective leader, as he is the one who is leading his own department. I agree that heading a department and leading an organization is very different. But if a manager is taken from the department and asked to lead the organization he would be able to do it. Why I say this is because he knows how to lead, it is just that the role is very different. Tapping into the role will take him some time, but if he was an effective manager, he will be a good leader. He will just have to go through the transformation that is mentioned in the article. If he successful in the transformation, it will be very easy for him to lead the organization.

Thus I end by saying that a manager is a leader of his own department. Leadership is a function of the leader, group members and situational variables. A manager is in a very different situation compared to the leader, this does not mean he will not be an effective leader. It just means that if the situation changes he will need to adapt to the new situation. He will be a great leader if he adapts quickly.

What does everyone think?


March 2014

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