June 17, 2012

After all is said and done…more is said than done

One day class session,one seminar,loads of group meetings,a presentation and a PMA later...Sunday 17th of June. I've often heard that "after all is said and done, more is usually said than done"...so I guess my question for everyone is, are we going to be the change we want to see in business world?or is excellence beyond reach?

We've come to an agreement on numerous accounts that most of the ideas established not only in KBAM but other MBE modules as well, are good in rhetoric but hard to implement in reality. The reason mainly being that people choose to hold on to conventional wisdom and are not open to embrace new approaches outside the status-quo.

Personally, one of the areas in which I lacked the most knowldge was mangement of the employees health and safety.And I must say that in this short period,I have learnt so much that I did not know I did not know. As a prospective manager I intend to take all the lessons learned to practice. I know it will be challenging,but not impossible. I look at all the leading global brands, Apple, Google, Sothwest Airlines etc etc...they've managed, with the appropriate knowldge,leadership and attitude, "nothing is beyond reach" (as my Father reminds me on a daily basis). Goodluck to us :)

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


June 16, 2012

Customer Value

As we approach finishing our PMA's and refelect on the key learnings, a lot of questions have been coming to mind. The biggest being; what other elements which we have not covered,would be great to explore in knowldge based asset management. I dont know if many of you are farmiliar with the concept of customer value (as it is more related to marketing and the service context).But within the literature of customer value, a lot of discusions have arised on how organizations should collaborate with the customer(s) to determine the value offering because at the end of the day, value of a product or service offering, like beauty,lies in the eye of the beholder...co-creation and co-production of value.

KBAM is more internally based, meaning, it is concerned with management of organizational assets and knowledge to support the organizations policy and startegy. On the other hand, in forming an organizations policy and startegy,the main focus is usually creating customer satisfaction and generating profits for the shareholders.But to create customer satisfaction, customers have to be involved (deeper than just through the use of market research). Oragnizations need to go that extra mile and co-create and co-produce value with the customer(s). I think it would be really intresting to explore how organizations can achieve excellent knowledge and asset management where customers are also involved as co-creators/co-producers of value.How the knowldge can be captured and articulated, how it can be transformed into manufacturing characteristics and meaningfully used...it is in deed a huge scope of thought, and a lot of other aspects can be included as well or some of you could disagree, but, I think it would be worth exploring in the future when time allows.

Untill Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


June 14, 2012

Images

Just a few late night thoughts. We constantly say and hear that a photo is worth 1000 words. Some pyschologists argue that the human mind will tend to learn quicker and remember things more easily when information is presentetd in the form of images rather than words.

Yet,as I have been going through the literature on KM and AM,it seems that in organizations, images/pictures are mostly seen as relevant when it comes to health and safety alone (to the best of my awareness at least). There are numerous signs indicating fire exists,hazards, danger etc etc. I suppose that is because people need to be constantly reminded of the risks within the surrounding enviroments.

However, why not introduce the use of pictures/images or diagrams in other areas as well, for intsnace mind-maps like the ones we have become accustommed to in MBE...rather than only focusing on documentation through office blogs and putting information into memos etc, why not introduce more artistic ways of managing knolwledge with less words? For instance, how many of us would remember song lyrics becuase music is soothing and less serious but not remember most words from an article on some really detailed/academic material?We've talked about bringing the element of fun into organizations in the OPP module and I think researchers/scholars should look into this and conduct research to see if it would have any positive impact.

ww

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


June 12, 2012

Training employees military style

In one of the sessions we had with Paul, we discussed the need for anticipation and went through a number of case studies through which failure to anticipate led to fatal errors/accidents at work. I just came across a really great article on how the American military uses an element of surprise to teach troops to quickly assess risk and make better decisions!And some of the principles which were brought up could very well be applied within business organizations and pave way for excellent business practice!

Apparently, risk does not create fear and trigger poor desicion making. But rather, the problem lies in not undertsanding what the risks are in the first place. The marines are trained to react to chnage by converting ambiguity and uncertainity into well-defined risks. That way they are able to make judgements based upon known probabilities and comparable outcomes.

They are offered opportunities to gain broad experiences and knowledge. Throughout their training, they are subjected to an element of surprise!An example that was given in the article is the marines being told to prepare for an excersise to take place in the Scottish moors, only to find themeselves landed on a heavily guarded fort in Cyprus. So this allows them to quickly adapt to change and qucikly assess risk. They learn to shape uncertainity rather than being driven by it.

If this kind of training is offered in an organization then employees are going to better at responding to change and be better able to make effective desions based on facts rather than poor decisions based on panic and fear...they will be ready to face almost anything becuase they have anticipated the likelyhood of uncertainty.

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


June 11, 2012

Serious Creativity

I came across a very intresting article a few days ago and it has really stimulated my thoughts I must say.Some of you are probably farmiliar with this, but for me it was the first time coming across de Bono's Six Hats!Its basically a technique that is to be used at organizations for instance during team projects. So say the leader of a certain team project, outlines six imaginary thinking hats, each with a different colour. When you put on a hat (hypothetically), you agree to think exclusively in that mode of thinking, and when you change hats, you change your thinking. So for example, white hat thinking is like having a white sheet of paper, helps people to think from the perspecive of what information is needed in the first place, its a neutral information gathering perspectice etc etc. Each hat (out of the six) encourages certain kind of thinking from different angles.


six-thinking-hats-mindmap.jpg

Reading about this technique has got me wanting to try it out, not only at my next job but in life generally. So often we get accustomed to doing things in a certain way or solving problems the same way, but what a brilliant way of nourshing one's mind this technique is. I think one of the reasons I find de Bono's six hats so fascinating is because I get tired of doing the same thing over and over rather quickly. But this approach allows you to get creative and be open to new ways of thinking...so whilst youre doing something serious, you're also getting a chance to bring some fun (creativity),de Bono calls it serious creativity! This method can be used in an organization to get empolyees to not only think in different ways but also share knowldge and challange eachother in coming up with say different solutions to problems.It really is a stimulating technique use and explore!

Until Next Time,

XXxs

Pauline


May 25, 2012

So close, yet so far away

So, as I am sure most of you are experiencing at the moment, writing up the dissertation and attempting to finish the last PMA's is not a slice of cheese cake! We are so close to the finish line, yet so far away!What I am finding as really complicated at the moment, especially with writing up the dissertation, is the fact that 'knowledge' is ever-changing. You read 20 journals which have a similar theme, then out of nowhere comes an academic who argues something completely different, and suddenly prior knowldge becomes less relevant and so on and so forth. Or what annoys me, is when there is certain facts that have been established in the past but some academics create new convinient badges for those old facts and make it seem as if it is something new, and just confuse you even more.

A wise man once told me (well, my dad actually :) told me this about a week ago) that knowledge like the universe, is always unfolding, so you can never be too knowldegable. The only option is to always be open minded and have a curious mind.

Its a funny thing, this thing we call 'knowledge', it can turn from fact to fiction in a split second. It has no limitations, yet we always limit ourselves. I rememeber hearing somewhere that we do not know very much, but rather very little about many things and that we know nothing for sure, except the fact that we know nothing for sure. I guess all there is to do is to keep exploring the unknown. Well, generally, in life, atleast. Cause I dont know about you guys but once I finish my dissertation, I intend on not reading anything, for at least a month, apart from emails.

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


May 14, 2012

When you can guarantee health but not safety

Being a huge basketball fan, my team (the New York Knicks) just lost their run for the playoffs championships this season and I am extreemly sad. And one of the main reasons we lost is due to being over matched, two of our best players have been injured and were thus not present for the games. One of the interesting facts about basketball and im sure many other sports is that the orgaization (say the NY Knicks board) can gurantee that if their emplyees (the players that is) get injured,then they will provide and ensure the best health care for them.

However, whereas they can guarantee health, they cannot guarantee safety. In deed they coach the players on how they protect themselves (for instance they offer mouth guards, plastic goggles etc etc) and they also coach the players on how to avoid injuring others, the organization cannot guanrantee the players safety because the games get very physical and injuries are part of the game. There are numerous sports men and women who have lost their entire careers out of injuries suffered during games. Although the players still get payed when injured (a good example is Yao Ming, who got injured and was being payed 17 million dollars for an entire year as he was recovering), once their contracts end, their value is seen as depreciated becuase of all the lost time and they are likely to get traded to other teams,so in most cases players decide to retire rather young (unless other teams are willing to pay a good sum of money for their trade), they do not get paid nearly as much as before.

So I guess at times, the career paths we choose to take come with strings attached (in terms of health and safety issues) and we have to decide whether the return outweighs the risks we are likely to incur.

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


May 12, 2012

Unsafe work enviroments

Learning about health and safety management,my mind has been completely ignoring anything that did not appear fatal. I only thought of operational harm; chemicals and employees being exposed to difficult working conditions. But there is other psychological, biological and socio-cultural harm worthy of attention. Organizations complement themselves for having 'diversity' and hiring individuals from different backgrounds etc etc, and although that is an excellent thing to do becuase it does to a great extent create competative advantage, it can do just as much harm as it can do good.

I remember when I was in primary school, grade five to be specific, I got punched by a boy...all becuase he did not agree with what I was saying and perhaps he was brought up in a violent background so he took out his frustration on me. I vividly remember how painful that punch felt, and if it was today (having learnt self defence), I would have probably fought back. But what happened was that my confidence was completely shattered from that incident, and I was so affraid of speaking up during group work in fear of being punched again.Thinking of the work enviroment, employees are rather prone to bullying and violence, disciminantion, sexual or verbal harasment, commununication barriers and so on and so forth.

It is absolutely neccessary for leaders to be aware of these cases, and even more importantly prevent them from occuring, and not practice such misconduct themeselves. We hear of so many instances where bosses abuse employees, verbally, or phyisically, and it is honestly sad that these people who are supposed to be leaders are abusing their power. I know I have blogged about wanting to be an exceptional leader, despite the challanges, I want my future followers to be as safe as possible, even if it means invading privacy by having camera's within the organization to prevent such incidents from occuring or track what goes on at all times.

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


Negligence is a crime

When I think of the work enviroment at some fields such as mining back in my country, Tanzania, which is still a developing country, amongst the biggest problems we are facing even today, is such as; lack of education, lack of training, lack of certified skill labour and supposedly "poor awareness of top leaders" concerning these issues.

Now growing up I always wanted to do law, and I have since then been interested in crime shows and legal shows and reading about real life cases. And you cannot begin to fathom the level of my frustration when I hear that some minors were killed for instance in a gold mine back home and because they come from poor families that are not able to afford lawyers or have anyone hear they cry for justice, there are no pressed charges in turn, and no one is blamed for what happens. So you tend to find that a lot of business men within the gold/diamonds/whatever stone's, walk freely and are completely negligent or choose to be ignorant towards the tough working labour conditions, the ages of the employees, the lack of training, safety equipment, lack of expertise in that field and so on and so forth.

I am well aware that it is our govenment that has really poor leadership, and does not follow up on whether or not these business men are following rules and regulations. So how can the knowldge I am gaining on health and safety really be put to good use when I go back to my country? I know Paul would say I should lead but considering the situation at had (corruption, especially), I have heard of people being killed just by getting involved in digging up what really goes on in those mining fields. Perhaps starting an anonymous awereness campagine would help riase awareness on the issue and the government could take action.It is something certainly worth thinking about doing.

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


May 10, 2012

Titanic

So, since we’ve been discussing WaveRiders and boats for months now, I thought this story would be appropriate. Being a huge movie fan, I went to re-watch Titanic in 3D last month on the 100th anniversary of ship sinking. And although the movie is more focused on a love story, it is actually really tragic how so many people died when it could have been avoided had they anticipated what they could/did encounter.

When we talk about Health and Safety in organizations, it is easy to get lost in the details of H&S within manufacturing industries where a lot of cases come from. Nonetheless, there are other business fields in which failure to anticipate accidents leads to fatal results. Take for instance managing a law firm, hotel or school...there is usually basic knowledge management (e.g., procedures on fire escape) but because they are reasonably “safe” environments, it is mostly reactive measures that are taken once disaster strikes…you hear of cases where there is shootings in schools and because there is no procedures or codes on how to react, so a number of lives are lost out of panic and disorder/chaos…and that is just one of the few cases to say the least.

tita

Amongst the few things I gathered from Titanic for instance in relation to KBAM is such as the ship not being able to turn sufficiently to avoid any impact with the ice-berg because of the speed of the ship, the fact that iceberg was seen too late and the size of the rudder. Organizations that don’t know how to break a problem down into specific cause-and-effect relationships mistakenly oversimplify a complex incident by providing solutions such as ‘don’t hit icebergs’. There was also a cancelled lifeboat drill; apparently there was to be a session scheduled on how to use the life boats on the day the ship sailed but the captain ordered it to be cancelled, for unknown reasons,so 53% of people who could have survived due to the space on the life boats,died. I could go on an on about prevention of so many deaths or human errors that led to that tragedy. The point I am trying to reach at here is the importance of managing knowledge, sharing knowledge and anticipating possible outcomes.

So far I am learning a lot from KBAM,but whats even more, frightened…we all have a huge challenge in our future careers. The man who designed Titanic (well one of the main guys, I remember there was two in the movie, not sure who was the leading engineer and who was the designer) refused to take a life jacket and leave the ship with one of the life boats out of guilt that so many lives were being lost…if you are not mentally, spiritually and emotionally prepared when you go out into the real world, you will not survive such incidents…H&S is an incredibly important aspect of KBAM!

Until Next Time,

Xxxs

Pauline


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