All entries for November 2005

November 30, 2005

To measure or not measure

The problem of measuring the things that can hardly be measured keeps attracting my attention. Today we have tried to understand how the leadership may be evaluated. We could not come up with lots of ideas – and it is not similar to the other sessions we have already had where we had lots of things to input. I think it is a major problem of many so called non-natural sciences – not being able to measure things they are studying it is quite hard to build a theory and support it by equations – to look enough scientific (at least in a traditional way).

For me this topic is closely connected with another very interested issue – employees’ involvement in a work process. Because I think that a leader plays the main role in this process and his/her successfulness depends directly on the level of the people’s involvement.

In this respect I feel that is vitally important to provide all the employees with all the information about what is going in the company (what is the vision, strategy and goals) – that really unites the company collective. And even more important to provide some mechanisms of people’s participating in the process of creating even the top level decision – like strategy and goals. In Russia this is usually totally ignored and that really affects the company performance. I feel that Hoshin Kanri is more adapted to solve this task than the Balanced Scorecard and I’ll try to have some additional reading about it providing I have some spare time …


November 29, 2005

Why Leadership as a necessary ingredient of the excellent business

I think today I, if not realized, but became closer to the understanding why the leadership is so important. To my mind, the reason why there is a need for leadership is that this secret ingredient involves employees in the company’s life. This involvement may be very different: intelligent, emotional etc. It even includes passion if you wish. Without this involvement we are not able to reach the excellence. I think many EFQM tools imply at least formal employees’ involvement, but the leader is the person who is able to make all these tools really powerful and vivid.

As far as I understand (correct me if I am wrong), management tends to talk about motivation. I think it is a noticeable difference.

Another interesting thing that really appeals to me is how to build this involvement. The policy deployment approaches could be really useful in this sense. I feel that Hoshin Kanri is more efficient, than the Balanced Scorecard that seems as a more rough tool.


Academic input

I have been thinking about the sessions we are having this week. We decide by ourselves what topics, related to the module structure, we would like to discuss. We discuss only the things we are really interested in. This is a huge advantage of this approach. Moreover, it worked perfectly well for me at the first module – PPE.

However, during this module I started to think that, probably, this approach has some drawbacks. First of all, it has become clear that having chosen the topic we tend to discuss it using our previous knowledge, our common sense, but not the knowledge specifically gained for this particular discussion. But we are not the only one who has tried to understand it since the beginning of the Earth. We have to understand there are lots of things that have been done in every area, including the areas we chose to discuss. Relying only on our own common sense, knowledge and experience we limit ourselves and limit very shortly.

Paul provides us with the absolutely necessary academic input, but I feel that is not enough. Ideally we all have to do some readings and researches before going to these seminars, but it is quite far from the reality. A bit more realistic approach is that the people who are interested in the topic they proposed should prepare some additional material to it. I feel that the discussion should be after some people present a brief review of what have been done in this area before we decided to discuss it. As an alternative way we may try to invite someone who is an expert in this field. However, it requires pre-planning and more difficult to implement.

I feel that this way (with some preparation) could be more efficient that the current one. It became especially clear for me today, when we were discussing Hoshin Kanri and after 2 presentations Paul described his view supported by his practical experience. That was an open-minded event for me!

I tried to understand why I have changed my mind about this type of learning. The reason, as I think, is that at the very beginning it was a great way to initiate thinking, it was a really good start, but by now we have moved several steps forward and there is a need for a bit more focused and intensive approach.

However, it is only my feelings about it and if for everyone else it still works perfectly, I am ready to follow.


November 28, 2005

Leadeger=Leader + Manager

I think a very important thing came up today. Nowadays, due to the massive character of changes happen in every aspect of our life, there is a huge demand for good leaders. But what about the good managers, don’t we need them any more? Does it mean that the profession of a manager is not up-to-date and must be replaced by the leader? To answer on this question it is useful to look on the differences between the leader and the manager.

The differences between these notions are not so obvious and quite questionable, but probably the main is that leader is the person who is able to create the vision and who can, by influencing people, make it come true. Whereas the manager is the person who is able to manage people and projects efficiently within some context, which might be given to this manager, – the manager is not the person who has the ‘admin’ rights to the system he or she manages. The leader is the ‘admin’ of the system. This analogy may be quite rough but it helps me to describe the difference.

At the same time, leadership nowadays, I am talking about the business environment, implies not only personal traits and abilities to create visions. It is equally important for the leader to be good and professional at implementing this vision into practise, that makes the leadership closer to profession, rather that inherited natural features. So, the leader is a profession that requires not only leadership abilities, but at the same many management skills. The person who combines all these features and attributes can be named as a future leader (with very good management skills) or, if you wish as a future manager (who will have to be a professional leader). I propose to call this profession the LEADEGER – the profession that requires the balanced leadership and management skills and abilities.

I don’t know whether someone has coined this word before, but Google hasn’t found anything.


November 23, 2005

Brushing off dust from my blog …

It is not easy to start blogging after more than a month of silence. The silence actually does not mean that I have been doing nothing this time, but the main reason of being quiet is that the majority of the things I could have published are so negligible to other people and are not worth revealing at all. It could have been like this ‘Today I realized how apply two-way ANOVA! What A clever person I am!’. It is funny – isn’t it? However, I do think that blogging is a good way to formalize my thoughts and to track the road I have been going. So, I’ll try to make this page alive …

This week we have been discussing the issue of leadership which became quite important in a business environment quite recently (15–20 years ago I think). The reason is that the world started to change so fast that it required a new type of management thinking and abilities. The thinking that should have combined many different things: ability to create a strategic vision, accompanied by number of tactic solutions, and ability to implement this ideas, to reach the strategic purpose by influencing people, convincing them and justifying their expectations. To my mind, the issue of leadership is equally contains from ability to create a vision and abilities to make it true, to implement it. That is why my own definition of leadership so important for me. Here it is:

Leadership is the art/ability to create the vision basing on the moral principles, people's expectations and the leader’s own feelings/experience and to achieve this vision by setting goals/targets, gaining people's commitment and by motivating/convincing/encouraging them with the help of communication/personal traits on the way how the leader is supposed to do it within the context of the specific situation and the specific people

In this form this definition sounds to me quite practical.

Will be continued …


November 07, 2005

I am not the only one

I have not put anything to my blog for about a month and I started to feel some pricks of conscious. However, having looked at my EEE peers' blogs, I realized that I am not the only one person who is not blogging regularly. I would not say that this is a big relief for me but I feel a bit better …

Anyway, I am going to start using my blog very soon. At least I hope to do it.


November 2005

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  • Any additional marks, whichever module they were added to would help the overall average score. I sh… by on this entry
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