It is quite difficult to select appropriate decision tools because there aren't only one rule in doing this. Different people have difference opinions towards this. Obviously, the selected tools must suitable for the problems, that is these tools is useful to solve out this kind of problems or under this kind of environment, these tools is effective. But this is not enough. The tools must also fit for the decision makers. In fact, it is the decision makers who choose the tools and use them. If they don't prefer or they aren't familiar with the tools, they aren't able to use it effectively. Sometimes, the feeling of boards must be considered. For example, AHP is criticized by the unclear results. The people who conducts it have no problem with how it be presented, however, if the boards do understand this tool at all, it will be difficult for them to understand it within several slides.
April 10, 2011
It's always easy to learn but difficult to put it into practice. For example, we all understand the importance of the customer since we were children because there isn't lack of the murmur forever: customer is god. After I started the mbe module, I couldn't remember how many times I came across the crucial of customer, whether from teachers, books or journals. Unfortunately, when we were doing the task, we didn't realize the importance of the customer. We considered much on the thoughts of the board without noticing what the board wants is just what their clients require. In the environmental consultant practice, even though we just finished the rdm module, sometimes I couldn't stop making judgments and decisions through my intuition. But this situation is easy to understand. We can learn a formula in 1 minute, but it will take about 2 days to understand it and maybe two weeks to use it sophisticated. The more practice, the better utilization of the formula we can gain. So we need more practice in order to further understanding what we learned and then apply it.
It's hard to justify whether wiki is useful or not. I think is depends on each student because some of them would like to use it while others don't get use to it. Also, it depends on the modules. For example, in LE module our team almost didn't use it at all because we always worked together and created all the ppts together. Even though we searched some information after teamwork, we just brought them to the next meeting instead of uploading them into wiki. Everyone has his/her own opinion towards a question and then looks for information according to his/her minds. Even though this information has been uploaded into wiki, others may not know what does he/her mean at all and then give up reading. Therefore, face-to-face talking appears more effective and practical because we can understand others opinion in several minutes and give feedback to them immediately. But in KBAM module, we used wiki frequently because the task was so tough and it was impossible for everyone to work together all the time. However, as far as I'm concerned, the contribution of wiki this time wasn't at communication. We still brought all the information we found to the meeting and discussed together. The contribution of wiki was it helps our leader to organize our work more efficiency. We created different pages for everyone so that the leader can see clearly what we did and thus can link our work quickly. Anyway, it was a great help.
April 09, 2011
Yesterday Paul asked which way is better to learn, lectures or teamwork? I think it's hard to decide which one is more effective generally. Some students prefer lectures and they can learn more through lectures while some students may prefer teamwork. Education can't always satisfy all the students' requirements. For example, there are usually 2 or 3 talent students in a class who don't need to follow their teachers' instructions. In contrast, may be 2 or 3 students can hardly understand what the teachers' say. Most of the time, teachers are teaching the majority of the students but not everyone. Generally speaking, we learn theories in lectures and obtain more practical experience from teamwork. Even for one student, he requires theoretical knowledge in one condition and seeks for practical knowledge in another situation. In my opinion, theory knowledge is more important than practical knowledge at the beginning of learning or else we don't need to go to schools. We learn theory at schools and then study practical knowledge at work. Without theory it is difficult to learn in practice. Some of the Chinese didn't get well education but they performed well at work because of the experiences, they learned a lot of things from practice. Most young people, though they learned a lot theory in school but they could work effectively because the lack of experience. However, after several years working, the abilities of these young people usually went beyond their seniors. This was because the theoretical knowledge helped them better at summarizing and conclusion.
April 08, 2011
It's different to prepare 4 presentations and 1 presentation. In CBE and LE, we were required to complete 5 or 6 mini-projects together. At that time, we needed to find as much information as we could and then summarized them into our presentations. As long as we got enough information, we could make our ppt quickly. But this time, things changed. We found a lot of information because we only concentrated on one topic, then sometimes we didn't know what we should put into our ppt. The whole presentation is only 20 minutes, but after our research each of the aspect in asset management could be talked over 20 minutes, if we wished. Thus, we had to discuss our slides, modify them and rehearse them again and again in order to control our time. Obviously, we could only show part of our outcomes in the presentation. The requirement of this presentation is higher than before not only because we have to spend the same amount of time in one question but also it requires a better skill in summarizing our work. But the "better skill" must base on "a better understanding". Only if we can understand the topic clearly we are able to make a proper summary. Things turn out to be the same in real practice. Companies usually choose more than one consultant firms at the beginning and then decide which one to choose according to their scheme outlines. So it is important for the consultants to think carefully what the board really wants to know and how to draw their attentions in 20 minutes presentation.
April 07, 2011
Few SMEs have a whole asset management system, it is easy to understand. There are seven aspects in asset management according to our material and each of the aspect has its own management system. Each of the system can go so much detailed into it and can be time-consuming and expensive. Also, because of there aren't so many assets in SMEs, so that managers believe the assets are easy to be managed without a asset management system and thus time and money can be saved. It may work and lots of SMEs run well without such a system. I'm not an expert to judge it's ok or not. But in my opinion, these companies at least should have emergency response plans and provide basic training for employees in dealing with immediate incidents. Besides, employees need to be familiar with their emergency response plans so that it helps them to keep clam during disasters. What's more, emergency response plan is important to large companies, either. I believe there are many risk analysis in aircraft industry and railway industry, but misfortune continue happening. None of the companies has perfect management system and of course, not every hazard can be identified. Therefore, companies can never overlook creating their emergency response plan.
It is impossible for a leader to understand all of the leadership theories. In fact, many leaders lead their followers without reading any leadership theory. This doesn't mean they that don't understand leadership, they learn it through practice and experience instead of reading books and articles. Each leader has their own leadership style but some of them build their style without noticing they are doing so. They also don't know what their style is. But this doesn't affect the effectiveness of their leadership. Some of them even don't want to learn some related theories from books because they point out it will affect they opinions. I don't want to challenge the useful of books but there are lots of ways to learn knowledge without books. For example, some people prefer to learn through their real experience while some people obtain knowledge from books. It's hard to illustrate which kind of leader is more effective. Or perhaps it's better to combine theories with pratical experience.
April 05, 2011
Asset management is quite broad and there are many aspects needed to be considered. Obviously, none of the companies can focus on every perspective in asset management and also, it is impossible to work on each of the points because of the cost of time and money. Therefore, companies must choose the must crucial parts in their asset management. In the presentation, our role is the consultants and we found that it is a difficult task. One of the main reason is we aren't familiar with the conditions in WaveRiders. We spent a lot of time in identifying what assets WaveRiders could have and trying to search for the potential problems that these assets may generate. Thus, I can understand why some companies don't trust consultant firms. No one can be as familiar as the employees in WaveRiders do in understanding the situations with WaveRiders. If the consultant firms fail to have a clear picture of WaveRiders, it is impossible for them to identify the problems. Take the health and safety management as an example. We don't know exactly what assets WaveRiders has, we don't know what is the most dangerous equipment and material, we don't know what happened before in WaveRiders. Employees in WaveRiders may not be experts at asset management but they know their company better than others. Specialists in consultant firms are good at the asset management but perhaps they have no idea about WaveRiders before they receive the project. So it is hard to say who is better at doing this task.
There are lots of leadership theories and it is hard to select the most suitable ones. For example, the selected theory must be compatible with the environment, the characteristics of leaders as well as the followers. However, it is hard to achieve this condition. A theory may fit the environment but confront with a leader's personality. Also, it is common that a leader has different characteristics with his followers. In addition, it is not easy to define the personalities of the employees because they may have a number of different types of characters. Perhaps one of the three factors has the dominant position among them and has a significant influence on the development of the company. In that case, choosing the theory that is compatible to that factor may make leadership become more effective. Meanwhile, the negative affects of the leadership towards the other factors need to be treated carefully in order to reduce potential problems.
It is possible for the leader to implement more than one kind of leadership theories at one time so as to meet the above requirements. It seems common, but it may cause conflicts either. Two different kinds of theory definitely require different behaviors and skills. It's hard to balance them. When deploying two theories together, it is unavoidable these theories encounter each other and generate conflicts. In our pma, we can select different kinds of leadership theories to the CEO and the director. But I just doubt the collision between them. What's more, will the people feel comfortable even though they are affecting by two totally different leaders.
Yesterday, we did an exercise and during that exercise we did what we used to do before: when we had different opinions towards an issue, we took the idea supported by the majority of people. This seems to be the most popular solution to solve conflicts in discussions. But the ideas may not be the best ones all the time. We didn¡¯t get some good results in some decisions though the decisions had been support by the majority of us or even all of us. The truth is always on the side of few man. Perhaps the sentence is a bit more extreme, but it sounds reasonable. Taking the majority's opinion is helpful to make a fair decision but it may not be an effective method in choosing the best ideas. I didn't see a more effective way to work out this situation. Almost every companies let the top manager to make the final decision or let the board to vote for the options even though no one can guarantee it will generate a good decision.