March 21, 2019

DRIVING CHANGE

I have also felt that the questions are more important than solutions at this point of time while I am in university. Although there are questions that I am trying to fing answers to. The question of , "How to drive change" always makes me curious. In order to change the current situation of the SSIs, I wouls like to apply the strategic change dimensions for driving it. First of all I need to ask my organisation the question of Why do I need to change? For this I need to measure the current capabilities and the compettencies of my organisation and compare it with the outside environment. I am still figuring a way out in order to find a way to measure the organisational capabilities. This will also help me to move one step ahead in my dissertation. This step is followed by asking what and how to change? Whether I need to change the organisational culture or something else? The how question is the phrase that will guide me to the right place. Kolb's reflective cycle is one other way in which I can grow. Th ereflection cycle can be useful in making a culture of organisational learning philosophy. What if all the employees in my organisation can follow this reflective cycle? Deming's PDSA cycle also comes into picture here. I fing a lot of similarities between these two cycles. The major difference is that PDSA is a process based cycle where you plan and learn whereas reflective cycle you don't plan any thing.

In the simulation exercise in the MOC module there was a lack of communication in the organisation in the Day 2 of the exercise.This was a major reason where the organisation was not able to learn. Once you don't talk to each other there is no learning. Learning comes with sharing. I would want my organisation to communicate well and be transparent in the operations. reflection will lead to fast failure. Fail and learn fast and move ahead. The employees did not know what the R&D department was doing nor did people know about the sales. This is because of the lack of communication. Once people are not communicating there are not able to understand what is their interdependent relationship. This becomes necessary for all the departments to run together. The end of day 2 was a bit disappointing because of the underperformance of the team. There was a need for better communication within the team. As a leader my role was very important in such a scenario. It is not always going to be easy to manage people to change. If I apply this change model in SSis, these difficulties of people not listening and resisting, miscommunicating, misunderstanding will always occur. It is my responsibility as a leader to implement change.

Today's day started with the tools and techniques to implementing change. The whole process has been made into a mindmap. There were some important questions that always came up into my head. We always talk about Continuous improvement culture. But how can I do it? How do I measure the CI or the organisational capabilities? ISO certificate can be an evidence of the capabilities but it still does not convince me. Also while looking at the problems I learnt that the way you ask the problem influences the solutions of the problem. For example for SSis, "How to make more money?" will have different solutions than" How to develop organisational capabilities?" Both problems are intended by the manager to help the business grow but the solutions given by the organisational capability problem does give a more holistic approach for orgsanisational development. The answer of the question "How?" is not very easy but at the same time very interesting.


March 18, 2019

CHANGE SIMULATION

I am on a very interesting module cuurently named as Management of Change. Change leads to competitive advantage. I have seen the unorganised manufacturing sector where there is a lot of resistance to change. The need to survival forces them to develop their capabilities. Today I was put into a simulation where I was made as the finance manager of a company whose functioning I could relate to the organisations that I have experienced.There were a lot of similarities. I would take them one by one. We as a team were leading an organisation that had no direction. The people in all departments were busy with daily work without having a mission and a sense of direction. The main motive was to make profits and achieve a target but employees were clueless. There was a lack of strategic thinking in the organisation. We kept on producing the low profit margin product and no one thought about innovating the product. Easily we could have understood our manufacturing capabilities and produced a fine product. The lead times were too long, and the supply chain was not responding to the needs of the organisation. The possible ways to look at would be to be more customer consciouss and make products after researching the needs of the customer applying QFD in order to gain competitive advantage. Then it is very important for the R&D to introduce new products in the market. The current situation was such that the existing product could can easily loose its importance in the market due to the product life cycle. The introduction of new products is necessary. There was no transparency in the organisation as to the orders that came in and ones which got cancelled. this leads to delays and confusion within the organisation. A tarnsparent system can be of great benefit where the current order processing is fairly visible. The traditional organisations face fair amount of redundant paperwork, there is also a need to double check the processes causing duplicacy. There was further lack of communication within the organisation where the shop-floor workers were not able to communicate the difficulties in the production process with the top level management. These all are the problems that are face in the unorganised sector. To lead the market and change growth strategies are necessary to overcome these challenges. Hoping to enjoy next couple of days in the simulation.


February 11, 2019

BUSINESS STARTS WITH CUSTOMER

This blog will be about the Quality Function Deployment tool that I mentioned in my last blog. It set the basis of the new product development. The tool focuses on the customer. It makes us think what the customer wants, what are the requirements of the customer. Once you know your customer, it sets the basis for the further engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution decisions. This tool is linked with the design areas that need to be targeted in the product looking at the customer requirements. There are certain requirements that I feel are necessary to start implementing this tool. As a part of my critical thinking journey I have realized the importance of word, "Why?" Why such a tool is not used in the small scale manufacturing industries back home. First answer can be the lack of knowledge. But there are various other reasons apart from them. The managers back home never realize that they need to improve the process by which they can know the customer requirments. There is no mapping of the customer chain. The customer cahin might include the wholesaler, retailer , purchaser and the final customer. Mapping the right chain will help to identify the various customers involved in the process. A retailer might be concerned with the packaging of the product and the final customer with the design. So to keep your product in the retailer shelf you need to provide the durable packaging. I feel that these things are considered in the SSIs but on a very informal scale. The definitions of the customer requirements is very informal. QFD as a tool will provide a very logical and structured approach. QFD captures the voice of the customer. It tells all the functions to do concurrent engineering.

I would highlight the most important part of the tool. It is collecting the information from the customer. There are various sources to do so. Why SSIs don't collect the information. Firstly, the whole of the industry has lack of knowledge about the data-driven approach. Very few people realize the importance of data in analyzing and making the important decisions. I highlighted the importance of data in the process improvement using six sigma as well. The collecting of information can sound as a cumbersome task but it needs to be done in order to know the customer requirements. The important point that needs to be noted is that the collection of wrong information or from unreliable sources will lead to wrong decisions because information is the primrary base for QFD.

I came across the affinity diagrams as well. The grouping of information cab be effective and efficient using this source. The main learning point here is that perform the exercise in complete silence and the group performing the organising of data should consist of peple from varied backgrounds.Once the data is grouped in the primrary, secondary and tertiary groups it can be listed on the QFD chart. Why I find this customer requirements grouping to be useful? It is because of the next step , which is to give the importance rating based on customer data and noting the customer competitive comparisons. This tells what customer think about our product w.r.t. our competitor product. This comparitive analysis gives us three importance things- Firstly, If both the competitor product and our product have the same rating, we can then see working on which customer requirement can help us in gaining competitive advantage. Secondly, the less rated criteria tells where to improve and the high rated criteria will tell us where are we the best highlighting the need to maintain it. In order to make the best decision this comparison should be compared with the customer importance rating to know the importance of each characteristic.

I feel if the SSIs are able to do even this amount of work in QFD effectively, it is already enough for them to make the right decisions. I will keep this as the first phase of achievement in QFD if I wish to apply it. The next phase calls for looking at engineering requirements based on the customer requirements. We can now look at our competitor degign and analyze in what aspects are we better or worse than them. The relationship matrices can be beneficial in establishing the link between which design helps in achieving which customer requirement. This tool puts the complete picture in front of the manager for decision making. If there is a blank column in the relationship matrix, it means that the particular design characteristic which we thought was important does not help us fulfill any customer requirement. And in the same way, a blank row tells us that the particular customer requirement is not fulfilled by any of the desugn characteristic. It calls for making changes in the product design in order to fulfill the requireemnts.

This is the major benefit of the QFD tool. It shows the complete picture of the process and guides the manager on the next step. This tool sets the path for the new product development and takes us through the process of designing and researching about the product in the initial stages of development so that we do not make too many cahnges during the manufacturing process. I learnt that this matrix form can be helpful in decision making of any form. One example was shown by Paul during the Hoshin Kanri presentation when he helped an organisation to understand their most important area of focus using the decision making matrix. I would like to explore it further and know more about it. QFD essentially helps to make quality products. What is quality? I need to define it but I feel it starts from the leadership of the organisation. The Japanese companies have applied the Statistical Process Control and QFD very effectively in their organisations. The world knows about Japanese Quality. I need to figure out a way to use them. It starts with collecting data and putting the right processes in place I think. The next step will be to identify those right processes.


February 05, 2019

RE–DESIGNING the Design

MBE always keeps on exciting me. I have had quite a few product design experiences in the manufacturing industry. But I realize now that most of the design specefications that I was part of were merely assumptions. WE have never followed a structured process of designing the product. Without trying the new approaches, I would never know the importance of following the structured process of listening to the voice of the customer. I came across two tools namely the FMECA and the Fault tree analysis. FMECA was a very structured approach. It can be very structured approach in finding the possible failures in the product. The overall ideology is that design the product to perfection in the initial stage so that there are no inflated costs in the manufacturing stage in case of defects in design. The FMECA tools helps to achieve this ideology. We start off by looking at the product failures such as breaking of the shoe sole pasting. The possible effect of this thing would be development of rashes on the feet of the customer. The cause for such a failure mode will be due to the unskilled pasting by equipment. Such a analysis of the whole product helps the manufacturer understand better the design of the product and related training needs attached with the product. This presents a complete story of the processes and the design of the product to the manufacturer. The important part is to rank the most important causes using the Severity, Occurence and detection rating. This will help the designer know exactly which place to focus on and where to work upon. The second tool was also very interesting one to follow. It is the Fault Tree Analysis. The loophole I found in this approach was that it is diificult to use before designing the product. The faults are found out and analysis is done when there is a design of product in hand. So for me it doesn't really click too much in terms of designing the product. No doubt it is a good approach and tool to find the various causes of failures. I have found Quality Function Deployment as a very effective tool and appraoch in terms of designing the product and New Product development. The voice of customer plays a very important role in the approach. Just make what customer wanrs. QFD gives us a systematic approach to know what the customer wants. The interesting part was to use the the results in QFD to determine the competitive advantage of the product from the customer perspective and the areas of improvement as well. Basically what these tools do really well is that they present the whole story of customer requirement /design/ failure modes/ process failures in front of the manufacturer or service provider in a graphical and easy viewable form. Glancing at them helps to take better decisions with respect to the requirements. But the important point to be noted is that, it is necessary to perform these functions correctly in order to make correct decisions. Any mistakes in the data collection process or any form of bias can lead to ineffective application of these tools.


January 24, 2019

DECISION MAKING

Today's day brought an end to something that I was really excited about. It is about value-elicitation. I had a fair bit of idea about my values but now most importantly, I have the ranking of them on which are the ones that are most important. As a child I was educated in an environment of value creation but little did I know back then the importance of these values in decision making. As a leader of the organisation I have a set of values/template which can help me in making the right decisions. The more these decisions are aligned with my values the more satisfied , well-off and happy I would be. I will develop these personal values further to set them as a basis of my organisational values. The more aligned the leader is to these organisational values the better will be the synergy in the organisation. These personal values can help any leader to develop the desired organisational values. These values can define all the spheres of decision making in the business. A organisation with the values of compassion and respect for the community will not shy away from taking decisions within the organisation such as setting up health and safety mechanisms in the business. On the other hand, an organisation with the value of being the most profitable business will align all its decisions that generate immediate profit building. Having defined the values, it is easier for the employees to understand as well what to expect from the organisation. This can further help to set up the Human Resource strategy of the organisation. It eases up the recruitment process as well. The people applying for the job in the organisation know exactly know whether they want to work in the business looking and interpreting the values of the organisation. Some people enjoy working in the hard core money making businesses such as investment banks whereas other people don't. Adaptability can be a core value of the business. It means whenever business faces a new challenge, all the employees need to develop an acumen where they are able to welcome change and adapt to dynamic business environments. Values can go even one step further in defining the brands. Reliability is a human value but it can also be a brand value. We all know the reliability of NIKE as a shoe brand. Values are a reflection of our personalities , our organisations , our brand value and above all the kind of decisions we will make. Again, the more the decisions are aligned to the values, the more happy a person would be. This has brought a complete circle to my learning in the leadership module. I asked this question what is the right thing to do? I know now what is the right thing to do. Taking the decisions on the basis of my values will always help me figure out the right thing to do.



January 17, 2019

BEING EFFECTIVE AS A LEADER

Today I was given an opportunity to lead by my team members in an exercise known as Black Swann. I was not too willing to lead because I was not mentally prepared, but couldn't refuse to the task. The challenge was again reading and giving the right instructions and delivering the right message to the group. All this week I was thinking about motivation and getting the people on board. I started the exercise on the same thought. I tried to align my team members to the vision by a energetic smile. The power to create the right environment lies in my hand. So I tried. This was a learning I had from yesterday. Yes the first box tick. I learnt and applied. As per feedback I received, that energetic briefing helped the team to align with the vision. When there is one goal going on in the team, the work of leader becomes easy. All the time this week I was thinking about aligning people and motivating them. After yesterday I thought I have learnt a fair bit. But guess what , a great learning was waiting for me today. Today I was able to reflect on the operational aspect of my leadership. As always there will be some positives and some which are not. I ll talk about the areas of improvement. Yesterday I made a conclusion about reflecting your actions as a leader. Today I applied it but not to the full extent. There was a time when I went into brain fade mode and didn't think about the things going on. Rather I should have reflected on the strategy and suggested the team to develop a new action plan. We did the reflection bit in the first couple of hours but weren't able to do it at the end. My responsibility was to lift up the team spirit. You can never get complacent. It's always about following the PDSA cycle. Resilience is a very important quality to have. Such small instances of energy can have major impact on the outcome.

Another thing is the ability to work under pressure. I know that I can perform under pressure. But it is necessary to think crystal clear under pressure. I was not able to fully achieve it. A calm mind can lead to better decision making. This is something to pick up from the great leaders. They are one step ahead of the game. They have the larger picture in mind when people are involved into tasks. If I could improve it even more further, that calmness can be infectious for the benefit of the whole team. Today's learnings for me were really from an operational point of view. One thing that I am sure about right now is that leadership is about learning daily. More I reflect the more I learn.

It is interesting how the learning points that I concluded yesterday took a practical form for mr today. I have already discussed about the reflection and creating an environment bit. Further, I talked about skill development centres yesterday. I could relate it with the concept of value-based CSR from today's session. I also believe in the social responsibility. I was moved by what Ratan Tata said about CSR, that material benefit is of no good unless it is contributing toward's development of the country.These skill centres can also serve as being responsible towards the society. There has been a lot to take from this module already and still there is one day left. Applying all my learnings today gave me greater satisfaction. To end, I would say that values have become an importnt part of discussion everyday. Somehow or the other I end up thinking about them, be it decision making or CSR. Exploring them further.


January 16, 2019

Never Judge Employee's Performance

It is interesting to observe that I am doing a leadership module and I am blogging about various aspects such as strategy and employee motivation. This is exactly what leadership is. It is everywhere. It is essential for wide range of activities within business and everyday life. I will be building upon the yesterday's thought about setting people's expectations. To bring all the people together it is necessary to bring a shared goal and shared vision on the table. It is important to note that all the menmers of the team need to buy-in on the vision and the goal . It has to come from within. A leader has to be aware enough to give their team a sense of purpose. This is where revolutionary leadership comes into picture. showing the people a graeter vision and having them establish a shared goal. I can feel passion bubbling out from the word revolutionary. A leader should never expect the same amount from passion from the other members. Just accept and take whatever they have to offer on a daily basis. Respect what they want to do. Maybe that is how they can work the best. The true sense of leadership will be realized when a leader creates an environment which instills high amount of motivation within the team. Also, if the situation gets critical and leader realizes that the team needs to put in more effort , that calls for action from the leader. Ask for help from group members. According to experience of my classmates, leader is always given help if they ask for it. Overall, Reflect and Take Action ; and create right learning environment.

Having talked about expectations, how do we measure the performance of the employees. How to give them promotions? Judging the performance of the employees is a bad way to motivate them. It includes, giving ranks, declaring the best and the worst employees and firing on the basis of that. Never link performance with pay. The employees will never feel motivated if someone is getting a higher pay sitting on the same table. So how to proceed forward. The concept of developmental performance appraisal was somehow catchy for me. We don't rank and employee and give them marks. Here our vision is to push them to keep on improving. There can be feedbacks on the same level creating a learning environment for the employee. But now let me consider the exploited workforce. How to help them improve continuously? Maybe creating skiil development centres for them within the organisation can help in their career development. Why to provide skills to just my employees? It can also be available for all the unskilled labour in the region. This learning and development on the mass scale will increase the employibility of the workforce. This sets the basis for the revolution. This is something what revolutionary leaders could do. It takes some difficult decisions to start a revolution. If this thing is done by a particular organisation, won't all the people would be willing to work there? giving them skills means empowering them. Such a decision has the potential to set the revolutionary vision for the industry. It just has to start with one organisation, and I believe it will spread like fire.

Important thing is to convert this vision into action. The organisational vision can be implemented through HOSHIN KANRI, which I wish to explore further. But, there are certain things that are possible if the leader is ready to amke tough decisions. How can these tough decisions be implemented/taken? A leader's values will guide these tough decisions , because something that is tough for the ordinary, is a necessary thing to do for a leader. The values will guide you home. These values will motivate the revolutionary leader to take the right decisions and define the right things. Look at history, most of the revolutions happen when strong values are applied into action by leaders. Hoping for happiness of each living being!


LEADERSHIP IN REFLECTION

Everyday forces you to learn something new. There were a couple of learning points at the end of the day. But how do I know the actions that are required to build on the learnings? It comes from reflection. Taking the feedback from your group members is really important in order to know how to adjust the leadership style. In a multi-cultural group, there might be different expectations from different people. As a leader, expect all to have different in opinions. All the members might not have a same style of working or might not be on the same page as you. It is very necessary to then reflect on your actions and try to improve them. This is not the first time in my life that I have received a very conflicting view on the way I should lead a team. My way is to expect the same amount of seriousness and commitment from the team members. But sometimes due to different personalities and cultures my team expects different things from me. Maybe they want their own space or they do not want to be convinced on what are my opinions. So what do I do as a leader? The first step I have established right now is to reflect. Reflect on your actions. Reflect on the impact that your actions are having on the group. Reflect on what are the necessary things to be done in order to achieve the goal. There might be instances where certain actions are necessary, and application of those actions might not make you a likeable personality. But the questions that a leader really needs to ask themselves while reflecting are that, Do I really want to be liked? Or do I really want to be respected? How do I manage the expectations of my group?

The point to consider here is that, when you as a leader have different expectations from what your group thinks, you as a leader have a different definition of "Right thing to do" in your dictionary. It might not be something very right in someone else's dictionary. Reflection will help to identify the necessary actions to be taken. If a leader can take feedback from the team, then they will be able to act better and develop the correct definition of "Doing the right thing".

To summarize, here is something that I have learned which can be applied differently in my leadership experiences -" The feedback mechanism is necessary to see your direction as a leader. The reflection will help you to keep on updating and improving your actions which will lead to a better end result." I am looking forward to explore more on managing people expectations and defining the right thing while leading, because I recognize that I cannot expect the same level of motivation from everyone because it is something that lies under individual's jurisdiction.


January 14, 2019

Can leaders motivate?

Today we were running a very interesting simulation exercise in class which was about the styles of leadership. My tean leader was given a role of transformational leader. A transformational leader influences the people with vision. What I found out during the exercise was that it is difficult to motivate people. If a person do not want to do their work it is a bit chaotic for organisation. But Paul said that we cannot motivate people. It is their wish. I can conclude such a statement only when I try to apply it. As leaders we need to make some tough decisions . The best a leader can do is to create the right kind of learning environment. Again it boils down to the right processes. It is the right kind of learning environment that will give the right results. The questions that I need to ask myself is that ,"What do the people of my organisation really need?" If I am able to fulfill their needs , I can motivate them or atleast I can give them an opportunity to get motivated. Again it comes down to maslow's lower three needs , fulfilling them.

In the second exercise for the day, I came across a very common fact, that leaders have to take very risky decisions. Decisions can have various sort of effects. So being the leader, how do I ensure that I take the right decisions? When you want to transform the thinking, you need to be right in your actions. The answer is something that I am coming across too often now-a-days. It is the value system of the person. Your values will guide you towards the right path. Same applies for the organisations as well. The values of my organisation will guide the kind of decisions it will make, the people it will recruit, the kind of environment it will present. Having such guidelines help make the right decisions such as hiring and firing. Need to develop a value system!


January 13, 2019

LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS

Leadership is all about people, so are businesses. Hence, leadership becomes so important in a business context. The next week is going to be really interesting. There are a lot of things that can be learnt about leadership. The main challenge that I see for myself is to apply leadership effectly in the business. Although I have been at various leadership positions earlier but there is always something that you can learn about. The current theme I have in my mind is to learn to apply leadership in various forms. The question is ," How leadership can be applied to fill the gap between doing the right thing and fulfilling people's expectations?" Sometimes you might a face a situation where people prefer to be in their comfort zone and don't realize the importance of doing things differently. The role of leader is to influence them. But it is easier said than done. Leadership when applied in the right way can put in a stepping stone for various organisation implementations. It plays a role in creating a continuous improvement culture, implementation of six sigma programmes and deployment of human resource strategies. It plays a role in every sphere. I hope to answer the question in the coming days of the leadership module. It is going to be exciting. The important thing is reflecting back everyday, that's how you learn. Hoping to write a blog by the end of the module and atleast developing a process by which I will find an answer to my question. That's something I have learnt, isn't it? The process is always important. Not to worry about the results.

The last week was pretty interesting, there were certain things discussed in the class that triggered a lot of thoughts. Always the concern for me is to drive a revolution in the industry where people have low levels of awareness. It can be tough to introduce changes without people understanding them and getting them on-board. Interesting point is about the intrinsic motivation. How to get people motivated to do the job without any monetary factors. One way is to take the money off the table. That is a point to consider. But it is something that I need to do regularly to keep up with the cyclical inflation changes. Should not be a major problem.

The term that I like particularly , I read about it a few days ago, it is "Revolutionary Leadership". What does it mean? I cannot answer it on a general basis but I can think of how it can be applied in my scenario. We were having a discussion in the class about the Maslow's Hierarchy. The bottom three parts of the hierarchy are Psychological, Safety and Belonging needs. Paul asked me this question, "Do you think that the workers in your organisation have these three needs fulfilled?" My answer was straight no. This is what revolutionary leadership can do for me. Satisfy all these three needs of people part of my organisation. Fulfill their esteem needs. Make them feel they are respected. Then I can bring intrinsic motivation into picture. That will be a start of a journey to make a contionuously improving organisation. Again the stimulator is leadership.

There was one another learning in this study week module for me. I have always observed researches backing up their arguments with facts and research. it gives credibility to your views. Particular experience was when I was trying to make a point and it was backed up by a research outcome by Paul. I couldn't convince everyone just on the basis of my view. After the fact the argument seemed to be more strong. This is something that I have learnt as a WMG Research student. Waiting for an exciting week ahead . Hoping to reflect and learn.


March 2019

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  • Good post Saurabh. I agree that sustainable success in any field cannot be achieved through a quick … by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • Thank you for your thoughts Paul. Critically analysing the point, most of the business have short te… by Saurabh Kukreja on this entry
  • Lots of thoughts here Saurabh. Picking up on your last point, perhaps the starting point is to consi… by Paul Roberts on this entry

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