June 10, 2014

Consciously vs Unconsciously being aware

I'm going to discuss this in terms of actively and passively doing something.

Learning from the past is undoubedtly very valuable and can be vouched for by any wise expereinced person, and is a fundamental to knowledge management (learning from existing knowledge).

However, many fail to understand an importnat point, learning from the past and doing what others or you did in the past, should not be the solution to everything. For instance, if i learn from what others did last year in MBE and apply the informaiton I recieved to this year, I MIGHT do well. However, there is no certainty in this, so if something changes this year (that is different to how things were last year), I cannot rely soley on that information. But it seems that in many job roles, people tend to act based on how their predecessors did it, hoping that since the previous person performed well, following that person's informaiton should lead me to the same result.

However, the world doesn't operate on a constant line, so people cannot think passively only, but should be active and receptive to what goes on around them; thus, conciously being aware. I believe that it is a double-edged sword when new workers are taught to understand previous data/knowledge/informaiton properly, so they know what to do, but in fact, the high-paced market has caught up within a year already and there are some things that need to be changed, but you were just told to learn from what the preivous person did.

So when something unexpected comes up, do you perform based on what you learned about the past, or do you actively engage in possiblities that can be different?

I strongly suggest the latter.

June 08, 2014

Knowledge Management & IT

Reading on how the concepts of Knowledge management, specifically knowledge framework, it's always intrigued me to find ways around making knowledge a more unified, tangible, and accessible thing in an organization.

And after thinking about it a lot, it seems that the most simple and easy way to start...is by blogging!

To have some sort of repository centre for knowledge, it should obviously be digital in a company, but limited to any single method might not be the best idea because knowledge might come in many forms, such as some random tips from an experienced person, or a well rehearsed practice in solving a problem that can be adopted by others to use as well.

So having a dynamic system, where people can post up their learnings, insights, knowledge, reflection, etc - and making it interactive (such as this blog system is to a certain extent) so that people can share their views on the idea as well to spir creativity and innovation.

But no matter how fancy this framework may be, in the end, I truly believe it's down to culture. No matter how nice a car you have, if you are too lazy to drive, you'll always use public transport, or vice versa. Same applies to having a proper framework - so i think this requires a lot of thought and I hope one of us at least can really make this happen, effectively in the respective organizations you guys go into.

June 07, 2014

Management setting an example

Why should any employer do something their boss didn't do?

Why should I try harder when I can see you who is higher in position than me does not?

These questions are often echoed in the health & safety conversation, where the relucatance to accept a new practice, that requires more work & effort sometimes, strictly needs the guidance and leadership of superiors. But the only way the leadership can be convincing is if they walk their talk, so they have to act on what they say as well, and not just expect people to follow new rules and regulations when the leaders themselves don't follow it.

It would be simply useless to enforce a no smoking area in a company when the leader of the company smokes wherever they want right?

Likewise to instilling a safety culture, that if the leader doesn't show the importance by doing it themselves, then no one will see its importance.

June 06, 2014

Safety Management Systems

Health & Safety is no doubt an important aspect of an organization, although the degree of that may vary in different industries, such as a financial company or an aviation company.

I've had some exposure to the safety management system manuals, and its very technical, although some things can be practical.

But I want to point out, after talking to a safety aviation expert, is the importance of transparency. This is not appropriately covered so far in our readings, but it is something that has a very high impact on the business as well. Creating a culture of transparency and honesty, where mistakes are reported, is so crucial to the health and safety of employees and its customers as well, such as if I accidentally dropped a screw into a commercial airplane's jet engine. If I had a boss who is just ruthless and creates a cutlure of fear, I might try to avoid getting scolded or kicked out, and try to resolve the matter myself, not following strict procedures or even avoiding the problem entirely, what happens is hundreds of people can die, and this is actually a true case on a commercial flight, where a simple screw killed everyone on board.

So surely this might sound extreme, but when the health & safety mechanisms fail, extreme isn't a rarity.

Therefore, I encourage everyone to explore this area of health & safety as well, the transparency culture and a workforce ridded of fear, where if a mistake is made, the employee will report it, and go even further by suggesting ways of ensuring it doesn't happen again, thus making the place an even safer place in the end.

June 05, 2014

Asset Management – Don't take it for granted

After having a chance to go through all of Asset Management's aspects in the moodle, I'd like to share that although these contents may seem tedious or overly techincal for some, the importance of these points to the success of an organization is as vital as making as closing a lucrative deal.

Without getting into detail, the proper understanding of how to efficiently manage the organizations facilities (both in the planning and operational stages) are very importnat because any breakdown or mistake in these systems may stop the company for working properly.

For instance, the clearest example is emergency planning, the contigency plans are planned out to the smallest details in the organization, because it is supposed to help save the company in times of crisis, although it may not be staring at the company in the face at the time of planning, but proper leadership will not oversee these matters definitely.

Also, when conducting business plans, or feasability studies for starting a business, or expanding the company, assets management is extremely importnat and needs to be considered in detail, as I can explain in another occassion when I had to do it for my previous employer.

What's importnat is when these aspects are looked at from a real-life perspective, they are key to a company's success, as much as any other aspect of running a business.

March 23, 2014

Followship, greatest asset of a Leader

Belbin is probably one of the most well known for identifying attributes of teams, almost hand-picking up based on different characters. But reality isn't like that. That does not mean, however, that we cannot mold the followship into the style we want them to be.

This is actually controlling the variable/situation into a favorbale one for the leader, which I believe is every leader's dream to have their own dream team, but I believe this is often misunderstood by choosing people to join the team, instead of molding the team you have into your style. I really believe the latter is harder but more rewarding, because you, the leader get to develop others through your own coaching/leadership style.

If you can accomplish this, then you can have a very effective team, but it doesn't mean it is only about the leader but ignoring the subordinates, it's actually about putting much more emphasis in the development of the subordinates in a particular style. This style does not mean it has to be pleasing to the leader, but it is in the same direction as everyone else

March 22, 2014

Can we create our own situations in leadership

Reading theories such as the contingency, path-goal, and situational theories, all seems to suggest one situation or another. But if you take a step back, the theories themsleves should be chosen based on the correct situation as well, right?

The fact that we have to choose the best theory to help WaveRider succeed again is in iteself, making us choose which theory best suits the situation, which IS what situational theory is. Because of this, i'm getting the idea that situaitonal theory is self-evident and every decision we make is based on what situaiton we are in, so the situational theory does not only apply to choosing the theory for WaveRiders or possibly using it for WaveRider's executvies, but applies to all circumstances in life.

A straightforward example would be 'what should I have for dinner?' If I just had chicken for lunch, I don't want to have chicken for dinner, but if I didn't have chicken for lunch, I would want to have chickenf or dinner. Therefore, the situation I am in is not wanting to repeat the choice of my meal and I make a decision based on that situaiton.

Bringing this further to the leadership context, Hersey & Blanchard suggests us to either be director or supportive depending on the situation, and breaks these 2 options down into 4 categories for us to choose from for each style (S1-S4, D1-D4). But exploring this idea, it seems that this is only confining the situations and reactions to the situation to what’s being proposed, but is it really possible to act within the scope of just D1-D4/S1-S4 for all the situations this world can shoot at us?

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t agree more with the director Hersey & Blanchard is taking, but it certainly is just the tip of the iceberg for the bigger picture of leadership styles, which is truly all encompassing.

March 21, 2014

Contingency Theory – position of authority

Studying the contingency theory more and more, it seems to me that Fiedler tries to make the 'position of authority' a crieteria that a leader should be aware of, making it something they should acquire.

However, I firmly believe that the authority is more than just a title, but the result of one exerting knowledge, wisdom, valuable inputs, performance, and recieving respect.

These cannot be simply acquired by the leader themselves, but recognized by others (in a higher, equal, or lower position). I believe this form of authority, respect, is more reliable and effective because people are willing to listen to people they respect, but oftenly only act like they're listening to those who they are required to show respect to (superficially).

Position of authority can be gained in many straightforward ways, such as achieving targets, being old enough, knowing the right people at the right time, etc.

But gaining respect, I believe, is a different league of difficulty and can only happen if you first start by showing the respect, then gaining it from others who voluntarily respect you.

A leader who has respect from others is what we should aim for, not becoming a leader doing whatever it takes.

RDM Reflection – Presentation

The approxiately 20 hours spent for workin on the presentation of which actions to take for Wave Riders was truly abundant in new knowledge of tools that I already had some basics in, and tools that are very new to me.

The method in wokring is separating the tools between team memebers and becoming an expert in them before sharing it with the rest of the team. The team then brainstorms on whether to go ahead with it or not and tries to solve the decisions collectively, which I believe is very important and gave me the opportunity to have a proper understnading on a variety of tools.

As it turned out, many tools that I thought I knew how to use properly, I actually did not know as much as I was supposed to, to effetively use the tool, such as the Decision making tree which I thought was only a qualitative tool to decide on actions, but as it turns out, numeric value is needed. A tool that I am very fond of is AHP because of the software that helps us in calculating the results, althought it is a qualitative input, the weights/values given does quantify the importance and gives a very clear and straightforward decision in the end.

I felt, however, that the trade-off and PMI analysis are very similar, and althought I enjoyed doing it, it turns out that they are not as reliable as I thought they would be, so I could not just choose o ne or the other, but a combinaion (of both, or maybe even other tools). This turns out tobe time consuming and even repetitive.

Altogether, the experience of working on the presentaiton gave me the opportunity to learn how to use these new tools from a first-hand experience, and the best part is the result falls in line with the other tools used which is a confirmation of our decision. The teamwork environment played an essential role in making this possible becuase I was able to learn from my teammates, and also share the knoweldge I gained, which ended up being something we agreed on or constructively argued over and came to a consensus in the end as well.

If there is something I felt I should have done differently, it would be to better understand the other tools that I was not in charge of, as good as my teammates understand them. However, I am aware that it is impossible to know every tool within the gime given, but I can definitely use this opportunity in applying the tools to a case study like Wave Riders and try applying it to other cases I have to decided on in the future as well.

March 18, 2014

Signs of a failed leadership (con't)

Continuing from my last blog about indicators of leadership.

This time I want to mention an indicator that I believe means failure.

I recently discussed with my peer the roles of consultant firms. I personally felt that consultants are called in to solve problems. Problems that apparently cannot be solved by the experts working in the company who knows the people, culture, process, system, etc. best. So outsiders are called and paid monumental sums to help fix a problem in a company that cannot be solved. Who should be responsible for this? I point to the leadership, because generally only leaders can be the ones calling in outside help, which is seen as an option in improving performance or reducing problems.

So in perspective, the leader(s) failed to solve a problem, individuall or collectively, and decided to frantically seek help from strangers who clearly are not working full-time in this company but are paid large sums to come in and try to evaluable and apply a solution.

Some may say outside perspective is needed. However, what is the point of proper brainstorming/reflection within the company then? Isn't the purpose of brainstorms and 360 degree reviews meant to bounce ideas off of each other and get valuable insights form each other on matters that cannot be solved by themselves? So by calling in outside perspective, the leader has failed to pull out the heavily invested intellect within the organization that can give different perspectives.

There is only one condition that I believe requires outside help, just like legal matters. When entering new ares or industries that the company intends to become involved, the current expertise of the company may not be ready for the new envrionment, therefore, consultants or outsiders in various forms are called in to advise on these specific, expert matters.

This is not an attack on the industry, but an observation that is being overseen: that the failure of the leadership is being covered up by further investment from outsiders.

March 2023

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