March 16, 2011

SMART decision trees

My learning today in regard to decision making was the effect, visualisation of our decisions could help in the decision making process.

When we discuss in regard to any aspect of decision making, the point that really stood out for me was how much better understanding of the problem is gained by being able to see the entire problem and try analysisng it.

That is the reason why i beleive almost every team is doing the decision tree analysis. The decision tree analysis really helps gain clarity and also puts things into a much better financial as well as overall perspective.

The two tools, for me, that I really enjoyed working on and understanding was SMART and Decision tree. While I understand and did use tools like AHP and grid analysis, etc. non of the tools really helped me feel a tangable decision with a logical flow with my priorities like the way SMART did or help understand the problem and put things into perspective like the way the decision tree succeeded.

March 15, 2011

partialities and preferences.

During the implementation of the tools used for making decision, a certain aspect I noticed was how I already had a prejudiced idea on which decision I would prefer over the other. While in this case it was the right choice, prefering one certain choice does tend to skew the importance and factors considered towards this choice. I suppose this is a problem that everybody else faces but it really is soo hard to keep a neutral view towards any choice that needs to be made in life. You always have one that stands out compared to the rest. The worst part?? majority of the time it does not work out very well and is probably not the best choice to take up.

March 14, 2011

ADD uncertainty and luck ;)

After this module started, one thing i have in particular kept looking out for was about how many of my decisions were made very impulsively and on the basis of gut feeling. While i admit that I dint make any life changing decisions in this week since the commencement of this module, i did realise i could certainly use a lot more thinking into most decisions instead of doing things impulsively and spontaneously.

Another couple of things I did realise was understanding how hard it is managers to make decisions. Most decisions that are made involve so many assumptions and uncertainities. Even with our team having the data given to us with so many things made so clear and lucid along with even the probabilities too, we still found it so hard to decide how to go about certain aspects and ended up having so many many doubts. The second thing that i realised was I really suffer from ADD. i ticked 7 of the 9 elements ;) man do i need help or what!!! ;)

Two Things that I have learnt from the time i learnt i put into the exercise today is that i need every decision needs to be made with solid reasoning and logic MOST of the time and the second thing is that you need a WHOLE TRUCK LOAD OF LUCK. Even with the best data available and all the right elements considered there still involves the chance that you could fall flat on your face without things going for you.

PS: I love the Smart tool!!! its so simple and brilliant!!! 

February 27, 2011

Learning and Thinking

The deadline for the Reflective Blog entry is in a couple of hours from now and so is the PEUSS deadline too. the fact i am behind schedule in both cases really does not reflect well on my time management skills :)

Looking back at the two weeks of the module, what is it that I have learnt that I feel will stick with me for a long time to come? while I totally agree with every single MBE students assesment that this was the best module by far, and that it really was an enlightening learning experience, the one thing which i believe I learnt more than anthing from this module was thinking and learning.

When I say thinking, I mean reflecting on what exacty happened, how it happened, why it happened and actually learning from the experience. Pauls beliefs on the reflective practice finally made sense to me. While it was a chore writing blogs to me, it was during this module that i actually understood the value of it. While it does not mean I will write a blog everyday ( vagelis sir you are an inspiration to us all :) ) it does mean that I certainly aim to cultivate the practice of reflective thinking and make it a habit everyday. 

Fantastic module, learnt so much about myself and along with it learnt how i should LEARN from experience...

February 23, 2011

How do we lead leaders who are friends?

From a personal point of view, yesterday was not only the biggest learning experience for me, from the module but also one that left me pretty confused about certain aspect of it.

In order for me to explain this, I should talk about both the situations that has led me to wonder how to react as a leader in various situations. The first one occured during the first week of the module where we as a team had to go through the information provided to us about the Waveriders Organisation.

As I was the leader in that given case, it was down to me to lead the group that included a very good friend of mine. Being a pretty competitive person, thus wanting to win and make the right decisions, and also knowing the personalities and the results that a group with my friend produces, I as a leader pretty much backed off and kept looking to her for guidance on what to do. I could also say I was, to my own surprise, very flustered too. I also knew to a certain extend that if I started doing things my way there would be a bit of clashing and considering her performances and effort was always top notch and we were friends I kept looking towards them for every decision that needed to be made.

In all honesty, and I really am ashamed to say this, I think that was probably the worst  I have ever performed as a leader. Right from school, down to college and then my graduate degree I have always been someone who has been a leader or atleast in a position of leadership in some capacity or another. Due to this and also when I saw how I had no control or say in the team considering I was leader and saw what a pathetic job I was doing, it got my mood and motivation down entirely. I could see that most of my team was pretty surprised at my performance but even by the end of the day also I had no idea what needed to be done to set things right even though I knew the entire thing was my fault.  I could also say that my performance during the days followed were not up to the mark whenever I was leader. 

When it came to following the others I knew I had to say and do what I had to do and as long as the team was doing good it dint matter to me if my opinion counted or not.

Then came the hotel exercise yesterday and I volunteered to be a leader. I had already decieded that whatever happens, no matter who is in my team I was going to go about it in the fashion I thought was best as it was my performance that got ranked and I was the leader. 

It so happened that i was deputy leader and during the shifitng of leaders I ended up in a group that had this same friend in it. We did end up winning the competition with a record margin, however I was told by the team that I was too autocratic in my ways initially though things went really well later. The main reason for this was when I came into the group everybody was listening to my friend and I had a different view from that. When I decided on doing what I wantd to do, it resulted in the both of us clashing. Though I should have listened more to the team intitally I was very confident in what I thought should be done and i followed it even though it made people upset about the way I went about it. 

Here are two completely opposite approaches and in both attempts there was a lot of mistakes from my side because I did not know how to lead friends. Is it better to be a follower or a leader with your friends?? if you are a leader, how do you lead friends, especially strong leaders and very strong personalities who always win? being a follower to them is easy, they are right most of the time ;) you take thier view most of the time or do you always do what you want even if it makes everybody angry with a big risk of failure?? collective success and collective faliure or collective success and individual failure? 

February 10, 2011

empathy or selfishness???

three days of the LE module and three different experiences. 

The one single point that really struck me was the thought about why leaders do what they do!!!

When a leader attempts to help a follower with a personal touch, is he/her doing it because they actually care about the person or is it being done because the leader realises it is working to his advantage. Is it done out of empathy for another human being or is done out of a self serving motive??

while this discussion did come up and Paul did say leaders did what they did mainly because they cared about the other person, I tend to disagree. Not completely anyway.  While I agree to a large part about the leader caring about the follower, I personally belive the leader would also be to a large extend interested on how he should attempt to achieve his targets and how his follower could help him do so

February 08, 2011

What i see in a leader

first day of a module I have been looking forward to, and here are a couple of thoughts on it:

  • I personally think a leader with experience makes much better decisions. 
  • yes, while there are many leaders, Born Leaders, things get better with experience and decisions.
  • However good the leader may be, it is essential that there be a good support staff to help him/her make the right decisions and advice the leader in their personal area of expertise.
  • each person had quite a varied view from the others on what they expect from their leader as could be seen during the lifeboat exercise. out of my team of 6 there were only 3 views that matched out of each votes for the leader as well as the deputy leader.
  • another thing i noticed was, every vote i put forward to be a leader/ deputy leader for the life boat expercise involved characters that had charactersictics that i did not possess. 
  • I wonder if anybody else felt so... that they rather have leaders who are very unlike themselves than people who were like them
  • could this be because i hoped to learn things that i do not have from people i dont know? a more innate instinct than anything else.  I dont know but thats all i can think off.
  • personally too i feel i might work better with people who are different from me, than from people who are very similar.
  • when i mean very different in the above sentence, i dont mean totally different wavelengths. 
till laters..


November 22, 2010


I hate them i tell you!!! i hate them!! had our first Process Improvement using six sigma exercise today and the part of the process i got was to attach the seats and the undercarriage of the plane with nuts and bolts!! today was a fun class, our presentation came out reasonably well (even though our original ppt got lost in transition!! we had to make do with our draft copy ) so no complaints on that front. in todays class we learnt about how there was such a delay in our whole process scene while we were trying to make the plane. tomorrow we sit and try analyse the processes and try improve it to achieve the set time. should be a fun day!! looking forward to it!!

November 20, 2010

Demings SoPk

Demings system of Profound Knowledge. seems like a nice way to come back into blogging as its such an important concept. Here is what i understood on it. Deming came up with the system of profound knowledge as the route from the old style of management into the new style of managment. why was there a need to change?? because the old style of management caused untold amounts of losses in terms of resources. he divided the system of profound knowledge into 4 major parts. appreciation of a system, knowledge of variation, psychology and theory of knowledge. 

appreciation of the system explains about how we should not just concentrate only on the proccesses in the system and do what is best for the process but that we should look at the system as a whole and do what is best for the system. knowledge of variation tells us how everything in life changes but what we should try doing is to try and reduce the variation. doing this improves the process, system and makes everybody happy too!! there are 2 types of variation, special and common. if the system is completely predictable then there wil be no special variation. if the system is not stable there are spcial causes of variation.  we can completely eliminate special causes of variation while we can only reduce common causes of variation. basic knowledge of Psychology is must for managers as this helps understand people better, how they react, where the ppl work best, what they are good at and also have good relations between people.after all the most important part o any organisation are its people. theory of knowledge tells us experince in itself is just useless. we need to have a thoery of why it happened. we need to make calculated predictions.instinctive decisions dont help. always plan.

as an afterthought, deming the man is a legend!!! he formulated this when he was 90!!! crazy stuff

October 29, 2010

plans thrash landing :)

waaadd upp!!!! 

stupid name for the blog u say?? i think so too but ur reading this so atleast it served some purpose ;)

the initial plan was to probably finish all our mini projects and then write a blog on each of the main topics.  that plan got altered ( did u know as each day passes without learning, ur memory of what u learnt drops exponentially if u dont reflect on it??? YEAH!! NEITHER DID I!!) to then writing my blog on the topics which i had already learnt about till last wednesday and then whatever i learnt after to write the same day i learnt it!! this plan too went right out the window due to some UNFORSEEN circumstances!!! 

So we can very safely say i really suck at keeping plans dont i??? :)

before i start off i just thought i should give u a friendly warning- NEVER MAKE PLANS WITH IVO!!!! IVO, ur jinxed man!!! ;) two plans we've put, one sucked real bad and the last one was last week!! im not hanging wit u anymore!!! ;)

okay!!! have a lottt that i need to write about!!! and i had better get down to it!

over the last two weeks, most of the stuff i learnt, academically atleast, has pretty much centered around 

-EFQM model

-ISO model

-Organisational Learning


so over this blog, i am just gonna write about what i have learnt and what i feel. Most of the facts should be valid and right. some of my conclusions might be off and most of my attempts at co relating all the above topics is most certainly gonna be off, but then this is my blog and im told by a very reliable source i can write whatever i feel like writing even if its rubbish!! ;)

starting of with the Iso model with my understanding and knowledge, personally i dont hold the Iso model in the highest regard. This is a judgment i made on the limited knowledge possessed by me but not much that i have read till now makes me believe that the iso is a better model to follow than the efqm model. Iso seems more to me like a tag that companies use as a marketing stratergy in order to attract customers by suggesting their products have quality. If ofcourse the model is taken seriously and implemented in the right spirit it still has some draw backs. some of them are 1- it is audited by a third person and to most employees in a company, this is just some more extra paper work than some useful exercise that helps improve the company. 2- talking about auditing ( which is the process taken up in the iso model) the auditing is done by a auditor. It depends so much on the auditor and its not like every one of the auditors have the same perception of quality or the same experience, etc. 3- stayin with the topic of auditors itself, how many of us would actually enjoy somebody who has no relation with the kinda work we do telling us what we are doing is wrong??? hazarding a guess i would not say too many would actually enjoy it! that is exactly what happens in the case of an auditor auditing a company. 4- just because a certain procedure is followed  it does not mean that the expected and hoped for results are obtained. that is what is assumed here. 5- The managers have no need to think differently and hence just tend to follow a fixed routine ( leaving the brains by the door syndrome!!)

what i have mention above is just some of the drawbacks of the iso. Compared to this the Efqm model seems so much better. Though i still have reservations about how realistically it can be used in all types and kinds of organisations in different environmental and cultural situations, i would prefer to have the efqm over the iso!! not that there are no drawbacks at all in efqm, but the efqm seems far comfortable to use. It has an aura ( dont know if that is the right word to use but still) about how it is suited for the companies situation as it is all about how u intepret the model and how u want to apply it. the key difference between the iso and efqm model is the difference between auditing and self assesment!! auditing is pretty much a single procedure, it is a very straiht forward methord while in the case of self assement there are five different approaches depending on the organisations maturity. Auditing is done on a static standard while self assesment is done dynamically with continuosly changing benchmarks. auditing is done by a third party like a auditior or so. in the case of self assesment it is completely implemented  within the company by employees of the company. what happen during auditing is tat the evidence of the performance of the organisation is compared with a given standard to see if it complies with the said standard or not. while in the case of self assesment, it helps identify the strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities for the development of the organisation in the areas mentioned in the excellence model. during auditing only one process of the organisation is audited at one time as auditing is a function based process while in the case of self assesment, it covers all the functions and processess in the organisation.To my mind, however the one major advantage in the efqm model is that it involves all the employees of the company in the process unlike in the iso model... involving al the employees brings us nicely to organisational learning

Organisational learning- a learning organisation is the term given to a company that facilatates the learning of its members and is also continuously transforming itself!! it is essential for a company to be a learning organisation if it is to remain competitive.. any organisation needs to maintain its knowledge about new processes, products, understand its outside environment and help achieve creative solutions using the knowledge and skills of all in the organisation.the basis for the organisational learning cycle is obtained from the individual learning cycle. the individual learning cycle is -experience-observation-conceptualization-experiment. its how any individual undergos an experience, then reflects on it and sees how it can be used in his situation and then goes on to apply his idea and then learn from the output/ result, which then again starts the cycle all over again! The processes associated with O.L are divided into  major types -knowledge acqusition ( obtaining the knowledge from different sources) - information disribution ( spreading the information received from different sources i.e. sharing in order to generate new information) - information intepretation ( the distributed information is intepreted in different ways) and - organisational memory ( th knowledge is stored away for future use)

the different types of learning in the organisation is divided into two types, single loop and double loop learning. In single loop learning, it is linked to incremental change where an organisation tries out new methods and tactics and attempts to get rapid feedback on their consequence in order to make continuous adjusments and adaptations. it is about detection and correction within a given set of variables. in double loop learning, it involvs changing the governing variables themselves. It is associated with radical changes like change in management, etc!!

Talking about Benchmarking......benchmarking is all about how a company takes up the process of gathering data and knowledge from other companies in order to lead the company to become market leaders in their field. This is done by achieving continuous improvements in all areas like services, products, processes, etc.

in simple terms bench marking is all about how the senior management look around other companies ( not necessarily their direct competitors but all successful companies in general) and try to see where their own company is not doing too well or can improve to reach the level of excellence achieved by the model company and then they try to apply that to their own company!!

benchmarking from what i understood anyway is very closely connected to the concept of organisational learning, which in turn is very closely connected to the EFQM model.. benchmarking like organisational learning requires the effort of everybody in the company!! each individual needs to realise where the company could improve and then pull up their socks in order to get it done and achieve their targets. this could be done via self assesment or by their boss ( ala efqm or the iso- self assesment or somebody else auditing them)...
benchmarking again needs the cooperation of the entire organisation and not only that of the managements decisions and efforts... everybody has to learn and
adapt ( which is again another concept of organisational learning)....

so now we come to the question of how do we do benchmarking??? meaning wat is the need for it?? how to apply it???
well when applying the concept of benchmarking, it is essential that there is the right resources and the right ppl undertake the process of benchmarking. the company for starters need to know the actual reality situation in the process or department which they are trying to improve!! Also the company needs to set a realistic target to achieve! There is no point in setting a target which is unachievable. Hence for setting the right kinda target, it is necessary for them to undergo a detailed assesment in order to see where they really stand in the scheme of things and then set their goals in accordance. 
Just copying a company's policies or structures also does not help ( ala the very sucessful model of toyota) but it needs to be altered such that it works best in the situation the company is in! learning from the failed cases also helps as that will help u to realise others mistakes and avoid doing the same!

so i think its reasonably safe to say organisational learning, benchmarking and the efqm model are all very closely connected and pretty much form the foundation for a successful company!!! any wonder then that we are studying all this in management for business excellence???

PS: i do realise its not very well put together; sorry!!! hopefully by the end of the year wit practice ill be able to streamline my thoughts and put it down in a very lucid and methodical manner.

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