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March 16, 2009

Reflections on Debating

Although its been a couple of days since the debate which took place in class, i would just like to share my thoughts about it...

Frankly, it was a very rewarding and stimulating process...And this is for a number of reasons..

Firstly,because on the one hand we explored a completely new field and got some very good insights about it..So it terms of knowledge generation it fulfilled its goal..

Then the fact that we all sat around a table...Discussed our thoughts with the rest of our team mates was ideal in terms of knowledge sharing...But perhaps the most substantial knowledge sharing took place during the actual debate...When each team stood up and supported their views...It was interesting to hear the other side and especially listen to their arguments...It was not just a "I believe this...." it went a step beyond that by being  a "I beileive this, because..."Meaning that there was solid grounding supporting the views... 

I think it was stimulating, because both teams were passionate about defending their side...There was a lot of commitment and dedication by all the memebers of the teams to contribute and make the arguments strong...Although I have to admit it is a bit sweaping, especially beceuse of the time constraints and some people might feel a bit num...But even so I personally saw an eagerness to "do my best" from everyone...

There was a bit of competitiveness but just because we have developed our relationships over these months it was a healthy kind of competitiveness...Maybe if we had done it at the begining of the year this aspect would have been different.

As far as, the usefulness of this learning will be in the future is concerned...First of all, content wise the theme on innovation/creativity and standards develped a team output which I would like to call "Typical MBE" meaning that in this case it goes beyond the surface of what things might seem to be and traces the responsibilities organisations ought to fulfil at an internal level, by touching upon issues about leadership and culture...

On the other hand i think it made obvious that there is always another side to consider apart from what you think...Sitting there and hearing the other team's opinions made clear to me that it is critical to respect what other people think... understand why they have that standing...but in terms of being fair arguments are also  required...


March 15, 2009

Six Sigma, Lean & Soft Issues

As i have been going through  the similarities and differences of six sigma and lean, i found it quite interesting that all the sources emphasise on the importance of the so called soft issues....

Whether it is leadership support, staff involvement or cultural change....

There is always reference to this side of the Lean and Six Sigma..

From, my point of view it makes total sense...In a way it is impossible to expect such a radical project to actually work whithout having the right foundations...

Its like building castles in the sand....sooner or later the waves will come and bring everything down...

Therefore, it is implicit that leaders ought to be committed to the idea of improving from within and actively supporting it...I remember how the word congruent came up in the one of the mini project presentations...And right know I realise how important it is for a leader to stay true to what he preaches...Most importantly its about getting involved with the real project..and not just planning it...and then expecting everyone to buy into it..

On the other hand, employee commitment is crucial in order for any initiative to actually take off...I have been reading about the importance of motivation...both intrinsic and extrinsic..as well as the importance of ownership...  

But in the end..it is all a matter of mind set..where to people stand...what do they beleive...and when i talk about people mean in their organisational environment...what is their organisational culture like? Can it support lean or six sigma..? If not..can it change> Because after all six sigma and lean is about changing and improving

In the end, i think that no matter how effective the tools are..if people are not up to it then it will be impossible for any improvement procedure to finds its way...

Therefore for future reference I will remember...Culture...Leadership...People


March 14, 2009

Lean and Toyota–Initial

I have completed the Lean part of my Pma..and some important learning outcomes have been generated..

First of all it is obvious that once again the Japanese have outbeaten the west, primarily in terms of forward thinking...

I was impressed i found out -according to my readings- that Toyota had been practising lean without even knowing it for nearly 80 years...I mean obviously they knew the system they were applying but for them it wasn't some groundbreaking/magical discovery..It was simply a management approach covering nearly all operations from manufacturing, to assembly and employees which was developed especially for them.

In particular, I was reading that the Japanese engineers who in a way "invented" lean had actually visited Ford plants in the USA were they observed activities such as waste and life cycle cost management...Even though they "appreciated" the western mass production ways, they realised that they wouldn't fit the Japanese reality, therefore they had to introduse a unique concept suitable for Toyota in specific...

Lesson learnt: Simply adopting what other people are doing wont really add value...it is necessary to understand the specific needs of each situation and treat it accordingly...perhaps ADGUSTING external solutions to your reality might be helpful but simply copying wont add any value....

For this reason it makes total sense why lean as it was later called, has become so famous and desired..The concept of reducing waste, increasing wealth from within, driving continual improvement and most importantly considering customer requirements during all this...is an approach which can easily distinguish world class companies from the rest...And there is no doubt that Toyota has come to become a world class company..


March 12, 2009

Knowledge Management/ PMA and other impulsive thoughts

I am sure that for the past one and a half weeks or even two weeks, most of us have been exploring the vast fields of knowledge and asset management as an attempt to produce an ideal KM/AM solution for Waveriders-at this point i would like to wish everyone Good Luck for tomorrow...!!!! I know it has been a hectic week with many many many obligations but we are all still fighting, which is encouraging. To think off tomorrows presentation will be the final presentation for all of us on MBE...which makes me feel a bit nostalgic and of course stressed because project seems much closer...

Anyway...enough with the moaning,

What i am trying to get at is linked to knowledge management. As i was reading an article from the Harvard Business Review:Balancing Act- How to capture knowledge without killing it by J.S Brown and P.Duguid they mentioned that the main problem in capturing knowledge is to "know what you know". There is quite a difficulty understanding what you know because we do things without really realising them or what they cause, meaning that there is a difference between what we think we are doing and what we are actually doing/produsing. The other issue causing confusion is that a task might appear to be something but actually it is something else...Hoping i am making sense here...

Perhaps the most impressive thing i read in that article (and many others to  be honest) were the solutions suggested in order to develop a better understanding of what one knows... The prepositions were socialising, storytelling, experimenting...

I was thinking about the solutions...and i immetiately thought about how deal with our PMA's...

I mean...we attend the modules...we keep notes...we blog (not all-nor always)..we consult books and journals..but sometimes we feel a bit lost...even though there is substantial "knowledge" in our head but we just cant seem to get around the task... 

Therefore we often discuss with our class mates about the issues that are causing us trouble, we meet on MSN, for launch or randomly in the computer lab and just talk (socialising)...

When some of us have done some progress then we answer questions according to what we have done up to that point, for example : I did a mind map, or I started from the second question is much easier or I found that good article...meaning that we share our experience and narrate the way we have gone about with the PMA (storytelling)

After that, we have come in contact with our fellow students, discussed with them and bearing in mind their method...then its time for us to start practising with our PMA...(experimenting) 

I found that very interesting because in a way it seems that we generate and manage knowledge in ways that are not always that obvious...And even if it might seem so easy for us MBE students what happens in a organisation out there in the real world?

From my point of view there ought to be provision in order to allow employees to develop and practise such processes...It is actually funny but we were discussing with Mariana how some articles very seriously consider the water cooler a tool to generate socialisation and consequently a KM tool, because when employees get up to have some water they will probably discuss their job and exchange opinions...

Personaly, after working for 2 and a half years at the Hellenic Children's Museum i think that bringing emplyees together at the end of each day (perhaps a bit extravigant for a company, but for the Museum it was ideal) is pretty implicit...Especially when you have new members...Because through discussions and sharing you acquire a better understanding of your tasks which increases the level of involvment and makes it easier to make improvements ...


March 10, 2009

Six sigma–initial

Since i am doing the fifth question about six sigma and lean, it is possible to say that i have decided to consider following:

overview of six sigma...overview of lean...

similarities and differences between the two and whether the one concept can contribute to the other by filling in any gaps...

is six sigma and lean in harmony... 

examine how effective integrating six sigma and lean has been (with examples where possible)...

As far as six sigma is concerned after considering various sources, it has become clear to me that it is always connected to Motorola because they implemented it to improve their manufacturing line and develop defect-free products. After Motorola implemented six sigma other mega corporations in the US adopted it such as GE, Xerox and Kodak.

Gradually as the concept of six sigma evolved it moved away from being simply a quality management tool towards becoming an entire philosophy which drives business strategy. As discussed in class I also constantly read that six sigma is  an improvement process which uses statistical tools and aims to reduce by ultimately  developing a product or service which will satisfy customers.

Apart from customer satisfaction perhaps the most beneficial element of six sigma from a business's point of view  and the aspect which has probably ensured its success, is the fact that is reduces waste and cost...meaning that it saves a business a lot of money.

As mentioned before six sigma is a improvement, process meaning that it involves the element of change, as discussed in class mainly due to the mini project on management of change and a six sigma project, there are important people implications that needs to be taken into account during the application of six sigma. Interestingly enough, in all the sources about six sigma application special mention is made towards the importance of creating the right project team, having top management commitment and involvement, providing training for the employees,  and above all establishing an environment of effective communication.


Stress and Knowledge/Performance

Considering what we discussed in class on Monday about stress and how it links to innovation/creativity and generaly speaking knowledge I did some research on stress and stress management (some valuable information can be found on the website of the American Institute of Stress, there is a separate part especially for job stress, if interested u can check it at http://www.stress.org/)

Anyway I found this figure which connects stress with human performance...I apologise for the quality of it, I am afraid I couldn't find a better one...By looking at this figure hopefully it becomes clear that the "amount" of stress experienced by an individual has a tremendous affect on the way this person is going to perform...

According to the figure total absence of stress is useless because it keeps someone in apathy and indifference...While as the stress level increases performance improves...I think we all are aware that a specific amount of stress can be useful or even advantageous  not only in terms of performance but also in aspects of everyday life, like for example a dance competition. It is the kind of stress that keeps us interested and mobilised, for example when we go to a job interview we feel very tensed but thanks to this feeling we become eager to do our best, prove that we are the best for the job and  the end all this will give a good impression. That is the good and healthy stress...

However, an overdose of stress can be catastrofic..for both performance and personal wellbeing. As shown in the figure when the amount of stress goes beyond the desired level then the result is disastrous...Anxiety and Panic take over and as a result performance goes down the drain...Unfortunately, I think that most of us have experienced this feeling and seen our performance decrease as our mental health disappears...

kissing.jpg

As far as linking the figure above and what i have mentioned until now, to knowledge I think we can simply replace the word performance on the left side with knowledge...

Just think of this, when in a year's time we are sitting in our office and feeling bored to death and in total relaxation i don't think there is any chance of approaching knowledge or making any significant contributions to the knowledge capital of he organisation.

On the other hand, with the right amount of stress I personally think that can function as a form of motivation to explore new possibilities, experiment, be creative and innovate. Provided of course, stress dosent go of the limits because then in a state of panic..agony..or even stomach aches knowledge is unreachable.

Probably a depressing example of how an overdose of stress paralyses knowledge could be a bad time managed PMA, because if I start dealing with a PMA 3 or 4 days before the deadline, my stress levels will be so high it will be impossible to actually learn something out of the whole task....


January 20, 2009

Memories…(and leadership)

Just some quick thoughts I wanted to share...

As I mentioned in my previous blog I have been working on the transformational theory-actually I am thinking of combining it with the transactional theory-, anyway I found something that related to my first presentation here at MBE. Probably, you dont remember but my first presentation was on the comparison of the excellence models during CBE module.

I recall that when I was talking about how much does Deming, the EFQM model and the MBNQA emphasise leadership, I made a comment about leaders supporting non-leaders. When the presenation was over Paul asked me what I ment by this statement, and whether there is such a thing as non-leaders...To cut a long story sort the meaning was that most people can be leaders -in their own special thing- provided they are given such opportunity....

Quite surprisingly-or maybe not- during my research about transformational leadership I discovered that according to the academics a genuine transformational leader is supposed to create new leaders.... His duty is to empower and emancipate his followers in order for them to lead themselves....

Isn't that grand..??

I personally find it so altruistic, because its not about yourself anymore but about what you can do for others...Its beyond the common idea, where the staff works for the manager, it should be both ways the one working with the other and for the other.

I don't think any other way can really work.... 


January 16, 2009

Theories in the Mist…

I have been doing research about the leadership theories and the goals I have are two

1) understand more about the leadership theories and approaches the academics have introduced over the years

2) decide which theory/ies approach/es are suitable for Waveriders

Up to this point I have consulted books mainly  Theory and practice of leadership by Gill, R. (2006).. London, Sage, and  Management: concepts & practices by Hannagan T., & Bennet, R. (1998), London, Financial Times/Pitman Pub.

As far as the theories are concerned I believe that it is quite clear that there is a plethora of different models and approaches trying to explain leadership, this issue is probably conected with the difficulty to give leadership a single and unanimously agreed definition.Something we had discussed during the model.

Apart from this it appears that leadership models are a mirror of social economical and cultural circumstances which means that leadership perspectives adapt to the reality they exist in. I think the most credible example of what I am trying to say here, is trait theory since it evolved at a time when "natural" qualities where appreciated. By "natural" I mean characteristics one is born with such as height or even intelligence according to some academics....The point is that external or internal these traits obtained "naturally"are what make a leader according to trait theory -which has been curtsied emphatically

After reading about various other theories such as contigency leadership, emergency leadership and action learning leadership, I have to admit I felt a bit awkward because  I thought there was something missing, in terms on people empowerment or vision or even something else..... The theories just didnt seem enough to cover various elements....

This probably is happening because for OPP PMA I used a  book I had read during my undergraduate degree, by Handy called the "Elephant and the Flea" (2001). Among other things this book suggests that people’s professional aspirations are not the same any more. People are looking for occupations that go beyond simply making ends meet, they want to contribute and make a difference. I was very much influenced by this idea, probably because I feel this way....

Quite similar was the comment by Xerox guru John Seeley, Paul and I included in our CSR presentation during the model: A leader’s obligation is not to make money anymore, but to provide meaning. Anyway what I am trying to get at is that i feel that a leadership theory has to include all these...in order to guide the leader towards intrinsically motivating the employees and indicating  why the goals set are meaningful to the followers and show the way to accomplishment...

And that is when I read about the transformational leadership.... Its emphasis on internal motivation and empowerment, as well as leadership flexibility and morality impressed me. I feel that this leadership theory reflects the demands the employees of today and tomorrow have and will have. However, as Gill mentions in his book, transformational leadership needs to be supported by transactional leadership which being more management focused will provide some sort of reward (e.g. bonus or recognition) and as a result it will more controlling towards the employees, because they will know what is expected from them and try to deliver.

To one extent I understand why this controlling perspective is needed especially in a business like Waveriders which is seeking to improve its position in the market... Although control can have various meanings...-i think-

I will be back when I have a clearer picture about what leadership theory is suitable for Waveriders


December 06, 2008

End of LE

As the module has come to an end and i am trying to be reflective about what took place over these past two weeks, i realise that i dont know much about leadership...

I mean...

Yes, i can talk about its meaning, analyse the features a leader ought to have, debate whether leader is born or made, and all sorts of other interesting things but does this subject close here, and can anyone honestly say that he or she has leaned everything there is to know about leadership...?

I dont think so, and i feel that the beauty of this subject lies in exactly that....you cant learn everything in 2 weeks..that's not the point...

In a way, it is impossible to truly learn what leadership is even throuout a lifetime...As u move on u taste a piece, and then another...and so on..

For me an urge to learn more about leadership has been created...And not just read, but actively experience what is leadership and what leaders have to do...At least we experienced some of that in the module

Having the opportunity to lead and most importatbly experiecing what a good follower is, mihght be the most important elements of this module...

What I got out of it...is hundreds of thoughts about values, skills and behaviours that define the person u will be in your team.. 


CSR and Leadership

I must admit that one of the most important features of this module was the opportunity I had to find out more about Corporate Social Responsibity. The truth is that i followed 2 modules on Csr and Business Ethics in my undergraduate course but it seems that i cant get enough of it...

Probably because I have a personal interest in this area....

At this point I would like to share a personal experience i had recently connected to CSR...A few weeks ago at a careers fair here at Warwick I asked a representative of one of the high and mighty enterprises what are the perspectives of working in the Csr field of their business...The answer was shattering...to begin with she had no idea what i was talking about...then after i expained to her what is the concept of CSR she thought for a while and told me that IF something like that exists in their company, it will probably be run by the PR department...

Disappointment....

Considering what Paul mentioned this morning about convincing businesses to engage with the idea of csr, I feel that there is no other way but to present it as an indirect way of boosting brand image...

Afrer all Strategic Csr is Csr...Is it the why that matters..?I mean as long as they are doing it (no matter the reasons) that is good enough...Of course the idea of dong something is that u truly support what it stands for but is that always an option...It goes without saying that adopting a true CSR approach is far better...but how do u prove it...

In a way I wish that CEOs thought the way that guy from Xerox John Seeley thinks, who said that:

The job of leadership today is not about making money, its about making meaning

If u think about it the world is not lacking in money...but in meaning....

So maybe a more meaningfull approach can make the difference...

Because i fell that at the end of the day that's what counts...Making a difference


December 05, 2008

Coaching

Two days ago,with Grahamwe explored what coaching is.

It was quite revealing,

Let me start from the learning outcomes,for example how important it is to focus on the person coached and eliminate any sighn of ego that might be struggling to appear...So once again the ffundamental feuture about leadership shines out...its not about you...!!!its about empowering other people...giving them space and opportunities to develop and achieve...and also helping when there are issues that need confrontation.

Also, when things are not going as expected and this needs to be pointed out during a coaching session it is critical not to personalise the problem...no fingerprinting blaming, but to detect the reasons of such a result and then create an environment that will minimise it ...

All this seems so conected to phycology...I guess it makes sence if we think how much time of their life people spend working...

Another thing quite impressive was a comment that came out that afternoon, about using coaching as a mean to ipmove. I think it was Paul who mentioned that every month or so he meets with his manager for a coaching session where they discuss about his performance and what can the company and the manager personally do, in order to improve that in the future...

Another comment came from Luis, who mentioned that in a company he worked in Venezuela had established the mentality of coaches instead of managers....

Isn't that promising...?

The fact that gradually the business world is understanding that employees dont need control systems but development and emancipation..


November 30, 2008

System of Profound Knowledge an LO

After focusing these last couple of days on the System of Profound Knowledge, and trying to find ways of connecting the values illustrated in it,  with the theme of Lerning Organisation ,I have concluded that what Deming is doing is offering advice to managers in order to begin the learning process.

To cut a long story short by reading and most importantly by applying the principles presented in the System of Profound Knowledge, insightful managers are in a position to understand three critical aspects of the organisation they belong to :

1) how the system operates

2) the interactions between the components of the system (people as well as other resousres)

3)what are the outcomes? and can they be controlled? and to what extend

The meaning is that the leader needs to acquire knowledge of the way the organisation functions.

But this knowledge goes beyond just being able to deal with what is happening currently(the "adaptive" knowledge Senge analyses in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization, 1990), the aim is to focus on the future. The kind of knowledge the System of Profound Knowledge provides is closer to the "generative" knowledge Senge analyses in the same book. Because, the objective is for an organisation to understand how things work and also constantly try to detect what can be done in order to improve in the future.

And is't this exactly what Deming says about continuasly redifining and reinventing an organisation?


November 26, 2008

Scratching the surface

For the last couple of days I have started working on my CBE PMA, i have discuded to do the third question(yes me too) about LO, EFQM model and Deming's System of Profound Knowledge.

I have to admit I knew apsolutly nothing about what an LO is, and I have to admit I find its perspective quite fascinating!

The idea of establishing an environment that encourages learning, but not just for the sake of learning, but for developing thourh the outcome and even better going beyond the object of learning and focusing on the process of learning(as i read somewhere), seems so .... ideal. In a way that cant be implemented in our unforgiving world..

According to my information, there has been a lot of analysis discussion around LO for a number of decades (!), it seems to my that somewhere along the way towards becoming one things get mudled up...I  am still trying to understand why....

About my PMA I must say that i found the team presentations extremely helpful!!!! Also, I was having a discussion about how come we didnt dedicate a seminar on this "hot" topic, it whopuld make things soooo much easier...  but  chalenges are nesseccary to evolve and therfore welcomed

Speaking of chalenges, i am having trouble connecting the three aspects (LO, EFQM model and System of Profound Knowledge) with anything else apart from people and vision....I ll see ho that goes

Will get back when have something worthy...


November 11, 2008

CBE and GBE

As I am very close to finishing the PMA on GBE-which is one of the reasons why I havent blogged for so long- I have found a connection between the PMA content and what we leared during CBE module.

I guess we are all aware of the general fetures our PMA must have:the implications of gobalisation on trade, investment, employment and output and all these in respect of a specific sector. I have selected the clothing industry and  I have to admit it is a very unsusual sector. What is happening is that textile and clothing  firms in US and EU are facing the dillema of "adapting or dying", due to the gobal shift that is taking place and the fierce competition coming from developing countries.

One point is that western firms had settled with the market share the trading restictions had offered them in the past, but since 2005 when the restrictions were eliminated they are facing very difficult times because of powerfull competitors exporting to the EU and US market. This proves that a company must not seat back and enjoy success but must constantly try to be ahead of the market in order to be prepared for the worst. Remeber what Deming had said on that video about improvment...? That a company must think about it in advance and not in a midle of a crisis? I think this is representetive of the case  

What i think is also very intresting is the fact that certain T/C firms particulaly from Italy and France are starting to consentrate on innovation. This reminded me lot of CBE and the EFQM model.These firms have realised that they can't compete in the mass production so they are focusing on niche markets and areas wich haven't been developt yet such as design and quality.

The fact that they are investing in unconvential fields of the textile and clothing sector is giving them a competitive advantage and a characteristic that differentiates them from the rest of the market.

Overall, I think that things would be much easier for T/C firms of developed countries if they considered Deming's idea about costantly redescovering and reinveting an oragisation, never settling with what has been achieved and always setting new goals....

Uh! if only they knew...


October 31, 2008

Saving my face…

Hi all!

This entry is about the notorious "imperial" word I used last week in the presentation about the comparison of the excellence models....I have to admit I am pleased to see it generated such deep discussions-I have read all the relevant blogs and comments- although it was not my intention... But i like the fact we are a very vivid team passionate about what we are doing at MBE.

Anyway here goes...

First of all I based that comment on this journal: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/ViewContentServlet?Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/1060190305.html

Of course I looked at other journals and websites, but I was particularly impressed by this one because in implies an unusual meaning of leadership for the Deming Prize...or at least that's what I got out of it..

So to begin with, at one point in the journal it is mentioned that the Deming Prize included at some stage aditional perspectives exclusively for executive senior managers. These  perspectives concentrate  on various areas such as HR and CSR, but what stood out for me was that it talks about vision and strategy... Are these two subjects only a CEO's responsibility?    

Then moving further down, you will find that the journal suggests that according to the Deming Prize "guidlines" top management -leadership- should demonstrate enthusiasm about TQM whilst everyone else will be dealing with the basic categories...

Now about the word imperial.... I used it to describe someone who has supreme authority... I know that sounds a bit absolute....But I think that Deming suggests that the journey towards continuous improvement starts from the top of the pyramid-as Aykut mentions in a comment-  and is forwarded towards the other parts...

Everything must begin from the top management... (?)

I think that Paul told us that when Deming went to Japan he gathered all the top managers and taught them how to think...! Is't this an indication?

I am not trying to jump to conclusions, I just felt that this introduces kind of leadership which is quite different to what we have been discussing all this time...

Finally, I would like to stress out that this information is based on the Deming Prize and might be different to the philosofy of Deming...


October 28, 2008

I have a Vision

When in the 60s Martin Luther King spoke so passionate about having a dream that would make the United States of America truly united, very few understood the significance of his words. I wouldn't like to talk about the political context, lets focus on  the power a dream can have....


A dream,an aspiration or a goal -although they dont have the exact same meaning- can empower any inividual and offer the strength and inspiration one needs in order to achieve something...


For example, I like to believe that we were all brought here at MBE by an aspiration....Of course not the same one, some are after the experience of studying abroad, others are motivated by the calibre of the University and some would like to add a marketable advantage to their CV...We all have visions of how our future should be and hopefully with a little help from our MSc we will be a breath closer to our dreams.


The reason I am writing this is because I think it is connected with what Paul was saying last weak - yes,  I know I am late, still struggling with time management i am afraid-  about how critical it is for an organisation to  have a vision.


I  was thinking about it all the time and then I suddenly realised why it makes sense. A vision is the motivation you need in order to reach somewhere. But in a company you never work solo...You are part of a team, not just your team...HR, PR or Marketing. The whole organisation is a team and it is necessary for them to share and support the vision. But if you expect from someone to support a vision you have to give them the opportunity to contribute to it!


Not many companies have succeeded in this which means it must be pretty difficult...I think there comes a time when you as a CEO or a manager or even as     when you decide if you are going to perceive the employees as pons trained to execute orders. The choice is there....are the people working for you or with you?


Finally, I feel I would like to give an example...it might be inappropriate because it could be a matter of brilliant marketing...Anyway, I was thinking of Benetton -the clothing company- their combine good quality at affordable price. But they are not just selling clothes!They are making a point! Just look at the photos below....

photo        photo



Their vision  could be about making a difference. What I think is interesting is that their are making the customer part of they are saying...You feel you are cintributing in a way...


October 21, 2008

Just a thought

It has been a long time since i last blogged but time is just slipping away, although I must admit i haven't got the hang of time management as yet....

Anyway, I have been contemplating for quite a while whether or not i should write about this thing that is bagging me, since last week...I have decided to go on and write what i think, even though i have discussed it with several of my MBE colleagues...

After this mysterious introduction allow me to begin. As you remember last week we all attended the GBE (Global Business Environment) module, a very intriguing and insightful experience, particularly because we touched upon current issues such as the economic growth of China and of course the "Credit Crunch".

The most interesting point of this module-according to my opinion-was the fact that during the afternoons we were doing case studies...Real problems had to be solved and we had to do our best-always as a team-to ensure the survival and then success of our group whether we were producers, suppliers or even better a company...

Speaking of case studies, brings me to what i have been thinking about...

In many of the case studies in order to reduce the cost of production and to boost profits, companies decided to move their plants to developing countries in order to make use of the cheep labour.

Several times we had to make decisions about where is the best place to transfer the plant,Turkey?Bangladesh?or India?

Forgive me but i think this made me feel unethical....

I understand that the global market is extremely competitive, so every business is trying constantly to reduce cost and that cheap labour can be the easy way out...

But it seems that some business are taking advantage of underprivileged people's needs and aspirations of having a better life...

Besides i think that we are all more or less aware of the bad publicity certain companies have had because of being involved with child labour or other mall practices towards employees...

Maybe for a strict Business or Finance student this mentality makes sense but, we as MBE students are after quality...are this practises in accordance with excellence ??

Am i overreacting? What do u think?

I hope i didn't cause any uncomfortableness....


October 10, 2008

When do you know you have researched enough?

In a few hours our team will be meeting after researching for nearly three days non stop.

It has been rather interesting and quite challenging to tackle projects I have barely any knowledge about.

At first we thought books would be a good idea, so Toon and I went to the library in order to find any relevant books. The truth is that even though we found several books connected with our projects    -iso vs efqm model, Deming prize, Malcolm Baldrige award ect-  their were outdated (an issue we had been warned about during induction week). So instead we decided to consult electronic journals and websites...

What a task! First of all there are so many journals to study and even more websites to look at! So inevitably I decided to select the most recent journals and the most reliable websites...But even then there were difficulties, because of the difference of opinions expressed, so who do you trust?

The one minute you are reading that ISO 9000:2000 thousand is bad for business and the next that it necessary to have the isoaccreditation in order to "do business"....

Am I doing something wrong?

So the question I pose is: when to do you stop? I am used to stopping when I have acquired an in depth and solid knowledge of the issue.... But I am starting to wonder whether that is always an option....

Do you stop when you feel exhausted because of spending endless hours searching for the right information?

Or do you stop because you feel there is nothing more you can do so you give up? 

But then again I dont think there are any quitters in the MBE course, so I guess you just go on researching...

I think that the end result is going to be worth it, right?



October 09, 2008

To lead or not to lead?

I have to admit that I have always been very sceptical towards the leadership issue.I understand that in todays circumstances an increasing need for decisive and daring people has been created. But a leader? Isn't that a bit farfetched?


Maybe I think like this because I am intimidated by both having a leader and of course being one(if possible)
To think of it, this could be one of the many reasons why I choose this course: to discover what a leader is.


So who is a leader? Or even better what makes a leader?Is it power?Experience? Or talent?
Is it like a role playing game where someone gets to be a leader and has the "pleasure" of ordering people around?


I really don't know( I can't wait to find out though)
I am guessing that in a way, a leader is his team.A leader is nothing without his team, because with no team who is the leader going to lead?-very obvious thought-
So a leader should watch out for his team!After all they are all working together and trying to reach the same goal.That only comes through cooperation-or at least that's my opinion-


Finally, as I accept the fact that there are "leaders" all over the place...I realise that there are also different kinds of leaders for example I have met a democratic leader and unfortunately, an arrogant leader.


What I would to meet (or even be some day)is a leader gifted to inspire. One who will reveal his vision, a vision his team will follow and support religiously.
Who could ever refuse to support a vision?

Certainly not me...


October 07, 2008

An excellent start

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/ftmsc/content_store/mbe,http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/ftmsc/content_store/cbe

According to our MBE (Management for Business Excellence) time schedule on Friday 3/10/08 we had a lecture on “Team Build” at 9:00 am. I have to admit that I was very quirious about what a lecture on “team build” could entail. Well, let me start by telling you that it was nothing close to a lecture.

It was a game! It was fun!But at the same time it was important and useful! It was all about cooperation, time management, leadership and above all teamwork!

At the beginning there were questions! Difficult questions!

So our team,Ally, Toon, Mei, Gilber, Louis and myself, were sitting there raking our brains to find the right answers.It is a good thing that the virtues were equally distributed, some were good at the logical questions while others could handle better the arithmical ones. At all times the whole team was trying to contribute in order to reach our goal….

And then, after a little help from Paul –I am afraid we were in a tight spot-our next task was revealed:”Make a tall giraffe”. Seriously, we had to make a giraffe as tall as possible using only newspapers and selotape.After discussing and brainstorming for a couple of minutes we all had different responsibilities e.g. make the legs or create a long neck which of course we had to finish in time, because our deadline was close…..

At the end our giraffe was a success….But the real success was our cooperation and the dedication we all showed in order to fufill our goal….

There is no doubt that the experience we all shared on Friday morning will be extremely useful in the future….were making a tall giraffe unfortunately won’t be the objective.

Below is a photo of our team and our giraffe

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(sorry about publishing this again but I erased it by mistake)