The Goal

Portrait of Eli M.

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I read the book ‘The Goal’ by Eliyahu Goldratt last week. The protagonist Alex Rogo discovers the goal of his company is to make profits. How simple!

 

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The Balanced Scorecard & Project Management

I have just finished reading a book on Project Management titled The Project Management Scorecard: Measuring The Success of Project Management Solutions by Jack J. Philips, Timothy W. Bothell & G. Lynne Snead.

Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a "necessary evil", it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil. –Sydney J. Harris, journalist (1917-1986)

The  idea of a scorecard to track management practices, their results and continuous improvement in a closed loop system is not novel to me.

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Capitalism: Its Two Variants

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There exist 2 variants of capitalism: Individual Capitalism and Communitarian Capitalism.

Individual Capitalism is epitomized by the United States. Japan , at the other extreme, exhibits a form of communitarian capitalism.

The 2 tables below outline the differences between the 2 systems.

MAJOR CONCEPTS & ASSUMPTIONS
UNDERLYING THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM

CONCEPTS & ASSUMPTIONS

PURE COMMUNITARIAN CAPITALISM*

PURE INDIVIDUALISTIC CAPITALISM

How to optimize the performance of a system: Cooperation at all levels will optimize the system. Competition at all levels will optimize the system.
The key driving force in the economy: The desire to build for the future. The desire for current consumption and leisure.
Motivation for work: Work provides utility. Individuals live to work. Work provides disutility. Individuals work to live.
Responsibility for skills and training prior to employment: Responsibility of society. Strong high schools and apprenticeship programs. Responsibility of the individual beyond relatively weak high schools. Few apprenticeship programs.
Relationship between government and business: Government supports and cooperates with business to optimize the system. Government regulates business to promote competition. Click for Summary of the 2001 and 2005 ASCE Report cards on U.S. Infrastructure.
Government policy: Promote growth in supply. Promote growth in demand.

 

MAJOR BUSINESS CONCEPTS ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES

CONCEPTS ATTITUDES & PRACTICES

PURE COMMUNITARIAN CAPITALISM

PURE INDIVIDUALISTIC CAPITALISM

Dominant objective and focus: Building for the future with long term focus. Profit maximization with short term focus.
Organizational Structure: Horizontal, flat or lean with relatively few layers of management. Bottom up consensus decisions. Vertical with many layers of management. Top down autocratic decisions.
How profits are used: As fuel to keep investing and building. To increase consumption and leisure for stockholders.
Hierarchy of organization’s constituencies: 1. Employees
2. Customers
3. Stockholders
4. Suppliers
1. Stockholders
2. Customers
3. Employees
Employment and job security: Lifetime employment promotes bonding. Uncertain employment discourages bonding.
Responsibility for training after employment: Companies provide cross training and job rotation. Individuals are mainly responsible for their own skills.
Route to management: Long multi-function internship. From college, to single function specialization, to management.
Management attitude toward teamwork: Teamwork and cooperation are essential for optimizing the system. Teamwork is risky. Individual performance will optimize the system.
Management behavior in economic recession: Cut:
1. dividends
2. management compensation.
3. workers pay and jobs as last resort.
Cut:
1. workers pay and jobs
2. management compensation.
3. dividends.
View of leadership: A leader manages processes or work. A leader manages results.
Management attitude toward problems: Understands the variability within the system and tends to blame the system first. Specialist has less understanding of the system and tends to blame employees.
Tools of management: Employee empowerment, group praise and profit sharing. Statistical control. Managers facilitate, counsel, teach and provide resources. Management by objectives, merit ratings, incentive pay, quotas, standard rates and quantities, piecework and annual ranking of employees. Count results.

So where do you think BRIC/BASIC countries place themselves?

Source: http://maaw.info/Chapter1.htm#FRAMEWORK:%20TWO%20GLOBAL%20VARIANTS%20OF%20CAPITALISM

 

Leader As Follower

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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Some excerpts on a paper on Leadership for my MBA at CIIM. I’ll admit I decided to try an au contraire approach!

Leadership As A Course
To be taught leadership as part of an MBA curriculum seems to be one of those new-fangled management fads.Especially to be taught as a theoretical course when I believe it should warrant more of a hands-on practical workshop. Those were my conclusions at the end of this class and I believe that apart from the delegation case-study and the Carter Racing case study,the class, as a whole, did not benefit. Now , I may be wrong and this report-writing exercise will enlighten me and the rest of the class as to how leadership works for us in our personal lives and in our workplace.

Situational Leadership
Different situations call for different leadership characteristics. Different people ,Different strokes. A situational leader adjusts his/her leadership style as the situation evolves, also to the kind of persons being dealt with and is able to get them to agree to the kind of leadership to be provided.
The 4 kinds of situational leadership styles are:
1> Directing – to be provided to an enthusiastic beginner with low expertise
2> Coaching – to be provided to a learner who’s low on enthusiasm and skill
3> Supportive – to be provided to a person who’s knowledge and enthusiasm has improved
4> Delegation – to be provided to a person who’s self-reliant and has oodles of enthusiasm

Beyond Work Context
Learning new skills, hobbies is an aspect of my life that I wish to explore to unleash the creativity within myself. Learning a new language , trying out adventure sports and traveling are other ways for me to grow personally.

The Leader as Follower
Is a leader also a follower? If yes, then whom does he/she follow? Does he look at leaders in the past and their leadership styles? Perhaps, he has modeled himself on a leader and has followed his characteristics? Or does he pick specific traits of inspiring leaders and use them as guides for his decisions? Or does he go by his experience, his morals, his religious beliefs? Who is his beacon? God? It’s been said that all you need to learn about human behavior is in the Bible. After all, Jesus Christ is the greatest leader of all time. So, a prayer for all time, “Teach our leaders to be humble.”

 

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