Just a few questions..

The last week of MGMT 310 continues with an assignment to come up with questions for the final chapters:

Chapter 15, Decision Making

  1. Can anyone give an example of where a irrational decision worked out ok? What defines a rational versus irrational decision?
  2. Confirmation bias, should a manager avoid confirmation bias, if so how?

Chapter 16, Conflict and Negotiation

  1. What are some techniques to resolve affective conflict? Has anyone seen or been involved in affective conflict at work or school if so how did you resolve?
  2. What are some techniques to become a better negotiator?

Chapter 18, Motivation

  1. Should a company expect an employee to perform and complete their job duties as assigned day in and day out without motivation?
  2. What if the employee simply does not care? Complete apathy, no connection or engagement? Should they keep their job?

Chapter 19, Communication

  1. Give an example of where you failed to communicate at work or even home and how this impacted the situation, what was the key reason for the lack of communication? What are techniques to simplify communication?
  2. Is there a way or such as thing as to over communicate? Is this bad, good?

Chapter 20, Networking

  1. Book mentions lovable fools and competent jerks; how do you interact with either? What is better likable person but limited knowledge they can do the job or major jerk with knowledge/skill?
  2. Is a person at a career disadvantage if they only participate in a limited amount of social networking? How real are social network relationships?
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My cat Ms. Munchkin, helping me with homework….
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Understanding Your Personality, I’m a INTP….

Understanding Your Personality

Our LAST WEEK in MGMT310, time flies. For this week we are to assess our personality traits, here is mine:

Leadership Personality Traits, from text table 13.2, Trait, Description, and High versus Low. Definitions in quatations referenced from the text.

Extroversion,

“The tendency to be sociable, assertive, and active and to experience things positively. Includes energy, liveliness, stamina, activeness, assertiveness, and dominance.”

Low: reserved, prefers to work alone

High: sociable, prefers social interaction

I’m a loner plain and simple always have been since I was a kid, I prefer to work alone and enjoy being alone. However, I do enjoy working in groups and social interaction; to balance my brain after extended time socially I need an escape. Throughout my career I have worked and performed daily in group settings without issue. For technical and challenging work, I will leave the group setting with their inputs and complete the tasks alone. The fact I have this trait is important because I must understand an acknowledge my strengths. If my company tasks me with only working in groups long term I will not be successful.

 

Openness,

” Being open to experiences and willing to be original, imaginative, nonconforming, unconventional, creative, and autonomous.”

Low: pragmatic, avoids risks

High: creative, open to taking risks

Interesting because I have both Low and High. From a business standpoint I really push to be creative and encourage my company and departments to take calculated risk. My goal is to always think way beyond the box. My peers sometimes joke and say “man, you are way out there but….your idea might work”. I use a risk versus reward theory and weigh options, there are times also where the risk is not worth it. Why does this matter? We must take risks and break barriers in management and our personal lives to move forward otherwise we fail to grow as a leader which limits our personal and professional success.

 

Conscientiousness,

“Composed of achievement and dependability, task competence, initiative, persistence, and tenacity.”

Low: flexible and spontaneous

High: persistent, structured, and organized

I have both High and Low and switch between the two when needed. For my work and overall life, I tend to live in the High: persistent, structured and organized. Away from work when I want to decompress, when I am on vacation and times when I force my brain off (very important!), I let go and use the Low: flexible and spontaneous. This is important because I am most comfortable in a environments that provide structure, routine and organized, and I perform well at tasks that require these traits. It’s also important for me to be able to shift gears, be flexible and spontaneous. Life is not an  Outlook Calendar, things will happen out of my control, I must have the ability to be flexible and spontaneous to take on new uncontrolled challenges.

 

Agreeableness

The tendency to be trusting, compliant, caring, and gentle. Overall, it refers to the friendliness and likability of a leader.”

Low: competitive and challenging

High: compassionate and cooperative

In a leadership role I am compassionate and cooperative, this can be good and not so good. A mentor told me years ago one of my biggest strengths as a leader was empathy and the way I connect my employees needs and struggles to sound decision making. This same mentor then told me my biggest fault is also my empathy, I care to much and can be soft on policy at the expense of business goals. This stuck with me over the years, and I use simple personal assessment questions such as “The end goal is?” to help me make management decisions.  When I first got into supervision I wanted to be liked, work is not a social gathering, my decision making was flawed and I failed. Likable versus not liked but respected, which is better? Respected. I base my sessions on the goals of the company and consider aspects of the employee. I also maintain a core value of complete trust, what is said stays with me. Very difficult to manage personnel if there is no trust, all your policy and actions will be looked upon with skeptic eyes making long term sustainability of policy change impossible.

Now personally, I am very competitive person in my social and career life. I aim to be the best and will go above and beyond to win. If I do not win, I must be able to say to myself, “I did all I could do, nothing was left, I was not beaten by not trying I was beaten by ability.” Racing keeps me competitive even if I do not win, this racing edge allows me to perform better in my work environment.

Emotional stability (neuroticism)

“The ability to remain calm and confident, especially in times of crisis.”

Low: reactive and excitable

High: calm and methodical

I am calm, methodical and work to maintain this presence as much as possible, as if the calm methodical approach is instinct. One of my mentors refers to me as their “rock”, solid, dependable and logical. Reactive and excitable reactions in crisis cause stress in the work environment and tend to spread to others like a virus creating chaos. Because I am human and not robot there are times when I fail at maintaining a calm methodical presence. The times when I become reactive are based on a trigger or some fear of the unknown involving the crisis. If I sense myself becoming reactive I remove myself from the situation example: employee screaming at me, I’ll step back, let them calm down, get help from another manager/hr and address the issue. If I cannot remove myself from the crisis I breathe, channel my focus and ask myself “what is the core cause of this anxiety?” Sometimes there is no need to ask, years ago I had a disgruntled employee come at me with a baseball bat, that was fun.

Reactive decisions are often not logical, none logical decisions have a higher chance of failure thus causing hardship and suffering for the company or persons involved.

Racing motorcycles for over half my life has helped me learn to deal with crisis situations. There are times in motorsport where split decisions mean the loss of a race, championship or worse, life and death, sounds dramatic but this is true. A person can not win long term if every time something goes wrong they blow up and fall apart.

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Back in the day, good times…until I run out of talent…

 

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where am I??…oh…
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..race bike taking a nap, owner out of talent..

Racing will teach you how to fail (miserably and often spectacularly) and how to be humble, there is always someone faster and better…..  

Part 2,  Psychological Dimensions of Personality, Myers Briggs…is this real??

The text Management an Integrated Approach page 346 describes that is important to have insight on one’s personality dimensions. 8 fundamental psychological processes that influence leadership styles:

Sensing (S), Institution (N), Thinking (T), Feeling (F), Extroverted (E) , Introverted (I), Judgment (J), Perception (P).

Here’s the Table from the Textbook:

table 13.3
Gulati, Ranjay; Mayo, Anthony J.; Nohria, Nitin. Management: An Integrated Approach (Page 346). South-Western College Pub. Kindle Edition.

Based on the text I am an INTP, probably could also fall into INTJ. But one day I might be ENFP and ENJP hmmmm, is this real??? Looks like my dominant function is Thinking. Also, my inferior function is the polar opposite to my dominant function, in my case- Feelings. I guess I have no feelings…… sorry I’m not sorry?!

Jokes aside, being self aware and taking time to understand your personality are important because they help a manager become a better communicator by giving the person a more thorough understanding of how they process information, what makes them tick versus what makes others tick.

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Divi Divi Tree…Eagle Beach, Aruba..just because. Picture taken about 4 days before class started, we all need a break sometimes…life is short.

 

 

 

Week Four and Reflections on Human Capital

 

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Gunung Agung Volcano, Bali Indonesia. Pic was taken on my first trip to SAE during a long journey of self reflection and still, even now, gives me moments of clarity. 

My MGMT 310 journey continues as we finish up week 4 of our 5-week course. The last few weeks have been great providing me with insights into a variety of topics from a diverse, unique and intelligent group of people.  I’ve said a few times already my goal is to use concepts and ideas from this class in my real-world job as an ops manager. Everyday I task myself with taking key points away from our discussions and apply the concepts into my work.

This week we focused on Managing Human Capital, Performance Management, and Organizational Change. Right now, my job is filled with all three as my organization in in flux so to speak. We are beginning the stage of change, from accounting to how we measure performance. Why? Many reasons but simply: the world has transformed due to technology, quality must be higher with lower cost, we have lost market share due to slow process times with critical processes such as customer quotes (can’t get the customer a price fast enough, they move on), and pricing not in line with the market due to lack of investment to stay ahead of competition and technology.  Big issues, yes?  Long term we will come up with methods to resolve, short term? Who and how will we make up the difference? The makers will make up the difference, always have, always will until a new and better thing comes along to replace the makers.

Human Capital is a big deal, when markets change often the human capital are tasked with “making up the difference” , if they cannot……well…you’re done.  For me, the most challenging part of management is human behavior, teaching, coaching and training individuals so the teams have buy in to new ways of doing. Why is this hard? Because people fear change, it’s in our psyche. I have many 30+ year employees, do they like change? No of course not. Why is this important? Because if a company cannot change and move forwards they will eventually cease to exist, not a sustainable model.

What if the person does not care? Like truly does not give one %^&* about company goals, what you or anyone has to say. But, this person does just enough, just that little bit to meet their job description, meet the minimum and keep their job? What to do?  I see this a lot, every day, not just at work but all through out. Apathy, the bare minimum. I consider this behavior a cancer in the work force (and society), can the company just fire them? No, our systems will not allow this and for good reason, the behavior is not defined as bad. Who has the bad behavior, the employee reeking in apathy? Or the company/system, that did not define the expectation and requirement to care?

Investment in training, formal development, employee assessment and performance are just as critical as any capex project, new customer, or new idea for expansion. Why? If you do not develop your people and your workforce with solid goals and feedback company growth is limited to the weakest link. Unchecked bad behavior permeates the system and becomes the reason for change versus change to grow the company. Managers stay working in the process versus working on the process.

Our class discussion this week had us talking about how to manage the human capital side of things. I reflect on myself, “what have I done?”. Not enough, again working in the process instead of on the process. Based on this reflection I feel as if I’m working on the wrong things. Instead of process improvement work on people improvement; educate our people and why we need to care. I think I’ll start by just asking them, “what do you care about?” and follow up with “why is this important?”, simple questions rarely asked.

Build the trust, explain the reasoning, and go up from there (hopefully).

Mike

Zappos Article Comparison, we all love Zappos? My cats love Zappos boxes….

For this week MGMT 310 is learning about Organizational Perspectives, and Human Capital. The textbook Management and Integrated Approach, page 229 presents a nice article on Zappos titled “Zappos.com”. The article begins as describing Zappos humble founding’s by Nick Swinmurn, then goes on to discuss Tony Hsieh’s gradual take over as CEO in the early 2000. The article describes Zappos methodology for building human capital: “Hire happy people, keep them happy, have them inspired by company culture.” Hsieh’s theory of special culture equals special service is what separates Zappos from the competitor.  The article goes on to discuss some of Zappos core values:

  • Deliver WOW through service.
  • Be humble.
  • Be passionate and determined.
  • Create fun and a little weirdness.

The article states how Zappos wants weird employees (but not too weird) and how Zappos changed their hiring process to where a prospect new hire must indulge in the Zappos social network before being considered to make sure they are a good fit. Then the new hire goes through a 4-week training program, and if hired goes through 200+ hours of additional training in topics such as communication, conflict management, and coaching. The article ends by listing how Zappos “deep commitment” to their employees yielded results: $1 billion in retail sales and Zappos being bought by Amazon.

Ironically I just ordered from this Zappos this week,  and tend to order from them often mainly for three reasons:

  • My work shoes must meet a ASTM safety requirement, these can be tough to find local. Zappos has the large selection and I can get them next day.
  • Free shipping to and back incase the shoe does not fit.
  • And most important, my cats love the Zappos boxes.

 

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Frenchie Besos checking out her latest box, annoyed by my new safety shoes….

I’m happy, Frenchie is happy!  All is perfect at Zappos??….maybe not…..

We’ll compare the text article to Zappos media articles linked to the students by Professor Gower.

Holacracy, Zappos new way..

Fortune article and video “How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling” by Jennifer Reingold gives a summary of the changes at Zappos over the last few years. Reingold begins by describing how Zappos, for the first time in 8+ years, did not make the Fortune 100 best places to work and sits at a 29% employee turnover rate. What has changed? Just about everything. Reingold describes Tony Hsieh’s moment of clarity where he realizes a “company’s default position is death.” Hsieh believes this is spurred about due to the hierarchy and power structures of traditional management. To combat this fear, Hsieh’s introduces Holacracy.

Holacracy is a system of self-management that elements the bosses and all the typical structure of a normal corporation. People do not have jobs they have roles. Bosses are now Link Leaders, Departments are now Circles of People and employees have people points (up to 100) for which they can distribute out to a circle they want to join. But, if a link leader does not agree or get a long with the employee, or if the employee/and or circle does not have enough points available, the employee gets kicked out. At the end if the employee does not distribute all their people points, they go to an area called The Beach. Now this is bad news, at The Beach the employee is given opportunities to get with the program, after two weeks if the employee is not following the Zappos way, the employee is basically fired. So, in a nut shell-  if you don’t fit in, can’t find a circle to click with, or if your peers feel you do not provide enough value…. You’re gone. Later bro!!!

Link to article:

How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling

Reingold goes on to describe Zappos and Hsieh’s next management phase- “Teal”. After surviving the growing pains of Holacracy, Zappos has moved away from that philosophy and employees are now learning the new way.

Zappos Moves on to Teal…

What is Teal? Glad you asked. The New Republic blog article “First Let’s Get Rid of the Bosses” by Roger D Hodge, describes the changes at Zappos and the company’s move to Teal management in 2015. Abbreviated summary, typical organization such as Walmart have a management structure that is Orange in color. Companies such as Starbucks are Green, Zappos was moving from Green to Teal.

Teal = complete self-organization, the next ”stage collective of corporate evolution”, no more “people managers.” What does this mean? No more managers, years of loyalty and hard work to climb the ladder at Zappos? Gone. Your manager title? Gone. Salary? No change yet so the article says…..

The article goes into far more depth than I could cover here so I leave the link below. Essentiality my take away- Hsieh has successfully turned the status que of management on its head and created a system of the unknown.  Being unknown means there are no definitions, Management is not defined by a specific structure, policy and control, instead the “organization is one that seeks to empower its members to be creative, independent, adaptable, and self-directing.”

But…. don’t people feel safe with definitions, structure and control? If you spent 15 years working hard for promotions only to have them stripped, would you feel safe? Does it really matter? Do you have a choice?

Link to website article post:

https://newrepublic.com/article/122965/can-billion-dollar-corporation-zappos-be-self-organized

Cult in Culture…

From here we see Zappos Leadership model has changed, enough so that some say Zappos holds a cult like culture.

Quarts blog article “A nine-point checklist on leadership and control suggest Zappos functions like a cult” by Aimee Groth list various characteristics in which Zappos takes on a cult like persona. Here’s a few standouts:

  • Constantly changing requirements- two huge changes in leadership philosophy, I would say yes.
  • Black and white thinking- hard line concepts reduced to catch phrases, yep based on the info above.
  • Double standards- Leadership is free to do things regular workers can not, or as the author says, “are verboten for regular members”. Sounds very 1984 like.

Link to article:

https://qz.com/920176/a-look-inside-zappos-an-excerpt-of-kingdom-of-happiness-by-aimee-groth/

To summarize what I have learned:

The text paints a nice picture of Zappos culture as being fun, open, cheeky, and weird, everybody happy!

Recent articles show a different side to Zappos: confusion, uncertainty, employee dissatisfaction, everybody not so happy…

“let’s get rid of the bosses”, is this case of be careful what you wish for?

The articles paint a picture of Zappos taking a different view on the Human Capital side, the company is going in this direction to survive, you’re either with us or you’re gone.

My thoughts.. honestly I need to research this more, mainly holacracy. I don’t see how this could work in any kind of manufacturing environment where standards, definitions, and order prevail, bottom line is the makers are to produce efficiently and need structure to do so. However, I want to be open to new ideas, maybe Hsieh mindset is right? One does not know until they try. Based on what I read, I am skeptical I would thrive in the Zappos world. Why? I like structure, I like order, I like to understand concrete goals and have a direct path, at least I “think” I like those things.

I’ll close with Frenchie doing something I know she likes, enjoying her boxes…

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Frenchie “I make no apologies for my posture..” Besos

 

Personal S.W.O.T. Analysis

Vision

My vision is to have a unique combination of engineering and management skill sets separating me from other contenders, allowing me to provide excellent goal achievements for my work organization. I see myself being the resource for specific knowledge required in the work environment, and the leader for project involving technical challenges and opportunities. My passion is process improvement, how to make something simple even better. Ultimately my vision leads to using science, empathy, and leadership for the common good, either in the local or international communities in need. Mantra: Think critically, act kindly, achieve success through positive change.

Mission

My short-term mission is finish my ME BS with a 3.5 of higher gpa while still working to provide for my family and remaining debt free. This mission includes continued education in the study of humanities, bias, and expanding my network for increased diversity. My mission is to continue the learning and practice of critical thinking, remove myself from apathy, inspire those that feel nothing, and use my abilities to help others achieve their goals.

Objective

My objective is to use my vision and mission to achieve milestones in both career and personal life. This leads to my true goal, be the best provider I can for my family. My goal is to place myself in positions that allow me to take better care of those I love and allow future success. The end goal is happiness and satisfaction of a life lived honestly, ethically and well, see the world and change what I can for the positive.

S.W.O.T….

Strengths

My competitive advantage is years of management experience along with new knowledge obtained by returning to college to complete a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. My career spans over twenty years in the manufacturing sector with the last fifteen years focusing on leadership responsibilities, process improvement and operations management. In the past I reported to company CEOs, Owners and Board of Directors, responsibilities included budget capex management, reduction of waste streams, department growth and employee administration. I am constantly tasked by the executive leadership with achieving the impossible: produce more, with less waste, lower cost, and do it with less people in less time with higher quality. This experience combined with a recently obtained Mechanical Engineering Degree allows me to offer the employer the best of both worlds: true real-world management, critical thinking, problem solving experience and an up to date education on the latest engineering software, design, and technologies. My work experience and new education allow me to bring more value to my employer and their client. I apply my engineering education to solve real world problems effectively saving time and money that directly contributes cash flow to the bottom line.

Additionally, I use my experience and knowledge to bridge the communication gap between the wants of the executives, and the realities of the maker. Communication is key and often fails when translating between departments. Executive leadership needs the goal complete within budget and timeline requirements. Engineers when tasked with process improvement think in absolutes and often do not fully consider the person performing the task in the work space environment. Middle management and the makers are often stuck in-between, left with a goal they do not fully understand nor achieve due to inferior tools and lack of support. My knowledge and work experience allow me to bridge this gap, by taking the goal of the executive, translating this need into real world solutions that engineering and manufacturing departments can understand and achieve. The result, additional saving in revenue through increased accurate communication, critical thinking and team problem solving. At the end of the day I measure my achievement through the accomplishments of those around me, their success is my success.

Weaknesses

My weakness is lack of diversity in my work experience that could and does lead to bias in my thought process. I have worked in the same industry, commercial printing and publication, in some form or capacity for most of my life. This has afforded me great opportunities to grow and come up through the ranks but has also shielded me from new ways of thinking, different cultures and work environments. This is turn has lessened my growth as a person and manager and potentially leads me down decision paths that are taken because the path is what I know, versus true open mindedness and objective critical thinking. My industry is `old school’ with good old boy networks and the downfalls that come with them. Yes, there have been improvements overall, however in my experience the core within the industry have not changed. Even though I recognize this system as heavily flawed I understand being in this culture for most of my life has given me a bias. This bias influences decisions I make which in turn limits the growth of myself and my coworkers. This is bad for the longevity of my company by preventing forward thinking, cultural advancement and the monetary benefits that come with diversity in the thought process. Not only does this affect employees and shareholders, the effect goes beyond to the community, by limiting the growth of a company, employee growth and spending are limited as well.

To combat this weakness, I seek out the help of professional colleagues and mentors outside of my industry and workplace. My mentors are often minorities and usually in entirely different business sectors with a range of experience beyond mine. Through dialogue they help me understand and see things in a different perspective, resulting in clear decision making based on merit, skill and what is best for our organizational growth. By recognizing this weakness and seeking guidance from mentors, I help limit the effect of my weakness and the emotional and financial repercussion. This allows my weakness to have a lower impact compared to the overall greater value I bring to my organization and the customer we serve.

Opportunities

  • Continue my education by seeking out groups and organizations that provide different unique viewpoints to my current way of thinking. By doing so I will be exposed to different ideas allowing to me see alternative viewpoints beyond my day to day routine. This will help me stay outside the rut so to speak and provide new, possibly better, ways to think critically. Better critical thinking results in more efficient problem solving resulting in a better value for my customer, team, and workplace.
  • Use my engineering and work life skills to help in my community by volunteering. By volunteering I meet new people from different walks of life I may not normally meet in my day to day grind. This will help me see the world through new perspectives and provide an outlet for me to use my real world knowledge for the common good. By seeing the world through a different perspective I gain the knowledge of real life struggles our communities faces every day. I use this knowledge to strive for change through the power of voting, community outreach and local spending.

Threats

  • Lack of Diversity in my colleagues, friends, and mentors. This limits my growth potential due to lack of fresh ideas and exposure to different viewpoints thus limiting my value to an organization.
  • Staying abreast with technology. Falling behind in technology will limit my ability to accept new opportunities within an organization. This in turn limits the value I can bring to our customer lowering my value overall to the industry I serve.

 

and here is the original pdf, originally I was still in the engineering mindset and completed my s.w.o.t in good ol LATex….so I’ll say mindest is a threat also, not be able to shift gears.

Herndon_MGMT310_SWOT

Week three, a new understanding of culture

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Thai Elephants, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai. Do elephant herds have group culture?

Week three, our MGMT 310 class continued chapter reviews with each group presenting key points from the text. This week proved to me my perception from week two, I learn more from our candid discussion about the topics than just reading the text. All of us share different experiences between our work and personal lives, from these experiences I see new methods for creating solutions to workplace situations.

One of my main goals for this class is to use key concepts from the course directly into my work as a production manager.  One topic that really set with me was the discussion of culture and how we define a positive versus negative culture in the workplace. A little background: for my current job, one of the main objectives for my hire was (and still is) to “fix” underperforming production departments, and rebuild the production operations to current standards. I knew this would be a major challenge, this company is 50+ years old, many employees have over 30 years of tenure and in many ways still following methods learned decade ago. Equipment is outdated and to compensate for failed equipment human labor is used at just above minimum wage.

What I did not understand is culture, where culture starts and its impact on future growth. I told the story in class of how for the first three months not a single person in production would talk with me, no more than “hello”, that is it. Employees with no work for there machines would stand there, do nothing. No thought whatsoever of maintaining the equipment or moving to another department to help others with their work. I called it “the sandbox syndrome” , I have my little box, and you stay out of it! One of the machine press operators had worked for this company 12 years, he did not know we had a break room, nor did he know we had other printing machines on the other side of the wall. He said: “I never go over there, why would I?…. my press is here, I don’t leave my machine. I clock in, run my press, 8 hours later I clock out, go home, thats what you pay more for?….Right?”  I thought what a weak culture, employees don’t care about anything but their own little box. My boss and I would say “We need to make it stronger”……. wrong.

This culture is by no means weak, it’s strong with core ideals. Individuals hold the belief they are to do one task as assigned, produce product, do not worry or care about anything else. I communicated this thought to my boss, he reflected quietly for several minutes and finally said “d*mn..you’re right.” Our method of introducing new ideas and thoughts on how to help other department has been wrong.  Now I understand why this culture has taken so long to embrace change. Thing is, when most of these people were hired, the sandbox model is how things were done. Now the world has changed, all must work together to have any chance of success. Management needs all departments to work together as teams, skilled labor goes where the work is instead of standing idle by their machine. Where does culture start? Through the leadership. Who sets the tone for the culture? Usually the Owner/Company President/CEO. Ahh…. and what does the CEO/Owner have to say about changing the culture? He thinks the idea is unsound, saying “We hire people to run their machine, why would we want them to work in another department???!!” and there it is, the “box” mentality.

We must keep overhead labor down to be competitive, raw material prices alone have tripled in our industry this year due to short falls caused be South East Asia growth. The market price for our goods will not pay the labor for a person to just stand by their machine waiting for a job while the rest of the plant is exploding with wip. Skilled labor must move to where the work is in our process flow. If I/we the management team can not change the owner’s mind on the culture change this business will fail. Luckily I have a lot of help, the rest of our leadership agrees the culture change must start at the top.

Why is this important? Our work mix is high quality periodicals, art reprints and boutique coffee table style books. Our customers and the market demand excellence. We do NOT have the equipment alone to meet this demand therefore we MUST rely on our people to make up the difference. In order for our people to be successful we must have team collaboration. Ideas must flow and skills must be used across all departments to produce the product our customers demand. Changing our current strong culture to this mindset, will allow this to happen. We will define a new acceptable behavior beyond the sandbox mentality. This will allow less coordination as the workforce will have tools and insight to focus on where the work is versus only their little box. Thus operations run smoothly allowing flexibility to tackle opportunity projects inside our backlog due to skilled labor being trained across all production areas.

Our meeting to discuss the culture change of using skilled labor across all departments with Owner/CEO is Monday afternoon, I’ll update this blog with our progress.

Mike

 

 

 

 

On to week two..

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Sunset, Kuta Beach Bali, just because…….

Week two of MGMT 310 focused on the groups reviewing and summarizing assigned chapters. Topics ranged from Globalization, Ethics in Business, Business and Corporate Strategy and additional sub topics relating to the core learning objectives for each chapter.  The learning of key textbook terms and management principles is good but for me what I found more interesting is the discussion surrounding the chapters and topics. Reason for this is our class has nice mix of Professor and students from different backgrounds, the discussions allow me to hear different/diverse perspectives I would normally not hear in my general work environment.  Listening to the opinions of the class exposes me to different ways of thinking and in turn helps me with my own critical thinking when tackling work related projects. This in turn helps me be a better manager by using new perspectives to take on old problems in a different more forward thinking way.

All of this is well and good, but doesn’t really mean much if I can not take these concepts and put them into practice. One item discussed in class is S.W.O.T Strength Weakness Opportunities Threats analysis for analyzing a company’s strength and weaknesses and how we are to perform this exercise on ourselves. I have used SWOT a few times, never thought of using this concept on myself. What about asking a talented but challenging employee the same thing? I work in the Commercial Printing Industry. The industry as a whole is shrinking, the biggest issue we face is lack of work force, no one is getting into the trade of commercial print. I have a young man at work, let’s call him John, I am mentoring or at least trying to mentor to develop him into craftsperson for the printing trade. The challenge here is John’s lack of focus and engagement, but I think his lack of focus is a fear thing as well. John’s a tough nut to crack, shows signs of complete brilliance followed by total apathy and ineptitude. Why? I need John to help me understand so I/we the company can in turn help John learn, otherwise he will be lost and eventually fall by the wayside.

Wednesday night I went back to work and met with John and his supervisor, discussed training, performance, future goals and gave John a homework assignment, his own S.W.O.T analysis.  His assignment was not exactly the same as ours but followed what we discussed in class. I was also a big meanie and only gave him two days to finish. Today was our follow up and we reviewed his self reflection. Wow, John had a lot to say! What I found most interesting, John stated he has absolutely no weaknesses, none. This may sound like a negative but for me it’s not, if anything John’s response helps me understand.  How can a manager grow an employee who thinks they have no weakness and are pretty much perfect? Well you can’t, and this explains some of the reasons why coaching has failed. Now we have new goals, some of which revolve around self reflection. John also has new opportunities for training to help him understand self awareness and asking for help is part of personal development. Personal development is important because understanding strengths and weakness allows you to exploit one’s strengths and manage their weaknesses, which in turn leads to better career development, leading to a better life! My goal is to use MGMT 310 to try new ideas both personal and work related, hopefully the S.W.O.T for John will lead to a positive results. Time will tell.