Showing posts with label organizational management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organizational management. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Heart of an Entrepreneur

 By Dr. Susan Sasiadek (March 13, 2015)

While working on my MBA it was clear to me that the number one goal for all companies was to turn a profit.  I remember learning early on that owning a business is much like the game of Monopoly; as long as you have money, you re in the game. Once you are out of money, the game is over. So why then wouldn’t the focus of owning a business be centered on profits?  For many companies this is exactly where the focus is. However, there has been a dynamic shift in the thinking as to why entrepreneurs set out to create a business and how to maintain a successful organization.

One of the beliefs that lies within the hearts of many entrepreneurs is to do what you have a passion for and the profits will follow. A similar concept I have often shared with young college students; do what you love and the money will come.  Although this sounds easy enough, many times people and organizations lose their focus of what it is they set out to achieve.  As the world is constantly changing so do companies and the people that work for them. How can one start a business they are passionate about, ensure it will be successful and keep the heart of an entrepreneur?

I believe there are four key ingredients that are needed in order to maintain one’s passion and create a recipe for success. 
  • Create a mission that drives not only your company, but the employees that are invested in working for you.  
  •   When you start a business always have a purpose. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have the business product/service with the end result to the client as the goal, not the profit (Cited by Paul Mitchell, Case, n.d.)
  • Incorporate a value system that is focuses on employees, giving back to the community and on your customers (Cited by Danny Meyer, Case, n.d.). Philanthropy needs to be part of your organizational culture.
  •  Embrace rejections and failures as they leave an imprint on you of valuable lessons from which your business will grow (Cited by Paul Mitchell, Case, n.d.).
The greatest asset for any organization are the employees that work diligently to drive the mission, embrace the values and focus on each customer. In order to create an organizational culture in which the employees are driven to perform at this level, it is imperative to have leaders within the organization that create the dynamics of the culture in which, employees not only want to come to work each day, but look forward to coming to work. An environment in which the passion of the founder is passed on to all levels within the organization. Danny Meyer, the CEO and founder of Shake Shack once shared that the “best way to be greedy is to focus on your employee’s first, then your community and third, on your customers (Case, n.d.).

Taking the time to identify your organization’s focus, purpose and mission, will not only help to create the organizational  culture in which the values and passion come alive; it will also help to ensure a servant style of leadership that focuses on the people first and profits second.

Case, Jean . (n.d.) . Two years to build a billion-dollar brand – with meaning. Forbes under 30 Summit .  Retrieved on March 13, 2015, from

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Leadership Through Stakeholder Collaboration

Leadership is a necessary component of moving groups from one performance level to another. Leaders provide a focal point for collective action, a voice to the will of the people and decision-making capacity when problems arise. Responsible leaders are able to bring stakeholders together to accomplish some important goal. This isn’t possible without considering the multiple stakeholders in any worthwhile activity.

According to Doh & Quigley (2014) leaders are able to use psychological and knowledge-based pathways to impact micro/individual, team, organizational, and societal outcomes. Such leaders have the personal capacity to see how daily activities can impact larger groups of stakeholders to create higher levels of impact. Responsible leaders can impact organizational processes and outcomes to achieve goals.

Consider the different types of stakeholders interested in an organization and the levels by which these can be categorized. The individual worker has a stake in terms of employment, the manager in terms of impact, suppliers who earn revenue, and the general community and society who are impacted by the economic opportunities. The same organization can have multiple people interested in its functionality due to far reaching implications.

Instead of shunning this interest it is possible for responsible leaders to capitalize on stakeholders to create a better functioning organization both on the human-to-human micro level as well as the community level. Individual workers who live and exist within the organization naturally have an impact on the success of the organization and its impact on the community.

It may not seem like it is possible for one person who can have this much influence but this depends on how the leader creates proper workplace environments and open inclusive interactions that can draw interested parties. Consider for a moment how organizations that are fully engaged in the community have a  positive impression that helps their overall impression and public image.

Leadership requires the ability to see the vantage point of multiple stakeholders and how their perceptions envision and interpret organizations. By drawing in such stakeholders across multiple levels it becomes even more possible to increase the amount of collective effort but also draw new ideas from interested parties.

A large part of leadership is about opening up communication lines and developing new ways to get people involved in solutions. Leadership requires not only the ability to think strategically but also how to draw people into that strategic image. Finding a vision that most stakeholders can accept is necessary for greater collaboration and higher achievement.

Doh, J. & Quigley, N. (2014). Responsible leadership and stakeholder management: influence pathways and organizational outcomes. Academy of Management Perspectives, 28 (3).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Social Networks Percolate Products and Opinions

Word of mouth fosters social learning about issues, products, and opportunities.  Friends that act and think alike often create clusters and these clusters can influence the purchasing choices as well as the decisions members make. Economists often have difficulty formulating how social networks formulate and influence people’s impressions of products and services. Research by Arthur Campbell (2013) sheds light on how word of mouth in social networks influences perception of value. 

When individuals are interested in a concept or product they are naturally more willing to engage in word of mouth. Generally, as a product’s price is lower it raises the interest level and the potential discussion of the product leading to more word of mouth activity. It is this interaction that brings to the forefront ideas, concepts, and discussions on products that are settled within a group. 

One of the difficult aspects of understanding social networks and diffusion is the complexity of the system.  Despite this complexity, it is known that as activity increases information is spread out to a wider group of people thereby creating more advertisement. The complexity has made chasing down the pieces of information and how they spread difficult.  Yet through models it is possible to understand the process of information peculation in an imperfect manner.

One potential way to look at how information is transferred is in a formula:

Ξ ⊆ { ( i, j ) | i j N }
Everyone is connected to a social network = ( N, Ξ )
Nodes = n
Relationship between individuals i and j = ( i, j ) ∈ Ξ
The probability of a person i passing out information = ν ( θ i , P )

The model is undirected in the sense that information can percolate anywhere. All of the consumers are uninformed and the chance that people will buy a product is based on a percentage of the amount of people that become informed. The timing of the model can be seen as-

(i) Each person in the population becomes informed with independent probability
ε ≈ 0 (later they may also become informed through advertising).

(ii) Informed individuals tell all their friends about the product through WOM
with probability ν ( θ i , P ) and purchase the product if θ i P.

(iii) Step 2 is repeated for newly informed consumers until there are no more
consumers being informed.

The model is impacted by availability of competitive products, information, pricing, and a whole array of other factors that go into the process. When a competitive product or alternative explanation is not available it will naturally impact the options and choices within the social network. Likewise, if more information about a product is available it can impact the eventual agreement and promotion of such products with the group. 

When companies advertise they often seek to hit specific components within the social networks. Those persons that are more socially connected will likely spread their impressions of the products or services more widely. This is a simple function of connectivity to other members and the ability to be an influencer within the network. Most of us would recognize the superstar promoters of products and services.

The paper finds a number of interesting associations of price, information/advertisement, and the connections of the network. Generally, as information passes through the network in “buzz” and in tight clusters the prices remain higher. However, if the information passes more slowly or in dispersed networks the prices will remain lower. Word of mouth is a medium that could be positive or negative in its impact. 

Thinking about how information moves through networks it is important to remember that members will engage in social learning based upon how they evaluate the products against each other. If popular opinion is that the product is not desirable it will hamper others from buying that product. It means that we are social creatures that evaluate the work of products based upon how others view those products within our networks. If their feedback is negative we will come to the conclusion that a product is less worthy. 

Such a model does not necessarily need to work with products alone but could be used within an organizational setting to understand how information moves quickly among members. Each person who obtains the information, evaluates it based upon their social schemata, and then promotes that viewpoint to others. If the information is of significant worth it will move faster while if it is of little worth it will spread slower.  One must have an internal gauge to think independently from their clustered networks and this is unlikely for the majority of the population as they are connected to clusters who think alike.  Thus, our opinions are often a direct result of our social networks.

Campbell, A. (2013). Word-of-mouth communication and percolation in social networks. American Economic Review, 103 (6).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Global Leadership Skills

Leadership has taken a level of interest among researchers. As organizations become complex, large, and multi-national the leadership team will need to develop and recruit a higher skill set. Global leadership requires the mastery of cognitive intelligence (IQ), personality, and emotional intelligence (EI). A paper by Colfax, Rivera and Perez (2012) helps explore how emotional intelligence impacts the overall ability of global leaders to influence their environments. Their paper sheds interesting light on the concept that global leaders required certain abilities to be successful in their environment. 

Global businesses are complex animals that require certain knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) to manage well. As these skills grow and develop other aspects of human development take precedence. The emotional-social development of people is a main factor that determines those who will succeed with those who will not in the global management environment.

Emotional intelligence is a concept of how the individual relates to both themselves as well as people within the world. It is the ability to manage the amebic human elements of their environment. Through understanding oneself they can better understand the needs of others and thereby create more influence. 

According to Bradberry and Grieves’ (2009) survey of 500,000 people it was found that emotional intelligence accounted for 58 % of performance and was more predictive than standard intelligence. To put the importance of EQ in perspective it was found that those with high IQ outperformed others 20% of the time while those with high EQ outperform others 70% of the time. 

Knowing the importance of EQ in successful global leadership is not the same as knowing how to foster it. Gregersen, Morrison & Black (1999) believes that global leadership is born and not made. In other words, it can be enhanced but not made. Such leaders have certain skills and abilities that when tested within the environment manifests themselves into greater performance. Through awareness, training and opportunity the global leadership skills can come alive. 

Colifax, Rivera and Perez contend that limitations on thinking have damaged the field of global leadership in the sense that too much emphasis on the financial bottom line encouraged an over reliance on analytical measures. The complete and well developed person has emotion and reason to aid them in their cause. In order to deal effectively with the multiple personalities, cultures, and systematic management on a global scale requires the use of IQ, personality and EQ.  Such leaders can stir the emotions to create systematic developments of the environment.

Bradberry, T. & J. Greaves (2009).Emotional intelligence 2.0. California: Talent Smart

Colfax, R., Rivera, J. & Perez, K. (2010). Applying Emotional Intelligence (EQ-I) in the workplace: vital to global business success. Journal of International Business Research, 9.

Gregersen, H., A. Morrison & J. Black (1999, November). What makes Savvy global leaders? Ivey Business Journal, 64(2), 44. Retrieved October 9, 2008, from Business Source Complete database.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Industrial Time Management Skills

Time management is an important part of maintaining productivity within the workplace. With the proper allocation of time companies can accomplish more projects that are beneficial to their needs. When looking at wasted time throughout a corporation a significant proportion of this limited resource simple goes down the drain with little benefit. Proper time management is a skill that can be learned on an organizational and individual level and should be fostered for higher performance.

At an individual level a person can gain a sense of mastery and accomplishment by having time-management skills that make it easier for them to navigate their day. Research has indicated that time management training, based upon psychological theory, increased perceived control of time and decreased stress (Hafner & Stock, 2010). The type of skills learned varied in ability and effectiveness yet the findings remained relatively consistent across the spectrum.

Since time management raised masterly of their work environment and decreased stress there are some secondary benefits to training for appropriate skills. On an organizational level this time training can lead to higher levels of organizational accomplishment and systematic improvements in efficient functioning. The development of organizational time management starts at the top on the macro level and managed minutely by individuals. 

The tackling of poor time management is important as an industrial management technique. Time scarcity and misallocation are systematic problems in organizations (Bevins & Smet, 2013). Based upon a survey of executives they found that it is beneficial to allow for time budgets that encourage the focusing on important projects that help the organization succeed. Doing so reduces waste throughout the company.

Industrial time management starts with the board and top executives who allocate the tasks and time of the management team (Bregman, 2013). The goal is to ensure that their allocation of time is properly aligned with strategic objectives and not wasted on less important endeavors. It doesn’t mean that all of the time is allocated to specific projects but that each project requires a particular investment of the manager’s time to maintain focus. 

At a personal and organizational level time management creates additional efficiencies in organizational functioning. Despite these benefits many organizations have not effectively trained their managers well or developed time budgets. Considering time management as a systematic policy can help encourage greater focus on strategic objectives and reduce organizational waste. Such techniques should be incorporated into organizational training plans. 

Bevins, F. & Smet, A. (2013). Making time management the organization’s priority. McKinsey Quarterly, 1.

Bregman, P. (2013). A personal approach to organizational time management. McKinsey Quarterly, 1.

Hafner, A. & Stock, A. (2010. Time management training and perceived control of time at work. Journal of Psychology, 144 (5).