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Co-creation May 27, 2008

Posted by Coolguy in Management.
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This could be one of this buzzwords you may be hearing more often, because, when Prahlad C.K, just named most influential management thinker in the world by Times of London, speaks, world pays attention.

While there is certainly no dearth of material on the internet exploring this topic, this post is my take on this not-so-new phenomenen.

The idea is that successful companies no longer invent new products and services entirely on their own. They create them along with their customers to produce an unique experience for every customer. Since no company own or can own enough resources to create these unique experiences, the management guru advocates that companies should organize a global networkers of suppliers and partners todo so.

In his latest book, The New Age of Innovation, Prahlad cites several examples of this phenomenon. So pretty powerful applications he cites are facebook opening its platform to allows users/companies to create applications based on the platform and how iPod allows users to to create their own experience by loading it with the content they like.

The company at the center of co-creation still has control on which choices it wants to offer its customers and how it wants to deliver them.

One of the challenges traditional companies may find adopting to this model is that they are built to creating and managing their own products.

One possible way to include customers needs in the product creation process is through the use of Quality Function Diagrams.

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The 10 stages of innovation May 25, 2008

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Here is a ten stages of innovation, that I can very much relate to (based on)

* Scepticism
* Enthusiasm
* Brass band and fireworks
* Results aren’t visible
* Existing business suffering
* Is it worth it?
* Start to see pay offs
* This is taking time
* Maybe not a bad idea
* It works!

Phases of innovation May 25, 2008

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Off late I have been working on a development of a new product and reading about product development process and innovation. Here are some interesting things I gleaned.

Phases of innovations are typically mystery, model, method and madness:

  • Mystery: This is where innovator explores and develops the idea. This is a resource intensive process.
  • Model: In this phase the idea moves mainstream, into market, and its feasibility(technical, customer needs, cost effectiveness, market) are determined.
  • Method: This is all about making the idea ready for mass production. It focuses on producing as many of the products with as possible with as inputs as possible.

Handling layoff’s May 23, 2008

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With the US economy in recession, everyday slew of employees are being laid-off, particularity in the finance sector. Here is my take on how you can monitor for rebound of the economy.

This is a quick list of do’s and don’ts for those in unfortunate position of having to let your teams go :

  • Explain why layoff’s are happening. Show numbers. That will atleast show them whats motivating it.
  • Don’t blame external factors. Its your job to monitor them.
  • Set and communicate a timetable for when they will be carried out. Be specific in plans.
  • Have counselors on-site to help employees deal with emotional aspect
  • Engage career counselor’s and let your staff know that they will be available
  • Do inform them personally. Email/SMS are terrible choices.
  • Don’t withhold information any longer than necessary.
  • Move swiftly once you announce the plan.
  • Take measures to motivate the employees you are keeping. Provide clear details on targets and plans you will achieve by the change.
  • Have alumni networks available for people leaving. They can help people make new contacts and find another job.

Mentoring Basics February 13, 2007

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Stages

  • Consistent, scheduled meetings with staff, mentors, and participants
  • A tracking system for ongoing assessment
  • De-brief the mentoring relationship

You are good for mentoring if you think:

  • I possess great patience.
  • I listen to the whole issue before commenting
  • I give advice but still expect the mentee to make their own decisions
  • I have a good range of networks and contacts that can be utilised appropriately
  • I always give honest opinions
  • I am not intimidating – I’m easy to approach at any time
  • I know what I am talking about – I am good at my own job
  • I am non-judgemental
  • I am enthusiastic about mentoring

Leadership Styles – Goleman on creating resonance October 29, 2005

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Leadership Styles – Goleman on creating resonance

Management/Interpersonal skills September 12, 2005

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  • Goal setting – ability to set specific and measurable goals;
  • Prioritizing – ability to identify and focus on the most important items;
  • Time management – ability to plan and keep to a schedule;
  • Organizing – ability to arrange work and work area in a way that optimizes productivity and efficiency;
  • Conflict management – ability to influence and negotiate “win-win” solutions;
  • Problem solving – ability to identify root cause problems, develop options, and select the best alternative;
  • Taking action – ability to implement plans and decisions;
  • Delegating – ability to assign tasks to others;
  • Saying “no” – ability to avoid taking on tasks that distract from priorities.

Roles & Interpersonal Skills of The Manager

  • Choosing appriopriate Leadership Style
  • Recruitment
  • Orientation of New Employees
  • Motivation Of Employees
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Discipline Of Employees
  • Transition Planning
  • Performance Problems
  • Communication Skills
  • Staff Meetings
  • Delegating Work to Others

What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently September 11, 2005

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  • Greatest managers make a clear distinction between knowledge, skills, and talent
  • Taent is defined as natural recurring patterns of thought within a person.
  • While knowledge and skills can be taught, the greatest managers know that talent cannot be taught.
  • A key of management success is finding the right kind of person for any given job.
  • Each person has a unique set of talents making them unique. This set of talents defines who the person is and, more importantly, the kinds of work the person will enjoy
  • When a child grows, many brain cells exist. There are relatively few connections between the cells. Certain pathways between various groups of brain cells will be strengthened as the child grows. Other pathways will rarely be used. These seldom used pathways and cells will be pruned by the brain
  • E.g: ome people will be great at strategic thinking. Others will struggle with strategic thinking
  • Some people will have a talent for mathematics. Others won’t
  • Some people will be naturally empathetic and verbally fluent. Not so for others
  • Trying to make someone function in an area his or her brain hasn’t developed will lead to stress, low satisfaction, and, probably, on-the-job failure
  • But, putting someone in a role where he is naturally wired will probably lead to satisfaction and competency
  • It is foolish to reward excellence in a role by removing the person from the role
  • For example, not everyone has the talent or the desire to be a manager.
  • The talent to be a great computer programmer will not be the same talent needed to be a systems analyst or project manager.
  • A great manager figures out who’s the knight, the queen, the pawn. He coordinates all those very different abilities and contributions into the service of the overall plan. He builds a team out of individuals

Natural talents

  • Linguistic
  • Logical Mathematical
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalistic

Attracting and keeping productive employees September 11, 2005

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Twelve factors to attract and keep productive employees:

1) Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2) Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3) At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4) In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
5) Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6) Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7) At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8) Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?
9) Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10) Do I have a best friend at work?
11) In the last six months, have I talked with someone about my progress?
12) At work, have I had the opportunities to learn and grow?

Recruitment Process September 8, 2005

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Scenarios

  • Recruiting for a specific role
  • Recruiting for a specific project
  • Recruiting to keep buffer

Process

  • Write a Job Description
  • Provide enough justification and get the position approved
  • Send it off HR
  • Brief the agencies individually or collectively
  • Be clear on the role, salary range, skills, attributes, qualities and experience level required
  • Make sure they understand the process, mode of communication, interview process and stick to it.
  • Be prepared to allocate half of your time to the process and ensure quick turnarounds. After all good candidates don’t stay looking for ever
  • Screen CV’s and give feedback to agencies, both on why or not, you are picking a candidate for first round.
  • Arrange for telephonic interview. Don’t do back to back and no more than two per day. That’s stressful and impairs your judgement.
  • Prepare for the telephonic interview with probing questions as well as basic screening questions.
  • Make notes as you go along and use ratings for skills and characteristics you are looking for.
  • If candidate is thru schedule time with your manager and invite the candidate for personal interview.
  • Brief your manager on your findings during first round using your notes and give your rating. Tell your concerns and come to an agreement on topics you want him/her to probe.
  • Make notes as you go along and use ratings for skills and characteristics you are looking for.
  • If candidate is thru, make a offer ASAP. If not give reasons to agency

Job Descriptions

Existing role:

  • Analyse the roles and responsibilities
  • Start with the JD of person leaving.
  • Observe his/her work and revise the JD.
  • Ask him/her to maintain a diary of his work for a week and revise the JD.
  • Make a list of skills the person has.
  • Think if any additional skills needed to perform the role
  • Revise the JD and publish it

New Role

  • Look at what the company strategy is.
  • E.g.: In some company’s BA’s do everything the RA phase. So not much need of RA exposure for a Developer/Analyst role. Similarly if company has a project management function, you don’t need a development manager to be a project manager
  • Form a list of responsibilities and derive essential skills from the responsibilities.
  • E.g.: If you need a analyst to work along with a BA team, some exposure to RA process is necessary. As are Presentation Skills, Willingness to travel if client else where, teamwork etc.

For any role

  • Decide on level of experience you would like to have.
  • No point if getting highly experienced people for a junior role as they simply would move on after a while

Telephonic Conversation

  • Look up company on internet
  • Google to find out more!!
  • Read CV twice and make notes. Unexplained gaps etc.
  • Based on the characteristics you want prepare with probing questions on projects
  • Explain the recruitment process and stages.
  • Outline the call
  • Give good introduction on company, business and financial stability
  • Introduction to team, role and skills required.
  • Start off with the current project and start probing.
  • Rate on questions
  • Give chance to ask any questions