Management the brain? You judge.

Editorial comment: Love the last paragraph! Enjoy.

Guest blog by: Karanvir Bhatti, management student at BC Institute of Technology

                            Role of management in organization

Management can be explained as the “brain of an organization”, which keeps on working and controls all the activities and functions of an organization. We can also say that without management an organization will be like a “body in a coma”.

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It’s the management only which takes every decision and steps to make sure that the organization is moving toward the right direction. Management does that by using a very effective technique or we can also say formula called POLC-A.POLC-A which is planning, organizing, leading, controlling and attitude, is directly linked with and explains that how management sets the goals, work on them, executes them and gets the result out of the set goals. Management takes part in each and every step of the organization. It gives direction, aligns and achieves organization goals with available resources.

Achieving the set goals is not the only function/role of an management, it also focuses on other factors too such as making the work place the safest for its employees, committing the employees to work safe, development of the employees, making sure that the employees are not just coming in to work but also enjoying it, which in return will benefit the organization. A good management in my eyes will be to take care of your employees as they are the one who act as the “heart” of an organization. Management strives to encourage individual activity that will lead to reaching organizational goals and to discourage individual activity that will jeopardize the accomplishment of the organization objectives. If management can make sure that their employees like what they are doing then the results can be seen in their productivity.

Management plays a critical role in an organization as it is the management only which has to always think and generate new ideas to make more and new improvements in an organization. One in management should always look for little things which can be improved on daily basis, as these small changes plays an important and huge role in the improvement of the operation. Being in management one should always plan ahead and not only on daily basis. Being proactive on the plans helps to think about the “pros & cons” of the plan and gives time to lay down the process to execute the plan in a better and productive way.

But again in the end, I would like to say that management which manages its workforce in a better way and make them feel a proud of what they are doing always “steals the show and touch the new heights”.

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Organizational Culture and Cars?

Guest blog by Nicole Marlatt, Operations Management student at BCIT.

Organizational Culture in the

Worlds Most Advanced Automobile Assembly Plant

Organizational culture in the worlds most advanced automobile assembly plant…

In the rural region of Bahia Brazil, on the outskirts of the Atlantic rainforest in Camaçari, stands Ford’s state-of-the-art automobile manufacturing facility. It is

Ford Motor Company of Argentina

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Ford’s most automated plant. A highly flexible plant, which can produce 5 different vehicles at the same time on 1 production line. It is 2.3 million square feet with its own port and has 31 suppliers within the facility, bringing the Just-in-time production concept to a whole new level. Pretty astonishing, fascinating stuff right? But what is the organizational culture like in one of the advanced automobile manufacturing factories in the world? You will be quite surprised.

Camaçari employs over 9,000 people in their facility, including their suppliers. The employees are young, and eager to learn. The average age is 26 and about half the employees are women. Each employee has to go through 900 hours of training on a smaller, mock version of the assembly line. In US, the employees of automakers are trained to work on a specific, repetitive job. Conversely, the Camaçari workers are trained on many different jobs and are even encouraged to learn new skills (Don’t tell that to the United Auto Workers union). “If you do different jobs, it’s more interesting,” explains employee Diede Silva dos Santos. “It gives me a chance to expand my knowledge. It makes me a more valuable employee too, So that I will have a future here.” She is already a master at 7 jobs and is learning an 8th. So one of the dimensions of organizational culture at the Ford plant is people orientation, and in my opinion a very important, if not the most important.

The Camaçari Ford plant has 4 cafeterias that are shared between everyone in the plant, from the assembly workers to the upper management. Amazing! How many of you eat your lunch at work with the CFO or CEO and talk about the Canucks game? Anybody? It gets better… Not only do all of the employees share the same cafeterias, they also share the same uniforms. Everyone, and yes, even the upper management. This uniformity is unique to Ford. The idea behind this is to create a sense of community and team work; that everyone is working towards the same goal. “People are more open to telling you what they think, it fosters an atmosphere of codependence. I think we need that elsewhere.” said the head of product development in South America, Henry Thai-Tang (who works in the Camaçari plant). There’s a real strong sense of team orientation, innovation and risk taking within this company. It’s different and very outside of the box, but I think it’s great, and I would love to see more of this in North America.

Camaçari was once a part of the immense Atlantic rainforest, as was most of this region in Brazil. Much of the rainforest was cleared for cultivation many years ago and less than 7% remains. Ford wanted to give back to the rainforest by planting 700,000 trees. Many of the trees died though since the land and the soil was so depleted. So being the innovative, creative people that they are at the Ford, the employees started to save their food wastes and create nutrient rich compost. And slowly they are bringing back the rainforest, one acre at a time. A ritual at Ford, that’s giving back to the environment.

Really empowering, innovative and impressive organizational culture they have in the Camaçari Ford plant. “Ford was able to think outside the box and it is paying off for them.” said Michael Robinet, VP of global vehicle forecasts, CSM worldwide. So why aren’t doing this in North America? Maybe the North American culture is too strong, stubborn and set in its ways… Poor management maybe?

References

 Internet Websites

Textbooks

  • Principles of Management – Stephen P. Robbins, Mary coulter, Nancy Langton
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How does your Garden Grow?

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Guest blog by Brandy Janus, Management Student at the BC Institute of Technology

Congratulations on your promotion!  It’s official, you’re now going to be managing the team that just yesterday you were apart of.  It’s time to transition your current duties and understand what your new role will entail. One of the issues that first time managers quite often encounter is the inability to let go of their current tasks and the reluctance to delegate.

I know for myself in my first management role, the transition from “doer” to “manager” was a very difficult one.  I for whatever reason had it in my brain that I and only I knew how to do things the “right” way.  Right, being a relative term of course.  I had always and still do, take great pride in my work and the thought of someone not completing these tasks to my standards was just inconceivable.

With this frame of mind, I embarked on my biggest pet peeve with management today.  The evil “Micro-Manager”.  That’s right; I’m actually admitting that I was a micro-manager.  I was so obsessed that my previous efforts would have been wasted, that I did everything in my power to ensure that my staff followed my succession plan to a “T”.  Not only was this ultra annoying to my group, but I was not making any positive progress in my new role.

One day I was telling my mentor that I was completely overwhelmed and just not finding the time to be proactive.  He asked me a number of questions on what I was doing and then proceeded to compare the manager and employee relationship to that of a home owner and their gardener.  He said that when you hire a gardener, you do so based on their ability and reputation or references.  As the homeowner, we provide the vision or plan of what we would like to have accomplished and review the results. But how often would we stand over our gardener barking out orders, telling them the best way to pull that weed or plant that bulb? Not often.  We trust the gardener is capable and will do everything possible to make our outdoor environment beautiful.

With that simple analogy it all became clear.  I needed to stop my micro-managing tendencies and become the homeowner. I was meant to provide the plan and direction to the team; lead them and organize our efforts.  My department had been hired based on their merits. They were intelligent individuals from all types of backgrounds and were able to bring some great interesting ideas and perspectives to the table.

As a new manager, don’t make my mistake.  Trust in your staff and let go. Because if you don’t, your garden might not reach it’s full potential.

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The Cultural Difference

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Guest blog by Dustin Hora, Management Student at BCIT. (BUSA 2005)

An interesting look at culture and how it is demonstrated in companies.  Is it sometimes too much?

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The Cultural Difference

The best advice I ever received was from my father. It was given to me at a very vulnerable stage in my life. I was 16 years old and had been out all night with friends. I got home late that evening, or rather morning, and quickly found myself kneeling on the hard ceramic floor, my hands grasping the cold porcelain rim and my head buried inside the bowl. I was shaking, cold sweats rushing through my helpless undeveloped frame. It all seemed like a good idea at the time but I vowed to never do this again! From all the commotion I managed to wake my father. Great, I thought, just what I needed, a lecture on top of my sloppy state. Surprisingly, he came into the bathroom showing great empathy and said, “Son, everything you do in life should be done in moderation.” I don’t remember much that night except that profound statement which I’ve carried with me ever since. This same principle can be applied to culture in the workplace.

Organizational Culture is the philosophy and values held by an institution. It provides direction, creates unification and gives purpose to what may seem mundane. It defines how you relate to your employees and stakeholders. It is the reasoning behind all organizational decisions. It is omnipresent. Organizational culture is inescapable however strong or weak.  It will represent your workplace. Wal-Mart’s unique culture comprises of the Wal-Mart cheer. Many locations still meet in the morning and perform this cheer together as a group. Best Buy has a customer satisfaction bell. When a customer receives exceptional service they are asked by the employee to ring the bell which is heard throughout the store followed by the applause of other workers. A strong culture is not only a plaque on the wall it is constantly put to practice. Too strong a culture however, can leave little room for innovation. When mission statements and company objectives and beliefs are incessantly in your face it creates a situation where you cannot think beyond those values. Adversely, too weak of a culture can result in a lack of communication, departmental clashes and an apathetic employee outlook. This is however, usually offset by departmental culture. Because humans are social beings it is inevitable that some form of culture exists in your immediate surroundings. Smaller like-minded groups may have different ideas which could spark change that would otherwise never have developed.

So, the key to effectively implementing culture is to do so in “moderation”. A healthy balance will ensure you are attracting and retaining the right people. Because people are the greatest asset to an organization it’s the cultural difference that will play a pivotal part in its success.

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To become or not to become? That is the question…

Guest blog by Adrienne McLeod, student in BUSA 2005, Principles of Management.

One of the questions I ask to those starting out in their professions or those looking at career transition is this…DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BECOME A MANAGER??

A good discussion on that topic here.

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To become or not to become?  That is the question…

As I ponder my future in the education profession, I often debate the pros and cons of entering the administrative field.  A few years ago, I was certain that becoming an administrator was the path that my career would follow.  I had, and still have, many supporters telling me that I am a ‘natural.’  However, in the past few years, the reality of what the job entails: dealing with the same challenging students day after day; dealing with frustrated staff, students, and parents; trying to balance a nearly impossible to work within budget; laying off staff; maintaining a positive culture in the building; dealing with the day-to-day challenges that arise in your job, and attempting to be an educational leader are just part of the daily routine of an administrator.  And have I mentioned the constant judgment and criticism from those who work for you about every decision (or non-decision) that you make?  Bureaucracy, budgeting, ethics, stress…

So, why would anyone want to go into management?  Perhaps it’s the belief that if you are an effective manager (what some would call not only a manager, but also a leader) you know that you can truly influence the community that you work in by constructing common, achievable goals; by creating collaborative relationships with your colleagues; and by truly making a difference in your working and local communities.

Thinking about leaders that have influenced me and that I aspire to emulate, I flash back to those who embodied a fine balance of compassion (appreciating that every person is different and appreciating their unique story), courage (making decisions in times of stress, working through confusion, and standing up for morals and values), and justice (knowing and following procedures, setting expectations for staff, treating all equitably, and using rewards and consequences as required).  The challenge is blending the type of leader I aspire to be with the manager that I would have to be.  Ay, there’s the rub…

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Manager or Leader?

Great thoughts on management and leadership.  Enjoy.

Guest Blog: Ken Charko

I have been involved in business for over a decade and throughout the years I have worn the hat of both a manager and a leader. Is there a difference between the two? I would argue that although many of the functions are similar, there is a big difference.

In a small business environment the position of manager and of leader is often held by the same person. As in any organization, the functions of a manager as described in our text book include planning, organizing, leading and controlling. And as our instructor, Randy would add, attitude is the final component.

Both as a manager and a leader I have had to plan, organize and control the organization. All of these activities are very commonly performed using generally accepted guidelines. What separates successful from unsuccessful companies is the leadership style and attitude of the manager or leader. As the head of my companies I am looked at for guidance. I decide the tone and culture of the organization and my attitude towards everything directly impacts my employees. If I am having a bad day they all know it and that is not always a good thing. As a leader of an organization, I have learned to always project a positive attitude no matter what happens.  As an example, I empowered one of my staff to take over advertising. I gave her some guidelines and put her to work. Unfortunately, she placed a $5000 advertorial which did not generate any leads. Great I say!  “Now we know that advertorials don’t work.”  It is important to always display an attitude of positivity.

A manager would not necessarily have taken that extra step to inspire the employee but I leader ensures that the creativity bubble is not crushed. A leader is the visionary and with the correct attitude can lead a company into success. If I leader does not display a positive attitude towards their product and the company, then the employees will see that and lose confidence as well. Even when revenues are falling and harder to achieve in this economic market, it is important that the manager manages the resources effectively and efficiently but the leader must project an attitude of ability, regardless if this is the same person or not.  This sets the tone for the entire company.

Everything can be spun into a positive, learning experience. We only fail when we don’t see that.

Managers manage the situation but leaders define them.

That is the difference between a manager and a leader.

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Managing Human Resources in a Small Company

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Management Guest Blog by Emma Wen

The management of human resources is the key to every management job in every organization, whether or not there is a human resources department. This is because of the fact that every company needs to be proactive in addressing the needs and actions of its employees. It is wrong to assume that smaller organizations do not require a human resource policy, department or functional unit, because every employee can have an impact on how customers view the company and whether the company will be successful over the long term. In this way, human resource management for small to medium-sized businesses without human resources departments is likely just as important as that within larger-scale organizations. This is likely due to the fact that smaller businesses often will not be able to offer the same types of benefits available to employees within large firms. This means that smaller companies, just like larger ones, must be able to address human resource management, also known as HRM, in a strategic way.

Thoughtful strategic planning within human resource functions, even when these are not located within a specific department, can lead to indirect improvements in performance by improving the effectiveness of management within any size of organization. These benefits include process advantages, such as the ability to identify and use future marketing opportunities. It can also include personnel advantages such as the encouragement of a favorable attitude to change. Finally, human resource planning can assist in making sure that the firms’ strategic planning is aligned with the external environment so that changes can be made for all employees when necessary. This means that small companies can utilize strategic planning to adapt to changes in the business world, and prepare their team for the implementation of new ideas. In this way, every manager has the opportunity to support and guide his or her employees in order to make positive changes to the company and its results in the market.

One of a company’s major challenges will always be how to develop new HRM practices which meet the needs of all employees. The company must avoid an autocratic system where there is a managerial orientation of authority and employees oriented towards obedience and dependence on their managers, and move towards a more supportive culture and a positive atmosphere with a managerial orientation of teamwork. The employees in turn need to be able to be oriented towards responsible behavior and self-discipline. Companies need to work with their employees in order to make this happen successfully.

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