An Uncertain World: Mapping Out Trump-Kim’s Nuclear Challenge

We live in a world riddled with risk and uncertainty. If you don’t believe this statement, please check the news. For example, President Trump increased global tension by canceling the US-North Korea summit in Singapore. Too many, canceling the historical meeting between the two countries were no surprise. Columnist Zach Beauchamp put it bluntly, “From the get-go, the Trump administration wanted something North Korea was never going to give: the North handing over its entire nuclear arsenal before the United States gave it anything tangible…there’s a fundamental flaw with America’s approach to North Korea that preceded Trump. That’s the fantasy that the US can somehow convince North Korea to voluntarily give up its nukes.”

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President Trump and North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un have hurdle insults at each other (especially through social media) for months. President Trump proclaimed about Kim: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” Kim fires back to Trump: “If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.” This rhetoric between the two leaders have many citizens worried about a nuclear war. Continue reading

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Leading Change in a Global Environment

Change-agent

Global affairs are often unstable. This month, Japanese stock market falters again, capping its worst single-week performance since the global financial crisis in 2008. Japan is not alone in its underperforming markets. Yet, globalization has connected countries through various elements. Financial markets are not an exception. This article explores issues of change in a global environment and discusses the merits of change agents in today’s organizations. Continue reading

Disruptive Technology in Today’s Business

outsourcing-multiple-pics

In life, sometimes it is the simple things that count, despite modern technology. In the next few months, I will be able to see 3-4 of my books published. Traditionally, it takes most large publishing houses 12-18 months before their books are published. As an independent publisher, I learned that the speed of products to the market place is a good way to beat a large competitor.

In fact, my success relates to a simple website called Elance.com, a freelance website that allow customers to solicit work from a variety of outsourcing services, which include programmers, designers, office support, translators, marketers, researchers and many other disciplines.

Elance.com allows a business to post a job opening and invites freelance workers who believe they have the requisite skills for the job to make a bid. The company charges a $10 fee to each business to post a job and also takes a small portion of what gets paid to contractors. Through this website, I have found some of the most talented individuals from across the world. For these services, it is a buyer’s market. Some people would argue that it is all about buying cheap labor for profitability.

In this scenario, developed countries appear to be exploiting underdeveloped countries. This is not always true. I have paid more in the past for the best talent. With that said, potential employers see a website that attracts over 500,000 talented freelancers. For the freelancer, there is an opportunity to bid on 48,000 jobs, worth $480K.[1] Therefore, a differentiating strategy can defeat a low-cost strategy on a global playing field.

Technology must be a management tool that is used strategically. Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, provides a framework for understanding the interrelationship between technology changes and a business success. Christensen demonstrates how successful companies have been overtaken by small disruptive technologies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGzXWO_anLI

The cell phone, undermining the profitability of the established communication networks such as AT&T, further showcases the impacts of disruptive technology. Sadly, more executives are unwilling to think strategically due to the wrath of their investors and financial pundits.

For example, Amazon’s revenue grew in 2012, but the details were lacking. Amazon.com’s revenue rose to 17.4 billion (35% increase) in the fourth quarter. However, it fell short of Wall Street predictions. According to VentureBeat, Amazon sold as many as 6 million Kindle Fires and its older tablet prototype.

Given this reality, the Fire would move ahead of Android tablets from Samsung and Motorola, making it only second to Apple’s iPad. Analysts were concerned that the $199 Fire would not make a profit. Additionally, Amazon.com is spending capital on clouding technology.

Maximizing profits on Fire as an industry leading tablet is a near-term strategy. However, CEO Jeff Bezos appears to have disappointed Wall Street with a long-term perspective instead of sacrificing shareholders with profits in the near term.

Innovators take note of disruptive change as positive turbulence in the market. John Gamble and Arthur Thompson, authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, explain, “Understanding the nature of competitively important resources allows managers to identify resources or capabilities that should be further developed to play an important role in the company’s future strategies.” Therefore, organizations which do not understand the importance of making sustainable growth by being more efficient will not be successful over the long-term.

Please discuss application of this topic in your organization and industry.

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

 

[1] Elance.com

The Nature of Effective Problem Solving

Whiteboard--business man-strategic-planning-on-the-whiteboard

Our youth program continues to grow at my church.  Of course, it is a simple formula as our church is one of the biggest in the area.  Church going parents make it mandatory for their children to attend church and participate in church services.  However, when the children graduate from high school and became young adults, their attendance becomes very low or non-existent. 

At that time, Velma Biddles was the youth leader and fairly new to the position.  She and her youth advisors have seen the shift of young people’s attitude.  If churches want to be effective with youth, they must change their underpinning message of: “Children are to be seen and not heard.”  Our youth advisors started to deal with the root causes of matters concerning our youth. Sadly, many businesses are spending millions on symptoms. What about you? 

Good problem solving can be an asset in an organization.  Some organizations find themselves solving the wrong problems and getting less than desired results.  Other managers assume that good technical staff members are naturally good problem solvers.  However, this observation is not necessarily true.  Effective problem solvers often have an intuitive skill set or enough training in problem solving for finding the right problems and making the best decisions.  

 John Gamble and Arthur Thompson, authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, outline the importance of filling key managerial slots with people who are good at figuring out what needs to be done and possess skills in effective implementation and in producing desired results.  They note, “No company can hope to perform the activities required for successful strategy execution without attracting and retaining talented managers and employees with suitable skills and intellectual capital.”  A problem can be defined as ‘an obstacle that stands in the way of achieving a desired goal.’ In fact, problems are divergences from the preferred outcomes.  

The basic problem solving stages include: (a) Identify the problem, (b) Gather information, (c) Clarify the problem, (d) Consider possible solutions, (e) Select the best option, and (f) Make a decision and monitor the solution. High performing organizations move beyond superficial problem solving in order to get to the root causes.  Good businesses realize that uncovering the real problems can be beneficial in many ways, such as reduced risks, cost savings, and greater efficiencies.  

Jeff Butterfield, author of Problem Solving and Decision Making, argues about the benefits of talented problem solvers: “People who can identify, define, and solve problems are valued members of an organization.” 

 

Like our youth advisors recognizing the problem and adapting appropriate solutions, today’s managers must be willing to move beyond their own bias to discover the real causes of problems.  Too many managers seek to major in the minors.  High performing organizations cannot afford to let this happen. 

In general, effective problem solving can be a great competitive advantage for organizations.  Formulating better decision making happens with more effective problem solving.  Businesses with talented problem solvers will have a greater capacity for sustainable success. 

Discuss your professional experience with problem solving in your industry or organization.

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

Decision Making With Unintended Consequences

criticism1

As the clock strikes midnight, the world once again brings in another new year with anticipation.  For many people, the last several years have been filled with financial crisis and personal turmoil. 

With the realities of globalization, one country’s misfortune can have negative consequences for other countries across the world.  Therefore, a new year brings a lot of uncertainty for the future.

Furthermore, today’s businesses must be ever on guard for market turbulence and global threats.  Given this reality of personal consequences, individuals must be more mindful of effective decision making. In fact, bad decision making can hurt an organization as well as an individual. 

Denis Collins, author of Business Ethics, notes that the prevalence and costs of unethical decision making at work can be substantial for businesses. Therefore, good decision making can dilute a competitor’s advantage. In this discussion, we will examine how decision making can carry unintended consequences. 

Today’s leaders must consider the aftermath of their poor decision making. Sadly, many folks fail to understand the consequences of their decisions. For example, Vanessa Williams was one of these fallen Hollywood icons. In 1983, Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. 

However, her immediate success was short-lived due to a scandal. Consequently, Williams was forced to relinquish her title; she probably did not think her youthful deed would come back and wreck her dreams. Yet, the consequences not only damaged Williams but her family, friends, and millions of her fans. Nobel Prize author Albert Camus once noted, “Life is the sum of all your choices.” In spite of all wise counsel, some people seem to have a knack for making poor decisions. 

Sadly, many poor decisions have unforeseen impacts.  Nancy Cavender and Howard Kahane, authors of Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric, argue for better decision making under this financial crisis: “Now, more than ever, we need to think critically about the world we live in and the decisions we make.”  They point to the dire consequences of poor decision making.  In fact, these circumstances often can be traced back to a root cause. 

The Law of Unintended Consequences relates to any purposeful action that will generate unintended consequences. This law can be categorized into several areas: (a) a positive unexpected benefit called serendipity, (b) a negative effect which is contrary to the original intention, and (c) a potential source of problems which is commonly referred to as Murphy’s Law. 

Like Murphy’s Law, some decisions may appear to afflict some people as if their lives are cursed. Making the right decision is a difficult process. No one will applaud your many good decisions; however, you will probably catch heat over the bad ones. 

In fact, every person, regardless of their background or social standing, can benefit from good decision-making techniques. In this life, most people make decisions to the best of their abilities. When various things happen, especially bad ones, individuals must be ready to deal with them. Therefore, understanding unintended consequences can assist in helping us make better decisions for the future.   

 Discuss your understanding of the Law of Unintended Consequences as it relates to effective decision making.

 © 2014 by Daryl D. Green

Locking on the Value Proposition for Customers

bazaar-selling

In my office, I hung a newspaper article prominently on my wall.  This 2010 article showcases the top 100 government officials in my area.  Surprisingly, the university basketball coach was the top official, at over $2 million.  Following suit was a short list of athletic coaches followed by highly noted professors and administrators.

This amazing list furthered stimulated my interest in determining the value of individual skill sets.  In some other areas of the country, region, or state, someone would probably determine that these same jobs did not warrant the same financial worth.  In fact, individuals within the same organization with the same title and similar professional backgrounds can be found making significant differences in salary.   Given these realities, it is easy to see that customer value propositions differ.

Today’s companies must become adapted at determining customer value. However, all customers are not the same.   In fact, globalization has created all types of problems for businesses.  One of the issues is how to stay ahead of the competition by exploring new markets while keeping the same customer base.  This action is not easy.

Many businesses build their profitability on this simple equation. Companies seek to reduce their inputs (outsourcing labor, better technologies) to obtain greater profitability. Yet, the process is often pretty self-serving with little regard to the customer and lesser value on employees.

Therefore, many people might insist that some business simply stumble on what customer value actually is and how it affects their business.  For this discussion, value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product of service.

Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, state that the starting point for learning about relationship selling is to understand the customer. A value lesson is learning that the customer is the center point for creating value.

Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, suggest that the starting point in the buying process is the consumer’s recognition of an unsatisfied need. Therefore, the focus must go back to the customer for any sustainable business success.  They must be deliberate with their connections with customers and value.

Being strategic conscious about these business relationships is not simple.  Ken Favaro, author of Put Value Creation First, further maintains that putting value creation consistently first requires leadership skills, discipline, and perseverance.

He further challenges organizations to demand higher standards from managers who would jeopardize these business relationships. When organizations place value creation as a high priority, organizations will beat their competition.

Given the complexity of customer value, how do businesses stay connected with customers and their ever changing wants and needs?

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

The Human Factor

man-fingers-crossed

Businesses that don’t under the value of their human capital resources are in error.  In spite of the power of technology and automation, it takes people power to make business operations work.  Failing to understand this reality will leave an organization vulnerable to their competition. This week we will cover human factor buy-in, the last element in socio-technical systems.  

Organizations must shift their paradigm to viewing workers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives. Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, maintain that managers have a responsibility to effectively oversee their human resources which includes the people involved in the creation and distribution of goods and services. [1] Given this reality, the ability of managers to leverage their talent is crucial.  

Talent management is the process through which employers anticipate and meet the needs for human capital.[2]  Peter Cappelli, author of Talent Management, explains how mismanaging employees in organizations is problematic for an organization’s sustainable success:  “The failures in talent management includes mismatches between  supply and demand on the one hand, having too many employees, leading to layoffs and restructuring, and on the other hand, having too little talent, leading to talent shortage. [3] 

In the United States, talent management miscues fall into the following categories:  (a) Do Nothing Mode – makes no attempt to anticipate human resource needs and develops no plans for addressing them and (b) Reactive Mode – relies on outside hiring to meet human capital needs, but this approach has begun to fail now that the surplus of management talent has eroded. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTMs3hp-LFU

Trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationships in organizations.  Yet, many employees do not trust their organizations due to the lack of employment security in most companies.  According to a USA Today poll, nearly half of those interviewed said that corporations can be trusted only a little, or not at all, when it involves looking out for the best interest of employees.[4] 

Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson, authors of Leadership: A Communication Perspectives, argue that a leader’s credibility is directly related to the quality of his relationship with followers.[5] Marios Katsioloudes, a researcher specializing in Socio-technical analysis, explains that as profitability of mechanization increases, the importance of technology is implied while there is a devaluation of the workers. U.S. businesses cannot point to the lack of employee performance on a global front for mismanagement errors.[6]

Japan, a long-time benchmark for American companies, is being defeated by American employees; today, the average U.S. worker puts in 36 more hours per year than Japanese workers (1,825 vs. 1,789). 

Over the last two decades, balancing work and home life have been difficult since Americans have added 200 hours to their annual work schedule.[7] Employees want to be valued. 

Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of The Human Equation, acknowledges that organization success is directly related to implementation, and this capacity comes from the workers, how they are treated, their skills, and their efforts as it relates to the organization.[8] 

Leaders should see followers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives. Managers assume that giving employees new technology is enough to keep them happy. Likewise, leaders should view followers as a vital component of the socio-technical system. 

Discuss the concept of human factor buy-in for today’s organizations.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green                                    

 


[1] Contemporary Management by Gareth Jones and Jennifer George

[2] Talent Management by Peter Cappelli

[3] Talent Management by Peter Cappelli

[4] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[5] Leadership: A Communication Perspectives by Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson

[6] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[7] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[8] The Human Equation by Jeffrey Pfeffer

 

Technology Relevancy

Components of Technology

We can’t survive without technology.  Are we too dependent on it?  When the computer network is down in our office, it’s a pretty wasted day because we are paperless.  Yet, you won’t find many modern organizations that can operate when their technology malfunctions. 

This week we will focus on technology relevancy as part of the three practical applications (i.e. value modeling, technology relevancy, and human factor buy-in) in socio-technical systems.  

Organizations must understand that technology needs to be relevant as it relates to benefiting the whole socio-technical system.  Technology relates to the combination of skills and equipment that managers use in the design, production, and distribution of goods and services.[1]   

Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, argue the significance of technology forces on organizations:  “Technological forces can have profound implications for managers and organizations. Technological change can make established products obsolete….”  The graveyard of many businesses is littered with numerous failed opportunities of senior executives to understand market shifts and technology opportunities.   

As an engineer myself, we are taught to use theory in order to build, design, and operate technical systems, whether mechanical, digital, or otherwise. Sometimes this creates a technical superiority over the other components of this socio-technical system. 

Organizations should obtain input from employees to ensure that the organization has not only the best technology for its operations but the right technology.[2]  This sharing of information can only come with mutual trust of leaders and followers.  Gary Yukl, author of Leadership in Organizations, notes, “Empowerment is more feasible when there is a high level of mutual trust…Leaders can affect the psychological employment of followers in many ways, and participative leadership and delegation are only two of the relevant behaviors .”[3] 

There have been numerous cases where organizations have purchased new technology to solve a problem or to become more efficient when a simple conversation with impacted employees would have produced better results at a lower cost. Therefore, organizations should invest their time in identifying the relevant technologies for their socio-technical system in a participatory manner.    

Discuss the concept of technology relevancy for today’s organizations. 

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green                                    


[1] Jones, G.  & George, J. (2009). Contemporary Management

[2] “Leading others while supporting organizational values” by Daryl D. Green

[3]Leadership in Organizations by Gary Yukl

 

 

Today’s Strategic Alliances

handshakes-business

If you want to survive on the international scene, you had better develop a well connected supply chain.  Yet, businesses need to properly align with organizations that have the same ethical system and create value in the relationship.  This reality speaks to the nature of strategic alliances. 

With the sudden emergence of countries like China, Brazil, and India, there is a new emerging demand from consumers across the globe.  These newer countries are strategically positioning themselves to change Western civilization and America’s Super Power status.  

Antoine van Agtmael, author of The Emerging Markets Century, argues that these emerging countries are not a fad but a wave of things to come in the near future:   “Instead of being peripheral, as they have been since the first Industrial Revolution, key economies of the former Third World will soon re-emerge as the dominant economies of the future.”  

In fact, he notes that these emerging countries’ economies are growing at a rate nearly twice as fast as developed countries such as the United States and its Western allies. 

Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, explain about the positives and negatives of entering global markets:  “As we have discussed, a more competitive global environment has proved to be both an opportunity and a threat for organizations and managers.” 

Businesses must build relationships that minimize their risks in global markets.   According to some estimates, these emerging markets will be nearly twice as large as the current developed economies.  Antoine van Agtmael suggests a different business shift:  “A new breed of companies will play a critical role in producing this shift; a select number of which truly deserve to be regarded as world class.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgfwzPRyVvw 

Strategic alliance is defined ‘as an agreement in which managers pool or share their organization’s resources and know-how with a foreign company, and how organizations share the rewards and risks of starting a new venue.’  However, these relationships must make sense over the long-term in order to sustain any meaningful value. High performing organizations cannot afford to misfire with the wrong strategic alliances.  Consequently, good organizations need to be deliberate in forging the right relationships in a global market.

 Discuss the concepts of strategic alliances in a global market.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Leveraging Talent Advantages During Disrupted Change

talent-management-photo

In his book 32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business, Earvin “Magic” Johnson notes how he developed his entrepreneurial spirit, took advantage of business opportunities, and used his economic power as a force for social change.

As a megastar with the Los Angele Lakers in the 80’s, Magic soon established himself as one of the best to ever play in the NBA.  Unlike other super-athletes who failed to make the transition from superdom after their prime, Magic used his athletic platform to give him access to some of the most successful business leaders in the world.

Loaded with the internal business drive he inherited from his father, Magic began to use his athletic instincts to his advantage in the business world.  Magic found power in building on his core strengths, not being consumed with his weaknesses:  “Rarely can you turn a weakness into a strength. Greatness is achieved by building on strengths and managing your weaknesses so they do not matter.”

Sadly, many professionals are also succumbed by their weaknesses too.  Rev. Joe Tolbert, a dynamic motivational speaker, warns about how culture influences our personal perceptions:  “The world teaches us to focus on weaknesses rather than strengths.” Given the tremendous financial turbulence in the world, today’s leaders need to focus on their talent management if they are to survive.  In this blog, I will examine the concept of talent management.

Talent management is a critical asset for high-performing organizations in a global economy. In fact, finding the best talent and retaining the best people in a business will eventually overtake many other advantages such as technology and capital.  Talent power will rule the future economy.

Talent management is defined as the process through which employers anticipate and meet their needs of human capital.  Yet, employees cannot dismiss talent management as only an employer’s duty.

Since the post-World War II era, workers have enjoyed a lifetime employment model where workers were assured of financial stability.  That is not the case today where younger workers can expect to change jobs frequently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRjNHIGlykk

Peter Cappelli, author of Talent on Demand, outlines the dangers of poor talent management. In the past, with a good economy, American businesses could afford to mismanage their talent pool.  Today’s businesses often are short-sided and do not want to develop internal talent; instead, they are depending on others for their talent.

Cappelli explains, “Relying on outside hiring seems to fly in the face of the imperative that organizations should be engaged in knowledge management practices that capture and organize what they know about their operations to improve performance.”  However, these failures in managing this talent pool are often negative.  For example, having too many employees leads to layoffs and restructuring, while having to too few talented people leads to talent shortages.

John Wiedmer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer, authors of America’s Bubble Economy, wisely forecasted the bursting of America’s bubble in 2008 while other economists were predicting economic fortune for all.  In fact, the authors now predict that an even bigger financial cliff is ahead for the world.  However, they advocate the importance of talent management: “The fall of America’s Bubble Economy will shake up many industries, drive businesses into bankruptcy, derail countless careers, and force dramatic numbers of workers into temporary unemployment.  It will also create thousands of successful companies that don’t currently exist, lead all sorts of people to rethink their life’s work, and make many entrepreneurs and investors fabulously wealthy.”

Most firms would prefer to invest in technology and automation to reduce their labor cost or outsource their labor needs abroad to obtain cheaper resources.  In the case of talent management, these short-term gains can be fatal.  Cappelli further argues for strengthening talent management in organizations: “Growing competition in product markets further weakens the traditional talent management model by sharply increasing the uncertainty associated with planning.”  Therefore, talent management becomes a vital component of corporate strategies for businesses that desire sustainable growth.

Discuss the concepts of talent management for today’s businesses.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green