Value Modeling

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Last week, we started the discussion about socio-technical systems and its impact on today’s organizations.   In the next few weeks, we will address three practical applications (i.e. value modeling, technology relevancy, and human factor buy-in).  Understanding value modeling is a critical attribute that managers need to acquire in times of uncertainty and high risks.  Effective leadership becomes the hallmark of high performing organizations. 

Organizations must model its values to both first-line supervisors and managers in a socio-technical system.  However, it won’t happen without good leadership.  Leadership is defined as the ability to influence others toward a shared objective or goal. 

Dr. Richard Daft explains that today’s employers are looking for authentic leaders who understand them, act consistent with high ethical standards, and empowers others with their openness and candor.  Dr. Daft argues, “To be authentic means being real, staying true to one’s values and beliefs, and acting based on one’s true self rather than emulating what others do.”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2SKTP43oRQ

Yet, some organizations expect employees to understand its culture, its values, and its principles by attending new employee orientation or by reading a company brochure. This is simply not the case. Vince Adams, who has over 20 years as an environmental manager, understands delicacy of balancing a socio-technical system.

Adams has extensive experiences with both government and private organizations that are finding themselves neglecting to outline and demonstrate its value systems to employees.[1] Adams states, “Companies must build values into their employees so that employees know what the expectations are for that organization.”

James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, have researched several thousand businesses and government executives and they outline setting the example as a critical attribute of an effective leadership.[2] Kouzes and Posner argue, “Once people are clear about the leader’s values, about their own values, and about shared values, they know what’s expected of them and can better handle the conflicting demands of work and personal affairs.”  Therefore, employees expect leaders in organizations to model these values in their organizations, and this is also true for socio-technical systems. 

Discuss the concept of value modeling for today’s leaders. 

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green                                    

 


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

[2] The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

 

Beating the Global Competition with Value Creation

I do struggle a little with my conscious.  Yes, I’ve been called a pretty hard nose professor who pushes his students.  I tell my students I have a low rating on empathy and mercy when it relates to missing my deadlines. 

However, even the meanest Scrooge would have to have compassion for over 15 million unemployed in America.  But—it becomes personal as you hear about your neighbors, co-workers, and family members who have been laid off. 

Financial institutions and other businesses hold on to their record profits for the ultimate use of their money.  Politicians call them job creators which is ironic since businesses primary motives are to make a profit, not give someone a job.

Companies chase emerging markets abroad. According to government estimates, an additional 1.2 million manufacturing jobs will disappear from America by 2018. If in the process a job is made, those are secondary considerations.

Only when business subscript to a business strategy that involves value creation can they hope to sustain profitability. In this paradigm workers are viewed as assets not liabilities.

Yet, many companies build their profitability on this simple equation. Companies seek to reduce their inputs (outsourcing labor, better technologies) to obtain ‘more profits.’ Yet, it’s pretty self-serving with little regard to  customers and employees.

The definition of value depends on the individual. For this discussion, value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product of service.  Value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product of service.  Most companies compete on low cost or differentiation strategy to create this value.

In emerging countries where wages are low, it is very difficult for America businesses to compete.  That is why many companies have opted to outsource some of their core functions abroad.  Yet, America’s strength has always been its innovation and creativity.  These attributes are key ingredients for an effective differentiation strategy.

John Gamble and Arthur Thompson, authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, further examined the concept of value as a strategic advantage: “The most appealing approaches to differentiation are those that are hard or expensive for rivals to duplicate.” Therefore, an effective value creation strategy can beat almost any competitor, globally and domestically. 

This reality is due to the fact that the organization is keenly attuned to the needs of their customers. If individuals keep the concepts of value creation in their mindset, they will be able to overcome many of the disruptive changes to come.

How does value creation relate to sustainability for today’s leaders? Discuss your professional experience with value creation. 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green                                    


 

The Search of Global Talent

It is 2150. Science and technology rule the world. Artificial intelligence provides the life blood for the universe. Basic robotic beings conduct all manual labor. Therefore, humanity enjoys endless pleasures and high level thinking. Surprisingly, a rodent dashes through the power grid, bypassing a sophisticated security system and blacks out Earth. Living at the core of the planet, Earth inhabitants stand in darkness. There are no engineers, technicians, and scientists. Humanity has abandoned scientific pursuits in the quest for a better life. 

Why are American businesses excited about global outsourcing while their employees sound the alarm on the impending danger ahead? As I watch numerous companies outsource their corporate souls abroad, I wonder, what is the future of our workforce?  When global competition should bring out the best in humanity, perhaps it is bringing out the worst in us.

As American company after company relishes its stronghold on innovation and creativity to the rest of the world, global competition escalates.  When managers should be developing their employees so that they can get the best performance out of them, managers develop systems that do not inspire or empower workers but maintain the status quo.  Sadly, this is a tragic mistake as countries seek out the best talent in the future.

In a rapidly changing environment, organizations need to understand the rule that talented individuals will play in the future. Some organizations play with strategic planning for the predicted problems of the future, yet they neglect the unintended consequences of what is happening in the near term.

Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor, and Howard Means, authors of The Visionary’s Handbook, explain, “Fail to build your own future, and someone is going to build one for you.” 

Dr. James Canton, nationally recognized futurist, analyzes 10 critical emerging trends in his book, Extreme Future. Dr. Canton notes, “Everyone needs to think differently about the future, a future that is riddled with change, challenge, and risk.” He further provides the five factors that will shape the extreme future which are speed, complexity, risk, change, and surprise. Yet, what emerges from Dr. Canton’s prediction is an increasing need for more worldwide talent.

There is a growing battle developing as companies fight for positioning on the global market.  In fact, this war is waging across the globe.  Countries are searching for the brightest and smartest talent. The Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey involved a study of 1,176 companies across the world, including 314 from the United States.  The survey found that the vast majority of the companies were having difficulty attracting the critical-skill and talented employees to help them compete during this economic crisis. 

According to the study, 65% of the companies reported having problems obtaining the needed talent (52% of American businesses).  In fact, many businesses aren’t even able to retain their own employees.  American businesses were reporting losing 11% of their workforce while globally it’s over 20%.

Gaining the right kind of attributes will make workers more valuable. Ryan Johnson, WorldatWork Vice President, notes “This study is a good reminder that employers need to reassess their employee value proposition to key in on those factors, both tangible and intangible, that would make them attractive to recruits.”

According to the survey, the top talent management priorities were (a) Ensuring the readiness of talent in critical roles, (b) Increasing the investment in building an internal pipeline of talent, and (c) Creating more development opportunities within (rotations, etc.).  Therefore, the quest for worldwide talent will dominate most countries economic agenda as they seek to position themselves in the future.

What is the workforce aftermath if America cannot compete for future talent? What effect will global outsourcing have in the overall strategy of tomorrow’s organizations? 

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Human Factor Buy-in

 

Steve Proud gets his biggest promotion as the latest senior executive to run this troubled business. With lots of talent and experience, the organization struggles to meet performance goals. Being on the fast-track, Steve quickly makes significant changes to impress the corporate board. He fires the old managers and surrounds himself with the better talent. His team rolls out a comprehensive strategic plan.

The corporate board starts seeing positive results.  However, things change within two years. Many employees view Steve as a ‘paper manager.’ Despite his ‘talk about empowering workers,’ his actions demonstrate he cares little about any worker’s opinions. Steve cannot understand why his strategy failed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Most organizations move swiftly ahead reacting to market forces without truly empowering workers to make organizational decisions. Managers preach that employees are a critical asset to an organization’s bottom-line. However, few managers ever show it. Given that percept, we will discuss the final component of effective socio-technical systems. It is the human factor buy-in. Organizations must shift their paradigm to viewing workers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives.

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. Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson, authors of Leadership: A Communication Perspective, argue that a leader’s credibility is directly related to the quality of his relationship with followers.

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. Clearly, U.S. businesses cannot point to the lack of employee performance for mismanagement errors.

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 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.

Employees want to be valued. Felix Harris, a financial director with over 8 years in the banking industry, acknowledges the importance of people in a socio-technical system. He states, “When employees are appreciated, they work harder.  A machine is only as good as its operator.”  Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of The Human Equation, acknowledges that organizational 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.

Managers 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 vital components of the socio-technical system.

Today’s managers in technical organizations must understand the delicacy of balancing a socio-technical system. The recent mirage of culture changes such as outsourcing, scandals, and unethical dealings by both governmental and business senior managers have made American employees skeptical about the seriousness of organizations implementing corporate values into their workplace.

Furthermore, today’s executives are falling short in promoting the desired values to support socio-technical systems due to understanding the value of employee buy-in.

In fact, this insight would be valuable to any manager, trying to integrate the man – human interface mechanism. Understanding the uniqueness of the socio-technical system may increase leadership effectiveness and better management strategies for your organization.

How can organizations best gain employee buy-in when they possess less than a stellar track record of worker empowerment?  

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Value Modeling

In the 1987 classic Movie Wallstreet, America witnessed a growing trend of the American Dream. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), a Wall Street stockbroker, wanted to get to the top at any cost. This short track path to riches led him to broker Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas).  Gekka was shrewd and dangerous; his philosophy was built on “Greed is Good.” Fox soon became engulfed in the glamorous life of the powerful. But—it was at a high moral cost.

Scandals may drive media ratings and turn the trivial into the most critical. However, moral decay does not help companies compete or make society a better place. We’ve discussed the socio-technical system as it relates to global markets. In building effective socio-technical systems, one needs to focus on (a) value modeling, (b) technology relevancy, and (c) human factor buy-in. With the continual ethical failures of government officials and business executives on Wall Street, many workers view ethical policies of today’s organizations with some cynicism. Do you?

A high performing organization must model its values to both first line supervisors and managers in a socio-technical system. Many organizations expect employees to understand its culture, values, and principles by attending new employee orientation or by reading a company brochure. This is simply not going to happen.

Vince Adams, who has over 19 years as senior environmental manager, understands the delicacy of balancing a socio-technical system. Adams has extensive experience with both government and private organizations that are find themselves neglecting to outline and demonstrate their value systems to employees. Adams states, “Companies must build values into their employees so that employees know what the expectations are for that organization.”

James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, have researched over several thousand businesses and government executives and they outline setting the example as a critical attribute of effective leadership. Kouzes and Posner argue, “Once people are clear about the leader’s value, about their own values, and about shared values, they know what’s expected of them and can better handle the conflicting demands of work and personal affairs.”  Therefore, employees expect leaders in organizations to model the way in their organizations, and this is also true for socio-technical systems.

Is it possible for today’s managers to regain the confidence of workers on the ethical front? If so, how

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green