This week has, without a doubt, been interesting. It was a few weeks ago that I wrote about how well our team was going, how we compliment each other and had yet to run into any problems. Yes, we haven't been as successful as we were hoping but no, we are not doing badly. One of the issue my own team faced week was that we are not meeting some peoples expectations and either unconsciously or consciously playing the blame game. This conflict definitely took a few of us by surprise. I thought the readings this week fit well with the events of the past week. Hopefully by the end if this reflection the course of action we need to take to become more successful will be clear.
Katz (1974) quite plainly states that a companies success depends on the executives conceptual skill to carry out policy decisions and unify all processes. I do not deny that this skill is of utmost importance, however I can niether agree or disagree with this idea.
The conceptual skill is one of the three key skills to become a successful manager. It is the ability to see the enterprise as a whole and to see how each function depends on each other (Katz, 1974). In MikesBikes, as we all should know (I hope), everything is interrelated. I am still trying to get my head around how each small decision is going to have a huge impact on the results. I truly believe that to focus solely on on department without taking into consideration the impacts those decision will have on another department is a recipe for disaster. We all need to understand this, each member in the team no matter what your role is. To put it bluntly, I do not care what your role is, I will value your opinion on the operations decision because your decisions will affect the ones I make. We all need to communicate. I said earlier that some team members have high expectations, that's great, but instead telling us each week that we did badly give us something constructive to work with. This was an issue that we faced this week, there was a suggestion that we should each go away make the decisions and input them ourselves at home. I was internally screaming because how am I meant to set production levels if I don't know what products marketing is focusing on. I can't "follow my intuition" when I don't know what the other departments are doing. Gut decisions are meant for moments of crisis when there is no time to evaluate courses of action (Buchanan & O'Connell, 2006). Every member of the team is a manager, therefore Katz (1974) suggests that we all need to have the key skills to be successful. However I don't think just because someone is a manager they automatically become a leader. We each have been delegated responsibility for our departments, which works well as we know each possess knowledge and understand of how our own departments works so we can made educated decisions.
Apparently most manager develop from work experience and learn from training (Davis & Easterby-Smith, 1984). To become better at the conceptual skill we could develop it though experiences, right? Katz (1974) disagree, emphasizing that this particular skill needs to be learnt early in life, preferably pre-adolescence. If this is true I hope that I was able to develop this skill as it seems to be extremely important. To analyze my initial problem about whether or not success lies with the executives conceptual skill I will look at Level 5 leaders and also the role of followers. To move a company from good to great, which I desire in MikesBikes, a Level 5 leader is key. This type of leader never blames other people, external factors or bad luck (Collins, 2005). I do agree that all teams and companies need a leader, if it is a Level 5 leader even better! But what about the followers? Another previous weeks reading was revolved around the importance of followers. This reading explored how important leaders are but also how we have lost sight of the importance of followers as a companies success is not solely due to the leader (Kelley, 1988). At top administration levels of a company the conceptual skill is the most important ability of all, it is critical that those in executive positions have this (Katz, 1974). One of the most important lessons that can be learnt in the importance of coordinating the various departments into an effective team (Steinkraus, as quoted in Katz, 1974). This is the responsibility of the executive. Keep us communicating! I cannot stress the importance of communication enough.
A companies success is not purely due to the executive, but at the same time it isn't just a result of good followers. I want to use the metaphor of a see-saw but don't want to create an image of the leader or the executive being separated from the followers. A balance needs to be found of between all three key skills and each manager needs to possess these so that TOGETHER we can pursue our goal of increasing our SHV. We are a team made up of individuals, who are responsible for a department but we all need to be flexible about our methods for achieving a success; it is better to bend than break.
Buchanan, L. & O'Connell, A. (2006). A brief history of decision making. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 32–41
Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136--146
Davies, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (1984). Learning and developing from managerial work experiences. Journal of Management Studies, 21(2), 169--182. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.1984.tb00230.x
Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator. Harvard Business Review, 33(1), 33–42.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142–148