domingo, 21 de março de 2010

Is the Strategy Flawed?

Text developed to Advanced Writing Skills course at Associação Cultural Brasil Estados Unidos in March 2010, given by Elizabeth Crockett. It was based on When You Think the Strategy is Wrong, paper written by Amy Gallo to Blog Best Practices at Harvard Business Review On-Line.

One of many tasks of a manager is to implement organization´s strategy and to make others – his/her team, unit or department – execute it very well.

Although, sometimes the manager can think that the strategy adopted by the organization is wrong. In this case, the manager´s professional should be cautious and analyze the situation with patience, because to start, immediately without to be sure about what is happening, the “fire alarm” can be dangerous to him/herself image.

Experts say that to develop a strategy is difficult, needs time, often the process is messy and the result is never perfect. A manager must speak up about his/her thinking and doubts, but, before needs to pass by some steps.

The first step is to understand in what context the strategy was created. At this moment, it is important to contact experienced people who fellow the development process. These people can return useful information and advice from a variaty of points of view.

The second step is to reflect about the concerns using gained information in a contextualized way. No one strategy is a hundred percent perfect, but, sometimes one mistake can be only a different perception of eavaluating it and not a real problem. A responsible manager should ask him/herself if there is a real problem or only an unease because of his/her feelings and point of view.

After research and reflection about the problem compared with his/her motivations, if the concerns continues is time to verbalize them.

The third step is to talk with his/her direct boss about what concerns him/her. At this moment is important to have solid information that sure is going to help explain his/her thoughts. Besides, the manager should propose actions that can mitgate the strategy´s mistakes. In the conversation it is important not question the authority of boss.

The number of cases with mistakes related to strategy that put organizations in real risk is small. If it is the case, the manager should consider quitting, but is necessarily to send a message to his/her CEO talking about roots of decision.

sábado, 6 de março de 2010

Globalization: Working Abroad Being Culturally Sensitive

Text developed to Advanced Writing Skills course at Associação Cultural Brasil Estados Unidos in March 2010, given by Elizabeth Crockett. It was based on Globalization: The Borderless Leader, paper written by Malcolm Wheatley to 2008 Leadership in Project Management - Project Management Institute.

In the past, to find people who work abroad was very difficult. Nowadays, some things like low-cost air travel and high-speed internet connectivity have made workers, regardless of position, establish professional relationships with many others around the world. This change occurred with the advance of globalization, - a phenomenon mainly identified by the integration and interdependence among economies and the technological, ecological and others spheres of societies around the world. In this context, leaders are challenged – and need to learn – to be more culturally sensitive and need to teach and motivate employees to do the same.

Before learning cross-cultural skills and changing your behavior is necessary to find out when and where cultural differences exist. It can be difficulty, because all people are totally immerssed in their culture and do not see its features. It is impossible to describe with a hundred percent certainty and in detail the individual behavior of each citizen in a country or city, but with antropological research, called etnograph, we can discover common denominators about behavior in a society. Fons Trompenaars, a Belgian academic, wrote a book called Riding the Waves of Culture, based on Geert Hofsted´s research, and determined that cultures could be characterized by their features in a number of dimensions such as uncertainty avoidance, individualism vs. collectivism and hierarchical vs. participative decision process. For example, in what Mrs. Trompernaars called “particularism”, relationships are more important than rules. On the other hand, in what he called ”universalist”, rules take procedence over people.

After knowing mainly characteristics of a culture and determining its key-points, it is necessary to fit policies and work manneers to it. For example, if in a culture face-to-face contact has a high value, leaders should not use solely e-mail. They need to find other medias like vídeoconferencing. This aproach is supported by Rudolf Melik, author of The Rise of the Project Management Workforce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World. Another example is give to us by Ron Hyams, a South-Africa-based managing partner with the multinational executive coaching firm Praesta. He explains a female marketing director who was accustomed to walking in her company´s office looking at Black Blarry. The perception about her, in South Africa where she was working, was negative because there people value eye contact and they felt insulted by her.

Daniel Hepp, a Canada-based director of professional services at Blue Cats Networks, looks at differences among cultures as a good thing. In his opinion, people from different cultures give to organizations an advantage built by different points of view and perspectives.

Dean Cunnengham, England-based managing director of Cross Border Coaching believes that, about every thing, overcoming natural habits and adjusting your behavior is not a piece of cake and demands practice, so you should not get disillusioned.


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