Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Organizational Silence - Chapter 11

Organizational Silence is diffenately an issue of great concern for me and my company. I find that having a micro-manager that is not interested in hearing about his mistakes or errors has built a system of silence and quiet dissonance among all of the managers in the company. I think that on the franchise level, Organizational Silence is not as big as a problem, do to the managers being more open with their employees that they manage. I believe that there is an opportunity for a manager to create an environment of Organizational Silence among her employees, but I do not believe this has happen at any of the revenue centers. Only at the main office and among the managers do we currently have an issue of Organizational Silence. This needs to be worked on, slowly, which I have been trying to carefully “chip” away at the stone wall preventing progress in the company.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chapter 11 - Extra Readings

Good Leadership Requires Executives To Put Themselves Last

Mr. Leven sounds like he has always put himself last over the company. He seems to be open of the rare Level 5 Leaders running companies that Jim Collins discusses in his article "Level 5 Leadership." I think he did the right thing both times, first with listening to his lawyer when he quit Days Inn of America and then as CEO of US Franchise Systems, he did not listen to his lawyer, and came clean regarding the company's inability to meet its projections. Showing the investors and banks that he is a straight shooter should carry a lot of future trust in him and his company's ability to do the right thing, even when it hurts.

For Lt. Withers, Act of Mercy Has Unexpected Sequel

When John Withers discovered that the men under his control were keeping two Dachau prisoners, he supported their active and critical thinking decision to help Salomon and Peewee. By doing this, he put himself in jeopardy of a dishonorable discharge, but solidified his leadership with the men.

How a Marine Lost His Command in Race to Baghdad

Joe Dowdy made the cardinal sin in an organization like the military, going against the existing system and showing that you can get result a different way than the only way you are allowed, will get you fired. There is little a manager can do when his leader with high concern for results and low concern for people gives him an order to follow. Some time might have been lost, but Dowdy had high concern for his people and a mid to strong concern for results, which lead to him slowing down, thinking creatively and getting results without the loss of life of his men. The existing system of the Core is results over men, and creativity is for civilians. Dowdy built a lot of respect by thinking about his men first, and creatively about how to get the results without major loss of life. I would expect that Mattis lost a lot of respect from his direct reports and enlisted men when he fired Dowdy after he completed his mission with minimal casualties.

New Wine, Old Bottles
When I took on the responsibility of managing my family's casino, I really did not know what to do. I had limited experience managing people before, and know there were 100 people I was responsible for. I was fortunate to have hired a very experienced GM, and I ended up making a mutual contract with him, and developing a strong relationship over the next 12 months. I was able to transfer all the power he needed to perform his job. I am told by my boss that I do not "micro manage" "my employees" enough, but I think the servant leadership we have established at the casino is extremely successful, and the GM and all the managers enjoy the responsibility.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Extra Readings - Level 5 Leadership

I think this is a good article that shows how qualitative and quantitative research methods can complement each other, and give a better picture of a situation than just applying statistical analyses like a blunt instrument in the hopes of finding statistically significant trends in the data. Level 5 Leaders seemed to be able to break companies' current systems that are counter productive to the companies success. They do this by creating a system of openness and trust with their management team, and then allow them to participate in developing a clear vision of where the company is going in the next 5 and 10 plus years. They also give their people all the credit and they never shrink away from the mistakes.

I have successfully passed multiple undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics, econometrics, and regression analysis. These courses taught me that the only sound research that is supportable and even worth reading was statistical analyses based on quantitative research methods. Fortunately, I have taking a very liberal course in Sports Physiology which touted the benefits of qualitative research methods in discovering variables that have significances in creating results, but can not be measured affectively though Quantitative methods.

Like I said in previously a few blogs back, regarding “'Good to Great, or Just Good?' Interesting statistical evaluation of an article that could not be supported based off of the existing evidence. I would think that maybe the author was looking at other things as well, and maybe if all the managers in the United States think the book is in the top 10 business books in America or the World for that matter, that maybe it has something that the Evidence-Based Management can not see. "

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chapter 10: Extra Readings

The Dean's Disease: How the Darker Side of Power manifests Itself in the Office of Dean, Arthur Bedeian

System vs. Dean's Disease: I would have to say, that this is an effect caused by the system of how the university and college departments are set up, instead of bad ego maniacs trying to get into power so they can start dominating their co-workers. The dean's may be pushed into this preserved class of power abusing managers because faculty members do not understand the pressures of the position, and over time, the deans start to feel ostracized by their previous co-workers. Demands from administrators and influential donors on the deans will also add pressure to bend the deans' previously high "moral values" as "real life" business issues that are not dealt with by researcher and professors are now the every day norm.

What is Deans' Disease? The dean's disease as described by Arthur Bedeian, is the almost unavoidable transformation of a new dean from a well intentioned (if he ever was well intentioned) to a power corrupted morally bankrupted administrator / salesman. It is his argument that many deans are affected by their new found power to influence faculty by the control of resources, and they begin to abuse both coercive and reward power. The deans delude themselves into believing that they power is based off of legitimate power and expert power. "They develop an over inflated sense of self as they come to believe that they are really as gifted and as intelligent as others tell them."

Safeguards against the "dark side of the dean's disease" are: Establish values that are the high in "integrity, honesty, fairness, and selflessness", and Encourage independent though within the faculty.

Staying on the Course: For a dean to keep from being infected by the Dean's Disease, he should maintain " relations with faculty colleagues by routinely joining the daily lunch crowd, attending one's disciplinary meetings, maintaining one's subject area identification, and periodically teaching an undergraduate class."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Extra Readings - Gary Loveman and Harrah's & Diamonds in the Date Mine

These articles about Gary Loveman and the transformation of Harrah's into a modern corporation ready for the 21st century are a text book example of excellent Decision-Making Processes. When starting as COO he first spent as much time as possible identifying programmed decisions and nonprogrammed decisions within Harrah's. This way he could assume that the employees responsible for the programmed decision were more than capable of managing this part of the business, so he could work on the nonprogrammed problems that really required his creativity and intellect. Focusing the company's energies on empowering the employees to run the business better and marketing to the correct customer base with the correct marketing tools. It was these two main goals of Gary's that really took Harrah's to the next level during 1998-2003. I am especially impressed with the terminations and new hires he executed to change the company. They were supportable, calculated, and very logical - the Meritocratic management style he champions seems to be highly effective. I find it interesting that some of the core ideas that he has implemented since becoming COO and then CEO have started to wane since 2007. That being said, his style of managing the company and rebuilding its corporate culture right out of a our text book, Figure 9.1. From Recognizing the problems, gathering data, selecting the best course of actions, implementation, gathering feedback, and then following up. Overall, a very impressive job by an academic that was previously an unproven manager. I have always been very impressed with the Total Rewards program Harrah's has for its players club, and enjoyed reading a first hand description of how Gary and his team put it all together.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Readings-Evidence-Based Management and Good to Great

Evidence-Based Management & Good to Great, or Just Good?

If you want to have an operation, ask a surgeon if you need one. Ask a professor of organizational behavior if your management is not managing correctly, and he will tell you they are not. The system that is in place across the country and the world for that matter, limits the ability for managers to grasp these concepts. Even if they grasp them, in most organizations, implementing Evidence-based management is easier said than done. You would have to have most of your people on board with it, which would mean that they would all have to understand it, and believe in it. I believe that currently, social systems are in place to limit management and physicians ability to implement evidence-based management.

I am a strong believer in Intuition and its power to prevail over evidence-based decisions. I believe that management should always evaluate evidence and statistics first, before making a decision, but in the end, if after all the evidence is looked at, they think it just doesn’t feel right, then they should make the decision based off of their gut. I think that this opinion is shared by a lot of people, but not voiced strongly because of the lack of evidence to support it. Interesting that my statement on this topic is not supportable either.

As for “Good to Great, or Just Good?” Interesting statistical evaluation of an article that could not be supported based off of the existing evidence. I would think that maybe the author was looking at other things as well, and maybe if all the managers in the United States think the book is in the top 10 business books in America or the World for that matter, that maybe it has something that the Evidence-Based Management can not see.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Extra Readings for Chapter 9

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

This article reports on the 500-page document that criticizes the US intelligence community. The document states that the community was "group thinking" and was based on a system of communal agreement rather than a more aggressive system of challenging assumptions and arguing conclusions in order to get more detailed and supported analyses. This seems to be the system that was in place at the time, but I would of like to hear a discussion of how they American Intelligence community had slipped into a system of lowered expectations on the quality of intelligence out overall, and how the system was weakened to begin with. I would bet that this slippage in the system was built up over years or decades of Senate and Congressional Committees chipping away at the ability of the intelligence community to actually affectively gather quality information, until by 2000+ the information coming out of these areas from the UN was better than the information the very few operatives that the CIA had on the ground could provide.