Posts Tagged collaboration

Distinguishing the Forest from the Trees


Small businesses have several tools to use in planning to work toward its goals and broader mission. A business must both look at the forest and the trees in working toward its goals and mission. The business must both look at the big picture as well as specific measures it can use to reach the mission and improve performance. A business looking at the big picture has to decide where it fits in the economy by filling gaps and developing a business model. To reach the forest, one must navigate through the trees to see a path to bring the big picture into focus.

Humanistic management tools like six sigma statistical measures to improve work routines and customer service leading to competitive advantage. For example, leaders in the past did not view human resource management as an executive role, but with statistical methods have ramped up human resource management to a more prominent position. Executives before taking advantage of this innovation looked at human resources as a more of an administrative task processing employee records, planning and scheduling training, and aiding in employee selection. The ability to add value to the organization has lifted human resource management to a new level (Fazzari & Levitt, 2008). Six sigma is a project-driven approach designed to improve processes and products by continually reducing defects allowing an organization to improve strategic planning efforts through heightened coaching and mentoring (Hekmatpanah, Sadroddin, Shahbaz, Mokhtari, & Fadavinia, 2008).

Although six sigma offers statistic tools to improve strategic planning, strategic planning is the center of quality control. Strategic planning helps management by supplying factual information affecting decision-making and promoting critical thinking and risk analysis  (Burge, 2008). Strategic planning assesses the big picture, whereas humanistic tools focus on specific parts of an organization’s systems and processes. Strategic planning highlights gathering business intelligence related to the overall vision to improve operational and financial performance (Glaser & Stone, 2008).

Baldvinsdottir, Burns, Norreklit, and Scapens (2009) asserted that balanced scorecard theory provides management accountants with innovative promising quick fixes to business problems. Baldvinsdottir et al. argued that balanced scorecard offers a well-rounded view rather than a narrow focus to business problems. This approach highlights the right performance signals to help move an organization toward achieving competitive advantage. Balanced scorecard is useful in promoting group productivity by filtering out poor ideas and carrying through worthy ideas (Hughes, Caldwell, Paulson Gjerde, & Rouse, 2005).

Both strategic planning to identify the big picture, and humanistic techniques like balanced scorecard and six sigma help in clearing the path for a company to work towards its mission. These two procedures work in harmony with one another and are not exclusive of each other. The trees are part of the larger forest and develop a path toward planned growth.

How do you distinguish the forest from the trees in your organization? Please leave a comment. Learn more.

References

Baldvinsdottir, G., Burns, J., Norreklit, H., & Scapens, R. (2009). The management accountant’s role. Financial Management (14719185), 33-34. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=44479842&site=ehost-live

Burge, R. (2008). Quality’s center point. Industrial Engineer: IE, 40(6), 42-46. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31962040&site=ehost-live

Fazzari, A. J., & Levitt, K. (2008). Human resources as a strategic partner: Sitting at the table with Six Sigma. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 19(2), 171-180. doi: 10.1002/hrdq.1233

Glaser, J., & Stone, J. (2008). effective use of business intelligence. hfm (Healthcare Financial Management), 62(2), 68. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=29363737&site=ehost-live

Hekmatpanah, M., Sadroddin, M., Shahbaz, S., Mokhtari, F., & Fadavinia, F. (2008). Six Sigma process and its impact on the organizational productivity. Proceedings of World Academy of Science: Engineering & Technology, 45, 375-379. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=35136399&site=ehost-live

Hughes, S. B., Caldwell, C. B., Paulson Gjerde, K. A., & Rouse, P. J. (2005). How groups produce higher-quality balanced scorecards than individuals. Management Accounting Quarterly, 6(4), 34-44. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=18733218&site=ehost-live

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Dr. Phil’s Fables of Entrepreneurship: Part I


The Falcon and the Pitcher

A falcon exhausted with thirst flew with glee to an abandoned pitcher hoping to find water. When the falcon reached the pitcher, it found so little water that it’s beak could not reach it. The falcon frantically tried everything to reach the water, but its efforts were in vain. Finally, the falcon took a collection of stones and dropped them into the pitcher one at a time bringing the water into its reach.

Moral of the story: Persistence is the mother of invention. Never give up.

The Owl and the Rodent

An owl in great need of food saw a rodent asleep in the grass and flew down and grasped him. Bewildered, the rodent turned and bit the owl a mortal wound. In agony, the owl exclaimed, “Oh unhappy me! I found what I thought a happy windfall only to find the source of my own destruction. ”

Moral of the story: Do not underestimate competition from the entrepreneur as it may prove the source of your “creative destruction.”

The Boasting Traveler

A man traveling in foreign lands liked to boast upon return to his native country about historic feats he had performed in the places he visited. The man exclaimed, while traveling at Rhodes, he had leaped a distance no other man could leap and had witnesses who could attest to his achievement. A bystander interrupted and said, “Good man no need for witnesses. Suppose this is Rhodes. Aust leap for us.”

Moral of the story: If you can’t see it, you can’t believe it! Success starts with vision.

The Ass and the Purchaser

A man wanting to purchase an ass agreed with its owner to try the animal before buying it. The man took the ass home and left it in the straw yard with his other asses. The ass joined another that was most idle and the biggest eater. When the man observed this behavior he took the ass back to its owner. The owner asked the man how in such a short time he could make such a decision to return the ass. The man answered,” I do not need a trial. I know the ass will be the same as the companion it selected.”

Moral of the story: Take care in selecting who you associate with.

The Boy and the Nettles

The boy was stung by a Nettle. The boy ran home and told his mother, saying,” Although it hurts me very much, I touched it gently.” The boy’s mother responded,” that is why it stung you. The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk in your hand and not in the least hurt you.”

Moral of the story: Use a full effort in everything you do.

The Ants and the Grasshopper

The ants spent a fine winter day drying grain from the summertime. A grasshopper, succumbing to famine, passed by and begged for some food. The ants asked,” why did you not gather up food in the summer?” The grasshopper responded,” I had not enough leisure. I spent the day singing.” The ants responded in derision, “If you’re foolish enough to sing all summer, you must dance supperless in winter.”

Moral of the story: You must plan today what you will need tomorrow. Never run out of cash, which is the lifeblood of the firm!

The Eagle and the Fox

An Eagle and a Fox formed an intimate friendship and decided to leave live near each other. The Eagle built her nest in the branches of a tall tree, while the Fox crept into the underwood and there produced her young. Not long after they had agreed upon this plan, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones, swooped down while the Fox was out, seized upon one of the little cubs, and feast herself and her brood. The Fox on her return, discovered what had happened, but was less grieved for the death of her young than for her inability to avenge them. A just retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. While hovering near the altar, on which some villagers were sacrificing a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of flesh, and carried it, along with a burning cinder, to her nest. A strong breeze soon fanned the spark into a flame, and the eaglets, as yet unfledged and helpless, were roasted in their nest and drop down dead at the bottom of the tree. There, in sight of the Eagle, the Fox gobbled them up.

Moral of the story: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others how you want to be treated.

Please leave a comment about the lessons learned from the fables.  Want to learn more?

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Succeeding in Small Business: Managing Risk vs. Learning from Failure


I have read many divergent ideas about starting a business and how to succeed. One recurring theme I hear is to understand how to manage risk and avoid failure. I emphatically reject this idea for several reasons. First, small business entrepreneurs can mitigate risk through insurance and what the entrepreneur deals with is not risk, but uncertainty. Uncertain conditions are not manageable. How can you manage something you do not know about yet?

Second, instead of demonizing failure I believe an entrepreneur should embrace it because I do not know a single entrepreneur that hasn’t failed before succeeding. Failure is part of the program, like it or not! A seasoned entrepreneur knows how to fail and does not quit. Failure paralyzes the inexperienced entrepreneur who moves no further forward. Steve Jobs recognized the need to move on and jump to the next innovation. Jobs believed intelligent people change their minds. A seasoned entrepreneur learns something from each failure and gains valuable experience. An inexperienced entrepreneur is likely to walk away and find a reason on which to blame  failure.

I just read in another blog this morning about how Richard Branson’s mother taught him to not look back on failure, but to focus on continuing to move forward. What excellent advice! Setbacks do not bother Branson as he simply goes on to another idea. I wish my mother would have drilled that into me. Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group in case you do not recognize the name.

In my view, successful entrepreneurs have to build a thick skin and rapidly put failure behind them. Successful entrepreneurs learn what they can do differently next time and develop a “gut” to react to uncertain conditions and limit their losses by knowing when to move on and try a different approach.

Small business entrepreneurs still need hard skills to run their business, but they can gain these along the way by finding the right people and learning from them. The successful entrepreneur realizes success is a learning curve and learning comes from trying new approaches and associating with the right people.

What do you think? Does successful entrepreneurship come from managing risks or learning from failure? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment with your thoughts or click here to learn more.

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Small Business Global Supply Chains


Small businesses are reluctant to cooperate and collaborate in global supply chains because of not understanding the benefits and problems with them. Just the fear of  unknown risk can paralyze a small business owner from taking action.  Lack of trust and understanding supply chain partners’ standards can also result in anxiety. Yet, the future of small business in part depends on understanding the benefits of working together in global supply chains. So what are the benefits of global supply chain partnerships?

Jüttner & Maklan (2011) explained a relation exists between supply chain risk management and supply chain resilience.  Juttner and Maklan found supply chains with flexibility, visibility, velocity, and collaboration can contain supply chain risks. Flexibility allows members greater choices for finding materials and needed services. Flexibility also improves bargaining power with suppliers. Visibility helps prevent non-availability issues and improves the ability to meet revenue and cost targets. Velocity gives supply chain partners the speed they need to exploit emerging opportunities. Collaboration allows supply chain partners to share capital and use complementary skills to prevent breakdowns. In short, supply chain management makes supply chain partners more resilient to risk.

Another benefit from working in global supply chains comes from improving corporate social responsibility. Spence and Bourlakis (2009) showed corporate social responsibility improves from collaborating in supply chains. Business dealings need open and honest relations in which supply chain partners can trust one another. Preserving good corporate social responsibility affects the entire supply chain and needs an open and honest partnership.

Does it make sense for your company to engage in social networks to find global supply chain partnerships? What concerns do you have about finding good global supply chain partners?  Want to learn more. Please tell us if you like our blog.

References

Jüttner, U., & Maklan, S. (2011). Supply chain resilience in the global financial crisis: An empirical study. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 16(4), 246-259. doi: 10.1108/13598541111139062

 Spence, L., & Bourlakis, M. (2009). The evolution from corporate social responsibility to supply chain responsibility: The case of Waitrose. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 14(4), 291-302. doi: 10.1108/13598540910970126

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