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Tag: risk

Searching questions about management in the 21st century

So you want to be a manager?

Harvard Professor, Gary Hamel asks “What problem was management invented to solve?”

How to do things with perfect replicability, at ever-increasing scale and steadily increasing efficiency.

“What is the problem that needs solving now?”

How do you build organizations that merit the gifts of creativity and passion and initiative?”

Are we on the verge of a post-managerial society?

Many organizational designers have been asking: will we have managers of the future?  Here are some of the central dilemma.

Talent

What is the role of talent?  Is it something to be bought and profited from?  Or is what emerges from the configuration of the organization?  Are we talented because we are talented together?

What is the key concept in organizational design?

Understanding how to create organizational value by installing the right feedback loops

What is the nature of change in this century?

Purposefully and creatively experimental

How do we manage risk and not knowing the outcome of our creative experiments?

Set clear boundaries about risk.  Engender insights that minimize risk.

Gary Hamel also asks:

“How have you been trained as a business innovator? What investment has the company made in teaching you how to innovate?”

What will global organizations look like?

The Internet is making it possible to amplify and aggregate human capabilities in ways never before possible.

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The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing

Risk

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To expose your feelings is to risk
exposing your true self
To place your ideal, your dreams before a crowd
is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return

To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure

Yet risks must be taken
Because the greatest hazard in life is risking
NOTHING

The person who risks nothing
Does nothing
Has nothing
Is nothing

Self-realization is harder than
Self Sacrifice

UPDATE1:  Shazoor Mirza (contactable via the comments) kindly told me this poem was written by William Arthur Ward.  Thank you, Shazoor!

UPDATE2:  Is it our risk that matters?  Or can we learn from Anais Nin and the willingness to risk listening to others and hearing their story?

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3 characteristics of recession-lovers

I need your help

This is a serious post and I would love some of the heavy hitters out there like Jon Ingham, Scott MacArthurBay Jordan and Jon Husband to critique it. Others please join in!

I am a work psychologist. That means I am as much concerned about work as I am about psychology. I do a lot of background reading about management, organizations, new work like nanotechnology, etc.

McKinsey’s advice on management & organization in a recession

McKinsey have just circulated an old report 2002 report on risk and resilience in recessions.

They argue that firms that come out of a recession in the upper quartile, differ significantly from other firms.  The winning group, lets call them “recession-lovers”, either hung on to their upper quartile position, or came up from below.

The McKinsey report has a few sentences I find ambiguous. They are also talking about firms that make the UQ. They aren’t talking about firms who climb from LQ to Median say, so we should be careful not to over-extrapolate.

3 winning characteristics in a recession

I have found THREE characteristics of the ‘recession lovers’.

1.  ‘Recession-lovers’ surge ahead because they were always clearly focused on what they are doing. Prior to the recession, recession-lovers are involved in less acquisition activity than their rivals. Recession-lovers maintain their acquisition activity during a recession, while others drop acquisition activity to the steady level of the recession-lovers.

Can we conclude that firms who are less successful during a recession were involved in shakier business prior to the recession?

2.  Recession-lovers make 33% more sales per employee than their rivals. During the recession, they maintain this ratio by spending MORE money on sales and general costs. To do this, they absorb lower margins (TESCO’s just announced this I think).

Can we conclude that more successful firms move to protect and maintain their central markets?

Can we conclude that less successful firms are willing to jeopardize their market position by taking quicker profits?

3.  Recession-lovers spend more money on R&D and double this expenditure during the recession.

Can we conclude that rivals had thought that their markets and products were stable and by cutting back further believe that markets will be essentially unchanged after the recession?

3 thought-provoking questions for HR Managers to ask

If I have summarized this report correctly, then there are hard questions HR Managers should be asking as they consider redundancies, cutbacks, etc.

1.  When we hired staff, we assured them of their importance, and the value and importance of the products and services they would deliver.  What has changed?

2.  Now the market is tougher, surely we should give staff  more, not fewer,  resources to do their work and to sell our products and services.   If we don’t allocate more resources, than why?    Was our previous allocation of resources thoughtless, or,  is the market is worth protecting, in which case .  .  .  What are the ethical and legal implications of what we are saying?

3.  If we are making less provision for R&D, then are we saying that the demand for our products and services will be stable into the future?  Is so, why not write long-term contracts for staff on those lines?

What’s your take?

I would like to phrase these questions as constructively as possible and I don’t want to overreach.

How can we improve our understanding of a business so that in the future we can ask the right questions earlier?

Where do young HR managers in UK develop and test their understanding, BTW?  Which are universities and firms known for turning out HR Managers with solid business sense?

UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.

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