March 20, 2011

Strategies of Effective New Product Team Leaders

Posted in BADM 720 tagged , , , at 5:02 pm by Sarah

This reading was all about how problematic it can be for businesses to develop new products.  I believe the issues described are pretty common.  I’ve worked at lots of places where decisions are made without consideration for the people those decisions will affect, there is no visibility and information is withheld as standard procedure, and managers try to control every detail of the work rather than trusting employees to do their jobs.  It’s an environment that is self-perpetuating.  Employees don’t take ownership of their work, and they don’t have opportunities to make mistakes, which means they will never learn anything.

One of the more interesting questions posed by the article is why these problems are so common, when every manager seems to believe that they have the solutions.  Just because we know how to be effective leaders in theory, doesn’t mean we are effective in practice.  The article suggests that leaders have to transform their thinking, though the nature of this transformation was unclear due to excessive wordiness and unnecessarily complex vocabulary.  Personally I think this is a complex question to answer.  It’s hard enough for me to apply the things I’m learning for myself, much less tell someone else how to do it.

I think the most important thing that this article suggests is encouraging inter-departmental cooperation.  I always like to be able to understand the big picture, I try to be considerate of the roles that others play in our work, and I appreciate it when others do the same for me.  That sort of goes hand in hand with the suggestion that information needs to be disseminated quickly and freely from rank to rank, which has been a personal pet peeve of mine.

February 8, 2011

Extra Reading for Chapter Four

Posted in BADM 720 tagged , , , , , , at 3:32 pm by Sarah

United Pilot Article

At my job, exceptional customer service is sometimes difficult to provide.  My team goes through the same process with almost every customer, and we use a lot of “canned” or pre-written emails to communicate with customers.  Occasionally, though, we do get inquiries that require some individualized attention, and I consider these to be opportunities. 

These are most often questions from customers who are unclear on our processes or are having trouble using our online tools, and though we often have similar answers, I try to make a point of exceeding the customer’s expectations by anticipating their next question or providing clear, step-by-step solutions to their problems.  More often than not, this extra effort will go unnoticed by customers.  But sometimes I do get a reply saying thank you, and just knowing that I have made someone’s day a little easier makes it all worthwhile.

Rules of Engagement

Speaking of my job, I have to admit I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes regarding the business benefits of employee happiness.  We do have some perks and some flexibility, but due to the nature of our business there are some pretty annoying aspects of the job as well.

As far as work-life balance goes, we are able to arrange for time off most of the time.  But during our busiest times of the fiscal month, everyone has to stay at work until their team’s work is done, sometimes late into the night, regardless of what is happening in their personal life.  I often wonder how employees with children at home are able to do this.  But I must admit that when our volumes are high at the end of the fiscal month, everyone hunkers down and gets focused, and things get done much faster because no one wants to be at work too late.  In our case, getting the job done is motivation in itself.