Posts Tagged ‘modern management’

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=money&iid=269646″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/269646/people-holding-money/people-holding-money.jpg?size=500&imageId=269646″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]A very interesting idea about our relationship with money had been published in HBR March 2010 issue.

To get the feel of the study, imagine yourself in the following situation; imagine yourself counting money while one of your friends is counting papers. Now, if you both were asked to dip your hands in hot water, the study says that you, the one who have been playing with money, will report less pain.

Not only that, it will work in reverse as well. Now imagine yourself writing down your last month expenses while your friend is recording, say, the weather temperatures for the same month. In this case, the study says that you will report more pain because your were around the idea of spending money.

So in few words, the study conducted by Dr. Kathleen D. Vohs is stating that money gives us inner strengthen and can reduce our physical and emotional pain.

It is a really interesting idea. It is not that surprising that we all feel some way or another about money. And I am sure social and psychological scientists have a lot to debate about these findings.

The interesting part of the study comes in its recommendations. It is about using cash to compensate customers or reward employees. The examples used in the study go like this; if an airline would like to apologize to its customers for that 8 hours delay, it is better to give them cash. And when rewarding those customer service agents, do not given them bounces deposited to their accounts, give them cash.

I have to admit that although cash means a lot of things to us, thinking of it as a source of motivation or stress releasing incentive does not feel totally right. Management literature is filled with studies that actually refer to the contrary, to the fact that money could sometimes leads to dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction (check out Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.)

More studies are still needed to determine when such claims can be found true and under which conditions. Because I am sure there are situations when money can mean nothing!

What do you think?


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If you ask me what are the biggest problems facing the Saudi business environment, I would say: there are two major issues; Saudis do not look at management as a science, and ‘Wasta.’

  • Management is not a science

It is a shock to see that lot of those leading Saudi companies and enjoying the front line positions are still believing that management is all about seniority and managerial practices are solely based on the managers’ own talents and gifts. The problems they are currently creating within their organizations because of such beliefs were very basic issues that had been discussed and dealt with as back as the beginning of the last century! Leadership, organization behavior, motivation, HR modern practices, and management of innovation are only example of the major issues most of Saudi managers lack deep understanding of! And the really surprising thing in this whole matter is to find out that even those studying or carrying MBAs have the same perception about management. Can you believe that?! A lot of those are not really looking into management as a science and the MBA as an academic degree; no, it is only another piece of paper to decorate the office and an exciting tag line to be added to the CV!

  • Wasta

It means that there is a huge chance to have a new job, or get promoted in your current job, not because you are talented and deserve to be in the new position, but because you know someone who can push you there. It is, as my friend Mohsen nicely put it, it is getting things done by ‘knowing dudes who know dudes!’ I am almost certain that if unbiased research is conducted to study this phenomenon, we would discover horrible outcomes. Just think of all the incompetents who were assigned in critical positions and because of their lousy performance millions vanished in poor projects and lost opportunities.

I will leave you now with this video about the last topic, Wasta, as featured in in our fellow bloger Qusay.

So … What do you think?

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It does not matter how highly you think of yourself or your abilities, you are not a superman (nor a batman, nor a hulk, nor anyone of those super heros for that matter!) And what goes for the men goes for the ladies as well, so ladies, there is no chance for you to be the bionic woman.


According to this interesting blog post on HBR, doing more than one thing at a time kills your productivity by about 40%. Our brain is not programmed to multitask,  it is programmed to focus on one thing, and one thing only at a time. So you cannot really drive and talk on the phone, you cannot be in a meeting room discussing something and checking your emails, and you cannot be liesetning to your wife and texting someone at the same time.

Now the strange thing is that we are always expected to multitask as if it is the normal thing to do! When your coworker just drop on your office while you’re working on an important report, he is expecting you to answer his questions right away! When your manager calls at any moment, he is expecting you to pick up the phone no matter what! He will call you three consecutive times on your office following that by a series of mobile phone calls! And what really pisses me off is when someone sends you an email and in 10 seconds, he is calling you to tell you that he just sent you an email!!!! Even if you started reading his email, you will be distracted by his call! As mentioned in the same HBR post, peopel living under constant distractions during the day could face a 10 points fall in their IQs, this is equal to losing a one night sleep, and more than twice the effect of smoking marijuana!

The disaster is that some managers who should be the ones maintaining and elevating the productivity levels of their subordinates, they are the ones who usually cause the performance of their teams to drop. Keep surprising the staff with unplanned meetings, always changing and coming up with new processes, and most importantly, disrespecting the staff off times are all playing a major role in pushing the performance to its lowest levels.

Sit back now, relax, and start thinking about your day … How many marijuana did you have today??

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Whenever you receive an advice from an experienced man/woman, you should appreciate it and see how much you can integrate it into your own vision and style. But when you receive the advice from someone who is heading an iconic company and is believed to be the innovative spirit within that company, and not to mention that he has just been selected for the fifth time to be among the 100 most influential people around the world by the Time magazine then you should really listen … and listen carefully!

I am taking about the CEO of Apple, the man who does not need to be introduced; Steve Jobs. In the following clip, Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike is sharing with audience, and with all of us, the advice he received from Steve. Although the advice is very straight forward and, you could say, simple. thinking of it for few minuets would tell you that it is a strategic advice. An advice about the mission and personality of a company. And if not taking that from Apple, whom should you take it from anyway!!

Check it out …

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[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=angry+woman&iid=296176″ src=”0292/c47ff305-10a8-4751-8aba-045430184868.jpg?adImageId=12480100&imageId=296176″ width=”234″ height=”353″ /]Are you familiar with those moments when you just about to snap, scream out loud, or even punch someone at the face? Maybe because of a ridicules email you just received, a stupid remark raised in a meeting, or a comment that got you really irritated. If you ever reacted to such catalysts right away without much of  a thinking like responding to that email with overly heated language or start screaming at your colleague because of his or her really stupid comment in the meeting, then you should be really careful because such reactions could mark your decision making abilities for a long time.

I know that you might argue that it really feels good to respond to those fools who usually send meaningless emails and how amazing it is to confront those show-off-know-it-all kinda of people in meetings. And you might also think that the whole heat of the moment would vanish in a matter of minuets or hours after that. Actually, Andrade and Ariely (2009)* have something else to say; they are arguing that ‘the influence of mild incidental emotions on decision making can live longer than the emotional experience itself.’ In simpler words, spontaneous reactions could be part of your decision making process on the long run. The mind usually travels back in time looking for similar experiences whenever confronted with a situation, this unconscious journey could leads the mind to take the same decisions that have been made in those moments of anger and irrationality. So you could end up repeating your mistakes and attitudes again and again without even noticing.

This could explain the behavior of many managers who are repeating themselves over and over again dealing with different situations in a similar attitude and narrow minded approaches. Such repetitions would eventually  kill innovation and creativity and will lead the whole team working with such managers and leaders to frustration and demotivation.

So the next time you are faced with such situation, you better think it over, weight your response, and if you can, sleep on it. No matter how satisfying the immediate responses might feel, their consequences could be damaging on many levels.

* Andrade, E. & Ariely, D., 2009. The Enduring Impact of Emotions on Decision Making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 109, p. 1-8.

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[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=camera+flash&iid=5157847″ src=”0/5/7/8/closeup_of_a_2fbf.jpg?adImageId=10563356&imageId=5157847″ width=”234″ height=”168″ /]Al Eqtisadiah, the daily Saudi newspaper, published yesterday (in Arabic), the results of its yearly ‘Best Working Environment in Saudi Arabia’ competition.

The unbiased observer has nothing but to thank the newspaper for the idea and its apparent efforts in preparing the winning list. By showing some of the winning companies’ managerial practices, the newspaper is actually giving bright examples of open minded, modern, and well educated Saudi management. I particularly liked KPMG practices in enhancing its work environment in addition to its culture of providing all employees with the  opportunity to participate in their company’s major decisions. I also liked ABB’s intensive employees’ trainings and scholarship programs. And not to forget Bupa and its remarkable electronic training platform.

For those following this competition from the past years, some names are turning to be usual guests on the list, for example, ABB, Bupa, Panda, and KPMG. While on the other hand, big names such as Saudi P&G (Modern Industries) and Al Mara’ei are missed on this year’s list.

All in all, I have two main comments on this list. The first one is that when closely looking at the names taking over the first posts, you could not help but notice that most of them are international names working in the Saudi market. So it can be argued that their success secret lays in their well adaptation of universally tested practices. I do not mean this as a criticism; on the contrary, I am a big supporter of looking at what others are doing in the management field to be influenced by their best practices and experiences, and most importantly, to avoid their mistakes.

My second remark is that we should notice that this competition is only open for companies willing to participate and provide some data about their policies and HR practices. So its results can not be generalized without cautious. Big and known companies are not yet willing to be part of this competition, and that would only leave you to wonder …. why!!!???

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Peter Drucker had once said ‘To Satisfy the customer is the mission and purpose of every business.’

Now, I am really wondering how many companies are living, or even believing in such kind of business philosophy. Needless to say, the purpose of existence and company’s mission are not things to be taken lightly. And I remember that I read somewhere about a leader who was gathering his top executives from time to time to ask them to state their company’s purpose of existence each from his/her own view and responsibility.

Now imagine extending the philosophy of customer satisfaction we started this post with to each and every part of the organization, to really believe in the concept of internal customers* and that each and every department has an ultimate goal of satisfying its customers.

Do not you think that adapting such a concept would ease the struggle between teams and different departments? Do not you think that it would actually release the pressure of the constant power struggle within organizations?

I believe it will … but let’s be honest, how many companies do you know that are adapting this concept; and I mean really applying it and not only talking about it for PR purposes!!

* The concept of internal customer has been recognized by Joseph Juran in his famous quality trilogy. Internal customers can be anyone in the organization, anyone who is painting a small part of the big picture that will eventually represent a product or a service provided to an external customer.

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