Breaking news!

    follow me on Twitter

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Our Promise of Change, Delivering Today!

    "In the shadow of the past 12 months, in a world that was shaken by the financial crisis, the food crisis, the swine flu, civil unrest s, military conflicts and extremist movements; AIESEC was called by our history and our future to be a source of inspiration to our members, Alumni, partners and society. That was our purpose and this report is how our members achieve it!"

    Juan Cajiao
    PAI 2008-2009

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Organizations value leaders who can achieve results

    “When asked what organizations value the most in leaders, 83 percent of the best in class organizations as compared to others said “execution.” Organizations value leaders who can achieve results through others. These leaders create a climate in which people know exactly what is expected of them. In ideal times, the survey results showed, people value authoritative and democratic styles of leadership in comparison to the other four styles of coercive, affiliative, pacesetting and coaching. In tough economic times, employees’ desire more communication and clarity around goals. They want their leaders to become more visible and to be leading from the front. Typical leadership styles which accomplish this include authoritative with some coercive and pacesetting when needed.”

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Is success a social responsibility of organizations?

    Last night I went for a walk with my girlfriend through the street of Amsterdam and I felt immensely lucky. I think it is a blessed to be able to walk at night and enjoy the little streets and the markets without worrying too much about gettingt robbed or assault.

    The tranquility gave us the chance to have a good conversation on leadership, maybe we touched too many topics but I think they are all worth to keep somewhere. So, here is the first one:

    The Social Responsibility of Organizations on increasing the employee, family and community self esteem

    On a workshop, my girlfriend and colleagues were given a real life study case: “My best production line employer during the day shift will always come to me –Production Manager- before making a decision like stopping the line. At night, he will make those calls himself and so far I have to say that they were all correct. I still wonder why he keeps coming to me for approval and what can I do to make him realize he can make those calls himself”.

    When I first heard this, I thought: “Oh well, this is a typical case of low self esteem. Maybe the best he can do is to work slowly with him. Every time he comes the manager should ask him what would he do, agree with him and later on greet him for the good work and let him know he can make those decisions by himself. I am sure after a few times he will just go ahead and do it himself”.

    Then my girlfriend told me that the solution they used, successfully, was given a promotion to the employee to “Line Manager”. With the title on hand, he felt more confident of making those calls and the other workers more willing to follow him.

    What I missed, as well as many people in the workshop, was to consider the background of the production floor, the people who work there, their needs and ambitions.

    Indeed, the problem was on self-esteem but the way to build it up was done especifically considering the context and keep it in mind that the solution need it to help the employee as well as the company.

    This conclusion made us wonder about the responsibilities of organizations in building the self-esteem of employees, families and communities.

    Let’s take the case of Costa Rica on which multinational companies like Intel, P&G, HP, IBM, Hospira, Abbot have settled in the country having a major impact on the PIB.

    A whole generation of young professional are being hired, trained and develop with worldwide quality programs. But the most important aspect, from my point of view, is that they are given the opportunity to compete and succeed in the global arena.

    These young professionals are perceiving themselves as winners, people that can make positive change and they are bringing that mentality back home, to their children, their siblings, their parents and their friends spreading a wave of success that may end up shaping the community where they live.

    I believe that organizations have the responsibility to be successful and to spread that success consciously among their employees and partners to generate a critical mass of people that are aware that they are the ones that can make the change they need in their life and in their society.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Dutch Society: a challenge to leaders or to followers?

    Usually when we talk about leadership we reflect our assumptions on what we believe leadership is and on what type of leadership is needed.

    When we listen, we also contrast other opinions to our own concepts nurturing debate and challenging perspectives.

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure to attend an event organized by de Baak, a training institute that is referred as the voice of Business in The Netherlands, on the topic “Who are we: Reflections on Dutch Leadership and Society”.

    I was really interested to listen to other opinions so I focused on gathering inputs to be able to draw my own conclusions and here I am trying to summarize the most important ones.

    First thing I noticed is that most of the conversation swung between decision making processes and implementations challenges among Dutch organizations.

    They remarked that decisions are mostly made by consensus, making sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward, which leads to commitment but also consumes precious time which is a critical variable to succeed in the current times of crisis.

    What shocked me a bit was that they mentioned that afterwards implementation is doubtful. Apparently, even if Dutch are involved in the decision making process, when they break apart they may still have important doubts on what to do or how to do it, which again impacts delivery time and team synergies.

    This tells me a lot about the type of leadership that is needed in the country: people that are able to build confidence on individual capabilities as well as trust among each member of the team.

    But before jumping into the conclusion, there was another thing that captured my attention.

    Most people on leadership roles with leadership preparation know that leadership is about building trust, so how come so many Dutch prepared people failed to do that? Isn’t it that Dutch society is facing an issue of not knowing how to follow instead of how to lead?

    A side conversation with a de Baak lady brought some light into this finding; she told me that in the 1700s Dutch society was run by very assertive leaders that brought business success to the country but also made mistakes that today’s Dutch society feel ashamed for.

    • What happened then?
    • How did it impact the Dutch idiosyncrasy?
    • Are there hidden social rules that prevent Dutch people for trusting each other and their leaders? if yes, what are they?

    Deep pragmatic questions that open the door for further research:

    • What will happen if Dutch teams receive as much preparation to be lead as the leaders receive to lead?
    • What will happen if the responsibility of leadership is taken away from the leader into the followers?
    • What opportunities and risks will Dutch society face in that new paradigm?

    I know this may not be final conclusion but they set the way on how I will keep exploring this amazing country and this complex society.

    Search This Blog