An insight into Authentic Leadership

imagesTo be considered a successful manager or leader I believe that authentic leadership can be of great value. Following the very core values of the model of authenticity such as trust, self-awareness, ethics, morals and transparency gains trust and respect to followers.

However, I believe that it requires all parts of the organisation to be of the same mind-set. Might it be values, morals, visions or in some effect generations? Simply changing leadership routines over a short course of time might have devastating effects. Lloyd and Walker talked about generational shifts and how the “flag is passed on”. Core values of the organisations might not be set in stone.

However, gradually shifting over to a more trustworthy, honest and authentic person is recommended, this can be done through seminars, as well as surveys with the entire staff force.

I have confidence in that authentic leadership is based on trust. People define each other on how well they can trust each other in the common workplace (Colquitt et al. 2007). Trust exercises are consequently to be prioritised first and foremost.

Kruse in Forbes wrote similar, how can managers and leaders be surprised when employees do not trust them, when they change from one person to another, being on and off work? (Kruse, 2013). The quote illustrates the importance of authenticity as well as transparency. Managers and leaders need to show that they don’t switch faces or appearance on and off work, as this “shifts” the very image the leader is trying to project. Does this mean that managers and leaders can’t distance themselves enough in order to have a personal life? Coming to terms that “sharing” one’s personal life or values of the leader will benefit the organisation might help to introduce less secret managers and leaders to a more open and shared environment.

This notion in the field of managers and leaders is something new and will need time to take full effect. As my researched showed, of just 4 employees, the picture or idea of yourself might not always be the one that is projected in the eyes of the viewer. Then imagine the same survey in a large corporation with a few hundred employees. Leroy, Palnski and Somins quotes Shakespeare for the same concept “being true to one self is an important precondition to being true to others[..]” (Leroy et al, 2011). I believe my exercise with a close friend business owner of mine showed that authenticity can fade over time and it is then up to the leader to actually “refresh” these values, sometimes with the help of external stakeholders. This is something I need to take with me further into my career and remember!

It also illustrates that people need to take both themselves and others into extra consideration when applying authenticity as their choice of leadership. I argue that applying this will be harder than expected, as the bias of the strong and almost almighty leader will forever stain the culture of managers and leaders. However, to grow, one must deal with this issue, through education, understanding of social phycology as well as more hands on surveys and seminars. I argue that a constant development in the field of management education will be a driving force of authentic leadership. HR and CSR will consequently play a very important role for the management field in the upcoming decade as human resources and ethics play a larger role every corporation.

Furthermore, Lloyd-Walker and Walker point towards a stressful and complex working environment. This, in our day and age, is not uncommon, especially in a leadership position. Authenticity might help as a booster of productivity from your team but also in dealing with self-help. However I believe it is important to define various areas that are “time stealers”. Even from a week of meditation exercises I understood that my own attention span and listening were far worse than expected. The psychology test showed that I am in an area of average “According to your score, you sometimes have difficulty maintaining your focus on a task and following it through until completion.” It is something I have to take into account dealing further down business strategies as well as decisions. Once again, self-realisation and awareness is keys to authentic leadership.

With so much information being sent at all times in organisations that needs to be dealt with, I’d like to raise the idea that it perhaps is one of the greatest backlashes in the information age, that we are not yet fully aware of. I propose the idea that to further develop authentic leadership one must also come to peace with the concept of “boring”. To be bored and accepting it is a trait not yet fully examined in the academic world. Much focus, if not all, is aimed towards focus and results. However, to really find ones focus, boredom might be a hidden key to realise ones full potential. Schubert argues about this, in 1977, in the Journal of Creative Behaviour, pointing to findings like increased boredom might lead to increased creativity. However the results are very vague and done in a time where the information age was yet to unfold.

Meditation might help if conducted over a longer period of time and making it into a daily routine. Although, I don’t believe the aim for meditation is to be bored, rather it is a tool for self-relation and awareness.

It is therefore hard to draw conclusions about my own statement, but I believe it is an area that could help people to further understand themselves as well as improve their own image of themselves, attention span, concertation and listening ability.


Inventory managment and Naked Wines

inventory-management-9I’ve been researching crowdfunded companies for a while and I found one that is truly remarkable. Naked Wines. I really admire what they are doing but came to some conclusions upon investigating the company further. 

Here are my findings

Inventory management, proper forecasting and operation planning seems to be at the core of any type of supply chain. Hidden away from the naked eye the ongoing operations to keep track, forecast the future and manage capability in order to optimize are a tough but never the less a vital task. (Kraxenberger, 2081)

A common belief are that the management of the supply chain automatically leads to cost savings, mainly by reducing the inventory. Indeed, the cost of inventory has fallen by about 60% since 1982 and the transportation cost by about 20%. (Dooley, 2005). A direct cause of this and the financial crisis was by many companies slashing their inventor in a “slash and burn” tactic, but perhaps because it was a necessary evil at the times in order to survive and not the brilliant strategic move that strategic management points to today (Csco, 2011). Currently, much have been learnt from the crisis but I do question if firms have fully understand the whole nature of demand, inventory cost and capabilities?

Even if organizations use an inventory control or flow management it seems like many companies does not actively control stock on hand nor inventory. This especially in the food industry (Dooley, 2005). Naked wines does keep their stock on hand depending on the demand from its customers, but can’t in the same way handle the ongoing pressure to increase their “angels” or direct investors.

Uncertainty, insecurity, and poor forecasting in demand are three real and thought provoking issues that firms must face to properly manage inventory and therefore their supply chain. Naked Wines have a huge opportunity to properly restructure the fine wine market in Australia, proper yield management is one key element for them. I believe customers reached a stage and are ready to pay a premium price or even a small founding for the company to grow. We are again and again reminded by the successes of crowd funded project (IBM, 2012). Naked wine is already at a crowed founded stage, but perhaps this time the organization can take this to the next level?

vTgrDS18Upon investigating Naked Wines we quickly came to the conclusion that the demand to join the now exclusive club is enormous. Can Naked Wines benefit from this demand instead of seeing it as a problem?

Are consumers willing to pay $5 extra for wine for a period of time or even open up public shareholding in order to raise capital to grow?

I believe the forecasting and capacity planning have failed on a staggering level for Naked Wines. Undeniably, the success is great and the model works, but the firm unquestionably lack the tools how to manage their demand. No matter the strategy used in the beginning, the underestimation of the Australian wine market seems to have come as a surprise for the firm. Why else is there a waiting list to join a wine club, which by the day becomes more exclusive as the firm gaining more attention?

Looking further into the lifecycle of products it is clear that the nature of this framework is to quickly gain enough profit to make up for start-up cost and retain that profit for as long as possible before finally seeing a decline in demand. Does this apply in a service economy? Can we use the same framework that has been going on for so many decades and that did not take globalized ideas like crowdfunding, bitcoin and further interdependence of economies?

In the end firms like Naked Wines must understand that the cost of stock-out as well as correct levels of stock on hand correlates to effective inventory management and directly affect the high level of customer service that is now demanded from customers. I believe this can be achieved via Lag strategy for Naked wines, due to the fact of the vast demand from their customers as well as the constant inflow of new customers. It will also be an effective framework as the shelf life of quality wine is extensive. (Ohlager et al 2001) I propose that this must be evaluated more often than the traditional 3-5 year change in supply chain to as often as every financial year or perhaps even every quarter if there is any indications of change in the model. The adjustment strategy will always come too great use for those type of situations where demand fluctuates and might be a great model to have as a back-up plan.

I can also see the benefits of adding a further development into a competent ECR system. as The information flow between customers and suppliers are one of the backbones in Naked Wines model. An implementation of cross docking stations around the country in order to minimise waiting time and spread out more evenly throughout Australia is also recommended. If you combined these two with a real time synchronised production system where a cloud platform makes the supply and demand a minute based operation would open up new interesting solutions to Naked Wine. How about an auction system in real time much like eBay for angels? Actual stock on hand deals where customers can see how many bottles are left before ordering completely eliminating the cost of stock-out. (Kraxenberger, 2011) Can they develop drone like supply methods much like amazon plans to implement to make their delivers something extraordinary?

Naked Wine have the potential to become something extraordinary. The main question for me after this analyze is that if they have the drive, know-how and innovation to do it? Indeed, they run a model that is sustainable and truly remarkable but I question if that is enough for the next upcoming years?



The born and made leader


We constantly hear how great leaders where born to be leaders, or simply, born leaders.
Then, a couple of weeks ago my university published an article with one of my past professor in management studies, Emmanuel Josserand stating that leaders are maybe not only born but also made. One has to recognize that leadership or leaders differs. There is not one set standard or way to lead and there is different settings for different leaders.

Concerning self-leadership, a trait now coming more and more into action, Josserand states “If people reach that point where they are confident about what they want personally and then can translate that into action in relation to the organisation and to others, I think that’s extremely powerful.” 

Self-leadership has through various studies indicated a positively relation to individual task proficiency and team member proficiency.
Various self-help books has been published in the matter of self-leadership, but I suggest reading interesting articles about the area like Kristina Hauschildt Udo Konradt, (2012),”Self-leadership and team members’ work role performance”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 27 Iss 5 pp. 497 – 517.

Professor Emmanuel Josserand article in full


How to utilize big data for leadership and managment

big-data-word-cloudBig data is undeniably one of the largest resources of un-utilized information around these days. Large chunks of valuable information is basically wasting around in the ether space waiting to get used. The problem is how to maximise the output of the data. It is just recently the big data slowly getting utilised.

Never before have we known so much. Indeed it has been a long time since the burning of Alexandria and big data will probably be known as Alexandria 2.0 when things are utilized in full.

As I started to think, I was wondering how big data could be used towards leadership? With so much information being written by frustrated co-workers and tired employees on social media, reviews, and blogs and basically everything. What I am trying to imply is that the vastness of this frustration, anger and irritation should be recorded for the sake of improving management and leadership.

And whilst we seen cases where dissatisfied staff are being fired whilst posting something bad about their company or boss on social media, the lesson should not be “never write something bad about your job on social media” rather “how can we collect these thoughts and utilize it to improve organisations”?

The Academic journal of management wrote an article on Big data in 2014 saying “Big data can also be a potent tool for analysis of individual or team behaviour, using sensors or badges to track individuals as they work together, move around their workspace, or spend time interacting with others or allocated to specific tasks”

The idea is not that unfamiliar in other words. The question is how to develop it in full as most of this data is unstructured and you need to separate out the good from the bad. Qualitative research in other words. That algorithm will be up there along with googles search term on almost perfect IA and with systems like that great responsibility will follow as this data can tell you more about yourself then you already know yourself.