Moved by our “Learning and Teaching” value, since 2010 Prof. Falconi shares his management experience and knowledge with the readers of Exame magazine on a monthly basis. Through objective answers, he establishes a dialogue and clarifies doubts about methods, entrepreneurship, career and leadership, among other topics related to the business world.
Check out the January/2017 column below. Enjoy your reading!
KNOWING HOW TO SAY “I DO NOT KNOW” IS A VIRTUE FOR A LEADER
1. Is the tendency to have generalist leaders who only manage processes and do not know the technical specifics of the business or area that they lead irreversible? Anonymous.
In the early 90s a newspaper in São Paulo published an ad in which a company was looking for a logistics director. One of the qualifying conditions was that the person did not understand anything about logistics. Many people were astonished by this premise, including me. But today I understand. The leader does not necessarily have to have technical knowledge and does not need to have the solution for everything. The team should come up with the solution. And, if the team does not have the necessary knowledge to do so, it is up to the leader to help them search for the knowledge.
The existing knowledge in the company has already been transformed into results and does not add anything new. Only new knowledge is useful to create spectacular results. Let’s assume that you have a result and want to improve it by 20%. Therefore I ask: “Why are you not already producing at the level you want to reach?” The right answer is: because neither you nor your team knows what to do to get there. That is the question. Achieving new results always involves seeking new knowledge. A true leader knows this and always seeks new knowledge – whether it is from experts, or from books and conferences, and so on.
I ask you to reflect on these things regarding the situation of your company. Knowledge will always be important and it is good that everyone profoundly knows their process. However, even more important is the awareness that better results are derived from new knowledge that is brought in, so that there is evolution in relation to what is being done today. We need to be aware that learning is continuous throughout life, and the company is a great place to learn as long as it has well established annual goals and the humility to say “I do not know” and then seek the answers.
2. What would be the best indicator to monitor the performance of suppliers? We currently work with the following: delivery deadlines, documentary disagreements and nonconformities of products. Are we on the right track? What are the other critical factors? Anonymous.
In an ideal world, all companies would operate in a Quality Assurance System. In a relationship of assured quality, you would not need to separate samples of the product from your supplier because we would assume that everything is perfect. However, none of this happens in real life. You have to analyze, control, reject. All of this control work turns into costs that will be paid for by your customer. This reduces the competitiveness of your product.
First of all, working in a quality assurance environment is cheaper. The first thing I recommend is working with your suppliers to develop your quality assurance systems.
Having said that, I would like to introduce the theme that the Americans call “Big Q”. “Big Q” is present in every relationship between customer and supplier and consists of three components. The first is the “q” (or “small Q”), which represents the intrinsic quality of the product; the “c” represents its cost; and “d” indicates its availability. The “q” is divided into two families. The one family is the “positive quality” – the attraction exerted by the product or the customer’s preference for that product and has to do with aligning the characteristics of the product to the customer’s needs. The second family is the “negative quality”, that is, the nonconformities.
Constant pressure must be exerted to reduce costs – this requires that the supplier strive to gain productivity. Another precaution is to manage product availability – to ensure that the right product is in the right place at the right time. I suggest that you consider these basic indicators (that are good for any company) and then, in a tree diagram, take out the indicators that most affect your company’s performance.
3. I have accumulated two very distinct functions – IT and HR. But I only really have experience in the first. What should I keep in mind so that the task is an opportunity to leverage my career, not a trap? Anonymous.
Your question is very important and will apply to a lot of people. It happens with everyone when the take over an area they do not know. You have to know how to say “I do not know” and help the team seek knowledge to be able to reach its goals. I suggest you read the answer to the first question again. It answers your question perfectly.
Source: Exame.com – Gestão à Vista column – 01/16/2017.
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