Monday, April 14, 2008

John Adair on time management

John Adair is the world’s leading authority on leadership and leadership development. Over a million managers worldwide have taken part in the Action-Centred Leadership programmes he pioneered. - Website fully dedicated to Leadership & Management.
Here is his ten principles of time management from "The John Adair handbook of Management and Leadership"

1 Develop a personal sense of time
2 Identify long-term goals
3 Make medium-term plans
4 Plan the day
5 Make the best use of your best time
6 Organize office work
7 Manage meetings
8 Delegate effectively
9 Make use of committed time
10 Manage your health

Sunday, April 06, 2008

How misinformation influence sense of reality

Professor Alex Bavelas, a noted expert in small-group interaction, has shown in several experiments that misinformation has a powerful influence on a human being's sense of reality.

In one experiment, two subjects, A and B, are seated facing a projection screen. There is a partition between them so that they cannot see each other, and they are requested not to communicate. They are then shown medical slides of healthy and sick cells and told that they must learn to recognize which is which by trial and error. In front of each of them are two buttons marked "Healthy" and "Sick," respectively, and two signal lights marked "Right" and "Wrong." Every time a slide is projected they have to press one of the buttons, whereupon one of the two signal lights flashes on.

"A" gets true feedback; that is, the lights tell him whether his guess was indeed right or wrong. His situation is one of simple discrimination, and in the course of the experiment, most "A" subjects learn to distinguish healthy from sick cells with a fair degree of correctness (i.e., about 80 percent of the time).

"B's" situation is different. His feedback is based not on his own guesses, but on A's. Therefore it does not matter what he decides about a particular slide; he is told "right" if "A" guessed right, "wrong" if "A" guessed wrong. B does not know this; he has been led to believe there is an order, that he has to discover this order, and that he can do so by making guesses and finding out if he is right or wrong. But as he asks the "sphinx" he gets very confusing answers because he does not know that the sphinx is not talking to him

In other words, there is no way in which he can discover that the answers he gets are non contingent -- that is, have NOTHING to do with his questions -- and that therefore he is not learning anything about his guesses. So he is searching for an order where there is none that he could discover.

A and B are eventually asked to discuss what they have come to consider the rules for distinguishing between healthy and sick cells. "A"'s explanations are simple and concrete; "B"'s are of necessity subtle and complex -- after all, he had to form his hypothesis on the basis of very tenuous and contradictory hunches.

The amazing thing is that A does not simply shrug off B's explanations as unnecessarily complicated or even absurd, but is impressed by their sophisticated "brilliance." "A" tends to feel inferior and vulnerable because of the pedestrian simplicity of his assumption, and the more complicated "B"'s "delusions", the more likely they are to convince A.

Before they take a second, identical test (but with new slides), A and B are asked to guess who will now do better than in his first test. All B's and most A's say that B will. :-)

Know the root cause for any problem within 5 whys

Ask the question “Why?” five times, you will surely get the root cause of any problem. This technique, taught us by the Japanese, allows us to pursue the deeper, systemic causes of a problem and correspondingly deeper solutions.

Let us take an example and deal with it:

Shop floor supervisor approached you and said - "There is a puddle of oil on the shop floor"

Here you may tell him to clean the floor and continue work. But you are interested in finding the root cause, so you asked "Why there is a oil spill?"

He replies "Because the machine is leaking oil"

You asked "Why is the machine leaking?"

He replied "Because the gasket is deteriorating"

Here you may give a reply to change the gasket and continue the work. You thought that the problem may be something else. So, you asked, "Why gasket is deteriorating?"

He replied "Because we bought gaskets made of inferior material"

You may ask him to buy a better quality gasket and replace the existing one. You may instruct your buyers to go for high quality one in future purchases. But you wanted to know "Why inferior material goods purchased at the first place instead of high quality?"

He replied "Because we got a good deal on them."

At last you asked the fifth "Why we went for that deal?"

He replied "Because the purchasing agent gets evaluated on the basis of savings over normal price tags"

"Oh Yeah. Now I found the root cause" you replied and suggested to change the buying strategy and existing policy.

Congrats, you did an excellent job in finding the root cause of the problem. After that instance now there is no leakage for past few years. :-)