Blog 4: My development as a leader

I finished my bachelor degree in civil engineering from The University of Jordan, and started working in my family’s contracting company, as I mentioned in Blog 1. my first project was a small one sense I was a fresh graduate in a newly formed small telecommunication department. So I was responsible of around twenty unexpressed employees, so unconsciously we started to work and set methods by the trail and error way, that created a family environment with each one contributes in the leadership of the group work under my knowledge and consultant. In this Phase I experienced the Democratic leadership style, where the power is spread within the group not only the leader, and functions of leadership is also spread. On the other hand my own assessment after studying a module about leading in a changing world in my MBA studies, was on my leading skills using Fielder’s contingency model was IV which elaborate that my leader-member relation is good, tasks were unstructured, my leader position power is weak, that puts me in the middle of favorable unfavorable characteristic for a leader. In addition of practicing three of Yukl’s guidelines: express confidence in followers, use dramatic actions and leading by example (Mullins,Christy, 2016: 311).

After three months I was satisfied with the experience and knowledge that I earned, and I asked to transfer me ta a much harder and more challenging project as I was feeling confident after i took my first steps successfully as a leader in this field. my wishes were granted and went to one of the hardest projects that the company faced, a small to midsize project, it was constructing a smart-fence between The Syrian-Jordanain border. the project was facing all kind of challenges, from security because of the dangerous area to the logistic of the project site which is a dead zone in the middle of nowhere, adding dealing with the army and their strict guidelines and the lack of communication of the 60 workers whom are spread over 20 kilometers that I was the only engineer in the project with the one of the only three allowed cellphones. this one year experience forced me to try the Authoritarian leadership style, that can be explained because the teams were spread, thus hard to control and manage so applying authority was my solution and dividing specific tasks and scenarios to counter problems in an strict guideline between teams, was the most efficient way. That leads us to Fielder’s contingency model as I analyzed my performance for good leader-member relation, structured tasks and strong leader position with is number on the scale and the most favorable for a leader. Regarding Yukl’s guidelines I manly experienced articulating  and explaining a clear and appealing vision and acting confidant with optimistic attitude.

These two different experiences I had, combined with leadership practices and knowledge gained during my MBA study. my leadership style between the 7 styles according to Harvard Business Review by Rooke and Torbert (2005) is between two styles one is an alchemist which is the ability to reinvent and renew ourselves as leaders while dealing with challenges on all kind of levels and the strategic, they are a highly effective change agents and they deal with the ability to share vision that encourage personal and organizational transformation.

To pin point my strengths, I am highly adaptable and open to self and others criticism, I have meetings with CEOs and deal with workers easily in the same day. i have no problem putting more effort than anyone in the team to lead by example as this is one of the future leaders traits in my belief according to my analysis in Blog 2.

Weaknesses, we all have them and the lucky one is who knows them, I found my first and obvious weakens is the lack of expert power, which is to have expertise in a specific area that is my field in contracting and infrastructure (Mullins,Christy, 2016: 330). motivation which a lot of times need to be refilled and i did not yet found the perfect long-lasting fuel. excess of sympathy is an disappearing weakness that I am working on.

As any ambitious leader I have an ever-changing development plan, which is for know to use my self revision to manage and control my wavering motivational power, which is by trail and error and I am positive that I’m closer to the solution more than ever, eager to face my next inner challenge. Sympathy have to be managed not demolished because it is an essential trait fro leaders. and these weaknesses, strength and personal characteristics do inflects on my studies as will in my personal life, by using there knowledge I will learn to systematize my thinking in a will established manner by using theories and concepts, and experiences that I am eager to go throw during my studies.

 

References

 

Mullins, L., 2016. Management & Organisational Behaviour. 11th ed. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson.

Rooke, Trobert. 2005. Seven Transformations of Leadership. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hbr.org/2005/04/seven-transformations-of-leadership. [Accessed 8 January 2019].

 

 

 

Blog 3: Brexit effects, and how to manage the change.

Prime Minister Theresa May evoked Article 50 in Lisbon Treaty before two years, after she as a Brexiter toke over the wheel from the former prime minister David Cameron was amazed on how the empty gun he threatened the EU with backfired and killed his reputation as a prime minister, which some Remainers thinks that this act is one of the most destructive acts in prime ministers history. after Article 50 the UK got two years to decide on Brexit terms with the EU. This made an uncertain environment for investors in The UK, and as known in business uncertainty is not a good factor for business, stocks and The UK Market (

The German car industry is huge, it was estimated in 2016 that it’s worth 482.7 billion euros (TLRD, 2018), and the biggest market for this industry is The UK (TLRD, 2018), German cars sold in the UK is 769 000 in comparison to the second biggest market The US buying 494 000 cars a year. so it is a huge market according to Kurt-Christian Scheel, CEO of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), a lobby group that represents BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler (parent company of Mercedes), he said also that Brexit will torn apart the supply chain, and will result in construction of warehouse because supply on demand won’t be possible, and this also will make car companies remove their manufactories from the UK back to the EU which will result in huge job losses as he said “The UK will be hit harder” (Macbeth, 2018).

Now let’s discuss BMW Group Problems with Brevet in specific, UK made 9.8% of the German group car sales in 2017 which is the fourth biggest market for the group (BMWGroup, 2018).

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 3.45.48 AM.png

The sales volume at 241,674 in 2017 units was  down on the previous year (2016: 252,205 units; – 4.2 %) as a side effect that the uncertainty of Brexit brought among (BMW, 2018), we can see in the below figure that the UK was a healthy growing market until 2016 when Article 50 was triggered, we can calculate from the figure the growth rate in 2014 was 8.5%, 2015 was 12.6%, and 2016 8.4% which averaged a growth rate of 9.8% increase comparing to the 4.2% drop in 2017, so it is obvious that Brexit affected BMW Group before it happens (BMWGroup, 2018).

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 3.45.58 AM.png

On the other hand BMW Group have four production plants in the UK, Oxford and Goodwood plants which they are responsible of 9% of BMW car Production (producing: Rolls-Royce Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, MINI Hatch, and MINI Clubman), which is a big percentage almost the same as the UK market share of car delivers for the brand. to be more analytical we can not say it is not a problem because the production % is similar to the selling % because the UK plants do not produce all models. In addition to the other two plant in Ham Hall and Swindon which produces petrol and plug-in hybrid engines in addition to body parts (BMWGroup, 2018).

As Kurt-Christian Scheel said that the supply chain will be torn apart, and taking into consideration how important the UK is to the BMW Group by representing around 10% of it sales and production, a solution must be Developed. a perfect and logical solution is to treat the UK as a separate market, and that’s how BMW Group manage the US and Chinese markets the second and the first biggest markets each with it special situation (BMWGroup, 2018). if the situation after Brexit is like the US (an open market) BMW will apply a similar plan to harvest the positives that Brexit may result with UK trade with some countries outside the EU if the UK had better deals with those countries than the EU. or to deal with the UK as they managed the chinese government strict polices by making a similar deal to the BMW Group joint venture with their Chinese partners (Wilmot, 2018).

To Design an action plan we should discuss the two situations. First the the Chinese situation which is highly not going to happen because of the vast differences between the two countries policies and approach to the world trade. So let’s be realistic and apply the BMW market strategy in the US. They have to expand their model production in the UK plants, to include more models to reach a level of self-sufficiency within the UK market in order to maintain prices as low as they are before Brexit, and not to constraint on specific models because they will cost more to sell them in the EU by replacing specialized plants back to the EU.

what we Learned is Brexit effects markets in a huge matter that even the possibility of it happens can decrease market growth, and big international companies have to always deal with the ever-changing laws and polices of countries and manage the change in a sufficient way.

 

References 

Wilmot, Stephen. 2018. Detroit Can’t Follow BMW’s Lead in China; It will be hard for U.S. manufacturers to follow BMW’s lead, given trade tensions.. [ONLINE] Available at: https://search.proquest.com/central/docview/2117838223/947B80D7C040B7PQ/22?accountid=10286. [Accessed 12 November 2018].
Statista. 2018. • BMW UK sales 2018 | Statistic. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/300405/bmw-car-sales-in-the-united-kingdom/. [Accessed 12 November 2018].
SMMT. 2018. UK new car market falls in ‘exceptional’ September as supply issues bite – SMMT. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.smmt.co.uk/2018/10/uk-new-car-market-falls-in-exceptional-september-as-supply-issues-bite/. [Accessed 12 November 2018].
TLDR News. 2019. Will the UK Cancel Brexit? – TLDR News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://tldrnews.co.uk/cancel-brexit/. [Accessed 08 January 2019].
Alex Macbeth. 2018. Brexit and German cars: Britain will suffer most from a rupture. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.thelocal.de/20180314/german-car-chief-the-automotive-industry-needs-stability. [Accessed 8 January 2019].
Routhwell, Capurro and Midgley. 2019. What is Article 50? The only explanation you need to read. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/what-is-article-50-the-only-explanation-you-need-to-read/. [Accessed 08 January 2019].
BMW Group – English. 2018. BMW Group – English. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bmwgroup.com/content/dam/bmw-group-websites/bmwgroup_com/ir/downloads/en/2018/Geschäftsbericht/BMW-GB17_en_Finanzbericht_ONLINE.pdf. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

 

Blog 2: Contemporary Leadership,

James Flynn is an intelligence researcher with a lot of studies about the human intelligence evolution, he compares people now and in the nineteen hundreds, how did human think and approach problems, he says in the nineteen hundreds people where thinking in a direct way (concrete block), which means our grandparents were unable to ask and think in a hypothetical way, based on Alexander Luria’s questions and studies in the early half of the century, who is a thinker that studied neuropsychology, an example for one on the questions Laura used to ask is whats common between fish and crows, the subject answered one flies the other swims, one can be eaten the other vandalize crops, so there is common thing between them (, 2013), You can watch Flynn TED Talk about this subject.

So human IQ is increasing, but does human EQ increases among ages? and how does that  relate to our topic?

Zoe Routh compassion in middle ages was considered a weakness, kings, knights and tribes leaders were considered weak if  they show mercy. the show of power and dominance was required to a leader , obviously humans Emotional intelligence evolved, and one of todays theories of leadership shows that to be a good leaders is to be strong, brave and compassionate (Routh, 2016).

According to Jeff Weiner CEO of linkedIn compassionate leadership is to put yourself as a  leader in the others’ shoe, which shows a complete transfers in leadership styles among the evolution of human knowledge and time.

These days Courage is an important key in a successful leadership (, 2011), for example the CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Michael H. McCain, showed an outstanding courage in august 2008 when he faced the catastrophe of deaths caused by contaminated meet and accepted responsibility of the incident. Also Southwest Airlines CEO James Parker showed courage when he faced the industry trend of laying of employees by announcing that he will keep his employees after three days of 9/11. so courage is an important characteristic in the leader these days to face problems and protect the employees if needed (, 2011). Courage is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” based on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

After we established that human beings knowledge, IQ and EQ is always evolving and changing, also theories and practices change like compassion in leadership, and establishing that courage is an important characteristic in leadership now.  We can say that even courage and withstanding fear may be not that important in a leader. Some will say: yes, this could happen but not know, it took hundreds of years to put compassion in the leadership characteristic, based on Routh’s paper in 2016 because it took all the middle ages to change compassion as an acceptable act for leaders. But human Knowledge these days grows exponentially (RS_GUARDIAN, 2018).

knowldge curve.jpg

That means changes will happen faster than ever and will keep changing, So we as a researchers have to adapt to these conditions. From this perspective I suggest that courage is less affective in leadership these days because new generations addresses their fear more than ever because they are more confidant according to Jean M. Twenge’s book “Generation Me”, and no need for withstanding fear, which is a type of courage based on the definition. New generation also more assertive that means the whole group under the leader will be more sure of how to face problems and deal with objects, and this also decrease the need of courage in a leader because the group of followers will fill that void if needed. If courage will play a smaller role in the modern leadership, there have to be a trait that will take courage’s place. What will it be?

As the new generation have strength comparing to the older generation they also have their weaknesses according to Jean M. Twenge’s book “Generation Me”, they are less tolerance which employs less patience to wait for results, and the trust in others decreased. So in order to be a good leader that the others will follow, leaders have to gain trust in a fast to compensate the lack of trust and tolerance. That could be achieved if the leader is willing to show and put more effort than the team, so they will trust him, and it is much faster than building trust as usual by waiting for certain incidents to happen and judge based on the leaders action. For example: if a groups goal to drink 500ml of water, the leader have to show that he is welling to drink two liters of water, basically put more effort.

In conclusion, leadership have to be changing and adaptable, even the modern theories that puts courage as an important trait in leaders, have to focus more on leaders ability to put more effort than the others, which was not the case in the nineteen hundreds.

 

References

TED Blog. 2019. Jim Flynn at TED2013: Are we getting more intelligent? | TED Blog. [ONLINE] Available at: https://blog.ted.com/are-we-getting-more-intelligent-jim-flynn-at-ted2013/. [Accessed 08 January 2019].

Zoë Routh. 2019. Is compassion a weakness? — Zoë Routh. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.zoerouth.com/news/zoeinnercompasscomau. [Accessed 08 January 2019].

Courage in leadership: From the battlefield to the boardroom • . 2019. Courage in leadership: From the battlefield to the boardroom • . [ONLINE] Available at: https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/courage-in-leadership-from-the-battlefield-to-the-boardroom/. [Accessed 08 January 2019].

Google Books. 2019. Generation Me – Revised and Updated: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More … – Jean M. Twenge – Google Books. [ONLINE] Available at: https://books.google.jo/books?hl=en&lr=&id=1wGZBAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=new+generations+exspress++their+fear+more&ots=xTvsBjV20N&sig=_mOSrQVu8erKZk-vQ4372U-5Vbk&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=new%20generations%20exspress%20%20their%20fear%20more&f=false. [Accessed 08 January 2019].

Newman, B., 2011. The Journal of English and Germanic Philology Vol. 110.. 4th ed. Illinois-USA: University of Illinois Press.

Daniels, J., 2018. International Business (16th Global Edition). Pearson Global Edition.

Blog 1: Is the Cultural change in organizations a part of the life cycle for companies, and do we need to fight it ?

Organization culture is the way stakeholders face challenges and problems, deal with each other and with their goals according to Mullins and Christy (2016, 537), it’s like the Snapchat filter that the stockholders see all the elements in their work environment, from customer and company goals to ethics and behaviors between each other, and it varies from organization to another. But the question here is not if organizations have different cultures or how to change the culture in a specific organization like Aetna’s need of cultural change and William’s role according to Carole Still (2019), the question is how to fight culture changes in a specific organization ? which may be odd, but cutlers obviously can be good or bad so it does not always need to change, for example: Google’s innovative Culture is a good example for a successful culture (Steiber al et., 2013). but do managers and leaders need to fight the culture change, and when?

According to Mullins and Christy (2016, 542) there is seven factors that influences cultural change and it’s development in organizations and cooperates, from history, technology, strategies and management to location, environment and size of a company.

Companies grows and dies or reborn, they call it a life cycle, and there are many studies and theories about this subject like (Miller and Friesen 1980, 1984; Quinn and Cameron 1983) on companies life cycles. So we can say that every company is changing in it size, which means there is always a factor that influence culture change in organizations.

company-life-cycle
(Myrtroen, 2015)

 

Based on Mullins and Christy (2016, 542) analysis of the organization’s size and how it influence change in culture, when a company grows or declines changes happens in it’s organizational skeleton, departments changes and tasks spreads differently, and this change in tasks and departments results in cultural change, and if growth or decline happens rapidly, the culture change will be at the same speed, which may cause problems, challenges, interdepartmental rivalries, difficulties and a gap in communication.

If a small company is successful it will grow (Miller and Friesen 1980, 1984; Quinn and Cameron 1983), and this growth will push changes in the company culture, but the issue here is that culture may be one of the succeeding factors of that small company, and if the culture changes, the company may lose it advantage in the market. So as leaders and managers in a growing company do we have to fight that change in culture ?

The special factor of success in small companies may be the culture of the stakeholders as they treat the company as their family, employees will be loyal, managers will be compassionate and in direct touch with their employees. At least that was the case in our family business, a contracting company specialized in infrastructure  Al-Omaria Contracting Co. which my father started from the scratch with round 20 employees, my father as the manager/owner knew each employee in a personal way, he would hand them rewards if they were productive in a friendly and non-organizational way, give them very long and extended paid leaves if they had family crises more than the labor laws and restrictions allows, in return they were loyal and they considered the company as a family and the owner as a big brother they can relay on and work happily with.

In that field and market customers ( Jordanian authorities and ministries) have very restrict and obvious guidelines on how they want their projects and services be applied (mol.gov.jo, 2019), so the margin of innovation was small, and no big capital needed to enter this highly competitive market, so productivity and efficiency was the key pillar to success and grow in that market for small companies. To maintain that culture of loyalty and family attitude in the company while it’s growing and various projects are in distended areas actions had to be done. So project Managers were chosen carefully to run each project separately and my father made specific guidelines in how to treat employees, and in order to replace his role completely he gave each manager a percentage from the profits each from the project He-She is managing to grow the sense of ownership in these managers, and to transfer them from managers to leaders and maintain his key pillar and advantage which is high productivity and efficiency in a different segment in the same market, which allowed him to compete with sharks in a higher level of the market in a shorter time as a midsize company with around 400 employees in a ten years span (al-omaria, 2019).

Big firms will choose seniors (and sometimes employees) and give them stocks and shares, to grow a sense of loyalty in it’s departments and to maintain a good involved culture between it stakeholders (Oyer, Paul, Scott, 2004), and this is how to manage a good culture in order not to despair in three deferent stages in companies, from small through medium to big.

Finally, we as leaders manage our systems in order to maintain a good culture in the company through it’s life span instead of fighting changes against the flow.

 

 

References

Mullins, L., 2016. Management & Organisational Behaviour. 11th ed. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson.

Coventry University London – Moodle. 2019. Coventry University London – Moodle: Log in to the site. [ONLINE] Available at: https://culcmoodle.coventry.ac.uk/mod/folder/view.php?id=299811. [Accessed 05 January 2019].

M. hossain. 2018. Corporate Life Cycle and Cost of Equity Capital. [ONLINE] Available at: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:aGz29FQga4kJ:https://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/JCAE_MHossain_CorporateLifeCycleAndCostOfEquityCapital.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=jo&client=safari. [Accessed 5 January 2019].

Company Life Cycle | Economic Consultants. 2019. Company Life Cycle | Economic Consultants. [ONLINE] Available at: http://economic-consultants.com/10212/the-ec-december-2015-newsletter/company-life-cycle-2/. [Accessed 05 January 2019].

الصفحة الرئيسية – وزارة العمل . 2019. الصفحة الرئيسية – وزارة العمل . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mol.gov.jo. [Accessed 05 January 2019].

About Company – Al Omaria Construction. 2019. About Company – Al Omaria Construction. [ONLINE] Available at: http://al-omaria.com/about-company/. [Accessed 05 January 2019].

Oyer, Paul,  Scott. 2004. Why Do Some Firms Give Stock Options to All Employees?: An Empirical Examination of Alternative Theories. [ONLINE] Available at: https://search.proquest.com/central/docview/1688029090/59B196423A3B4DC9PQ/4?accountid=10286. [Accessed 5 January 2019].