X and S band radars: a great metaphor for logistic professionals… and not only, also for every day life!


This time I want to tell a story of mine. Recently I was struggling with figures regarding a new kind of analysis in the field of procurement, supply chain and inventory management. Something that I’ve never done before.

Since I was too focus on the jungle of numbers and details what happen is that I’ve completely missed the path…I felt myself completely lost in the middle of the forest of figures!

So, my mentor helped me to find the path again in order to complete the analysis with an inspirational metaphor, well-known among logistic and operation professional: the X-band and S-band radars.

The S-band radar

S-band_ASR-9_Radar_AntennaIt means be able to patrol what’s going on in the medium-long range in order to anticipate risks proactively. This means, for a logistic professional, taking all the countermeasure in order to properly asses the forecast of the demand in the future as an example. Having a good term vision is essential when planning the procurement of the materials, especially with high lead times, as well as develop a strategic thinking and a wider perspective by monitoring competitors, suppliers and new technology innovations. Demand Driven Supply Chain (DDSC) is possible only thanks to a good S-band radar surveillance.

The X-band radar

kingston_sband_ant_closeup

It is aimed to work for short-range surveillance, usually below 2-3 thousands Kilometers. For a logistic professional this means beeing able to address the ongoing issues of every day work and thus promptly take the counteractions against the encounter menace: delay of the delivery or a call from the quality control about the noncompliance of the material received with the consequence to stop all the production within a couple of hour. Usually a X-radar is small and it doesn’t weigh too much. Very useful characteristic when dealing with tactical moves.

So, a good professional in logistic has to handle both of the S-band and the X-radar. This is the easiest part. The hardest one is  to manage them simultaneously and is what I’ve realized when I was struggling with the figures for the analysis because I’ve temporally switched off my S-band radar. Once I’ve switched it on again, all the numbers for the analysis become suddenly much more clear since it was as well clear the long term purpose and meaning behind the figures.

Anyhow, is this metaphor useful only for logistic professional? According to an interpretation of a famous quote from Hemingway, I would say no:

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

Using the X-band radar might also help ourselves in everyday life. Meanwhile, the S-band will clear the fog in front of our perceptions and aspirations in the future.

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

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Barriers to change… Should I stay or should I go? A ripped up speech


Ferdinandeo (Triest), Saturday 21st September 2013 around 12:00 a.m.: what to say as a final speech after attending an MBA program in behalf of all the class?

Here below an idea, a story about barriers to change… delivered here, in a comfortable “context”, with 10 day of delay: should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go? A story about barriers to change

Should I stay or Should I go? That was the question that each MBA participant has faced when applying for the master program in business administration here at MIB School of Management.

Should I get an MBA in my country or abroad?

The MBA class of the 23rd edition was almost equally distributed: 60% foreigners and 40% Italians. Who made the right decision?

Nobody knows… now!

Anyhow, what all the participants of the 23rd edition have in common, both foreigners and Italians, is that they have started a changing process in a way:

someone changed country, some other quit a job and somebody did both.

Was that easy? Of course it was not!

Why? Because each change requires a transformation process, and each transformation process requires resources:

physically, mentally and emotionally.

So… which are the barriers to change? I would say mainly three:

unawareness, laziness and conservation of the status quo.

The first one, unawareness, means that since I don’t know there is a problem, why to invest resources for a change? How to start a changing process in such a situation? Simply by creating awareness: “Houston, we have a problem!”

The second one, laziness, I know there is a problem but it requires too much resources: physically, mentally and emotionally. In this case the therapy is defining an objective that is attractive enough in order to justify the effort.

The third one, conservation of the status quo, is the toughest: I do know there is a problem and I do not want to change since I feel myself comfortable in the current situation. I am not sure… in this case uncertainties about the current situation and status quo will establish a changing process.

Why uncertainties? According to a passage taken from a speech held here in this hall few months ago: “Since the economy is not growing in Europe and in the Western counties, the only alternative for getting good jobs is to go abroad where the economy is booming”

So… should I stay or should I go? According to this story, I would say: it depends!

It depends on how much uncertain and uncomfortable you are with your current situation and status quo… unless new innovative opportunities and unconventional alternatives will be created from scratch.

All the best for the MBA23 and MBA24 classes!

Thank you!

The story was slightly different and this speech has not been delivered because the “context”, the final ceremony for the MBA23 class, was not comfortable for the speaker.

How to break such a uncomfortable situation? …well, you already know the moral of the story: by creating uncertainties through innovative and unconventional alternatives!

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

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The Gift and the artists of leadership at MIB


gifts

Within the course in leadership development at MIB School of Management, to each classmate has been asked to provide a gift to all the class. I think that is a great idea since behind any gift there is (or there’s supposed to be) a simple principle…

You get what you give”, as the band called New Radicals sang in the 90s.

Since the last gift, a Karaoke party, has just been delivered, in this post I’d like to share all my  feelings and learning opportunities from each gift as an individual as well as fro the all group: the MBA23 class.

Have a nice reading and thanks to all MBA23 class!!!

Karaoke

A karaoke evening party.

  • Personal Value Added: I’ve never sung before in a Karaoke and since learning how to handle amygdala in public is part of my personal development, that was a good low risk situation in which to put myself. It was for me very useful.
  • Group Value Added: despite we’ve just come back from Munich, we had fun. Music brings people together… always!

Thanks Flavio!

Trip to vineyards of Collio

  • Personal Value Added: I’ve never known the so called “acid friends” of vinegar. I enjoyed a great vinegar, wine and food from Collio, a little Tuscany here in Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy).
  • Group Value Added: an opportunity to relax, enjoy beautiful landscapes and delicacies with all MBA classmates and their relatives\friends.

Thanks to Sholpan, Yevgeniy and Revaz!

MBA, a weird story

An illustrated story about our experience here at MIB

  • Personal Value Added: while reading the story I was happy and yes… I was a little bit moved. The gift make me aware that sometimes stop for a while what you are doing\thinking and looking back to see your\our “story” helps you to made the next step: today we are the result of what we’ve lived, tomorrow we will be what we are going to live!
  • Group Value Added: it’s something that remains. The MBA23 class will be over soon, but its story is forever.

Thanks Giovanna!

MBA 23 Talent Book

A book that summarized the skills of the MBA23 class.

  • Personal Value Added: remember “There is no secret ingredient, it’s just you!”.
  • Group Value Added: another thing that will remain as a sign of our class!

Thanks Katlego!

Voluntary Blood Donation

A voluntary blood donation organized at MIB.

  • Personal Value Added: I had been postponing a blood donation for months, and the initiative of Vedran forced me to do it. Great!
  • Group Value Added: It was a good initiative for all the MBAs, but also for the whole school and, especially, for all the lives that will benefit of our source of life.

Thanks Vedran!

A movie about challenges

The movie “Peaceful Warrior”.

  • Personal Value Added: I liked the story and the moral behind: love what you do and do what you love, that’s what I learn.
  • Group Value Added: it was one hour and half of relax for all the class that was so stressed after thousands and thousands of assignments. Good!

Thanks Giorgio!

Cup TAGs

A cup of tea with a TAG Cloud that summarized in words all the feelings of class MBA23.

  • Personal Value Added: as a coffee lover and tea addicted I like it! Moreover, each time I drink coffee I will enjoy not only the taste, but also I will remember the MIB experience.
  • Group Value Added: the cup it’s a synthesis of feelings for MBA23 class…what about a welcoming coffee or a cup of tea together?

Thanks Ivan (…yes, there are two of them to stand!)

A “travel” for a while to Jordan and Croatia

Food, drinks and music from Croatia and Jordan.

  • Personal Value Added: I like the experience because it was a great example of how simple things might be so powerful. Some wine, some food, some music and a good company. Great MBA pick experience!
  • Group Value Added: I saw almost everybody so relaxed despite it was a tough week and in particular, after many negotiations role plays. Everybody was enjoying the food, the wine and the music… signs of social intelligence.

Thanks to Ana, Mays and Ante!

Yoga Experience

An introduction to yoga.

  • Personal Value Added: I’ve discovered a new way for dealing with stress and how to discover self-awareness through the “connection with the universe” of yoga.
  • Group Value Added: someone was embraced, someone was losing balance and control, someone was sleeping or even laughing. In any case, at the end of the experience the whole group was relaxed: a great example of synergy among different people and behaviours. Moral: one shared goal, many different paths to reach it.

Thanks Giulia!

Extra lessons on Accounting and Managerial Accounting

Two additional lectures of Accounting and Managerial Accounting by official CA(SA) of MBA23 class.

  • Personal Value Added: I would never passed the exam of Accounting without the lecture provided by Adrian. He gave me at least a structured procedures to follow in order to read the balance sheets without getting lost in numbers and figures in a time-stressful situation. An example of uncertainty avoidance through procedures: It works! So,  Am I German?…moral: I should check deeper the origin of my family name!
  • Group Value Added: at the end of the lectures, all the class gave to Adrian a spontaneous applause. A sign of a good mood among classmates.

Thanks Adrian!

MBA23 Hi5: an interpretation of synergy

That’s my gift: a T-shirt with all the handprints of the class that create a bigger hand. Which are the desired individual and group values added that I had in my mind? Of course there are, but that’s not what really matter. Why? Because since we have different culture of origin, different experiences and different mindsets how should be possible to have feelings and reactions that are consistent with a desired purpose and inspiration?…no way, each one will have his own experience.

It’s like for art. Thinking that a painter must impose his own idea and inspiration to the observer as the only one possible it will be pointless as well as arrogant.

Harvey S. Firestone defines leadership as:

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

Acknowledged the key role of development, how is possible to answer to the “call” of leadership?

Well, there is another definition of Leadership by Lance Secretan:

“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.”

So, leadership is for L. Secretan a question of inspiring people and arts are fed by inspiration as well… thus is leadership a kind of art? According a quote from Max De Pree, yes, it is:

“Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do.”

Anyhow, as a moral for this story, since I was surprisingly inspired by all the gifts I would like to say thanks to all the artists of leadership of class MBA23!

P.S.: A special thanks also to the lecturers Tim and Valeria who promoted the idea of The Gift because, as mentioned at the beginning, “You only get what you give!”.

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

A possible TIP for giving effective feedbacks: wearing a SCARF that is SMART, does it make sense?


Four ways to provide effective feedbacks

Few weeks ago, the Time has posted an article by Annie Murphy Paul: “Four Ways to Give Good Feedback” (originally posted in the Brilliant Report blog). As reported in the post, “feedback is a powerful way to build knowledge and skills, increase skills, increase motivation, and develop reflective habits of mind in students and employees“. Briefly, the four ways suggested to provide effective feedbacks are: 1) supply information about the learner is doing, 2) taking care about how a feedback should be presented, 3) oriented feedback around goals and 4) use feedback to build metacognitive skills (develop the awareness of learning).

What’s stimulated my curiosity is the point 2: How present a feedback in a way that is effective? I think is the toughest aspect because requires something that the brain naturally refused to do: deliver the message according to a mindset that is different! In the article mentioned above, taking care about how feedbacks should be presented means avoiding three things: a) closely monitoring the performances because reduce the self-consciousness of the learner b) providing unique solution like “This is how you should do it ” – because it might be interpreted as an attempt to control, c) establish a sense of competition among colleagues because might reduce the engagement.

Thus, how can be ensured a good feedback in practice? An idea could be to combine together the S.C.A.R.F. given by Social\Cognitive Neuroscience and the S.M.A.R.T. criteria for setting well-defined objectives. Let’s see how the SMART-SCARF matrix works after a brief description of the two models.

The S.C.A.R.F. model from Social and Cognitive neuroscience.

M.D. Liebarman & E.I. Eisenberger provided many insights regarding Social, Cognitive and Affective neuroscience. In particular, in their article “The pains and pleasures of social life: A social cognitive neuroscience approach” they discovered that there are mainly two circuits that the human brain activates: simply, one circuit for the pains and one circuit for the pleasures. Acknowledged that, the social and cognitive neuroscience might be useful also for giving some further specific insights in order to provide effective feedbacks. The S.C.A.R.F. is a framework in which the “approach (reward)” and the “avoid (threat)” instinctive responses, given by the “pleasure” and “pain” circuits respectively, are mainly related to five human social domains of experience: 1) Status – the relative importance to others, 2) Certainty – ability\need to predict the future, 3) Autonomy – sense of control, 4) Relatedness – as a sense of safety with the others and 5) Fairness – as the perception of a fair exchange between people and justice.

More: “SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing other“.

Each one of us has lived different experiences in various environments and thus there are many different S.C.A.R.F.s as well… as a matter of fact, have you ever seen in a shop only scarfs made only by silk or only blue colored?

If someone likes this kind of

SCARF2

, it means that the main dimensions that stimulate the “approach (reward)” and the “avoid (threat)” responses are the Status and the Autonomy. A person with such a S.C.A.R.F. tends to be more competitive because for them winning a game, be the best student or being promoted in their company will more likely activate the “approach (reward)” response. While the “avoid (threat)” response will be activated when they perceive a reduction of their Status. For example, pushing solutions might be tricky since an advice might be perceived from a person with a high Status as follows: “You are giving me advises, because you think you have more skills\experience than me.” – The emotional reaction of such perception is more likely negative. Even if the coach has much more experience and skills than the coachee, avoiding to emphasize\remark such difference will make feel the coachee comfortable.

At the same time, since also the Autonomy dimension is more important than the others, a good mood will be established whenever a sense of autonomy or control increase. For example, that might be achieved by letting to organize the work, schedule and desk. On the contrary, setting, defining and monitoring constantly the performances of such employees will increase the level of control and thus might activate the “avoid (threat)” response.

Now, how is it possible to estimate and figure out which SCARF suit well who is going to receive a feedback? Since it has been described the SCARF model, it’s like wondering which are the preferences regarding clothes and fashion of people: just observe, listen and understand. In other words, before giving feedbacks it’s better to know well each persons. Thus, apart from all the recommendations, some common sense might be useful too.

The S.M.A.R.T model for well-set objectives

As mentioned in the article by Annie Murphy Paul at point 3), a well stated feedback is oriented around goals. A cool and well-known tool for providing well-defined objectives is the S.M.A.R.T. model in which a good objective must be: 1) Specific – What?, 2) Measurable – If you can’t measure it you will NOT handle it, 3) Attractive – Why? What motivated to do such effort?, 4) Realistic – not too difficult and on too easy 5) and Time-scaled – no time limit, no urgency!. The S.M.A.R.T. model might be useful in order to set the objectives for an evaluation feedback as well for the definition of a personal development plan.

As for the dimensions of the S.C.A.R.F., also for the five ones in the S.M.A.R.T criteria each person is more sensitive in some aspects rather than others. Thus, the common sense “know people before” is crucial in order to deliver the feedback in a way that encourage and motivate.

See also the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.

A TIP for giving effective feedbacks: a SCARF that is SMART

Now, given the S.M.A.R.T. criteria for well-defined objectives and the S.C.A.R.F. framework with its five social\cognitive dimensions (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness), how should be possible to combine these tools together in order to provide feedbacks effectively by engaging people and avoiding threats? Let’s take the S.C.A.R.F. mentioned above with a high perception in the Status and Autonomy dimensions. Which are the “DOs” and the “DO NOTs” for these dimensions?

With a high Status, in order to activate the “approach (reward)” response it’s necessary to recognize the previous achievements\improvements before specifying the new ones (the “S” of S.M.A.R.T) and make them more attractive by emphasizing how the new goals can be an opportunity to achieve a distinctive specialization\quality (the “A” of S.M.A.R.T). Meanwhile, in the “Specific” dimension of S.M.A.R.T, as mentioned above, pushing solutions activate the “avoid (threat)” response and make the coachee uncomfortable and thus unmotivated.

Regarding the Autonomy dimension of the S.C.A.R.F., what is recommended is to give opinions instead of solutions when specifying the new goals\objectives (the “S” of the S.C.A.R.F.). In order motivate (approach (reward)” response) and make the goal attractive (the “A” of the S.C.A.R.F.) provide at least three  possible solutions and alternatives because that will increase the sense of Autonomy and control (only two will create a “dilemma”!). The “DO NOTs” for the Autonomy are linked with the Specific and the Time-scaled dimensions of the S.C.A.R.F. Respectively, avoid to specify only one solution and explain a detailed schedule and plan.

Final Considerations

By combining in a matrix with one dimension for the S.C.A.R.F framework and the other one for the S.M.A.R.T. criteria then it’s possible to define which objectives and how deliver them properly in order to motivate people and reinforce a positive mood in the team, in the work environment and why not, also in our personal life.

More: see also a possible detailed schema for the SMART-SCARF matrix  here (SlideShare).

All the four points mentioned in the post “Four Ways to Give Good Feedback” are present both in the SMART-SCARF, thus nothing new to add. However, organize all the thousands recommendations given by the experience and the Neuroscience research in a structured way such as has been done in the SMART-SCARF matrix might be useful in order to put them into practice.

Well, it’s time to wear and validate the SMART-SCARF in the real world… Do you think it will works?

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!