Ethical Business

July 13, 2012

A lack of business ethics – and backbone – is always a key indicator of management incompetence. Unethical behaviour often manifests itself in a senior manager’s reluctance to be honest with staff about the reasons why a particular course of action is being adopted.

Consider, for example, a public sector agency embarking on a Lean programme, ostensibly to remove waste and  improve “performance” in some ill-defined way, but secretly to reduce costs because of public sector cuts.

Staff are offered two hours’ training in Lean basics, during which they learn that the primary purpose of Lean is to remove waste, duplication and tedium from people’s jobs and free them up to focus on more creative and satisfying activities. They are then invited to a five day Kaizen event where their brains are engaged to redesign their jobs so as to eliminate some pre-determined proportion of waste – 50%, 75%, 80% or even more. Occasionally it will click with someone that removing 50% or 75% of waste gives the organisation an opportunity to remove 50% or 75% of the people carrying out the activity in question. She might voice her concern, and the Sensei or Team Leader will then assure her and the rest of the team that  Lean is not about cutting jobs, it’s about delivering value to the customer.

Yet at the end of Day 4, after the Kaizen team have left the building, the Team Lead and Sensei will haul in a Finance bod to quantify the potential headcount reduction that the event can deliver if the waste reduction target is achieved……

On Day 5 senior managers are invited to an out brief at which the Kaizen team will tell them all about the reductions in lead and process cycle times and the amount of paper they can save by year-end. Only when the team have been thanked for their efforts and shown the door will the Team Lead and Sensei gleefully announce to the expectant Leadership how many jobs can be cut. There is generally a strong correlation between the number of potential redundancies and the height of senior managers’ leaps of exultation. 

However, on the Monday morning, after the Leadership have sobered up and come back to Planet Earth, a sense of despair sets in. They desperately want to make those cost savings, but cutting jobs involves a lot of unpleasantness: negotiating with unions, plenary meetings with front-line staff, one to one meetings with direct reports, dealing with people’s shock and anger, complaints from service users. And the worst of it is, some people are going to display a pesky sense of betrayal because they were promised that Lean is not about cutting jobs! On a Monday morning it all seems too much to bear, so at the Senior Management Meeting the Leadership look sheepishly at each other, sigh and shake their heads, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could make those cuts, but now’s not the right time. There are too many other things going on. We’ll review the position next quarter……”  So they dither and procrastinate, even though they know that delivering the required savings means that the longer they delay, the more redundancies they will have to make eventually.  

So people keep their jobs for the time being, but not because their leaders care about the impact that redundancy has on low-paid workers and their families. It’s because their leaders lack the backbone and the integrity to be honest with staff about the problems the organisation is facing, and they can’t admit their own inability to manage their way out of the crisis.

The result is that staff are locked in a state of uncertainty and insecurity; the tax payer is still funding activities that are wasteful and not delivering value; and senior managers have this gnawing feeling that despite the charade of brisk arrogance and business speak they really are incompetent and ineffective. And if they were working in a decent organisation, instead of being able to ring fence their posts, they would be the first to go. 

April 20, 2012

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Vega Road to Excellence

September 14, 2009

Introducing the Vega Road to Excellence

A dynamic, innovative way to kick start your journey to high quality products and services and delighted customers

The Vega Road to Excellence is a tool for improving the way an organisation uses its resources to deliver products and services. Based on a combination of proven approaches to achieving high performance, the Vega Road to Excellence has a broad range of potential benefits for organisations:

  • Lower service/production costs
  • Minimised defects/errors
  • Faster production times
  • Simpler processes
  • More efficient use of resources
  • Clearer strategic and business planning
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Improved margins and value for money

The Vega Road to Excellence uses a powerful toolkit to get the best out of your business, including Lean, Six Sigma and Balanced Scorecard. But what makes the Vega Road to Excellence unique is the innovative way we combine these tools to generate a deep insight into how well your organisation is functioning, with robust and meaningful recommendations going forward.

The Vega Road to Excellence has four key stages:

  • First you tell us what your requirements are. You may be concerned about a particular aspect of your business such as supply chain, recruitment, order fulfilment, production cycles or service quality. Or you may want a comprehensive review of the whole enterprise to assure yourself and your stakeholders that you are delivering maximum performance
  • You specify the scope and content of the service you want and we agree with you a delivery plan with costs and timescales
  • We review your business, starting with the overall direction and strategy and drilling down to the key processes and activities you use to deliver your products and services
  • We then produce a report setting out what we believe are your business’s key strengths and the areas you need to address to achieve the results you want. We also make recommendations for addressing those areas, but whether you choose to implement them is, of course, your call.

 Contact us for an in depth discussion on how the Vega Road to Excellence can add value for your business:

Website: www.vegaassociatesltd.com

Email: enquiries@vegaassociatesltd.com

Telephone: 020 8314 0975/07809155923

 

Vega Associates Ltd offer a range of services designed to support you on your journey towards business excellence including:

  • Competitor analysis
  • Strategic and business planning
  • Organisational change
  • Business process redesign
  • Management Information and Reporting
  • Leadership training/coaching
  • Applications for business excellence awards

Introducing our new Road to Excellence Service……

July 27, 2009

In today’s economic climate many companies are seeking to cut costs while maintaining quality. To motivate their people in the face of uncertainty and risk. To deliver value for existing customers and win new business.

That’s why we are pleased to offer firms like yours our new Road to Excellence service. R2E helps you ensure that your business is making the best use of its resources: your people, premises, processes, equipment, inventory and information. Our R2E service includes:

  • A comprehensive review of your current strategy and operations
  • Detailed analysis of your company’s Strengths and Areas for Improvement
  • Recommendations going forward

Our R2E service is based on leading edge approaches to defining and achieving business excellence, including:

  • Efficient business operations that deliver quality products and services
  • Uniting people, processes and resources to build customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Aligning strategy, operations and technology to create a high-achieving business

With prices starting at £998+VAT* our R2E service can provide you with valuable insights and ideas for transforming your business to deliver the results you want to achieve.

We specialise in quality and performance management and major change projects using proven tools such as PRINCE2, Lean Six Sigma and Balanced Scorecard. Contact us today or visit our website http://www.vegaassociatesltd.com to find out how we can help you achieve the performance you need to survive and thrive in today’s economic climate.

*Prices vary depending on the size of the business and level of service required, with a standard rate of £499+VAT per day. Prices are agreed in advance with payment on completion and no hidden extras.

A new management for the new age…..

June 8, 2009

How many times have we heard that changing times need a change in management philosophies? Less macho, less aggressive, less focused on profit. More collaborative, more inclusive, more oriented towards quality for customers and emloyees…..

But nothing ever changes, does it? Why not? Because we’ve all been schooled to deliver – or tolerate – a particular style of management that is dictatorial and autocratic, even when it is dressed up as “participative,” or “inclusive” or even “democratic.” And we can always justify this by convincing ourselves that most people just want to be told what to do anyway: as Dostoyevsky put it, “If you took away our chains, we would all beg to be put back under discipline.” But how true is that? Over the next few weeks we will be publishing our thoughts on where the art and science of management is heading: for the rocks or for any port in a storm. We’ll see……..

Hello world!

August 2, 2008

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