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August 15th, 2012
Newly promoted leaders often find themselves dealing with a different set of team dynamics, which may catch them a little off guard if they
are not aware of the common pitfalls. However, if they take the time to understand what seasoned professionals have already learned, they can be better prepared to foster team cohesion from the start of the transition process.
Here are a handful of hints to keep in mind if a management promotion is on your horizon:
Engagement Can Be Tricky
There is always an adjustment period when a new manager comes onboard. If you have taken a leadership position that involves managing former peers, you need to be particularly mindful to set clear goals and establish a consistent leadership image. Prepare carefully for the transition period; re-affirm your leadership role through strong project management, consistency and confidence.
Sometimes a new manager is following a beloved employee and the team may need longer to adjust. Being sensitive to transition dynamics while easing into your own style is important. Make too many changes too quickly and you can do more harm than good. Creating team synergy takes time and knowledge. Professional mentoring may help build more effective communication and stronger engagement strategies.
Accountability Is Vital
With increased responsibility comes increased accountability. From goals you set for yourself to the expectations you set for your team, it is important to demonstrate consistent accountability standards across the board. With the recent focus on corporate integrity, building strong accountability is vital to maintaining longevity as a leader. Your reputation grows more important the more complex the challenges you and your team face.
Communication Is Complex
Communication strategies will differ from situation to situation. As a leader, you will need strong interpersonal skills and impeccable communication tools to build team cohesion and manage complex issues as they arise. The ability to adjust communication styles to accommodate a wide range of message recipients is a valuable asset.
Accessible and Available
Setting your schedule so that you make time for team members will bolster your leadership success. If your team sees that you are actively engaged in knowing them as individuals, as well as team participants, you will likely gain their trust and confidence. Loyalty and engagement are built when team members feel respected and appreciated for their contributions. For better or worse, your level of accessibility directly affects the level of engagement you foster. Top leaders know their team thoroughly and take an active role in building positive team relationships.
Knowledge Is Power
Acquiring knowledge and experience is part of the transition to a leadership position. Increasing your knowledge base will provide you with more perspective to read team dynamics, and it also tells your team that you can be trusted to stay relevant and ahead of market trends.
With preparation, newly promoted managers can foster more effective team engagement during their transition to a leadership role. A comprehensive knowledge base will help build a strong foundation. Meanwhile, mentoring and ongoing professional development can help in the development of a dynamic leadership strategy that evolves as needed.
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June 15th, 2012
How smart business-process management helped OPEC achieve economic balance of oil production and price support
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OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, was created in Caracas, Venezuela in 1961. The organization’s mission is to ensure that the petroleum policies of its member countries are harmonized and that their interests are safeguarded. Other goals are to secure fair returns for the producing countries and investors while also providing a steady supply of oil to consumers. The oil embargo of 1973, however, brought with it some important lessons.
In October of 1973, OPEC raised the posted price of oil to $5.11 a barrel—an increase of 70%. This embargo created the long-term potential for a disrupted oil supply, high oil prices and a recession. The decision set off a series of responses, resulting in an embargo on all oil shipments to the United States that was also extended to Japan and Western Europe.
Price increases were imposed, but because oil demand does not drop even when prices are raised, the oil prices required dramatic increases. In anticipation of this, the market price for oil rose from $3 to $12 a barrel, and the world financial system started down a path of high inflation and recessions that lasted well into the 1980s. This embargo doubled the real price of crude oil and caused massive and near-catastrophic oil shortages in the U.S. at the time.
In the long run, the embargo forced a policy change in the West toward energy conservation, a more restrictive monetary policy and alternative energy exploration as a means of fighting inflation. Examples of changes are: the national speed limit was lowered to 55 miles per hour, a year-round daylight savings time was imposed and the U.S. Department of Energy and National Energy Act were created.
In the years since the embargo, the business-process changes OPEC has employed have resulted in significantly improved production and distribution. Some of the methods used have been:
- An internal team assessed ways of improving the business’ efficiency, resulting in a list of ideas, projects and initiatives. A cohesive plan was formed to address future goals.
- Working practices at the organization’s depots and terminals were reviewed, and the internal team used these to create a performance benchmark against competing industries.
- The effectiveness of the distribution and terminal operations was assessed, including operational strategies, work processes, roles and responsibilities. A list of suggested improvements was then provided.
- A business improvement and implementation plan was developed, which included the resource requirements, main steps and phasing for each activity. Activities were also ranked according to their potential value. This plan also included return-on-investment and benefit-tracking models as well as cash-flow projections.
- Perhaps most importantly, it was critical to implement a communication strategy that would inform employees, management and stakeholders of changes. The time it took to do this was significant, but the efforts paid off. Managing the change effectively allowed those involved to see the benefits and have a platform for questions and concerns.
History has demonstrated to OPEC and the world’s oil consumers that attempting to manipulate oil prices causes detrimental supply-chain issues and potential global energy shortages. Because OPEC sought to employ effective workflow solutions and solicited cooperation from non-member nations, the world’s oil prices were soothed and the result was improved global economic stability. Smart business-process management helped to achieve economic balance of oil production and price support.
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