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Knowledge, Decisions and Customer Service

Following is a brief exchange between a student and me in the current capstone course.

Me

Increasingly, it seems, the competitive arena is shifting in the direction of correct decisions at an increasingly fast pace whilst delivering increased value to the customer.  A ship or port, no matter how modern, deep of draft, and large of area, will loose out if it is slow of mind and action; or, if in the acceleration of decision making it tramples on customer service.

This suggests a premium on organization and control systems.  The technology and other hard assets may be the easy part.  Conceiving and designing new systems involving the fundamental redesign of work in the port and terminal may be what provides a competitive edge.  This is what smart people do aided, of course, by smart machines.  Advances of this nature will likely require new terms of engagement amongst various parties.

Student

Professor I completely agree with you. There might be a belief that technology can just come and take the place of so much and make things easier but it goes deeper than that. In fact, more efforts are needed now almost to re-invent the wheel from a technology standpoint. I was just having this conversation with my colleagues the other day about our supply chain system that was implemented about 4+ years ago and how to this day we are constantly trying to re-design it to meet the standards of customer service that should provide. So much has to be visited, so much to be taken into consideration, we are truly dealing with a different animal this day and age.

Posted on Monday, October 13, 2014 at 01:03PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Value of Testing

From John Mauldin, October 3, 2014.

Second, I could see my own thought process evolving and realized again how truly important it is to continually test your ideas in the marketplace.

Posted on Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 06:48AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Breaking Inertia

From Dobbs, R., Ramaswamy, S., Stephenson, E., & Viguerie, S. P. (2014, September). Management Intuition for the Next 50 Years.

Change is hard. Social scientists and behavioral economists find that we human beings are biased toward the status quo and resist changing our assumptions and approaches even in the face of the evidence. In 1988, William Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser, economists at Boston University and Harvard, respectively, highlighted a case in which the West German government needed to relocate a small town to mine the lignite that lay beneath. The authorities suggested many options for planning the new town, but its citizens chose a plan that looked “extraordinarily like the serpentine layout of the old town—a layout that had evolved over centuries without (conscious) rhyme or reason.”

Businesses suffer from a surprising degree of inertia in their decisions about how to back up strategies with hard cash to make them come to fruition. Research by our colleagues showed that between 1990 and 2010, US companies almost always allocated resources on the basis of past, rather than future, opportunities. Even during the global recession of 2009, this passive behavior persisted. Yet the most active companies in resource allocation achieved an average of 30 percent higher total returns to shareholders annually compared with the least active. The period ahead should raise the rewards for moving with agility and speed as digitization blurs boundaries between industries and competition in emerging markets heats up.

 

Posted on Friday, October 10, 2014 at 12:36PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Emergent World of Work

I have previously commented on the matter of technology and jobs (Our Past and Their Future: Views on Education and Work).  Related to this is an interesting blog post by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, A Useful Framework for Analyzing the Impact of Technology on Jobs.

From the Wladawsky-Berger post.

Professor Autor concludes the paper concludes with a few key personal observations. 

“As physical labor has given way to cognitive labor, the labor market’s demand for formal analytical skills, written communications, and specific technical knowledge has risen spectacularly. . . Thus, human capital investment must be at the heart of any long-­term strategy for producing skills that are complemented rather than substituted by technology.”

 “While many middle skill tasks are susceptible to automation, many middle skill jobs demand a mixtures of tasks from across the skill spectrum. . . many of the middle skills jobs that persist in the future will combine routine technical tasks with the set of non-routine tasks in which workers hold comparative advantage - interpersonal interaction, flexibility, adaptability and problem-solving.”

And finally, “the challenges to computerizing numerous everyday tasks - from the sublime to the mundane - remain substantial,. . . there is a long history of leading thinkers overestimating the potential of new technologies to substitute for human labor and underestimating their potential to complement it.”

As educators and a society we should be asking ourselves whether we are properly preparing our students for their future.  Are our curricula as dynamic as they should be?  Are the processes of adaption in education as adroit as they ought to be?

 

Posted on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 08:13AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

At the very least, good economic policy...

...and good governance get out of the way of growth; and at best, they encourage and foster the drivers of growth.

Now, as I showed a few months ago, back at the very beginning of this new econometric world, politicians were looking for economic models that would allow them to pursue their desired political objectives. If your political objective was a small government footprint, you favored certain models which suggested that was the proper course of action. If your political objective was a larger government and income redistribution, you favored other types of models.

John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline, September 1, 2014, http://www.mauldineconomics.com

This edition of Thoughts from the Fronline is worth a full read.

Posted on Monday, September 1, 2014 at 06:53AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Consequences of the Failure of Imagination

Here's an extract from Shevtsova, L., & Cowen, T. (2014, August 30). Putin Ends the Interregnum

Having flipped the global chessboard with his annexation of the Crimea and an undeclared war against Ukraine, Putin effectively ended the most recent period of interregnum and inaugurated a new era in global politics. However, no one yet knows what this era will bring. The global community is still reeling in shock, when it isn’t trying to pretend that nothing extraordinary has in fact occurred. This denial of the fact that the Kremlin has dealt a blow to conventional ideas, stable geopolitical constructs, and (supposedly) successful policies proceeds from the natural instinct for self-preservation. It is also quite natural that the political forces that have grown accustomed to the status quo will try to look to the past for answers to new challenges—this is precisely what those who were unprepared for a challenge always do [emphasis added]. It was easy enough to predict that many politicians and political analysts would explain what Putin has done to the global order by using Cold War analogies. Drawing these historical parallels is potentially useful in only one respect: if they help us to see what is truly new about the current situation, and the scale of the risks involved.

While this concerns geopolitics, the same issue arises in business, education, and other matters.  It brings to mind laws five and eight (Drogan's Laws).

Having flipped the global chessboard with his annexation of the Crimea and an undeclared war against Ukraine, Putin effectively ended the most recent period of interregnum and inaugurated a new era in global politics. However, no one yet knows what this era will bring. The global community is still reeling in shock, when it isn’t trying to pretend that nothing extraordinary has in fact occurred. This denial of the fact that the Kremlin has dealt a blow to conventional ideas, stable geopolitical constructs, and (supposedly) successful policies proceeds from the natural instinct for self-preservation. It is also quite natural that the political forces that have grown accustomed to the status quo will try to look to the past for answers to new challenges—this is precisely what those who were unprepared for a challenge always do. It was easy enough to predict that many politicians and political analysts would explain what Putin has done to the global order by using Cold War analogies. Drawing these historical parallels is potentially useful in only one respect: if they help us to see what is truly new about the current situation, and the scale of the risks involved. - See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/08/putin-ends-the-interregnum.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29#sthash.JBZVzqgA.dpuf
Having flipped the global chessboard with his annexation of the Crimea and an undeclared war against Ukraine, Putin effectively ended the most recent period of interregnum and inaugurated a new era in global politics. However, no one yet knows what this era will bring. The global community is still reeling in shock, when it isn’t trying to pretend that nothing extraordinary has in fact occurred. This denial of the fact that the Kremlin has dealt a blow to conventional ideas, stable geopolitical constructs, and (supposedly) successful policies proceeds from the natural instinct for self-preservation. It is also quite natural that the political forces that have grown accustomed to the status quo will try to look to the past for answers to new challenges—this is precisely what those who were unprepared for a challenge always do. It was easy enough to predict that many politicians and political analysts would explain what Putin has done to the global order by using Cold War analogies. Drawing these historical parallels is potentially useful in only one respect: if they help us to see what is truly new about the current situation, and the scale of the risks involved. - See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/08/putin-ends-the-interregnum.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29#sthash.JBZVzqgA.dpuf
Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 06:59AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

What are the Top Five Most Important Lessons Learned in Business School?

The title of this post is a question on Quora.

The answers are interesting and provocative.  I encourage you to take a look.

Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 08:47AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

That warm, comfortable feeling is...

...the temperature at the center of the herd.

You're not far enough in front to make a difference.

Source unknown.

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 05:25PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

More Notes for the Freshman

In Thinking about Vocations I mention a note I have prepared for students in my freshan leadership course to encourage them to think about their future.

Additional notes include Writing Papers in Jim Drogan’s LEAD Course, a paper that discusses how to approach the development if quality papers, and Relationships, a paper that discussed the development of reelationships.

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 01:40PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Thinking about Vocations

I generally teach a leadership course to incoming freshman each fall and this fall is no different.  Thinking about Vocations is a brief note I've written that will, hopefully, prompt them to focus on the matter.

Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 08:32AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment
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