With the rapid development of global economy and the advancement of internationalization, modern organizations are facing changes driven by bot internal and external forces. Regardless of the size, maturity or nature of organizations, to gain competitive advantages and win more market share in currently fierce business competition, managers have to take out concrete measures to tackle down changes. Changes can be classified into various categories in terms of its driven factors. For instance, due to the adjustment of personnel or organizational structure, there are internal changes like transfer of personnel or structural adjustment. In addition, as significant properties in society, organizations also deeply influenced by political,economical or social-cultural environment, which can be concluded as external factors (Omae, Kenichi. 1982). Under such circumstance, organizations often confronted with rapid individual or organizational changes driven by external forces. With this regard, managers should be able to provide successful leadership and a sense of direction, which indicate that in modern business society, managers should possesses essential personal qualifications to deal with changes in organization driven by both internal and external factors.
In the management of change business simulation, I served as manufacturing manager in Ledge company, and my major responsibility is to ensure that the company is able to supply finished products to retailers and distributors in a time manner. There are all together fifteen people in our group, and our company Ledge focus on designing and manufacturing electronic products, for instance, MP3 assembled with Lego blocks. As a manufacturing manager, I have two direct subordinates who facilitate the daily work and responsibilities of me. At the beginning of the business simulation, I once assumed that the this is not a difficult one since the company have got equipment, orders and customers ready, what the manufacturing department do is to make sure that products can be produced and supplied on time. However, after three days of simulation, a number of serious problem arise from both management and manufacturing process, which triggered stagnation on production and lost of profits even trust of customers. From the failure of the business simulation at Ledge company, it can be concluded that as a stimulative manufacturing manager, there are still a lot of management skills and competencies that I need to learn to improve my personal qualification as well as leadership. In the following context, integrating with the experiences in the simulation at Ledge company, there are a series of critical analysis and discussion of personal competences and abilities that a qualified manager should be equipped with, especially when facing changes driven by external driven factors.
Personal Competencies of Managers to Manage Changes
l Understanding of Position and Organization
As a manager, it is necessary to have a good command of his position as well as the organization he is in. In terms of position, manager should know the basic rights and responsibilities of the job (Collins, James C. 2000). For instance, as for manufacturing manager, it requires that individual should have a clear understanding towards the manufacturing process of certain products, raw material supply, stock condition as well as distribution of finished products. In terms of the understanding towards the organization, the manager should have a good command of organizational culture, core value as well as its strategic map. Gaining a fundamental understanding towards the position and organization should be one of the important competency of managers, which may plays an important role in the following management work. During the business simulation at Ledge company, the experience of being a manufacturing manager made me realize the significance of learning positions and manufacturing procedures ahead.
On the first day of the simulation, we got orders canceled and lost profits unfortunately. The reason for the failure was that at that time, I fail to be aware that manufacturing manager should make sure that there are enough products in stock and all the materials are ready in terms of quality and quantity, so as to minimize the influence of external changes. However, when the production line was started, it was found that the batteries were not enough for use, which resulted in delayed production and workers were not able to finish the production on time. After that incidence, many the orders have been canceled, and a number of customers expressed that they are quite disappointed at our manufacturing efficiency and that they have lost their faith on Ledge. From the failure on production on the first day of business simulation, it can be concluded that external driven changes may happen at any time and in any occasion, just like the sudden identification of the lack of battery during the manufacturing process at Ledge. To deal with external changes effectively, managers should make full preparations before conducting the work, which indicate that only with all-round understanding towards the responsibilities of position and nature of work, will it be possible for manager to predict and tackle down unexpected or expected external changes.
The understanding of position and organization can be gradually obtained and nurtured. To gain this significant personal competency , there are plenty of approaches that managers may make use of. To start with, managers may participate in training or seminars that aims to improve the qualifications of senior managers, or to promote organizational value and culture to staff. Through training and lecturing, managers are able to have a general idea of the organization and the position he takes. In addition, manager should attach importance to the accumulation of valuable experiences during daily work. Valuable experiences refer to the skills and short cuts concluded by mangers, which contains their personal understanding about their work and unique treatment of work or interpersonal relationship in work shop. With the accumulation of valuable experiences, manager’s understanding to his position and the organization may go deeper, and he is more capable of dealing with external driven changes. What is more, managers should be able to analyze the impact of political, economic as well as social environment, to alleviate negative influences. From my experience in the business simulation as well as the analysis of the significance of positional and organizational understanding of manager, it can be found that to facilitate rapid individual and organizational response to externally driven change, it is of great importance for managers to understand his position and the organization thoroughly.
l Organizing and Coordinating Ability
To response to external changes in a time manner, manager should obtains the qualification of organizing and coordinating work related issues within and out of the organization. This involves making appropriate arrangement of human resources, collaboration and the utilization of other resources to facilitate the efficiency operation of each department (Kotter, John J. 2002). My experiences during the Ledge business simulation may shed some insight concerning the importance of organizing ability of managers.
On the second day of the simulation, as a manufacturing manager, I have learned the lesson of making good preparation before hand, checking all the materials and facilities before starting up the production line. However, during the manufacturing, I found that there is a serious lack of personnel on the production line. As mentioned, I only have two direct subordinates, but we have a plan of manufacturing at least 25 cube 8 before the market opens. Obviously, it is hardly possible for us to complete the task with limited workers. Under such circumstance, on the second day of simulation, we still can not get along well with the manufacturing and ensure normal supply, which gave rise to another round of profits loss. From the simulation experience, it can be concluded that the biggest problem is the lack of workers, which calls for manager’s strong capability of organizing human resources within the department even within the while company. As what has been introduced, there are all together over ten people in manufacturing department taking various responsibilities, and there are two direct subordinates under manufacturing manager. In that case, the top priority should be ensuring production and normal supply, which should me achieved with the efforts from all the members of manufacturing department. Therefore, manager should organize other people as temporary worker to assist the production and supply finished products on time.
Currently, rapid development of economy and fierce industrial competition have contributed to a high turn over of employee in various types of occupations. Apart from economic factors, political and social forces also influence the normal function of organization. For instance, during economic recession, organization may adopt job cutting or salary reducing as approaches of saving costs. However, such measures can intrigue discontent emotion of staff even strike, which may pose serious threats to the normal manufacturing and marketing of an organization. Facing such changes driven by external forces, managers should have the capability of coordinating the positive forces within the organization, on the one hand, making appropriate arrangement of personnel on the assembly line, and on the other hand, manager should take out pacification steps to resentful workers. From the case described and my experiences in the simulation, it can be concluded that facing sudden lack of personnel or other crucial resources, managers should be able to re-organize resources available, making proper adjustment and coordination, ensuring the function and productivity of the organization.
l Marketing Research Ability
Being a qualified manager, it is important to have the ability to analysis marketing conditions, so as to get involved in the make of manufacturing and marketing strategies. In modern business world, marketing research is not the sole responsibility or function of marketing department. In stead, as one of the most significant sector of organization to gain profits from operation, almost every department within the organization should be equipped with abilities to conduct marketing activities. With the rapid development of global marketing economy and the advancement of free market, a number of emerging external factors are affecting the operation of manufacturing and sales, which brings quite a few risks, changes and uncertainties to businesses. In addition, as the competition in various industries is becoming increasingly fierce, it is a must for managers to conduct thorough marketing research before launching or manufacturing new products. Sufficient marketing research may provide managers with useful information concerning the demands of customers and the market, as well as information about competitors, which can be an effective tool to identify problems and opportunities in future operations (Neilson, Gary L. 2006). What is more, from my personal experience in the Ledge business simulation, I also recognized that conducting marketing research that include product price, demand and supply before starting manufacturing is of great importance to ensure the sales and marketing of products and minimize the negative influences brought by externally-driven changes.
As mentioned, on the second day of simulation, I found that the personnel supply in manufacturing department is in urgent short, which desperately called for manager’s personal competency of coordinating and organizing. Therefore, on the third day of simulation, I dispatched five more workers to assist manufacturing, and the function of production was much better that the second day, which indicated that it is possible for us to meet the production target. At last, with the efforts of all the staff in manufacturing department, we finished the 10 million production target. However, another problem put us into a serious dilemma. Since the new products we manufactured are more expensive than old ones, which means that it is easy for us to meet the production goal, but the new finished products are hard to be sold with current higher price. With this regard, on the third day, even though we finished the responsibility of production, it is a pity for manufacturing department to be fail in the marketing sector. Therefore, we still did not gain profits on that day.
The failure on the third day can be attributed to the lack of marketing research in advance, since as for businesses, marketing conditions can be the most important external forces that have far reaching impact on the success even survival of an organization. Before the mass production of new products with higher price that old ones, as a manager, it is necessary for him to design marketing research and conduct research activities concerning customers’ opinions and suggestion about the features of the new product. With sufficient marketing research, managers may see potential threats or opportunities on the market and external environment of the organization, thus take measures to tackle down possible external changes. Therefore, marketing research is not merely a method, but also a personal competency, which should be obtained and constant improved by managers, especially under the fast changing external political, economic as well as social environments.
l Team Building Capacity
With the development of human resources management, enhancing coherence within an organization has been a focus of growing body of managers. Currently, many organizations provide staff with various indoor and outdoor activities to improve their cooperation and work efficiency. It has been reported that through team building activities, the understanding among staff and team members can be greatly improved, and their collaboration and sense of cooperation can be obviously boosted in future work. Facing fast changing outer macro environment of business, it is important for organization to build a strong and united team, making consolidate efforts to deal with external changes (Collins, James C. 2001). With this regard, being a skillful and respectful manager, it is necessary to have the ability to build a united team and promote cooperation not only with in single department, but also cross departments. My experiences in Ledge business simulation also verified the necessity of manager’s team building ability.
Generally speaking, I am a person that excels at communication and organizing, and as a manufacturing manager during the simulation, I cares about the feeling of my subordinates and workers on the production line, so as to gain their acknowledgment of my leadership and ensure normal production. During the simulation, my ability of building a united team helped me go through many difficulties in manufacturing and management. As for the team building within manufacturing department, on the second day of simulation, our department faced with sudden change of short of workers. Under such circumstance, I communicated with the only two workers on the production line, giving them as much encouragement and help as I can to motivate them to strive efforts. Although we fail to fulfill the target production on the second day, but both if the two workers had tried their most to meet the goal. On the other hand, in terms of the team building cross department, I also attempted to cooperate with other department and sectors to coordinate the normal function of manufacturing and production. For instance, on the third day, after identifying the problem of lacking workers, I turned to other department for help, dispatching five assistants on production, which secures the production and preventing sudden emergencies brought by external changes. From this perspective, it can be found that being a successful manager, it is important to enhance the coherence within the team and the whole organization at large. Only in this way, will it be possible for department and organization to make substantial progress in contemporary tense competition and rapid changing external environment.
l Competency of Planning for Future
As the interaction between organizations and external world is becoming increasingly frequent, it is hard for managers to anticipate changes that intrigues by external adjustment. However, to alleviate the poor impact of sudden externally driven changes on organization, managers still need to be capable of making long term future plans to project steps and stages of organizational development (Collins, James C. 2000). With the rapid development of globalization and fast changing world, this personal competency of manager is becoming increasingly important.
During the business simulation, I noticed that being a manufacturing manager, the ability of making plan ahead of action sometimes weigh much in business management. On the third day of simulation, as we started selling new products, due to the problems with suppliers, we have to turn to sell old products again. However, regardless of the issues concerning customers and new products, our department was in the dilemma or reproduction , which wasted a lot of time. From that experience, I learned that manager should think of possible situation after the production, and make comprehensive plans to deal with sudden changes driven external factors. Through the business simulation, I found that I am a person who is weak at facing sudden changes, especially changes driven by external factors. With this regard, to be a qualified manager in future, I should attach importance to the personal competency of making plan for future development.
From my experiences in Ledge business simulation as well as the analysis above, it can be found that being a successful manager, there should be a series of personal competencies to facilitate rapid individual and organizational responses to externally driven changes. In this fast changing society, managers should first have a clear and logic understanding towards his position as well as his organization, thus make full preparation before starting the work. In addition, to better deal with external changes, managers should also have the personal competency of coordinating and organizing, conducting marketing researches, building a solid team as well as making plans for long term development. From these perspective, it can be concluded that the personal competency of managers not only refers to the ability of work, but also capabilities that concerns with leadership and entrepreneurship.
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