Archivo de enero/2012


Si tú no te devoras, otros lo harán

Escrito el 12 enero 2012 por Elena Méndez Díaz-Villabella en Gestión Empresarial, Política de RRHH

Steve Jobs era capaz de despedir, sin piedad, a sus empleados si no había la suficiente colaboración entre ellos.

Jobs no organizó Apple en departamentos aislados. Él controlaba de cerca todos sus equipos y los obligaba a trabajar como una empresa unida y flexible: Un único balance de ingresos y gastos para toda la empresa.

Gestionar bien la competencia interna dentro de la propia empresa entre departamentos, es una prioridad tan importante como la gestión de la competencia externa. Por ejemplo, el desarrollo del Iphone, canibalizaba el Ipod ¿para qué comprar un Ipod, después de comprarse el Iphone?, pero una de las normas empresariales de Jobs era la de no temer nunca devorarse a si mismo. Él pensaba: “Si tú no te devoras, otros lo harán”.

En Apple el desarrollo de la tienda iTunes, es una historia ejemplar de cómo integrar intereses y colaborar.

Sony, intentó crear un servicio similar al iTunes, llamado Sony Connect. Para ello, tenían que reunir a los departamentos de electrónica y contenidos, que solían estar en conflicto. Realmente, la verdadera batalla no era contra Apple, aquella era una batalla interna, era una guerra entre departamentos con intereses contrapuestos. Sony, el inventor del Walkman, el Discman, y el mayor referente de aparatos musicales portátiles, no supo reinventarse. Sony Connect, duró poco más de tres años antes de cerrarse.

A menudo vemos cómo en los organigramas los profesionales se creen en propiedad de sus puestos y sus funciones, como si fuesen una especie de renta vitalicea, que puede ir en contra de los intereses de la compañía. Las estructuras jerárquicas rígidas limitan el desarrollo de la propia organización y no permiten que se reinvente.

Como bien resume Clayton Christensen, en su libro “El dilema del innovador”: “La gente que inventa algo, es la última en superarlo para crear algo nuevo”.

¿Tienes miedo a lo nuevo? Puedes esconderte, cerrar los ojos, meter la cabeza debajo del ala, lo que prefieras… pero aquello que más evitas es lo que está más presente en todo lo que haces y sucede a tu alrededor.

¿Nos reinventamos? ¿Colaboras?


“Organise yourself or the secrets of a good subordinate”

Escrito el 1 enero 2012 por Alberto Andreu en Uncategorized

Nearly 23 years ago I landed in the workplace. I clearly remember my interview with the person who was to be my boss. “What do you expect from me?” I asked, looking for a definition of my work objectives. His reply was blunt and became my first piece of professional advice. “I expect everything. Don’t think we will tell you how or when to do things. You know why you have come here… organise yourself.”

Organise yourself”. It was then I realised that neither my boss nor I knew with exact certainly what my role would be within the company. He had a general idea of the company’s needs and what he hoped to achieve with me; or someone like me. For my part, I also had a vague notion of why they had hired me, but I didn’t know how to achieve it or what results they were expecting of me.

From that moment forward, I had two choices: either wait until others wrote that page of my life, asking for specific instructions for one thing or another; or the other option, I would be the writer and author of this chapter in my life. I chose the second option.

How many professionals have been in a similar situation? Robert E. Kelley saw it clearly in 1989 when he wrote an article entitled “In Praise of Followers” in the Harvard Business Review. Clearly, not many managers know what to do with “the new guy”, and not many subordinates know how to proceed when they join a new company, when they change department, when a new, unexpected, boss is named, or when they face those mergers and acquisition that are so frequent nowadays.

What then is the secret of a good subordinate? Here, just like everything, there are no simple formulas, although there are some general pointers. Kelley gave us some very good ones.

1.      Everyone, in the majority of cases, acts as a team leader and someone’s subordinate at the same time. This is where we get our first clue: managers and employees are positions, not people. That means both manager and subordinate have their own sphere of responsibility where they should define what to do, how to do it and for how much. The big difference between one and the other, normally, must be in the ability of each one to reach the final level of decision-making. This means that, quite probably, a subordinate cannot go on to close a certain project with the president, but it is clear that not all projects end up on the table of the chief executive. There are, therefore, always areas of appropriate responsibility.

2.      Self-management is another basic skill of a good subordinate, the best way to express “standing on your own two feet”. I remember on one occasion, a good friend snapped at his boss: “I don’t need you for anything, only that you sign my holiday requests”. That, maybe, goes a little far, but it is clear that self-management implies, quite simply, to prepare a project, develop it, close it and, if necessary, submit it for the boss’s approval. Each individual should be capable of deciding at which stage to seek approval: opening, developing or closing. This ability is also self-management.

I have always been slightly embarrassed for those subordinates seemingly incapable of doing anything without drawing attention to it in front of their bosses. In reality, their behaviour is due to one of these reasons: they don’t want to let the opportunity to show how much they are doing go unnoticed; they are trying to avoid taking responsibility for anything.

3.      Commitment is key to being a good subordinate. Kelley makes an interesting observation: ”many efficient subordinates consider their bosses to be fellow companions on a worthy crusade; when they suspect that their leader lacks commitment or has different motives, maybe they could withdraw their support: they change job or change boss”.  I still remember the words of a senior manager in the consulting industry: “When I got here, we all had the feeling that we were changing the world a little: that made it worthwhile and compensated for the 16 hour workdays. I decided to leave when I saw that my partners had plans that were more personal that organisational: it ceased to be worthwhile.”

4.      Competence is another decisive factor. Competence means knowing what the organisation needs and what the skills and abilities necessary to satisfy that need are. It also means not waiting until they give a certain course or certain directions before starting work. Additionally, competence shows a subordinate profile capable of sharing their know-how without hiding information from colleagues for one simple reason: they themselves are the deciding factor, for their professional ability, their creativity, their imagination, their capacity to solve problems, for their knowledge, adaptability and ability to reinvent themselves, and surprise others. Their works is there for whoever may need it.

5.      Bravery is another critical variable in a good subordinate. Years ago, I found a company in the communication sector that had focused on the “ability to say no”, raising it to a level of real value and making it a fundamental principle.  I was surprised. And I liked it. Applying this principle to the role of the subordinate, knowing how to say “no” means having to explain the reasoning behind your decisions, investigating the whys and wherefores, to be able to present objections to certain decisions, etc. But it also means being clear, and not undermining decisions agreed upon up front. If I disagree, I’ll say it, but if the decision is taken anyway I will back it completely.

That then is the secret to being a good subordinate: stand on your own two feet, through self-management, competence, commitment and bravery. That said, I believe there to be something even more fundamental. This is that our organisational behaviour should always be governed by self-respect and self-esteem.

Extracted from a post published in the daily paper “Diario 5 Días” May 11th, 2001

More post about Organizational Behaviour


Some weeks ago we finished the Organizational Behaviour course in the Master in Communication at the IE University, in Madrid.  Just to start this post, I will say clearly: I enjoy very much this group. I like their commitment; their views; their attitude; their wiliness to learn in every session…

In 15 sessions, we learn how to look at the organizations with a different view, understanding the formal structure, the informal structure, the people needs and the relevance of technology in current organization. We also talked about matters affecting individuals’ behaviour in organizations (leadership, management styles, motivation, interpersonal communication, teamwork, etc.), and matters affecting the way things are done in the company as such an organization (understanding organizations, link communications with formal structures…). So, we realized that organizational behaviour course was about this: understand the actions of individuals in organizations and find out how this influences the structure of the company. In other words, we define the roadmap to “survive” within the organizations.

But in these sessions we also talked about two relevant management “celebrities”: Steve Jobs (the founder of Apple) and… Yoda ( yes, Yoda, the Master of the Force). From Steve Jobs we learn his passion to follow his dream, his vision, his obsession for “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” From Yoda, we learned to understand “Power as a transformation tool”, power as a tool to change things joining people under the same goals, respecting the values and ethics. And from Yoda we also learn that power were not a tool to influence, or try to influence, in the distribution of benefits and damages within the organization.

 In summary, from both of them we learned how to avoid going into the dark side of the force.

So, thank you guys: “May the force be with you all”

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