January 2008


Introduction Strategy 🙂

Strategic Management is another field that I am passionate about. Before I start on with the strategy readings, I thought it would be nice to refresh the definitions/concept of the word ‘Strategy’.

Definition/Concept: Strategy is a plan that aims to give the enterprise a competitive advantage over rivals through differentiation. Strategy is about understanding what you do, what you want to become, and – most importantly—focusing on how you plan to get there. Likewise, it is about what you don’t do; it draws boundaries around the scope of a company’s intentions. 

A sound strategy, skillfully implemented, identifies the goals and direction that managers and employees at every level need in order to define their work and make their organization successful. An organization without a clear strategy, in contrast, is rudderless. It flails about, dashing off in one direction after another as opportunities present themselves, but never achieving a great deal. Strategy operates both corporate and operating unit levels.

 

(pg. xiv; Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy for Your Business; Harvard Business School; 2005: Harvard Business School Press: Boston, Massachusetts) 

Let’s move on to still another definition of strategy.

The authors highlight that many people describe strategy to be a plan, a guide, a direction or some course of action into the future, and it thus gives a path to get from here to there. However, they introduce the definition of strategy as a pattern; thus strategy as defined by the authors: ‘strategy is a pattern that is consistent over time’. A company that perpetually markets the most important products is pursuing a high end strategy; just as the person who always accepts the most challenging of jobs may be described as pursuing a high risk strategy.

(Pgs. 9-12; Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management; Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, Joseph Lampel; 1998: Simon and Schuster: The Free Press, New York)

The authors, however; agree the fact that both the above definitions are suitable and this is because companies do plan for their future as well as develop patterns from their past experiences. Thus, one is termed as an intended strategy, while the other is termed as a realized strategy. Intentions or strategies that get fully realized are termed as deliberate strategies, while the ones that do not get accomplished are called unrealized strategies.

A vital question that comes up from the above is if all the realized strategies were really intended?  The authors also underline the fact that the real world without doubt does need some kind of thinking ahead and as well as some adaptations that may be needed en route.

(Cf. Pgs. 9-12; Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management;Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, Joseph Lampel; 1998: Simon and Schuster: The Free Press, New York)

While reading an article on HR audit, I came across the term ‘OCTAPACE’. The fact that I had not heard of it before, made me dig for more information on it. Here’s OCTAPACE in a nutshell. 

OCTAPACE:

You can find out more about the organization culture with the help of the instrument OCTAPACE. Each alphabet stands for a particular dimension or value. (http://www.citehr.com/1-vt5421.html?start=0)

Another explanation to the term: An optimum level of “Development Climate” is essential for facilitating HRD. Such a climate is characterized as consisting of the following characteristics i.e. known as OCTAPACE. A brief explanation to each characteristic/ dimension is as follows:

Openness & Risk Taking: Employees feel free to express their ideas & the organization is willing to take risks & experiment with new ideas & new ways of doing things. The degree of openness of the organization is an important factor in determining the nature of various dimensions of HRD being designed.

Confrontation: Employees face the problems & work jointly with others concerned to find its solution. They face the issues squarely without hiding them or avoiding them for fear of hurting each other.

Trust: A minimum level of trust may be deemed necessary for the introduction of the performance appraisal system and other elements of HRD. Employees department & groups trust each other & can be relied upon to ‘do’ whatever they say they will.

Authenticity: It is the value underlying trust. It is the willingness of a person to acknowledge the feelings he/she has, and accept himself/herself as well as others who relate to him/her as persons.

Pro-activity: Employees are action – oriented, willing to take initiative & show a high degree of proactivity. They anticipate issues and act or respond to the needs of the future.

Autonomy: It is the willingness to use power without fear, and helping others to do the same. Employees have some freedom to act independently within the boundaries imposed by their role/job.

Collaboration: Collaboration involves working together and using one another’s strength for a common cause. Individuals, instead of solving their problems by themselves, share their concerns with one another and prepare strategies, work out plans of action, and implement them together.

Experimenting:Experimenting as a value emphasizes the importance given to innovation and trying out new ways of dealing with problems in the organization. (http://www.citehr.com/2-vt5421.html?start=10). 

A detailed explanation to each of them is given in the document attached.

OCTAPACE also represents eight HRD values; ‘The eight HRD values, viz. OCTAPACE values (Openness, Trust, Pro-action, Confrontation, Collaboration, Authenticity, Autonomy, and Experimentation), give a sense of direction to the HRD function.’
(http://www1.ximb.ac.in/users/web/fpm.nsf/pages/HRD)

OCTAPACE Instrument:

The OCTAPACE profile is a 40-item instrument that gives the profile of an organization’s ethos in eight values, look at attachment below. (http://www.citehr.com/1-vt5421.html?start=0)

explanation-octapace.pdf

octapace-instrument.pdf

 

Here’s a general overview of the HR functions according to hr.com

It is a site which I regularly visit and get new insights on various HR topics. The general overview is a document I created to always have a visual representation of the HR functions (Part I).

general-overview-hr_i_jan15th08.pdf

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”…..Mahatma Gandhi

The above quotation by Gandhi emphasizes the significance of continuous learning ….and me, being a self learner and one who believes in life long learning; here I am starting my own learning blog 🙂 We all learn something almost everyday…that’s what I think…we have our everyday learnings may be at home, school, university, work or experiences that life has to offer 🙂 I plan and hope to capture learnings about topics I am passionate about and moments that get me thinking 😀

Thus, here I am today; an inspired soul and an active learner, starting my blog,……it’s all about my learnings for life 🙂

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