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HR Fossils

Building a Pyramid

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Consider that building a Pyramid is a project and the Pharaoh King established a kind of Construction Company that will work on building it. What does the King need for the company?!

In the Human Capital Aspect:

  • CEO (The King)
  • Head of Engineers
  • Engineers
  • Head of Foremen
  • Foremen
  • Head of money distribution (Chief accountant)
  • Money distributor (Accountant)

(In Human Resources Management (HRM), this is called a manpower plan)

In the System/plan aspect:

  • Vision, Mission, Goals
  • Strategic plan (recruiting, selection, hiring, training…etc)
  • Manpower plan (mentioned above)
  • W.O.T analysis
  • Budget plan (materials, labor, compensations, rewards, food budget…etc)
  • Feasibility study
  • Marketing

That is the system that runs all the organizations (humans, money, experience, and goals).

You have a goal and the experience and the funding to reach that goal, and now you can start calling people and pay for their efforts and experience to reach your goal. (That is what we can describe as a road map).

Good, now that we have a detailed ABC of Human Resources and Business functions, now what?

Let me mention some information that will help you understand what we are talking about.

The pyramids were built 25 centuries BC, that means the right vision, “trial and error” experience and a good recruiting and training strategy helped in building one of the seven world wonders.

We are going to focus on the great pyramid that took almost 20 years to build and 10 years to construct the corridors and lower parts. (Reference: The Greek historian Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 4th century BC, more than 2000 years after building the pyramids).

Twenty years of building were definitely not a coincidence, surely they were aware of how long it would take and put that into consideration, and that is what we nowadays call scheduling. Not to mention that they used almost 100,000 workers (engineers, workers, shipbuilders, stone cutters, foremen, well-diggers,…etc.)

Twenty years of building and 100,000 workers, the project surely needed a great Budget plan and the engineers, ministers and King must have put the Feasibility studies into consideration.

The steps where 100,000 workers were chosen, recruited, trained and appointed immediately to the national project (building the pyramid) are called a strategic plan. In addition to that, what would make the people believe that their King would succeed in building such a building except a Vision, Mission, Goals? Finally, spreading that all over ancient Egypt is a benchmark of using Marketing.

Moreover, a port in the Nile near the pyramid is needed for cargo ships to transfer stones from Aswan quarries to quarries near the pyramid. Engineers worked all the time to analyze everything for perfect results in the end: 20 years of hard work. The 100,000 workers needed to eat within work days so they would slaughter thousands of cows every day to feed them, therefore there must have been a Food budget. The King, acted as a god, and let the workers in prayer to keep them motivated. Workers were paid daily for their efforts, which is called Labor. As for those who died during work, their families received compensations.

That is all great but what did they use S.W.O.T analysis for?

The great pyramid was not the first pyramid to be built in history, there were lots of pyramids in varied shapes built before, but engineering had developed and become unique for the first time in ancient Egypt and maybe the world. That happened after many attempts by the King’s engineers to reach perfection by studying previous kinds of architecture in primitive attempts. In modern times, this is called S.W.O.T analysis.

If you look at architecture as example in the ancient world and follow their greatness, you will find primitive forms of HRM, which appeared afterwards as a science in the 18th century, and have now started to become HCM (Human Capital Management).

Human Resources play an integral role in everything in our daily life, starting from one’s personal life and how it can be organized, to organizations and how they can balance everything to reach maximum success.

By: Mohamed Shouman

Photography: Mahmoud Mansi

EDITORS: Mennat-Allah Yasser Zohny & Nada Adel Sobhi

Articles

Making of the Objectives (Dr. M. Amr Sadik) Book review by Dina Marei

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Edited by: Mona Timor Shehata

Written by: Dina l. Marei

Published by: Amira Haytham

About the author:

Dr. Mohamed Amr Sadik: A veteran HR with more than 30 years in key HR positions with local, regional and international organizations, and one of the most prominent practitioners. Dr. Sadik has addressed several international HR conferences and received several international awards from UK, USA, KSA, and India.

About the Book:

Firstly, this book is as a tribute to the late father of modern management Peter F. Drucker for his work and contribution to management thoughts and ideas as well as the introduction of Management by Objectives program. Secondly, the book assists managers, executives, and management practitioners, to install a powerful management tool to their organizations and departments, as a complete program for peak performance and productivity.

This book came to satisfy the dire management of practitioners and others to demonstrate their strategic worth and the added value to the organization. It is meant to provide practical operating procedures for those who wish to introduce and develop the concept of Management by Objectives in their function or organization.

The examples and cases in this book are based to a great extent on 30 years of practical experience, training and teaching.

The most precious business quotes about MBO’s in the book:

  1. “Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for making of the future.”
  2. “One of the major reasons for the failure of MBO’s in many organizations is that those in charge fail to recognize the potential character of the implement process. The fail is not in the program but in its use. As with any technique, there is always the right and the wrong way to implement MBO’s program.”
  3. ” A plant must have the right soil and climate if it is to thrive”. Similarly MBO demands healthy atmosphere where its philosophy is understood and the techniques are properly applied.
  4. “The effective executive focuses on contribution. He looks up from his work and outward toward goals. He asks: “What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve?””
  5. “Management by Objectives works if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t.”
  6. “Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.”
  7. MBO’s clearly has great potential for improving effectiveness. However, it must be very carefully implemented or things may well end up sour. The best way to implement the program is to start with yourself.
  8. It is difficult to get your employees to be convinced with a concept that they know little about particularly when they know right now is undesirable.
  9. There is no quicker way to kill a MBO program than to have someone write objectives for someone else and force them on people.
  10. We ought to evaluate the results that were achieved in comparison with what was agreed upon to achieve. Unfortunately people tend to evaluate people.
  11. “Execution is the missing link between aspiration and results…without execution the breakthrough thinking breaks down.”
  12. Once reports and procedures are missed, they cease to be tools and become malignant masters. There are three common misuses of reports and procedures. The first is the all too common belief that procedures are instruments of morality. The second misuse is to consider procedures a substitute for judgment. But the most common misuse of reports and procedures is as an instrument of control from above.
  13. “Organizations are no longer built on force. They are increasingly built on trust” Peter Drucker.
  14. Trust is a critical link to all good relationships, both personal and professional. Without trust in place, communication and teamwork will erode. The predicament of any organization is how to build trust in the workplace.
  15. “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
  16. MBO is not a fixed or rigid system. MBO has sufficient advantages that make it potentially much more effective than any other traditional management systems.
  17. Effective organizations make a concentrated, planned effort to ensure interconnected departments or functions of the organization are aligned strategies to achieve the mission and goals.
  18. To be effective means to do the right thing and to do it right-to be both in homogenous Achieving the budget only doesn’t make your organizational effective.
  19. Formulating SMART and challenging business objectives, that you are expecting to achieve and pursue over a period of time, in itself is not sufficient enough without identification of the associated factors that will contribute directly or indirectly on achieving it. Those associated factors are called Critical Success Factors CSF’s.
  20. The organization culture reflects on not only the organizational flowchart, but also on the fact that it really has the power to make things happen and how that power is used.
  21. “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
  22. The message behind Management by Objectives is jointly determining and achieving of objectives and being rewarded for those achievements. It is important to make fair and correct assessments of the achievements against the setting of measurable goals. Clear performance indicators are essential for a good Management by Objectives approach.
  23. Successful MBOs demands that the system is accepted and permeated in whole organization. This means that the whole organization, on all the levels of hierarchy must be involved in establishing the goals as well as be controlled by them, in order for the goals to truly affect the behavior of an employee.
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Articles

The Digging Technique (DT)

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Written by: Hazem Hassan

Edited by : Asmaa Omar Deraaz, Mona Timor Shehata.

Published by: Amira Haytham

 

This era is not only the era of information but also the accurate detailed information, and the more we get them in the right way, the more we reach the most suitable and effective decisions in  life general and specially in our businesses.

In business and management information means everything. It has several meanings:-

  • “Goals” have to be achieved.

What happens when there is a shortage in detailed information? This is very problematic, and this is the main point of this article.

Let us analyze a more practical case. “Why do I have to work on this task?” How many times did you receive this question from your employee?

This question means that there is a shortage in information and your employee tried to find the benefit or point of the task you assigned to him/her, but he/she came out with nothing, so he/she decided to ask you ‘why?’.

It is a problem, but is this the main problem?

No, the main problem is when you can’t answer his/her question to find the point of carrying out the task.

You as an employerhave to ask yourself this question not only before receiving it from your employee, but also, during setting the organizational and the departmental goals; why does my employee have to work on this task? And what is the point of achieving this task?

 

Employee Based Management sees the “Why Question” as an important tool for finding out the justifications for the matter.The digging technique is considered the tool for doing so, through asking the “Why-Questions” till reaching the original reasons behind the task.

The more you show the reasoning behind the tasks and goals you assigned to your employee, the more he/she will produce the behavior you want and reach the performance you planned for.

Let us say you created a task (T) for your employee, you can follow the following steps:

  • Find out the surface-reasons which in our case are A, B and C.
  • Answering this question “why do these surface reasons exist?” will produce a new type of reasons with higher degree of depth and importance. TheSecond level reasons here are A1, A2, A3, B1, C1, and C2.
  • The same “Why question” be repeated with the reasons you get from the second level. Here in these third level reasons you will come up with valuable reasons.
  • The third level reasons are not the final stage, but it is an ongoing process till reaching the link between the task and the organizational goals.
  • Find a correlation between the different reasons’ levels, whetherdirect or indirect , and with high or low percentage. (Link first level reasons with second level reasons with third level reasons)

 

The Digging technique and the Performance.

Knowing more detailed information is not only for what to be done as a “Task” but also for why these results take place? What are the main and deep reasons behind these results?

Let’s say you have an employee-X in your dept.-Y and his/her Performance Equation is:

P = A + B

P: is the employee-X’s performance

A and B: are the components of the performance which you know.

The question here is; to which degree you know both components?

If you know A by 70% and B by 80%, so we can say that you control P by 75%, which means 25% of your employee’s performance is not controlled by you, and what you cannot control, you cannot predict its future.

So how to get this 25% ratio back to the controlled area?

When you start working on your employee’s performance (I mean the strategic analysis that leads to the perfect domination) try to find new areas to measure and new ratios to get…The more you break the performance into its initial reasons and causes the more you control it and the more you reach new levels.

 

 

After  deep analysis would come up with new reasons, wif there are more factors that cause the performance or play a direct role in shaping the performance but you do not know them.

Let’s say

P = A + B + C

A, B and C here are performance causers.

The next stage after finding the roots and the reasons is to translate them into numbers.

For example:-

A represents 33.75%,

B represents 58.68%

C represents 7.57%.

That is the best way to know where you have to focus and where you have to invest your time and your resources.

 

What are the benefits of using the Digging Technique (DT)?

  • Finding out the justification for the task will help you give a meaning to your employee’s task.
  • Engaging your employee with the organization will be based on realistic reasons.
  • Your employee will feel with the importance of the tasks created for him/her.
  • It is a practical implementation of “My Employee is My Strategic Partner.”
  • Your employee will be useful and effective to the organization and you will have his/her input which means he/she will add value to the organization, which also means “innovation”.

 

The Digging technique is an approach to know more about the way to perfectly control.

Don’t forget to keep on digging↓↓↓↓↓↓

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Articles

The Company’s Information System as a Factor for Cultural Differences in Multinational Companies (Part 3 of 3)

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© 2017 Martin Zafirov, PhD Student, New Bulgarian University (F29144)

Edited by: Yara Mohamed, Mona Timor Shehata

Published by: Amira Haytham 

A key factor with definitely internal origin for the organisation is the information system in the company. Essentially, this system is a set of interconnected elements (components) for gathering, processing, and presenting data and information to help achieve the company’s goals. The main functions of a given company’s information systems are the following: securing the transactions, process control, and activities automation; ensuring routine and strategic managerial solutions; providing the necessary information to the non-managerial staff, opportunities for communication between the employees, and the units and coordination of the activities.

As for the human factor, it is both the subject of this system—since its work is related to gathering, processing, and using the data—and its object—since the information gathered with this system is related to the mentioned human factor.

The things listed above give a good reason to claim that the successful managing of the human factor requires the managerial team of a given organisation to pay serious attention to not only the physical health of the organisation’s employees, but also to their mental state and health. This is achieved by taking into consideration the interconnection between the physical and mental states of the human resources employed by the organisation.

Existing cultural differences within a transnational company place specific requirements to the company’s managerial activities as a whole. These requirements are at the heart of the existing and currently in use various management practises and styles, and the background of the managerial staff. Serious attention needs to be paid to the attitude of the human factor concerning their conception of fate.

Different nationalities (or cultures) have different views on fate, which requires of the managerial staff to take

The existing cultural differences caused by the external and internal factors lead to the four distinct management styles: exploitative authoritative; benevolent authoritative; consultative; and participative group.

  • Exploitative authoritative: typical feature of this management style is autocratic leadership, where employees are motivated by punishments and only occasionally by rewards. In this management style, communication goes downhill; i.e., there is a lack of horizontal communication. Teamwork is limited and the control over decision-making is in the hands of the senior management.
  • Benevolent authoritative: characteristics of this management style is very similar to those of the exploitative style; however, the benevolent style is more of a patronage-based type. When applied, the employees are given more freedom compared to the previous style. Despite that, the scope (the limit) of interaction, communication, and decision-making are determined by the management team.
  • Consultative: the case of this management style, employees have more opportunities for interaction, communication, and decision-making. They (the employees) are given the role of consultants, but despite that the final decision is made by the management team of the transnational company.
  • Participative group: The typical feature of this management style is active encouragement of the employees to participate in teamwork. They are given the opportunities to set on their own the goals, as well as to make decisions, improve their work methods, and assess the results of their work. In the case of this management style, communication is vertical and horizontal.

The classic management styles are now unsuitable for the current conditions of development of the world and the business organisations in particular, although they brought good results in the past. The problem of leadership and management style in the transnational companies is becoming more multidimensional in the context of the dynamic social and historical changes which occurred in the last decade of the 20th century. The transition from the industrial to the information age forces us to forget the bureaucratic type of organisations and increases the necessity of coping with the crisis in the adaptation to the changing external environment. The new trends in effective organisational culture management set a requirement for discussing and solving key problems, such as:

  • Emphasizing human potential management instead of on the strict resource structuring system.
  • Using the advantages of horizontal organisation, rather than the hierarchical one.
  • Strategic management and new organisational philosophy, instead of short-term planning of profits

These problems are also the main challenges to human capital management in the information age. The ongoing changes in human capital management caused by the existing cultural differences inevitably lead to changes in the value, meaning, and importance of the management process in the organisations.

References:

Martin, R., The 3 Simple Rules of Managing Top Talent, published on: 24 February 2017., accessible at: https://hbr.org/2017/02/the-3-simple-rules-of-managing-top-talent

A mental state is a state of mind that an agent is in. Most simplistically, a mental state is a mentalcondition. It is a relation that connects the agent with a proposition. Several of these states are a combination of mental representations and propositional attitudes.

Mental health: a state of well-being. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

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