Discussion: LEAD 540

INFO & FINANCL RESOURCES ORGS, GLAID, OLT > DISCUSSION BOARD > SEARCH RESULTS: “LEMASNEY”
Search Results: “LeMasney”    Print    Sort by    Author Date Subject Thread

Thread:Week Twelve Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Twelve Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you again for a productive and very beneficial semester.
We went into great detail about many things in this class, but the thing I loved the most was the progression from strategic planning, to human resources to financial business information systems. Taken each in turn, these each had a separate level of importance for me before, and the order was strategic plan being the most important, fiollowed by human resources, followed by financial info systems. Of course, this class made it very clear that they all have equal importance over time, and shift in relative importance from day to day and week to week as time goes on.
I have a new collective appreciation for these resources and their interactions, (especially financial systems) and one I simply had not expected. Thanks very much to all of you for that, and special thanks, again, to Tim.
A very happy summer to all of you!
John.

Thread:W12Q4 – Start-Stop-Continue
Post:RE:RE:RE:W12Q4 – Start-Stop-Continue
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

It’s a kind and welcome offer, I would absolutely love the opportunity. I look forward to the day when I can offer my services. 😉
All the best, as always,
John.

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim said “I often have people ask me: should marketing be a centralized or a de-centralized (meaning each unit has its own marketing group) function?  My answer is:  neither.  Marketing groups need to be able to organize to serve distinct businesses (where revenues will support dedicated resources) and come together to manage organizational aspects like brand.”
I get the same questions about technology, and exactly what Kim says is really the best answer, it is contingent upon the situation whether a stronger independent face or stronger collective face is shown, but there must be a connection between the two.
While it might be beneficial, for instance, for each building on an enterprise site to have it’s own technology team, it’s important to be able to redeploy that team as a whole if a project calls for it.
This model is slowly working its way into Rider’s technology strategy, where each building has a main OIT representative, but they are not fully independent contractors, but rather a self controlled part of a larger team and mission.
John.

Thread:W12Q1 – Warren Buffet
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W12Q1 – Warren Buffet
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Wow.
(speechless)

Thread:W12Q4 – Start-Stop-Continue
Post:RE:W12Q4 – Start-Stop-Continue
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asked about what to start, stop, and continue.
I’ve had most of my graduate work with Tim now, and he’s clearly on to something.
START: We all know about your recent status changes, and congratulations on your continued success. It does make it hard to introduce extra work for yourself where the standard is clearly getting the job done. Working in the AV technologies we’ve discussed if at all possible would be a nice if unnecessary addition. By letting people see you and hear you, you’ll be able to begin to break down this barrier we all imagine in the distance learning space.
STOP: I have nothing to say here this time around. I feel like you’ve got a very fine tuned sense of what works in these classes. Your level of participation, the way you break down questions, and your willingness to stay out of the discussion when it must be very hard to bite your virtual tongue are all great indicators of your mastery of this craft.
CONTINUE: The demand for participation. Your grading standards on papers. Your hands off approach to discussions. Your hands on approach to lecture and initial questions.
Thanks, Tim, and all of my colleagues here, for a wonderful experience, as per the usual.
John.

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:RE:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “As long as Rider have tech like yourself there is hope for students that are not so savvy with computers.”
This touched me – I really appreciate your kind words, Sonya. As long as Rider has students like yourself, there is a great future for the EQ and level of compassion of our student body.
Thanks.
John.

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Matthew says “But they market they spend so much more on marketing that the branded “swoosh” has created such an increase in value, that people pay the difference for a similar product.”
I swear clothing marketers hate people like me. I simply refuse to buy brand name clothing. I try not to wear logos or brands of any kind, though I do subscribe to other kinds of brand, like food brands, e.g. Starbucks, Panera, Whole Foods, etc. because the brand is clearly distingishable in quality or ideology.
I definitely choose brand when it comes to software, but most often it’s about whose philosophy most agrees with mine, (open source) rather than who has the slickest adverts or coolest gadgets.
John, aka Nike ™ hates me.

Thread:W12Q1 – Warren Buffet
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W12Q1 – Warren Buffet
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Becky says “Iranians are killing Americans”
Iranians are killing Americans? What?! Did I miss a news story?

Thread:W12Q4 – Start-Stop-Continue
Post:RE:RE:W12Q4 – Start-Stop-Continue
Author:Timothy Glaid
Date:Thursday, April 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron,
I thank you for your comments.  And I agree, I need to find the time to learn these new technologies.
At the beginning of this course, and unexpectedly, the President of Salem University (where in my day job I am the Dean of the Business School) resigned.  Before he left, he named me the new head of Salem’s Online Division.  I have spent allot of my time meeting with vendors for course development, as well as the technology people such as our BlackBoard sales and technical team.  Just when I thought I would have the time to learn, and to take John LeMasney up on his many offers to learn from him, I became too overwhelmed in my new responsibilities, and never did find the time to incorporate the technologies into this course.
Thanks again, and best wishes for continued success.
Tim Glaid
4/24/2008
— forwarded
Over all I feel that the course was helpful and informative. Since I am not very familiar with the certain financial terms I had to do some internet exploration to gain the knowledge to answer certain questions. I found it very useful to be able to post 4 times at any time of the week; my schedule is strange so this was of great aid to me.
I think the current course work was fine, I enjoyed interviewing members of my organization for the papers, I know have a much greater understanding of different departments and how they work, its not just something I read in a book-it was more hands on.
I think if possible you should use your new knowledge of videos, you-tube..and incorporate them into the lectures. I personally enjoyed actually having a face and a voice to go along with every week’s discussions.
Thanks again for a great class
Cherron

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:RE:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Linda says “With  a OneStop initiative I find that some students don’t learn to seek help in other places”
I agree – people stop looking for anything outside of the box when they are simply invited inside the box with the preposition that all that we have is in this one box.
John.

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:RE:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Would you agree with the suggestion that we are a nation focused at not out-working our competition … but more importantly, OUT-THINKING them?”
Our societal cultural value is in superlative thinking, less hard work, and living the good life in the quickest way possible. We value a strong work ethic, but consider that work ethic to be executed in mental ways rather than those of brawn.
Microsoft is a grand example. Firefox, my favorite browser, allows for tabbed browsing, extensibility, in toolbar searching, rss feed reading, and application building right within the browser. They offer their product for free, but also give away the source code so that others may build with it what they choose.
Microsoft’s Internet explorer, on the other hand, only recently came out with each of these features in V7, long after they were established by Firefox. They let their browser, which got its market share by being installed and made the default on every windows machine existing, simply keep the standard 10 year old features, while innovators like Firefox out-thought them. Now Microsoft has given up on innovating, and started simply taking on the innovations of others. In fact, they’ve been doing that for a long long time.
John.

Thread:LECTURE TWELVE
Post:Bad dashboard data.
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says ” The leader’s ability to make directional decisions is keenly aligned to their ability to access information that help them choose between the alternatives solutions to their business problems and challenges.  If the financial information is not available, or if it is flawed or obsolete, the leader (and thus) the organization is placed at a crucial disadvantage.  Because markets change frequently (if not daily), a dashboard must be established that reflects the financial health of the organization, on a near real-time basis.”
I once had a car that had a faulty electrical system in the dash. I got three tickets because I mistakenly believed that I could tell how fast I was going by listening keenly to the engine, the amount of wind whistling, the resistance of braking etc. The fact was, I had no idea how fast I was going more often than not. I ran out of gas a few times because the tank would report that it was 1/4 full, when it was empty. It didn’t pass inspection, and that, as they say, was that.
From a leardship perspective, having faulty financial or strategic or progressive data, via guesswork, flexible assessments, and by utilizing averages of past experience and performances will only lead to an inaccurate assessment of your speed, direction, resources, and progress. You might end up stranded, without a business, out of line with auditors, and out of resources, like I was with that car. I loved that car, but I needed a better dashboard.
John.

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:RE:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “I agree will John when he noted that putting all of them under on roof with one set of rules will take away creativity.  Maybe turn into a group think kind of organization?”
I thought this was intriguing. 😉 I think maybe there’s a subtle reference to Rider, Westminster, the Conservatory, and the new College of the Arts. She’s right. It’s true – we can’t have things the way that they are in terms of individuality and independence, and also have everyone part of one big happy anything, but there is something both lost and gained in bringing disparate groups together.
Tim asked about the cons of separate groups being brought together, but there are many benefits that were not asked about. These likely still speak to our financial roles being brought together under one roof as well.
An increased and cooperative unity of brand.
Easier sharing of financial, resources, and strategy information and data.
A sharing of history and experience that can help raise and even out everyone’s capabilities to progress.
An inclusion and support that maybe one group does not currently feel.
Diversification.
Collegiality.
I hope that unions like these can have great additive results as well as any negatives, quite sincerely.
John.

Thread:LECTURE TWELVE
Post:RE:RE:LECTURE TWELVE
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “Don’t you reckon that the contrary is even more true? Look at the housing-mortgage and sub-prime crisis that started last year and about which the ramifications will be long felt around the world. It is a crisis that happened here but that has literally and figuratively affected the rest of the world.”
I remember hearing a few days ago a story of a major european bank collapse warning as a result of this bank essentially turning a blind eye to the risks associated with sub prime lending. It takes two to tango, and if you’re partner has two left feet, you might both end up on the floor, no matter who’s the klutz.
John, klutz.

Thread:W12Q3 – Global Economy
Post:RE:W12Q3 – Global Economy
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 21, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “The key assumption has always been the belief that such assets are not correlated to one another.  If this assumption is changing, what investment risk management strategies might be appropriate today?”
It seems like part of the answer would be related to your other question about one-stop shopping.
By putting all of our eggs in single baskets, aren’t we inviting the downfall of all with the downfall of one?
Perhaps we should be looking at separating out services as a way of separating out assets, thus de-correlating them, and allowing them to function independent of each other, creating firewalls between them.
John.

Thread:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Post:RE:W12Q2 – One-stop Shopping
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 21, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “This is touted as one-stop shopping by the banking industry.  What might be the risks and problems associated with this arrangement?”
I think there are similiar problems as might occur with any centralization of services that are normally split out amongst several different companies:
You get the WalMart/Microsoft effect where competitors simply can not compete against a monopolistic giant, and so they shrivel, die, and sue.
You get the problem that media companies begin to encounter when they own all of the publishing outlets in the area (tv, newspapers, broadband, cable), where they don’t have to worry as much about breaking the best news, offering competitive commercial or product pricing, or avoiding bribes to quiet stories, because no one else (competing media outlets of similiar size) will be around to challenge it.
You get the problem of homogenizing what might stay a very diverse group of thinkers – when you take all of the investment bankers, stockbrokers and insurance agents from three different companies and bring them all under one roof with one prescribed way of doing things, one set of rules, and one way of thinking about money, you potentially lose the individual creativity and innovation that might occur in each separate group.
It seems like there are loads of problems with One Stop Shopping.
That being said, the trend is occurring everywhere. We at Rider have a OneStop initiative, where all incoming students are invited to come to one central place in order to take care of all of their student questions. financial issues, and Ridererization. (my word not theirs) This is great in theory (and even in practice has apparentlky worked very well), but since Technology is but a small and temporary part of OneStop services, there can be a disconnest for students on getting help in that area, for instance.
John.

Thread:Week 11 Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week 11 Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, April 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I am finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable with the financial systems in some comparable way to strategic planning and Human Resource tools. Another great week – hope you all are enjoying your weekend.
John.

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, April 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “Since the Conservatory does not really have a CFO, I will pretend that it is the Conservatory’s director (he produces the yearly budget). He uses the information given to him from disbursements over at the Rider campus.”
Since the Conservatory resides and profits from its association with the University (even if only in name) and Scott, for example, gets paid by Rider University, as likely do you and I, wouldn’t we be able to agree that my CFO is also your CFO? Scott manages his budget like many others, myself included, manage a budget. If my budget goes awry, I get a call from Julie’s office. So would Scott, I imagine.
Also, I’m sure it seems like a picked nit, but Westminster’s Princeton Campus is a Rider campus too, right?
When (if) we go to Banner, I hope that you too will be able to benefit from its improvements over HRS/FRS. I personally can’t wait.
John.

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:RE:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, April 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “if a person who had been performing a function for a long time suddenly lef the organization, the information ceased b/c no one was cross trained.  I know it sound impossible but it really was set up that way”
I wish this was more unbelievable, but unfortunately, it’s all too common. People today still believe that cross training others in your work knowledge can be detrimental to their own job stability, when I hope we (LEAD students) all agree that in reality it strengthens everyone’s abilities.
John.

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:RE:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, April 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says “Thanks for giving such a great description of how the CFO system is in place at Rider and how it is advancing through the use of technology”
Our current system (called HRS/FRS) was developed internally and is really showing its age. When we move to whatever we will be using to replace HRS/FRS, which is likely Banner, I think that we will all be stronmgly affected. For instance, the Unified Digital Campus initiative goes far beyond the financial information systems and implements far ranging services such as document management, web publishing, centralized campuswide helpdesk and much more.
If we threw all of our eggs in Banner’s basket, for instance, RedDot (Lauren knows but you may not; this is our content management system for the website) would go away quickly. Just something to think about. 😉
John.

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:RE:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 17, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I apologize for my miscommunication to any who know about Banner – the Banner product is of course distributed by SunGard, and has nothing to do with Datatel. We are looking very seriously at implementing their Unified Digiatl Campus solution. However, this brings an amazing implementation task list, great change for all involved, and much uncertainty on both the business side and the IT side.
But it would also bring great flexibility, improved productivity, and an increase in abilities like we’ve never known.
http://www.sungardhe.com/Products/Product.aspx?id=832
John.

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 17, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Carolyn says “It is so easy to log onto a computer and look up anything and everything a person might be interested in, the research is already done and the information is displayed on the screen.”
In the case of local organizational information and financial systems, where theoretically and in best practice, all of the data is centralized, groomed, filtered, correct, factual, relevant, and specific to the activities of the organization, we get so many immediate benefits, such as relative assurance that the data we’re looking at can be trusted and is easily found.
Imagine if our information and financial systems were more like Google or wikipedia where you do a search on last year’s budgetary figures, and came up with 6 million results, some of which might be useful, most of which may or may not. Many would not be reliable, or would simply be a nonexpert’s point of view.
It would be disastrous. Unfortunately, some info and fin systems are like that (gasp!).
John.

Thread:W11Q1 – CFO
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W11Q1 – CFO
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “The outside specialists are critically important b/c they have a more detailed view of the accounting and legal standards and of how other similar organizations may be addressing matters.  Even with that perspective, an organizaiton has to balance “what others are doing” with the intent or letter of the law/standards.”
I think that this idea of external point of view vs internal is an important one too. Sometimes inside the institution it is hard to look outside of the institution itself (to consultants, competition, and the marketplace) to get a little feedback on what we are doing and maybe find that ‘just fine’ does not mean ‘best practice’.
If some competitor or peer organization has just finished quietly resolving a major financial crisis that we’re just about to step into with the same actions, an informed legal/financial consultant who’s familiar with the issue would be able to help us prevent it, but it’s less likely that we, as a competitor/peer, might know the details of the issue to the same degree – we’re insulated, and they might have kept the issue very quiet except to consultants, who reviewed and analyzed the case to adopt counterstrategies.
John

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:RE:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How does “information technology” help to transform data into information and knowledge?”
Well, that’s a loaded question!
But simply put, by allowing data to be collected, categorized, analyzed, sorted, trended, historized, and stored.
IT can also do a great job of presenting the data as information, potentially making it attractive, sortable, searchable, stretchable, personizable, and relevant.
Once all of those things have happened to the data, it can help people to absorb it in ways that make sense, and once that happens, learning is very possible.
Examples are everywhere, but one might be a weatherstation, an electronic device that collects several feeds of data like wind speed, direction, humidity, temperature, and so on.
This raw data, simple points recorded on a scale (N, S, E, W, -100 degrees through 100 degrees, etc) can then be analyzed, averaged, studied, and presented in graphs, representative icons (a sun, a cloud), and you can gain knowledge quickly about the weather, it’s impact on your day today, trends over hours, days, weeks, months, years, and if you link a whole lot of weatherstations together, you can begin to aggregate and do calculations on that data to begin to calculate believeable, likely trends in the weather.
Now, think of sunlight as money, or productivity, or worker happiness.
John.

Thread:W11Q4 – Five C’s
Post:RE:RE:W11Q4 – Five C’s
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Carolyn says “I’m not an expert and constantly am learning on how to improve all of my skills such as my contribution, creativity, control count, and even in counsel.”
This notion of ‘not being an expert’ is seen in some circles as a sign that you are still open minded, flexible, and willing to learn and try new things in these disciplines and I think your answer really speaks to that notion. Great post, and well said.
John.

Thread:W11Q1 – CFO
Post:RE:RE:RE:W11Q1 – CFO
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Are you aware whether your CFO consults with financially-technical specialists, such as under a outsourced arrangement?  Why is it important that an organization have access to the latest laws and financial practices?”
Absolutely – as part of a mandate from the CFO’s office, with each purchase that is over a given threshold amount, let’s say $5,000, the contract, PO, and any other committment paperwork is automatically required to be looked at and approved by in house (or external specialist) legal and financial counsel in order to prevent us from becoming the victim in a situation where the service bought isn’t rendered, and due to the contract we would be required to honor it anyway, e.g. a financial disaster. This is but one example of why it’s important to do legal and financial consultation on projects of a certain magnatude.

Thread:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Post:RE:W11Q5 – IT Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How is the CFO organization support[ed] through information systems within your organization?  What do you imagine the impact would be to the CFO organization, if the information systems were damaged or lost?
What suggestions do you offer in the way of contingency planning, and why it is critical your CFO work with the CIO in order to build a strong contingency plan?”
Our CFO organization uses a home grown system called HRS/FRS at Rider, and while we are moving to a much more flexible and up to date system in Datatel’s Banner product, our current system is not likely supporting the CFO very well at all. For instance, budgeting reports, POs, and timesheets all still exist solely on paper at Rider, whereas at other institutions, these functions and many others have moved to a financial portal or intranet system.
Sisnce backups and redundancies are in place for the financial systems, the impact on the CFO org would be temporary and minimal. If they were somehow lost irrevocably, I think the impact might be disastrous.
John

Thread:W11Q4 – Five C’s
Post:RE:W11Q4 – Five C’s
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asked “Count, control, create, counsel, and contribute. Which of these five functions do you think that you are strongest in? Which of these is a major strength of the CFO of your company? What can you do to improve yourself in any of these areas in which you feel you may be weak? ”
I would say that my own strongest trait of these is the ability to counsel. I feel like if I can dialogue with people, that I can help myself, them, and others to work through most any issue. The CFO at Rider is Julie Karnes, and I would say her best strength of these is to control – she commands a great deal fo respect and weilds a high degree of power in the organization, but she also has a vision, mission, and goals when it comes to Rider’s Finances.
I’ve never been very fond of math, but I could certainly do more work in that area to grow those skills. I feel that control is a relatively strong trait for me, but not the strongest of these 5. I spent most of my time in college creating, as a fine arts major, and I took that creativity into most everything I do, but I still feel counseling is stronger, and more in line with what I want to excel in. Contributing is definitely something I want build strength in – in other areas, I have learned to contribute, such as generating ideas, but contibution can come in so many different forms, like verbalizing, and selflessness, and I can work on those.
John.

Thread:W10Q4 – Measuring Financial Ethics
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W10Q4 – Measuring Financial Ethics
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “Hire a woman! ”
I did.
John.

Thread:Week Ten Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Ten Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

This week we talked about internal controls and their importance in keeping ethics and good measurements in business finances, Sarbanes-Oxley and its impact on public business finances, auditors and their potential for establishing controls, financial ethics and their importance for best business practices, and a whole lot more.
Thanks all for the great conversation and learning opportunities. Have a great weekend!
John

Thread:W10Q1 – Internal Controls
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W10Q1 – Internal Controls
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “Our vendor and suppliers give our staff gifts for holidays, or just to say thank you for the companies business.”
We have vendors who give out boxes of chocolate at holiday time, but this is a bit different than the kinds of gifts or trades that I think are truly troublesome.
For instance, if the box of chocolates was instead a set of keys to a suite in Atlantic City or something equally outrageous, I think that you would absolutely have to refuse it, even though due to corporate relationships, some gifts may cost the giver as little as a box of chocolates.
John

Thread:W10Q3 – Auditors
Post:RE:RE:RE:W10Q3 – Auditors
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 10, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says “do you think it is more or less necessary to invest in electronic information systems that provide auditing abilities, depending on the size of the organization.  (i.e., is it more important for a large organization to be accurate in its financial recording/reporting, and less important for the small-sized organization)?”
I think that a very small business may be able to manage their stock, do inventories, do sales analysis, and provide simple financial reports and records on a series of napkins (e.g. Quicken Small Business Edition), and still be accurate. It is contingent on the very size of the company, the amount of throughput, and other factors.
I would say it’s still important to be accurate but would alter your premise that it is necessary to have an electronic information system (e.g. Banner) in order to do anything like accurate financial reporting and records.
I think we’ll be able to agree that electronic tools will aid greatly in the accurate recording and analysis of financial data, but it still requires accurate sales, stock, and order information, regardless of the recording method.
John.

Thread:W10Q1 – Internal Controls
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W10Q1 – Internal Controls
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 10, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Does your organization have controls in place that determine whether or not employees are able to accept gifts from vendors and suppliers?  What about amenities such as lunches, tickets to sporting events, and/or rounds of golf?”
There has begun to appear at Rier a yearly survey on self assessed conflicts of interest, in which the question is asked “Are you doing anything in your personal or work life that would infringe upon your ability to do your work at Rider effectively” – I’m paraphrasing, but using a series of questions, employees self assess the possibility of engaging in activities that could put one in a precarious legal position, or could involve Rider in businesses or situations that it has no intent of pursuing.
If you answer the questions truthfully, the situations above would be quickly revealed, but it requires the employee to be forthcoming, the organization to trust that the employee is telling the truth, and that the employee understands when a conflict of interest exists.
However, upon completion of the survey, you essentially state that you are free and clear of conflicts of interest or you have notified the proper organizational authorities – if it becomes known later that you lied or knowingly omitted conflicts of interest, it might be grounds for dismissal and a way for Rider to escape responsibility for certain kinds of wrongdoing, like taking personal favors as gratuitous payment.
For example, I am not allowed (under the constraints of avoiding a conflict of interest) to visit an employee’s home and fix their computer as a well paid independent consultant, no matter how many times they ask. 😉
John.

Thread:LECTURE TEN
Post:RE:RE:RE:LECTURE TEN
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 10, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I figured this was the case, time passes, and links die. That’s one of the immediate issues with web based sources to be sure, sometimes they’re fleeting.
Thanks for taking a look.
John

Thread:W10Q3 – Auditors
Post:RE:RE:RE:W10Q3 – Auditors
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “I am adamant that they are many ways in which idividuals within accounting can ‘mask’ certain things and, when i comes to the financial statement itself, are able make it look accurate.”
We agree, though I took Tim’s question of accuracy to be more benign that deceptive, such as bad or missing controls that would alert of a badly counted  stockpile, rather than someone deliberately finding ways to increase the organization’s value on paper in creative but illegal ways.
If a good accountant wants to make the balance sheet look better than it really is, despite SOX rules, they will likely still be able to, to the detriment of stakeholders.
John.

Thread:W10Q2 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W10Q2 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “I’m inclined to say yes because you want to believe that CFO/CEO should be in the know – however with companies as large as the aforementioned, how likely is it that the “grey suits” actually know.”
This  idea really reinforces the importance of SOX requirements like the CEO signing the  tax documents. Not that we don’t sign things that we don’t understand (we do it all the time) but we are usually held to the things that we sign whether we understand what we’re signing or not.
John.

Thread:W10Q4 – Measuring Financial Ethics
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W10Q4 – Measuring Financial Ethics
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “But the best way to prevent these types of behaviors is by, first, being aware that they exist. Once you are aware, you can prevent and, if necessary, figth them. When you look at things they way they are and not the way you think they shall be, things are much easier.”
Thanks, as always, Arthur. Good discussion. Preventing temptation is probably impossible. Preventing cheating by someone who intends to cheat is likely impossible too. I’m not saying that either temptation or cheating don’t exist or occur, but rather that they are not the nature of man, or a given and foregone conclusion.
Cheating is a choice, and it’s why it’s so very important for us to study. know, and provide opportunity for ethical behavior in leadership and followership.
This requires trust, which requires the suspension of the belief that I am, therefore I cheat.
I very much try to look at things as they are, and not as I think they should be, but I also try to believe that there is as much chance for ethical behavior as not, and in fact that people can be more complex that Theory X or Theory Y exemplars can explain.
John.

Thread:W10Q4 – Measuring Financial Ethics
Post:RE:RE:W10Q4 – Measuring Financial Ethics
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “Besides, a man is a man and the temptation, like it or not, is never far away.”
This assumes the nature of man is to cheat and give into temptation. Theory X anyone?
John.

Thread:W10Q3 – Auditors
Post:RE:W10Q3 – Auditors
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Can a company have poor internal controls and still prepare accurate financial statements? Why or why not? How can auditors help the company improve such controls?”
It goes to reason that it would be possible but highly unlikely.
I think the likelihood of accurate financial statements sans internal controls would become less and less as the number, size, and frequency of transactions increases.
Auditors could generate and help maintain these controls by providing exemplars of checks and balances for the company to follow, implement and adhere to. Otherwise, the auditors could point to the reasons why the company is out of line with financial accuracy to stake- and stockholders.
John.

Thread:W10Q2 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Post:RE:RE:RE:W10Q2 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Do you agree with the sentencing of the key leaders of Enron, Adelphia, WorldCom, and Tyco, and holding them responsible for the financial descrepancies in their organizations financial reporting?”
I do agree with the sentencing because the leader stands the most to gain from financial ‘creativity’ and so should make the most effort to ensure that it is beinmg done correctly. The CEO is the hand that turns the wheel, so to speak, and so she should also stop it when it is spinning off balance.
When she doesn’t, she should be penalized.
John.

Thread:W10Q1 – Internal Controls
Post:RE:W10Q1 – Internal Controls
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What types of internal controls do you see in your company? What happens if those controls are not in place? How can management monitor compliance?”
This week’s lecture tells us of “preventive, detective, and corrective” controls.
At Rider, we might find all three in a typical Purchase Ordering operation, which is one of the few ways I know anything about our financial and budgeting process.
An example of a preventative control might be the very PO process itself – if for example I tried to make a purchase that exceeded my budget’s limits, the fact that the PO must be seen, approved, and signed off on by more than one person ensures that more money than is reasonable or possible is spent.
An example of a detective control in the PO process might be that a record is made of the purchase transaction, and so we have a way of looking at the history, intent, and people involved in the transaction.
A corrective control in the PO process might be the idea that a PO will not be closed until the transaction has been successfully completed. If a purchase is still waiting for packages, for example, the money will be witheld from the vendor until the entire package arrives.
I may be way off, but in the finance/budget realm, I wouldn’t be surprised.
John.

Thread:LECTURE TEN
Post:RE:LECTURE TEN
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, April 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim, both the
http://www.novo-nordisk.net/about_us/corporate_governance/internal_control.asp
and the
http://www.acca.co.uk/publications/studentaccountant/1021399?session=fffffffeffffffffc28288ca3ff255a18d69d77762f8ca98735f38896e66382f
result in 404s. Maybe it was just me, but I had trouble getting to your supplemental info.
John.

Thread:Week Nine Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Nine Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Along with Elizabeth and Jackie, I wanted to chime in on how difficult the material has been for me comparatively this week.
I’m not saying at all that we shouldn’t be challenged or that we don’t need to know it, just that between the discussions and this paper, I’ve been questioning my levels and abilities of leadership in new and special ways this week.
Cheers, all – good weekend.
j.

Thread:W9Q5 – Information Systems & Financial Resources
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W9Q5 – Information Systems & Financial Resources
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, April 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts said “It turns into a world of closed-door conversations, speculation, secrets, whispers, trust issues and has a terrible outcome on morale.  The worst part of it all are all the new rumors created and the behavioral change.”
That’s why it drives me so nuts when people laugh off the idea of open meetings like Semco’s. I have tried a couple of different ways to make this level of transparency happen, and am always reminded that the level of transparency that I’m seeking is dangerous.
For example, we have a weekly open meeting to discuss entire-department issues, such as new system change proposals. I suggested more than once that we should simply record the meeting with a digital audio recorder, so that anyone who missed the meeting could then listen to it at a later date, again and again if they wished.
I was told that even though it was a public meeting that it would likely cause privacy concerns amongst participants. What I don’t get is that if the people who might listen to the recording were also allowed to come to the actual meeting, what does it matter whether they hear it in person or on tape?
I gave up arguing for it, but whenever someone says “I heard that was a great meeting – shame I missed it” my head spins around 3 times.
John.

Thread:W9Q5 – Information Systems & Financial Resources
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W9Q5 – Information Systems & Financial Resources
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, April 3, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim described the childhood game sometimes known as “Pass it down the lane” and asked “Does the message at the end of the line ever match the original message? How might this example serve as an analogy of what might happen in an organization, if the members of the organization are NOT involved in the planning process, or aware of the financial health of the organization?”
The message doesn not often get passed down correctly – it is often altered because of personal communication style, misunderstanding, rewording, and misinterpretation. When organizational members are not involved nor communicated to in the planning process, there is likely to be a similar situation, where people pass on only information as they understand it, but because the message was not clearly coded, distributed strongly, or given an opportunity for feedback and correction, the message is simply all wrong.
If we’re not aware of the financial health of the organization, all of those mixed messages can be money related, and as a result, you end up being the poor kid at the end of the line everyone laughs at cause they got the message so far wrong. Fun analogy, Tim. 😉
John.

Thread:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asked “As long as the organization reports their financial position within the confines of THE LAW, does it really matter if people perceive their specific accounting practices as ethical or not?”
Arthur says “if the organization fully comply with the law and the authorities, then there is nothing to add to it, regardless of what others might believe.”
I respectfully (as always – Arthur always has great points) disagree. If we are talking about the best practices of leadership, and we are talking about what is in the best interest of long term sustainance of the company, I think that we must go beyond the letter of the law into truly ethical behaviors, even where the law does not require this.
If we are just talking about how to make the most money, or get the most profit, then sure, why do anything more than the law requires?
If we are talking about having the most respected, most stakeholder considering, most balanced organization, we must consider more than the law requires.
John.

Thread:W9Q2 – Self-correction?
Post:RE:RE:W9Q2 – Self-correction?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Monique says “For example if a companies inventory was wrongly entered to reflect a lower or higher number, than if all items were sold, there would be a discrepancy between the number in inventory, and the number sold. The mistake should be easy to find and correct. However, if not all the inventory was sold, it would be more difficult to tell whether or not a mistake had been made, even after a year and even after updating a companies financial statements.”
It seems like there’s a lot of ways in which inventory could potentially be misreported and misused to manipulate liabilities, assets and the bottom line.
A faulty manager could want the company to suddenly ‘lose’ ten crates of unsellable product that hasn’t yet been fully or properly inventoried, (or has some other creative way of making the stock disappear without anyone noticing — I wouldn’t be very good at these kinds of financial manipulations, I don’t think) possibly improving the numbers in a few ways. Since that inventory was never accurately recorded, it will never be accurately corrected, by itself, or by any person or system. The minute that you have someone in control that doesn’t want to be ethical, all other aspects of the system can potentially fail.
John/

Thread:W9Q1 – GAAP & IAS
Post:RE:W9Q1 – GAAP & IAS
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What are GAAP & IAS, and why are they important to follow?  What might happen if the organization misinterprets financial policies?”
Answered beautifully here by many others. Others have reported that “GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and IAS (International Accounting Standards) are a set of financial accounting standards and reporting guidelines.”
They are important to follow because with commonality in what guides us in accounting practices, we can all start being ‘creative’ in the way that we report our finances, and creativity in this respect could lead to deception, unethical behavior, and incorrect information being reported.
If the organization misinterprets financial policies, they could make bad decisions, show faulty reporting, potentially be fined, possibly send the finances into a tailspin, etc.
John.

Thread:W9Q5 – Information Systems & Financial Resources
Post:RE:RE:RE:W9Q5 – Information Systems & Financial Resources
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Within an organization, who should have access to the financial profile?”
If we were to ask Ricardo Semler, he’d say everyone in the company should have access to the financial status of the company – that’s what he did with Semco: allowed every employee access to the balance sheet, training in financial analysis to the degree that any who cared to could read the financial data, and by doing so gave all employees the power to assess how they themselves affected the bottom line. I agree in this respect with Semler.
John.

Thread:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Post:RE:RE:RE:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “As long as the organization reports their financial position within the confines of THE LAW, does it really matter if people perceive their specific accounting practices as ethical or not?”
There are many things that I can do within the law in accounting that are not in the best interest of my stakeholders, even though they may believe that it is. It does not matter if people percieve my accounting practices as ethical or not – making people believe I’m acting ethically is different than actually acting ethically, which is much more important.
I should be acting ethically in my accounting practice because deception or omission in accounting is being less than transparent in reporting, despite the legal allowance of my actions.
Witholding information where the status of the company is concerned is a matter of ethics, but it is also a good way to give people a false sense of where the company stands, possibly leading to imprudent, aggressive business decisions that would hurt the customer, the employees, and other stakeholders – if we just report reality, people make more informed decisions.
John.

Thread:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Post:RE:RE:RE:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim said “If I extend this idea to financial statements, it would clearly be unethical to choose a valuation method for the sole purpose of affecting the company’s bottom line if it deceives investors who relied on the information to make financial decisions.”
It seems like it would be so easy today to use financial information crunching tools (even something as simple as excel) in order to do 50 different scenarios with your existing inventories, assets, and other line items, to simply find out how to make your financial statements simply gleam with potential and worth. The problem is when everyone in the company starts making decisions based on those misconstrued numbers. As you said, Kim, “cherry-picking” is a bad practice, no matter the immediate benefits.
John.

Thread:W9Q1 – GAAP & IAS
Post:RE:RE:RE:W9Q1 – GAAP & IAS
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 31, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What might be the consequences, if organizations measured their financial status in different and varying ways?”
If organizations play by different reporting rules, you might as well make up your own to make your company appear in the best possible way.
Without a standard, everyone can make up their own rules, and that’s likely to result in chaos.
John.

Thread:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Post:RE:W9Q3 – Ethical Behavior
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 31, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Is it ethical to select a valuation method specifically to affect a company’s bottom line?  Why or why not?”
It is not likely ethical to select a valuation method for the sole purpose of affecting a company’s bottom line.
Ethical financial reporting would be to show the most accurate representation of the company’s standing so that stakeholders might make better decisions based on more complete facts.
Choosing the most optimistic of two numbers to represent a company’s standing simply because it’s a better number is short term thinking with unethical undertones. If the facts are really just suggestions, and are inaccurate representations of actual standing, managers, leaders, and others may make faulty, dangerous, or outright bad decisions based on them, such as making large new purchases because the company’s bottom line looks good when it really is just a manipulation of the numbers.
John.

Thread:Week Eight Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Eight Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

This week had a lot of learning going on for me. I went back through my posts and pulled out some insights I gathered. Have a great weekend, everyone. John.
I’m very familiar with other XML based markup languages, and Tim’s revelation about XBRL gave me a kind of insight and understanding of the topic that I hadn’t foreseen.
One basic reason why startups fail is bad leadership in the form of lack of vision, feedback and information.
Financial statements really give me license to make decisions with some assurance of the safety or sense of those decisions.
I’d say that business itself is the language, and that accounting is one dialect of it. Technology is another. Marketing is another. Leadership is another.
I would concur that understanding the financial status of the organization would be essential to that end. If you don’t know the actual limits of the resources, how can you possibly make the best use of them?
McDonald’s provides a pretty cheap meal. You can basically eat a day’s worth of calories for under $3 if you think it out. Part of the reason is because McDonald’s basically controls the industries that are affected by the fast food market: potato growsers, cattle growers, chicken growers. They are the low cost leaders, which allows them to be the lowest price provider.
I am not yet piecing together, aside from my own limited budgetary responsibility, how my role as instructional technologist and training manager and my role as financial health visualizer come together. As much as I agree with Tim and Arthur’s assessment of manager as producer of high productivity with limited resources, I don’t really see how my increased knowledge of finance in my organization would help anyone above or beneath me to be more productive.
Ethical accounting and business practices isn’t about doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, ethical business practice is about benefitting all who are affected by the business (stakeholders) by presenting factual information so that customers can make the best choices, employees can build trust and goodwill with their employer, stockholders can make accurate decisions, and so that no one can look back a year from the time of when a scandal took place and say ‘that’s the day I began hating your organization’.
The idea of transparency is so incredibly important to organizational processes. When we hide things from ourselves, and then try to make decisions with less than informed states of understanding, what chance do we have to succeed?

Thread:W8Q5 – Starting a Business
Post:RE:RE:RE:W8Q5 – Starting a Business
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 27, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What type of information systems support the leaders within your own organization?  In what ways do the leaders and managers use information in order to make business decisions?”
In our case in OIT at Rider, we are making quite a lot of use of Blackboard right now as a change management and feedback tool for leadership.
For instance, we’ve started a few threads in a forum called ‘new ideas’ that allow us to share, add on to, innovate upon, introduce, think critically about, and record new technological ideas.
This way, we can say something once, where anyone from the techs to the directors can feedback on it, celebrate the pros and discuss the cons, and possibly generate a change in our more formal change management process.
John.

Thread:W8Q3 – Decision Making
Post:RE:RE:RE:W8Q3 – Decision Making
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 27, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “I feel it’s important that managers have the necessary access to make decision.  The cause and effect of making a bad decision will take an effect on the entire company.”
Right on. I think that’s why the idea of transparency is so incredibly important to organizational processes. When we hide things from ourselves, and then try to make decisions with less than informed states of understanding, what chance do we have to succeed?
John

Thread:W8Q2 – Accuracy
Post:RE:RE:RE:W8Q2 – Accuracy
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 27, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How has your organization adjusted its financial practices, in order to comply with the Sarbanes Oxley compliance rules?  How is this process different, from the organization’s past practices?”
In Rider’s case, I imagine that very little changed, since Sarbanes Oxley compliance is about public company accounting, and ours is a not for profit institution. However, I imagine that Mort still has to sign tax documents, as stipulated in  Title X, section 1001. Maybe I’m way, way off.
John.

Thread:W8Q4 – Maximizing Stockholders’ Wealth
Post:RE:RE:RE:W8Q4 – Maximizing Stockholders’ Wealth
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim re-asked his question in the new context “Why do companies feel they need to manipulate their income? Is it “wrong” for management to maximize the stakeholders’ wealth?”
Even if all stakeholders may benefit from the manipulation of financial data, it is counterintuitive to use deception to create a false sense of profit for a short term gain, that if found out, will result in a long term loss in lawsuits, financial ruin, bad press, angry customers who tell everyone they know to avoid your company, etc.
Ethical accounting and business practices isn’t about doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, ethical business practice is about benefitting all who are affected by the business (stakeholders) by presenting factual information so that customers can make the best choices, employees can build trust and goodwill with their employer, stockholders can make accurate decisions, and so that no one can look back a year from the time of when a scandal took place and say ‘that’s the day I began hating your organization’.
Ethical business practice is about stability despite change, stable footholds on a rocky precipice, and a theme of reality through a lot of unknowns. For a business interested in long term growth, ethical reporting and actions are a no brainer.
John.

Thread:W8Q1 – Language of Business
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W8Q1 – Language of Business
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “I cannot see how a manager can make sound business decisions without being aware of the financial health of the organization primarily. I find it appalling and suicidal to do otherwise.”
I agree with Arthur here, but at the same time, I look at my role as manager, and how far removed I am from the financial health awareness of the organization. I am not yet piecing together, aside from my own limited budgetary responsibility, how my role as instructional technologist and training manager and my role as financial health visualizer come together. As much as I agree with Tim and Arthur’s assessment of manager as producer of high productivity with limited resources, I don’t really see how my increased knowledge of finance in my organization would help anyone above or beneath me to be more productive. If we are talking about information instead, then yes, it all makes sense to me, but financial data — I’m not so sure. Can someone knock me over the head with some insight?
John.

Thread:W8Q3 – Decision Making
Post:RE:RE:RE:W8Q3 – Decision Making
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Why is it important for an organization to understand with the utmost accuracy, the cost basis for each product and service? How does being a low cost provider help an organization gain a competitive advantage within its market?”
If I’m understanding the question correctly, a company may be a low cost provider, without being a low priced provider. If a company knows intimately how much it is spending (cost) in order to acquire its stores, it can be much more flexible and in tune with how much it should be asking for those items in terms of supply, demand, and pricing.
McDonald’s provides a pretty cheap meal. You can basically eat a day’s worth of calories for under $3 if you think it out. Part of the reason is because McDonald’s basically controls the industries that are affected by the fast food market: potato growsers, cattle growers, chicken growers. They are the low cost leaders, which allows them to be the lowest price provider.
One way I saw this play out recently was with their .69 any size coffee promotion. I used to hate McDonald’s coffee. I really prefer starbucks. McDonald’s flexed its low cost acquiring muscle with coffee growers, reduced its prices to basically just above cost, and greatly improved their coffee’s flavor. It made me choose McDonald’s for coffee over Starbucks time and time again. Until they returned the price to normal.
John.

Thread:W8Q1 – Language of Business
Post:RE:RE:RE:W8Q1 – Language of Business
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “If the primary responsibility of the role of the manager is to “maximize productivity through the organization’s limited resources”, wouldn’t that suggest the need to understand the financial status of the organization BEFORE making any business decision? Do you agree with the primary goal of management?”
Tim’s definition of management’s primary goal seems reasonable to me. I would concur that understanding the financial status of the organization would be essential to that end. If you don’t know the actual limits of the resources, how can you possibly make the best use of them?
John.

Thread:W8Q1 – Language of Business
Post:RE:W8Q1 – Language of Business
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says “Is accounting really, as some have claimed, the language of business? Why or why not?”
Well, accounting is a dialect, anyway. Some businesses might only use a language of simple arithmetic, like a bake sale, and while there’s accounting of a certain type going on, it’s not necessarily doing long term inventories, ROE analysis, predictive markets, etc.
Then of course, there’s a new small business that is maybe not yet familiar with proper accounting, where a small group of people with a business plan and a great idea might stumble for words in searching for a well known concept in accounting, and without those lingual skills might miss out on opportunities available to those who know the vocabulary and how to use it wisely to analyze and act upon the situation in the most eloquent way.
I’d say that business itself is the language, and that accounting is one dialect of it. Technology is another. Marketing is another. Leadership is another. And so on.
John.

Thread:W8Q4 – Maximizing Stockholders’ Wealth
Post:RE:W8Q4 – Maximizing Stockholders’ Wealth
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Why do companies feel they need to manipulate their income? Is it “wrong” for management to maximize the stockholders’ wealth?”
Companies who are totally completely honest about earnings sometimes have a bad year.
Companies who do not want to ever have a bad year simply ‘re-arrange’ financial information to make it look better.
Maximizing the stockholder’s wealth is only one benefit of cooking books – since many employees are usually the biggest stockholders, maximizing the stockholder’s wealth is putting money in your own pocket first.
Ethics would ask that we be true and factual first, effort towards the best outcomes, make an honest living, and be a great company. We can leave the lying and cheating to “organized crime”, which one could argue is exactly what WorldCom and Enron were participating in: organized, criminal activity.
John.

Thread:W8Q3 – Decision Making
Post:RE:W8Q3 – Decision Making
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What decisions might a manager form based on financial statements?”
Based on my financial statements, as a manager, I might decide to:
hold off on a major set of purchases
push to go into a new line of products
redevelop an existing and average performing product in order to create growth
suggest bankruptcy
work to develop the selling skills of my staff
work to develop the ethics skills of my staff
Financial statements really give me license to make decisions with some assurance of the safety or sense of those decisions, otherwise, I’m just flying blind, and that’s bad business.
John.

Thread:W8Q5 – Starting a Business
Post:RE:W8Q5 – Starting a Business
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “List at least one reason why small business start-ups fail.  How could improved financial information systems help the decision-maker make better decisions about his or her business?  Please share an example to help illustrate your response.”
One basic reason why startups fail is bad leadership in the form of lack of vision, feedback and information.
Improved financial information systems could help to provide very specific kinds of decision making feedback and information available in the form of financial status and data. A leader defines vision by see a great potential future that is achievable. A leader can only know what’s possible by analyzing the reality and contingencies of the current situation, including financial realities.
With faulty financial and other information, a leader might get bad feedback, make judgements using poor data, and either miscalculate or altogether blunder the vision.
Let’s say that a leader is making a five year plan. According to her faulty, badly acquired optimistic data, she believes that the company will be guaranteed a solid 10% growth per year for at least 5 years. If she is working to gain venture capital, stock growth, and the best new talent, a “conservative” announcement saying that the company will see a solid 9% growth for the next 4 years would do a great job at making those things happen in the short term. However, if in the first 2 years, predictable but misdiagnosed losses happen, the leader’s vision is a bust, the talent leaves, the stock crashes, and the company is going under.
John.

Thread:LECTURE EIGHT
Post:RE:LECTURE EIGHT
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says “Recently, XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) has been introduced as the digital language of financial reporting. This new programming language formats financial reports for transport across the Internet and viewing on browser-equipped computers. It is a freely available electronic language for financial reporting, and the accounting profession is bearing the cost of developing and maintaining this standard. ”
One of the most interesting aspects of this week’s lecture for me (I dread accounting, in general, though I plan to learn not to) is XBRL. I’m very familiar with other XML based markup languages, and Tim’s revelation about XBRL gave me a kind of insight and understanding of the topic that I hadn’t foreseen.
I found a great site that talks about it in some depth, for those of us who are more familiar with networking than numbers. I found it a great way to quickly feel more comfortable with the topic, though I know it’s pretty far removed from the deeper concepts we’ll explore.
http://www.xbrl.org/Specification/XBRL-RECOMMENDATION-2003-12-31+Corrected-Errata-2006-12-18.htm
John.

Thread:W7Q3 – Rewards
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q3 – Rewards
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says and Lauren implied “Continue to encourage your team to do their best, believe someone is watching and it will pay off.”
I will do my best!
John.

Thread:W7Q2 – Technology
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q2 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, March 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthusr says “However, there is no way robots of any sorts will replace us anytime in my lifetime, that’s for sure”
Don’t be so sure. It’s the human condition to percieve self-superiority. The truth is that superiority is potentially secondary to programmed experience.
John.

Thread:Week Seven Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Seven Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

This week in talking deeply about HR issues, I realized that Human Resources is a great first line in maintaining, developing, or changing organizational beliefs, ideas, and ideals.
HR trends include the changing ways in which internationalization, technology, worker valence, health, and personal enrichment are all rising in importance to and awareness of the average worker. Technology is a productivity and speed enabler, but it also can dehumanize and reduce multisensory interaction. Workers are changing the ways that they value traditional rewards, and are looking for other ways to gain fulfillment due to their excellent work. Safety and health of workers are in the best interest of organizations, because unhealthy workers can mean lost productivity, lengthy and costly lawsuits or insurance issues, and unhappy workers. A work/life balance means a worker who is able to come back to work refreshed, mindful, attentive, and present. It means a worker who is ready to work.
Great week as usual! Have a great weekend everyone.
John.

Thread:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What role does “leadership” have in enabling people to achieve thier life-balance goals? If someone lacks confidence in his or herself, and/or refuses to trust his/her subordinates, do you think that person will be prone to grant a virtual work arrangement (regardless to the available technology)?”
Leadership has the role of stewart and enabler when it comes to work life balance and extending the allowances of workers. Leadership must also exemplify good life/work balance in order to allow workers to feel comfortable committing to a balance of their own.
If the leader reinforces or implements the framework for an organizational culture that does not value life/work balance, but rather values a lot of face time, reporting, checking in, MBWA, and pushing timeclocks, etc., then the workers are not going to get the message that taking proper rest breaks, making time to keep a stable family life, or developing a personal/social life to enhance one’s ‘work soul’ are all important.
Moreover, in answer to Tim’s second question, if a leader does not believe that work can be done effectively from home, or does not trust workers to maintain to improve productivity by working at home, then there is no logical reason to believe that she will more to implement a vartual worker program.
John.

Thread:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Becky said “Well, heck no I won’t put that huge database on my little laptop; however I told him that I would if my employer decided to get me a computer I would be happy to do it.”
There are other solutions that could potentially solve the problem, and the one I’ll suggest here is free.
You could run a service on your work computer called RealVNC, which would allow you to connect to and run your desktop computer remotely. You would also have to use a service called VPN, since your work machine is limited to in-network access (IP addresses starting with 10) and in order to connect to 10 address based computers on the network from outside the network, you’d have to use a special secure connection.
The software is free in both cases, and could be installed, running, and trained in an hour or so.
However, it opens up the possibility of security flaws which would only be countered through smart practices in terms of security. Turning off the service when unnecessary, choosing good passwords, and setting up a firewall to only allow certain computers to be able to connect remotely, such as your laptop.
No new computer necessary, no big database install necessary, and you would be able to connect to and work on your computer from anywhere in the world.
By the way, you all could do this, theoretically.
John.

Thread:W7Q4 – Safety and Health
Post:RE:RE:RE:W7Q4 – Safety and Health
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 14, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I’m really glad you all liked the video – I’m always trying to spread the word that YouTube is so much more than just entertainment or a way of sharing ideas visually and aurally. It’s a learning platform, communication toolset, and a massive opportunity for everyone to become a mass media broadcaster.
John.

Thread:W7Q3 – Rewards
Post:RE:RE:RE:W7Q3 – Rewards
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “Honestly I do not mind working hard and going the extra mile.”
I believe you. I wish I could convice the leadership in my organization of the unbridled passion and committment to getting the job done well by so many people in the organization. There is such directorialism and mistrust in the organization that loads of effort is spent just trying to convince leadership that we really are trying to meet goals, attend to strategy, and not just slack.
Slacking is not the interest of most of the workers in OIT, but we are constantly being assessed for slacking.
It baffles me.
John.

Thread:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “I know I have a very long road to travel because I am moving forward into Leadership which is a transition for me.  Coming from a field of technology and Administration, Leadership is a big step.”
Sonya seems like she’s perfectly poised and positioned for a move into leadership (proper), due to her awareness of technology and her experience in administration. She has the tools and concepts necessary to “get the job done” — leadership is about defining and re-defining the job, and making sure the job is done well, so that the leader, the worker, and the stakeholders all benefit.
John.

Thread:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says “the same leg he broke last year but this is a lot worse”
I’m so sorry, Lauren.
This virtualization is available for much more joyful family issues – we’re expecting our second boy in May, and I can virtually attend to most issues that might arise. Very luckily, I have cross trained my staff to be able to do most anything I can do, so the impact of my time off (2 weeks of full days and 4 weeks of half days) should have a minimum impact on the University. Now Joe Woodhull leaving, on the other hand – that’s likely a problem.
John.

Thread:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “But surely, the ability to work from home should only be given to those who feel responsible enough to meet the bottom line and have the chores done.”
And there’s the rub. How to determine (or self-determine) who is capable of this level of responsibility?
Do you start choosing virtual employeeships based on past responsibility demonstrations? Parenting status (lawsuit)? Self-indicated need?
If it’s available to one (highly responsible individual) it’s difficult if not impossible to not offer it to all (the guy or girl who’s excited that he/she can sleep in til 11 am and still get his/her work done by 5 [or maybe not])
John.

Thread:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Post:RE:RE:RE:W7Q5 – Life-Balance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Are there any reasons why you couldn’t perform your work duties from your home, on an occasional basis?  What technology would be required to support a virtual home office for your use? How would a home office motivate your behavior, and your perception of your employer?How would the implementation of this form of information technology, benefit your life-balance?”
There is very little reason that I couldn’t do a lot of my job remotely. I spend a lot of my time in a day either in email, on the phone, or in a web browser. I do a lot of work in person for training, and while that could be virtualized via two-way videoconferencing, it would likely be less effective, because of the immedicay of the impact of physicality in training.
It’s hard enough keeping people awake in training in person – I could only imagine if we were separated by a screen.
However, many mornings at Rider I spend 8:30-12:00 pm in my desk chair, answering questions, returning phone calls, and developing materials for training and support. That desk chair could likely just as easily be in my home.
It would require a different kind of discipline on my part, because I’d see myself playing with my son every half an hour, which might be nice, but might also be counterproductive.
It would require a different kind of trust on my employer’s part, and I imagine the scrutiny of my productivity, the value of my work, and the comparative output of home worker John and brick & mortar worker John would all become intensely focused upon. My productivity might actually increase, but I’ll likely not find out.
The technology? I don’t think I’d need a lot of different technology at all – I’d use the things that I use now, and probably start to rely a bit more on videoconferencing, phone, email, centralized file storage, VPN, and remote desktop.
I also don’t think I’d like it as much as the relatively separate lifestyles I lead now between the two.
John.

Thread:W7Q2 – Technology
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q2 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says “The same could be said for the CMS and limitations within the design that RedDot limits us to.  So I guess we all have to get used to taking the good with the bad when it comes to technology.”
It’s so very true – there are a lot of Content Management Systems that are non proprietary (Open source) like Drupal, for example, that would make moving to another CMS and modifying templates for presenting content a lot more flexible.
However, they also tend to require a more technologically sophisticated end user base than we have here. The great rush to Red Dot happened when we had a room of stakeholders in the room and the RedDot sales guy showed how you “click a red button, change the text, and hit submit, like an email.”
That simplicity, and the promise of locked down look and feel, cemented a lot of people on going with RedDot, its proprietary format, its exorbitant pricing system, and its many other at the time unforeseen issues.
We moved away from the (relatively speaking) high technology knowledge requirements of SFTP and XHTML with RedDot, but we also made every design decision at the upper levels (e.g. Enrollment Management). We still do.
No system is perfect, but when something’s not perfect as well as highly unmodifiable, you have RedDot.
John.

Thread:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Post:RE:RE:RE:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Do you foresee a shift away from brick-and-mortar workers … to an environment of virtual workers who can be physically located anywhere in the world?  What challenges would this type of arrangement have on the HR department?  How must an organization support such a strategy using its IT systems?”
Given the international nature of business, the increase in importance of work-life balance, and the changing way in which we define the boundaries of work life and home life, I definitely see a departure from the traditions of brick and mortar workers, or at least a change in where that brick and mortar is defined.
Where now Rider University is defined as two campuses, which was important startegically as little as 10 years ago, it is likely more important to be a University that has a state, national, and global presence as well, and distance learning (like LEAD  classes), international partnerships (China, Italy, and Egypt), and state program involvement (NJEdge.net) all allow Rider to be bigger than what it once was, a local school for the Trenton and Princeton area.
The issues for HRM, OIT, and every other department are the high impact of that dissolved boundary. How does HRM communicate effectively with Chinese Faculty hires? How does OIT facilitate VideoConferencing with University of Cairo? How does the department of English and Communication react to a 20% increase in ESL students? These questions have all been dealt with in recent years at Rider. What are the next questions we’ll face?
John.

Thread:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya said “Even though these folks are in these positions do not make them effective leaders, managers or supervisor, reinforcement in education helps the leaders, employees and the company.”
I was in a class in college on Interpersonal Communication, and one of the first ideas introduced was that just because we are taught letters, grammar, and spend time talking with others does not mean that we know how to communicate. Great communicators learn to communicate effectively. It seems like such an obvious concept now, but at the time, I was very surprised at the idea of great communicators being taught and not bred.
I had a similiar revelation in my entry into these classes, where I realized that I was making assumptions about the quality of the leadership in place in my organization strictly because of their position, e.g. the higher you are hierarchically, the better you are as a leader.
Once I realized that there is no causal relationship between rank and capability, a lot of other assumptions fell away, and I began looking at the leadership with a clearer, more critical eye. In some cases, like Mort, I found that very good leadership was being practiced by positional leaders.
In many other cases I found leaders who were put in place not because of their ability to lead, their ability to manage, their knowledge about the practice of leadership, or about their openness to innovation.
Some positional leaders (like myself) had just been lucky.
They simply were in the right place at the right time, and as a result, we have many leaders who don’t have vision, strategy, or goals, but are rather just reacting to the vision, strategy and goals of others, very often not their subordinates.
I feel that if these leaders were introduced to LEAD classes they might be asked to re-assess what they’re doing as leaders. I know that’s what it did for me.
John.

Thread:W7Q4 – Safety and Health
Post:RE:RE:W7Q4 – Safety and Health
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “those unfamiliar with what an RSS feed is, can “google” it for answer faster than asking me.”
I love RSS, and I find ot one of the more difficult things to explain to the uninitiated, unless I have the benefit of a presentation space. In this particular case, I can show you this fantastic youtube video that explains RSS in plain english. This producer does some great simple technology explanations.
Enjoy. John.

Thread:W7Q2 – Technology
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W7Q2 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “By the way, I too am a blackboard administrator”
I feel for you. 😉
One of the ways that I feel that we are bound by technology is when technology is limited or limiting, and the technology itself makes it difficult to embrace change.
For instance, there are a myriad of more sophisticated and capable learning management systems that compete with Blackboard, including Moodle and Sakai.
We at Rider (in OIT) would love to migrate to them, but Blackboard makes it very difficult to do so, because of a relatively closed and proprietary format. If we don’t have an almost seamless conversion process, we will have a nightmare in terms of faculty reluctance, since there would be no guarantee that the data would be transferred and available in a clean way.
Thus, no migration can happen. If everythign were wide open XML, another system could very easily take and translate all of the content into another system, but Blackboard doesn’t make it this easy.
If I were moving from Moodle to Blackboard, I bet it would be a lot easier, but who in their right mind would want to go backwards?

Thread:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Post:RE:RE:RE:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “They are accommodating the people who work for them by giving them almost everything they need. This is a shrewd technique because it is hard, once you are so accustomed to all these amenities, to go and look for another organization where the possibility to find the same comfort level may be slim to none…”
I think that it’s important for the organization to assess employee valence in these amenities and benefits from time to time. If stock options are worthless, and more personal time is more valuable to most employees, it is likely in the organization’s best interest to bypass stock options and fin ways to reduce work hours.
I agree wholeheartedly about the benefits to a company that offers fantastic benefits, amenities, and bonuses. Rider’s Tuition remission program was of very little value to me for almost ten years, and if I had wanted to leave suddenly, the tuition remission would have mettered very little. Then suddenly it became one of the main reasons I’d think twice about leaving.
John.

Thread:W7Q3 – Rewards
Post:RE:W7Q3 – Rewards
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How will benefits and rewards change to meet the changing perspectives of workers and still inspire workers to high performance?”
I wish that once in my life anyone had ever started out the discussion of my compensation with a question like:
“Out of these 20 value items, which 5 would you prefer as a reward for high performance? yearly increases. Tution remission. Better healthcare package. More time off. Half day Fridays…” and so on.
Then I wish the conversation had continued “you can have any two of these each year if you are able to do X. You can choose differently each year in which you meet the goals. ”
According to Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, if you know what I want, and can provide it if I do what you want, and I think that exchange will happen, I’ll do it.
I believe in Vroom’s theory wholeheartedly.
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_vroom_expectancy_theory.html
John.

Thread:W7Q2 – Technology
Post:RE:RE:W7Q2 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “As with just about everything technology is replacing people which creates mixed feelings for me.”
I’m sure my bias shows here, but I like to think this is only the worst case scenario in which technology actually replaces people.
I think that a lot more often it allows people to do more, as with the increase of speed of messaging via email vs. postal mail.
I think too of the way Ford and industrialism allowed technology and productivity methods to revolutionize the throughput of workers, the price and availability of products, and the ubiquitousness of long distance travel for everyone.
Gutenberg’s press allowed everyman to engage in the joy of owning books. Blogging allows everyman to publish without hesitation to the world in an instant.
I think that at it’s best, technology can be inspiring, enabling, and fully humanizing. Of course, as I said, I am very biased.
John.

Thread:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Post:RE:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What are the emerging trends for HRM and how will they be incorporated into successful organizational transformation strategies?”
Tim said in this week’s lecture that “HR must figure out how to help organizations keep track of the knowledge in the business, and, more importantly, identify ways to transfer knowledge more quickly between employees as a means of transforming the organization. This will require new kinds of training, new ways of communicating, and new ways of rewarding employees who share knowledge that will be shaped by and will shape future trends. This will occur through the increase of strategic partnerships that marry people and business objectives together in a mutually beneficial relationship.”
I think this points to an increase in the importance of the underlying information technology infrastructure for HRM, as well as everyone else. Two of the problems I see for Rider University with the increased need for keeping track of the knowledge in the business and transferring knowledge between employees is that 1. Many employees do not wish to share the information they have, because they feel it weakens them, and 2. Many of the information technology infrastructures necessary to implement true availability of knowledge across the university are sorely missing.
Two quick rememdies I could see being implemented are 1: an increased leadership role in developing cross training programs, so that every employee gets a better sense of what every other employee does. It would strengthen whole-system culture, create some support systems, and develop intergroup partnerships.
2: Let’s get an intranet here already. We have a fairly good web site as our extranet, but we do not really have anything in the way of a solid portal based solution as an intranet, where we could log in, get personalized, relevant information, make information about our business openly available to internal employees and key stakeholders, and just generally have a safe place to put important information.
Blackboard, for example, with its customizable front page, tabbed interface, and modular block content system, might be able to provide this (2) right now, but any efforts I have made in making this happen have met with resistance because of the unknown aspects of the workload, the system itself, and likely responsibility changes.
John.

Thread:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Post:RE:RE:W7Q1 – HRM Trends
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 10, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “The survey group also identified the top competencies HR professionals will need to address these trends: Managing change, Achieving (i.e. performance) under stress (which the survey termed “maturity”…interesting, huh?), Openess to new ideas/way of doing things, Flexibility/adaptability, Strategic/contextual thinking”
I think it’s really interesting that the survey shows that HRM need these competencies, because I feel like these have become skills and competencies that are necessary for a wide swath of workers at institutions following these trends.
I know that at Rider University the key focus points right now in my organization (OIT) is managing change – we are currently implementing a change request process, for instance. Achieving under stress has become the norm, rather than the occasional occurance.
Openness to new methods is getting resistance in my organization, but it has to change. Flexibility and adaptability are lacking, and this is evident in the lack of openness above. These two items are getting a lot of attention right now – if we do not change, we will not survive.
Strategic/contextual thinking has been slowly integrated over the last several years, and so I feel like we have this competency.
Great post Kim – thanks for sharing this with us. I feel like these competencies are exactlky the issues that we are dealing with in OIT, and if we aren’t excelling at them all yet, at least we are working hard to.
John.

Thread:W7Q4 – Safety and Health
Post:RE:W7Q4 – Safety and Health
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 10, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What is Human Resources’ role in promoting safety and health in the workplace?  How does information technology enable such initiatives?”
Human resources role in promoting safety and health in the workplace is both training based and compensation and liability based.
Human Resources must make sure that employees are performing their jobs safely, using best safety and health practices, and avoiding costly unexpected accidents, sicknesses, and lessened productivity of unhealthy or hurt workers.
The alternative to HRM helping employees to stay well is the organization paying for sick time, disability, lower productivity, accidents, higher insurance rates, and issues related to disability or sickness, such as depression.
HRM may make use of information technologies in order to offer training materials, enforce mandated viewing of training videos, assess knowledge about related topics, and offer electronic media to reinforce and standardize health and wellness related programming.
HRM may make sure that a forklift driver is performing her tasks in the safest manner possible. Maybe there is a forklift driver immersive video game that each driver must get a perfect score in once a month.
HRM may offer training classes on nutrition, mental health, interpersonal relationship building, and fitness. HRM might offer a web site that allows employees to track their nutrient and calorie intake over time and offer tips on how to improve their nutritional profile.
John

Thread:Week Six Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Six Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

This week we talked about training programs and how they are used in the organization in order to orient and correct members. We talked abut development programs and how they are used to take an employee at the baselne due to effective training and help them work themselves to the next level. We talked about the links between strategy, leadership, performance and training. We discussed the relationships between organizational members, and how training can help to define how those relationships should be conducted. We also had a great discussion about information systems and how they are used to facilitate Human Resource Management and the effective application of training and development.
Good stuff, thanks to all. Have a great weekend.
John.

Thread:W6Q5 – Information Systems
Post:RE:RE:W6Q5 – Information Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Jackeline says “It’s somewhat like blackboard but they give you a test at the end of the conference, you summit your answers and they give the score.”
In case any of you are new to Blackboard, or have only used it in these distance learning/grad courses at Rider, you may be interested to note that there is an extensive assessment system with automatically graded quizzes, surveys, essays, and more. It’s used more in undergrad courses; I haven’t yet been given a quiz or other test in the Masters OL program. However, should anyone want to have a quiz in Blackboard, we could.
John.

Thread:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says quite nicely “What makes things difficult from a management perspective is there are so many layers of interpretation involved in reacting to actions.  That’s why managers need to take the time to understand their audiences, so their actions can appeal to the most important values of those audiences.  No small feat.”
Great points, nice post.
j.

Thread:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Post:RE:RE:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “Ok, for example – the chief operating office is our leader – he is our leader because of the rights and priveledge of his role, he is in that role because he has the training (on hand experience and education) to be qualified to be in that role but is his behavior(s) a true act of leadership? Are his daily activities examples of leadership? Is someone in a leadership role a leader? ”
I think you’re talking about what Daft calls forms of Leadership Power (2007) which has distinctions such as positional power (leader because of rights and privilege of role) and personal power (daily activities are examples of leadership and others take note, then follow).
Leaders who rely solely on positional power for the right of leadership and ignore the growth of respect or other leadership tools will likely encounter difficulty in gathering support when the time comes. All followers will remember the orders and directives, but not necessarily the intrinsic value they elt for the leadership.
John.

Thread:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Post:RE:RE:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, March 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says “I believe this can translate to other areas as well such as technological training since good leadership not only requires leadership skills but a knowledge base of the technologies used in the work force and how to best utilize/implement them to meet the strategic plan.”
I think that many types and forms of training and development can be used in lots of ways in order to create a more effective work force. Imagine if in addition to technology training, and faculty development opportunties, for instance, which are widely and regularly avalable at Rider, if each element, goal, and mission point in the strategic plan were focused upon in a training opportunity?
What if we were given the opportunity to develop our sense of student centeredness as part of a program?
What if we were trained in how to never let someone roam the halls of Rider a stranger?
What if we were given a series of developmental programs on “Diversity and community” so that we might all have a common discussion to determine how best to achieve these strategic goals and community values.
There are lots of ways that training and development can be merged with leadership and strategy to make forward mvement on our goals.
Great points, Lauren.
John.

Thread:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 6, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “At one point I worked in a telemarketing company, which was managed, it sucked. Most of the employees had no relationship with the managers or each other.”
If you were managing that telemarketing company, how might you have run it instead? I can see why that kind of business might use a much more militaristic, black-and-white-rulebook, dictatorial approach, since there might be a lot of inexperienced workers, part time or temporary workers, teenagers, and high turnover because of the nature of the work. Maybe it could be different.
It’s the McDonald’s conundrum – do you start to introduce individuality where a script is supposed to be read? Do you take a flattened managerial approach so that everyone gets to have a say about how the script should go? If you start to lose business because the unscripted approach is ineffective, who gets put in the hotseat? The part time worker, or the manager?
In many forward thinking companies, and creative companies, and organizations that value critical thinking, I think some of our consideration leadership tactics can work.
In situations like the military, McDonald’s and telemarketing hot rooms, I think that it’s hard to go off script and still be effective as an organization. Your thoughts?
John.

Thread:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, March 6, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “It is clear that if an individual joins an organization and the relationship with the manager turns sour, for any reason, then one is going to have to leave the organization for more suitable opportunities.”
I love talking with and listening to Arthur, so much. He always seems to spark strong ideas for me in our forums. Thanks, Arthur.
So then, if we are great followers, don’t we try to sweeten and repair the relationship?
Why must we have to leave if the relationship turns sour? Why can’t the leader be made aware of the sour state and invoke leadership skills to repair the dyad?
If the leader and the followers are doing the right things in a feedback framework, won’t the problems of sourness become quickly apparent, and won’t the various sources of solutions (HRM, Employee Health services, mentoring, the suborganizational strategic plan) all begin to converge on solving the problem, if they are applied correctly? Big ‘if’, I know.
Many may feel that this is unrealistic, and that it is more realistic that “one is going to have to leave the organization” but I think that in the best realms of leadership, solutions would be sought out, employed, and avoid either dismissal or quitting, especially if the leader considers the losses in productivity, training costs, history, and knowledge if the follower leaves.
John.

Thread:W6Q5 – Information Systems
Post:RE:RE:W6Q5 – Information Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

whoops – the last URL should be http://www.rider.edu/technology/email
John

Thread:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Post:RE:RE:RE:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim quoted Zipkin and followed with a question: “‘People join organizations, and leave managers’.  Do you support Zipkin’s suggestion?  Why or why not?”
This is a particular situation: a person joins an organization that seems promising, pays well, and meets one’s needs. Then changes occur and the person is sometimes put under a lot of pressure by a manager. If the pressure is very high, perhaps the person leaves for a better situation. This seems like an example of Zipkin’s suggestion, but it’s one of a thousand reasons to leave.
Perhaps the skills required change, and the person can’t do the job, and they leave.
Perhaps the person’s skills improve, they find another job with better pay, and they move on.
Perhaps the person gets a new team that is problematic from a interpersonal communication perspective. They start looking for a better team somewhere else.
I’d say that management is only one facet of a diamond of possibilities for being satisfied in a job or not, but when your manager makes it difficult to do your job, I’d say that it has a chilling effect on your organizational committment. A bad project or customer or peer or other contingent may do the same thing though.
John.

Thread:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Post:RE:RE:RE:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “In an age-old debate, are you siding with the theory that leadership is learned, and that leadership behaviors are not innate or something one is born?”
I don’t believe in Great Man theory, in which leaders and leadership potential were determined by one’s traits, which might include strength and agility (Stephen Hawking is out) a deep and steady speaking voice (Christopher Reeve would be immediately negated as a leader.)
It’s an old and limited way of thinking about leadership, and I think it’s fairly shallow conceptually.
I feel that leadership must be studied and learned in much the way that we are, and it must go beyond theory to the reality of experiential leadership actions. Lessons must be learned, effort must be made, and situational analysis must be done.
It also depends of the contingencies of the situation in which leadership is called for. If a great and proven leader as president of a food company is put into a leadership role in a high technology CTO position, there is nothing predicting the success of the leader in the new position just because of previous performance.
It all depends on the situation, but I pretty strongly side against the idea of a born leader.
John.

Thread:W6Q5 – Information Systems
Post:RE:W6Q5 – Information Systems
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How do information systems within your organization support training, and employee relations programs?”
One information system used thoroughly for internal departmental relations is a system we’re all familiar with — Blackboard offers an organization tool that is virtually identical in functionality to our courses.
We have also used Blackboard in the past as a training materials housing, but we have since moved onto much less locally centralized materials, and have emphasized the use of 3rd party services, such as Google Docs in order to present technology specific training materials, such as the presentation for email changes.
http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=dckfm9fw_160crrz74f7
We also make use of static XHTML for the presentation and housing of certain materials, such as self-paced training videos.
http://www.rider.edu/technology/training
John.

Thread:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Post:RE:W6Q4 – Employee Relations
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says “Of all the essentials to developing such relationship and ensuring that these relationships and programs endure is the issue of trust, which is accomplished through clear and candid trust and unequivocal ethics. ”
While I did not see a question, per se, in Tim’s post, I agree that Trust is important in organizational member relations.
I know that in my own work, there has been a trend where I am simultaneously losing trust in my immediate organization, feeling much less motivated to excel, and very often feeling lost as to what to do about it. In the last year several events and meeting have taken place that have all but removed my trust in the culture and environment.
Without trust, it’s hard to invest yourself fully into the organization.
Without trust, it’s difficult to build a relationship.
Without trust, it’s hard to go beyond exactly what’s asked for, because the extra effort might be unappreciated, seen as a threat, or even used against you.
John.

Thread:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Post:RE:W6Q3 – Leadership & Training
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Are leadership and training linked?”
I think that very often they should be.
In the same way that HRM should be setting training opportunities that allow organizational members to be fitted with the particular skills that allow goals and vision set in place by the strategic plan, leaders must make sure to emphasize the importance of the gaining of the skills that allow for strategic success.
Let’s say that a straegic plan has the goal of diversity awareness and equality amongst members.
Let’s continue further that HRM offers and suggests attendance to training for Cultural Intelligence and Diversity Awareness.
A leader can sponsor, attend, make mention of, advertise, suggest, and outright mandate training in these topics.
Or, in a more flattened hierarchy or less directorial culture, a leader could find motivational valences to have the organizational members value and intrinisically want to attend the training of their own accord.
John.

Thread:W6Q2 – Training and Performance
Post:RE:RE:RE:W6Q2 – Training and Performance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim’s assessment was that “I might need training on compliance regulations as a marketing technician.  I might also need to develop my negotiating, conflict management or interpersonal behaviors to be more effective in my role as a functional leader.”
This inspired a metaphor for me, and maybe it works for you too:
Training is like material being cast into a mold to produce a work of art (material or media being trained to an existing form). Development is like making a whole new original work of art to be reproduced (material or media being used outright to develop innovations).
I don’t know if it’s sound, but I like it.
John.

Thread:W6Q1 – Training Programs
Post:RE:RE:RE:W6Q1 – Training Programs
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “have [managers] become so focused on “hard number measurements”, such as profit and loss, they have forgotten about the long-term benefits of training and developing its members? Could a leader of an organization “cut off its nose to spite its face”, when it electing to EXCLUSIVELY consider the short-term financials impact of decisions?”
If training is eliminated as a resource because it is the easiest thing to cut and therefore possibly increase fluidity, managers may be overlooking the idea that without proper training and development, organizational members may end up being demotivated according to path-goal theory, because they may be missing supportive leadership which asks questions such as “Do you feel confident in what you are doing?” and then works to provide an environment in which the member’s answer is in the affirmative.
Removing training as a resource makes the affirmative answer less likely.
If a member does not feel confident in what they are doing, and has no recourse through training in order to remedy the lack of confidence, the member may feel unsupported, at a loss for self-direction or external direction, and may be either demotivated, inactive, unproductive or all of the above.
Non-productive members are not likely to increase productivity numbers, so the idea of removing training with the purpose of increasing productivity makes no sense.
For more on House’s Path-Goal Theory of Leadership, please visit http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/paper.cfm?paperID=674
John.

Thread:W6Q2 – Training and Performance
Post:RE:W6Q2 – Training and Performance
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 3, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Are training and performance linked beyond more than just the obvious development of skills necessary for the job? How do training programs differ from development programs, or do they differ at all?”
Training and performance can be linked, but often are independent of each other.
If for instance, you get a review or other feedback that indicates the need for a particular skill, and that skill can be trained, and you take part in training, and as a result improve your feedback to the positive , then training and performance  may have a causal relationship or linkage.
Training and development programs differ in that training is I think more of a baseline requisite knowledge, whereas development may be more for advanced topics, possibly as a form of corrective work, building upon and modifying assumed or prerequisite knowledge or experience. Dessler says that training “refers to the methods used to give new or present employees the skills they need to perform their jobs” (p. 152) while Managerial Development is “any attempt to improve managerial performance by imparting knowledge, changing attitudes, or increasing skills” (p. 162).
John.

Thread:W6Q1 – Training Programs
Post:RE:W6Q1 – Training Programs
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, March 3, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What is the goal of a training program?”
The goal is an organizational member using organizational tools or handling organizational topics in the ‘intended’, sponsored way.
A training program is a path of learning about a skill or related set of skills that allows the people being trained to be introduced to an organizational ideal, led to use a tool, methodology, or concept in a particular way, or given the opportunity to develop themselves (or more likely to be developed) in a channeled, sponsored, protected way.
Organizational training programs allow the organization to simultaneously introduce a topic, influence feelings about it or integrate the organizational culture into it, and develop the organizational members into something closer to an ideal member.
This of course, is all dependent on it being done consistently, with leadership approval and feedback, and with participant guidance and feedback.
John.

Thread:Week Five Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Five Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I feel that this week I started to examine Human Resources as more than just the people people, and realized that in many ways, I have not been tapping into the abilities and role of my HR department to the degree that I should be.
I think there is a certain kind of stigma associated with walking into the HR department, e.g. you’re in trouble, or you’re having a problem with your money or boss or job, but I think and hope that there’s a lot of opportunity for HR to be a much richer resource than that, if people are led to understand that the stigma is a falsehood.
Great week as usual, friends. Have a fun weekend.
John.

Thread:W5Q3 – Leadership, Structure, and Job Design
Post:RE:RE:RE:W5Q3 – Leadership, Structure, and Job Design
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Does your organization have a formal professional development process (PDP)?  Is the PDP automated? What is the linkage between job description, job performance & evaluation, and professional development?”
Rider University uses a PDP system throughout the university. It has advocates like me who take it veryseriously, and detractors, who see it as a waste of time. It’s potential for integration as a productivity tool usually falls along those same lines.
It is not automated, if I understand the question correctly. It is a very (painfully) manual process, and is implemented in different ways by different people.
Job descriptions are updated by keen managers and followers during the PDP process. Job performance and evaluation are accomplished (by managers and leaders who integrate the PDP fully) according to strategic plan initiatives and goals and position based plans and goals as they relate to the University strategic plan.
Professional development may arise in situations where goals aren’t met, positions are inadequately prepared to excel at plans and goals, or where contingencies have rendered the employee out of touch with operational efficiency, but in my experience, the professional development and the PDP evaluations have been two separate and unrelated paths, though they should certainly be linked.
John.

Thread:W5Q2 – Leadership Influence
Post:RE:RE:RE:W5Q2 – Leadership Influence
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “If a leader is genuine about his or her goal of changing the culture of the organization, do you think he or she would “strategize” with the HR department, in order to profile needed changes in the experience, expertise, psyche, and behavior of workers? How might an HR department develop new assessment tools, in order to identify the “types” of people the organization targets for future employment?  What role do the IT systems play in candidate assessment and selection?”
Once a new direction is contrasted against a current ingrained culture, the types of people, artifacts, and goals can be strategically determined and the leader can begin to work with HR to help filter for candidates who have the personas, ideas, and diversity to help those things happen in the organization.
If the culture is messy, noisy, and laid back, and the new intended culture is towards more refinement, quietude, and formalism, then tools can be agreed upon by leaders and HRM to start to bring people in who have those elements as part of their experience. Those same tools can do compatibility and skills testing to make sure that cultural elements are not the only aspects being considered.
Even something as simple as a Myers-Briggs style personality test could begin to be used to develop strategies for team building. MB types can be determined and people could get extra attractiveness assigned for a particular role in a team, based on the idea that an introversion balance is necessary in the team being hired.
Dessler talks in the first chapter about how these sorts of tools are being used by Albertson’s in order to begin looking for candidates who are more friendly-retail-customer-supportive types by asking personality questions on their computerized emplyment forms.
John.

Thread:W5Q1 – HR Roles
Post:Certification and diplomas
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “one can have all the training tools and diplomas to state that they have further their education, however, if you do not have the “talent” and good work ethics that piece of paper will not take you to the next level”
Sonya, so true. In technology, there are some shops that will not even look at you unless you are certified, and there are others that don’t recognize certification as anything but an educational achievement on par with basic knowledge about something.
In OIT User Support Services, they have gone so far as to actually test one’s skills in the interview process for seriously considered tech support candidates by sitting someone down for an hour with a software and/or hardware problem like they might run into into the field (e.g. loose expansion card seating, faulty RAM, bios misconfigured) with all of the normal resources that would be available to them (e.g. software, internet access, tools, switchout parts) so the certification might help you get in the door, but when it comes down to it, if you don’t have talent (in this case to creatively troubleshoot computer issues) you just won’t be considered for very long.
This was introduced after we had a ‘certified’ candidate who was hired, and then sat on a single troubleshooting issue for several weeks because they had no idea how to solve the issue and was afraid to ask anyone for help. That particular problem wasn’t in the certification exam, I suppose. They were let go fairly soon after being found out.
John

Thread:W5Q3 – Leadership, Structure, and Job Design
Post:RE:RE:W5Q3 – Leadership, Structure, and Job Design
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim asked “Did I miss the points here?”
I don’t think so – I really liked the way you broke down those ideas.
John.

Thread:W5Q4 – Technology
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W5Q4 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “As far as face to face communication goes I find that my young cousins have lost the art/understanding of how to communicate with someone face to face-things like body language and confidence.”
This is funny, because I was just having a conversation with a teacher who I am trying to convince to talk her class into posting YouTube videos up without privacy restrictions set – it’s unlikely to happen for a host of reasons.
My argument (pro-open access) focuses on the idea that in the same way the students used to have to get up the courage to be seen and heard by a room full of their peers, and deal with that pressure and emotion, a similar phenomenon exists in YouTube.
Communication and speech students need to learn these new tools and need to deal with slightly different pressures of body language and self consciousness.
Those same students in YouTube can record and re record and re re record the message as many times as they want, but when they finally put up the video, it’s available for the world to see — many more than the roomful. They have different rules and etiquette to learn in order to navigate and master the new form of communication, but they are still as Cherron says, gaining the “art/understanding of how to communicate with someone face to face-things like body language and confidence.”
Thanks, Cherron – you were very clear the first time, I was just having some fun.
John.

Thread:W5Q3 – Leadership, Structure, and Job Design
Post:RE:W5Q3 – Leadership, Structure, and Job Design
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How is leadership, structure, and job design related? Does it matter if there is a solid example relationship between the three? How do relationships influence job design and organizational structure?”
Leadership must pay attention to the relatively rigid or flexible structure, assess and help develop a classical top down or flattened network style of relationships, and then help to leverage the strengths of that style to allow job design to be influenced by those contingencies.
If the leader is in control of a dominated workforce where individual voice is devalued, and quiet execution of orders is desired (Think McDonald’s or the military), it means that job design will be hierarchy driven, subordinate, disempowered, and have checks and balances in multiple places in the organization.  To develop a different kind of job with empowerment, democracy, and independence would counter the culture, possible disrupt workflow, and maybe even get someone fired (or killed).
John.

Thread:W5Q2 – Leadership Influence
Post:RE:RE:W5Q2 – Leadership Influence
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “By being the driving force behind documenting what is required for each role, and what kinds of behaviors and skills are expected for satisfactory, outstanding and unsatisfactory performance, HR does play a pivotal role in helping organizations identify and develop leaders.  However, HR has also become somewhat rigid in defining roles — for instance requiring that all marketing associate jobs look like “x” when, in fact, it might be appopriate for the team to have distinctions.  Getting to these kinds of subtleties has been a challenge and can impede leadership development.”
I think that according to Kim’s note about HRM awareness of role requirements and satisfactory performance makes them great sources of assessment for eemplar followership as well – what is a good follower supposed to be doing in terms of critical thought, feedback, and innovation? HRM should be able to answer that question.
HRM should also be taking Kim’s note about rigidity to heart – in our maelstrom of constant changes, it’s important that HRM not be looking always to what a role has traditionally been, but should be using various internal and external feedback to analyze what the best direction for a role is over time.
I’m saying that HRM should be doing partnership driven strategic planning per role to help define strategic planning per organization.
John.

Thread:W5Q1 – HR Roles
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W5Q1 – HR Roles
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “Hence, the chemistry and the way the individual is seen and perceived is as critical to his or her success as the tools and skills he/she brings to the table.”
I would agree that the best candidate for a job on paper and experience may fall apart in a new position due to a lack of cultural integration.
You can have the best technologist in the world – she knows how to program, how to think strategically, how to research and be aware of new technologies, how to work with end users to comfort and inspire them, and how to create beautiful and attractive work.
But, she is contemplative, calm, and likes quiet, dark spaces with which to execute her work.
Will she do well in a cultural situation where face time, quick responses, loud thumping music in the workplace, gut-think, raucous after-hours social gatherings, and other cultural assumptions exist?
Unlikely. I wouldn’t.
John.

Thread:W5Q4 – Technology
Post:RE:RE:W5Q4 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “Communication between everyone has certainly decreased considerably-with email, IM, and text messages it has changed how we communicate. Due to these changes people just seem to talk to each other less and now we have to learn a whole different form of etiquette so we don’t run into miscommunication. ”
I don’t think that an increase in technology based communication is causally or otherwise indicative of a decrease in communication. If anything, I think it shows an increase in communication, just a difference in the number and richness of channels available for the purpose.
I talk to people a lot more, just not as much face to face. The changes in etiquette are necessary, but I think and hope that improves our communication skills overall.
John.

Thread:W5Q1 – HR Roles
Post:re: Blackboard slowness.
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Jillian says “I would like to start out apologizing to everyone if I write something that was already said, at the current time blackboard isn’t working correctly and I cannot see what anyone has posted past Jackeline but I do want to comment on this subject. ”
I’d like to apologize to everyone for the state of Blackboard in the last 24 hours, though we are hopefully through the worst of it. Apparently there was a known issue at Blackboard Inc. that was not a known issue at Rider University about a certain set of configurations on Blackboard that throw the server for a loop.
We’re learning quickly about the issue, and have some fixes in place which should be evident as of 12 noon on Wednesday.
Just wanted to apologize for any inconvenience this caused.
John

Thread:W5Q4 – Technology
Post:RE:W5Q4 – Technology
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What is the role of technology in relation to people programs within the organization?”
Many here have begun talking about the ways in which hiring has changed due to technology – submitting resumes electronically, the removal of the ‘sneakernet’ or hand-delivered method of networking resumes, and the increase in importance of resume services and online classifieds as self-marketing and hiring research tools.
Many social networking sites such as facebook, myspace, and linkedin offer a wide set of tools, pitfalls, and resources for the potential employee/employer. You can often give yourself away as a person on these sites, and you can use them to showyour best or worst side.
There are also personal sites, blogs, photo sites and discussion boards where we all can leave trails and markers about who we are, what we are like culturally and in terms of diversity, and how our persona might fit or not with an organizational culture. Even if the online persona is not who we really are, it will often appear to be to a potential employer.
There is also the way in which technology can be used to assess one’s skill set, as in “this candidate is digitally literate, and might help us to improve our technology profile. ”
There is also the need for HRM to consider training programs in how to conduct one’s behavior online, how to commit to secure methodologies while using technology tools, and how to be more productive through technology. In our particular organization, this has been a business partnership between HRM and OIT, in which OIT executes the training. It is of course in everyone’s interest at Rider to learn about Internet Security.
John.

Thread:W5Q2 – Leadership Influence
Post:RE:W5Q2 – Leadership Influence
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How are HR influencing leadership practices? Please share examples to help illustrate your response. How is HR becoming more of a business partner instead of an employee relations department?”
HR is influencing leadership practices by consulting, developing, and informing leadership and followership in cultural identity, organizational development, and systemic functionality. HR influences leadership through positive and corrective feedback, and by strategic partnerships that help build cultural scaffolding for leaders to develop.
For instance, by offering organizational development sessions on topics such as sexual harassment, strategy development, and effective performance review, HRM begins to create a systemwide dialogue about how these things should be done, how they happen differently in one’s own organization, and highlights best practices in a learning environment.
The leader who wants to know how to lead effectively considering culture and organizational identity can do very well to start within HR.
John

Thread:W5Q1 – HR Roles
Post:RE:RE:RE:W5Q1 – HR Roles
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How important is it to hire the right people for a position within an organization?  Please cite an example to help illustrate your response.”
From a organizational systems thinking perspective and also from a organizational cultural perspective, it’s imperative that the people being brought into an organization, a department, a team and a position are assessed not only for how they will do the job, but in what way, and with what cultural and diversity benefits they will bring to the organization/department/team/position.
If someone is being considered for a technology position in an organization whose culture values and benefits from long hours, face time, overtime accrual, and  strong work ethic, the person being considered would hopefully raise red flags if upon the classic question of “What’s your biggest working weakness?” they replied “Being on time.”
Comparatively, in some cultures, such as those that value developing a personal schedule, or getting the job done regardless of a timeclock, this would be a minimal concern.
John.

Thread:next paper
Post:RE:RE:next paper
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I know one of our classmates used to work in HR, but he or she may not be willing to tell tales out of practice. 😉
I, however, would love to think and write about how I think Rider’s HR dept might react to a situational contingency. I might even know the answer!
I might be totally wrong, though. =0
John.

Thread:Week Four Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Four Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I had a great time this week as per the usual. Strategic failure is contingent on lots of things that can go wrong, such as buy in, mismatched culture and plan, and a lack of appropriate communication and feedback. It’s so important to identify and reinforce the culture and to grow an innovative learning environment in order to foster trust and growth. The best laid action plans will be derailed if not followed through on.
Have a great weekend everyone!
John.

Thread:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “The staff can never be smarter than the Leader, if the staff is smarter than the Leader then they should find someone within who is better equipped to Lead.”
I’m sorry, but I haven’t found this to be true at all. Leaders who get put in powerful positions due to timing, special circumstances, or even issues of kickback or position-as-a-means-of-friendly-compensation are all too common – leaders are not always taken on as leaders due to intelligence, capability, or the actual ability to lead, and very often the best leaders are strictly great leaders because they know how to motivate people much smarter, more technically capable in the expertise, or just plain harder working than themsleves.
Switching out leaders midstream due to a lack of intelligence comparative to underlings? I don’t think this happens very often. Leadership was disassociated from intelligence when we gave up on the Great Man Theory, right?
John

Thread:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Linda says “It is often said that smart leaders have a staff that is smarter than them because the staff’s performance reflects the leaders’ success directly.”
I’ve been a follower in a leadership dyad in which the leader insisted upon doing every aspect of the work, negating trust in me, and really working themselves twice as hard as necessary for fear that I or others might do a great job and make them look ‘unnecessary’.
When this happens, it seems to work to the counter of the leader’s intent, because all involved are actually less productive.
John.

Thread:W4Q3 – Action Plans
Post:RE:RE:W4Q3 – Action Plans
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts said “my supervisor was that point person who made sure that I followed through with my stated action plan. Although he had little to do the work involved in my action plan, he made sure that I essentially did what I said that I would do.  Not for nothing, but it became a reality check – I stopped committing to the above and beyond – and created plans within my means. ”
I think this speaks to the importance of feedback that many of us have been having discussions about this week.
The centralized person (Watts’ point person) providing corrective and reinforcing feedback on a regular basis helped her to know what was supposed to be going on, to correct the trajectory if it wasn’t, and gave her license to reassess/alter the level of work being done to make it more realistic.
Working within her means as opposed to working above and beyond was surely conveyed as a possibility during feedback, or else it would have been corrected.
John

Thread:W4Q2 – Corporate Culture
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W4Q2 – Corporate Culture
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 21, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “I also work for Rider, and I think that my area within Rider began to change just to keep up with rest of the organization.  It seemed to be one of those things that had to be done, even if we did not get new leaders.”
Cherron, I wonder how much you feel that you got a new leader when Mort came? Now that there is a plan to make the Conservatory an ‘official’ part of the new Westminster College of the Arts, I wonder if you feel that you have a new leader, such as Dean Annis, who may or may not have been seen as a leader in the same way that Scott might be.
When do other leaders emerge as  such for you and/or your organization? How far is leadership from you in the organization?
I’m interested, as I think this is key to the success of the venture.
John

Thread:W4Q1 – Strategic Failures
Post:RE:RE:W4Q1 – Strategic Failures
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 21, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says “Our division recently had our group meeting to discuss the results specific to our division.  However, if the problem areas that were identified are chosen to be ignored, nothing will change.”
This is true – you can have all the feedback opportunities in the world, formal, informal, positive or negative, but if feedback is only being done as a mental or social exercise without actual development of solutions or causal determination, or being used as a gateway for change, there is very little point.
John.

Thread:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says, quite nicely “Some Leaders are extremely good at masking their deficiencies by hiding behind their no2’s or via excellent oratory. The bottom is, results talk and that’s all that matters to stake and stockholders.”
I think that this is exemplified in many errant spiritual or charismatic leaders (Daft, 2007) and this is very often a type of personally powered leadership that is not necessarily subject to stockholders, or it is subject to stakeholders who are so taken with the personality of the errant leader that they’re willing to follow them like lemmings over a cliff.
This is a very enlightening discussion for me, Arthur – thanks a lot.
John.

Thread:W4Q2 – Corporate Culture
Post:RE:RE:RE:W4Q2 – Corporate Culture
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim asks “Can cultures really be changed?  Like that old commercial for tootsie pops:  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?”
I really believe that cultures can be changed – it takes time, attention, review, strategic planning, strategic action and corrective feedback.
I think that Rider’s culture has changed dramatically in the last 5 years – the attention and adherence to strategic planning (http://www.rider.edu/139_3194.htm), the introduction of new and repeated traditions (Rider Rock) the rebranding and advertising of new brands (Rider logo, Rider wordmark, Rider Broncs logo) and the arrival of a new, transformational leader (Mort) who replaced a beloved but transactional leader (Bart) have all played a part (or licked upon the pop) of changing Rider’s culture. I don’t think that anyone has crunched down yet – I think many of us are still enjoying the hard outer candy shell, and I think some would say they have not yet tasted the pop at all (Conservatory, Unicco, some key external stakeholders, etc.)
+10 points to Kim for the analogy involving pop culture, retro commercials, and a nicely packaged thought.
John.

Thread:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “But, ultimately, one has to be responsible for the project Leadership, not necessarily via personal power but, like you stated, positional power”
Agree with you as well. I think that this scenario is typical, but not necessarily always put into practice – sometimes failing leaders point to their workers as human shields, saying that despite good leadership and ample follow through, attention to planning, and corrective feedback, that the project/plan/organization failed due to the workers. Those workers!
And sometimes, people other than the leader are let go as a result, even when the leader may be wholly or partially to blame.
Sometimes a leader is able to survive for a long time this way, until the true reason for failure presents itself – perhaps a lack of leadership skills, or an acquired position due to convenience rather than talent, or an inconsistent adherence to the strategic plan, vision, mission, or goals.
John.

Thread:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Post:RE:RE:W4Q4 – Making Strategy Work
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “It is difficult for a project/plan to see the light of the day without the Leader’s leadership. He/She is the one who gets the ball rolling and instigates things. For all stakeholders can bring to the table, the leader is the one, ultimately, people will go to if events do not go according to plan”
I would say that the plan’s success is sometimes dependent solely on followers or organizational members who are not the ‘one’ leader you describe, but show intense, dramatic leadership. There are situations where the leader is actually directly in the way of progress, not knowing the finer details of the project but insisting on low level involvement, or being totally aloof aside from an occasional ‘how’s that going?’ which, I suppose, is better than nothing at all.
Sometimes a project gets started, worked on, and finished due to strong , responsible people beneath a leader (with positional power but not personal power, for instance) who are showing leadership themselves, despite her.
John

Thread:W4Q3 – Action Plans
Post:RE:RE:RE:W4Q3 – Action Plans
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What types of processes do your organizations employ, in the way of converting strategy to tactical projects”
At the highest levels of Rider University, everything is put into motion and defined in the strategic plan.
The strategic plan is used in developing division, office, department, and individual goals.
Those goals are reviewed and assessed for everyone yearly via their performance development plans.
The goals are tracked in my own office on a weekly basis – we sit down, go over the activity that took place, assess those activities in the larger scheme of goal achievement, and assess our current direction and tracking against vision, mission, and values at both the department level and the university level.
Yearly goals for my people might include things like “Add 52 blog posts on instructional technology solutions to a current problem or issue” which answers departmental strategic objectives such as:
“Provide information technology products, support, and services that meet the needs of the university community and achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction (http://www.rider.edu/2527_3023.htm)”
which in turn answers objectives in the University Strategic Plan such as:
“Continue to expand and upgrade the University’s technology infrastructure (voice, data, and video networks; Internet and Internet2 connections). Expand the wireless network. Continue to implement web-based services for students and to technology-enable classrooms. Responsibility: Assoc VP for Information Technologies
Timeline: Spring 2005 (3-5 new technology enabled classrooms per year)
Resources: Additional operating budget, fundraising potential (http://www.rider.edu/139_3194.htm).”
John.

Thread:W4Q1 – Strategic Failures
Post:RE:RE:RE:W4Q1 – Strategic Failures
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How might the leaders of an organization ensure they are using accurate information?  How might the leaders test the accuracy of the information they are using to develop strategies?  What have your own leaders used in validating assumptions?”
One of the ways that Rider University has put in place to assess progress on less visible numeric goals is to do surveys of employees, students, and other stakeholders in different targeted ways.
Employees all took part in a semi-anonymous climate survey which translated feelings about Rider into numbers which could be monitored and tracked.
It also gave warning signs in a Strengths and Weaknesses assessment. For example, groups who were collectively scoring low comparative to the rest of the university groups on questions such as “I feel respected by my supervisor” or “I feel that my voice is heard in my organization” are now being called into diversified focus groups in order to get deeper into those matters.
From a systems thinking point of view, the situation can be closely examined, patterns unearthed, and bad action loops broken or re-routed.
Then, another climate survey will be done, the outcomes will be compared to the first climate survey, and Rider will be able to see climate progress or decline and act accordingly to support or correct it.
John.

Thread:LECTURE FOUR
Post:RE:RE:RE:LECTURE FOUR
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I think that I assumed that there was a direct citation happening with something you put under ‘reference’. If the reference is a ‘for more information’ or ‘for further reading’, it makes much more sense to me.
Also, while you don’t expect it (as we’ve discussed in the past), some students including myself do like being able to use a lighter version of APA style formatting (e.g. naming one of our text authors and the publication year but not listing APA formatting references below the post since I can assume we all know who Glaid, Daft or Bryson are) in posts in order to cite singular ideas and reference sources. It happens more in other classes than this one – maybe a organizational culture difference.
I personally think it helps us to let the teacher know that these are academically supported ideas, rather than just our own. You’ve made it clear that examples and student experience are key (of a higher importance) to our discussions than academic citation or theoretic vocabulary regurgitation (Glaid, 2007) and so it holds lesser importance in this class as a legitimacy tool. There’s possibly a more prominent culture of trust in this class, as a result.
I liked the linked article, and was able to find it just fine using your reference, I just was looking for the direct connection (a specifically cited idea) between your article on strategic planning, strategic action plans, and the article text about Jeff Bezos.
I get it now and thanks for the clarification and discussion, Tim.
John.

Thread:W4Q3 – Action Plans
Post:RE:W4Q3 – Action Plans
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 18, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “What should be included in a company’s action plan, and how will it be monitored?”
In this week’s leture, Tim said “One concept to consider is “mechanism.” In order to make a plan become alive within an organization, strategies need to be broken down into smaller components (objectives), each of which must have a mechanism for implementation and adoption within the organization.”
I think a company’s action plan needs the goals, timelines, people, groups, responsibilities, alternative plans, and resources required very clearly defined – this mechanism of the strategic ideas into strategic actions allows for very little question of who does what by when.
The other part of this is monitoring: regular cyclical review, revision, and continuance of the development of the action plan and the strategic plan (Bryson, 2004). Goals, roles, and everything else in the action plan must be continuously reconsidered throughout the life of an organization in order to continue the move forward.
John.

Thread:W4Q1 – Strategic Failures
Post:RE:W4Q1 – Strategic Failures
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 18, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Think about why some strategies that seem great on paper fail miserably in practice. Think about your own organization’s experience here. Are there strategies that sounded good but ended up failing when implemented? How can you assess the cause of strategic failure? Was the strategy wrong or was the implementation faulty?”
One example of a strategy gone wrong is our recent departmental collective writing and adoption of a team charter. On paper, this was going to be a developmental tool that allowed us to quickly note when we were out-of-bounds, over-emotional, or disrespectful to others on our team. In practice, it has become an Orwellian tool of quick accusal, mental punishment, and superiority.
There are lots of reasons that we can see how it has failed – our outcomes are drastically different from our goals.
We wanted to improve intrinsic value. Many organizational members are feeling extrinsically affected, in the form of a stick.
We wanted to have a common language with which to discuss and remind of best possible behaviors. We now have two people disagreeing on terms like respect, accountability, and transparency.
We wanted to be able to exclaim that a particular action was in the best spirit of the charter. What we have now is people accusing others of ‘off charter moments’ or saying to one another in heated moments ‘that’s not charter’ which is antithetical to the purpose.
It looked so great on paper. It’s just not working in practice, and it has so much to do with leadership endorsements of negative police-state behaviors. In 60% (a guess) of members’ minds, the charter went from a shared vision to a meaningless set of rules of engagement, and in no way reflects its original intent.
John.

Thread:LECTURE FOUR
Post:RE:LECTURE FOUR
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 18, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim, and class, I like this week’s lecture a lot. I’m looking forward to discussing and troubleshooting examples of strategic planning follow through, revision, and renewal processes.
About Tim’s reference and the referral to the 1997 Federal Benchmarking Consortium Report: In what way did the Bezos/Amazon story relate to the lecture? Was the report or other concepts directly mentioned in the article, and I just missed it? Also, is there a way to refer to something like the report but not reference it further, or is the direct mention a level of citation in and of itself?
I’m always a little bit mystified by APA rules, hierarchy, and allowances, and I just wanted to see how references applied in ths case.
Thanks very much in advance, and great lecture, as always.
John.

Thread:Week Three Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Three Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

This week, we talked about a lot of great topics. Here’s a summary of what I gathered.
There was the importance of utilizing information systems to communicate, including newer outlets like blogs, articles, journals, RSS feeds, discussions, chats, video and more.
The relevance of surveys as tools for assessments and the idea of contacting the competition for advice and comparative technique.
Importance of the free access and flow of information
Using customer feedback and survey based assessments.
Asking others for assistance and advice, and doing competitive analysis. I said at one point, “Change is occurring outside of the institution, and if we don’t look at the competition and try to keep up, we will simply be left behind. ” I still feel this is true.
Importance of organizational voice for everyone.
Thanks, all for a great week.
John

Thread:W3Q4 – Leadership
Post:RE:RE:RE:W3Q4 – Leadership
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “As you consider the way your own organization conducts its strategic planning, does the leader or the leadership team conduct the entire planning process by itself?  Or, do they encourage input by others?If others are involved, is the strategic planning process supported by information systems?”
In this most recent email project, we have had our first real venture into a whole organization strategic planning and modification process. In the past, it would have been limited to leadership, and orders would have been given from on high.
This has been much more open, (and in a way more painful) which slows things down quite a bit. but also makes things much more transparent to all involved. Generally speaking, it is a grand and sweeping improvement for our organization.
We use an ‘organization’ in Blackboard (almost identical to a class) in order to track changes, record ideas, have discussions, share documents, and relate outcomes.
John.

Thread:W3Q3 – SWOT
Post:RE:RE:RE:W3Q3 – SWOT
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Does your organization proactively monitor the strategies and tactics used by your competition?  Is this information stored or archived within the information systems?”
Sometimes our information systems themsleves are modified due to a competitive analysis or stategic inquiry of a competing institution.
For example, we are in the process of moving all of our faculty and staff to a new email system. One of our big questions was whether to go ahead with our original plan of migrating users from our scheduling calendar called Oracle Calendar, to the calendar available in the new online email client called Zimbra.
I personally was very excited about the possibility of having my calendar available right inside my email.
However, by contacting other similar sized institutions who had gone through similar transformations, we found out quickly that including the calendar migration as part of the change was the difference between nightmarish support scenarios and a successful continuation of service.
We often look at and even consult our competition so that we can keep our institution competitive, or in this case, just keep it running.
John.

Thread:W3Q3 – SWOT
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W3Q3 – SWOT
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 15, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Does your organization use competitive “benchmarking” in determining its strategic plan?”
I think that my organization and my division specifically does competitive benchmarking in order to determine strategic planning directions.
When our organization does a external competitive analysis as part of a SWOT analysis for strategic planning, we look at what we are not necessarily doing well, and what others are doing exceptionally well, and then based on that comparison, we determine if those differences will lead to students going to a different institution or not.
For instance, maybe distance learning is growing in importance to Rider University, not because the faculty here are excited about it or because the administrators are desperate to offer new ways for students to learn, but because other local and remote competitively matched institutions (take your pick – we’re in central NJ near PA) are pulling our potential students away when they can say that they offer entire graduate programs online with in class options, which, by the way, we can’t say.
Change is occurring outside of the institution, and if we don’t look at the competition and try to keep up, we will simply be left behind.
John.

Thread:W3Q2 – Honest Assessment
Post:RE:RE:RE:W3Q2 – Honest Assessment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “From your assessment of your own organization, is information permitted to move freely internally and externally? ”
While my overall organization is rather good at allowing information to move freely  internally and externally, evidenced by Rider’s recent internal and external communications in relation to various student deaths, my own divison has much more trouble being completely open and transparent.
Very often we cite transparency as a value in our technology division, but when it comes to telling end users exactly how to do something, telling each other the fine details of our jobs, or telling supervisors and followers precisely what is happening at any given time, we often find roadblocks to information instead.
During our email server upgrade project, during communication planning, very often we would argue as a group about what level of detail we were willing to share with users, for fear that users might know enough to ‘get themselves in trouble’ but proponents of openness agreed that users should be able to make their own decision about how much information is too much information. Proponents for openness often lost.
Whenever the idea of cross training is raised, it is often quickly dismissed as a waste of time in my division, since those who have the most to lose by letting others know  exactly what they know how to do are often in higher positions of power than those who would benefit from knowing.
When a problem occurs on the network or in a system we sometimes don’t learn as a group or as an organization until after the problem has been resolved if at all, because the owner of a given system might feel as if they appear inept despite the fact that knowing about a problem en masse is more likely to result in a quick uneventful resolution. Not telling anyone when there’s a problem is more likely to result in an increased negative impact and longer repair time.
John.

Thread:W3Q1 – External Environment Information
Post:RE:RE:RE:W3Q1 – External Environment Information
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How do organizations employ technology to communicate with its external stakeholders, including investors, suppliers, clients, partners, and communities?”
Organizations might use extranet sites, employee or project blogs, electronic articles in related journals and periodicals, XML based automated updates such as RSS feeds, automated transaction driven supply chain databases, and content management systems.
Then of course, there’s email, discussion boards, and one to one and one to many chat, whether text based, video based, or even whiteboard based.
There are hundreds of rich communication channels when you consider employing newer technologies.
John.

Thread:W3Q2 – Honest Assessment
Post:RE:W3Q2 – Honest Assessment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asked “How can a company get an honest understanding of what the company’s resources and limitations are?”
If we are talking strictly about assets, financial status, and productivity, the numbers are there to be had by a review board, or a ‘SWOT team’. But there is more to resources and limitations than money, of course.
I think that in terms of honesty, there is little chance of a more honest review than the consumer, customer, or other ‘recipient’ stakeholders like them. As students, for example, we hold great organizational strategic information for Rider University, and are possibly undervalued in that role.
Anonymity will often help in coaxing a respondent to really tell you how they feel, no matter what kind of stakeholder you are, but generally speaking, I think a customer will likely let you have it, good or bad, anonymous or not.
A customer who has just had a great experience or an awful one may be willing to share that experience with the organization, given the opportunity. Working in regular feedback opportunities is key to being able to assess progress, determine your best resources, and realize your current limitations, so that you can begin to feed discussions in strategic planning, organizational review, and vision.
John.

Thread:W3Q1 – External Environment Information
Post:RE:RE:W3Q1 – External Environment Information
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Becky says “For instance, when I was in admissions, we were trying to determine how other music colleges handled their auditions: if their system worked and if they had plans of changing the process. We had a grad student call a list of our competitors (from her own cell phone) and simply inquire as if she were a prospective student.  I know was a little sneaky but it worked.  We had set up an excel spreadsheet to record the information. ”
I suppose depending on the particular department and relative competitiveness, this level of stealth is unnecessary.
We call ‘competing’ schools’ technology organizations all the time in order to compare notes, share experiences, and try to not re-invent the wheel. We establish connections across any boundaries that we might have simply by the communal nature of the work that we do — using technology to help people get things done.
I’m sure that this has so much to do with Academia, and that if we were technology groups in different cogs-n-sprockets manufacturers, we might not be able to converse freely in the same way.
I think it’s great that there is a certain openness amongst people in my profession within my industry, but I think we’re kind of unique in this regard.
John.

Thread:W3Q1 – External Environment Information
Post:RE:RE:W3Q1 – External Environment Information
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 11, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Matthew says “Have you been involved with our program? If so, what was your experience? If not, how come? Taking answers from these simple questions will give you a great idea of some our your opportunities to reach out to students, as well as threats to stay away from.”
This has been a great source of information for us too — surveying faculty, staff and students both who have and have not participated in training programs to find out what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, what we’re hitting and missing, and asking how we can improve.
Trying to guess at these things is an effort in futility, and taking in the information without acting upon it or altering your plan when you see issues can lead to disaster.
One issue here is that very often we’re put in the position of being statisticians, psychologists, or mind readers when we create our survey instruments, and we only realize our mistakes after we start getting the surveys back, such as asking a question that not only results in a ‘wrong’ or misleading answer, but realizing that sometimes you’re so interested in getting a particular answer that you are leading the respondents down a path to it.
The alternative though, of not asking the questions at all, is worse.
John.
John.

Thread:Week Two Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week Two Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 8, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

On this week’s topic of strategic planning, our conversations cemented my belief that strategic planning is an integral process of discovery, construction, and revision that allows an organization to move forward, adjust for errors and crosswinds, move forward again, stop and scan the horizon for the best direction, and move forward again, always keeping one eye on the map.
And then there’s the times you actually move backward, even though you think you’re moving forward. But with the management process, as an organization, you systematically and periodically stop before you get too far, reassess the situation, check your original plan and goals, check the wind again, and start in the right direction, again.
Without strategic planning, you might as well just sit down, and well, stop.
Have a great weekend everyone.
John.

Thread:W2Q3 – Application
Post:RE:RE:RE:W2Q3 – Application
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 8, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris said “As an example, CCS is not directly responsible for advancing technology, but we are responsible for creating non-traditional course formats for both CCS and traditional students, which in turn impacts OIT and therefore advancing technology.  I see a much greater connectedness now than ever before in Rider’s history.”
It’s so very true – even in strategic objectives that are not directly referring to technology, but are wholly referring to student centeredness or faculty development, technology is inferred and impacts/is impacted by those strategic goals. We are all becoming more part of one. The lines are blurring, and it’s a wonderful thing to realize.
John.

Thread:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 8, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris hits it out of the park when she says “each little bitty department and each large division are all part of Rider, and we need to change how we think.”
Since Mort came, we at Rider have indeed begun to enjoy a much less barriered organizational structure, and his ‘we’re all together in this’ point of view extends beyond offices, beyond divisions, beyond campuses to the other side of the world as evidenced by his efforts with China, Italy, Study Abroad, international programs, and other world-view, multicultural, multinational endeavors.
Things are changing, and while the change has been, in many cases, difficult, I think the outcomes will be beneficial, long standing, and multifaceted.
John.

Thread:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 8, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris says “Thankfully we all share a great sense of humor too.”
You guys were a hoot. j.

Thread:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 8, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Jackeline says in regards to strategic planning for her organization that the “staff is involved in the process and the objectives assigned to them are in their yearly perfomance review (they are made accountable for the planning)”
Jackeline, your note sparks some questions for me. Firstly, how are staff ‘inovolved’? In other words, can you give some specific examples of how the staff are included, given consideration, gievn an opportunity to shape the organization, or be innovative?
I can definitely understand the idea of inclusion of strategic initiatives as a part of performance reviews, as Rider often suggests this as well. You use the word ‘accountable’ in relationship to performance reviews and strategic objectives. I was wondering in what way they are truly made accountable?
Does someone get a lower numeric progress indicator if they don’t reach strategic objective goals? This is one area in which I think Rider struggles to match Performance Development Plans and the Strategic initiatives: the correlation is clear but the outcomes due to missing goals or initiative target dates is not.
Just some thoughts.
John.

Thread:W2Q3 – Application
Post:RE:RE:RE:W2Q3 – Application
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “So the conservatory has begun to develop one of their own.”
The conservatory is a part of Rider University, and will specifically be a part of the Westminster College of the Arts, as per Dean Annis’ presentation last Sunday. The Strategic Plan for WCA is directly related to the Rider University Strategic Plan, and is certain to be directly incorporated in goals of the next revision of the Rider University Strategic Plan. Regarding the Conservatory, it really was separate and apart from the University up until the recent events of the creation of the WCA, which consists of WCC, The Conservatory, and the College of Fine & Performing Arts (new).
However, regardless of all of that, there are clear examples of inclusion of any and all colleges at Rider University such as that below.
Strategic Direction 2: Advancing academic achievement and leadership skills
Context – Academic achievement is advanced by a student-centered learning environment that challenges, motivates, and guides students to be actively engaged in their own learning.It is evidenced by students’ motivation and their mastery of specific knowledge, skills, and abilities. Rider seeks to strengthen its commitment to the academic achievement of our students by coordinating honors programs across the institution, further extending learning beyond the traditional classroom, fostering additional student-faculty research and collaboration, and ensuring students’ success in their chosen programs, disciplines, and professions and in admission to top graduate and professional schools.
What, exactly, about this does not apply to Westminster Choir College as well as the College of Continuing Studies, as well as any other? It doesn’t apply to Technology directly, but even in this particular Strategic Direction we are called to act.
John.

Thread:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Post:RE:RE:RE:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Becky says “I suspect that President Rozanski and his team are doing a continual monitoring like Arthur had written in his response.”
You may or may not have taken part in the Climate Survey that was done last spring. The climate survey was part of the monitoring process, to make sure that the plan is having the intended effect on at least 3 sets of stakeholders: faculty, staff, and administrators. Te climate survey has suggested deeper focused visits to some groups on our campuses in order to unearth some unexpected results, such as feelings of a lack of voice amongst some groups, and a lack of respect between manager and employee.
The strategic plan has end-dates for each of its goals, so it can be assumed that a new plan will be in place soon after the current one’s end-dates have been reached. However, I think that the revision process is ongoing, and the recent climate survey is evidence of that.
John.

Thread:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris asks innocently “don’t you also think that once the initial plan is announced and cut up into sizes we can all swallow and understand, that it’s just normal human nature to lose enthusiasm for the plan?  Rider’s strategic plan was rolled out in 2005.  Would you agree that a good idea would be to ‘refresh’ the community on the plan[?]”
Chris, I think that it is often in the nature of humans to lose interest in anything new after it’s not new anymore, which is why many HDTV owners don’t revel in the presence of their sets after a month like they did the first night they watched it. That being said, I think it is one’s interest in the benefits of an idea that can restimulate interest.
I feel like the community is constantly refreshed on the plan, since each year we have the opportunity to tally our achievements against our goals as laid out in PDPs which are likely heavily influenced by the Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan will have to begin being completely revised and rewritten after the specific end dates of the goals are on the horizon.
However, in my office, we regularly (weekly/monthly/semesterly) look at our divisional goals in the strategic plan, the goals in our PDPs, and the values and vision of Rider in order to help us stay refreshed. We are all leaders, and it is our duty to pursue the goals with vigor.
Had a lot of fun in training today!
John.

Thread:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Post:RE:RE:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Cherron says “This is similar to what my organization is doing, we are apart of Rider yet are left feeling like a forgotten about step child. The strategic plan is divided into 5 parts each containing about 20 people, they all work together as equals sharing responsibility.”
Cherron, although my name is not specifically mentioned in the strategic plan, there are many elements of it that cannot happen without my direct cooperation in my role. My Associate VP is cited as the responsible party, but she will not be directly doing all of these tasks, and may not even know the full extent of the work involved for many of them. Her role is to make it happen according to the plan. Our job is to manage and execute the plan.
Case in point, let’s look at the Rider Strategic Plan:
Under “Strategic Direction 1: Strengthening student-centeredness” in section 4. “Strengthen service to students through student-centered management, technology, and other initiatives.” it says “b) Continue to expand and upgrade the University’s technology infrastructure (voice, data, and video networks; Internet and Internet2 connections). Expand the wireless network. Continue to implement web-based services for students and to technology-enable classrooms. Responsibility: Assoc VP for Information Technologies Timeline: Spring 2005 (3-5 new technology enabled classrooms per year) ”
While it does not mention me directly in the text, it mentions me in the spirit and physical acts of the task. In order for this task to be completed, I have to work with others in my division to make this happen. The Assoc. VP for Info Tech isn’t going to be working on any of this (hands-on) herself, I assure you.
Do you still feel like the plan doesn’t actually apply to you? Where do you see yourself in the plan? What do you do everyday that works towards the goals in the plan?
John.

Thread:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Post:RE:RE:RE:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “Strategic planning focuses on the big picture. Strategic management is about implementing and allocating necessary resources of what was envisioned throughout strategic planning (Byrson 2007)”
Thanks for the clarification, Arthur. I feel like there is a kinship between the relationship between ‘Leadership’ and ‘Management’ and the relationship between ‘Strategic Planning’ and ‘Strategic Management’.
In both cases one is about transformation and vision (the former) and the other is about transaction, sustainance and status quo (the latter).
I recognize the difference, I just wasn’t sure about which Tim was specifically asking about.
John

Thread:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Post:RE:RE:RE:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, February 7, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur rendered Bryson’s definition of Strategic management as “Continual Monitoring, Shaping of communication to diverse audiences, Create  strategic agendas at different levels of the organization, Guiding all other management processes in integral manners. (Byrson 2007)”
Tim the asks “Can an organization “save time”, by avoiding any of these steps or phases of strategic planning?  If so, which?  Why is it not prudent to remove or eliminate the vital components of the strategic plan?”
An organization might save time or money in the short run by avoiding monitoring, communication shaping, creating level based agendas, and creating a framework to guide processes with the strategic plan, but some unintended results might be:
Unforseen issues due to inaccurate or shoddy monitoring proccesses, such as hidden internal threats, negative employee climate, or financial status misconceptions.
Without properly shaping communication, stakeholders may become confused, feel that they are not being properly attended to, or become demotivated such that it affects general productivity.
Without creating a plan that speaks to various users at their own levels, stakeholders may quickly feel that the plan doesn’t actually speak to them, or that it has any significance for their organizational area or level.
Without having the plan itself well known and advertised as a guide for decision making and issues resolution, organizational members may choose instead to devise their own plan, possibly one that counters the strategic plan itself.
Without an organizational strategic plan in place at all, individual planning is guaranteed. For some organizations, I think this is an everyday reality.
John.

Thread:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Post:RE:RE:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “Most corporations probably believe they are using some form of strategic management.  However, employees, including senior executives, may not fully understand the what, how and why of strategy. ”
I think this is very true. We here at Rider have been deeply affected all over by the most recent strategic plan, especially where our own specific areas, like technology, are directly called upon for goals and innovations.
Despite this level of direct requests, goals, and directives, not everyone in the Technology group knows what a strategic plan is, how it affects them, why it’s important, or how it should affect their decisions.
Just having the plan isn’t enough. Just thinking there is a plan is nothing at all. It has to be created in a transparent forum, with democratically driven input from stakeholders. It has to be advertised, and applied in real everyday applications at the specific job level. It has to be supported and reinforced by managers and leaders, and it has to be believed in and followed by organizational members.
Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of papers in a nice binder. On a shelf. Somewhere.
John.

Thread:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Post:RE:RE:RE:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur engages a conversation when he posts “John states,”Many organizations may not do this because it is very difficult to do the assessment, construction, and revisions of strategic management”. I am not putting your statement in doubt as you seem to have more experience than many of us in this class however, I would be extremely curious to find out what you mean by “many organizations”, how many of them and on which barometer you gauge their numbers.”
I would have done better to say that “The organizations that Tim suggests might not be doing this may not be doing it simply because it is difficult to do the assessment, etc.”
I do not have any citations, studies, or other statistics on companies who forego strategic planning or management – I was suggesting that if an organization, let’s say “Al’s auto parts”, a fictional one million dollar a year profit local business with ten employees and a thousand regular customers, is indeed foregoing proper strategy assessment, construction, and revision, it is not necessarily because they are intending to fail.
They may not know or believe that strategic planning is necessary for the success of their business.
They may never have taken leadership classes, but rather found success in an older model of customer satisfaction alone, and may now be struggling to find out why business is failing despite a long great 15 year history.
They may know about strategic planning and management, but not have the time, staff, or money to properly implement it.
They may be looking at the business as a model of self driven, automated, or fate driven business, in which case they may see planning, asking questions, or developing new methods of practicing business (innovations) as an effort in futility.
They’d be a short lived business, but I’m sure that you know that many businesses don’t know what strategic planning or management even are, much less implementing them well.
As I’ve said, at Rider, they’ve only really done a full blown, top-down awareness and development campaign of the strategic plan, as far as I can tell, in the last 5-10 years.
If a modify button were present, Arthur surely would have convinced me to use it. Coincidence? Revision is a big part of strategic management too. 😉
John.

Thread:W2Q3 – Application
Post:RE:W2Q3 – Application
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Reflect on how (or if) strategic management is carried out in your organization. What has worked, and what hasn’t? Why?”
Strategic Management may have been in place before Mort Rozanski’s arrival at Rider, but it wasn’t nearly as evident as it was after he came.
Our stratgic plan and it’s management process has been in place at Rider for a while now. and it is highly visible. It’s suggested as a part of our performance development planning (PDP) so that the strategic plan is related to all employees and reevaluated every year in regards to our progress towards goals.
I think that one of the remaining hurdles is making sure that everyone is aware of the strategic plan, that it is related on a regular weekly or similar frequency basis to our work, and that it is made very clear that the plan is intended for everyone here, not just administrators or certain workers.
Never at any other time in my ten years at Rider have I had a stronger idea of the direction and intent of the University, because it is related in the document itself, as well as the processes related to it, like the PDP reviews.
Rider’s strategic plan, mission and vision can be seen at http://www.rider.edu/139_3194.htm
Our community values statement can be seen at http://www.rider.edu/139_7399.htm
John.

Thread:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Post:RE:W2Q1 – Strategic Management
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Why should an organization institute a strategic management process? Why don’t all organizations do this?”
Organizations should institute a strategic management process so that they can know why they exist, where they are going, how to get back on track, and how to stay on track. An organization without purpose might as well disband, and an organization without a clear purpose, vision, or understanding of its goals is on a fast track to failure.
Many organizations may not do this because it is very difficult to do the assessment, construction, and revisions of strategic management. There is also a faction that might believe that organizations are naturally self-ruled entities that don’t necessarily need to know their future direction, study their history, or revise a current action to improve outcomes. Those organizations are likely to have infighting, a lack of leadership, and a problem committing to innovation.
Running an organization without a strategic plan is like trying to get from Trenton to New York without a well established road or signs. You might be able to do it, but it won’t be easy, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll succeed.
John.

Thread:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Post:RE:W2Q2 – Components of a Strategic Plan
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I’m a little confused if we are talking about ‘components of a strategic plan’, as per the subject of this thread, or the ‘components of strategic management’, as per the question in the post, but I’ll do my best to answer the question. I don’t sense that they are one and the same.
Bryson gives several sets of guidelines for strategic management systems in chapter 10, but specifically talks about some common components including “construction, maintenance, and revision” as part of what is “almost always an evolutionary process” (2004, p. 293). If any of these is not paid the proper amount of attention, it is likely that the strategy will fail, sooner or later.
Bryson also tells us that stategic management is “very often a hybrid of two or more strategic planning methodologies” such as the collaboration approach in which there is some degree of shared power in determining strategy or the contracts approach, a centrally powered, top down approach (2004, pp.278-279).
The methods used to manage strategy will differ according to the contingencies of the organization, the environment that exists, and the environment that is desired. Not every approach will work for every organization.
John.

Thread:Week One Summary – Thread
Post:RE:Week One Summary – Thread
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, February 4, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

In week one, we taked about Innovation, the Innovative Environment, Strategic Planning, Change, and Ethics.
As leaders, it is important that we manage change in such a way as to bring about innovation. We should work to make sure that those innovations are possible by laying the groundwork and maintenance on an innovative environment. Strategic planning can help us to develop and produce innovation by giving the organization a framework by which innovation is allowed, encouraged, and expected. Change is inevitable, but the ways in which we deal with it will prove or disprove our leadership abilities. We must above all consider the ethics of our decisions and organizational directions, keeping in mind the tension between the benefits of innovation and the requirements of ethical action, no matter the cost.
John.

Thread:Syllabus Clarification
Post:RE:RE:How to embed YouTube videos in Blackboard
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Sunday, February 3, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Here’s a screencast that demonstrates the technique for embedding YouTube video into Blackboard posts. Enjoy!
The great thing about screencasts is that you can watch them more than once. 😉
John.

Thread:Syllabus Clarification
Post:RE:RE:How to embed YouTube videos in Blackboard
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Sunday, February 3, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

This is a test

Thread:Syllabus Clarification
Post:How to embed YouTube videos in Blackboard
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Lastly, how do you embed the video box, so the audience only has to click on the start/play button?”
Firstly, congratulations on your video – it will hopefully add a new dimension (the fourth) to your online teaching style and begin to allow those of us who are primarily visual learners to enjoy your teaching in a brand new way. Way to go!
The embed is a little bit of a trick, which used to be easier in the old version of Blackboard. It’s a bit more difficult now, but not impossible by any means.
You need the URL portion of the embed code from the specific YouTube video page. The embed code is always listed next to the video below the description and contains a lot of instructions.
My embed code from your latest video is

The important part that we need from this is the URL portion without the quotes:

We also need to note the specified width and height of the video, which we will use in Blackboard. 425 x 355 is the default dimension of all youtube video embeds.
Note that simply pasting the full embed code into Blackboard in the edit window does what you see here – just repeats the code itself, not the video.
Just pasting the code into the HTML for your post (the method that youtube expects) is not allowed. Blackboard strips it because of the potential danger of direct embedding of untrusted content.
Normally, like on a blog, you can just use the embed code in the HTML to embed the video. Copy, paste, and you’re done. Blackboard refuses iframes and embeds, and so we have to use this small workaround.
If you are using either Firefox or Internet Explorer there is now a wysiwyg editor toolbar when you type in a posted message. It allows you to bold, italicize, and strikethrough text, but what we want to do here is add a flash video which is the last option on the bottom row for me. (the red stylized F)
In that dialog, you’ll be asked a few things. Firstly, you’ll need the URL from the embed code to put into the ‘specify source URL’ box.

you need to specify the height and width of the video as 425×355 which is different from what’s there by default in the dialog.
Then hit submit, which will give you a preview page, which you must hit submit for as well. (You hit submit once for the form and once for the resulting page)
After this, you’ll be shown your original post again with the video preview. You may just see a white empty box during your post. Hit submit for the post and it will be available to all of us.
I will try to make a screencast to show you exactly what I do, which would make it a lot easier to understand, but I don’t have that right this second.
Great job!
John.
Here’s your video you shared embedded using this method:

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q4 – Change
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Matthew says “I am not sure if IT has special rules for this type of thinking”
If the type of thinking we’re talking about is the ‘older-users-can’t-adapt’ line, I can only say that a technologist who makes generalized sweeping assumptions about users ability based on age or other diversity criteria is making a mistake.
In my experience, it’s a convenient idea and I’ll give you that it’s a commonly held belief, but it’s an unfounded correlation.
John.

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q4 – Change
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris says “Faculty and staff are being trained now.  I have found myself to be a bit leary, not having been trained yet or ‘visualizing’ the system.”
Chris, rest assured, this set of changes will be fairly minimal, and the benefits are many, including speed, space, and capability. I’ll be doing your training myself, and we’ve been having a great time so far.
John.

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q4 – Change
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris says “A good leader will be able to provide the right recipe so that all workers embrace change.”
Well said, Chris. I would say too that a good leader won’t make any assumptions about ability (technology or any other) based on someone’s age (or other primary diversity), since that, of course, walks a line of prejudice.
John.

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q4 – Change
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris says “you suggested using [ http://docs.google.com ] to write and edit our group report.  I was intimidated at first, but once I got into [ http://docs.google.com ], it wasn’s so bad.  I ended up really liking it for the type of group project we had.”
Chris this is a long standing tradition in my work – I often spend my days convincing people that some tool I’m proposing isn’t as tough to use as they think it will be, that it will just take a little getting used to, and that it will make life easier in the long term.
It’s always easier to do when I have visual examples or when I’m making the case for a new technology in person. Having this conversation with people over the phone, email or (as was the case with our group) a text based discussion board, is like a kiss of death for innovative technology adoption, because I very often can’t ‘show’ someone the benefits as easily over those less rich communication channels.
I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Google Docs yet. At least not after they’ve tried it. 😉
John.

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q4 – Change
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says that the University Communications department uses “online media databases.”
Lauren are you referring to the use of Cumulus here? Just curious.
John.

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:Relating age to technology ability
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “When it comes to changes involving information technology (IT), do you think most people enthusiastically embrace change?  Why or why not? Do the levels of enthusiasm change with the demographics (generations or age) of the people involved? Please cite examples to help support your response.”
I think most do not enthusiastically embrace change, unless the change is clearly for the better — even then it’s often a case of, yeah but I still have to learn the new way.
This new interface for the discussion boards in Blackboard 7 is a great example – for students it’s an insignificat change, but we still got plenty of calls asking where students had to go to see messages in discussions.
For faculty, it is a more significant change, because extra features such as the grading of discussions becomes possible, though you have to know how to set that up, what the options mean, and how it might affect students. A faculty member can stumble upon the features and experiment to get a desired result, but many just want it to ‘just work’ and so they’ll bypass the new features despite some obvious benefits.
We all only have so much time in the day.
The proposed theory of age vs. technical ability is one of my personal pet peeves. I vehemently oppose the idea that age has any relation to technical ability – I propose instead that technical ability has more to do with one’s willingness to ‘hack’ or break the system with benevolence. If you are 90 years old, and not concerned with ‘breaking’ the computer by clicking spontaneously on a few buttons that seem to make sense, you’ll do more in 10 minutes than someone who is 20 years old, but reluctant to click on the wrong button.
Technology prowess has nothing at all to do with age – it’s a relative willingness to hack (LeMasney, 2008).
John.

Thread:W1Q4 – Change
Post:RE:RE:RE:W1Q4 – Change
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “How important is it for people to be able to “visualize” the way innovation will impact their lives?”
In my experience, I find this to be essential.
When I present someone with the idea of using a new technology to do something, their first reaction is often “that’s difficult”.
One of the ways we can get past that is for me to help them along, past the original difficulty of setup, past the experience of going through it a few times, to the point where everything is working as it should, and the innovative tool is in place and being used.
If someone can picture themselves in that place, having saved themselves a half an hour of work in three clicks, or having a way to not have to travel for an hour to meet with someone, etc, then we can negate those initial threshold barriers to adoption.
If they can’t see themselves using it or benefitting from it, I’m just wasting my time and theirs in training.
John.

Thread:W1Q3 – Strategic Planning
Post:RE:RE:W1Q3 – Strategic Planning
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Becky says “To my knowledge, it has not been done here at Westminster. Perhaps some upper management from WCC have been involved with it over at Rider.”
Rider’s strategic plan has been pretty well advertised, and is available at http://www.rider.edu/139_3194.htm
In it are key strategic elements that we all see as goals, no matter our individual departments or structure. There are some very specific goals in regards to technology, admissions, teaching, facilities, etc. and they certainly apply to the Princeton campus as well as Lawrenceville.
When you say “upper management from WCC have been involved with it over at Rider” it reminds me that many still think of the two as separate: Westminster and Rider University. when really, Westminster college is part of Rider, just like the Business college is part of Rider.
This has been a long standing challenge for Rider: to present both campuses as unified, and to work to bring together the diverse faculty, staff and students of the two campuses. I think there’s still a lot of work to do in this regard, and all of us need to find ways to make both campuses come to mind when thinking of the University.
I hope that the move to the new Westminster College of the Arts will begin to bridge this gap better than it has been done in the past.
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Jillian says “I always share my thinkings because I wholeheartedly believe that my knowledge and way of thinking may help to enrich others.”
That kind of transparency is a great way to contribute to an organization.
I think that it’s often difficult and scary for organizational members to ‘put it all out there’ because they’re worried that an idea might turn into a project that they’ll then be responsible for, but wouldn’t that be a great thing?
I think that we often too have doubts about our ideas and think that others might laugh at or ridicule our ideas. I know I do. Without trust, I think innovative environments can’t happen.
In my own organization, I think that many have turned to internalizing their ideas or limiting the broadcast of new ideas because some other key people are quick to rip up ideas before they have a chance to blossom.
In technology, it’s deadly — the minute someone proposes an idea there are six people considering the project management, security, standards, portability, adoption and other aspects, so much so that putting an idea out there becomes like a gauntlet run. So people learn to stay quiet and enjoy the appearance of competency instead of stepping forward into a harsh spotlight.
Of course, if we are to be leaders, the spotlight must be risked.
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren relayed some rules for making creating environments from John Windsor including:
“it must be a dynamic team” and “it needs to be the kind of team that makes sense for the situation.”These seem like very sensible ways to create an innovative environment, but also very open ended – did anyone get any insights from Mr. Windsor about what a ‘dynamic team’ means? Does it mean mixing and match skills so that all of a project’s needs are met? How would one assess that? Also – if the reader isn’t sure how to build a team, how would the reader know how to build a sensible one according to a situation?Again, I’m not disagreeing with the premise, but for me this raises more questions than answers, which is kind of cool. John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “Look at the brand new Mac thin Air – do you think they just finished it? They probably had in store for 2 years before it came out.”
I think that for Steve Jobs, it’s very much like creating a activity list and seating arrangement for a huge dinner party. e.g. This person will sit next to so and so and they can have a conversation about X, and then at 6:30 pm, we’ll have hors d’oeuvres, with the main meal beginning at 7.
Except that for Mr. Jobs it’s release dates, themes of technological capability, and features. He’s got all the cards laid out in front of him, and he’s just putting them in order of appearance:
Thinner iPhone, followed by iPhone Ear, followed by MacBook Flat, followed by acquisition of Google, and on and on into the profitable future.
That last bit makes perfect sense now, since Yahoo! will soon be owned by Microsoft.
John.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:Challenges of Technology Training.
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya asked Arthur “Would you agree that providing staff with the proper training before hand would be the way to go.”
Sonya, as manager for technology training at Rider University, I can say wholeheartedly that members of an organization crave the appropriate technology training to do their work. They also clearly benefit.
There are lots of problems that we encounter in our effort to train – let me share a few:
Prerequisite knowledge – we very often have users who learn of a new technology from colleagues, then get very excited about it and call for training. Then we find out that the technology that they want to use, let’s say managing a database of information on a web site, will be more difficult than expected because the interested user doesn’t know how to use a browser.
Attendance – Our number one issue for the last two years is training session sign ups that turn into no-shows. People who are very interested in a session in September may underestimate their availability in October. As a result, they sign up, but don’t show up the day of.
Advertising – We do everything we can with a limited budget to advertise via website, paper fliers, cold calls via phone, and email announcements, but are constantly surprised to find that people don’t know about our services. Many see our ads and simply ignore them because they think it’s spam or not for them. When we talk with someone for 30 seconds to clarify, they become interested.
Valence – People consider their time very valuable. We don’t charge learners anything buit their time. In order for someone to come to a training session, they need to know what our training is about (e.g. what is a blog, and why would I use one?) and they need to see intriniscally that it might be valuable for their working style. (e.g. I thought YouTube was just for fun and games – how would I use it in my work?)
Assessment – We have a very hard time assessing whether we are making progress, because we don’t have good tracking numbers for any of the work that we do. We know how many people sign up, and how many people show up, but that doesn’t really tell us anything about how many people are effectively learning and implementing technology.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, February 1, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sonya says “Now we have cell phones that play music, text and I believe some of theme even have a GPS”
This is very true – in fact, GPS was originally included as an emergency feature, for vector triangulation for search parties, etc. Now, the capability and processing power of the phone itself has gotten to the point that it can have a full blown GPS interface in addition to all of its other duties, like music, camera, email, and browser.
This is kind of a cool direction – Steve Jobs (Apple) just announced in the last MacWorld that iPhones will have a ‘where am I’ feature that will locate you within a few hundred feet even just using wifi and cell towers alone. Then you can use google maps to get directions from where you are to where you’re going. I found a copy of the portion of the keynote where he talks about this, and included it below.
Like I’ve said in other posts, it’s an exciting time to be an electronics consumer.
John.

Thread:W1Q5 – Ethics
Post:RE:RE:RE:W1Q5 – Ethics
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, January 31, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Linda asks “How can you satisfy everybody?”
In the short term, there’s very little that you can do to please everyone. In the long term, you could do extensive testing on the gas, create reasonable expectations based on knowledge of the elements of the gas, and ask consumers to be patient. Simply putting out the product in a quesionable state, no matter the relative benefit, would be a hard sell to the FDA today in our post-Vioxx world.
Let’s up the ante a bit. Let’s say that  instead of not knowing what the ill effects were, we knew that the gas was not deadly, was not a carcinogen, was not a brain damagung agent, but what if it were known to make the skin itch uncontrollably for 4-6 months, like bad poison ivy, when put into contact with skin?
The car makers could insure to a reasonable degree that their bags would survive most impacts intact, but for the one person in 10,000 for whom it pops while clearly saving their lives, that person would be in a oatmeal bath every night.
Do carmakers still put it out? Do consumers buy it? Is Gold Bond salivating?
Fun stuff to think about to be sure. 😉
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, January 31, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “Sometimes it takes a total stranger to be able to see things very differently than those too close to the issues, who can’t “see the forest through the trees”. Have you ever experienced such a dilemma within your organization?  Please share examples to help illustrate your response.”
I think that your questions references to the sense of vision and point of view are key. Taking a step back to see the larger context can often break us out of mental ruts in which we just keep doing the same things over and over again, despite opportunity for repair or improvement of ideas.
There’s safety in a transactional leadership style – you can just work to keep things as they are – there are less unknowns. Transformational leaders who engage and embrace change are taking a risk by the nature of the beast.
In every great drawing or painting or sculpture class I ever took, the teacher constantly reminded us to stop every few minutes and step back from the work, assess it’s progress in a different context. This helped to keep us from overdeveloping one part of a piece out of balance with another. It helped us to see the beginnings of spatial or relational problems before they did too much damage. It helped us to stop moving forward for a minute to appreciate our progress.
When I think about how my fine arts education has given me tools for life, these are the sorts of skills I always cherish. Patience, vision, point of view, problem solving, and project development are all part of making art.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, January 31, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I will give you a call upon my arrival at Rider tomorrow at about 8:30 am, and I will be sure to leave my cell number as a backup in the event I get your voicemail.
Looking forward!
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, January 31, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “Really feeling like one has something to protect can stifle innovation and an innovative environment. ”
I definitely agree with this notion – I remember a time when I was not very concerned with losing a job, since the worst thing to happen would be to simply start again. In fact, this is my philosophy about most expertise – the ability to start over again, reboot, bebuild, is a very freeing ability, but you have to be willing to give up the existing structure.
A recent study (see article excerpt below) says that age and marriage are two ways to kill a creative, original, and productive thinker, and I think that your “one having something to protect” may have something to do with it.
John
His study was based on the analysis of a biographical database of 280 scientists considered ‘great’ by their colleagues, noting their age at the time when they did their greatest work. He found the data remarkably concurs with the observation made by Albert Einstein in 1942: “A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.”
“Scientific productivity indeed fades with age,” Kanazawa said. “Two-thirds [of all scientists] will have made their most significant contributions before their mid-30s.”
But, regardless of age, the great minds who married virtually kissed goodbye to making any further glorious additions to their CV. Within five years of making their nuptial vows, nearly a quarter of married scientists had made their last significant contribution to knowledge.
“Scientists rather quickly desist [from their careers] after their marriage, while unmarried scientists continue to make great scientific contributions later in their lives,” said Kanazawa.
Address : http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s900147.htm
Date Visited: Thu Jan 31 2008 20:23:22 GMT-0500 (EST)

Thread:W1Q5 – Ethics
Post:RE:RE:RE:W1Q5 – Ethics
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Chris says “Look at Vioxx as an example.  Ethics must play a huge role in innovation.”
It’s amazing how often these drugs and other innovative products can so quickly be turned into villians. The saddest part is that if there were no profit to be made after paying out damages, it would likely make these companies increase spending on R&D to protect their investment more. Applying ethics at the leadership level might do that effectively too.
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Thanks, Chris. I like to think of Rider as an umbrella learning organization with rich pockets of innovative environments as insulation. 😉
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim asks “How is that brands that were breakthroughs at one time or another cannot continue with the innovative spirit”
Your anecdote about filet-o-fish is correct, as far as I know – I believe I read it in Eric Schlossel’s Fast Food Nation, though it’s not handy to check.
I think that the once-innovative-now-shy phenomenon has to do with success itself.
When we are not yet amazingly successful, I think that gives us a great deal of creative license to achieve success by the 1000-monkeys-on-typewriters == shakespeare method.
Once we have people lined up at the door to sample our breakthrough, I think it becomes tougher to have the courage to say “you know what? I can top that!” and try. Instead, we want to keep the cash rolling in, the customers happy – not surprised – and then patent the formula and keep it from being changed.
Look at Disney, McDonald’s, and other mass produced products for other examples, and the scratch your head HARD at Apple, Inc. who seems to innovate every quarter in some way. In fact, after a year where they introduced the iPhone, it seems almost impossible that this year will be more innovative for them, but don’t count them out, it’s only January. 😉
John.
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Christine says “Sounds like freewriting is brainstorming on paper.  I have never heard of it until now.  Sounds very interesting and, well, innovative!  Sometimes just having the freedom to use a tool like brainstorming or freewriting is enough to get people motivated and thinking creatively, which usually leads to positive changes that all can buy into.”
Freewriting begins to tap into the subconscious mind to get to the ideas that we normally supress with the conscious mind. If you are able to work at becoming mindless in the best sense of the word, you may begin to get at your best ideas. The environment has to allow for the expression of these kinds of ideas too – if you are trying to freewrite in front of people on a board, and those people are making comments or snickering, or bringing you back into conscious focus in other ways, you won’t get very far with it.
The idea of freewriting brings to mind the idea of free drawing, which is a way for visual thinkers to begin to tap into ideas in a similar way to verbal thinkers with freewriting. Given the same trusting environment, quiet time, and mindlessness, free drawing can produce incredibly creatve results. Many artists practice their craft in a ‘zone’ of unconscious creative activity.
We might begin to tap into this with technology based tools, such as shared electronic whiteboards, like skrbl, which can be embedded directly into sites, like other embeddable tools (though not here – Blackboard does not like iFrames, so I’ll just link to it instead). I’ll try it here, and if you like, try some free drawing of your own – we should all be able to see each other’s contributions over time in this following page:
http://graffiti.skrbl.com/lemas1757

Thread:W1Q5 – Ethics
Post:RE:W1Q5 – Ethics
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

The issue that comes to mind for me as a response to the question is about the long term effects of innovations released into the wild.
Let’s say tomorrow, a safety company designs an airbag that cuts deployment time in half. 100 calculations occur from the time of the first note of impact to the final millisecond of movement in a crash.
The innovations also include sensors that rely on light, heat, direction, sound, and force to react appropriately in two different ways if someone dropped something heavy on the hood or if they hit it with a train.
And the innovations also reduce the size and cost of airbags so that they can be put into basically any inch wide space, so that you can effectively encase the passenger in a pillow within a millisecond of a serious impact.
Now: the key lies in a new compound gas. Its synthesis does not lead any of the company’s scientists to believe anyone who inhales the gas during an impact will suffer any ill effects, but they’re not sure.
Ethically, do the innovators start saving lives and making trillions from manufacturers today who can start advertising safer cars in an SUV world? Or do they test for 5-10-20-50 years to see if the new super gas has ill effects?
You could insert any number of scenarious here, but innovators are faced with the get-it-out-there-now or test-it-until-it-hurts question all the time.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “Their goal is to keep us guessing and thirsty, in addition to always capture our imagination…”
So very true. It just seems funny to watch Steve Jobs Keynotes where he’s raving like mad about the MacBook Air, when you know in his back pocket he’s got an ‘iPhone Ear’ or something that blows it’s innovation level out of the water, but that he won’t mention to anyone for 2 years. 😉

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “I can not speak my classmates but personally, I think outside the box all the time … dare I share it all the time…NO!”
I’m gonna be laughing about this for a little while. biab.
j.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Carolyn says “Even through the environment was not a “lets be creative” one, it did not stop me from being innovation with my work load.”
I think that these environments where innovation is not welcomed are often that way because it would either have a detrimental effect on the work environment, or that the management, employees, or stakeholders believe that it would.
An example of a place where innovation isn’t necessarily warranted: McDonald’s french fry friers. Let’s say a former chef who is doomed to working in a McDonald’s decides that what the fries really need is some vinegar and cayenne. The chef is an innovator, she has the knowledge of mixing great flavor combinations, and has the finesse of a surgeon – but the last ten people she served with her innovative fries think they got poisoned. Innovation has its place, and this isn’t it.
An example of a place where innovation might belong but is squelched due to a belief that it’s dangerous might be the back room of that same McDonald’s: If the manager tastes the fries, and loves them, the manager might bravely propose a local variant of the fries to make a ‘South Brunswick style McFries” or something, and get an extra dollar per serving for the added R&D, vinegar, and cayenne. If McDonald’s agreed, they’d propose a standardization of the food prep so that everyone made them exactly the same way, so that a customer who got two batches on two different days would have a similar experience at each visit: That’s the fast food way.
Why wouldn’t it happen? Because McDonald’s has a formula, and the managers get paid to keep the formula as is, not to innovate upon it. Why should it happen? Because cayenne on fries sounds like it might be fun.
John.

Thread:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Post:RE:W1Q2 – Innovative Environment
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I think an innovative environment is similar to what we’ve learned to call a learning organization: An innovative environment is one that is dynamic, open to moving with and adapting to change, able to incorporate new ideas, able to allow its inhabitants to withstand criticism and higher order thinking, and able to comfort its inhabitants with a reasonable sense of trust that innovative ideas won’t be shut down, laughed at, or stolen.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Arthur says “I suspect this is already the case, as Linda stated, with the Rider’s community being, indirectly, forced to be on a new Operating System, Vista, instead of staying on the one they master, XP.”
One small correction here: Rider University OIT, who determines the supported software (OS and otherwise) installed on campus machines, does not currently train users in, nor support Vista, specifically.
There is not any plan (actively) to migrate users to it. When new batches of machines are purchased from here on out, it will become more and more difficult to purchase them without Vista, which is how that migration will happen. We are not actively pushing users to migrate from XP. 😉
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I agree with Arthur when he says “But I just reckon we shall all be careful because, after all, this is a never-ending cycle and those people selling us all that stuff don’t really care about our business but theirs primarily.”
I often think that Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. as well as other major technology and related producers are simply revealing products on a long standing schedule. The industrial designers, chip manufacturers, interface designers and so on are probably actively working on the things that they’ll announce in 2010 right now, knowing full well that the stacks of boxes of ‘old ideas’ still have to be leaked, then announced, then sold, despite being not necessarily as good, fast, sleek, or reprodcible as what they’re working on this second.
Sad, but I’m very afraid there’s some truth to it. Though I’ve no evidence. 😉
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:Innovation in practice in relation to intimacy.
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Thanks, Arthur.
If you like YouTube, you might love TokBox, which allows two people to chat in real time using nothing more than mics, webcams and browsers. You and I might agree on a time and day, then we’d visit my tokbox site:
http://tokbox.com/john32
Or, we might just directly embed the player in a site we both know, which happens to not work here in Blackboard, but works fine elsewhere.
Get your own TokBox at http://www.tokbox.com.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says “Sometimes, my video streams stutter, and other times they don’t upload… I work on a MacBook, and most of the time I work in the Parallels mode using Microsoft XP… As a quick learner, I am sure a 10-minute discussion should clear things up. I would be available for a telephone call on Friday morning.  Please advise, and thank you.”
Tim, these are all pretty common problems, and likely have quick solutions.
The stuttering will be because of either the Parallels layer or the speed or quality of your connection at any given time. The uploading refusal sometimes happens at the busiest times on YouTube.
For video recording and uploading, at least, you will do much better at off peak times, staying in the Mac OSX native OS.
I think a 5-10 minute discussion would do it, by the end of which, maybe we’ll have an embedded video on Blackboard. I’ll try to give you a call at about 10 am on Friday if it’s still feasible.
This fits squarely into our discussion about technology, innovation, hindrance, and barriers. You’ve been persistent and patient in your pursuit of the technology, but many others might not try any more than once to get a technology like this to work.
My job as a technology manager (and leader) is to constantly remind people of the benefits of success, so that when they encounter issues, they have something to offset it with. Our collective jobs as members of an organization are to try to do everything we can to make the work of the highest quality and best effort, even when we are faced with technology, knowledge, information, or other sources of frustration in the quest.
Your willingness to work on this is exemplary to that end.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:Innovation in practice in relation to intimacy.
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, January 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Thanks, Watts!
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, January 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren says “I’d love to be providing a video post but don’t have the electronic capability currently.”
I’d just like to say that the threshold at which someone becomes electronically capable today is lower than it has ever been before. We all have the requisite internet bandwidth. We are all using computers. In the video I put up today, I’m using a $15 webcam from Big Lots (though they have them at every Wal Mart), a microphone that came with the computer, headphones instead of speakers (which you can buy in a dollar store now) and a free account with youtube. Oh, and Blackboard. Let’s not forget Blackboard.
For virtually everyone here, the electronic capability is a matter of $20 and some help. If you own a MacBook, the extra cost is exactly $0, since it has a built in high quality DV cam, speakers and mic.
As a member of the Rider University community, your help happens to be my responsibility. And not just Lauren.
Just a thought. There is very little reason for any of us not to be using this and 100 other innovative communication toolkits just like it. Unless, we see them as an introduction of hindrance exclusively.
John

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:Innovation in practice in relation to intimacy.
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, January 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, January 28, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim asks “When organizations embrace innovative methods of interacting with its primarily stakeholders, is there a loss of intimacy between the organization and the stakeholders?”
I think that the answer is contingent on the innovation and the innovation’s relation to the norm.
If an organization, such as Rider University, interacts primarily with its primary stakeholders via 3 key media, let’s say face-to-face, by paper, and by phone, and then in a series of innovations decides to move to primary interaction via videoconferencing, web site, and by SMS messaging, then we can analyze the case.
You could theoretically say that there would be a loss of intimacy in these changes, since in all of them there is a change from the physical (even in a phone based interaction, there is a physical connection between participants) to the virtual, which tends to reduce intimacy.
However, without these innovations, how would we otherwise be able to talk with and work with all of our current students, including those living and taking classes from places as diverse as Texas and China?
In a separate example against the theory, you might introduce innovations that could increase intimacy, such as the introduction of video based discussions into a system where only text based discussions currently exist. For example, there might be a video of this response in a post beneath this one (when it finishes rendering). It’s an innovation that increases intimacy comparative to the norm.
John.

Thread:W1Q1 – Innovation
Post:RE:RE:W1Q1 – Innovation
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Sunday, January 27, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I’m in the communication track, but my career has been in technology thus far. I would second that innovations in technology can both be enabling and a hindrance.
One example is this very tool we’re all using right now. Blackboard is a tool for teaching and learning, but in my opinion, it is not the best one out there, and even I, as the manager for the system, can do very little to move to more innovative or even superior products because of the potential nightmares those innovations would bring to users: old content not being easily moved to new servers and services, new training for everyone, a whole new interface for everyone, file type compatibility, and so on, and so instead of innovating, which might be in the form of moving to Sakai or Moodle, both of which we’ve piloted at Rider to a limited set of faculty with little traction, we stay with Blackboard, not because it’s the best tool, but because it does most of what people need, they use and like it for the most part, and it is sufficient to get the job done well.
Another example is innovation in Blackboard itself, which includes modifications made to the system in this latest version (version 7) which Rider just moved to over the break. All of you likely noted the changes in the discussion interface, for example. My fault. 😉
For many, it is great – for power users of Blackboard, for example, it allows faculty to beging grading discussion boards directly. For the average faculty user who just started feeling comfortable with the old (version 6) interface, the innovations in this latest upgrade have led to angry phone calls asking why we ‘moved their stuff’.
“Innovation!” I reply.
But there are lots of other things that Blackboard doesn’t do in innovative ways that are likely not introduced because of the relative learning curve associated with them.
For instance, Blackboard could pretty easily today introduce a videoconferencing component into their virtual classroom module simply by licensing Adobe’s Flash Conferencing server, or by aligning with YouTube in partnership, but those innovations might end up being a hindrance, because once those elements are introduced, people expect them to be present in perpetuity.
This could become a hindrance in 1, 2, 5 or 10 years (or months) from now, when a partnership that provides functionality suddenly goes bad.
Sometimes it’s easier to allow users do the innovations at their desktops and leave your standard services out of it, but there’s a problem of potential stangnation there, too.
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, January 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Sometimes it’s tough to get to sleep, Cherron. All that data out there, waiting to be suddenly erased. 😉
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Friday, January 25, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Kim says “I don’t think one can Lead without having the capacity for strategic thinking and strategic idea generating.  A Leader needs to have an appropriate amount of creativity, flexibility and responsiveness to both create and “own” great ideas.”
Thanks, Kim. I’ll buy that.
In regards to your idea on ownership, someone said once that “Good artists borrow, but great artists steal.”
I agree that strategic thinking, and the ability to 1. work effectively with the up-to-date data we’re talking about in great information and financial systems, and 2. act on thier interpretation (likely with help from great employees and advisors) to set great things in motion for an organization, are signs of potentially successful leadership.
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, January 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Becky says “Is this to say that all leaders in high places don’t have good ideas? Absolutely not. They have to have had a lot of great ideas to get where they are. ”
Do they? 😉
I hadn’t ever really thought about the alignment of leadership and the assumption of great ideas, but I know several leaders in high places (small “L”, non-exemplars of Leadership, mind you) who got where they were by something besides having great ideas:
Some got to high leadership positions by having great people beneath them.
Some got there by specifically keeping heir ideas to themselves while supporting their supervisors ideas unconditionally.
Some got there by default – their boss got promoted, and they got promoted, etc.
“Capital L” Leadership occurs at any organizational level, and great ideas may or may not be associated or aligned with this kind of Leadership either.
I would say that I’m not convinced that positional power, or leadership in general, is associable with great ideas. In fact I know examples that counter it.
What do you all say?
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Thursday, January 24, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I think when Watts says “Organizational leaders are effective when they possess the skill to identify which pieces of information are important to be up-to-date on” I think it’s right on.
An organization can have the most accurate, up-to-date data, financial and otherwise, and it can be beautifully and effectively organized, tagged, and filtered.
But if a leader studies then misinterprets it, and decides to take a directive, non-considerate, closed view approach to corrective advisors, then the most fantastic info systems won’t be worth anything.
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

My answer to Tim’s question would likely affect everyone here: What if Blackboard died tomorrow, and all of your work thus far, as long as you’ve been in Bb at Rider, was irretrivably deleted?
Before anyone freaks out, it’s unlikely.
Rider OIT ❤ RAID Level 5
I’ve thought about this particular nightmare plenty of times, though we have backup and contingency solutions in place, it never makes me feel any better about the mean down time that we might experience in a massive full blown Bb data failure.
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Watts says “It’s important to be aware that not all information is good or useful information and how it is interpreted will have great consequence on organizational success.”
So true – information without a good system to harness it is like having buckets and buckets of mixed up dirty and clean water thrown at you continuously – you end up just trying to get out of the way to not get wet and not slip and fall as you rush to get out of the way.
When the same water is filtered, cleaned, set in a hose, given a faucet, made hot and cold with variable settings – that’s very much like well organized data that results from great systems.
Anybody else here a Yahoo Pipes or Google Reader fan? 😉
http://pipes.yahoo.com
http://reader.google.com
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

I think that leaders may be a source of some kinds of vital organizational information, such as vision and example. But generally, I’d say no.
I think that more often the information and financial systems that reflect the data, monetary traffic, and organizational interactions and reactions are the most relaible factual source of assessable vital organizational information.
The leader may be interpreting data and putting a positive (though hopefully truthful) spin on the the factual data. Imagine Steve Jobs saying something bad about Apple. Not happening, right?
While that may be good (or bad) for business, positive customer outlook, and stakeholder confidence, accurate business data from financial and information systems is likely a much better way for workers, consumers, and others to assess the state of the vitality of a business.
John.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:RE:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Organizational leaders make decisions about future course based on current information (and past history), financial and otherwise. Information and financial systems that are outdated, inaccurate, or flawed may lead a leader to make a decision that is out of step with reality.
If a leader made financial futures decisions today using information from the Monday holiday, when all of the world’s markets appeared to point to a Tuesday US market that would simply crash, burn and not recover for weeks, those decisions might result in horrendous blunders.
If everyone else was using today’s up to the minute market outcomes as a guide, and you weren’t, they’d have quite the advantage. This particular example is unlikely, but hypothetically illustrative. 😉
John.

Thread:Biographies
Post:RE:RE:Biographies
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Lauren said “a horse (chestnut bay thoroughbred) who is six years old and boards at a local equestrian center near my home in bucks county.”
Who would have ever guessed? That’s so cool! 😉
j.

Thread:Why are information and financial systems important?
Post:RE:Why are information and financial systems important?
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Tim says “I thought it would be interesting to begin to explore why information and financial systems are important to organizational leadership, as you personally define it.”
Information systems have become essential for most organizations today because there has been a significant increase in the traffic of information due to an increase in processing power, channels, and opportunities to get new information in lots of new ways. Without innovations and improved capabilities in information management, filtering, and processing, we would be simply drowned in the tsunami of data that comes in. Good information systems prevent us from being simply overwhelmed.
Financial systems help us to manage that which is very often the core purpose of an organization: to make money for organization members. Without great financial systems, reporting would be inaccurate guesswork, compensation for thousands of employees in today’s global companies might take more time than would be reasonable to wait,  and in keeping with the idea of good information systems, the awareness of financial data of our own organizations, our competitors, global markets, and personal finances might just overwhelm us without the levee of a way to process it properly.
John.

Thread:Biographies
Post:RE:RE:Biographies
Author:Timothy Glaid
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

John,
Great to be in class together once again.  Let’s have some fun in our learning.
All the best,
Tim Glaid
1/22/2008
— forwarded
Hello, all.
My name is John LeMasney. This is my fourth class in the MAOL program – Communications emphasis, and the third with Tim. All have been online classes, which I enjoy quite a bit.
I am the manager of instructional technology and technology training at Rider University in my tenth year, and initially considered online classes simply because I wanted to get a new perspective on the tools we make available to instructors and innovative use of new online resources in teaching and learning, but after one or two classes, I realized that online learning really fit with my learning styles and Myers-Briggs type, etc.
My office focuses on effective use of technology in the enterprise, matching tools with people who need them, and technology literacy and awareness.
I’m a father, husband, student, poet, technologist, open source advocate, and consultant living and working in New Jersey.
Looking forward to continuing to get to know all of you.

Thread:Biographies
Post:RE:Biographies
Author:John LeMasney
Date:Monday, January 21, 2008
Status:PUBLISHED
Overall rating: Not rated

Hello, all.
My name is John LeMasney. This is my fourth class in the MAOL program – Communications emphasis, and the third with Tim. All have been online classes, which I enjoy quite a bit.
I am the manager of instructional technology and technology training at Rider University in my tenth year, and initially considered online classes simply because I wanted to get a new perspective on the tools we make available to instructors and innovative use of new online resources in teaching and learning, but after one or two classes, I realized that online learning really fit with my learning styles and Myers-Briggs type, etc.
My office focuses on effective use of technology in the enterprise, matching tools with people who need them, and technology literacy and awareness.
I’m a father, husband, student, poet, technologist, open source advocate, and consultant living and working in New Jersey.
Looking forward to continuing to get to know all of you.

Advertisements

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: