Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Do what I say, not what I do...

Exams are over! Finally, P2 is over...

The last 2 days were tiring. Corporate Finance Policy was very long, although, as some pointed out -I fear for the curve :-( -not as tough as expected. Many people wanted an extra day to fully grasp the intuition. I was part of them. In the end, CFP was very insightful in terms of mechanics and intuition. I'm convinced that since we all seem to grasp it during review time, a mid-term part exam would be ideal, just like in Prices and Markets.
Strategy was long too (22 pages on Plasting Molding, Machinery etc.) but I guess I managed it well.
The last one -a group case on Leading Organizations- was funny. It was about how a successful business got into trouble of reorganisation, evolving from continuous growth to sudden recession. The new manager changed the structure, not realising that the whole fit then needed adjustment in Culture and Incentives. From entrepreneurial, family-like, it became functionally siloed, corporate-like. Incentives became misaligned.

As we were recommending the Innovation-based, entrepreneurial spirited, participative, non-siloed firm, I was bemused by the fact that what we recommended for the Firm, we did not apply to ourselves as a group. In a way, just like in the case, from a well performing group in LPG, someone decided to change the structure, and misalignment started to crack all over the place...

Indeed my team decided to go for a silo approach: 3 or 4 sub-teams on a different aspect, Power Politics, Culture, Strategic Design. No shared culture, no common incentives -or short-term gross margin (grade) vs. long-term project goal (network), silo approach structure, change of structure without changing the whole system fit: in the case, the end result did not look very good...
Taking this approach, we did as best as could be, but you can only do so much with this much... I'm so past the point of bickering with some group mates that I let it go. I'd be surprised if we make it better than the poor managers of the case though.

Anyway, it's all over. Now the real fun can begin!

Well, in reality, the real fun of P3 and its electives, different groups, different networks, different environments, will start after another case of Do What I Say, Not What I Do.
Before enjoying a long-needed break, I will undertake 2 real-life INSEAD assignments. So long about keeping slack.
The company which sponsors my MBA has asked me to conduct a last-round selection of a manager, and an evaluation report of a business target. Of course, I had to accept. For the least, because I wanted to try concepts, and was eager to put into practice what has been at best intuition. On the first task, OB will help. The new twist is my conviction that while skills are essentials, cultural fit will matter a lot. I am seeing the company in a "fit" systematic way, whereby its current edge could be due to its people (I can't believe I'm saying this though), but more in the light of their adhesion to core values, matched by a very flat and informal structure, and some sketches of incentives, which could be reinforced (I can't believe I'm writing this too).
On the second task, FMV and what I got from Financial Accounting will help: cash flows will be scrutinized, rate of return will include some form of cost of capital, accounts will be anatomised. While the bottom line is simple -cash is king- I will need to justify the INSEAD investment with thorough, insightul analyses.

Oh, I should not forget that whatever happens, INSEAD brings me positional and personal power too. :-)

To know more about Power and Politics in Organizations:

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