PEOPLE who follow me will recognize that this column is a collection of my personal anecdotes interpreted using the best possible management buzzwords, both known and unknown to managers. They are spiced up with fictional humorous stories and one-liners to make the learning fun and easily digestible to ordinary mortals.
As a year-ender, I’d like to share with you my top 10 personal choices for 2013. These buzzwords, arranged here in alphabetical order, helped me enjoy writing as a hobby and kept my desire burning as a student of continuing executive education:
4Ds or dirty, difficult, dangerous and damaging is the equivalent of the Japanese 4K as in kitsui (hard or dark), kitanai (dirty), kiken (dangerous) and kusai (smells bad). Copying is not a bad idea, but make sure that you know the context before you do anything. It’s like going to church. It doesn’t make anybody a Christian in the same manner that taking a wheelbarrow into a garage makes it an automobile.
Agile development is a popular strategy in the software development industry. It is the dynamo that propels developers to do a rapid completion and release of new products, and improve it along the way to match customer feedback. That’s one bright idea on how to discover new things. As they say it—the simpler it appears, the more problems it can hide.
Cognitive dissonance, coined by Leon Festinger, is a social psychology theory referring to the discomfort (anger, frustration, hatred or anxiety) we experience when we have a perpetual, conflicting views with other people in any organization. But you can only manage the situation by heeding the Bible: Love your enemies and neighbors. That’s because they are the same people that you meet every day.
Differentiation, a k.a.. “inductive reasoning,” is used to measure aptitude or logic to identify a pattern like in a preemployment IQ test: Now, find the set of numbers that doesn’t belong to the group: A) 4568; B) 0123; C) 7964; D) 3852. The correct answer is “B” with four numbers in correct sequence. If you don’t get it, this column is not for you.
Ethical universalism is the application of ethics to all regardless of their belief and culture. One example is muro-ami. No matter how acceptable it is to the local Muslim communities—still, it is a form of child labor that must be abhorred and stopped. Whatever it takes, you don’t quit when people continue to practice child labor. It is like wrestling a gorilla. You only quit when the gorilla gets tired of your ethics.
Gambler’s fallacy is a false belief that if something happens more frequently in the past, then the probability of its occurrence will be less frequent in the future. That’s why gamblers continue to bet in the hope that sooner or later they can win big time and finally recoup their losses. On a positive note, this is one reason why I continue to have faith in this country, knowing that if our leaders fail miserably in the past, they will strive hard to make it good this time.
Kamishibai is a Japanese term for “story book.” It tells us what’s happening in the workplace using several cards that aptly describes the actual situation. Usually, it is made out of colored cardboards for visual imagery, and makes it attractive and accessible to all workers. The trouble is that sometimes, appeal is inversely proportional to attainability.
Peter’s paradox is related to the Peter’s Principle or why an individual tends to rise to his level of incompetence. Peter’s Paradox, on the other hand, explains why people in an organization do not object to the incompetence of their colleagues for some reasons, like they don’t want to rock a sinking boat. And of course, they know that the hole is not on their side of the boat.
Quick changeover is not what some people do in hotels and motels. Of course, chambermaids are required to quickly change the sheets to serve impatient customers. But exactly, quick changeover, a.k.a. as Single-Minute Exchange of Die is a strategy popularized by Toyota requiring its workers to change the moulding machine, tools, and parts in less than ten minutes.
Value analysis is a production strategy for improving the usefulness of a product without increasing its cost or reducing its worth to the producer and customers. One Japanese maxim for this is “squeezing water out of a dry towel.” My favorite, also an inflation-buster, is using a one centavo coin as a screwdriver to explore its other use.
These management concepts are beneficial to our work life. It makes us conscious of various principles and tools. I hope this space will continue to serve as your regular Monday reference to help you make the changes to succeed in your business or personal lives. Mark my word as I’m telling you now.
The bigger the problem, the less you know of the applicable buzzword solution. Happy New Year!
Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for his random management thoughts.