The Grey Chronicles

2008.August.12

Intellectual Capitalism at Global Steel


David Lee (1998) [1] cautioned, “if you don’t appreciate it, you will depreciate it.” He then explored what “smart companies” do to appreciate and leverage this most important asset. The following exposition benchmarks these characteristics to Global Steel Philippines.

The eleven characteritics of smart companies, not meant as an exhaustive list but as a selection, highlighted the following:

  1. They Communicate a Compelling Big Picture

    Lee’s Key Words: Vision and Mission, Employees’ Roles and Responsibilities.
    Global’s Style: Confidential vision, mission and organizational structure.
    Perceived Effect: Personnel are at a loss as to what valuable contributions they could do to for the company without knowing where it is aiming to go.

  2. They Provide The Informational “Grist” for the “Idea Mill”

    Lee’s Key Words: Innovation through detailed information
    Global’s Style: Minute details are deemed minute, and for the expats’ eyes only
    Perceived Effect: Diminished improvements because of lack of information.

  3. They Give Employees Control Over Their Jobs

    Lee’s Key Words: Lack of control bred learned helplessness.
    Global’s Style: Multitasking and time management. Resources are scarce.
    Perceived Effect: Supervisors becomes McGyver-incarnate.

  4. They Provide an Environment Which Fosters Trust

    Lee’s Key Words: Downsizing leads to dumbsizing.
    Global’s Style: Expats as overseers to locals in steel manufacturing.
    Perceived Effect: Local personnel hoard important knowledge, as a personal edge or bargaining chips.

  5. They Reward Managers For Coaching, Not For Having All the Answers

    Lee’s Key Words: Thinking outside the box. “Know-It-All” bosses tended to cultivate “Know Nothing” subordinates.
    Global’s Style: Expats are the experts with no performance goals. Compensation structure is off-limits to non-managers.
    Perceived Effect: Everything is Priority Number 1. Local suggestions are ignored because expats’ ideas are seemingly extensions of king’s orders.

  6. They Make Capturing and Sharing Knowledge Fun

    Lee’s Key Words: Encourage idea and best practices sharing.
    Global’s Style: Quantity of ideas shared are more important than mere quality.
    Perceived Effect: Decisions are made by a minority, irrespective of what the corporate consequences are.

  7. They Reward Knowledge Sharing And Knowledge Using

    Lee’s Key Words: “What gets rewarded gets repeated”
    Global’s Style: Rewards scheme for a few, unreachable and unsustainable.
    Perceived Effect: Attempts are nipped in the bud.

  8. They Communicate and Celebrate The Joy of Knowledge Sharing

    Lee’s Key Words: Sharing benefits everyone!
    Global’s Style: Highlight success only when finances permit, otherwise ignore.
    Perceived Effect: Improvements backslide to old ways.

  9. They Focus On People, Not On Technology

    Lee’s Key Words: Technology aids Humanity.
    Global’s Style: Apply the old discarded technology from our mother company. Limit access to information technology for a select few.
    Perceived Effect: Antiquated equipment inhibits innovation. Increasing personnel attrition.

  10. They Build In Reflection and Capture Time

    Lee’s Key Words: Reflection is central to knowledge creation.
    Global’s Style: Rush from project to project. Management by “buzz words”
    Perceived Effect: Things are done reactively. Multiple focus at once losses attention to details.

  11. They Know How to Create a Positive Emotional Climate

    Lee’s Key Words: Inspiration = Pride = Value
    Global’s Style: Violent reactions now, ask forgiveness later.
    Perceived Effect: Analytical capabilities lost because of emotional pain.


Notes:

[1] Lee, David (1998). “Intellectual Capital: If You Don’t Appreciate It, You Will Depreciate It,” Executive Excellence: September, 1998 back to text

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