Strategic Management for Engineers Rodel P. Hacla Reporter
Course Overview Organizations have learned that the adage, grow or die is more than a cliché. In today’s global market, maintaining the status quo is no longer anoption. As the velocity of change accelerates, historic paradigms are surrendering to new.
For organization’s to survive in today’s competitive environment, management must anticipate the strategic inflection of organizational evolution. Engineers have played a major role in the advancement of society. Undergraduate education for engineers,is thorough, precise, and understandably micronistic
At the graduate level, we attempt to couple the micro skills with the broader macro perspective or in other words, the proverbial picture. The management role requires engineers to be able to envision,from a broader perspective, the operation of an organization and the market one serves. We must learn to think, act, speak and process from the “management mind”.
This capstone course draws from all functional of an enterprise to provide strategic direction to an organization. It also provides engineers with a management perspective as a complement to the engineering orientation. Strategies are offered toensure not only success in a competitive “for profit environment”, but the sustainability of success throughout the economic cycle.
Let’s admit it, we people of technical background find it difficult to assumemanagement roles for reasons inherent to our character traits which in fact ,made us to choose this type of career. These reasons are gathered through experiences enumerated as follows:
Peculiarities of Technical Persons in General Specialist orientation, too focused Don’t want to be intervened when working Want only to be at the “background” Timid at group interaction with other disciplines Not people oriented, hence, find difficulty ininterpersonal interactionHate administrative jobsHave difficulty relating orally and/orcommunicating in written formConsider non-technical matters as “light issues”
These character traits coupled with lack of knowledge in management skillsis the main reason why engineers and other technical persons find it difficult to assume management role. Fortunately, this can be solved but equipping them with the right tools knowledge and skills for effective management.
Technical expertise is importantbut if we would like to be effective in management,we have no recourse but to develop ourselves in the management aspects of our job. It is a common misconception that if one is good technically,he can also be as good in assuming management role.
Why is it so? Technical persons tend to be specialists while management requires generalists. It is very difficult to be expert in both fields. As the management maxim says,specialists are people who know everything about something while managers know practically something about everything.
A Self-Test of our Management Skill Before going further , let us determinefirst how effective we are in the performance of our job as supervisors or managers by honestly putting ourselves in the matrix in the next slide. Note that this diagram is so very simple in its form but very revealing in substance.
After evaluating ourselves in the grid, We now reveal our management strengths and weaknesses. In order to be effective in management our track must be along the ideal not along the axes.If we are off-tract, then the more we need to discern the content of this program.
If our tendency is to go along the horizontal, we might be better off as a specialist with no subordinates. If it is along the vertical, we are more fitted to work on human relationsintensive jobs whose work outputs do not require much involvement to other resources.
If our path is along the ideal, we aredoing fine and this module can be used to further enhance our management skills. Every now and then , we should check our standing vis-à-vis the management effectiveness grid so that we can rectify ourselves not to deviate so much away from the ideal.
In fact, the objective of this module can be summarized by tracing the graphical representation of the arrow along the ideal path where bothpersonnel and production can be given appropriate importance. All the other topics to follow aim to equip us to trace this path.
The Management Concepts Management is defined broadly as coordinating and directing human and non-human resources of an organization to achieve certain objective. A manager is a person who has authorityover the activities of other persons in an organization. This includes the supervisors and team leaders which are often called first line managers. (Acosta,2010)
However, supervisors play a critical role since they are the “man in the middle”linking the workers or ranks to management. They are representatives of both the management and their workers . Hence, the more the study of supervisory management is important.
What Should Managers Know? After understanding the hierarchy ofthe management, what skills are needed so as to be an effective manager? Are these skills similar to the R&F or entirely different? If so, what are the skills combination?
Technical Skill - knowledge and ability to use the processes, techniques, or tool of specialty responsibility area. Examples: Skill in equipment maintenance Skill in operating a machine Skill in accountancy
Human Relations Skill - ability to interact with other persons successfullyExamples: Skill in communicating Skill in motivating Skill in coaching Skill in behavioral correcting
Conceptual Skill - ability to discern the interrelationship of how the units affect each other and ability to coordinate activities to achieve organizational goals. Example: OB van supervisor should know why, when and where to set up their vans and what equipment and how many crew are needed for a news coverage.
The emphasis for each skill differs as one goes up to the organizational hierarchy. This concept is also universal in anytype of organization and often referred to as the Law of Diminishing Focus.
Example : What skill do you need if no one in your organization can fix a very sophisticated equipment ?1. Look for expert to fix it for a fee. ( CS)2. Convince him to fix it. (HRS)
Example : What skill do you need if you lack a spare part of an equipment that has to be operated ASAP?1. Be “MacGyver” (TS)2. Look for available spare part somewhere(CS).3. Convince Finance Officer to produce needed fund (HRS)
In Engineering field where most of the personnel are into specialization one of the most commonly asked questions is:“Can an specialist be an effective manager?” The next diagram will show as the answer.
Most technical personnel fall into this trapthinking that if they develop their technical skills more they will be effective in management. This is true for specialist than for supervisors or managers. Why is it so?
From top level management down to supervisors each of us is expected to perform certain functions so as toeffectively and efficiently carry out our tasks.These functions are also universal for for any organization.
Many engineering managers come to management by being assigned managerial tasks at theircompanies’ site. Although they may have had plenty of engineering training and mentoring, they learned management skills the hard way. It is widely agreed upon and accepted that futureengineering managers need training, and universities across the world have been active in providing professional training outlets.
This educational training allows engineering students to walk a bridge that connects the science and engineering side of an organization to itsmanagement aspects. Therefore, the purpose of this educational experience is to provide engineers the tools to become successful and effective managers. Additionally, by looking at our regional market and especially the Gulf market, we notice the growth of engineering and management sectors and the need for Engineering Managers to handle such growth.
Objectives1. Provide engineering students with needed business skills.2. Equip students with the process of envisioning, designing, developing, and supporting new products and services.3. Add value to students’ engineering skills through the ability to manage its logistics and its application fields.4. Assist students in gaining the ability to work on multidisciplinary tasks. Instill in students effective project engineering management skills.5. Integrate concepts of total quality management into engineering practice.
TasksAnalyze technology, resource needs, product cost, andmarket demand, to assess projects’ feasibility.Work with management, production, and marketingpersonnel to discuss specifications and procedures.Develop and implement policies, standards and proceduresfor the engineering and technical work.Review and write reports, approve expenditures, enforcerules, and make decisions about the purchase of materials orservices.Direct the engineering of distribution projects related towater control and treatment and oil field development, gasand oil production, and geothermal drilling.Plan, direct, and coordinate survey work with other staffactivities, certifying survey work, and writing land legaldescriptions.