Management Intelligence (MI) is the ability to lead “change” through effective communication and interpersonal awareness. It includes evaluating challenges, implementing strategies, empowering and developing team members, monitoring performance and constantly evaluating the situational relevance to future customer needs and business planning.
MI is guided by numerous tenets of wisdom:
- Dwight D Eisenhower (1944), who stated that leadership “is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because that person wants to do it”.
- Gareth R Jones, whose Organizational Theory (1995) defines management in terms of its functions and objectives, ie: “Management is the planning, organising, leading, and controlling of resources to achieve goals effectively and efficiently.” According to Jones, efficient organisations manage resources to maximise their utility in the process of producing goods or services. Effective organisations achieve qualitative goals and targets that are customer-centric, such as satisfaction.
- Peter Drucker (1994) summed up efficiency and effectiveness as doing things right. In other words, it is not a question of how much but rather how well the organisation achieves its goals.
- The Value Cycle model, which identifies six key management commitments, six key management responsibilities and the organisation’s need to interrelate with their customers’ ever-changing requirements.
The key components of MI are:
- Competency in effective communication and interpersonal awareness.
- Proficiency in the four behavioural competencies of the Plan, Organise, Lead and Control (POLC) model: Conceptual and Strategic (Thinking and Evaluating), and Tactical and Operational (Doing and Adapting).
- An understanding of how to apply the Value Cycle and utilise the process to transform and empower workplace teams, their interaction with the organisation’s management and others across the business, customers, suppliers, regulators and other important stakeholders.
For the purposes of this article, the original POLC model (Figure 1) has been modified to suit the extractive industry’s prevailing management structure.
This is all about questions – “Where are we now? Where do we need to be? How do we get there?” – that will obviously differ in complexity, depending upon the person’s level of management within the organisation.
The higher your status, the more the focus will be conceptual and strategic in nature, and at an operational level the more strategic and tactical it will be.
At the operational level, questions may be as basic as: “What’s to be done? Who’s going to do it? How will they complete the task?”
It is a manager’s key responsibility to articulate the daily, weekly and even monthly plans associated with sales requirements, production output, blasted rock on ground or available raw material, the immediate steps in the quarry’s development, and any issues of importance to the safety, security and long-term wellbeing of employees and others associated with the operation’s success.
Great planning is the foundation for both efficiency and effectiveness.
At a higher level, management needs to regularly review its medium- to longer-term planning, while monitoring progress against expectations, as well as the business, social and governmental environments, to identify new opportunities for their organisation.
An important management function is to organise the workplace in a way that enables groups of people to work together and achieve predetermined goals (established during the planning stage).
To succeed, when measured in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, the organisation must deploy its resources (human, equipment and materials) in a way that maximises its ability to produce the best possible outcome.
Leadership is about behaviours and creating the conditions for success. Great achievements will not be accomplished without leadership, in some form or function.
The key responsibility of leadership is to create a vision for the organisation, or to articulate that vision in language or terms that are easily understood by employees within their workplace. It is about setting the focus and direction that will encourage employees to work at their best and ensuring their activities are co-ordinated to achieve maximum results for the organisation. It is also about being seen by employees as a “walking the talk” leader, not a “do as I say, not as I do” manager!
Control cannot exist without plans, goals and objectives, which must be communicated, implemented and monitored across all levels of management within an organisation.
From the perspective of executive management, creating exceptional plans, developing the perfect organisational matrix and finding the perfect leader is of little value unless “critical success factors” and “key performance indicators” are measured against agreed targets and predetermined goals.
However, from a quarry manager’s viewpoint, the performance monitoring may be:
- To clearly define the delegated task(s) required to achieve the planned outcome that was communicated at the morning’s “toolbox meeting”.
- To check on understanding of the requirements and the employee’s ability to satisfactorily complete the task(s).
- To determine that the employee has accepted accountability for completing the delegated task(s) “in full and on time”.
In my opinion, a quarry manager must adopt a leadership approach to the “controlling function” to ensure they empower the employee, build trust and improve the team’s skill levels.
Value cycle model
The hub, with the three rotatable components of the Value Cycle model (Figure 2), represents the core beliefs of an effective workplace team or business unit, particularly values and trust.
Each of the “spokes” on the model’s inner component represent the six key management responsibilities, namely planning, productivity, quality, leadership, talent management, and communication.
The blue disc represents the six key management accountabilities, namely performance and results, continuous improvement, innovation and change, learning and leadership, relationships and teamwork, and safety and security.
The outer yellow ring represents the external focus of the business, namely:
- Customers (external and new). Value has to be created, and new products or services developed, to keep existing external customers and attract new ones. Internal customers’ expectations must also be fulfilled.
- Research and awareness. Organisations have to research their customers’ current and future needs, and scan internal and external environments to build awareness of trends, catalysts and changes.
- Resources and providers. Raw materials and other resources are required from various internal and external providers. Employees can be seen as both a resource to assist in the achievement of goals and as providers of expertise, innovation, loyalty, passion and commitment.
- Structure and systems. These must be in place to convert the resources into one or more final end products or services.
- Equipment and technology. Throughout the value creation cycle, equipment and technology are required to achieve the greatest performance.
- Marketing and sales. Products and services have to be marketed and sold to existing and new external customers.
- Delivery and service of products or services to customers. The manner in which the products or services are packaged, delivered and serviced impacts on the retention of existing customers and the attraction of new customers.
To illustrate the power of the Value Cycle model, see the following “root cause” analysis.
Root cause analysis
A customer has complained that crushed rock deliveries for his road construction project have been intermittent, creating much frustration on-site and difficulty in achieving the appropriate degree of compaction within a reasonable time frame.
To evaluate the potential “root cause” prior to a more formal team review:
- Move the blue ring so that “Performance and Results” are directly below “Delivery and Service” on the outer yellow ring. Now move any of the inner spokes to align with “Performance and Results”.
- Select “Communication”. This process quickly identifies that there may have been a poor level of communication between the weighbridge and the customer.
- Select “Planning”. This process quickly identifies that there may have been too few trucks ordered or available to deliver the quantity of crushed rock ordered, as a continuous supply to the road-laying crew on-site, as expected by the customer and promised by the sales team.