Management by Mathematics

Affinity Express blog: Management by MathematicsEver wish you had a magic wand that would solve work dynamics? You might actually have one already without realizing it. Mathematics may not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to solve a problem, but it is actually the basis of life and work. We just need to consciously acknowledge and leverage it.

While the world of mathematics is vast (ranging from factors abstraction, counting, calculation, measurement, shapes, motion and so on), the mathematical aspect of logical reasoning comes pretty close to management dynamics. The mathematician, Benjamin Peirce, called mathematics: “the science that draws necessary conclusions”.

To communicate and reinforce some basic ideas to motivate ourselves and build teamwork, we sometimes apply mock-mathematics.

1. Customer experience = quality + service

Quality can be defined in many ways but for the sake of simplicity let us consider this as “conformance to requirements and usability”. On the other hand, service is a function of turn time, risk-free solutions and overall management of delivery.

2. Output = capability * motivation

At times, an individual may be highly capable but not motivated and sometimes an individual is highly motivated but low on capability. In both cases, the probability of getting maximum output is lower than the desired level.

3. Success = individual output * teamwork

Teamwork ensures all dependencies are taken care of and synergy is institutionalized.

4. Synergy = ensuring that [1+1≥2]

In real life, team success rarely happens spontaneously, without focused team-building efforts and activities. There is simply too much potential for problems, due to the presence of different personalities, conflicts or struggles for dominance.  Even if team goals are clear and accepted by everyone, there may be no commitment to the group goals or no consensus on the means of achieving those goals. There may be a lack of trust and openness that blocks communication and leads to a loss of coordination of efforts. This is why every team needs a good leader who is able to deal with all such teamwork issues.

To positively affect the products of the above mathematical equations, there are several proven methods you can use.

  • Use the latest technologies to be as efficient as you can.
  • Make sure that the team goals are totally clear and completely understood and accepted by each team member.
  • Make sure there is complete clarity about who is responsible for what.  Avoid overlapping authority.
  • Build trust with team members by spending one-on-one time in an atmosphere of honesty and openness. Be loyal to your employees, if you expect the same from them.
  • Allow your team members to build trust and openness between each other by organizing activities and events.
  • For issues that rely heavily on the team consensus and commitment, try to involve the whole team in the decision-making process.
  • When managing teams, make sure there are no blocked lines of communications and you and your people are kept fully informed.
  • Be careful with interpersonal issues—recognize them early and deal with them before they affect the success of the team.
  • Don’t miss opportunities to empower your employees. Say thank you or show appreciation of an individual team player’s work. Don’t limit yourself to negative feedback, but don’t hold back from it either. Give critical and constructive feedback directly (without sugar-coating) and immediately. Don’t be harsh: offer the individual a way out.
  • Leverage experience and look to the past and apply what worked in similar situations.
  • Plan both for success and to avoid failure by identifying what can go wrong and how you can fix it if it does.
  • Manage risk, including known risk with known impact, known risk with unknown impact and unknown risk with unknown impact.
  • Expect change as it is constant and requires/results in constant growth.
  • Communicate effectively and add channels where necessary to improve it.
  • Learn continuously (even from failure).

You need to know two things when reading a map:  where you are and where you want to go. If you know where you are and don’t know where you want to go, what is the point of the journey? And if you don’t know where you are now, then you can take any of the possible routes and rely on your luck to reach your destination.

Though team-building can offer many challenges, the payoff from a high-performing team is well worth it.

About Rajendra Magadum
Rajendra is vice-president of Graphic Production and Support Services at Affinity Express and oversees both operational and financial performance for his division. Before joining Affinity Express in April 2010, Rajendra served as vice-president and head of Pune Operations for Aptara (formerly Techbooks), the global leader in integrated content transformation solutions. He has a total of 15 years of experience in managing the delivery of mission-critical programs, overseeing resources, ensuring achievement of project deliverables thus creating success in every sphere of operations. Rajendra is PMI certified PMP, Six Sigma Blackbelt and SEI certified CMMi assessment team member. He has worked on many successful consulting assignments involving strategy, business process re-engineering and performance management. He has extensively contributed to industry transformation projects based on Balanced Scorecard implementation and Burke-Litwin model. In due course he has collaborated with some of the leading consulting partner teams such as Gartner, Monitor, KPMG and Deloitte. Rajendra lives in Pune with his wife Anku and son Anvit. He likes music, watch movies and has a dream to become a great story-teller one day.

3 Responses to Management by Mathematics

  1. Selvam V says:

    Hi Rajendra,

    I went through the article and it’s very informative, especially the formulas are really motivated me a lot.

    I am proud that I work under the Great Leader and Visionary.

    Selvam V

  2. Parag Gabhane says:

    These certainly are THE BEST mathematical equations and methods one can learn in the lifetime of profession. Lucky we are to get such leadership where we learn while we earn. Thank you for sharing these precious keys, Sir!

  3. Rajendra Magadum says:

    Thank you Selvam and Parag. All the best.

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