Cultural Intelligence

Both, Marwan and Thierry, have an extensive international experience. We were living and working in many different countries and we know that is very important to take into account cultural differences when managing people and in implementing or adapting processes. What works in one countries might present some challenges somewhere else.

We are presenting a video so the people which are not familiarized with cultural differences will understand better the problem.

The situation comes from our own experience. Cultural differences make the story funny due to incomprehension, miss understanding between the 2 sides, but remember, there is something to learn . . .  From a company perspective, cultural differences could have  catastrophic results.

Have Fun:

Management of Change

The following information comes from:

Sreekanth Ramakrishman, advisory engineer/scientist & learning specialist, IBM Center for Learning and Development.

Michael Testani, learning consultant, portfolio manager & master black belt, IBM Center for Learning and Development.

So according to Ramakrishman and Testani, “Far too often business transformation efforts concentrate on the process improvement strategies and business process reengineering; while essentially ignoring the people aspect of the change initiative. Subsequently, these transformation initiatives do not achieve their desired results. Studies have shown that approximately three quarters of business re-engineering efforts do not achieve their objectives and subsequently do not sustain themselves over the long term, and one of the most commonly cited reasons for their failing is due to the lack of focus on the organization’s culture.” By aligning people, process, and technology, companies can develop “critical organizational competencies around organizational culture transformation and process improvement; resulting in a more effective and sustainable change effort” [Ramakrishman and Testani, 2011].

Say differently:

It would be a big mistake to think that the process you are modifiying or the new process you are implementing, because they will make the work of your employees easier, will be accepted and you will have employees support.

How to manage people through complex changes?

As all manager knows it is not easy to manage people through changes. You will always facing a lot of resistance and you need to take it into account from the start.


Core Competency(ies)

Resources and Capabilities started to be considered as the source of competitive advantage. The general idea is that if company is focusing on what they do best, they will maintain competitive advantage and profitability. The core competency model went even further by adding the idea of unique and difficult to imitate skills, knowledge, resources and competencies (Wernerfelt, 1984; Rumelt, 1984).

To better define and understand what core competency is, I will present different definitions:

– Core competencies are the collective learning in the organization, especially how to coordinate diverse production skills and integrated multiple streams of technologies. They have three basic characteristics: they provide access to a wide variety of markets, contribute significantly to the end product benefits, and are difficult for the competitors to imitate. (Hamel and Prahalad, 1990)

– Core competencies are a unique combination of technologies, knowledge and skills that are possessed by one company in the market. They have various attributes such as complexity, inimitability, durability, non-substitutability. A core competency is the basis for a large variety of end products and services.  (Petts, 1997)

– Javidan (1998) points out, that core competency is a collection of competencies that are widespread in the corporation. It results from the interaction between different SBUs’ competencies. Core competencies are skills and areas of knowledge that are shared across business units and result from the integration and harmonization of SBU competencies. One useful finding of Hafeez et al.,(2002)

It is also important to understand what core competency is not:

– It is not a vertical integration

– It is not a Business Segment Unit

– It is not a single technology or product

Finally, we need to define some additional terms encounter in the above definitions and present the hierarchy from resources to capabilities to core competencies.

– Tangible resources: includes financial resources and physical assets which are identified and valued in the company’s financial statements.

– Intangible resource: human resources such as manpower, management team, training and experience, technology, culture and reputation

– Capabilities refer to the corporation’s ability to exploit its resources. They consist of a series of business processes and routines that manage the interaction among its resources. The literature uses most of the time the terms “capability” and “competence” interchangeably and difference is purely semantic (Hamel and Prahalad, 1992).

Underlying it all is that core competencies are hard to imitate and distinguish the company from competition. Therefore, strategy has to move from competing for product or service leadership to competing in core competence leadership. So identifying the core competencies of the company is critical to continuous strategic investment in them because they govern the long term potential of the company.

The core competence has to be a primary factor for strategy formulation as it is an important source of profitability. Scholars have acknowledged the importance of the core competence concept by suggesting core competence models to sustain competitive advantage (Petts, 1997; Hafeez et al., 2002).

Strategy and Competitive Advantages

Why talking about Strategy and Competitive Advantages?

It might look strange to encounter a section on “Strategy and Competitive advantages” in a website of a company dedicated to business process but it is not. The company strategy is too focus on Innovation and new products to gain Competive Advantages and People not pay the right attention to Processes. They are forgetting the full potential of implementing the right processes to support their strategy. Having efficient and well integrated Processes are one of the competitive advantages most difficult to copy.

Dynamic and agile organization and processes can create a competitive difference for a company that is in a “disruptive” stage. On the other hand, if the company is in a “Main Street” situation struggling with direct competitors, operational process innovations may be the primary means of gaining competitive advantage.

Some Definitions:

Competitve Advantage: a firm is said to possess a competitive advantage over its rivals When this firm sustains profits that exceed the average for its industry.

Strategy: this word is probbly one of the most used words in business. Some people might not agree with my definition, but for me, Business strategy is the plan how resources will be allocated to obtain long term objectives.

Business processes are actions that firms engage in to accomplish some business purpose or objective. Thus, business processes can be thought of as the routines or activities that a firm develops in order to get something done (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Porter, 1991)

Strategy to obtain Competitive Advantage

I will start by an historical review to understand why this concept was developed and what issues it tried to solve.

Since the mid-1970s, increasing competition and increasing size of companies created the need of performing new researches to understand how firm could obtain competitive advantage and sustains it. Studies first focus on the external environment and the action of competitors. The resulting strategies were to create an advantage in one or more of the 5 forces. The firms which were able to match their strengths with the opportunities in the external environment were able to secure a competitive advantage (Porter, 1985; Barney, 1991).

But this model reached is limit due to the lack of consideration regarding the internal environment and the unique resources and capabilities that a firm brings to the industry. Money was invested in activities which did not have a significant impact on return on investment for the company.

The core competency model was developed to solve this problem and to understand the most valuable component of the company.

Cadmus (Kadmos)

Who is Cadmus?

Cadmus brought the first alphabetic writing to the Greeks which consisted of sixteen letters. It was the very first foundation of alphabet in the western world that we know today.
Cadmus was a unique character among Greek heroes.
Cadmus was the only one among accepted and worshiped Greek heroes who was of different origin. Despite having Poseidon as his grandfather, it is said that first he was originally a resident of ancient Phoenician civilization and came to Greece in search of his sister Europe who was abducted by the king of the gods.  Cadmus also happened to become the founder of Thebes, after the consultation with the Delphic Oracle who told him to abandon his search for his sister and rather follow his own path. He was also a great warrior and a born leader, not to mention that he was very well educated.

Why we select his name for your company?

For us, he is the symbol of the transmission of knowledge between people. He provided the tool to permit this transmission like we want to provide the tools to our clients to reach excellence.