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Learning Style - Part 5 of 7
Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5   Part 6   Part 7

The Engineer has a PHD in the third law of Thermodynam­ics. The Marketing manager skydives for a hobby. The Production Planner started as an assembler. The purchasing lady is concerned about partnerships and long-term relationships. These people are all going to work together to better serve customer needs, cut time to market in half, and make designs more buildable. How?

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Sates and Operations Planning

Sales and Operations Planning is critical to meeting cus­tomer expectations profitably and driving Sales and Op­erations to meet the Business Plan. Working without Sales and Operations Planning means running a "headless" company. The Sales and Operations Planning process shown in Figure 2 involves the following plans and people:
• Business Plan—The General Manager
• Sales Plan—Vice President of Sales
• Development Plan—Vice President of Product De­velopment
• Production Plan—Vice President of Manufacturing
• Financial Plan—Vice President of Finance

Success in operating Sales and Operations Planning, at Class A performance, requires that all of the plans be consistent and achievable and that all of the people act in concert. Katzenbach and Smith in the Wisdom of Teams, however, point out that it is most difficult to create a team from senior management. It is most difficult to teach "senior" old dogs new tricks. This difficulty is due to the strong functional orientation of vice presidential depart­ment heads and the inability, due to time constraints, to get much practice working together on common goals and objectives.

Properly involving Learning and Leadership Styles in the Sales and Operations Planning implementation, and as part of the on going process, can help compensate for the problems of getting senior management to act as a team. The following are examples of how both learning and leadership styles can be used to achieve a successful Sales and Operations Planning implementation:

1. The General Manager understands his own leadership styles and that of his functional vice presidents.
2. The General Manger uses the cycle of leadership styles shown in Figure One to create both a sense of common purpose for implementing Sales and Operations Plan­ning and a sense of common purpose for running the company.
3. The Sales and Operations Planning Task Force leader and the General Manager learn and understand the learning styles of all the participants. This under­standing is used to ensure that all the participants learn the principles of Sales and Operations Planning and learn how to use Sales and Operations Planning on an ongoing basis.

Can we find out what the Sales and Operations Planning participants' learning and leadership styles are before we start, or do we assume that all marketing people skydive and learn dynamically and that all manufacturing people can only learn by doing? Fortunately, there are formal methods for determining learning and leadership styles:

Learning Styles

Learning Style Inventory from McBer and Company and Learning Type Measure from Excel are two formal self-scoring and self-interpreting vehicles for assessing learn­ing styles. Both of these can be administered quickly and leave the participant with both an understanding of their own learning styles and an appreciation for others' learn­ing styles.

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5   Part 6   Part 7

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