January 26, 2008

12 Lessons from Business Masters

Stumbled upon this article a few days ago. I think it is really useful so here I am sharing it.

12 Lessons from Famous Business Masters

December 02, 2007

The practice of Excellence Models in multi–national companies(?)


World map with the sizes of land area relative to the country's GDP wealth - from Worldmapper

Apparently, I put a question mark there in the title because I am not really sure myself. And I just don't seem to be able to find the answer to that.

This question came up to me as I was pondering about in the EFQM manual and how it can be applicable in my home country (Thailand) a few days ago. To my knowledge and what we have concluded in one of our PPE seminars back a few weeks ago, I gathered that probably the most influential factor in the selection of an excellence model to use as a guideline is a geographical one.That seemed logical to me at the time but what about those multi-national companies that have their branches operating pretty much in every corner of the globe?

Is it possible that they practise different models accordingly to their geographical location? If so, then how would they have a shared vision of the future - because I believe that even though every excellence model are very similar at the core of their principles, "similar" means that there are still differences and these difference (though it can be ridiculously small) will result in a different vision. To some companies this may not be a problem but big companies just cannot stand to risk anything just because it is regarded as insignificant due to the multitude of money associated with the operations of these companies.

Now, to hypothesise from the other side of the possibilities, it may be that these companies stick to just "one" model and use it regardless of where the branch is located. While this may solve the above mentioned problem, another one arises. How would the company comply with the model that the particular country - where the company's branch is located in  - is using? I have a feeling that there is probably a simple answer to it but I just cannot come up with any - gotta blame the gloomy Sunday morning.

November 29, 2007

RE < C


Yesterday Google announced RE<C (Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal) which is its initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources wherein the aim is to make it cheaper than coal. I am happy to see big companies jumping on the green bandwagon since, considering the level of damage we are doing to this planet, every little bit helps. And considering the size of Google, its claim of pouring tens of million into R&D and possibly hundreds of million on investment to follow up doesn't seem too far fetched at all. However one would have to understand that even though Google's motto is "Don't Be Evil", there is just no way that it would be doing anything feel-good whilst not making tons of money from it. This is not to say that Google is not doing "good", in contrary, it is doing good and and the same time taking care of its "society results" with the image boost that will definitely come with this - What's not to like there?

So, in relations to academic matters, I believe Google will contribute a large chunk of case studies for my dissertation project which, apparently, is about renewable energy and its effect on the use of EFQM. It may not seem very clear at the very start how this will link to other elements in EFQM apart from "society results" but I hope it will be come clear as I dig deeper into the subject matter.

PS. Want to save the earth the easy way? Try Blackoogle. Blackoogle saves energy due to its prodominantly black screen. An all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. Taking that Google has roughly  200 million queries a day and the page is displayed for 10 seconds,  we are talking about a power saving of 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day. Talk about little things in life!

November 27, 2007

Here's To The Crazy Ones

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some see them as the crazy ones,
We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world,
Are the ones who do.

(Apple's Think Different campaign in 1997)

This inspirational advertisement always pops up in my head eveytime I think about anything related to leadership. Maybe it is just because I am just an Apple fanboy wannabe who is under the influence of His Highness Steve Jobs' RDF - for those not in the know it stands for "Reality Distortion Field" - but I really believe he is an epitome of an excellent leader and his contribution to the company's success is evident throughout the world. This ad was a part of Jobs' campaign to resurrect Apple from its financial oblivian at the time of his second coming in 1997; Jobs founded Apple but later on was forced to leave his own company by the board of directors - read more about it here. Having gone from hero to zero in the early stage of his life and to actually come back and bring the company to where it is today is just remarkable. With regards to Paul's water bucket - Steve Jobs, in my humble opinion, has got one really big hand.

November 26, 2007

Leadership and The Art of Delegations

The CEO from Thailand that Paul mentioned about this morning reminds me of Cao Cao - one of the warlords in China's Three Kingdom era.

The art of using people, in my humble opinion, is at the core of leadership by any definition and Cao Cao's stance towards his men examplifies how it influences effective leadership.

Eagle and Tiger

"It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice." (Deng Hsaio P'ing)

This quote effectively summarises Cao Cao's delegations of his people where his view is that it matters not whether a person is a theif, a  disabled or even a murderer - as long as the person can help him archive his goal the person is worth using. Also worth mentioning is his analogy on different ways to treat different people. He ultimately compared his workforce into 2 distinct types - tiger and eagle. Cao Cao said that a tiger needs to be well fed and always have full stomach so that it will not turn against the owner while an eagle is to be fed scarcely so that they will always obey and return to the owner and not fly away with full stomach. This idea may seems very simple but in practice it is very complex since human is neither eagle nor tiger. The key to this is to be able to determine whether a person is full or not.

October 21, 2007

The Wind

Saw this clip in the morning and fell in love with it. Very heart warming and at the same time it is about   something I am really interested in - renewable energy. I believe that renewable energy is the way of the future that is, unfortunately, underappreciated in most parts of the world. Having watched the clip I then looked up the company's website and found out that the company not only deals with the wind but also many other renweable energy sources such as photovoltaics and bioenergy.


Digging deeper into the site I noticed that the company's philosophy consists of many elements which I have become famaliar with in this past two weeks  such as trust, innovation, commitment to the environment and entrepreneurial spirit. I then begin to wonder if the company follows any of the excellence models or not and since the company is based in germany I suspect the model would be EFQM. After about an hour of searching the best I could come up with is an article written in German that contains the words EFQM and Voltwerk AG (the company's recently changed its name a few years back) and I do not think that is helping much.

I  really feel strongly about working in this field and I hope I can bring "excellence" into the mix. (hmm...why do I suddenly sound like I'm writing a CV or something but anyways...)

Let's just hope it's not too late to cure mother earth.

October 17, 2007

Saved By The Bell (literally)


Quite funny, wasn't it? That while we were amidst our catastrophic start of the first of our presentations this morning the fire alarm went off and saved us from humiliating ourselves - literally saved by the bell. It feels somewhat let down to face the fact we have a very very long way to go to even achieve an acceptable presentation, let alone a decent one. I guess this is what one has got to go through on their way to excellence so I'll just need to keep my head up and see it through.

One point I noticed about myself after having gone through quite a considerable amount of seminars and presentations is that I am quite incapable of following through the points I have made. I believe that I am a quick thinker (this may come out as if I'm full of myself but I hope you understand what I mean) but, after having expressed my opinion, I usually fail to come up with an elaboration to help clarify the point I have just made and I would just go with the usual "hmm, uh,.....yeah". Will a year at Warwick help me me find my voice? That we'll have to wait and see.

October 15, 2007

Traffic Tracking, Presentation and Procrastination


Thanks to Hiren I have somehow managed to embed google analytics' traffic tracking HTML code into this blog. Hopefully, this will motivate me to blog more frequently (apart from those 10 marks from Paul ;-)   ) since I will be able to see the popularity (or a lack thereof) of my blog and know where in the globe people are reading my blog from. 

On to the topic of our presentation last Wednesday, I believe that we performed quite well for the given time frame and I am really proud of the fact that we are the only team that includes real world examples and referenced our sources - even though most of them are from the internet. That being well and good I think our major let down is that we did not look close enough into the comparison of excellence models. Looking on the bright side we did not crash and burn (or did we? :D ) and many thanks to Paul for being so generous and hanging in there with us.

Last thing I want to mention today is that I passionately loathe procrastination for I have been, all my life, haunted by this procrastinative habit of mine. THIS HAVE GOT TO STOP!   I know changing a life long habit is not going to happen overnight, or even a month, and it will not be easy. But as it was once said by M. Kathleen Casey , and I quote, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

October 10, 2007

Common Sense =/= Common Practice

Looking back on my jibbrish lecture memo from Monday there was something that really got me thinking.  That something is the graph Paul drew up while we were discussing 'customer satisfaction vs basic requirement' which is shown below.

Customer Satisfaction vs Basic Requirements

( Obviously my "Paint" skill is equivalent of that of a 5 year-old but as long as it gets the massege across it's all good)

If I recall correctly, the red line represents the relationship between basic "unspoken" requirements and customer satisfaction where not having the basic requirements will drive customer satisfaction down violently. On the otherhand, having met basic requirements will, at best, result as an OK satisfaction.  Putting this context in lay terms, to my knowledge, is probably equivalent to "grumpy customers are the loudest"

Moving on to the blue line, I think it represents actual performance (though I am not quite sure about this because I wasn't concentrating. I'm sorry Paul but thetheatre was so warm and cosy :D ). This line indicates that customer satisfaction is pretty much directly proportional to actual performance.

Lastly, the red line up the top comes into play when innovative feature is added to your product. Introducing something useful that has not been seen anywhere before (iPod, anyone?) is very likely to get the customers excited and excited customers are naturally very very satisfied.

To summarise things up I'd like to introduce you to my first 'Paul's quote of the day' :

"[Innovative feature] is exciting today. It will just be talked about tomorrow. And it will become a basic requirement the day after tomorrow."

October 05, 2007

Blogging for the sake of blogging

Since I do not have any academic related thing to "reflectively" rant about just yet I might as well just post photos I've taken and see how well the gallery works.

PS. In case you haven't noticed, photography is my hobby.

UPDATE - The gallery works - but that's just about it. Not quite as good as I would have liked it to be but I guess I'll cope. Anyway, since you happenned to come across this blog for whatever reason,  I'd really appreciate it if you would have a look at my photos and say something about them. :D

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