All entries for January 2010
January 28, 2010
The first learning point for today is actually a very difficult but realistic one -- People.
As Paul mentioned the Urban terrorist - high energy, low attitude: this kind of people will meet us at least once in a lifetime. I've met quite a few :-) They have a lot of opinions, judgements, that sometimes surpress the leaders and challenge their power in public. As a leader, this kind of people or situation has to be carefully handled! When Urban terrorist starts to influence others more than a leader does, then it reflects that the leader is incompetent and also the leader will be forced sometimes to use 'position power' to take over control of the chaos.
Again, I think the ability to solve this requires experience and personal charisma. Experience might be being able to know how to handle the situation will harm the leadership the least, or even getting every respect back. Charisma can be for instance, good at talking at people and persuading people to believe in what he/she say. (Charm the followers)
The 2nd learning point is that either during the practice or real life, we still tend to solve the problem and ignore about other factors. Or sometimes we want to solve the problem so much so that we can fool ourselves that everything will be better. But what we do everyday may be keep solving different kinds of problems but still keep having new problems. Therefore, as a leader, I think he/she need to develop the ability of seeing the future or bigger picture of the whole situation. Dr. Deming says, "Leaders should think/solve tomorrow, not today." This applies to this as well. Leaders should think about what to do tomorrow, today's tasks leave to the employees to achieve; but we all need to know what's gonna happen tomorrow.
The third learning point is that leaders or company should try their best to take the responsibility of hiring a new person and not firing any of the employees if they're not performing well. Of course here doesn't mean that we don't fire at all, we fire those who's not appreciating the system; but we try to understand those we appreciate the system, but just fail to do things right. We should help them, assist them understand the problem. Coach them, guide them, not creating fear for them. One of the ways I personally support is to avoid firing people but to re-allocate them.
Paul mentioned a strategy that's very similar to my thinking: Help people find a job when they don't fit in the company, either a new position in the firm, or elsewhere. I strongly agree that we should have this kind of service in my company. I think the company partly shares the responsibility of recruiting people but find out they don't fit in. We know their skills, we believed in their skills, that's why we hired them in the first place. And when they can't perform well or they don't feel comfortable working for us, we should think of something to help them. Another benefit for this is that the employee will respect your company and in the future the benefit may exceed your expectation. Because maybe you changed his life, for that he's appreciated; or he becomes a more successful person than you, and you might be the one who made him the him today. :-)
The fourth learning point is "START DOING SOME PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION!"
Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss it….it's a great view! (TUE)
I'm very glad that this module we have a tutor to assist us. He said something that quite hammered my head: "You're at a masters level, so do the masters level's work." also "there are so many theories introduced for you to learn, but YOU have to be the one who take these theories into a higher level and into practice." I think...I forgot how to be a student afterall. :-)
I need to lead myself on the way where I want to be, as well motivate myself to be the one that I can be!
Life's about searching, learning, leading and doing. 'Bad Workman blames the tool'! If I didn't success, I'm the only one I should be blaming at. Not how hard the courses are, not how difficult the people are, not how boring the books are, not even how less the time we've got. Because we're our masters, we make decisions, we live with it. I'm always not a person who likes to give excuses. Maybe sometimes the causes can be external, nothing I could have controlled, but I always find a way to solve it. Eg. the bus at my stop don't stop at all becoz during morning rush hour, it's fulled before it gets to my stop. or sometimes people refuse to move to the back so the driver won't take more people on. I think it's rubbish. But I chose to take the bus, I could have waited at the bus stop 1 hour earlier, or I could take a taxi when I'm really running late, which is what I did sometimes. I mean, there's always a way or a solution. It just depends on if you wanna choose it or not. You LEAD YOURSELF to the decision, so if the decision is made by you, you don't have excuse. that's me......
So in today's presentation about Hoshin Kanri, we didn't carry out a specific plan. and next time, I'm sure we will.
On Tuesday in class, Paul said when employees (bottom) have problems (work related), as Leader, we should see the problems as OUR problems instead of just the employees'. It's just like Hoshin Kanri's catchball process' purpose. From Top to bottom and bottom to top, we need to understand the barriers or why the targets aren't or can't be achieved. We need to help people to identify and contribute again. The company can also learn from the process. Afterall, we can never force people to do the things they don't agree with, nor blame them for not being able to deliver the tasks we ask. Therefore, Dr. Deming's SoPK and PDCA are so important for continuous improvement...... really is...
In the Hotel simulation, I volunteered to be the leader. My teammates think I lead well, and I can always improve. From my own experience in this practice, I reminded myself again that A good leader may not necessary be a profit maker. He/she may not be smart enough to make money, but a good leader can make people who can make the money work for him/her is enough :-)
An example of my previous manager, he's 60, very experienced business people, acting lazy at work, but always kissing boss' backside. BUT, he's VERY SMART, and knows how to FULLY UTILISE each individual. I admire him very much when I observed that. Everything he did or showed the boss comes from me, he gave me the credit a few times, not always, but he knows HOW TO USE ME. :-) coz I was young, energetic, and willing to take all the challenges to prove myself. (well....I'm still young!) So basically he doesn't have to do the actual work. Which is exactly what we talk about these days: MANAGERS MANAGE, WORKERS DO! I didn't envy him or dislike him at all for not doing work, because I know he's doing strategic things...which I yet to deliver.
And I think in our lifetime, we shouldn't be jealous at others when they do well or when we think they could have done more to get what they have now, simply I think sometimes we don't always know how they have contributed to the company/society. Everybody has their own skills, and my manager's happened to be "understand what my boss want, deliver it, use people to achieve it". Which is brilliant :-)
So I think we can always set a goal for ourselves, lead ourselves to it. Don't assume too much but try to understand the situation first before we make any decision, tell others what to do, or even criticise their behaviors.
Build up Charisma
Tuesday we discussed about a point of How to inspire leadership effectively. During the discussion, we reminded ourselves that A leader should provide a vision whilst others can follow the vision as well as believe in the person who's projecting the vision.
A good visioin, if it's being told or led by a person who has a bad name, nobody would believe it. (or at least it's more difficult to make people believe) However, if it's a good leader, maybe the vision or the ideas are not well established, people still would contribute their efforts and make things work (better).
When building up the leadership skills or styles, culture and people are so important. They're the variations in the company. A leader has to learn or to be flexible to apply different leadership styles or approaches according to individual or followers' needs. Leader should also be SENSITIVE enough to OBSERVE and SENSE the surroundings and what is happening, or even FORESEE what WILL HAPPEN.
I think these skills have to be learnt and practiced over time and experience. or simply some people are just born with it. Some people are born to be a leader, some people are not. Some people learn and grow from experience... (personal view, no reference) I think if my teammates ever think I'm sensitive and able to get people involved is because of these two reasons: experience and nature
Naturally, I tend to be very understanding since I'm little. I cry when I see people cry. I feel sad when somebody is sad. I'm very easily to fall into someone elses' emotional status. I think part of that is I'm being very imaginative as well. Coz whenever somebody's reflecting something, for example, sorrow, I can imagine what he/she's being throw, and I can feel the same sorrow as she does. Maybe not as real as hers, but close enough to make me feel something.
PS. A story of myself: When I watched the movie "Finding Nemo", I cried SO MUCH. Because I can imagine if i'm the father, and I can't find my Nemo, I'm going to be SO SAD and SO DESPERATE. SO whenever Nemo's daddy shows up swimming in the sea and shouting "Nemo! Nemo!", I just burst into tears right away. :-p Part of this is because of experience as well. That the stories and love between me and my father, also made me more sensitive upon these kind of things.
So my point is, these elements are the ones I think are important for a leader to possess, on the other hand, can be learnt from experience. Yet part of the skills still come from the nature self. And we can always try our best to be who we really are, and the best we can be! :-)
January 26, 2010
1st experience as a Leader in WMG
I'm really learning a lot in this module...seriously...
I've been leaders many times in my life, in college or at work... but none of them helped me to receive real feedbacks that can help me grow each time. Back in schook when you lead, you either make people love you and follow you, or they dislike you. At work when you lead, you either win the respect, or you lose your face; sometimes if you lead badly, you even get fired :-)
But in here, really is a great chance to just try, and give everything a shot. Maybe sometimes it's not very realistic situations, but we get to think about from so many different perspectives, and try to see if each different styles work out for us; also if it doesn't, why not? What do we really want? Who we really want? What kind of leader we really wanna follow? These are all very useful for us to examine in the future...
This morning I'm sorry that I missed the class, since my landlord had to fix something...When I arrived in the afternoon, I instantly volunteered to be a leader and try to get involved in the activities asap. The result turned out wonderfully.
There were some learning points for myself:
1. Make sure always ask everybody's ideas, coz sometimes some people might have great ones to share. Those might be the opportunities for me as well as company's assets.
2. If I become a manager one day, I should help my people to do better in their jobs, not throwing jobs at them or complain if they didn't do a good job.
3. be assertive! clear goals for people to follow
4. be nice, but not too nice. leaders still need to charm the people to listen/respect me. A too democratic one doesn't help sometimes.
5. I do talk less and listen more :-) Coz I wanna make sure I understand what everybody's thinking, what they want. Otherwise all my talking would be pointless.
6. During the meeting, I didn't manage to retain my authority throughout, which I thought I did. But obviosuly when I made my points, my teammates weren't threatened. :-) Meaning: They'll use the cap for the coffee cup, but will not move to the kitchen if they still split the coffee out. Therefore, next time, after playing nice leader, I need to be more harsh on this! :-) and make sure they all listened and agreed to the trade.
Tomorrow's presentation, I'm the leader again. And I think we had a very good meeting. Looking forward to our presentation tomorrow! Good luck people!
January 21, 2010
New film – wanna watch …
I've traveled to some countries, not a lot, only 20. Wherever I go, I see, and I learn.
Learn from the goods, learn from the bads. Yet, I learned how much I love my hometown - Taiwan.
When I introduce myself saying "I'm from Taiwan", some people would say, "Oh, I've been there. Thai food is sooo good." Then I will say, "um...actually, it's TAIWAN, not Thailand...U know, an island next to China, we're good at IT products, like HTC, ASUS,ACER...etc" And then they will say, "Oh, yeah, China!" and then I had to start introducing and clarifying some points about this beautiful country.
It's not a perfect country...the traffic is crowded, the air polution in big cities are crazy. But we have very clear and convenient MRT (Metro), we have HSR (High Speed Rail)- travel from North to South only takes you 90mins. Also, the streets are not as clean as Japan. But we have a lot of hard working cleaning ladies/gentlemen or even semi-volunteers to clean up the streets since primary school! (值日生/公共區域打掃)
And just like in every other country, our politicians are fighting all the time about who knows whose profit or power they want. But, Taiwanese people are always generous, forgiving, kind, open-hearted, hard-working, and friendly. We have great service in Taiwan, great food-any kind you want, great landscapes, great ocean, great beach, great 7-11, great movie theatre, great Kareoke (KTV), great parties, great musics, great entrepreneurs, great writers,..... can't finish naming them... and the world just need to know about us more.
So, today, I'm proudly introducing a new Hollywood film, talking about the politic status and real history happened between China, the US and Taiwan back in the 70's and 80's. My father told me the story about "WHITE TERROR" when I was little, and I still can't forget it. I think even though I don't know much about this, I'm feeling a lot.... Both my grand parents are from China during the Civil War in 1940's. They were the first people who followed the Nationalists to Taiwan when Chang Kai Shek lost the War. My grand father was a solider, a very brave one. He managed to live when he could have been killed 3 times. All my brothers/sisters/cousins learnt so much from the last generations. It was a complicated time, but we all grew out of it.
---- We may be a small island, but we are indeed spectacular. :-)
WATCH THE TRAILER: http://www.formosathemovie.com/trailer.h
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.formosathemovie.com/
(PS. This is purely patriotic, nothing political.)
January 15, 2010
A daily concept that I wanna remind myself all the time. -- Always measure the opportunity cost of my study, my travel, and my life.. :-)
Opportunity cost is the value of the next-best choice available to someone who has picked between several mutually exclusive choices.
A person who has $15 can either buy a CD or a shirt. If he buys the shirt the opportunity cost is the CD and if he buys the CD the opportunity cost is the shirt. If there are more choices than two, the opportunity cost is still only one item, never all of them.
An organization that invests $1 million in acquiring a new asset instead of spending that money on maintaining its existing asset portfolio incurs the increased risk of failure of its existing assets. The opportunity cost of the decision to acquire a new asset is the financial security that comes from the organization's spending the money on maintaining its existing asset portfolio.
Books are poisons
Reading reading reading.... and then started day dreaming about words people say about reading.
My Ancient Chinese Study teacher in college is a person with a lot of characteristics. She's knowledgable, calm, however in a way, indifferent sometimes. She read so many books, knows about all the histories and ancient readings, and what she told us one day was "Books are poisons...You're poisoned right at the moment you open a book." Obviously it shocked everybody, including me. I couldn't forget what she said. And her reasoning was difficult to argue. She said, "Because once you started reading, you started absorbing the knowledge, and you would gradually or even just a bit being influenced by the contents in the book. Maybe you learnt something new, your views are different, your thinkings have changed...etc. But are you sure what's in the book are good for you, or your learning?"
It's so difficult, isn't it? To have the ability to read selectively and critically all the time. You need to have a very strong mind, yet a very open heart to learn new ideas. It's an art, and a wisdom.
Another saying is more common to our daily lives -- Walking for a thousand miles wins over reading a thousand books. (direct translation) or "He that travels far knows much."
Then I started having ichy feet....... :-)
January 14, 2010
Leadership appears everywhere
This is another discussion we had during team discussion about the definition of leadership.
In the Matrix, the last category is "Leadership occurs within a situation". I think it's so true when I relate it into daily life. This is debatable since another teammate disagreed. Yet, I think we're just looking at this from a different angle. Open discussions are always welcome :-)
If we think deeper, leadership appears everywhere. Whenever there is a situation, you can track leadership. A very simple example I gave yesterday: A group of friends, we don't know what to eat for lunch, we discussed for 10 mins but didn't reach any conclusion. Now, one of the friends proposed: let's go to Rootes building! and then it initiates the other friends to think about it and maybe just follow it, or not. To me, that one person was showing a leadership element. Because he's being initiative and constructive, meanwhile, he wants to lead the group to decide on something or agree on a common matter. he's leading the group to have a shared goal - a decision. And if people agreed, they will follow him to the Rootes for lunch.
Maybe I will come up with more or better examples, yet to me, I think in our daily lives, we are all trying to lead something or somebody. We might not be a great leader or lead a group to do great things that leaves track in the history, but we ARE leading our own lives.
As previous stated, some people might not agree with this, coz maybe you think it's not leading, it's just gathering, discussing and trying to reach to a common ground with people. But as I said, I think we're both correct in our own angles of viewing this.
Discussions are welcome. Leadership is just a huge topic.... exciting!
Discussion about "managing the change
Yesterday, my teammates are debating about few key expressions/definitions. One of which is "managing the change" or "leading the change" as what a leader should be able to do.
These are relatively two different concepts and angles to look at leadership. In this article, I'd just talk about managing the change shortly.
As we all agree/know as a fact that the world is changing rapidly, consequently, an effective leader should be able to cope with the ever-changing environment and lead the company to an endless future. Leaders should be able to foresee the change, adapt it, analyse it, and further manage it!
It's not about you have to change your company all the time coz maybe your company is working fine, then obviously there's nothing needs to be changed. But you do have to adjust whenever there's a situation or condition that is different from the past.
For instance, the market has changed, then must you have to be able to foresee its coming, adapt it/accept it, and provide plans to manage the situation.
One of my teammate mentioned if something in the company has changed, it must mean the behavior of the people changes. I think if one thing changes, another thing that's related to it would change either way. Just like the policy of the company changes, then it affects to people so people start to behave differently. And as a leader you need to cope with the problem.
Therefore, it is a very important skill to have as a leader -- to manage the change. Coz the only thing that doesn't change is the world keeps changing everyday. So we all need to learn this, to adapt new things and react fast...
What Leadership mean to me
This is one of the most exciting and practical modules in the course that I know.
Sometimes I would wonder what a good leader should be like or should do? There's never one single answer could justify all the achievements a leader creates. Just like IVAN's group inspired, there are so many different kinds of leaders, many different ways to do things, and at the end, the result is satisfying so the people believe they lead well. Sometimes it doesn't matter how you do things, as long as the result is what most people want, then you have succeeded. Sometimes your words or your philosophy mean nothing, but once you achieved something, people will believe that you are right. So I think there's not a perfect definition for leadership, because it always depends on what kind of people that you're leading. If there's no people/follower, there's no leadership. On the other hand, whenever there's a follower or a situation, leadership appears - even in a daily life, simplest occasion.
As I debated with my group members during the discussion of leadership definition, the top 8 categories imply different meanings to us. For example, creation of expectations. To me, I'm the kind of person I think many things don't need to have a rule -- possibilities are everywhere. Therefore, the expectation can be from the leader to the followers, or from the followers to the leader. It's different and can be different.
From the leader's view, she/he's setting up expectations for his followers to see the future, to know there can be a future if people follow her/his way. She/He let people know what people can get and what people can expect from her/him. He may provide wealth fare, health care, bonus, etc. Reversely, leaders can create expectations from the followers, to demand what she/he expect from the followers' performance and behaviors. Maybe in this case, it's more likely what a leader should show what she/he can bring to her/his own followers. Simply because if you don't do so, people are not motivated, they see no future and they fail to deliver, then the leadership becomes pointless when you can lead or motivate no one.
Overall, this is such a huge topic that can be discussed endlessly. And I'm sure the definition or experience would change constantly over time. Yet, positively thinking, an effective leader should always see what's in people, see the resources/talents/potentials in people, utilise them, and show your personal power to continue pushing the team towards a great future.
The leader I wish to become:
caring&understanding(less distance to people), upfront(decisive, efficient active), realistically optimistic, diplomatic socialable, effective motivator, good speaker, leading by being able to perform by myself if necessary.
I still have a lot to learn :-) as always~