All entries for March 2012

March 31, 2012

….who is authentic ??

funny,... when I read about authentic leadership, it sounded so cliche,..authentic
Does that mean the rest of leadership theories are not so authentic? lol

Though it does make sense that leader should lead with vision or something that they believe in,
authentic leadership suggests leaders should examine themselves looking for true value they have been holding on to,
..... leader must truly believe in it from the inside not just having a created value or vision.

By that definition, people who are real and believe in something but what they believe is not worth following or worth making it come true do not stand a chance to be authentic leader?

Can authenticity be developed? if it has to be developed then it is not authentic?

Leader that has vision and that vision happend to be what he really believes then he could be authentic leader,
so authentic leadership can be a subset of many other leadership theories then?
say,... transformational leadership?

…you have to let me do my job

If a leader is to make a big change in an organization, he has to be able to handle the resistance from the unhappy faces who are likely to be worsen-off by the change.

Thai Airways, the national air carrier of Thailand kept losing money years after years until they appointed Mr. Piyasvasti Amranand as the company president.

The major changes he made was limiting the authorities previously given to the board of directors whom used to make decision and implement things instead of the management. Mr. Amaranand said
"You can't run the company that way. That's why when I came in, one of the conditions was that the management must be allowed to manage the company and the board should only make decision on strategy, policy, and not interupt the day-to-day management of the company, or appointment of key staff."

To me, this was a very big change (for Thai organisation), the change which might have stimulated the management to work differently as they were allowed flexibility and freedom to run the company without having to worry about the board while Mr. Amaranad did a good job handling the board whom presumably not too happy about this as their clear passage for self-benefit were shut down and I don't think that was easy for him as there should be an enormous force from the board to oust him from being the leading man.

but he dares to make a demand, to go against the board, and determined to overhaul the organisation.

It took only a year for Thai Airways to make profit, that's a very quick turnaround.

…bend and break

My close friend wanted to come visit during December last year, the problem was that, she'd already run out of her vacation. So, she tried negotiating with her boss, to use the vacation quota of this year in advance.
The boss said no; the policy stated that vacation days cannot be carried over to nor taken in advanced from the next year.

She was a hard working woman, several occasions she had to come to work for a coulple of hours on weekends,
not because she wasn't able to complete her works on time, but to handle some urgent situations.

Again, she asked her boss for a compensation for working on weekend and the boss said no because the policy stated that
in order to receive a compensation, she had to work for more than four hours ( 3 and a half does not count).

Many times, the assignment given to her were excessive, she had to stay late to finish them off. One day, she had to leave early to take care of some family urgent, the boss questioned.
"Are you leaving now, not sure if you've been working for 8 hours today?"
The policy said an employee is to work 8 hours a day, meaning she has to work at least 8 hours a day,
those extra late working hours do not count.

In summary, the boss is strictly by-the-book; to me, she has done nothing wrong because she is an emplyee and should follow the company policy.

But as a boss? as a leader?

So the question is,...would it be ok for a leader to bend the rule (or even break it) sometimes to maintain team's morale?


March 30, 2012

…tipping point

tipping point, theory for change,...

happens when new energy and belief are engaged by a mass of people,
that believe will be spread like epidemic and bring about change very quickly.

  • breakthrough the cognitive hurdle
  • sidestep the resource hurdle
  • jump over motivayional hurdle
  • knock over the political hurdle

it is an model that is proven by impressive result from William Bratton.
A guy to turnaround NYPD and made NY one of the safest city in the states.

very suitable for big organisation that sticks to bad working culture and has politics going on.
however, to pull this off, one might need to have good connection and a daredevil quality.

March 29, 2012

…parallel universe

Multiple Choices...

Please select one of the fictional dictated worlds below where you most prefer to to live in.

A. living on a planet, under the rule of Galactic Empire, led by the dictated emperor and his apprentice named Darth Vader.
If your planet is doing something against the empire's law and order,
the entire planet can be wiped out of the galactic map by the Death Star's super laser cannon.

B. living in the Wonderland, where the Red Queen rules her kingdom through fear and intimidation;
her solution to all problems is chopping off the head of the one doing anything opposing her thoughts,
no exception, even for the king (her late husband).

C. living in the Far far Away Land, ruled by ruthless Lord Farquaad who captures and exiles fairy tale creatures
to Shrek's swamp.

......sometimes people turn into dictators becuase they are prepared to do anything for what they believe as greater good,
the mean justifies the end

All the chioces represent leaders who're drunk with power, there is only who actually has a vision...guess who?

…stupid inequality

One of my friend is working in a global orgainization, meaning that people under one department are located in several cities (in this case, Bangkok, Budapest and Curitiba).
A while ago, each location was given a budget, equally in amount, to organize team-building activitiy.
My friend was appointed into the team-building committee, organizing a two day and one night trip to the beach near by, staying at a decent 3 stars hotel instead of having everything done in one day as it used to be.

However, the proposal was not approved by the big boss. As she was told, the reason behind the rejection was because in the same budget, the colleagues in Hungary and Brazil were not able to pull off an overnight team-building.
Thus, Bangkok employees were only allowed to have a one-day teambuilding activity.

Did the boss show a good quality of leadership by not approving Bangkok employees from having an overnight event in order not to create any inequal feelings to the employees based in another two locations?

To me, he (the boss) limited the employee's good initiatives; when his subsidiaries were able to come up with something creatives, out of the box and likely to promote the team unity (amoung Bangkok employees), I don't think using the term 'creating unequal working atmosphere' is really applicable under this circumstance.

Yes, my friend went berserk over the

March 28, 2012


A talk with my good friend yesterday was purely about her boss; she continuously ranted for alomost 15 minutes.

It's been almost 6 months since the boss was transferred from another department and it's been 7 months since the last monthly team meeting. The boss doesn't do much, besides attending meetings in which she was occasionally spotted sleeping and randomly distributes incoming works to team members. She (the boss, yes, it's a she) has no clue of what her team are up to and only follows up the assigned works when she was asked by her boss (the bigger boss).
My friend basically has no clue of what she going to do next after completing the current assignment and hasn't been informed of any plan even after several attempts demamding a future plan.

Nevertheless, the team was doing great, all the works have been delivered in good qualities with many praises from the collegues outside the team.

Then I asked my friend if she and the team member want a new boss. Surprisingly the answer is "no" because they are more recognised and able to demonstrate their potential that there're still doing pretty good individually and as a team despite having a bad leader. In term of overall performance, the team is actually doing better than when under guidance of the old well -respected boss.

Not sure where does leadership fit in here?
not even sure if it is laissez-faire,
Perhaps, a bad leader could bring out the best from the followers? lol
Then the boss isn't such a bad leader then?

March 27, 2012

…UN, more like a US

I came across a Foreign Policy article suggesting that Ban Ki-Moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, hasn't done much for a man in his position when the global leadership is urgently needed.
The author also mentioned that Ban "frittering away any influence he might command, become a kind of accidental tourist, a dilettante on the international stage", when people in one coutries were being slaughtered, for example.

I'm not sure whether I am to agree or disagree with the comment as I don't know much about what he has done and what he didn't do, but I don't think Ban can just order a nation leader to stop doing something, or order another nation to send in a troop to stop the killing.

At this point, I tend to disagre with the article as at least, Ban showed a quality of a good leader.

To me, he knows who he is leading and foresee the consequences (not being used by UN or US). Think about how much climate change/politics he has to handle, his job is to negotiate, develop understanding, bridge the gap between developed and developing countries, bring balance to the UN and to the world.
And it's not like he is managing his followers, because those people in the world forum are all leaders.

Leading leaders,....that must be tough. What would be a compliment quality to those who have to lead leaders?

The art of manipulation?

…Saving Private Ryan

For some mysterious reason, I was thinking of when was the first time I heard the name 'Vin Diesel'?
(as much as I like him, this blog is not about Vin Diesel though)

...And if not mistaken, from a movie called 'Saving Private Ryan'. After a bit of a research to confirm my thought, indeed, Diesel was in this movie in which a big part of the plot was about the 'D-Day landings' during the World War II.

Dwight Eisenhower, the U.S. general in charged of the Allied back then eventually drafted a short message on a day prior to the event which would had become public if the landing became disastrous that he would be the only one taking all responsibilities and blames. To me, that's a true leadership; a leader with accountibility.

In the present days, if an U.S. attack in Afghanistan turned out to be a mistake with many civilian casualities, I doubt that the press secretary of the U.S. Commander in Chief would tell the press this was due to the presdient's poor decision.

Blame it on the bad intel.

P.S. The actual text message read "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone."

March 11, 2012

Bystander effect

Group Thinking makes me think about Bystander Effect;a social psycholigical phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present (wikipedia, 2012).

This is due to some sore of justificstion of individual in the situation under social influence. People witnessing emergency situation and hesitate to offer help because they observe that there are other people who also bystanders that do not take any action.

It is very easy to be swayed by majority's idea when you are uncertain about something and especially very hard to think critically for yourself when a team or a group of people had established that majority's idea is right and make a gesture that anyone else should not have any other ideas that go against it.

However, in team decision making, another big obstacle is to get everyone heard and to get every idea a chance to be considered. Our minds tend to be closed for something new or something else that doesn't go along with what we believe.
And democracy in team's decision making can hinder bias towards siding with majority, thus, voting for decision is not always a good solution to make robust decision. Anchoring decision making tools in the process will help identify factors relevant to decision and generate solid information to minimise bias in judgement.

How many times this group thinking goes unnoticed in an organisation..???

March 10, 2012

Lego,..good investment?

I couldn’t believe old lego set could be so expensive.
I remember drooling at a lego shop, couldn’t keep my hands off of the star wars lego set called ‘the millennium falcon’ retailed at about 310 GBP,....
yes,..... that was expensive but it was the largest lego ever produced back then.
In the end, I came home empty-handed, believing I was going to pay too much for the toys.

Three years later after playing much with city lego and village lego, Star Wars lego has become a dream toy, and the millenium faclon is the one I have my eyes on.

However, the set can be purchased via online market only, and the price for a brand new set is staggering at the minimum of 1,200 GBP, but the 2ndhanded one can be bought at around 420 GBP.
Meanwhile, lego also released two new sets: a superstar destroyer and an imperial shuttle at a combination of 420 GBP.
I’d love to lay my hands on all sets, but my pocket wasn’t quite big enough; which one should I go for?

I was thinking of getting the 2ndhand falcon, but how could I ensure that all the pieces could be accounted for?
How could I be sure that the tiny plastic pieces are not contaminated with diseased and it’s possible that the set could have been a third-forth handed.

Nevertheless, in my limited budget, If I decided to go for the new sets over falcon, of course at the retailed price, I would get something totally brand new and they would be only mine,
and that means it will take me quite sometime to save up for falcon, and till that time the price of the falcon could keep on skyrocketing until it’s far out of my reach.

In turn, the price of the new set could have ballooned up too, if not now, so things became much more complicated as there’re way too many factors to consider.

So Time is crutial, Millenium falcon went from 310 GBP to 1,200 GBP in not many years times.
It is important that time must be taken into account when making a decision, as well as depreciation and future value.
Now with lego, it is harder to predict its future value, since some of them are more valued and expensive while some sets aren't.
In this case, market research and statistical data would be the best thing to rely on; what kind of lego sets are likely to be more expensive in the future, what set would be in demand, will lego company has a plan to produce more of that particular set in the future.

In the end, good decision should be made with enough information, as thorough as it could be.

…more than numbers

I was not in a rush, but somehow I manage to leave my laptop charger at an airline lounge while heading to the united states. Thus, my laptop couldn’t be used for any other purpose besides an oversized paper weight and in order to unbore myself, I really need to get a replacement.

The authentic charger is retailed at 79.00 usd plus tax; to me, that’s a bit too expensive despite the fact that the unit will come in a good condition, unused and stored in a proper condition. In addition, it comes with a warranty and returnable.
Thus, I started looking for an alternative; ebay.comwas my next stop.

The website had a variety of chargers, a replica one would cost as little as 20 usd, the used authentic one was a bit higher at 30 usd and the new authentic one they advertised was at 45 usd. The only problem is that despite having a 14 days warranty, the unit was not sold by the authorized dealer and it wasn’t packed in a sales box so there was no guarantee that the charger was as good as advertised.

Considering that my laptop is 3 years old and about to run out of its life cycle, investing 79.00 usd could have been a bit too pricey even though I can rest assure my laptop would be properly powered so I took a gamble by getting the one online with almost 50% off the retailed price despite acknowledging that the product might not be functioning, but considering the odd that most of the fake charger being circulated in Bangkok markets are working fine (probablility must be about 0.85), the one I was going to buy should be working.
I also consider the possibility of having to spend another 79.00 on the retailed one if I wasn’t so lucky.

3 days later, the laptop charger arrived at my doorstep.....Could not believe that my luck fell into that 0.15 probablility, yes, I have to return the charger.

Indeed, financial aspect is not the only thing to concern in decision making, there are lost of opportunity/ time/ hassle/ complication that could cost you more.

Exmouth maybe more expensive but it has many other benefits than that; transportation route, lead time, future expansion, production capacity, etc., that is why our group is inclined that in a long run it will be proven a better option.

March 07, 2012

…which way?

Some decisions are so complex that even the best decision tools cannot help pinpiont the best and only way to do.

That is, a complex decision is always involved with uncertainty or depending on other events to happen, the best we could do is relying our decision on probability of the outcome.

When facing dilemma, it is almost up to the management whether they love taking risk to take a shot for big gain, or prefer playing safe with significantly less profit.

And financial aspect is not the only thing to be considered, an even greater impact could come from other aspects e.g. company image/reputaion, environment, legal. What tool could we use to compare the weight of something in figure like finance and something unmeasurable like reputation?

All in all, when it is too complex, the best decision by far is the one that is informed and does not contradict with organisation's integrity. Occam's razor principle can be of a help?

March 05, 2012

Due diligence

Robust decision making and Leadership

This is sort of what I was looking for to answer my question in Leadership module,...
I was always wondering when I heard good leader must make good decision,
and I was thinking how?....

what could leader possibly do the ensure good outcome,
what's a guarantee for that,
how would a leader make good decision everytime?
and is it about making a decision or managing the situation after that.....

then Jeff said,....good decision doesn't always lead to good outcome, but good decision is one that's best for that time being, and it's made based on information/facts/ appropriate tools, .........brilliant !!

Due diligence..... I think it is safe to say that leaders who did their job in the process of decision making but faced horrible outcome due to uncontrollable factors are considered better leaders than ones that made decision by their hunch or instinctively.

That's exactly leader's responsibility,...making sure that every decision is best made, thorough, and based on facts. is to take into account contingency,....make it robust.

March 2012

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