March 11, 2013

Reflective writing on RDM (Day 4)

What-One of the areas improvement in our presentation for the WaveRider is that we should use table to present out figures that come from decision tree.

Why-It is important to show them the process of how we calculate the final result using decision tree, but putting all the figures into a table give audience a clear picture of what have we done.

How-Use table to group the figures wisely. It can improve our presentatiom more smart.

March 07, 2013

A new leader should be Glocal

What- This is not a new and hot topics anymore. Leaders in 19th century are greatly different from 21st century. As the political and economic environment change rapidly, a leader now should be able to lead the company differently. It is necessary for a leader to understand and sense what is happening in your country (locally) as well as the rest of the world (globally).

Why- Customers are getting dynamic. A few hundred years ago, there were very little American or British customers in China, I guess. Thinking about what happen now is that the organisation is dealing with the customer from all over the world, either through direct visit in the shop or Internet shopping. Focusing only on local customer is limit for a company to grow. In addition, how can a leader respond to this change effective still remains quite challenge. There are many problems when leading a new team in a new country, for example, culture, politics, social and so on. But the real problem, I think, is that leader fails to change people's mind. They want to stay in their comfort zone, and cannot sense the risk of being bankruptcy or hostile takeover etc.

How- To be a successful glocal leader in the future requires me to be resilient and self-corrected. Right now I need to fully open my mind to the world, rather than focusing on reading British, USA and Chinese news only. I need to be able to accept all the opinions from different people, and try to organise these opinions into different categories and look at the connection. And I will pratice my communication skill and let my voice to be heard.

March 06, 2013

Can leader be benchmarked?

What- There is no question that leader himself must be able to keep learning new knowledge, reflecting on what and why had been done wrong and how to improve it better. Every leaders approach it in a different way. I am now questioning the method that can a good leader benchmark?

Why- This is important because it probably creates a new learning opportunity for self improvement for a leader. I have looked at the researches about the "benchmarking leadership" yet, and I also believe that there will be some problem in benchmarking a good leader. For example, what are the critical criteria can be benchmark and what cannot? More critically, if I want to benchmark a good leader in no matter what industry or organisations, I need to stay very close with him so I can observe, learn and reflect. This seems, in practise, impossible.

How- From my own experiences, there are four steps in benchmarking a good leader (or someone who is better than me). First it is VERY important that you need to do something before you start to benchmark. Because once you do something, you can realise your strengths AND weakness. Then observe, analyse and ask why he (or she) is doing better than me? This requires a lot of time and effort, indeed. Thirdly, think about how you can benchmark him (or her), and how can I improve myself to achieve where he is now. Finally, if you keep benchmarking very well, you will do much better than him. And you have two choices to be decided: to improve himself even better by guiding and coaching or just leave him alone.

March 05, 2013

RDM Reflective Writing–SWOT (Day Two)

What-SWOT is not an independent analysis of strengths, weakness, opportunity and threat independently. There is a internal and external relationship between SW and OT. If looking at independently of each area, it cannot give you an overall picture of the organisation and poor strategy may be made.

Why-The video about SWOT analysis is a wake up call for me. My old understanding of SWOT is indeed to look at each areas independently without analysing the linkage between strength and weakness, and opportunity and threat. The real power of SWOT probably is let the strengths of your organisation to overcome the (potential) weakness of your organisation. And threat could be minimise or reduce by taking the opportunity. It is about making a good balance between win and lose.

How-Use SWOT to understand the internal and external environment of the organisation. The progress should not stop here. Analyse what are the weaknesses and how the strengths can reduce the impact of the weakness. Same analysis should continue with the threat and opportunity.

March 04, 2013

An leader should be able to learn

What-An effective leader should be able to understand and search for the lessons in both successful and unsuccessful outcomes.

Why-There are hidden lessons in the failure, and leader should not be afraid of admitting the failure. In order to create a learning environment, leader should realise that there could be a change in the culture. For example, he described to a group that sales figures go down because of his misunderstood in market research. The lesson, he explained, was that he can be more open-minded and share the ideas with team.

How-One way to learn is to note down the lesson, and be reflective. And then broadly communicate the resulting insight. In the future, I should reward managers who are laudable and willing to take responsibility of failures. It also important to create a learn culture that any inquires are highly considered and mistakes are fully analysed and viewed as a learning point. No blaming.

February 25, 2013

Reflective writing on RDM (Day1)

What-I believe that most of the decisions I have made today were bias. And, because I have not or can not see the outcomes of those bias decisions yet, I can not conclude that bias decision leads to bad outcome. I remember there was an article saying about managers should make decision based on their first thought to the problem, first feeling, instinct. The reason in a real business world, there is no much time to make a rational decision. Especially, in urgent situation, managers are usually required to respond to the problem very quick and only a few minutes are left for the decisions to be made. Therefore, they have to make the decisions based on their experiences or perceptions. My opinion is that, after today's lecture, I agree that the process of rational/critical thinking is very important to day-to-day life. And in order to be critical, I need to think critically about critical thinking.

Why- Why it is important? As I mentioned earlier, time is the currency in 21st century. And the cost of wasting or losing time is much greater the cost of anything. Making a very rational decision is quite costly. However, you can argue that what measures a VERY rational decision. I don't know honestly speaking. I am not a critical thinking person, so most of time I make decision based on my "feeling" within a few seconds. And the outcome is sometimes it works well, sometimes it is very bad. SO, it seems like that the when is the critical time to make decision rationally becomes quite important.

How-Further to the question, I have not found an satisfied answer yet. But at least I have come up with more thoughts about critical thinking which is good. The base rule I apply to critical thinking everyday is by asking myself: what, why, and how. Although I admit that sometimes asking what why and how could lead me to more confusion, most of time it takes me out of the fog.

February 07, 2013

Language skill matters

What-Although I understand that it is not the appropirate time to discuss about this issue at the master level. But after several presenation, some team-based exercise, and serveral mini-projects, I realise that the degree of how well you master the English is the key factor that affects your overall performance. Not until this morning exercise, I call it treasure hunting game, which requires lots of communication. By communication, I mean discussion, debate, persuasion, etc that require quick thinking and "fast speak". More important, what the word you use is really really really matters. I stuck serveral times on deciding what kinds of words that will not cause any confusion but it is not a easy task for me at the moment. Since I read the blog on "leadership challenge exercise",(

I guess you may argue that "we should forget about our language accuracy and let our mind flow, coz sometimes a not-so-good-language speaks a God-damn-GOOD-Idea!" Well, it is not true because the underly assumption is that the person who speaks out a "God-damn-good-idea" is at least know a little bit English, i.e. IELTS socre 2.0.

How-What actions do I need to take now? Keep writing blogs. Never give up any presentation opportunity. Never give up the chance of group discussion. Never give the opportunity to talk with British people starting with this sentence: the weather is not bad actually. Last year, we had...

Reflective writing on the treasure finding name

What- The game itself is quite interesting and there are many learning points I can reflect, but I will talk about the most influencing one. The game is all about data analysing, decision making, strategic thinking, and time management. However, what makes this game really interesting is the leadership and competition aspects took in. For this game, I argue that an assertive leader is much better than democratic leader because of the following reasons: extremely time pressure and quick decision making.

Why-Democratic leadership style is good at collecting, generating, polishing ideas, but when it comes to execution or implementation, too much discussion slow down the time. An example is market trader. Therefore, I conclude that democrative leadership style is suitable for brainstorming stage, and assertive leadership style is good at taking action when it requires immediate response.

How-Unfortunately, there is really no such standard that I can follow in the future. The reason is my understanding of leadership changes when I read and practise. And either democratic or assertive really depends on the situation where you are. I would suggest first to evaluate the task, your team, working environment etc at first. After a well thought and analysis on the situation, it is not late to decide which leadership style that best suits the environment but not you.

Reflective writing on presentation on Winning Strategy 2

What- When you are given a task or a question, always start with analysing it first rather than go straight into the answers. This is the lesson I have learnt. In reality, it is quite impossible to cover all the aspects in order to produce the best answer for the question, and the answer based on personal experiences is usually very bias. Therefore, an comprehensive understanding of the question is at no doubt needed.

Why- It is important to understand what the question is asking. Otherwise, the answer produces bulls**t. In addition, analysing a question is a good way of practising critical thinking skill. I strongly believe that through a deep thought into the question, I will reveal lots more information behind it, e.g. underlying assumptions, implicit logical connection etc.

How- It appratently I could not give you the best solution/guidelines on analysing a particular question. However, there are certain ways which can help you to understand the question. One possible way is to do the research, i.e search the entirely question, search the key words of the question. Secondly, I usually use pyramid principle to see the logical connection for the question. Thirdly, I suggest to work with team. Collective intelligent is always better than single. Finally, ask the expert.

February 05, 2013

Reflective writing on Hotel Exercise

Note: Group B1 students may want to look at this blog after the exercise.

(What have I learnt)-Negotiation and persuasion are the key skills when you are not the leader, the lead is not taking your advice, and you see something really wrong and try to direct the team to the right position. Because I had exactly same exercise experience when I was in IBM Business Challenge back to 2009. So when I looked at the scernario, almost all the details came back to my mind. Our team decided to go for high room rate, but based on my previous experiences, I insisted that it must be somewhere around 90 (since we are running site A). The result of such high room rate was we lost the game.

(Why it is important)-These skills are very important when you knew someone is doing something really wrong, and you have the better information to achieve the better result than he does. However, you may argue that just leave that guy because he can learn from his failures. In reality, resources are so limited. Yes you can fail this time, but you can't fail and learn from every time.

(How to apply it)-Negotiation and persuasion are more about language skills. And hence it associates with the culture, environment, history etc. But the most important thing is you must make sure that you voice is heard. I am not very sure how to improve negotiation and persuasion skills, and I will do some research on it.

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