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And this is EXACTLY what i intend to do when I start my own business in the future. 🙂

http://www.entrepreneur.com/humanresources/managingemployees/article179274.html

Why I want to do this? I personally believe this will boost the morale of the employees – teamwork, competition (and perhaps some extra stress…well, couldn’t help it right?), fun, etc. Most importantly, the employees get to feel at home…doing what they want…enjoying and having fun before getting back to their work.

Some people have doubts over this so-called “new method of retaining employees“. It might have few side-effects, just like every other thing in this world. In terms of productivity…i believe there’s something called “timeline” for every assignment. No? If that’s the case, a responsible employee will know when to get back to work and not becoming a game addict. 🙂

More entertainment will make the employees feel much more like home….and stay longer in the office…and work only when they feel like (but of course, the assignments should be handed in within the given timeline).

So if you are running your own business and are wondering how to retain your employees (especially the creative ones)…. do consider this option. 🙂

Every morning while on my way to work, I’ll open both my eyes wide and try to observe what other people is doing (while trying to notice if there’s any pretty ladies nearby). I find it quite amusing since there are so many weird and funny behaviors….some people sleep on other people’s shoulder (stranger) in the train…some like to breathe very close to another person..and the rest walking (or marching…or maybe close to crawling…) their way towards their respective offices.

Then i started to wonder….when we walk towards our office….do we already have an idea of what we are going to achieve on that particular day? Or, are we just walking towards that direction while leaving our brain or consciousness at our home?

Do we begin the day with an end in mind?

For those who have read Stephen Covey‘s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will know that “begin with an end in mind” is 1 of the 7 important habits. It teaches people to always think of the end result of an action, before actually taking that particular action.

If you know what you want to achieve and if you are willing to work hard (need to work smart too. Banging your head against a wall won’t help you to demolish a house), you will eventually find ways to achieve it.

In the book “Built to Last“, the authors mentioned that most visionary companies have BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) to keep their direction focused and to motivate the employees.  With a goal in sight, everyone will work towards it (the “everyone” must have enough confidence that this goal can be achieved. Even the slightest negative feeling will make the goal…remains as a goal). Everyone knows that the goal is the end result and they need and will achieve it. How? They’ll figure it out.

Without a goal or an end in mind….you’ll be walking like a headless chicken…directionless. Your actions and behaviors will lead you somewhere for sure, but not to places where you want to be.

Therefore, it’s important to begin your first step with an end in mind. Understand what kind of result you want to achieve, and start developing the steps necessary to achieve it. Remember that life is too precious for you to walk around like a headless chicken.  Hope it helps.

p/s….I’m trying to learn how to practice this “begin with an end in mind” regularly. It is never easy….but it is worth the try. 

In this post, I’ll talk about how we can avoid being a boring person during a conversation.

 

Conversation is an important activity for everyone. You need to have a constructive conversation with your employees, employers, clients, family, friends, etc. There are few things that you need to remember every time you have a conversation with someone.

 

  • Not to use the wrong word.

Never use the words or sarcastic remarks which will hurt the feelings of your conversation partner. Be polite, be courteous. Remember, you are talking to get your points across, get feedbacks, or to make people’s life better….not taunting or trying to ruin people’s day. You won’t get that many opportunities to talk to the person again if you mess this up. Remember, a single word can ruin a relationship which used thousands of words to build.

  • Talk about things which are related to the person you’re talking to.

When you’re talking to someone, make sure you are talking about something which is related to the person especially if the person is not very close to you. You won’t want to bore someone you barely know with your personal problems. Once in a while is okay…but if you continuously talk about stuff which is only related to YOU…sooner or later, the person will be frustrated and avoid you.

  • Maintain eye contact.

This is to avoid your conversation partner from wandering too far away during the conversation. It is also to show you are sincere in your conversation.

  • Make it a 2-ways communication.

Being courteous and polite are very important. Never interrupt a person’s conversation unless it’s something urgent or very important. Give people the opportunity to voice out their opinions. Make the conversation 2-ways.

  • It’s nice to be a good listener.

Sometimes, it’s important for us to play the role of a listener. Just pay attention to what your conversation partner is talking at that time (it could be your family, spouse, clients, colleagues, etc). If you’re paying attention and give some constructive and useful feedbacks….people will learn to appreciate you more. 🙂 Yeah, I know, some people complain way too much to you….well, the only thing you could do is to make the person feel more positive. 😉

You can easily find these ‘best practices’ from the book “Drop the pink elephant” by Bill McFarlan. It’s a good book. Highly recommended. 🙂

p/s…I’m not very good in a conversation. Need to work hard in this field as well. 😉

If you’re a manager, will you find the right people first or will you get the project first? If you just started a company all by yourself…will you find the right people or start looking for new project?

This is like the chicken & egg story. Which one comes first? or which one SHOULD come first? To be honest, it’s quite subjective.

Based on the book “Good to great” by Jim Collins, he mentioned that it is important to find the right people first, before everything else. I do believe in his wise words. You might think that without a project, why even bother to hire more people? I once think like you do, and I am sure most of the people in the corporate world will think that way. However, after reading this book, I somehow feel that..perhaps, it IS very important to get the right people on the bus, before deciding where to head to.

Let’s have an example….

You just started your company, alone. You have a business plan but no project. However, you seriously need someone to help out…so you started to look for people….. Only 2 situations might occur :

  1. You got the right people on the bus, revised the business plan, decided which direction to head to and together as a team, started to drive your company to that direction.
  2. You prefer to get the projects first. You tried and tried…finally, you got a project. You scurried around looking for people….and you found them. Off they went, for the project.

In (1), it’s the classic example of getting the right people first. This way, you can have all the brain juice you need from the “smart” people you hired. Of course, to some companies, this will prove to be very costly….but think about it, perhaps it IS worthwhile to do so?

In (2), you hired “followers” who only had the chance of coming to the company and implementing whatever you’ve instructed them to do so. You are the “boss”, the sole decision maker. If you managed to screw it up….your company is screwed as well.

This theory, applies to all sort of companies – from startups to big corporations. It just depends on how much they believe in it. If I were to start a company, I would definitely follow the “people first, direction later” theory since I can be more assured my company is heading the right way with all the expert co-drivers and navigators in my bus. 🙂

Again, it’s your call.

p/s…I might not be able to express myself well enough in this topic. For further information, do refer to the book by Jim Collins which I’ve mentioned above.

Ever find yourself overspending every month? To be honest, I always find myself overspending (maybe it’s because I’m a Piscean).

I’ve been working for more than 2 years now and I basically have limited savings. I tend to buy a lot of stuff (gadgets, clothes, books, games) without even looking at the price. Ah….the wonder of credit cards.

However, without money, there are a lot of things which you can’t possibly do. You can’t start your own business. You can’t help those in needs. You can’t even save yourself if there’s an emergency. That is why, it is always important to have a bit of money in your bank (be it Fixed Deposit, savings account, funds, etc).

For myself, I’ve started to save a small portion of my salary since 5 months ago. That was when I came across the book “The richest man in Babylon” by George S. Clason. The book has a very simple concept of managing your finance. Let’s summarize it this way….

  • Every month, save 10% of your salary (something to begin with. You can save more if you’re comfortable).
  • This is a MUST. Save the 10% no matter what. Make this a habit and don’t give excuses to yourself if you can’t save. 10% is not really a big amount. Cut down on your food and your “Nice to have” items to accommodate this 10%.
  • You’ll eventually see your savings grow….but since savings account does not provide you high interest rate, feel free to get the money out and put into things like Fixed Deposit, or trust funds. Let the money grow…. but do proper research before you commit to something.

That’s it. Simple right? I do highly recommend the book to all of you out there. 🙂 Hope it helps.

Six Sigma, something you’ve heard about over and over and over again, especially for those who are interested in the business world. The name itself sounds scary enough to even the most experienced business person. Why? Is Six Sigma really THAT scary? What is it about? Most importantly, why is it still so famous among business people when it is said to be “scary”?

I apologize for turning away from my regular “Personal Management” postings to this “Business Management” posting. I have this urge to talk about Six Sigma since a long time ago and just recently, my company was visited by one of the Six Sigma black belt holder of our client. When my director introduced this “black belt” holder to the people in the company, I can bet that there are a lot of puzzled faces here and there.
“Black belt? Huh? Six Sigma?”

Well, I’m in an IT company, so its not a big surprise that most of the people here do not know what is Six Sigma. If you’re a business person and you have never heard of it, its time for you to dive into the “happenings” of the global business world and I am sure you will be able to find something related to Six Sigma.

Alright, back to the topic. In this post, I will explain Six Sigma in a layman’s term (I’m a Six Sigma’s idiot myself, in case you want to know). I will have future postings on Six Sigma, ONCE I’ve equipped myself with more advanced information of Six Sigma. 😉


So what is Six Sigma? Six Sigma is a business-driven approach/method to process improvement, reduced costs and increased profits (started by Motorola in the 1995). In other words, to improve the overall efficiency of your business. The fundamental principle behind Six Sigma is to improve customer satisfaction by reducing defects, lowering your cost and builds better leaders.

Six Sigma helps you to deliver your services/products to your customers based on what they want, when they want it and when you promised it. By meeting or exceeding your customers’ expectations, you can be sure that they will most probably remain your business partner for the years to come.

However, this kind of relationship is easier to be destroyed than to be built. One thing which is surely going to kill this kind of relationship is inconsistency in services or products. Here’s a scenario:

Imagine you are the manager of a small business unit in your company, which is responsible for delivering your company’s products to the customers. Your customers will normally receive their products on the average of 7 days. This means that over the course of 3 deliveries, customer A receives his part on day two, customer B on day 7 and customer C on day 11. From here, you can see the inconsistency in the deliveries.
After some discussions with your people, you decided to change the process a little and finally managed to come out with an average of 5 days (2, 5 and 8 days for customer A, B and C respectively). This is a very good improvement over your previous achievement. However, your customers might not see it this way. Try to think from their perspective. What if you ARE the customer who are receiving products on such irregular basis….”I might receive it today…or maybe 4 days later…or 10 days later..I’ve experienced before so its not impossible”.

This is one of the issues Six Sigma intends to help you with. With the implementation of Six Sigma, your customers will receive their deliveries on day 5 or if its not entirely possible, day 4, 5 and 6. Six Sigma is not about counting and calculating averages, it is about helping your business to minimize variation and if possible, removing it from your relationship with your customers.

That’s simple, isn’t it? Yes, Six Sigma CAN be simple and yet, it can be a nightmare. Why? There are more to Six Sigma than the simple variation minimization process we just talked about. If you look at it from a broader (just like watching the lions in the zoo from a far and safe location), there are two primary applications of Six Sigma. First, its about the simple variation thing we just mentioned. It is used to remove the variation in routine and simple tasks. Secondly, it can also be used to ensure that large and complex projects go right the first time (the feeling of failing a multi-million project is not really pleasant).

You have it, the basic definition of Six Sigma. It’s definitely good enough for a layman like me. It helps me to clear my uncertainty over Six Sigma and its effectiveness. You can be very sure that it is effective but bear in mind, it is not the ONE SOLUTION that every company needs to solve their inefficiency problem. Over the years, some of us might have heard companies implementing Six Sigma…a lot of them in fact, and to be frank, more than half of them failed which resulted in the “Six Sigma Phobia” syndrome. Why? To me, there’s no such thing as ONE SOLUTION in this world, including this Six Sigma approach. It can improve your business a lot IF you know how to use it and when to use it.

Try to spread the words in your company and let people know what is Six Sigma before you even think of implementing it. Hiring Six Sigma “super consultants” might help a little, or so you are hoping for that since you’ve spent so much money just to bring them in. Let’s be realistic. Explain to your people in layman’s term and make them understand…..not asking your “super consultants” to jump in and start pouring in all the statistical diagrams and bombastic definitions to your people. It will just add up to their “Fear Factor” on Six Sigma.

 p/s…this is based on what I’ve read on some online articles. Do correct me if I’m wrong.