Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Most effective skills managers and supervisor should have

Being a good manager or supervisor isn't just about knowing the ins and outs of a specific business, or being in the same industry for a certain number of years. There are some innate skills that separate good managers from those who are simply mediocre.

If you're vying for a manager position, or looking to do better in your current supervisory role, here are a few skills to hone.

1. Honesty

It's hard for employees to respect a boss they don't trust. That's why it pays to be as transparent as possible with the people who report to you. This means giving straightforward feedback and addressing employee concerns head-on without beating around the bush.

Based on my personal experience, giving direct feedback may shock some employees because it is their human nature of refusing to accept an unfavourable answer. However, I do have my strong reasons for arriving at such feedback.

Say an employee comes to you wondering why he didn't get a raise as expected. If you feed him a line about budget cuts when, in fact, other workers have been getting pay increases, you'll come off as deceitful.

On the other hand, if you offer up a legitimate, candid reason behind the decision, that employee might still be a bit miffed, but at least he'll respect you for being honest. You'll also be giving him an opportunity to improve, which will benefit both him and the entire team.

2. Diplomacy

Workplace clashes are often inevitable. Whether it's two members of your team butting heads over how to handle a project or another manager infringing on your turf, avoiding on-the-job conflict is easier said than done.

But it's how you handle those scenarios that will set you apart as a strong manager.

If you address the parties involved with respect and help them come to a compromise, you're more likely to come out ahead in the long run than you are if you push your own agenda. Similarly, if you're dealing with a conflict between two direct reports, you're better off mediating without actively taking sides so that you don't anger either party. It's not always easy to be diplomatic in a tense situation, but the more level-headed and respectful you come off, the better you'll maintain your relationships with those around you.

3. Time management

Given that there are only so many hours in a workday, it's natural for certain tasks or obligations to fall by the wayside. This especially holds true for managers, who are the most apt to get sucked into productivity-zapping meetings. A good manager, however, will know how to maximize his or her time so that the things that should take priority ultimately get done on schedule. Along these lines, strong managers are those who know how to stay focused and organized, even when pulled in what seems like a dozen different directions.

This requires the ability to say "no" to tasks that will distract you from more important objectives. You might take a cue from Warren Buffett, one of the greatest corporate leaders of our time, and put all lower-priority tasks on an "avoid at all costs" list.

Reminder to all Pasti Nyala staffs, does our Work Priority Quadrant make more sense now?

4. Delegation

If you're a manager or a supervisor, there's a reason you have multiple employees reporting to you. Getting the job done is often a team effort, but if you're the type who needs to have a hand in every task that gets done or decision that gets made, you'll lose sight of the big picture -- and annoy your reports with your micromanaging. A good manager knows when to delegate and when to step in directly.

Remember, delegating responsibilities to other people doesn't make you lazy; it makes you efficient. As long as you know when it's appropriate to relinquish control, doing so could free up time in your schedule for more important responsibilities -- namely, things your direct reports may not be in a position to do themselves.

A word of caution here, with Delegation, comes responsibility. Just because you can delegate, doesn't mean you must delegate. Delegate the job to your member only if you know he or she has the capability to do it. Example, don't delegate a heart surgery job to an engineer.

5. Team-building

Nothing keeps employees going like working together toward a common goal. 

One final thing that distinguishes the best managers from lesser leaders is the ability to keep a team motivated -- not only to do the best possible job, but also to have each other's backs.

Of course, creating this sort of environment often boils down to hiring the right group of people in the first place, but even once you've developed a strong team, your work doesn't stop there. Team-building needs to be an evolving, perpetual process, and if you're good at it, you're more likely to retain strong employees and deliver better results on a whole.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What does a good team mean

Try to build a good team. What does a good team mean? Below is a quote from one of Jack Ma's speech:

A good team does not mean you hire excellent people from Harvard or from a multinational or from Fortune 500 companies.

Hire the right people, not necessarily the best people. The way to get the best people is always you train them. There's no 'best people' in the market, the best people for you are always the ones you trained yourself. So, I say if you hire the people who are very good but not suitable to you, it's just like you are putting a Boeing 747 engine into a poor tractor. Neither of them is happy. The engine's not happy, the poor tractor's not happy. So find the right people.

Source: Jack Ma, Tech in Asia

For the case of Pasti Nyala, if we cannot find the right people or right talent, we might as well train and develop them into the right people, provided they are willing to learn, contribute and be part of the team.

Creating a good team is just a start. I want to make a great team. For my fellow team members, please instill the following pointers:

What makes a good team GREAT?
1. There must be a strong desire to win.
2. A team wants to be the best in every situation.
3. Respect for the leader and each member.
4. Supporting and helping each member and avoid unhappy people.
5. Honesty is integral to any great team.
6. Great teams think out of the box strategy.
7. Remaining calm under pressure.
8. A team needs to take responsibility.
9. A team willing to take calculated risks.
10. ADAPTABILITY to learn and to change.

Suggested reading: Jack Ma's factor

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Innovation in the Workplace

There was a time when the concept of creativity was only associated with writers, painters, musicians and similar people in artistic professions. But with the ever-increasing necessity of cultivating a unique brand personality, the need for creative thinking has transitioned from the arts into everyday business.

In addition, the act of producing a product that distinguishes itself from competitors in a marketplace where differences are often hard to come by demands a high degree of creativity both in innovation and marketing.

As a result, it's now become commonplace for companies - both large and small - to adopt policies that foster creativity and thereby promote innovation.

But what is meant by creativity? And how can it be harnessed effectively?

Defining the Creative Environment

Creativity is the mental and social process used to generate ideas, concepts and associations that lead to the exploitation of new ideas. Or to put it simply: innovation. Through the creative process, employees are tasked with exploring the profitable outcome of an existing or potential endeavor, which typically involves generating and applying alternative options to a company's products, services and procedures through the use of conscious or unconscious insight. This creative insight is the direct result of the diversity of the team - specifically, individuals who possess different attributes and perspectives.

It's important to note that innovation is usually not a naturally-occurring phenomenon. Like a plant, it requires the proper nutrients to flourish, including effective strategies and frameworks that promote divergent levels of thinking. For example, by supporting an open exchange of ideas among employees at all levels, organizations are able to inspire personnel and maintain innovative workplaces.

Therefore supervisors must manage for the creative process and not attempt to manage the creativity itself, as creativity typically does not occur exclusively in an individual's head but is the result of interaction with a social context where it's codified, interpreted and assimilated into something new.

Within this system, incentives are paramount - ranging from tangible rewards such as monetary compensation to the intangible, including personal satisfaction and social entrepreneurship.

How to Set Up a Creative Work Space to Foster Innovation

Establishing a creative environment takes more than just turning your employees loose and giving them free reign in the hope they'll hit on something valuable. As with any other system, the process of creativity requires the proper framework to operate effectively, which also enables management to evaluate the profitability of the results.

Popular approaches to fostering innovation through creativity include:

Create a stimulating environment. Offices that include stimulating objects such as journals (Pasti Nyala has Knowledge-Based Board and Blog, but the response at the moment is rather lackluster), art, games (mostly played during our Team Outing) and other items - some of which may not even be directly related to your business - serve as sources of inspiration. In addition, structuring the work area by removing physical barriers between people will improve communication and promote creative interaction.

Reward efforts through positive psychological reinforcement. Encourage your employees to take risks, rewarding them for creative ideas and not penalizing them when they fail. In doing so, you'll enable people to more readily take on assignments that stretch their potential (and that of your organization), discussing in advance any foreseeable risks and creating the necessary contingency plan. Encourage employees at all levels to contribute suggestions for improving current business operations. Our in-house IMS is in placed ever ready for their submission.

Foster different points of view through outside perspectives. Innovation can often spring from a review of how your customers view and use your products and services. Soliciting their opinions can provide valuable insight into potential areas for improvement as well as areas where you're succeeding (essential knowledge for positioning against competitors). Other perspectives might include: vendors, speakers from other industries or consumers using a competitor's products or services.

Source: businessdictionary

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Creating Innovative Solution to a Problem

In today's marketplace, the practice of innovation isn't just about creating new products. It's about discovering completely new markets that meet previously unknown and therefore untapped customer needs. 

For example:
The drone was first developed for an aerial surveillance. Then it was redeveloped by the Military for tactical purpose. Then it was re-innovate for hobbyists for aerial photography.Read also Innovating Fireworks with Drone Show 

And in the age of Internet commerce, the act of innovation becomes an even greater challenge, awash in a sea of new ideas. Therefore the drive toward selecting and executing the right ideas and bringing them to market before your competitors take on an urgency that has been previously unknown, yet is sure to increase in the rapidity of its scale in the years ahead.

As a result, the driving forces behind innovation - previously technology and control of quality and cost - have shifted away from issues of efficiency and are now solely focused on the creativity and growth of the organization toward a future state of competitiveness.

A perfect example can be seen in the process of mobile payment via smartphone. Mobile payment has provided the ultimate convenience to shoppers by preventing them from having to carry around credit cards and other means of payment. Though it has yet to become the norm for many businesses, mobile payment's proliferation among startups is evidence of the desire to reach consumers through expediency and ease of use.

Five Steps to an Innovative Solution

Regardless of the size and scope of your organization, customer-centered companies looking to innovate for the modern consumer might consider the following approach:

1. Figure out the problem you're trying to solve

As with just about any first step, this one is crucial. Make sure you're trying to solve the right problem and don't try to provide a fix for something that isn't a priority in the eyes of your consumer. Do this by asking the right questions and observing, either in focus groups or by evaluating competitive companies, products and their customers. Asking simple questions like 'what does XYZ company do better than us?' or 'what's missing from our product or service that would make it better?' can go a long way towards defining your direction at this stage.

2. Analyze the problem

In this stage, you want to turn the problem upside down and inside out, extracting every variable and value that causes it (and remedies it). Focus on how often the problem occurs, how severe it is, potential causes, and what if any special circumstances impact it. Another primary focus should be on the timeframe of the problem. How long has it been occurring? Has it been getting worse with time and, if not, are there factors that could cause it to do so in the future?

3. Classify the decision criteria

Clearly defining the desires that lead to purchase intent, here you want to identify any and every decision that factors into the decision-making process. Which of these criteria is most important? Will the decision be based solely on existing standards or are there any unique values that can be used.

4. Come up with more than one solution

There is no substitute for variety and the goal at this stage is to not leave a more valuable solution on the table. Therefore, don't stop at the first solution you come up with. Instead, evaluate any alternative scenarios as objectively as possible, assessing the pros and cons of each to ensure that the solution you're pursuing is the most competitive and thereby profitable one.

5. Pick the best solution

After you've evaluated all the options and values gleaned from steps one through four, you have to choose the most customer-centric solution to move forward with, developing a base of support within your organization and preparing for any internal or external contingencies.

Of course for conceptualizing an entirely new innovative idea, the staffs of Pasti Nyala are encouraged to submit it to our in-house IMS.

Source: businessdictionary

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

123.47 Data Glitch

A system problem (excluding hardware related issues) typically confined to an Application problem (or Program Glitch or program bug) or Data Problem (in this case Data Glitch).

A stock market data error that occurred on Jul 02, 2017 set an undetermined number of companies listed on the US Nasdaq exchange to a share price of $123.47, sending some tech companies’ stock prices crashing and others’ soaring.

In a statement from Nasdaq said the culprit was “improper use of test data” that was picked up by third party financial data providers. The exchange said it was “working with third party vendors to resolve this matter.”

Improper use of test data could likely be:
1. a hard-coded value or parameters
2. a hard-coded business logic in the program
3. a hard-coded debugging logic set by the program developer
4. a test data or dummy data inserted manually by the developer into the production database. This act bypassed the expected data validation and doesn't ensure data integrity.

So to all Pasti Nyala developers, take note of the following:
1. avoid hard-coded values unless it is a preset lower limit or upper limit
2. debugging logic is meant for use during testing stage
3. above all, avoid back-door data manipulation (e.g using DB tools to insert rows, or update rows). Data must be created or maintained by a tested program.