Archive for June, 2008

When Job Anonymity = Job Misery

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'”
– Lao-tsu –

I like Patrick Lencioni‘s view of anonymity that causes an individual’s job misery. I have to admit that most employees dread coming to work every day, dragging their feet just to get a paycheck. I was listening to a colleague the other day how he didn’t like the idea of our boss coming back to work after a long break due to the fact that he’ll start feeling useless again. For the past few days, he was spending sleepless nights trying to solve technical issues together with our US counterparts and that felt like an accomplishment for him. Once the boss gets back, he’ll be back to being “just like everyone else.” Knowing that we are important and making a difference is something that everyone likes to feel, whether at work, at school or at home. But the truth is, we really are important as we are unique individuals. The problem with managers nowadays is that they tend to miss the point. Ask this question to any manager you know : “When was the last time you told their staff how important they were in the team?” They probably won’t remember. And having that feeling of unimportance will cause any individual to feel miserble at work. We keep forgetting that working professionals are human beings, too. And it is important to understand that making people feel important contributes to their productivity and fulfillment.

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Get out of your track

I have to admit that I am a self-confessed workaholic. Most of us will probably do what I do – stick to what we have always been doing, thereby creating a habit. While this is a good practice to get ourselves master what we do well, it also hinders our ability to grow in some aspects. Today, I have purposedly just stopped reading work-related emails for half a day and went over and started reading about business and personal development (I haven’t done this for more than a month now as I have been focusing more on SQL Server recently). I used to do this everyday but the demands of both work and career sometimes make us forget that in order for us to really be successful is to make sure we grow. We need to create a habit that will enable us to grow even outside of what we do, realizing the fact that there is life outside of work and career. Getting out of your track will also make you get a better perspective of what is happening outside of your environment.
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Business Insights from the Shop Floors

I was riding the Light Rail Transit in Manila,Philippines a couple of days ago and couldn’t help but overhear a bunch of merchandise staff who are responsible for sales in one of the biggest malls in Asia. What’s notable about their conversation was the fact that they were discussing how to strategically position the products that they sell in various locations within the mall in order to increase their sales. Now, you might think that this is something normal for businesses who need to understand how their products and customers mesh together to become successful but you need to understand something. In Manila where job opportunities are scarce, the very people who are discussing strategies and business approaches didn’t even had the opportunity to get themselves into college. Some of them didn’t even finish high school. It reminds me of how Sam Walton – founder of Wal-Mart – asks each of his staff how to improve the business and eventually turned it to what it is today. He just understood the value of each staff – whether they’re management or rank-and-file. While I am a great fan of business intelligence and how we can use technology to gain business insight, there’s still no substitute for the guy who sees your customer smile everyday and understand what it takes to take your business to the next level

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When validating change is important

Part of IT Information Library’s change management process is to validate whatever change was made to the IT infrastructure so that if there are some unnecessary incidents that happened because of the change, it can be reverted back. We often follow stringent procedures when it comes to processes without realizing its impact in our day-to-day life. Take for instance when we deal with people. We expect people to change for good and that is, of course, essential. We tell them what needs to be changed and we expect them to do it. But when they do, we don’t even notice, much more validate the change. The person who did everything at his disposal to improve will end up to be disappointed knowing that it seems unnecessary to change. This goes back to the concept of “seagull management” where we only see the bad things in people and not the good ones. Even changes in people need to be validated so that they would be able to benchmark whether to improve further or maintain the status quo. So the next time you see your staff, children or even friends make changes for their improvement, make sure you validate them so that they’ll keep improving. It won’t hurt telling them they have submitted their requirements way ahead of schedule and that you are happy with what they did.

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