Friday, March 30, 2012

Connecting the dots can only be done in hindsight

I quote from Steve Jobs:
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life

You can only connect the dots when you have made the move. You can envision what the dots will look like, how it will connect, but you'll never know until you connect them. Try it, or you'll never know.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Turn off AutoPlay

One of the main reasons why some people like to disable Auto Playing of inserted CDs/DVDs/USB Thumbdrives is because viruses nowadays embed themselves within these media. When plugged into a machine, the machine will helpfully autorun the viruses to inflect it.

You can disable the autorun temporarily by pressing the right shift button when you insert the media, or disable it permanently using the following:
  1. Ensure you're using an administrator account
  2. Goto Start -> Run
  3. Type gpedit.msc
  4. Click on Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System
  5. Double Click on Turn off Autoplay
  6. Click on Enabled radio button
  7. From the Turn off Autoplay on:  dropdown list, select All drives
  8. Click on OK

That's it... This will permanently disable Autoplay for that machine. Do note however that if you play games or you wish to install software, the media will no longer auto run the software when you insert the media.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Over emphasis on productivity again

I've recently read a few articles on training and it shows that many local bosses do not understand the importance of training.One of them even link sending of staff to go for training to productivity. It was not put down in words but personally, I felt that the boss thinks that sending staff for training leads to a drop in productivity.

I guess they did not read the recent Harvard Business Review study lead by Zeynep Ton, an M.I.T professor. He surveyed 4 low-price retailers in the US and he found that:
  • these companies have much higher labour costs than their competitors
  • they pay their employees more
  • they have more full-time workers and more salespeople on the floor
  • they invest more in training them.
but these stores
  • are better places to work
  • are more profitable than most of their competitors
  • have more sales per employee and per square foot
It was actually shown that customers do appreciate properly trained staff as they are able to assist them in the decision to purchase.

The research above shows that even though you spend more on your employees, you are actually more profitable than your competitors. It does show that we should not focus on a specific process to achieve higher profitability, but look instead at what we must do to achieve higher profitability.

The focus should not be always at productivity. It's not the only way to increase your profitability. By narrowing your focus, you lose sight of the final objective and in fact, the result may be the exact opposite of what was intended.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inflation is up 4.6%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2012:
January: 4.8%
February: 4.6%

Housing and Transport are once again leading the pack, rising by 9.5% and 4.4% respectively year on year. Inflation is surprisingly tamer across the board for most items. I did not expect the inflation to drop for food though, judging from what I'm seeing when I eat out. Seems a little disconnected..

My forecast was totally out by 1% and the only explanation I can come up with is the Chinese New Year effect which I forgot to take into account. However, it still doesn't explain why I'm out by so much. :( This month's inflation should be similar to February, although I do think that there might be a slight uptick to 4.7% due to the persistent high oil prices this month.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Seven Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise or nutrition. It is the full integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The model used by our campus includes social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical wellness. Each of these seven dimensions act and interact in a way that contributes to our own quality of life.

The seven dimensions are:
  1. Social Wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world. Our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers contributes to our Social Wellness.
  2. Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress; hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our Emotional Wellness.
  3. Spiritual Wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. The ability to develop congruency between values and actions and to realize a common purpose that binds creation together contributes to our Spiritual Wellness.
  4. Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us. The ability to make a positive impact on the quality of our environment, be it our homes, our communities or our planet contributes to our Environmental Wellness.
  5. Occupational Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. Our desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact on the organizations we work in and to society as a whole leads to Occupational Wellness.
  6. Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.
  7. Physical Wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. The ability to recognize that our behaviors have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal Physical Wellness.

Take care of your personal well-being. Work is not everything. You can refer to more details here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bypassing the CIO is the norm

Few organisations see the merits of having a CIO within the organisation. In fact, some even put the CIO as a part time job.

If you look at the job scope of a CIO, how can a job that involves managing the information flowing into and out of the organisation be a part-time job? In fact, a lot of the productivity improvements can be made just by analysing the information flowing around the organisation. How often have you filled up forms that you think it's totally irrelevant to what you're applying for? How about a repeat customer, being asked to fill in information that you have provided before?

In fact, a lot of people in the organisation like to bypass the CIO in their decision making process because many are not able to see what they are doing affecting the organisation. For example, you may wish to implement a certain type of system but you know that the CIO will ask a lot of questions on it. So what do most people do? Do first, talk later. However, they may not understand that maybe a certain system is already available for the whole organisation that is similar to what is being requested, the direction for the department is changing and doing it will be a waste of resource, etc.

Sometimes when you try to justify why you need to do certain things, it brings clarity and in fact, you may start questioning yourself why you need to do it. However this will take time and knowing how "productive" our bosses want us to be, how often can we take time to justify certain improvements?

To be productive, sometimes you need to be not productive for a period of time. Complicated? You bet.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What is true leadership?

Recently I was reading an article on leadership and it led me into thinking if true leadership exists in our current work environment. Back in 2008, I've written a snippet about leadership here, which I felt is the epitome of leadership. However I feel that even basic leadership, about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing, judging from the recent news on the Goldman Sachs, is sorely lacking.

It's no longer about your product, no longer about your service, no longer about what your business can do to resolve problems.

Nowadays, it seems that leadership is all about money. As long as you hit your KPI, that's all that matters. It's all about earning more than the previous year. How common is it now to see even team leaders putting the team in front of personal interests?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The NEL incident reveals another inefficency. Our printed media.

The recent NEL incident did show that SBS Transit learned well from the huge backlash against SMRT in their handling of the crisis. SBS Transit was able to make frequent and up-to-date announcements on the status of the breakdown and they are able to deploy people, and bridging buses very quickly. That was one of the reasons why there wasn't any major backlash against SBS Transit for this disruption.

However, their efficiency reveals another inefficiency in a business operation that should put announcement of up-to-date information as the number 1 priority. Our printed media.

Why did I say that? I usually take my daily dose of news from my iPhone at around 7am every weekday. According to SBS Transit, they have issued a media alert at 6.36am on that same day on the breakdown. However, nowhere in CNA or ST's online news have an article on this important media alert, at least as of 7am on that day.

Just imagine... A news organisation that prides itself in its up-to-date news and yet unable to write a simple one paragraph article to report on this important disruption. I am sorely disappointed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Change Catalyst

I quote from Stephen R. Covey:
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a "transformer" in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.

I believe the most obvious example is Steve Jobs, who turned Apple around to what it is today. This is the fact that no one can deny. However to be a transforming leader is easier said to be done, and I believe that you also need an incredibly thick skin.

One person can change the world. This is something that we can take away.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Should you get the new iPad (HD)?

The new iPad was launched last week and it seems that Apple has dropped the number behind the iPad in their marketing. It's not iPad 3, it's not iPad HD, it's just iPad. Good or bad move? I'm not sure but I do know is that it's now a whole lot harder for the consumers to differentiate between the different iPads.

Not that the additional features warrant a differentiation between the new iPad and the previous one. Basically, if you already have an iPad, there are 3 main reasons why you should upgrade:
  1. The screen display is beautiful and the graphics are improved
  2. Faster processor
  3. Hotspot feature enabled

Why I did not mention the 4G? Apparently, the news came out that the 4G seems to be only compatible with the networks in the US. It may not work in Singapore and even if it does, none of the telcos seem to be ready with their 4G plans.

Main reason why you should upgrade? The new iPad is now all about the gaming experience. If you want to get a portable gaming machine with stunning graphics, you might want to look at the new iPad. Other than that? I think I'll pass or get the cheaper iPad 2 (drop in price).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Over emphasis on women in board rooms

Recently Singapore has came out with a lot of articles on women in board rooms. I have nothing against this but I felt that there was an over emphasis on this topic and that sometimes, you have to look at it from a bigger perspective.

First of all, instead of emphasizing on the women in that board room, they should look at it from the whole organisation perspective. For example, if the organisation consist of mostly women, if there is only 1 or 2 women in the board room, is that considered unbalance? I don't think so.

Next is that it was said that productivity increases when more women are in the board room. Again, look at it from a bigger perspective. Are we saying that having guys in the board room does not improve productivity? How is productivity increased? A lot of people neglected to look at how the productivity is increased. For example, does this increase of productivity lead to an increase of staff turnover? What's the employees' satisfaction?

Last but not least, what happened to meritocracy? Is it only women who can contribute? How about subject matter experts from related businesses? Will they be able to contribute a unique view to the situation?

Yes, I agree that women in a workplace is essential as they are able to present a unique perspective to any issues. However, let's not overdo it and neglect the others.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, March 12, 2012

3 things to look out for iOS5.1 on iPhone 4S

iOS 5.1 was released last week together with the launch of iPad. I've been using it for a while and these are the 3 main reasons why you should upgrade:
  1. You can access the Camera directly from the iPhone standby screen. Either tap on the camera icon in the standby screen or swipe up (swipe down to go back to the home screen). There is also auto face detection when you use the camera.
  2. You can finally disable 3G on the iPhone 4S! After enabling that, my iPhone could last 1 more day based on my regular usage. There are also battery life improvements touted but I am sure the main reason is because I disable my 3G by default and only enable it when necessary.
  3. Japanese language support for Siri! :)

It took me about 20 mins to upgrade over-the-air (full process). Not much of a problem but please do take note of the amount of space left in your iPhone before you do the upgrade. Personally, I think you should have at least 1GB of free space before you do the over-the-air upgrade. This is the geek inside me speaking. :)

I upgraded because of the battery life. A no-brainer for me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

First impressions are often the truest

I quote from William Hazlitt:
First impressions are often the truest, as we find (not infrequently) to our cost, when we have been wheedled out of them by plausible professions or studied actions. A man's look is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.

Basically the way I read this, is that the first impression tells a lot about the person. The experience encountered, the type of attitude. That is why it's always good to make a good first impression.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wage benchmark finally?

I was surprised to hear in the budget debate something on wage benchmarking. In fact, it was quite similar to a post that I've written way back in 2010 here.

You can refer to the previous post that I've written but the main reason why I supported it because I feel that certain employers like to take advantage of the employees not knowing the market benchmark of the type of job that they are seeking. With the benchmark, employees will better know the typical salary of that particular job and know what to offer.

The employers are not required to follow it, but if they really wish to hire the good ones, they will know what to do. This may reduce turnover for the employers and this will also even the odds as the employers know the market but very often, not the employees.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Is that why Lease Buyback is not that popular?

Under the scheme, the HDB leaves a 30-year lease for the household and buys the remaining lease at market valuation under the Lease Buyback scheme. The money goes into a CPF Life annuity in the owner's name and he gets a monthly payout for life.

The problem? What if you outlive the 30 year lease?
The solution? Allow the owner to continue staying in the house, with the restriction that the house cannot be sold, and can only be retaken by HDB.

With this, I believe the take-up may be higher. Think so?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why should teachers and students be measured with a different yard stick?

I was recently reading an article in NY Times here talking about measuring the teachers' effectiveness and to make sure that such evaluations improve the overall quality of teaching. However, the article noted that publicly ranking teachers by name will not help them get better at their jobs or improve student learning.

Likewise, how does publicly ranking students help them get better at their studies? Students being young, will be more affected psychological if they are publicly ranked by name on school notice boards in certain cases that I've heard.

Are Singapore schools now all about exam results and not on other aspects? Pity if this is true.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What You Think About, You Become

I quote from Max Stein:
Your thoughts can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved,
happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak.

It is a psychological law that whatever you desire to accomplish
you must first impress upon your subconscious mind.

Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes your self image.
You can affect your subconscious mind with verbal repetition.
You'll find this constant repetition carries conviction.

Anything that changes your values changes your behavior.
You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.
Self-suggestion makes you master of yourself.

What you conceive yourself to be, you become.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...