Management – Performance Now

“The management boom is over; the time for management performance has come.”

                                                                       Peter F. Drucker; Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices, 1985

Today’s management is all about performance and results. Management can be found in big corporation to government to non-governmental organization to military and self. Management is an organ that sits inside a body and cannot exist on its own.

Although much has been theorize on management, many institutions including self faced with inability to harness the results from management. To be an effective executive (or manager), it is important to have knowledge, be discipline and focus on action. Those are elements of management. Above all successful executive is determined by its ability to use management as vehicle to achieve its goals – via purpose and mission.

A great business must have clear and definitive idea on how the business should be run. The same goes with executives and managers. They need to crystallize what is their purpose and mission at work place. These later needs to be aligned with the company they work with. However, most executives come to workplace hoping to be told what their purpose and mission are. They thought the organization goals are their goals. While executive must make company goals their goals, it is unlikely they are solely responsible for the business goals of total company. Instead they need to have own plan what contribution they can make. It is with regret the reason why so many executives unable to perform, because they have no goals to work on at first place.  The reality disturbs me greatly. Often when asked what is your plan for the day, many executives have no clear ideas what to do. Some responded referring to work or job they are currently doing. But work and plan is different. Work is a subset of plan. Plan should also include other facets of the executive such as reading, networking, getting fit and so on.

Through management, purpose and mission will be broken down into work and processes. The central to this is customer. Without customer the business (or executive) has no reason to exist; at all. Management needs to ask four main questions. What is our business, who is our customer, what value is to the customer and what will our business be. The rest of the work and process revolves around these questions. It cuts across strategy, financial, talent, logistic, administration, marketing, innovation and so on. Only then the management become useful and productive. In other words, when management has answered all these questions, the rest of the departments must throw its weight to this goal.

The development of managers must take into consideration all these. Only then the manager will be able to acquire today’s skills for him to be effective tomorrow. “What brought you here won’t get you there.” , said Marshall Goldsmith. Effective managers must learn how to become execution specialist. Because only results count, not efforts. Manager development is the responsibility of the individual, though company and superior have an important part to play.

The aim of it is excellence. The development of a manager is to enable him or her develop abilities and strengths to the fullest extent so the goals can be attained. Ultimately the manager himself must be able to control his own performance by understanding his strengths and weaknesses. Many times when i interview executives and managers, they stunned by “what are your weaknesses” question.

Majority said no one has ever asked them, of course they grumbled and took some time to answer. People that answered “what is your strengths” on the other hand got the answer wrong. They usually say, “my strengths are i am a good communicator, honest, punctual and hardworking”. My reply is, “that’s my basic needs”. they startled by that respond. Organization really need to deal with this urgently, otherwise people come to work with all those qualities that are not strengths but basic needs.

Organization can use this as a good start to develop managers to become more effective, but more importantly becoming execution specialist. By getting more things done, organization will become productive and growth is imminent. Consequently it will be able to take more risk to go to new markets in search for business expansion beyond boundaries. New jobs can be created as well as customers and innovations. Ultimately through management the organization will have itself sustainable business strategy and all prepared for future succession.

p/s: Management is going to be the tool to boost organization productivity. We don’t talk about management as in cost cutting, downsizing, penalizing people and other negative connotations; but management is a good model to get more things done.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

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Leadership Code

The last 15 years the center of the economy has been shifting towards Asia. This trend will continue. In fact it is eminent that the standard of Asia will become the de facto standard of the world. These exciting opportunities pose a big challenge for Asian because we will need to have global business skills to be able to serve both domestic and international markets. We need unique and high quality leaders to make better choices to respond more rapidly to change. We need effective leaders.

Leadership theories are around us. When you Google “leader” you will get 571 million hits in 0.11 seconds. Effective leaders must be able to renew and reinvent themselves together with the organization they lead. What succeeded in the past decades may not work in the following decade. Leaders must also be able to draw learning from their past experiences; successes and failures. Leaders that never fail cannot be trusted, because it means they are always in the comfort zone. They will fail the entire organization without realizing it. So, how to create leaders that are adaptive to change, push the boundaries and yet has net success rate?

In a recent leadership study conducted by Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman titled Leadership Code found that effective leaders shared around 50-85 percent of the same characteristics. This study later concluded that there are five rules of leadership that embody leadership DNA.

Rule 1: Strategist (Shape the future)

This rule suggests that effective leader answers the question “Where are we going?” and make sure that those around them understand the direction as well. They envision as well as create the future for the organization.

Rule 2: Executor (Make things happen)

This rule suggests that effective leader knows exactly how to ensure things get done. They translate strategy into action. They know how to make change happy, to assign accountability, to know which decisions to take and which to delegate and to make sure that teams work well together.

Rule 3: Talent Manager (Engage today’s talent)

This rule suggests effective leader optimizes business by drawing talent to their organizations, engage them, communicate extensively and ensure talents turn in their best efforts. They generate intense personal, professional and organizational loyalty. They also help talents to commit and find meaning at their work.

Rule 4: Human capital developer (Build the next generation)

This rule suggests effective leader builds a workforce plan focused on the future talent and know how to help them see their future careers. They prepare talents for future challenges and manage succession so they readier to lead when the time comes.

Rule 5: Personal proficiency (Invest in yourself)

This rule suggests effective leader learns from success, failure, assignments, books, classes, people and life itself. They are passionate about beliefs and interests, they expend an enormous personal energy and attention to whatever matters to them. Proficient leaders have strong moral code that connects values to actions.

At the end of the day, effective leaders need to have balance when performing all the five rules. Since rules are just rules, the inaction of a leader will violate the entire leadership code and other leadership theories. Leader who can’t walk the talk is not effective leader. Talk is cheap way to show you know a lot (but do too little). Therefore he or she must be able to self-manage and self-lead to be successful effective leader.

This article is based on the my view on leadership and Leadership Code by Dave Ulrich and team, which he found refreshing and easily connected with. By no means, this article a representation of Leadership Code itself. For more on Leadership Code book, please click here.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded And Left World Leaders Perplexed

 

This is actually a title from a book that I recently bought at a discount. I love discounted books and I have been very lucky that this book is one of the books that I bought at significant ROI – at least 1,000%. I have bought several other books with similar ROI – Fifth Discipline (Peter Senge), Origin of Brand (Al Ries) and Good to Great (Jim Collins). These are great books and I was very lucky. Coming back to this book that I just read, the actual title is “How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded and Left World Leaders Scratching Their Heads”. It is actually a compilation of entrepreneurs stories by Sabirul Islam – very prolific young entrepreneur. Check him out.

“Anger, frustration and a serious call for change. This is the reaction of today’s youth on being labelled ‘the lost generation’. But are the youth of today really a lost generation?” This is the opening of the book at the Introduction page. It captures the very essence of “perception” of youth around the world today. I remember attending Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2013) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where youth entrepreneurs around the world were a significant force. They are mostly from 3rd world countries and developing nations. Their “solutions” to social problems around them are very straight forward and inspiring. There was one African youth whose business is selling thumb drive softcopy of text books. Another Bangladeshi entrepreneur selling organic fertilizer – which he gave me a bottle to try out. Are they a lost generation?

This book by Sabirul Islam contains 25 interviews of successful youth role models who are true leaders of youth in their fields and have achieved extraordinary success in short period of time. They are the ambassadors of true grit for youth around the world to emulate and get inspired regardless of color and creed. The spectacular part of all these 25 teen-trepreneurs are all under 30 years old! Are they a lost generation?

millenial age children

Let’s find out some of the key highlights (in Q&A format) from the interviews. If you want full stories, I suggest you get this book yourself. 😉

1. What drives you as an individual to continue to do what you do?

“Knowing that I will be making a difference and serving others. The passion to pass along the things that I have been taught. The freedom and flexibility I create in my life by not working for someone else and creating the foundation for a financially secure future.”- Alexandra DiRuscio Cooper (Founder, Your Life Our World)

2. How have personal development programs helped you?

“They’ve had huge impact on my life. When I attended the first program at age 15, I was still a bit reserved and unsure who I was, trying to fit in. But that one event is what I credit that help me to break through. It opened my eyes what I had been missing out because I was playing small, I was holding back and I was uncertain. I gained confidence and determination.” – Alexandra DiRuscio Cooper (Founder, Your Life Our World)

3. What are three most important attributes you’ve developed as a young entrepreneur?

“Persistence, organization and solid critical thinking.” – Ben Weissenstein (Founder, Grand Slam Garage Sales”)

4. If you were the President, what would you do or what would you change to encourage growth in youth entrepreneurship?

“I’d have lots of programs to teach entrepreneurship and also to give seed money to aspiring young entrepreneurs. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who, with little funding help could really get off the ground.” – Ben Weissenstein (Founder, Grand Slam Garage Sales”)

5. What is the best solution for youth who have tried but failed to get where you are today?

“Try again, again and again! Find your passion and desires in it! If you want to a very successful business just find a very huge problem you see and try to solve it for everyone.” – Boris Kolev (Founder JT International)

Its not just jobs, its about passion.
Its not just jobs, its about passion.

6. In today’s world, what would you ultimately is more valuable, education or experience?

“The most valuable is education through experience. We have to define what we mean by the word education because I think experience is a key part of education.” – Boris Kolev (Founder JT International)

7. You seem to have had many jobs before you became the successful entrepreneur, at what point in your life did you realize that jobs weren’t your way forward?

“What I wanted was spare time doing my own thing, work with my own hours and be passionate about what I was doing – do something I loved. It’s hard to do when you have a job. I cant stand people telling me how much money I am going to earn and hours I am going to work. It’s my life so I am going to decide.” – Carly Ward (Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Society)

8. How has social media helped you to become a successful entrepreneur?

“Social media has been an integral part of my business. I have got some friends of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I can reach thousands people with social media. My mentor actually found me on LinkedIn. He is a successful entrepreneur and an angel investor. I got random message from him, “I like what you’re doing, can I help in any way?” and three months later he was my mentor and a non-executive director of my company.” – Carly Ward (Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Society)

9. How did you come with the idea to develop the multi-bucket carrier and what was your vision behind it?

“When I was 16, I noticed that people in Africa mainly women and children were walking in distance carrying two buckets of water. One of their shoulders and another on their hands. Using local materials I design multi-bucket carrier that can carry up to five buckets of water. I later distributed the instructions how to make it for local people to produce themselves.” – Emily Cummins (The Serial Inventor)

10. What have been the major challenges that you’ve faced when developing your products?

“The major challenge was my age. Initially some people looked at me as a younger person but when I showed them I what invented they find it very refreshing especially at my creativity. I also had to convince my parents that I was very capable to go to Africa on my own.” – Emily Cummins (The Serial Inventor)

11. How has travelling helped you to become the inspirational figure that you are?

“I believe the fastest way to inspire someone is to be inspired. The fastest way to inspire yourself is to do what you love and invest in yourself to feel alive. For me I gain that through travelling. I love to fly and be in the air, experience new culture, be in transition, meet new people and be stretched out of my comfort zone. It’s where I find perhaps my greatest appreciation for each moment.” – Emily Gowor, The Word Artist

12. Are the youth of today good enough to be world leaders?

“People will believe whatever they want to believe. People who consider youth to be unfit to be the world leaders are firstly, judging based on their lenses. Is there a rule about what a world leader should look like? If there is or was, I didn’t learn it in school. I haven’t seen any two leaders following the same script. Someday we will be old as well and new youth generation will come.” Emily Gowor, The Word Artist

13. What would you say unique about yourself?

“I consider myself a normal kid. The only difference is that my extracurricular activity has been business instead of sports or music. I helped my mum’s business since I was nine years old.” – Jason O’Neill, Founder, Pencil Bugs

14. Who has provided the most support to you during your journey as a young entrepreneur?

“My parents definitely are my biggest supporters. Without them there would not even have been a business. I sometimes hear other young entrepreneurs say that they run their business alone but that is usually not true. It takes a lot of help from many people to make someone successful. Even the most successful adults have people on their team.

15. How did you manage to pull yourself out from poverty in Brazil?

“The only way you can leave poverty and negativity behind is by being able to rise above your circumstances with your mind first. You need to be self reliant, especially if you have no role models. Leave the bad influences and friends behind, and make replaced them with books as companions. Set goals and not give up easily until you achieve what you want.” – Pedro De Abreu, Co-Founder, Moofaces

16. What are the change society needs for youth at young age?

“It is important that youth and society in general to open their eyes around them. Stop being so self-centered. It seems many focus on unimportant things such as hair, make up, clothes and adults are always concern about money and what their neighbours or friends have. We also judge others (youth and adults like) too quickly. We need to focus on the good in each of us.” Cassandra Perkins, Founder, Global Voices Reaching Out

I have purposely selected the questions and answers to provide breadth of the context and topics. Check out the full interview in this book. “How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded and Left World Leaders Scratching Their Heads”

In conclusion, I don’t think our youth is a lost generation wherever they are. In fact youth today is a force to be reckon with and I think we should embrace them with open arms. I also believe the more senior generation that has greater responsibility should reach out more to youth and groom them further through providing various opportunities including the basic such as time and thoughts. Its more than enough for a start.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com