This is what a cha siew bao looks like.
Are you one? Everything all in one!
In a handful of multi-national corporations, some employees find themselves stuck at a glass ceiling they can’t seem to rise above. In most instances, the reasons may well be due to internal factors (self). To correct the situation, the employee must internalise what is lacking and strive to improve, but more importantly, to be seen to have improved on that skillset so that they can be considered for higher postings and more responsibilities, better paying jobs, better benefits, etc. After all, working smart is better than just working hard!
However, in some situations, it is not the Mentee but really the Mentor that is holding the employee down, whether consciously or subconsciously. If you are finding it increasingly difficult to work with your direct superior due to clashing opinions on how to achieve a same objective, stop; and think.
- Do I know everything about the subject matter?
- Do I have more information that my mentor?
- Do I see something my boss doesn’t?
- Have I shared it with superior?
Two scenarios could spin out from this.
- Making the Boss look; Like a Boss.
- Infinite Loop
I was very recently consulted by several different contacts on my outlook for the global economy in the year ahead.
Whilst I do not own a crystal ball that I can stare into and say with absolutely clarity that the economy will improve or retract as the case may, I can however with total confidence say this- whether the economic situation moves up or down, there are always opportunities to be had, and profits to be made.
In a downturn, employers will be cautious in hiring, wage increments and Capital Expenditure(CapEx) and Operating Expenditure(OpEx).
As an employee in a downturn, this is an excellent time for you to prove your worth to the company. Focus on improving process efficiencies, reducing redundant manpower usage and unnecessary red tape.
Go attend training sessions and upgrade yourself.
In a growth spurting economy, find ways of further improving margins. Identify needs and focus on meeting them.
As an employer, it is a good time to look at your manpower allocation and gather your thoughts. Re-visit those long practiced traditions and examine them for continued relevance.
Can the resources be retrained to perform at a more intelligent level?
Can we automate some processes?
Can we do it in-house instead of outsourcing?
Or can we outsource non-core activities and focus on our objectives?
Find the bottlenecks that are holding you and your business from achieving that next level of accomplishment.
Then break tradition, make a decision and move in that direction.
ALWAYS remember to have short and long term goals! They can be vastly different targets, but must all align to the long term objective.
Many businessmen make the mistake of not varying their short term goals because they fear change may derail their long term objectives. To avoid having this problem, ensure you have a good communication plan mapped out to convey your change in goals to every individual in the organization. A well thought plan poorly executed is as equally bad as a poorly thought plan well executed.
Change, is always positive and is independent; not directly related to the direction of the macro-economy.
As a provider with a solution, opportunities always abound within the margins of change. Find that spot, make a mark and shoot towards it.
Remember that differences are always opportunities for growth.
Time for a radical change.
Are YOU ready?
No, this isn’t going to be a physics lesson about the kinetic energy derived from heated water that has evaporated into steam driving huge turbines.
In the workplace, picture yourself as a new employee just entering an unknown and unfamiliar environment. The worst thing that could happen is for everyone to leave you alone, look at you like a caged animal in the zoo exhibit.
Human interaction and workplace dynamics are two key factors why new hires would stay beyond the initial 3 or 6 month probation period. Once a sense of belonging has been established, group think starts to occur and the individual will look less at self interests and look at improving the overall performance of the organization.
Remember to set aside a budget to cater for group activities that promote cohesiveness or group interaction.
Don’t be afraid to involve other departments in the activities. After all the exercise is not only for the good of your department but for the organization as a whole.
Have you ever sat and watched the National Geographic Channel showing a programme about spawning salmon hopping and swimming upstream to reach their spawning grounds?
What makes the millions of salmon want to swim upstream, against the current?
Spawning salmon know that in order to ensure the survival of their species, they must fight to reach places where fewer predators lurk so that they may lay their legs and provide a better environment for them to develop and to eventually hatch into tiny salmon.
Although slightly less maternal, the concept of going against the current applies.
If you find yourself in a company where “we’ve been doing it the same way for years”, chances are most employees just follow without knowing the real reasons behind the process. In most of such cases, the practices themselves may already be obsolete.
When faced with such a situation, do not be afraid to ask the “Why” question, but be certain to express that you are asking with the intent to understand the objective(s) of the process.
The worst thing that could happen is that you find out your superiors are clueless about why they continue to do what they do, and you give them a chance to reflect on their own actions.
The best thing that could happen is that you become an agent of change and progress and you are seen to be driving efficiency and effectiveness. That more often than not, leads to calmer waters, lesser predators and a higher chance of survival; much like our friends the spawning salmons.
Either way, its a win-win.