The “Bao” ka liao

Posted by tngui79 on May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized |

This is what a cha siew bao looks like.

Are you one? Everything all in one!


The Mentor Manor

Posted by tngui79 on December 13, 2012 in Daily Rants, Management Theories |

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.

  1. Making the Boss look; Like a Boss.
  2. Infinite Loop
1. Making the Boss look; Like a Boss

Photo of Like a Boss meme

Like a Boss!

If we actively contribute to the success of our superior and chances are, if you are as effective as you believe you are, then sharing the information you see with your boss and enabling him or her to make a better informed and well rounded decision will surely give your boss a better chance of landing that promotion. If you are seen to be the highest contributor to your superior, guess who is next in line for their current job? 
2. Infinite Loop
The infinite loop refers to a sad situation where the scenario is exactly the same, the factors affecting the situation are almost identical, and yet the solution applied is always the same. Unless you’re attempting to conduct culture breakthrough and change management, this infinite loop will almost definitely lead to the same result as before.  When you find yourself in this situation, its time to move on. Put in that request for a transfer before you become ineffective and get written off.
There is no love lost for requesting a transfer, but the art of informing your superior is THE KEY. Explain that you find that you are unable to actively contribute and are ineffective in the current position and role, and that you want to continue to contribute to the organisation in a different position where you will be more effective. More often than not, the “Mentor” will understand and see this as an opportunity to:
A) Get rid of you but making themselves look good so they can find another more suitable replacement; or
B) For the more enlightened ones; realise they have been ineffective as your mentor and release you to better matched Mentors who can council and guide you.
In any given scenario, it is always good to build a contact list (aka “Mentor Manor”) of Mentors that have varied experience and experience in different areas. No one Mentor is perfect and all knowing, and it is always good to have a network of mentor resources you can call on when you need that reference check or need to engage a subject matter expert.

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Margins for Profit

Posted by tngui79 on August 28, 2012 in Daily Rants, Management Theories |

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.

Ask yourself:

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?

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Ideas vs Reality

Posted by tngui79 on July 25, 2012 in Daily Rants, Management Theories |

Ah! An Idea!

An idea is just an idea until it is implemented. Then it takes on form and substance.

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Cat Claws

Posted by tngui79 on May 3, 2012 in Management Theories, Social Tips |
File Taken From http://www.orbitcast.com/archives/rumors.jpg

"..Pssst!! I heard...."

AVOID office politics as much as possible. But what if getting involved in politics is something which becomes unavoidable? For instance, if someone smears your name or reputation and drags it across the floor, past the CEO’s office on the way to the toilet?

The best method of dealing with office politics and rumor mills, is to face up to it and deal with it. Avoidance will make you seem guilty, weak and easy to bully.


Always remember to keep your professionalism and wits about you:

  • Plan your entry angle and prepare alternate points for discussion. Never go unprepared.
  • Approach the person in question in a professional, but assertive manner.
  • Focus on the rumor(s) and address the issue(s) at hand, NOT the person. Address concerns as they arise and qualm any uncertainty with facts.
  • After the discussion, remember to document the facts and send an email to recapitulate concerns with facts that have either addressed the concerns or are to be addressed at a later stage.
  • NEVER lose your cool.

Bare the Claws, but don’t break them scratching dirty scratch posts!

Oh! And remember to Paws(pause) for effect.


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Posted by tngui79 on March 7, 2012 in Management Theories, Social Tips |

Ever so often, a ‘slick joe’ will come up to you and announce who they know and what they can do to potentially add value to your business. Be wary of such individuals. More often than not, they possess the skill of reading your non-verbal cues, posture and facial expressions in an attempt to get more information out of you than they put in. They will then in turn drop your name to another party and try to show their clout as a positive influence.

One method to test If they are worth their salt is to invite them for a private luncheon to understand their goals, keeping in mind that their time is also valuable to them. Should they oblige, you then have the opportunity to discern their true value. Only this time it will be at your pace and on your terms.

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Thermal dynamics

Posted by tngui79 on December 20, 2011 in Daily Rants, Management Theories |

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.

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Salmon Theory

Posted by tngui79 on December 12, 2011 in Daily Rants, Management Theories |
Spawning Salmon

Spawning Salmon

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.


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Trust ME!

Posted by tngui79 on October 20, 2011 in Daily Rants, Social Tips |


Trust is earned“. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone mention that phrase, I’d probably be a millionaire.

While that statement may hold some truth, the reality is that Trust is first given, before it can be reciprocated. Demonstrate that YOU have ENTRUSTED a responsibility to your friend, your colleague, or your business partner.

Be BOLD! Verbalise it.

Look him straight in the eyes and say “I’m trusting you with this matter” to let him know its important. If he appears shifty or lost, ask him to clarify the task and confirm that he understands the objectives.

Lastly, keep tabs and follow-up on the progress to make sure he’s on the right track, and provide encouragement to let him know he’s doing good. He’ll feel good knowing he’s doing ok, and knowing that YOU know he’s doing ok adds to the mutual building of trust.


Remember these steps:

  • Entrust
  • Clarify
  • Follow-Up.

Have YOU trusted someone today?


Smile Your Day Through

Posted by tngui79 on September 28, 2011 in Daily Rants, Social Tips |

Glee fans or “Gleeks” will be happy over this post.

As re-popularised by the cast of “Glee”, (a popular TV sing-a-drama), I’ve recently found that the lyrics of “Smile” by the late Charlie Chaplin to be very inspiring.

When faced with a difficult customer or situation, just smile and face the challenge with a beaming smile on your face. (no, a smirk is not a smile.)

The difficult customer will find it hard to continue to be angry, and will find themselves smiling back at you and will also find it hard to remain agitated or cross for much longer.

If you are a customer service officer behind the telephone answering calls, a big smile when answering the telephone is also felt through your voice.

“Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky,
You’ll get by.

If you smile through your pain and sorrow.
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You’ll see the sun come shining through,
For you.

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear, may be ever so near
That’s the time, you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worth while
If you just smile!”


– Charlie Chaplin, “Smile”

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