Sunday, January 26, 2014

Revive | Are You the Smartest Person in the Room?


I was thinking going back to school for an MBA -a title that I wrote behind my name during my elementary school- will fire my  wits to write more, but apparently was not. So many insights to be retold and was tickling my brain, but my writing had become so academic and paper style. Worsen by projects with many legal contracting, and structured binding email conversation - my free style writing was literally fully destroyed, and so some of myself ^_^

Well, I am alive again. Rock bottom is a solid foundation to rebuild, said Rowling. I am alive and ready to kick, to become myself again with freedom of speech and concise direction to act in things that I believe is the right thing to do in life.

Happy New Year 2014 to all, and enjoy a good recent article from Jack Welch below (as I am still mentally blocked to write my own article again :-D).


Are You the Smartest Person in the Room? Let's Hope Not.

The best thing that can happen to you as a boss is hiring a person who is smarter, more creative, or in some way more talented than you are. It’s like winning the lottery. Suddenly you’ve got a team member whose talent will very likely improve everyone’s performance and reputation. Including yours.
Yes, it’s human nature to feel fearful that a “superior” employee could make you look, well, inferior, and perhaps slow down your career progress. But in reality, the exact opposite usually occurs.

The reason is that leaders are generally not judged on their personal output. What would be the point of evaluating them like individual contributors? Rather, most leaders are judged on how well they’ve hired, coached, and motivated their people, individually and collectively—all of which shows up in the results. That’s why when you sign up top performers and release their energy, you don’t look bad. You look like the goose that laid the golden egg.

So keep laying them. It is a rare company that doesn’t love a boss who finds great people and creates an environment where they flourish. And you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to do that. Indeed, when you consistently demonstrate that leadership skill and come to be known as the person in your company who can land and build the best, watch your career take off.

Now, we’re not saying managing “superior” employees on your team is necessarily easy. We received a question from an audience member at a speech in Chicago several years ago who said two of his seven direct reports were smarter than he was. He asked: “How can I possibly appraise them?”

“What the heck happened to the other five?” was our attempt at a lighthearted response. But we took his point.
How in the world do you evaluate people whom you feel are more talented than you?

You don’t. That is, you don’t evaluate them on their intelligence or particular skill set. Of course, you talk about what they are doing well, but just as important, you focus on areas in which they can improve. It is no secret that some very smart people have trouble, for instance, relating to colleagues or being open to other people’s ideas. Indeed, some struggle with becoming leaders themselves. And that is where your experience, self-confidence, and coaching come into play.

In that way, then, managing superior employees is just like managing regular types. You have everything to gain from celebrating their growth and nothing at all to fear 
(Jack Welch in Linkedin)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Legacy | It's all what (should) matters in career

What is a career? Your prominent answer probably that it is an achievement of life or a representation of our success. We work everyday and doing best efforts hoping all of those will increase the probability of having a better career path in the future; and in return hope for better rewards that will give us more power to engine our life happiness. 

Good career path is the reason of most talented people to join a big company. It provides a wide opportunity for any talent to channel their passion for career, a training scheme for their competence development and a competitive environment that mostly suit with those who think they can always win. Big company enjoy the benefit of having best talents. In this world of efficiency, best talents define company success to overcome the competition and sustain their profit growth. 

After few years, some talents will realize that not every of them can advance further to the top of the pyramid.  Sometime the winning edge is not only hard work or good performance. Even all of them give their best performance, the available slot above is diminishing by a factor of exponential. When the competitive environment is so tight, office politic and favor become part of the game. Some talents start to considering their option to stay in the game, or to play in other field where their probability to win is more certain. 

A growing war of talents in Indonesia..
In a growing economic environment like Indonesia these days, business run pretty much well. Companies need more talents to engine their growth while the growth of qualified person are limited. A war of talents period is now coming to its peak. Headhunters are everywhere, social media like LinkedIn created an open market that treated professional like stock exchanges with an e-bay closed auction pricing mechanism.

Is it okay to jump between job for faster track of career?

Monday, May 07, 2012

The pearls of the company | People

More and more great companies mention people as their greatest assets behind the company great success. The right people. The talent within. Can we become one of them?


The saturation of a management system...
A decade ago the business secret recipe of the business giant was the "special magic" adopted by the company. In automotive industry giant we heard the super efficient Toyota Production System, with a lot of magic word like Jidoka, Kaizen, Andon, and others Japanese word excluding Ozawa. In the western manufacturing giant we heard about Six Sigma, with the practice of taking advanced statistical class and belting system from White, Green to Black Belt (I don't mean to be cynical, I am also a Black Belt :D). There were a lot more of it like TQM, TPM, Lean System, BPRe, etc.

But as the those best practices management tools now become common knowledge, taught in every business school, and delivered world wide by consultant companies, these system nowadays has became generic, saturated, not much space to do a leap frog improvement. When you are holding a sword fighting against bare hand people, the sword is your cutting edge. But what if everyone now hold the same swords?

I just notice lately, the recent business book no longer talks about this mambo jambo. Off course there is still updates of these management system, these skill sets and tool sets or rewrapping/reassortment of these knowledge. For example, I like the whole concepts of Jim Collins book: the Good to Great series are simple but very true; The Execution Premium by Kaplan, a sequel of the Balance Score Card system is also worth to read. Or the Marketing 3.0 by our marketing guru, Hermawan Kartajaya. For those company who have not come to that stage (or even never heard that) adopting the best practice platform is always a good as a starter leap.

I just read lately the business book are no longer focusing to the updates of  management platform. But, to the people behind it, the spirit behind it, those right people, the talents...

The people behind the swords...
More and more books redefined the story of the great success of the company in people perspective. The Talent Master: Why Smart Leaders put People before Numbers (Bill Conaty, Ram Charan) emphasize that not only the Six Sigma boosted the GE performance but also the "right people" who hold the swords. The book also describe how right/wrong people defines the journey of many companies. In an extreme, the book said talent is the leading indicator of a business is up and down, a success or a failure. "Talent" is the new redefined word for human asset, the company greatest intangible assets.

In the Good to Great by Jim Collins, the first thing in the morning for the company who leap from Good to Great (magnificent company stock values growth versus market growth) are not the business strategy, but the leaders (The Level 5 Leaders), then the right people on the right bus, and the culture within. The business strategy come after the people, not the other way around. It also shows how the wrong people create wrong culture, leading to company crash.

Also in Toyota, the latest book emphasize Toyota Production System is merely tools, the cutting edge come from the people behind it, and the system to create the great people continuously (Toyota Talent, Jeffrey Liker, David Meier, 2009). And without the right people, without the right culture, TPS will only create chaos in the manufacturing process. Many european and US based manufacturing company tried to imitate TPS, but fail because they cant imitate the person/the culture.


From the first chicken who teaches..

For those company who always able to create the great people, we sometime say it is because the culture. The question is: Is the culture create good people, or good people creates good culture? No matter how we argues we will always go back to square one: Chicken vs Eggs. I my self believe that God created chicken, not egg first. Why? because egg cannot learn and egg cannot teach. Even egg finally hatch, who will teach the hatched chicken to live? I believe at first good people created the great culture, and the great culture later creates the great people.

We see it in most of the giants, how the leader shape the culture of the company: Honda in Honda Motor Corp, Jack Welch in GE, Steve Jobs in Apple, Toyoda n Toyota, William Soeryajaya in Astra, to name few. In the Good to Great book, companies who become great mostly have the same pattern of "quantum leap" moment. And it was all started by a level 5 leaders. This level 5 leaders are the source of the company values, the enabler of the culture, the living sample to shape the future, the Inspirational.

So the culture of a company is not a result of evolution -that it happens because random interaction  of the people- but deliberately designed by the great leaders. It meant to be like that, it was visioned, and deliberately and systematically implemented. It was created from the beginning, in the end of mind of the leaders. They are the first chicken who teaches the hatch ling how to live as a great chicken. They are...the source of the culture itself.

And finding the rare talents...
So right people are first. Those great talents, will lead the company through any initiatives that the company would like to go. Those talents are resonances of company aspiration. What defines a person is talents or not? GE use 4E1P (Energy, Energize, Execution, Edge, Passion), some company use 3C (Character, Competence, Chemistry), some others use their own HR matrix.

And as the concept of Talent become world wide accepted, this rare chicken are now treasured at most. Big company spent thousands of dollar hiring a great leaders that can hatch another great chicken. Talent Development Program become hot topic in HR practice. If they can not develop them self then hijacking is the most favorable option.

The bad side is this talents are now realize that company value them as gems. Talents become greed, salary jumper and tends to be not long timer. Some of them lost the virtue of passion and genuineness and will work to the highest offer.


How much is your price then, talents?...
How to become a considered talent? I don't even know if my company regards me as talent or not :p But from several training and books, it is said that a talents is either gifted or trained. Again, born leaders vs trained leaders controversy, nature vs nurture. But if you are not inherited those great traits from your parents, then one thing for sure you must go to train your self more than those who had.

Somebody just born as pearl, they are just beautiful and valuable as is with not much improvement needed. But the most beautiful diamond come from the highest pressure and temperature underneath the earth. To become a shiny one, it must deal with painful heat, stress and drills.

So, unless you considered yourself as black coal which only serve as burner feed, go find and drill the gems within yourself. It's painful, but in the future it will worth the price..

P.S: That's why I go back to school again now ;-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Creativity | The new black of competition



Indonesia has a new title in the phone business: "The Blackberry Nation". It was notably mentioned during the launching of Blackberry Bellagio, first in the world, in Indonesia, causing a massive mass assembly leading into a stampede. Indonesia is a country with biggest Blackberry users. An interesting label, as we remember that 5 years ago this kind of product was never exist at all in Indonesia.


The constant changing customer behavior...
Business incumbents may miss the old days, the day when their technology enough to dominate the market, when they just had to focus on the product development, efficient manufacturing, pushing the product with vast marketing, selling the product to the customer. But nowadays, customer decision is not only based on highest technology, price, or ads only. They seek a customized value proposition from a product that will serve what they need. And the real problem is...sometime customers don't know what they really need.
"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new." (Steve Jobs)
Old school management said business need to know what customer want, but Steve Jobs rejects that idea and emphasize instead that business have to know what customer need. It should know how the customer think, it need to feel the customers experience, the user experience; it need to connect what is the missing values that customer will need; and then bring a product or service that surpass the expectation and then tell them : "This is what you want, this is what you need". This exhausting process need one key word from producers, "Creativity".

Creativity and local wisdom understanding, bring Blackberry into winner in Indonesia, for now; and bring Apple as the champion in the world. Leaving all the incumbents who are now struggling, trying to maintain the old days victory, or setting back into their R&D labs to prepare a comeback with a new proposition, if possible. Good luck Nokia..good luck IBM...

Think Different...
Talking about creativity, we definitely should note the Apple resurrection. As Steve Jobs returned to Apple to lead the company who fired him 10 years before, he redefine how creativity can be the ultimate cutting edge of a business. It is not only redefining the product, but the whole business model giving Apple the sustainable profit ever.

iPod is not the first MP3 Player in the market, but combining the user demand with music industry demand he revolutionized how a user can buy their favorite songs without have to buy a whole CD in affordable prices, with iTunes. iPod is now leading MP3 player in the world and iTunes revolutionized the music industry with revenues more than ever.

iPhone and iPad share the same success. It is not only the product designs, but the whole user experience and from Apple side, the cash generating machine by selling third party application and telecommunication operator shared revenue based on the uses of the device. The profit does not come by selling product only, but more of it, the after sales. Again, creativity revolutionized the market.

Steve Jobs regard himself more to an artist, and encourage all of his team in apple that they are all artists. Thus, every product was brought to customer thoughtfully, artistically, and in the edge of perfections, surpassing what customer want. Now that he is passed way, Apple must insist how to keep the creativity environment stays in Apple. Or their competitors will take the crown

Creativity : Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal ...
Being creative is mostly referred to create a new ideas, invent, break through, etc. Everyone said you must have something original, genuine ideas, to be different with other ideas. That is okay, if you can. But please, we are living in the modern era when everything is already invented in every aspect of our life, from the classic invention of light bulb to the invention of cotton bud for your ear.

We don't have to try to reinvent the wheel, Greek did that hundred years ago. We just need to connect the ideas, gathering the experiences, and try to make it better. Most inventions were in parallel invented by other person, and most leading business nowadays are not the inventor of the business.

But if the inventor, the first one who though of it didn’t make things good enough, then steve jobs gave us a golden rule to follow: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. What’s the big difference between both you say?
People who copy create duplicates. They adjust a little, tweak a little, but overall, it’s just the same thing. If you where the buyer and given the choice between the original and the duplicate, who would you choose? Of course, you’d still stick to the original. Even if the price difference would be a huge figure, the original would still be the winner. No one, and I mean no one, would like to settle for a ‘copy’. 
People who steal are in to create a bigger game- their own game. Steve Jobs is not the first one to invent a laptop or even an operating system (say hi to Bill Gates). But he was creative. He saw where Microsoft Inc. fall short (in terms of the feel of their hardware and the massive vulnerability of their OS) and decided to make things even better. 
And as you read those two paragraph above, those are a copy from Liane's article. And the part when I steal it, is when connecting those line with the whole story. Also the quotes “Good artists copy, great artists steal” is a Picasso, but the popularity was "stolen" as of Steve Jobs ;-)

Now, when we go to mall to find electronic goods few years ago, you will find a lot of duplicate of leading products, mainly from China. We might not want to buy it, it is cheap, not genuine, and low quality. But as China shifted from "copy" into "steal", we already see few China product with Apple quality. Not duplicate, but equally better and off course, cheaper. The New Apple Spirit will raise from China.

And it is on people, on talent, on company culture...
And the core of the creativity lays on the people behind it. It takes creativity leadership, to combine the hierarchical management and a creative business environment. Some company may think their business is not creativity based, and maintain the old school management style that serve them profit for years.

But, soon or later, the more creative competitor will take the edge. When the business environment changes, what matters will also change. And those company with creative environment will fast enough to adapt, to change the business model, and take the lead on the changes. While those who are not, may laid back, and only realizes the need for changes, when it is all too late...

Just as my Blackberry is getting old fashioned, slow, and error all the time, may be I should buy a new one. And the option is only two, a new Blackberry or a new iPhone. Or maybe a China product. Waiting who of them, are the most creative to serve my needs...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

R.I.P | Steve Jobs

Stay hungry, stay foolish...
Many blogs wrote about the lost of the biggest CEO in the last five decades; many mourn to the lost of someone they only know that he is the inventors of their cool earphone music player, or their angry birds Phone, or their fancy thin gaming tablet; but may be few have known the inspiring story, the bullish character, the dreamer, the visionary, the inspiration, the greatness of the technology genius of this century: the late Steve Jobs.

Feel free to come by and visit http://allaboutstevejobs.com

I am not going to retold the whole story. When I heard the news, it was surprising, but not really shocking. I've heard his health is not so good, but just not expecting to hear now when my daughter always waiting me home to play with the latest gadget his creation : watching HUTOS series in iPad.

I just want to note this day - the Man of Inspiration of many technology freak, many brave entrepreneur, many creative director, or just someone like me, has passed away with peace. I just want to note this day - that maybe I should listen to him : to not waste my time anymore living in someone else's life....


"Your time is limited, so don't waste your time living in someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others opinion drawn out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary..." (Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011)