Thursday, 27 August 2015

The 3 things that separate a leader from a manager.

A lot of people use the word “manager” as a part of their job title or description, but “leaders” don’t get that label simply by being appointed to a post.
Leadership is earned, and is hard-won, by the folks who prioritize and understand the traits and qualities that come with the unofficial title.
Did you ever wonder what separates the leaders from the managers?
You aren’t alone. Here are some thoughts on the matter, from people who’ve worked to understand and define the key differences.

1. Managers rely on control and leaders inspire trust.

Many of the distinctions between the two come down to this central idea. Managers act like bosses by controlling people that work under them and by administering tasks. On the other hand, leaders guide, innovate, and inspire.
They rely upon the trust they’ve built between themselves and their team members to be a force that motivates and keeps productivity high. It really comes down to leading through control, or managing through fear. In any given workplace example, it’s pretty clear to see whether the mindset of the one-in-charge was based in one or the other.

2. Managers keep an organization functioning and leaders work to build a shared vision.

Management and leadership might not be mutually exclusive. Any organization needs a little management so that quarterly numbers are met, goals are set, projects are completed … it’s just that leaders also go a step beyond that, focusing attention on motivating and inspiring employees, working with teams to build a shared vision of the purpose, and future, of the company.
Managers work through items on a to-do list and keep the system running, while leaders go a little deeper. They have their eye on the big picture as well as the finer details. Leaders are also more focused on change, and the future, than managers.
“If the world is not changing and you are on top, then management is essential but more leadership really is not,” says John Kotter, Konuske Matsushita Professor of leadership at Harvard University. “Leadership is always about change.”

3. Managers manage work and leaders lead people.

It’s all in the way you look at it. Is a senior position about overseeing work that needs to get done, or is it about leading the people who do that work? What comes first, the tasks themselves or the people who work to complete them?
Professionals want, and deserve, a job that doesn’t treat them like a machine. They want to collaborate and they want to innovate, not feel like a cog in the wheel. The most appealing employers, according to millennials (which is now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force) are the companies that hit these marks.
Companies like Google and Microsoft are known to be innovative and they provide opportunities for professional development and growth. The focus is on the people and their ideas, not the to-do list.


Richard Branson

Saturday, 22 August 2015

How to motivate and inspire your people in difficult times

These days, if you’re a leader of any type, you can’t simply order people around and expect them to do what you want. They may follow your directions, if you are watching, but once they’re left on their own they’ll go back to doing what they think is important.

Leaders today, more than ever before, have to win people’s cooperation. And there are two main ways of doing so: motivation and inspiration. Although the two words are often used interchangeably, they actually mean quite different things – depending on what you want to achieve.

Motivation is about moving people to act in a way that achieves a specific and immediate goal. When you’re motivating people to do something they may not necessarily want to do, you have to offer them something they want in return.

When coaches give their teams a pep talk during halftime, they are using motivation. They want their players to charge back onto the field or the court with renewed energy and focus, even though they may be too tired or disheartened to try. Their reward? Victory.

To motivate your people:

Tell people exactly what you want them to do. Motivation is all about getting people to take action, so don’t be vague. Avoid generalities like, “I want everyone to do their best.” Say, instead, “I need you to come in over the weekend so we can get this project done on time.”

Limit the amount of time or effort that you’re asking for. It’s easier to ask people to work late work one night or even every night for a week than to expect them to work late indefinitely. Set an end date.

Share in the sacrifice. Leaders don’t ask people to do what they themselves aren’t willing to do. Don’t tell your people to work over the weekend if you’ve got plans for a spa day. Roll up your sleeves and share the load.

Appeal to their emotions. Fear focuses people’s attention and can be an effective motivator. (“If we don’t get this done right now, we’ll all lose our jobs.”) But if you keep resorting to fear, you’ll end up de-motivating people. People are also motivated by-and prefer to be motivated by-positive emotions like excitement, pride, a sense of belonging, and the thrill of achievement.

Give people multiple reasons for doing what you want them to do. You can give your own reason or the organization’s reason for requesting the action. “If we don’t get this project completed on schedule, we’ll lose the contract.” But the best reason of all is always personal. It would be nice if you could give your people extra days off or even a bonus. Or, you may talk about something as intangible as the camaraderie that comes from having achieved something important together. But things being what they are these days, the best you may be able to offer is the hope that no one will lose a job.

Inspiration, on the other hand, involves changing the way people think and feel about themselves so that they want to take positive actions. It taps into people’s values and desires.

Commencement speakers – the best ones, at least – inspire their audiences. They talk about the challenges the graduates will face, either personally or collectively, and the possibilities of making a difference. Inspiration appeals to the best aspirations of people, and its underlying, often unspoken message is “You can become what you want to be.” No reward is promised, other than the reward that comes from within: the sense of personal satisfaction.

As a leader, anytime you talk about values, about identity (either the corporate identity or each person’s identity), and about long-term goals, your intent – whether you know it or not – is to inspire.

To inspire your people:

Be the change you want to inspire. Your reputation, your character, your behavior will inspire people more than anything else. The only way to call the best out of others is to expect the best from yourself.

Tell a story. Stories don’t tell people what to do. They engage people’s imaginations and emotions. They show people what they’re capable of becoming or of doing.

Appeal to people’s value system. Ask them to act in a way that is consistent with the values they themselves profess.

Trust people. When you’re inspiring people, you’re not telling them exactly what to do or giving them precise directions. You’re empowering them to be their best, trusting that they will then do the right thing. And the right thing they do may not be what you were expecting; it may be something beyond your wildest expectations.

Challenge them. People aren’t inspired by doing the ordinary or by meeting expectations. They’re inspired by the exertion, creativity, and sacrifice needed to exceed what they themselves thought possible.

Motivation and inspiration are not the sole province of professional speakers and preachers. They’re tools leaders use all the time – in one-on-one conversations, in meetings and in formal presentations – to bring out the best in their people. It’s just a matter of knowing the right time and the right situation.
When there’s an immediate, short-term and specific goal that you want your people to achieve, you need to motivate them. When you want to shape people’s identity and their long-term aspirations and commitments, you need to inspire them.

Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, the French aviator and author of “The Little Prince”, wrote, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Sometimes you need to do both. You need to enlist and organize people to do a specific task-to build a ship according to specs, on time and on budget-and sometimes you need to activate people’s desires and stand aside. Who knows, you may be surprised by what they do.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A Salesman Poem

Sales is a hard profession and a unique profession to spend your life
working in. You work off of your own credibility and merit and you
 have to work for all of your gains. If you’re not out making calls or
talking to people on the sales floor, you aren’t going to meet your
goals. Sometimes this can get tough when it seems like anything and
 everything else is calling your name as a distraction… However,
because of its distinction from other careers… sometimes there are
jokes that only sales people will get. This poem happens to be one
of those things:

Boss, I Got Better Things to Do!

When the sales manager asked the rep, “What are you up to?”
The sales rep replied, “Boss, I got lots and lots to do.”
When the sales manager said, “Shouldn’t you be out making calls?”
The sales rep stared blankly at the office walls.
“Boss, making calls is important, but I got better things to do.
Like letters and proposals… of these I got a whole slew.
I’ve got phone calls to return and paperwork to churn,
Business cards to file and I need to work on my smile.
You gave me a prime territory and I’ll go through it
Once I clean my desk, I will certainly get around to it.
Oh, I’ll make my sales calls, in fact, I’ll make a whole bunch.

But, I’m reserving all my strength for today’s power lunch.
How many calls, Boss, so many it’s hard to tell.
But right after lunch, I’m gonna go out there and sell.
There’s no hesitancy in me, no sir, not one iota.
Just wait till tomorrow, and I’ll show you how to make quota.”

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Five jokes only salespeople understand

1. A salesman and his wife arrive home one evening to find a burglar in the house.

The burglar says, "You saw my face, now I have to shoot you.  But I always know my victim's name.  What is your name?"
The wife says, "My name is Alice."
The burglar says, "I can't shoot you.  That is my mother's name,  What's your name?"
And the quick-thinking salesman says, "My name is Ralph ... but my friends called me Alice."

2. A farmer complains to the veterinarian…

"I'm trying to sell my mule but sometimes he limps and sometimes, he doesn't"
The vet tells him, "Sell him when he is not limping."

3.  One saleslady to another…

"I don't want to take my troubles to bed with me, but my husband won't sleep alone."

4.  One salesman to another…

"My business is so bad that even my customers who don't intend to pay us, aren't buying."

5.  The salesman says to the sales manager… 

"I want a raise."
The manager replies, "You don't get a raise until you have been here five years."
The salesman says, "But I have been here seven years!"
The manager says, "Sorry, but you missed by two years."

"Smile, it will improve your face value".

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Would your customer service sounds something like this.

Me: “Microsoft Office computer assistance; may I help you?”
Customer:“Yes, well, I’m having trouble with Word.”
Me:“What sort of trouble?”
Customer:“Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.”
Me:“Went away?”
Customer:“They disappeared.”
Me:“Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?”
Customer:“It’s blank; it won’t accept anything when I type.”
Me:“Are you still in Word, or did you get out?”
Customer:“How do I tell?”
Me: [Uh-oh. Well, let’s give it a try anyway.] “Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?”
Customer:“What’s a sea-prompt?”
Me: [Uh-huh, thought so. Let’s try a different tack.] “Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?”
Customer:“There isn’t any cursor: I told you, it won’t accept anything I type.”
Me:[Ah–at least s/he knows what a cursor is. Sounds like a hardware problem. I wonder if s/he’s kicked out his/her monitor’s power plug.] “Does your monitor have a power indicator?”
Customer:“What’s a monitor?”
Me:“It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on?”
Customer:“I don’t know.”
Me:“Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?”
Customer:[sound of rustling and jostling] [muffled] “Yes, I think so.”
Me:“Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall.”
Customer:[pause] “Yes, it is.”
Me:[Hmm. Well, that’s interesting. I doubt s/he would have accidentally turned it off, and I don’t want to send him/her hunting for the power switch because I don’t know what kind of monitor s/he has and it’s bound to have more than one switch on it. Maybe the video cable is loose or something.]When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?”
Me:“Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.”
Customer:[muffled] “Okay, here it is.”
Me:“Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.”
Customer:[still muffled] “I can’t reach.”
Me:“Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?”
Customer: “No.”
Me:“Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?”
Customer:“Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle –it’s because it’s dark.”
Customer:“Yes–the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.”
Me:“Well, turn on the office light then.”
Customer:“I can’t.”
Me:“No? Why not?”
Customer:“Because there’s a power outage.”
Me:“A power–!?! …[AAAAAAARGH!] A power outage? Aha! Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?”
Customer:“Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.”
Me:“Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.”
Customer:“Really? Is it that bad?”
Me:“Yes, I’m afraid it is.”
Customer:“Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?”
Me:“Tell them you’re TOO STUPID TO OWN A COMPUTER!” [slam]

Monday, 3 August 2015

Eighth of the 8 Malaysian inventions - Loom Bands

The humble rubber band is all the rage in schools today. The ability to create your own jewellery with rubber bands has been a hit, selling 3 million units worldwide!
The inventor : Cheong Choon Ng.
What it is: The Rainbow Loom is a plastic device for turning small rubber bands into jewellery.
Cheong Choon Ng, a former engineer turned inventor of the loom band.
How did it happen: I forged a career in crash safety in Detroit's motor industry. I loved my job, but regretted not seeing my two daughters much.
They were nine and 12, and distant towards me. One night after work, I saw them making bracelets from rubber bands and I thought, "Hey, I know how to do this. Maybe I can impress you girls." I sat down and showed them how to link the rubber bands together, using the same technique we had used to make jumping ropes back in Malaysia. But the bracelets kept falling apart. I went down to my basement, grabbed a scrapboard and stuck multiple rows of pushpins into it. Then I started linking the bands in a zigzag, like a diamond shape, and it worked really well.
The next day, my daughters took a bunch of colourful bracelets to school. I became a neighbourhood hero overnight. Children would come up to me and ask me to make them bracelets. It was my older daughter, Teresa, who first suggested selling them. I spent six months developing the product and designed 28 different versions.
But no-one knew how to use the loom.
So Ng and his daughters made instructional videos and put them on YouTube. Their YouTube channel now has more than 13 million views, not including videos by customers sharing their own designs.
Ng said their first big success came in the summer of 2012, when a Learning Express Toys franchise owner who’d ordered 48 kits placed a US$10,000 (RM32,000) order soon after.
Since then, Rainbow Loom has caught the imagination of children and teenagers, with over three million kits sold.
By April, Rainbow Loom’s assembly and distribution had moved from Ng’s living room to a warehouse, and they now have 14 employees. Rainbow Looms are sold in more than 2,000 retail outlets.
One of the world's VIPs who wears the loom band is the Duchess of Cambridge.

Seventh of the 8 Malaysian inventions - USB Flash Drive

7. FLASH DRIVE [The seventh of 8 Malaysian inventions]
All your assignments, all your movies, and songs stored into one little device. Who ever knew it was all because of the work of one Malaysian?
The inventor : Pua Khein Seng.
What it is: A USB Flash drive is a data storage device that includes flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface.
How did it happen? The former Pin Hwa High School student left Malaysia at the age of 19 to pursue his degree in electrical and control engineering at Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. During his third year at Chiao Tung, he began conducting research into flash memory technology. Pua founded Phison Electronics with four partners and produced the world's first USB flash drive with system-on-chip technology in 2001.

Sixth of the 8 Malaysian inventions - the flipper toothbrush holder

Designed to keep your toothbrushes clean, the toothbrush holder was a commercial success and won numerous design awards both locally and abroad.
The inventor : Goo Yock Tee.
What it is: Flipper is a nifty toothbrush holder with a unique patented design. Through a cleverly-designed mechanism, a Flipper stores your toothbrush in an enclosed compartment and yet opens/closes automatically and conveniently.
How did it happen? Flipper is the result of our labor of love and dedication. It began with a problem that we observed: how can toothbrushes be kept hygienically and simply? The toothbrush has to be fully enclosed, and the holder must open and close effortlessly without touching any toothbrush bristles.
Our designers and engineers then spent many months to find solutions to tackle this problem, before developing the unique and original Flipper mechanism from scratch. The design was eventually perfected, and it immediately redefined the product category as a clever and practical innovation. In recognition of its originality in invention, Flipper has been granted patents worldwide.

Fifth of the 8 Malaysian inventions - Water Dispenser

These water dispensers have been a life saviour to many college students around Malaysia. If you're one of them, you can thank Mr. Ooi for creating this wonderful machine.
The inventor : Mr Ooi Seng Chye.
What it is: A water dispensing machine which processes raw sewage water into clean drinking water, via reverse osmosis method, reducing the waste to nearly nett zero.
How did it happen? Hailing from Penang, Mr. Ooi spent much of his time working as a Purchasing Manager at Wong Engineering Bhd, a company listed on the KL stock exchange. He then moved to Kuala Lumpur to try out new things. His water dispensing system obtained Cradle funding worth RM150,000 and today, he is the proud owner of about 500 RO water dispensing unit placed in various locations around Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya under the brand Good Drink. Mr. Ooi continues to improve his line of dispensers to meet the demand of the market and has started creating a new RO water dispensing system to cater for residences living in high rise buildings.