Friday, 22 June 2007

Effort vs. Result

Have you ever spent a lot of effort or determination to achieve something and in the end you achieve nothing because you failed to execute the last part?

I have this experience of putting efforts to try to help people. Though, it is not a lot of contribution, but I try as much as I can to help. But in the end, I failed and the most frustrated part is I failed the person who I wanted to help.

Stories 1: Getting Good Discount for Dell Notebook Purchase for my Uncle.

My Effort included:
1. Checked the models and prices online and suggested appropriate models to my Uncle. Called him and SMS him several times to report progress and check with him on things.

2. Checked with my company CEO several times whether he could get me any great discounts. My CEO has been very helpful and in fact, a lot of times, he followed up with me throughout the process.

3. Checked with a contact passed to me by my CEO, a friend of my CEO whom his company had ordered a lot of Dell products and have a sales person contact that might be able to give me good discount.
I really appreciated his help as I did not know him at all and I was sure he was very busy. But he had helped as much as he could.

4. Managed to get the sales person contact and called her and checked quotations with her several times. Apparently, I could not contact her for a couple of weeks because she was hospitalized due of an accident. What a coincidence! After that, she sent a quotation to me and I tried to negotiate with her but to no avail.

Result and Conclusions:
1. The price that the Dell sales person sent to me is more expensive than the online price. She did not reply me after I tried to negotiate with her. After all, I am just one customer with purchase of one notebook.

2. My boss suggested me to help my uncle by chipping in some money so that he can get the "discount" instead of going through all the troubles. But my answer was "My uncle is quite well financially. I just wanted to help him by putting in the effort. Not the money. I think he would not want me to help him pay."

3. In the end, due to the failed attempt to get good discount, I had to advised my uncle to buy notebook at local store, so that he can send to the store for repair and ask for advices if any problem. After all, I found that he wants to use this notebook for some online football bet and on heavy stuffs. So, I suggested him to buy a cheap and lower-end notebook. Anyway, not much discount can be negotiated for a lower-end notebook.

Lesson Learnt:
1. Always weigh the efforts with the result. If the efforts are too much and the result is not going to be much or are too risky to achieve, you probably need to think of another way to get the result you want. Maybe you can change your target result too.

2. Throughout this process, I found out a lot of people, even those very senior and successful people like my CEO and his friend are willing to help small person like me. All you need to do is ASK. So, be daring to ask. Do not assume people will not or do not have the time to help you.

Usually, great and successful people are always willing to help and share their knowledge and experience.

Stories 2: Helping my subordinate to get register for a training.

1. Checked all the information online and raised PR and explained to my boss in order to get his approval because I just received the training information so this was not in the training plan.

2. Checked with HR on whether the employment bond of 6 months are applicable . Apparently not, since the training cost was below the range.

3. Argued with HR, when they wanted to impose the bond because the training was RM5 short to reach the cost to apply the bond. I said RM5 short is still short , so should the rule should not apply. I even argue, in school, when 50 marks are the passing mark, even though we get 49 marks, it is still consider failed. No appeal, because if the teacher think the students deserve a pass, she will put the marks above 50.
That's the line we draw and we should stick to it.

If HR hate me for this, I do not what to say! In the end, the HR relented because they said I already told my subordinate no bond will apply and we need to stick to our words. Thank God!

4. On the last day for early bird discount entitlement (i kept the reminder), I checked with HR whether the PR has been approved. Have to called 2 persons and coincidentally one of them is on leave. Luckily can get hold and confirm.

5. After knowing it has been approved, verbally told my subordinate to register himself on the day itself as it was the last day to get early-bird discount. I told him in my seating place, not face to face cause he was sitting beside me and was separated by a tall divider between our cubicle.

Result and conclusions:
1. There was miscommunication in the last step. Ended up, my subordinate did not register and thought I would register for him. So, no early bird discount, and we have to start the process all over again (from raising PR to registering). And yes, the bond will apply this time and company has to pay more for the same course.

2 . I realized I should follow-up at the end of the day whether registration has been done. But, alas, I did not.

3. Miscommunication always happen. I should have realize this and emphasize like "YOU (no me!!!) need to go REGISTER ONLINE TODAY." But I think I was not so clear and what worse, it was not face-to-face communication.

Lesson Learnt:
1. Always follow through until the end. Do not underestimate small tasks or parts of the process. If you have done 90% of the process and you do not manage the get the last part done, the result is still 0% and it can be total waste of time and money.

2. Eliminate number of parties that need to be involved if possible. In the second round of the process, I told my subordinate that he should go and raise the PR and follow through as what I was the additional and redundant layer for more possibilities of miscommunication.

For e.g. when you have have 1 person to execute one task in 10 days. If you put another person in to do the task together maybe still need 10 days (because of the communication, integration needed)

BIG Conclusion:

100% effort does not mean 100% result!!

Measure your effort with the result before you even get started. Quit before you even get started if the effort is not going to lead you to the result you want or you know you cannot follow through.

Follow through the end and feel the satisfaction when you achieve the result ! :)

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