Tuesday, 29 May 2007

3 Innovation for our Team

I recently wrote this to propose some changes to our team . I have altered some content to protect our company privacy though.

There 3 major changes that I would like to propose to improve the productivities and competitiveness of the team:
1. Moving to Agile Software Development Methodology
2. Automate and enforce better control in Deployment
3. Speed up Product and User Interface Design & Standard

Both #2 and #3 are crucial for #1.

1. Going Agile
Agile methodology matches our environment greatly where change is unavoidable, shorter product cycle seems to be less risky and frequent inspections on progress and product deliverables are most appropriate.

It can be the greatest evolution for the development team to redeem our reputation of being competitive and productive even as a small team. Also, it will cushion the impediments like poor planning, miscommunication, incomplete design and still-lots-to-be-improved coding.

Followings are the high-level plan for us to go agile:
a) To present the high-level ideas, benefits and execution plan to the management and the team to get buy-in.

b) If receive green light, proceed with more detailed procedures and plans on how to start implementing agile development, most probably co-exist with our old waterfall methodology.

c) Conduct internal trainings for all team members and frequent improvements and changes will happen along the agile adoption. Will also look for opportunities of external training, especially for those in the driver seats.


2. Automate Deployment to QA
It can reduce time and effort greatly to automate the deployment. This is especially necessary when we go agile as the development, deployment and testing iteration are within 1-2 weeks.

It also seems more “urgent” due to the recent support problem in a product where wrong source code is deployed to production and wrong SQL submitted to production while QA copy is correct. Why waste time to troubleshoot and fix the problem when it can be avoidable?

Here are the proposed steps or procedures for automation:
- Nightly update or check out code.
- Nightly build and deploy to QA machine.
- If build failed, send email notification to developers and QA in charge
- Nightly execute checked-in SQLs to QA database.
- Generate daily and weekly CVS report on changes and developers and auto-email to stakeholders and developers.
- Restart QA Application Server every morning to reflect the latest build.

Some sample report will be like this:
http://statcvs.sourceforge.net/statcvs-stats/

3. Speed up Product and UI Design
The current HTML Development to provide the mock-up UI are slow, tedious to make changes and are not able to communicate the page flow, error handling, functional specification effectively to the developers. StpBA Storyboarding is designed to solve this problem. With integration to Visio, it allows for GUI Storyboards, functional specification and test scripts all available at one place. It also able to generate few types of documentations.


A big caveat: Collaboration is an issue as there are different people responsible for functions, test scripts, UI design, etc. So, we may need to explore similar product but with better collaboration to speed up the product design stage.

Another effort will be to embark on an innovation process to redesign the UI to evolve around AJAX technology, hence better usability and simplicity. We can come out of a UI standard with broad knowledge on AJAX technology and research on great usability of other products. Examples will be Basecamp, this blog, etc.

Recently, this blog has implemented Auto-Save Blog Post. I am immensely pleased for this feature. I remembered I used to be in awe when I wanted to save my blog post when I was prompted that I was not connected to the Internet. Then, I waited for the connection to be available and resubmitted my content again. Learning from Microsoft product experience, I even copied out my content before I saved to avoid losing my content if the page hanged or redirected me to some other error pages. If you tried before to submit a long form you have filled to end up losing all the entries when error occured, you will know what I am saying here.


Happy Blogging!
Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu

Monday, 28 May 2007

Reading & Learning

I am feeling overwhelm these days on how many things I can learn through reading:
- How many books I need to buy and read.
- How many blog posts I need to read.
- How many online magazine or articles I need to read.
- How many different skills I need to brush up - all skillsets in product , people , communication , leadership , writing & presentation & public speaking, management , entrepreneur, creative and innovative thinking.

And the world is so full of knowledges and each day, fantastic people are sharing their experiences and knowledges with us through blogs, articles, interviews and books.

And I really want to learn a great deal, and continue my blog posting to improve myself in writing and also to track what I have learnt.

So, here is the round-up of what are coming up soon on my blog. Would like to take sometimes to absord the materials and do more research and evaluation based on my own experience.

1. Why jerks always rise to the top?

2. The google story

3. The dip: when to quit and when to stick?

Stay tuned!

Will be so good to enjoy an outdoor reading.


Blogging during lunch hours..:)

Lesson from God: Should Lucifer be forgiven?


Back to my stories on How Good People Turn Evil where I asked 2 questions in http://susan-passionateaboutlife.blogspot.com/2007/05/lucifer-effect-understanding-how-good.html. I have been doing a lot of thinking on this after the post.

I have no answer to it, but it turned out I can ask one simple question - "Should Lucifer be forgiven?"


Over the time, I think the word "forgive" is used without much forethrought. It is so easy to ask people to forgive you when you have made a mistake. It also easy to just say yes. But, I suddenly felt that the word "forgive" has not lived up to it meaning so far because of misuse of a lot of people. So, I do a check on my favourite online dictionary and here are the relevant meanings:
1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
2. To renounce anger or resentment against.

Resentment makes you look ugly.


I sure do not want to feel anger and resentment towards Lucifer and anybody else who have made mistakes. I definitely do not what to feel that in all my lifetime or very long time. Thus, I came to the conclusion that we may try to forgive Lucifer for what he did.

But with a caveat: we shall not try to associate with him or go anywhere near him.

Even though for most of the times, one can do a lot of good or correct things, we cannot suppress the evilness inside some people. When crisis occur or when they are "forced" into a bad situation, their evilness surface. And at that moment when you are with these kind of people, you will most probably get hurt.

Imagine you are stranded on an island with no food with these people. Can you imagine what will happen to you? Yes, you probably saw the movie about the people eating another human being. Yes, they are forced into it and they only want to survive. But, if you have some conscience, will you be able to kill other people just for your own survival? You choose to sacrifice other people because you want to survive?

People like Lucifer may do that, without any deliberation and conscience. Yes, Lucifer is capable of doing good things also. (that's why he was once upon a time an angel. To be more accurate, God's favourite angel). And Lucifer can correct his mistakes also when giving proper feedback and mentoring. But crisis came or in his case, someone better came along, because of his jealousy and fear of losing power, he turned evil.

He made ONE mistake and God expelled him. God punished him because He saw what Lucifer had become. What values he held for so long. Not because the sin he made is his first or last. God did not give him another chance because being in Lucifer's position of wealth and power, his mistake was very dire as he was supposed to be the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

How many of you have someone repeatedly ask for forgiveness and try to convince you their mistakes would be the their last ? How many of those you have forgiven repeat the same mistakes again ?

After expelled by God, Lucifer showed his wicked side more. He developed a foolish, unruly, and defiant stance against God—never repenting nor relenting, even to this very day. His core values had not been able to guide him back to Goodness and he succumbed to evilness.
Beware of people like Lucifer in your life. Not every mistakes are forgivable. Definitely, some mistakes cannot be forgotten.

Do you have your parents, grandparents, relatives that are older and much more matured telling you to be careful when mixing with friends? Asked you not to trust people so easily? They are nagging you because they have met a lot of Lucifer-like people in their life. They have learnt their lessons and they hope you can learn from them. They certainly knew you are naive and not able to expect how evil some people can be.

Above all, God is terribly wise and right. I am sure he did the right thing when he punished Lucifer. So, what is better than learning from God?

Here is my favourite devil picture again.....:)

Monday, 21 May 2007

Mount KK - The days before we conquered the peak

5 May 2007 - It is such an amazing feeling to look up at the peak from far, when you know you are going to be there, on the top of the world in the next 2 days. And slowly climbing up , one step at a time, each step drawing you nearer to there.

It does look like a heaven up there......



Without the sunray, the top seems so cold and lonely......



I like mountain hiking a lot because hikers always have a very clear target , that is to reach the peak no matter how hard it takes.

Unfortunately, in life, there are always no clear target. You cannot see the peak easily. You do not know how high you need to climb to reach "there". Sometimes, it is like you are climbing a mountain without a peak.

This makes it even more important to enjoy the journey rather than the outcome in life. Stop and enjoy the moment. Take the longer and more beautiful route even though it will be harder and you reach the peak later than a lot of people. I meant this figuratively and literally as I have taken the longer route to Mount KK (using Mesilau Trail) , and I enjoyed every moment of it. Even though a lot of people complained why we chose this route over a shorter and easier one, but I felt otherwise.

The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler.
All our lives long,
Every day and every hour
We are engaged in the process of accommodating our changed and unchanged selves
To changed and unchanged surroundings;
Living in fact, is nothing less that this process of accommodation;
When we fail in it a little we are stupid,
When we fail flagrantly we are mad,
When we suspend it temporarily we sleep,
When we give up the attempt altogether we die.

And I am going to suspend all my worries now and sleep. Let's tomorrow be a better day!


Thursday, 17 May 2007

Fearless - With integrity, I bow to no one

Today, is the first time in these few weeks that I feel my energy seeping back to me again.

Today, I was reborn, with new courage to take on the world and fight against the evil.

I did not feel like I was being victimized anymore because I stand up straight and bow to no one today. I took the courage to fight with integrity even though I may risk something important to me.

I will always remember today. For today, my heart and my soul are combined into one. For today, I am FREE!!!

If Architects Had to Work like Programmers/Designers

This is a humorous letter about "If Architects Had to Work like Programmers/Designers". Note that the Architect in this context is the house/building architect, not the software or IT architect. (IT architect will face the same problem )

As you read through the email, you may feel familiar as if someone told you similar requirements before. :)

Salute to all of us, programmers and designers!!!!

By Mike Morgan

Dear Mr. Architect!

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminium, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminium, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

Sincerely,
The Client

P.S.:My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I've given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

P.P.S.:Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.




Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Shift Happen

You probably have read "The World Is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman . It has been labelled the Best Business Book so far.

Analyzing the globalization issue, the author talked a lot about how China and India are changing the way the world is doing business. The competitive playing fields between industrial and emerging market countries are leveling.

Here is another great presentation about this subject.
http://www.slideshare.net/jbrenman/shift-happens-33834

If the world is changing or shifting, so are you. You have to make the changes and be competitive.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Love too Late - Great Song, Great Lyric

This is the first time, I post chinese words in my blog. But I really love this meaningful song and lyric. I guess sometimes, people can learn things from song also, not only books, quotes or other blogs.

Leo Ku's Belated Love (愛得太遲)

我過去 那死黨 早晚共對 各也紮職以後沒法暢聚
ngo guo hui / na sei dong / jo maan gung dui / gook ya jat jik yi hau moot fat cheung joi
I used to spend day and night with my best buddies. But after each of us get promoted, we spend less time now .

而終於 相約到 但無言共對 疏淡如水
yi jung yue / xiong yeuk do / dan mo yin gung dui / soh tam yu sui
When we finally meet, we have nothing to say, its as plain as water

日夜做 見爸爸 剛好想呻 卻霎眼看出他多了皺紋
yat yeh jo / kin pa pa / gong hou xiong san / keok saap ngan hon chut ta do liu jao man
Working day and night, met papa, wishing to complain. Never did I realise his wrinkles have increased

而他的蒼老感 是從來未覺 太內疚擔心
yi ta dik chong lo gam / si chong loi mei gok / tai noi gau dam sam
Never realised that dad is aging. Never did I realise that. The guilt worries me

最心痛是 愛得太遲 有些心意 不可等某個日子
jui sam tong si / ngoi dak tai chi / yau se sam yi / bat ho dang mao go yat ji
The thing that hurts most is to love too late. There are certain things that shouldn't wait.

盲目地發奮 忙忙忙其實自私
mang mok dei fat fan / mong mong mong kei sat ji si
Working hard is more due to selfishness

夢中也習慣 有壓力要我得志
mong zhong ya jap gwan / yau ngak lik yiu ngoh dak ji
Even in my dreams i'm used to being pressured to do better

最可怕是 愛需要及時 只差一秒 心聲都已變歷史
jui ho pa si / ngoi sui yiu kap si / zi cha yat miu / sam seng dou yi bin lik si
The scariest thing is, love has to be on time. A missed second and feelings will become history

忙極亦放肆 見我愛見的相知
mong gik yik fong si / kin ngoh oi kin dik xiong ji
To find time in my busy schedule to meet the ones I love

要抱要吻要怎麼也好 偏要推說等下一次
yiu poh yiu man yiu zham moh ya ho / pin yiu tui suet dang ha yat chi
To hold, to kiss, to do whatever, but I always wait till the next time

我也覺 我體質 彷似下降 看了症得到是別要太忙
ngoh ya gok / ngoh tai jat / fong chi ha gong / hon liu jing dak dou si bit yiu tai mong
My body is not as fit as it used to be. After seeing the doctor, I'm told to relax.

而影碟 都掃光 但從來未看 因有事趕
yi ying pin / dou sou guong / dan chong loi mei hon / yan yau si gon
Having bought all the DVDs I haven't watched a single one because I was busy.

日夜做 儲的錢 都應該夠 到聖誕正好講跟我白頭
yat ye jou / chou dik chin / dou ying goi gau / do sing dan jing ho gong gan ngoh bak tau
Working day and night I saved some money. Should be enough to tell her to marry me during Christmas

誰知她開了口 未能挨下去 已恨我很久
sui ji ta hoi liu hau / mei nang ngai ha hui / yi han ngoh han gao
Who knows that she told me first she couldn't stand it any longer. She hated me for quite some time

錯失太易 愛得太遲 我怎想到 她忍不到那日子
choh sat tai yi / ngoi dak tai chi / ngoh zham xiong dou / ta yan bat dou na yat zi
Its too easy to lose when you love too late. How would I have known she couldn't wait till that day

盲目地發奮 忙忙忙從來未知
mang muk dei fat fan / mong mong mong chong loi mei ji
Working blindly fighting for things. Too busy to know or notice thing.

幸福會掠過 再也沒法說鍾意
hang fook wui leuk gwoh / joi ya moot faat suet jong yi
Happiness can pass by me. No chance to say I love you.

愛一個字 也需要及時 只差一秒 心聲都已變歷史
ngoi yat guo ji / ya sui yiu kap si / ji cha yat miu / sam sing dou yi bin lik si
Even though love is only one word, it still has to be on time. Even by missing by one second, feelings can become history

為何未放肆 見我愛見的相知
wai ho mei fong si / kin ngoh oi kin dik xiong ji
Why didn't I make the effort to see the ones I love

要抱要吻要怎麼也好 不要相信一切有下次
yiu po yiu man yiu zham moh yah ho / bat yiu xiong sun yat chai yau ha chi
To hold, to kiss to do whatever. I don't want to believe there's always a next time

相擁我所愛又花幾多秒 這幾秒 能夠做到又有多少
seung yung ngoh suo oi yau fa gei do miu / je gei miu / nang gao jou dou ya yao doh siu
How long will I hold on to my love. How much can I do in those few seconds

未算少 足夠遺憾忘掉
mei suen siu / juk gao wai ham mong diu
Its not too late. Its still enough to feel regret over

多少抱憾 多少過路人 太懂估計 卻不懂愛錫自身
doh siu poh ham / doh siu guo lo yan / tai dong goo gai / keok bat dong ngoi sek ji san
How many regrets? How many passers by? Know too well but do not know how to love oneself

人人在發奮 想起他朝都興奮
yan yan joi fat fan / xiong hei ta chiu do hing fan
Everyone's working hard. Excited by the future.

但今晚未過 你要過也很吸引
dan kam man mei guo / nei yiu guo ya han kap yan
But the night is not over. You can still spend it wonderfully

縱不信運 你不過是人 理想很遠 愛於咫尺卻在等
jung bat sun wan / nei bat guo si yan / lei xiong han yuen / oi yue chi chek kuek joi dang
Even if you don't believe in fate, you're still human. Your goals are afar, love is just here yet you are waiting

來日別操心 趁你有能力開心
loi yat bit cho sam / chan nei yau nang lik hoi sam
Don't worry about the future. While still possible, be happy

世界有太多東西發生 不要等到天上俯瞰
sai gai yau tai doh dong sai fat sang / bat yiu dang doh tin xiong foo ham
There's too many things happening in the world. Don't have to wait till you're looking down from the heavens

Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Lucifer is the fallen angel commonly associated with Satan. He used to be God's favourite angel.

When God created Adam as his perfect creature, he said all the angels have to honor Adam. And Lucifer refused to do that, and God took that as an act of disobedience, and also a sin of envy and jealousy, and sent Michael the archangel to punish him, and a bunch of other angels sided with Lucifer. Paradoxically God created Hell as a place to put them.

In his book "The Lucifer Effect", Philip Zimbardo analyzed and explained how good people turn evil, using his famous Stanford Prison Experiment, (SPE). The experiment a lot of similarities with the infamous abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.
The mock prison he’d set up in the basement of Jordan Hall quickly turned ordinary college students into abusive guards and degraded prisoners, some of whom broke down under the pretend prison’s all-too-real strain. When, decades later, Zimbardo first glimpsed televised images of the inmate abuse at Abu Ghraib, he was shocked by similarities to what he’d seen in his own study.

The Lucifer Effect raises a fundamental question about the nature of human nature: How is it possible for ordinary, average, even good people to become perpetrators of evil? In trying to understand unusual, weird or aberrant behavior, we often err in focusing exclusively on the inner determinants of genes, personality and character, as we also tend to ignore what may be the critical catalyst for behavior change in the external Situation or in the System that creates and maintains such situations.
Chip Frederick, one of the accused Military Policemen involved in the abuses, got sentenced to an 8-year hard time in military prison, dishonorably discharged, disgraced and deprived on his 22 years of retirement savings, divorced by his wife and is now nearly broken.
In his defence, the author gave a detailed depiction of what it was like to walk in his boots for 12-hour night shifts without a day off for 40 straight nights in horrendous conditions at the prison.
Zimbardo described the prison as hellish, decrepit and under frequent attack by mortar fire, enveloped in desert heat and urine stench.

In the author's own words about Lucifer's transformation of God's favorite angel into Satan as he challenges God's authority:
I thought that was a bad deal—why was there no consultation? And over time I came to believe that Lucifer was actually right—because why should angels bow down to Adam, a mortal, if he can be so easily corrupted?

My own question will be:
Shall we forgive and give chance to those who make mistake or become evil because of the Lucifer Effect?

If God has given chance to Lucifer to change (with proper feedback and consultation), will Lucifer not becoming the satan that he is now?


Links on more info:

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2007/mayjun/features/zimbardo.html#sidebar

http://www.zimbardo.com/current.html

http://www.lucifereffect.com/

Saturday, 12 May 2007

When life goes off course.

There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment, who will you be? Will you let down your defenses, and find solitude in someone unexpected. Will you reach out... Will you face your greatest fears bravely, and move forward with faith... or will you succumb to the darkness in your soul.

Shining Through the Tears

It's easy to be pleasant when life flows by like a song.
But the man worth while is the one who can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble
And it always comes with years.
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
is the smile that shines through the tears.

Author : Irish Proverb

3-Turnoffs for friendship

As described in my earlier post on How to Treat People, I have started to observe people closely on their behaviours. It is a subject that really intrigues me.

My recent observation prompted me to come out with 3 major turnoffs of building close relationship with friends and family.


No. 3 - Complaining & Blaming

When people complain, it emanates negativity. It also influences those around them to feel as negative as them.

Usually, people who complain is also those who blame others. You seldom see people complaining about themselves. Mostly, people are complaining about other people (their bosses, their friends, their partners, etc.) or things that are done by others. Well, there are people who complain about things that are mostly their own faults but they will refuse to take responsibilities. For e.g. a boss complaining about staffs that are not good when he is the one who hire them in the first place.

One thing that really turn me off is people who complain about things that will be better if they themselves do something about it, instead of just complaining. For e.g. when things do not turn out well in a trip where the organizer make some wrong bookings or forgotten somethings, some people will tend to complain about this and blame it solely on the organizer. But, they never offer themselves to help in organizing the trip, demand this and that as well as expect all their demands to be fullfilled. When bad things happen, it is partially their faults that they do not offer enough help. The least they can do is to keep from complaining and appreciate the efforts put in by the others who do not have obligation to do some much for them.

Bad or unwanted things do happen anytime whether we want it or not. Ask yourself these questions the next time something bad happen and you want to open your mouth and complain.

1. Does the bad things affect you very much? If no, keep your mouth shut. If yes, proceed to next question.

2. Will you make the same mistakes if you are in the person's shoe? If yes, keep your mouth shut. If no, proceed to next question.

3. Do you, even in very small way, cause this to happen (you do something, make a choice or you have done nothing at all)? If yes, keep your mouth shut. If no, proceed to next question.

4. Do the person who cause this have done a lot of other things and have tried very hard to prevent this? If yes, keep your mouth shut. If no, proceed to next question.

5. Do the person that you are complaining to has a high view of the things or persons you are complaining? For e.g., you should not complain about your boyfriend's mother to your boyfriend. If yes, keep your mouth shut. If no, proceed but keep in mind that your complaining can hurt others and make you the devil at that moment. :).

I am guilty of complaining also. Sometimes, I got carried away and wanted to join in the conversations. I always regretted afterwards. It will be better for my soul to just keep quiet and become an outcast of a group, rather than join the inappropriate complaining session and create negativities in myself.

No. 2 - Boastful

Personally, this is not a very big turnoff for me. But I know it does to many other people. Usually, when someone is boasting or showing off, I either treat them as joking or I try to believe what they say and not questioning how true is it. I always try to give them the benefit of doubt. Maybe they are right.

For most people, to mix with people who is boastful turn out to be a very sour experience. The boastful one always demand a grand presence. It is always "I am the greatest". This really turn people off as no one wants to feel lowly. Boastful people is also usually not sincere. They talk about things that are nonsensical and not considerate for other feelings.

From MCP (Male chauvinist pig) remark like "It is so hard for men to make money. " (as if women do not make money) to I-am-so-rich remark like "I change my handphone every half year anyway.", even to I-am-so-clever remark like "I have managed to solve the problem. It is so easy." (speaking to people who have not solve the problem yet.).

Fortunately, it is very easy for complaining and boastful poeple to solve their problems, that is to keep their mouth shut if they have nothing important to say.

Anyway, one can always learn more things by listening than talking.

No 1 - Selfish

No. 1 biggest turnoff for me is people who always think of themselves first and not being considerate to others. They do not repay other people kindness. They do not hesitate to trouble others if that can bring them comfort or they get want they want. They never contribute to others if they are not getting the benefit from it. They tend to do what they like without thinking of the consequences to others. Their world is about "me, me and me". If you leave them out or ignore them, they will ask "How about me?". If something bad happen to them, they will ask "Why me?" (even though the same thing might have happened to you).

They never learn to exist happily with others. For e.g., if they are sharing rooms with others, they will not care whether you are asleep or not and they will turn on the light, make noises doing their own chores. They always want to pick the best things for themselves. They are unwilling to pay their shares if they do not utilize the things. (In a group outing, sometimes it is easier to have everyone pay equally eventhough some use more than the others.)

What worst, some selfish person can do the talking but no action. For e.g. they apologize when they trouble you but they do not actually do anything to correct that. And they trouble you again and again.

A selfish person can also be annoying. It is because what they talk mostly are about themselves. What they ask are questions about themselves. For e.g. "Should I do this? Should I do that? What if, this thing happen, then what should I do? What if unexpected things happen, will I make it? Maybe I should do this. Oh, I should have done this. I used to do this before. I am very good at that. Maybe I can get your help. Oh, please help me yeah. Pity me. I do not know what to do. Maybe the person will hate me. Maybe God is not with me today. What did I do to deserve that? Do you think I am right?". You may be surprised, but they are people who rattle endlessly if you allow it.

I find the best way to face this situation is just to walk away and change topic. DO NOT ask any more questions. It just trigger off more rattle. DO NOT ask the person to stop worrying or stop thinking about it. Cause they will give you another set of excuses why they cannot stop.

It is sometimes very hard to change a selfish person. Because they will not understand (even though they do try) what you tell them as they can only think of their own perspective.

Actually, all of us have tendency to be selfish, i.e. think of ourselves first. We can practice more to stop and think for others in everything we do. With more practice, it will soon become our habit. This habit will make it easier for us to Win Friends and Influence People.

We are selfish when we are exclusively or predominantly concerned with the good for ourselves. We are altruistic when we are exclusively or predominantly concerned with the good of others.
~Mortimer Adler

Becoming a Good Leader - Winning, Jack Welch

Jack Welch is definitely a good source of inspiration for all leaders. He turned GE into a winning company despite all the brutal competitions, with GE stock went up 4,000 percent during his leadership.

In his second book I am reading now, "Winning", he amazes me again with his strong focus on leadership and people management.
He always seemed to introduce new cultures and business philosophy to GE and to the world. Fews of these are the importance of values, candor, differentiation, and voice and dignity for all.

He mentioned that in a lots of companies, people management is what's done when there's time left over. I find this to be very true. He devoted one chapter in the book to talk about people management. I will try to put this up in the next blog, after I finish the chapter.

The message from the book can be distilled into two sentences. "Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." That's why a selfish person is never a leader at all.

There was the ubiquitous question: what does a leader really do? Jack Welch remembers that he ran teams with three experienced people and divisions with 30,000. He managed businesses that were dying and ones that were bursting with growth. There were acquisitions, divestures,
organization crises, moments of unexpected luck, good economies and bad. And there were paradoxes. The biggest paradox was short-term and long-term management. "How
can I manage quarterly results and still do what's right for my business five years out? My answer is: welcome to the job."


And leadership is about performing the balancing acts everyday.

Here, I would like to lay out the 8 rules (as described in the book) for becoming a Good Leader:

1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence.
A leader is like a gardener, a watering can in one hand and fertilizer in the other.
Occasionally a leader have to pull some weeds, but most of the time, just nurture and tend.

2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breath it.
No jargon. Targets cannot be so blurry that they can't be hit. A common problem is that leaders communicate the vision to close colleagues and it never filters down to people in frontline positions.

3. Leaders get into everyone's skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.
An upbeat manager with a positive outlook ends up running a team or organization with upbeat people with positive outlooks.

4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency and giving credit.
Leaders do not keep secret about their thinking about the poeple and their performances, and what they know about the business and its future.

Leaders do not kiss up and kick down. They are self-confident and mature enough to know their team's success will give them recognition.

5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.
Obviously, tough calls spawn complaints and resistance. Your job is to listen and explain yourself
clearly but move forward. You are not a leader to win a popularity contest-you are a leader to lead. Don't run for office. You're already elected.

6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with actions.
When you are an individual contributor, you try to have all the answers. When you are a leader, your job is to have all the questions.

7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example. These two concepts often get lip service and little else.
Too many mangers urge their people to try new things and then punish them when they fail.
And just because you're the boss doesn't mean you're the source of all knowledge. Look outside the organization for best ideas and then show enthusiasm for them.

8. Leaders celebrate.
Imagine a team winning the World Series without champagne spraying everywhere. And yet companies win all the time and let it go without so much as a high five. Work is too much a part of life not to recognize moments of achievement. They summarized the need for leaders to constantly learn how to be good leaders: try something, getting it wrong and learning from it, or getting it right and gaining the selfconfidence to do it again, only better.





Interview with Jack Welch and Suzie Welch:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/24/60II/main682830.shtml

Thursday, 10 May 2007

How to Treat People

I recently finished reading the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. It was probably the best book I have ever read. The book I bought is in the latest printed cover. (I will try to post the picture of the book cover soon) . In my opinion, if everyone read this book and learn how to apply this, this world will become a much better place to live. Note that I am saying 'learn' only. I do not even considering everyone to master the skills described in the book. But if everyone can at least attempt the skills, it will make a lot of differences.

After reading the book, I have made a lot of observations on people. It amazes me how many people do not understand the gist on how to treat people correctly. Not saying enough thank you, not appreciate people's efforts, constantly complaining about every single litte things, always think of oneself first , always blame others first for any problems, etc. Not only not-so-educated people make these mistakes, but even those in senior management or those who have lived a large part of their life.

One of the worst case I encountered is a person who had recently made a big mistake in his life. The first thing he did was to cover his ass, i.e. plan everything to prevent people from knowing his mistake, make earnest plea for people to understand his "plight" and make sure he, of all people in the world, are least affected by this mistake he had personally made. I really wondered how this kind of selfish people can exist in this world, what's more with being quite on top of the career ladder.

Martin Luther King Quotes"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
And, "The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places" by Bryant H. McGill.
One can really truly see a person based on how he makes decision when his own comfort or success is at stake.

Most importantly, during and after reading this book, I also constantly review myself and my action. I found I am guilty of a lot of mistakes. But I have vowed to improve myself immensely. I do feel like I am starting on a life-changing journey of improving myself on how to treat people as well as try to influence and improve those around me.
I guessed all of us made mistakes in life. It is not good for anyone to harbor contempt to the person who made mistakes. Maybe what's best is to offer forgiveness. But to rebuild the trust and respect may be harder.


A cute picture illustrating how one can show contempt. Notice the penguin showing contempt is the bigger and uglier penguin while the one being shown contempt is the cuter one. :)

Yeah, everyone may forget on how to act and treat people correctly. One of the story that I remembered most in the book is "Father Forgets". It is a really touching story that reminds us what we usually forget in life.

FATHER FORGETS
W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive -- and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding -- this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy -- a little boy!"
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

Photo courtesy of http://www.thefreedictionary.com

Thursday, 3 May 2007

21 Irrefutable Laws of Relationship With Your Spouse. Rule No. 3: Law of Paying Attention

The best way to show that you love that person is to pay attention to them. Pay attention to what they tell you. Tickle them. Touch them . Make fun of them.



Everyone seeks attention , especially from their loved one. It is so much fun and so sweet to have someone giving you the attention.




So, starting from now:

1. Listen attentively to your spouse. It's a very easy thing to do, but it is often overshadowed by personal thoughts or wants.

2. Whether you are playing games or working and your spouse is somewhere in the same house, go and check on them - call them names, give them a little touch, give them some surprised hugs or kisses.

3. Discover their interest. Some people like flowers, some like to hear the words 'I love you.' Still others like to get a feeling - a touch, a hug -- most people like a combination of these.

4. When you are going out with your spouse (alone or with other bunch of friends) , always try to give some attentions to her. For e.g., it will be fun to "accidentally" touch her or tickle her and all these at the same time, hiding it from other friends.

That's all for today. Of course, you can always try to find new ways to pay attention to your spouses. It does not take a genius to learn that. Just pay more attention and observe. :)

Previous related posts:

Introduction:
http://susan-passionateaboutlife.blogspot.com/2007/03/21-irrefutable-laws-of-relationship.html

Rule No. 1: Laws of True Self
http://susan-passionateaboutlife.blogspot.com/2007/03/21-irrefutable-laws-of-relationship_11.html

Rule No. 2: Laws of Acceptance
http://susan-passionateaboutlife.blogspot.com/2007/04/21-irrefutable-laws-of-relationship.html



We do not need project management, we need leadership!

"We do not need project management, we need leadership!". That is one of the phrase I learnt from during one of the symposium I attended recently.

Leadership is very crucial in a company. But it getting harder to find leadership, especially among senior management. Very few people will really take responsibilities on the failures after failures in the company and keep on promising success is very near. But they never really change the way they work or really innovate. Never really see a way out, but just go on with the same old ways and believing that will lead to success.

It correlated back to what I said in my previous post about Making big adjustment in life.
http://susan-passionateaboutlife.blogspot.com/2007/05/making-big-adjustment-in-life.html


Few facts about leadership from this article:
Be a Smarter, Faster, Better Leader
http://msn.careerbuilder.com/custom/msn/careeradvice/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=1008&SiteId=cbmsn41008&sc_extcmp=JS_1008_advice&catid=wi&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=bfd8ff01f0e94baca446b9fa3ce4f346-231471340-JP-5

Leadership really means willingness to take ownership of something greater than oneself -- for an idea, for your team, for your organization.

Great leaders don't constantly focus on their own personal competitive advantage. Instead, they focus on bettering others, and becoming 'better with' versus 'better than'. It means focusing on the bigger picture -- accomplishing goals as a team or organization, not just as an individual.

Being a good leader also requires having a positive outlook. "Great leaders believe in the possibility of a positive outcome. They are able to step up to a challenge, envision a possible future, and rally people to make that future a reality," Sloan contends. "Great leadership is about having a positive outlook -- as long as you're willing to acknowledge the real. The best leaders I have met are able to see the opportunities in everything, but also to recognize and state facts."

Leaders should get out of their comfort zone to develop new skills and talents. "If you're not making any mistakes, you're not taking any risks. It's important to stretch yourself. Excellence is the goal -- not perfection."



Some evil people just will not change for the better

There is this fable that prove some people just will not change....

A scorpion wanted to cross the river so he asked the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog protested “Oh no I cannot do that because you will sting me and I will die”. “You will not die” answered the scorpion because if I sting you and you die then I will drown. Convinced by the scorpions logic, the frog relented and agreed to carry the scorpion across the river on his back, but as the frog swam to midstream the scorpion stung him.“Why did you do that?” said the frog “Now we will both die”. “Because I am a scorpion. It’s my nature.” answered the scorpion.
The scorpion showing his good nature to the frog, persuading him to believe he can change.



The frog made his fatal mistake of believing the scorpion will change and let the scorpion climb on his back.

I have to say I learnt from my own mistakes about trusting the scorpion. I am just too naive to believe no matter how evil a person, there are good sides of them. But then , scorpions are scorpions. They cannnot change their nature, despite how much they try. I maybe angry that I have been giving too many chances for the scorpions, but I have to accept this fact now. And take this as a great lesson in life.
And I have spent 5 years believing the scorpion. And now I have to get out because if not, I will die together with the scorpion. I cannot let him sting me anymore. I have asked him again and again not to sting me, but again and again , he repeated.
It is not too late to change my course. My decision is final. And I will be able to do this successfully and not regret this. I just hope the scorpion will not go around again and trick other frogs.


Making Big adjustment in Life

The other day, I went to dinner with my friend. When I got into my car with her and wanted to get out of the parking, I noticed there is a road metal pole behind my car. It was around one meter in distance away.

I adjusted my car to avoid the pole to get out of the parking. I tried several times but was in vain. Being as stubborn as I was, I continued to adjust my car. Each times it just some inches closer to success.

Finally, my friend declared that she was going to go down and move away the pole. I almost wanted to stop her and assured her that I would make it. I was almost there. But, suddenly, I realized I have been fooling myself all along and was totally disillusioned. It would be much easier for her to just get down and remove it. We were wasting our times, trying to adjust and readjust the car to avoid the pole.

Sometimes, success does not come by making small adjustments, trying to improve an inch more.

Success comes with making big leaps, getting out of your comfort zone, facing what is out there.

Success comes with making big adjustments in life.
Not to sit in the car and move your car by inches. Come out of the car and remove the roadblocks. You will find that you can move your car ever so swiftly and fast.