Saturday, November 29, 2008

It’s not what you do, but how you do it

The title above is one of my favorite sayings. Let me explain what it means. It means that figuring out what to do is not enough, in fact, I think more time and effort must be spent on figuring out how to implement and do what you’re supposed to do, well.

I was planning with a group of my friends to think of a way to promote one of our projects. This friend of mine suggested posters, email, website and etc. Mediocre answers but the truth is even I could not think of a better answer. But what’s wrong is once we identified what we do, we failed to think of how to use posters, emails and website the best way possible. For example, we should ask how to make interesting posters, how to make the email not boring or how to get people to come to the website. These questions are much more important questions because they are relatively harder to answer. Especially, us students who are lacking experience. Too many times, have I seen student leaders explaining the wondrous things they will do during their term. To do this project, that project but ultimately nothing of it will be done. The truth is these people should follow-up their decision by thinking of the specific details needed to do what they plan to do. At the end of the day, it’s not the decision to use the posters that make the difference; it’s how well you use the posters that make the difference. And the best way to learn to do so is stop planning and start doing because that’s better than doing nothing. You need to know when to stop planning. It is when after you have done your planning to a point that there is too much uncertainty that there is nothing more that can be discussed until the uncertainties are certain. After that, prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

This principle also applies in entrepreneurship. See the difference between McDonald and your typical roadside burger stall, what’s the difference? The difference is everything. From how McD promote and advertise them, how they make the burgers and fries, how there is a system that ensures customers get quality food, at the right time at acceptable prices. So you see, selling drinks and kerepek at roadside stalls doesn’t make you an entrepreneur. Yes, you know who I am talking about. So anyone can crap about having new ‘ideas’ but what are they are really doing are repeating mediocre and expected answers that failed during implementation.

Most ideas are influenced from ordinary existing concepts and rarely pure revolutionary ideas come into being, so innovation mostly happen when you are implementing, the need forces you to be creative. Have you realized ideas never come when you want to? Well, they rarely do. So if you cant think of something really revolutionary to do than focus on how to what you’re supposed to do in the best way possible. It’s not what you do, but how you do it.


  1. Assalam... thanks for the useful information.. I’m rafiz (bac econs student, final year … same faculty with u...) I’ve read ur blog.. and something distract me a lot. U had state in your blog that ‘… see the difference between McDonald and your typical roadside burger stall, what’s the difference? The difference is EVERYTHING…. maybe I 'ignorant' of entrepreneurship, but better if you stop a moment of seeing western as fixed culture, and start consider Islamic approach in organization or in business (by the way your promoting AIESEC 'because the syllabus/ experiences we go through in AIESEC changes us to be that way bla..bla….')
    According kishoe mahbubani 'irresistible shift of global power to the east' which means the collapse of western civilization, same as fared zakaria have mentioned as 'the rise of the rest' the end of glorious America era as sole superpower up to world be unipolar who is also means that globalization as ideology that does not as great as and horrifying hyped up… any meaning to u…? (I’m sorry because state some unknown philosopher, because mostly influence by politics...) Nabi Muhammad s.a.w had adopted long entrepreneurship culture before his apostolate as best example to the people.
    Recently I had chance to attend Islamic economic congress where academician, entrepreneur and politician had conclude that Islamic entrepreneurship/business/economic/organization include:
    • World and hereafter,
    • Islamic manufacturer,
    • Islamic consumer,
    • Islamic profit ,
    • and most importantly HALAL and HARAM...(as I consider you as a Muslim)
    And what most importantly MUSLIM entrepreneurship’s must be ignore vested interest / individual (YDP?)/ - and to look larger and wider context... (I hope it is not too irony) and also we must be considerable to learn from Islamic business community (partially...) and not to use the art of gossip and to look down including their own race...
    By the way this comment I made opined to change fundamental towards Muslim in entrepreneurships/business and organization.. especially MELAYU.. I’m not one of the PMI or other conservative… just a concern Muslim in the development of the ummah society, mentality, and economy as hole. Wassalam..

  2. Thanks for reply and reading my blog,

    I do not understand your poin...are you trying to say my views are westernised...i'm okay with that statement...and it is quite logical to see me that way

    However, in my McDonalds point, I am trying to say in a business there MUST be issues of marketing, logistics, human resource, operations management. These are crucial isues faced by ALL businesses, however, Malay entrepreneurs are contend wif their business when they have yet to fully experience all the issues stated earlier. This is my point.

    A friend of mine, did go to KEI-3, and i approve the effort and resolution agreed in the congress,my points do seem pro-western, but i am not pro-western. i chose to learn and read western books bcos currently they are the leaders in business. America is No. 1 in business innovation and product innovation. Ever heard of Malaysia selling their nasi lemak to the whole world, not yet. But i am not pro-western to that extent. I am open to islamic business concepts, I agree in the islamic principes that is the foundation of islamic banking. I believe in diversity, and wide exposure. I admit i am low in reading islamic business books, and will take initiative to do so, do you have any good books to suggest.

    Lastly, i will continue to take a stern stand on the condition of our race's mentality f entrepreneurship. As long as sekretariat keusahawanan sell dadih, jual air, and do aktiviti cuci kereta, it is not entrepreneurship. Tak kisahlah, keusahwanan barat atau islam, ia mmg bukan keusahwanan.




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