Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Solutions To Distribute Work Effectively

I'm sure all you who had experience in student projects have seen problems in dividing, allocating and delegating the jobs to your team members. If there is imbalance in distributing the work then there will be dissatisfaction in the team. Gossiping and complaining behind the team leaders back would soon follow. And that's not good right? Below are some of the things you must consider in making your work distribution as effective as possible.


Planning

In my previous article, "3 Limitations In Dividing Work Effectively" I discussed that human resource is a major constraint. It is important that:
  • Everybody knows their own work well (so they can do the work well)
  • Everybody knows each other's works (so no one will say they have more work than others)
  • Everybody knows the overall collective work that needs to be done (so they are prepared to take some additional work)
  • Everybody aware of the changes and problems that might occur throughout the project (so that they are ok with last minute changes)
The basis behind these points is further detailed in "Laws of Teamworking". You can achieve all this by doing proper planning. I have mentioned the importance of planning so many times. You can download my free planning guidebook here. I have mentioned previously the importance of having the same goal. This is not some fancy-fancy rhetoric like singing one world, one goal, 1Malaysia and etc. This has managerial significances because a team that does not work towards the same objective is not efficient and is under-utilized. That's why I stressed the importance to have ALL team members to be a part of the planning process. When EVERYBODY knows the objective CLEARLY, team members are able to align themselves and their work closer to the team's objective.

Job Description Expectation

It is important that every team member have a clear expectation of what they need to do in the team, and what other team members need to do also. It's important that they have this expectation BEFORE you start work. The reason? So that they won't suddenly complain and give excuse that they didn't know that they need to do so much work in the project. I will share with you a set of questions you must ask your team in the future. Make sure you ask these questions before the team starts working.

Job Description by Objective/Event/Process

When you want to make a team, it is most efficient to create the team with the objective to finish one event/process from start to finish, from A to Z. Organizing work according to a specific job limits that person to that job only. That won’t be good when you need to shift man power to other sections of the project if necessary. It also creates a mental barrier that prevents information sharing between departments. Also, when you give a broad objective you are telling them what is the big picture and the bottom line.

Here are some examples of department names and their objective which I made for an entrepreneurship club I founded:

Education Department: To Educate member about entrepreneurship and create education syllabus for the members
Operations Department: To create impactful and meaningful projects for the club, club’s members and the UPM community
Publicity & Promotions: To advertise and promote the club and it's projects


After this is understood clearly by the team, then you can go into the details. I would like to share with you the document I have created that contains the specific details. But right now I do not want to go so deep in that because I want to focus on basic team managerial skills.

Organize and Streamline Work

Work together with your team to identify and brainstorm ways to increase work efficiency. Like in my previous article, I mentioned about the three departments that should be one department. Read that article as a guideline and use the principles discussed to identify the limitations in the team and think of a better way to group them together.

I hope as a leader and as a team player you can distribute work in a better way.

Be.You.

3 Limitations In Dividing Work Effectively

There was once a student project that was responsible to organize a national level symposium. They divided the team as below:
Mr. E's team = to find speakers only (external)
Miss. S's team = to find sponsors (external)
Mr. X's team = find press (external)


All of these must be grouped into one department. Why? Because:
1. They need to have the same proposal to show to all externals. Which were in an on-going process throughout the project. Different Proposal = Different Expectation=A lot of Problems
2. They need to coordinate the time slot of the project to juggle allocate time slot for speakers, press and sponsors.
3. Leveraging on the combined pool of team members to average out the workload.


These things happen when a leader does not understand the issues and limitations when people work together in a team. When you are creating a team or designing an organizational structure of a project, please consider these 3 limitations when comes the time to divide and distribute the jobs.

• Human Resource
• Information Sharing
Bureaucracy

Human Resource

It is important to remember we have a limited amount of committee members on this project. Additionally, all of you are uni students, who have exams and assignments to think about. When deadlines are coming closer, more problems tend to appear and pressure is growing, you need the flexibility to allocate man power as fast and as smoothly as possible according to the needs of the project. If you designed the team or hierarchy in a very rigid way, you will have a hard time convincing a team member to accept additional work or shift priorities. That is why it is important to design a common objective for the team first than create the job description of the team. Give a general objective to the team first, then create the name and job scope of the team. Not like MTP or MPP where they think of the secretariat name first, and then they have no idea what project the secretariat needs to do.


Information Sharing

All project requires the work force to be divided so that we can focus on different aspect of the projects. However, some of these aspects are connected, interlinked and relevant to other parts of the projects. A lot of problems happen because issues are not properly communicated to all relevant parties, then, the misinformation or miscommunication would cause mistakes and lead to conflicts. And students would blame each other and back-stabbing would soon follow. Use ICT to makes sure that all team members are updated with the same information. Different information will create different outcomes. Conflicting information would create confusion and conflicts among team members.

Bureaucracy

When the hierarchy is too complex, it becomes a barrier to information sharing and communication and also a barrier to fully utilize human resource potential. Students Leadership always has so many secretariat and bureaus with fancy name but has not been impactful. One of the reasons is that these smaller organizations create a mentality that cuts them off from collaborating with other clubs or bureaus. For example, every college have their own entrepreneurship secretariat but each of them have received limited success (selling keropok and dadih is not what I define as successful). Why have none of them collaborated with other entrepreneurship clubs to capitalize on their pooled human resource and expertise? The answer is the bureaucratic mentality in Malaysians.


Ultimately, time and human resource is the underlying factors. Utilizing the most of what you have by using effective managerial principles. I will share the methods to do so in upcoming articles.

Be.You.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Student Leaders Planning Guidebook



Interesting Articles in the e-book:

  • Why students fail to plan?
  • Laws of Teamworking
  • SMART Goal Setting
  • Designing an Action Plan
  • 3 Ways to Know You Are Realistic or Not
Click Here To Download For Free

Saturday, September 26, 2009

MPP/MTP Lacks Strategic Thinking

Whether the Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar (MPP) at the University level or the Majlis Tertinngi Pelajar (MTP) at the college level, they both lack strategic thinking skills. The proof, the same issues have been going on for ages and no improvement can be seen. If the students don't see any improvement, it's enough for me to say you are not making any improvements. Imagine if you are a leader in a business, politics or in public services. Remember the problems when you were a leader in university? You will face them again. What makes you can handle them better this time in the future? But I don't blame the MPP and MTP because they are not taught to equip themselves with managrial skills. Here are some reasons this situations prevail:

Unnecessary Politics In Student Leadership

Political ideologies has no place in student politics. Students just want our food affordable, clean and healthy. Our college safe to live in and our toilets clean. Anything else is irrelevant. You can read a more detailed discussion here. Malaysia has a bad culture of politicizing everything. And when that happens, the 'talkers' will always talk too much BS about the problem, but NOTHING about the solution; which is what strategic thinking is. Creating strategies, Solving problems. This bad habit is then picked up by the young generation. Shame on you politicians.

Lack of Education Syllabus

MPP and MTP are best to be headed by experienced students and is not a place to 'learn'. By design or by negligence, these organizations do not have a structured education plan. Every time you see a student club's performance fluctuate it is because of the club's leadership. This fluctuation is a sign of an absence in the club's initiative to continuously develop leaders. There are a lot of clubs with good education plans, unfortunately none among MPPs and MTPs. No education plan means no platform for students to develop their leadership skills which include strategic thinking skills.

Lack of Foresight

Strategic thinking is basically the ability to foresee problems and formulate strategies to solve them. However, not all student leader can anticipate problem well. This comes with experience in doing challenging projects. But many students love doing lame and easy projects. You can read my classification of such students, here. Also, some student leaders are not sincere, they are just power hungry, want to show off, want to get close to ministers and etc. So 'strategic thinking' for the student clubs is not their priority, but 'strategic thinking' for themselves, yes la.

At the end of the day, student leaders must focus on developing their managerial skills. Their 'talking' skills is perfect already. I see a lot of students are confused what are the role of MPP and also they are too focused on the politics and not the solutions. Read here, where I shoot a few people, give your comments, ok?

Be.You.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Persepsi pelajar terhadap MTP/MPP E-Report


About Beyond Uni

Hi,

My name is Firdaus and I blog at beyonduni.blogspot.com

If this is the first time you came to my blog please read these two articles of mine:

Who Should Read My Blog?

How to read my blog?

I hope by reading these two articles would make you understand better about my blog and how it can help you in uni: in academics, in your co-curricular and life in general.

After this, you might want to know about the history and the vision of my blog. And also, maybe about me. You can do so by reading these post:

Why beyond uni?

About Me

Enjoy reading my blog and...

Be.You.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to read my blog?

Today, I want to share how you can apply what I am teaching in my blog in your life...

Threshold and Direction



Threshold
It means a point/level where a change will happen. Or read here for webster definition...

When I say you are not an entrepreneur when you're selling dadih/keropok that means that is below the level you need to do to become a successful entrepreneur. I would say you need to read books, focus on studies and focus the development of proper entrepreneur mindsets and mentalities. That is the minimum, if you do not focus on developing mindset, you're not going to be successful. Selling dadih at university is below the limit/the threshold so that means you are not making a differences for yourselves. Refer back to why entrepreneurship is needed, I am referring my threshold on the objectives of increasing economic standards for the Malays, creating jobs and attracting foreign investments. Can selling dadih do that?


Direction


I admit I am not so experienced to know what is the threshold exactly, but at least I do know to a certain extent where it lies. Even if I do not know I am experienced enough to know the 'direction' that is needed. When I'm doing the articles like Laws of Teamworking and SMART Goal Setting I am giving you a direction. I am telling you this is the way, the focus you must put effort into if you want to achieve success in your project and etc. If you aren't able to achieve it, it's okay. Better than investing your time and effort on the wrong things.

The thing is, there are people who say other people's analysis is 'general'. Fine, but how specific can you be, practically? So I wrote this as a guide to read my guide to the issues I talk about in my blog.

Use It Against Your Enemies


I know all my readers are decent good people but your lives are made miserable by those %$%^& people. Here offer you my help. Use the articles, and e-book that I have to made. When you are debating, refer back to my articles. Show them the principles, concepts and tools I made. To make it more effective, position me as some industry expert. I'm not saying that I am but maybe you can help me become one. If you think the things that I say is right, you can tell your friends about my blog. If I'm not, give me some comments to improve myself. Either way, with your help, I will ultimately become the 'industry expert'. And then you can use my articles to expose 'the talkers' of who they really are...

Be.You.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Panduan Hidup Untuk Pelajar Universiti Baru


Saya baru siapkan e-book pertama saya. Buku ini dalam format pdf. Sesuai untuk dibaca oleh semua komputer.

Baca Buku Ini Untuk:
• Menggunakan Zaman Universiti Anda Dengan Sebaiknya
• Mengenal Pasti Kelab & Persatuan Pelajar Yang Bermasalah
• Mengelakkan Aktiviti/Projek/Perniagaan yang mengeksploitasi Pelajar
• Mempelajari Cara-Cara Menyeimbangkan Masa Pelajar

Nak satu salinan? Hanya Klik Disini.

Be.You.

Friday, September 18, 2009

4 Causes of Ineffective Work Distribution

As I mentioned before, one of the elements of a team is work division. It's a tough job balancing needs of the project and the needs of your team. I will be discussing methods and techniques you can use to achieve this balance later, but before that I must share the underlying mistakes and problems that student clubs always make or face in the team.

Different expectation of work - amount, frequency, deadline, quality

Everytime someone fights in a team is because that someone is not satisfied with a team member's work. That happens because that 'someone's expectation is not communicated properly. Not long ago I had someone complaining about a team member who were always not satisfied with his work. My suggestion is to meet that unsatisfied team member and clarify what does she (the unsatisfied team member) want, what is her expectation. Normally, if this is not done, both parties will have different interpretation of what needs to be done. When this happen the conflicting views will create an argument. This is why you need to an expectation setting with your team. You must make it clear to all team members about the 4 issues below:

  • Amount of Work
  • Quality of Work
  • Deadline
  • Work Frequency
Make sure all team members are prepared to face the expected issues discussed above at the agreed magnitude as discussed in the expectation setting session. I will teach more about how to do the expectation setting and what to do if there are differing opinions in the expectation setting in later articles.


Uncommitted People

Even though with all the managerial methods that I discussed, there are always incompetent people in the team. In student clubs they are always the lazy and just for merits students. Be careful with these kind of people. They technically achieved their objective, which is to get merit and they have not much reason to contribute more in the project. The solution is to identify these kind of people in the recruitment interview and the expectation setting session. Then, using your leadership and managerial skills to motivate or pressure them to do a better work.


Different Priorities

Everyone have different objectives and as such, different priorities. Some people put their girlfriend/boyfriend before work responsibility. This is not good. You can have your dates anytime, at worst only your date gets mad at you. But in a student club, a whole project of 20 to30 people can be at risk because you did not do your work. Which one is more important? Some team members also have other responsibilities, like tests & assignments, other club's projects. These other responsibilities can affect their priorities and in turn your project. Again, expectation setting can help to identify potential problems with these people.

Constructing Proper Job Descriptions

Like I said earlier, It's a tough job balancing needs of the project and the needs of your team. A lot of leaders are not trained or knowledgeable how to assign work properly among team members. These are the kind of knowledge that MPP and MTP should be teaching their members regardless of position. Back to the topic, when assigning Job Descriptions (JD) to a team member, these are the basic 3 things you must consider:

  • Time constraint
  • Hierarchy
  • Skill sets

These are a very basic classification of the issues but would be enough for today. I will discuss in further detail later. I just wanted to point out that student clubs don't put much effort in constructing a JD and they don't see the value of taking the time to invest in constructing a proper JD.

I hope you can use these 4 points to help you identify potential problems in your team and take precautionary measures to prevent conflicts in your team.


Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin and...

Be.You.
and show me some love...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How To Be The Perfect Boyfriend

Hi,
Today is a busy week. SO a random post this time. I remember posting a video titled, "How To Be The Perfect Girlfriend". This time, it's a video for the guys. Just click the pic above to go watch vid.

Be.You.
and show me some love...

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Truth About Your CGPA Pointer

CGPA pointer is not everything and here's why:

Don't Take the System For Granted

There are a lot of book worms in university. They're only reason to exist is too study. They're mentality is "Get good pointers - Get good work - Get good life". Nothing can be further from the truth. The CGPA system is to measure your academic performance, but that does not mean the system will necessarily benefit you. You have to out do the system to be better than your peers. Never expect when you follow the system, the system will take care of you. Have you ever realised why politicians always get rich, because they abuse their position and the information they know to abuse the system. That's the ugly truth. I'm not asking you to abuse the system, I just saying don't take any system (CGPA pointers) for granted. Don't just hope getting 4 flat and your life is sure going to be OK. Do your research, prepare for risks, and don't depend everything on CGPA. Why?

CGPA Just Gets You the Interview


These days many company HR utilise a computer software to filter candidates. So if you have a high cgpa, that's good but companies don't just need cgpa. Do you think you can do interviews well? Do you think you can perform well after you get the job compared to your peers to get a promotion? Do you know the reason why they ask so many questions is so that they can analyse your mentality and personality. If you have a weak personality because you never mix-around, experience teamwork, face challenges through co-curricular; do you think they want to hire you? Quality over quantity. I told you before not take stupid jobs in your co-curricular like 'ajk kebersihan', 'ajk makanan' & etc. Some people think, "Need to learn from small-small". Wrong! I think things like that are a waste of time and employers don't value the cert. Read this article to know what you should do in co-curricular.



Co-curricular Experience Can Be Applied Anywhere


Whatever competency that you learned in co-curricular can be applied anywhere in life. Academics, work and in business. CGPA only appliess to the work field or industry that is relevant to the cert. Remember, "competency= skill + knowledge + attitude". A lot of student club say they do leadership and etc, but fail to teach you to be competent. Read here to identify these clubs. And again, small menial labourous task like 'ajk makanan', does not help comptency. Employers want competency. The leadeship and management stuff you need to learn (that a lot of student club don't teach) are the kind of methods and concepts I discuss in my blog.

I wouldn't say CGPA is useless but let me give an idea about the 'balance' between CGPA and co-curricular. Read here to know how to use the equation below:

4.00 CGPA + Great Co-curricular = The best.

You can apply at famous companies like Multi National Companies (MNCs), 'top 4' companies of your field and those famous national GLCs like Petronas and Proton etc.

4.00 CGPA + No Co-curricular = Hard to go far

If the HR people sees any weakness in your mentality and personality that can affect in work, they do not want to hire. But I'm talking about the good companies. If you want typical, not famous, not so high-paying companies; that's another story.

2.00 CGPA + Great Co-curricular = Hard Also. But...

Usually, a lot of your students leaders do a lot of co-curricular so to get close to Datuks and Menteris. Some are lucky and achieve something, but not all. I don't like this strategy. However, even if u get CGPA is low, you would already have experience to apply in the future like starting your own business, maybe? As long the co-curricular you did is not those shitty work la.

2.00 CGPA + No Co-curricular = Very Bad.

I have no idea what you are doing in Uni.

The Balance?


At least get 2nd upper class for your degree pointer. And the strategy you should have with your co-curricular is quality over quantity. Read here how to identify them.

At the end of the day you must realise your degree cert is not a ticket that gets you a job, it's just one 'ingredient' to get the job. If you don't have all the 'ingredients', you won't get the job.

Be.You.
and show me some love ;)

Monday, September 7, 2009

4 Critical Issue Of Every Team

Every problem faced by a team can be related back to these 4 elements that I am going to share with you today. I will give some light explanations about these elements but I will give you a comprehensive solution in future posts. Please read laws of teamworking after you have read this post so you can have a better understanding of the topic.

The 4 Element of a team are:
  • Goals
  • Decision Making
  • Work Division
  • Conflict Resolution


Goals

I have taught you the importance of goal setting and planning in some of my previous post. In short, a team without a common goal does not invest their time and effort wisely. When, their labor does not show results, their motivation will drop. And when that happens the team will not work and your objective will not be achieved. That is why proper goal setting and expectation setting is important.


Decision Making
Sooner or later, all teams would have to make a hard decision. In these situations some teams are more democratic, and some are more autocratic. The problem here is how the individual team members respond to their leader's democratic or autocratic behavior. If a leader is too autocratic, then he is bound to make mistakes and incur ill-feelings from the team. If he is too democratic, it will cause too much time to be wasted in getting the right decisions. A proper expectation setting to discover the decision making method that is suitable for the team, would help a lot. Also as a leader, you must be smart to make the right choices at the right time. This requires experience.


Work Division
Not all students are willing to do much work because they just want to get merits. But there are some who are willing to do work. But if we exploit and misuse these productive people too much they will end up being fed up and would leave the team. The solution is to utilize all your members as wisely as possible. Unfortunately, that is not easy. First, you must divide the work as equally as possible and also communicate each other responsibilities clearly to all team members. If some members think that there are some people who are not doing enough work, then they too will be lazy and slack off.


Conflict Resolution
How to resolve a conflict in a team? Our biggest problem is our fear to handle these issues before the conflict happens which is before the team starts work. We should address sensitive issues by asking each other beforehand how should a conflict should be approached and resolved so that no one will keep blaming each other in the future. This is another reason why work division must be properly communicated and defined. So that if something would happen, we would easily know who is at fault. The good thing about it, is that these conflicts will not happen when proper expectation setting is done, everything is properly defined and everybody’s knows each person’s responsibilities. There are no bad people, only bad managers.

All teams must consider these 4 elements before starting a team. Every time you hear of people back stabbing in student organizations is not because they are bad, they are just bad managers. They do not address properly the issues mentioned above in the team. When trouble happens; miscommunication, ego and emotions are added into the equation and your brain will stop working. Their judgment is driven by emotion and not objective facts. Judgement based not in facts is a mistake. Mistakes are building blocks of failure.

Be You.
and show me some love...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Seeds of Success: Why You Don't Know What You Want In Life

After you have the belief and the optimism thatyou can achieve success in your life you need to focus all your efforts on the things your really want to succeed in. In order to that you need to know what you really want in your life. If you don't focus, you will waste your time and effort on things that you don't really want. But before I share the method to do that, I want to discuss why is it a lot of people don't know what they want in life.


You Let Too Much External Factors Cloud Your Judgment.
When you choose your field in Uni, how was it? Did you follow your friends? You let society determine it for you. You take medicine, engineering, law because it was glamorous. That is not 'Doing the Right Thing For The Right Reasons'. You must do it because you like it, at least to a certain extent. There is nothing wrong with seeking guidance from friends and family. It's wrong when you let external motivation override what you want. But usually this happens because you trust the opinions of others more than yourself. This is because you don't understand yourself enough, you are still young and have a lot to learn about life, the world and you yourself. Which leads to my next point.


You Don't Know Yourself
How many times have you asked yourself what you want in your life, what your role in the world is? There was a time in my life where I was a complete loser and have no direction life. During this period I question my life purpose. I questioned what I really want in life. Money? Cars? Houses? I then questioned what motivates me to do things to the max. I realized there were some subjects and topics that made me significantly more passionate compared to other topics.
I then tried to construct a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. With all this information, I was able to confidently 100% the course that I want. Adopt the same method, try to gather as much information from your life experiences to have a better understanding of yourself. Unfortunately, not everyone have good life experiences to rely, which brings to my next point.


You Don't Want to Take New and Diverse Experiences
When you were in High School were you active in co-curricular? Were you always with only your group of friends? Did you mix around in many groups or many activities and clubs. Maybe you're also still active in societies outside of school? The important thing is to acquire more diversity in life. The more different kinds of challenges you face in life the more experience and knowledge of you have of the way you handle those challenges. With this, you would know more about yourself. Unfortunately, not everybody are willing to face challenges and take risks in life.


You're Afraid to Take Risks or Face Challenges
Now, I already explained this with some extent in the previous post titled, "Seed of Success: Knowing That You Can". Like I said in the post, "At the end of the day, these excuses you made - only you will accept it, everyone else doesn't give a sh*t". I hope you understood the post, that you need to believe in yourself first, then, you can embrace challenges. I'm not saying it will be easier that way. I am saying only good things will come from it. "What cannot kill you, makes you stronger"

"The greatest glory in living lies not in NEVER falling, but in RISING every time we fall"
- Nelson Mandela


Hopefully, now you can reflect on your past experience and properly analyze who you are as a person. But remember, you need to this honestly and sincerely with yourself. The truth hurts, and if you are not honest in doing this, there is only one person who will suffer - You.

Be.You.

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