Wednesday, December 30, 2009

6 Tips For Effective Negotiations

"Know what you want, and what you're willing to let go", - Dr.Bob.

Sorry for those offended with the sexual suggestion in the vid. That's just his style. Make sure you get the REAL points...


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Strategic Tools: SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of an organization.

Many student clubs do SWOT analysis, many fail to use it effectively. The reason, the analysis was done wrong.

SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Many student clubs do SWOT analysis, many fail to use it effectively. The reason, the analysis was done wrong.

The Challenges, Constraints & Promoters helps you to understand what factors are positive & negative factors. From my experience, if we start at SWOT analysis immediately we would be easily confused as which are positive (strength & opportunity) and which are negative factors (weakness & threat). My previous model would make it easier to understand the differences.

Challenges: Everything you can think of, that is in the way of your organization.
Promoters: Challenges you can overcome, or you are confident can be overcome.
Constraints: Challengers you cannot overcome or not sure how to overcome.

But first, let me explain the basics of the SWOT Analysis. There are 3 parts:
  • Arranging Promoters & Challenges into S, W, O, T
  • Analyzing & Matching Factors Appropriately in the SWOT Matrix
  • Strategy Formulation for each Matrix – SO, ST, WO, WT

Arranging Promoters & Challenges into S, W, O, T

In the previous models, you should know your promoters & challenges.

  • Promoters = Strengths (internal) + Opportunities (external).
  • Constraints = Weakness (internal) + Threat (external)
  • Internal = something within your organization, something the organization can control.
  • External = something outside your organization, something the organization cannot control.

With the explanation above, arrange the entire problem above accordingly, and put them in the matrix as the picture below.

Analysing & Matching Factors Appropriately in the SWOT Matrix

Some of the problems you list down are related. Example:

Threat: College Administration Bureaucracy makes project application takes too long to get approved
Opportunity: My father is the college’s admin’s boss.
Strategy: Go get my father to sign it during dinner time for me.

This is a lame example but I hope you get the point. There are four possibilities where Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threat can be related. They are:

  • Strength – Opportunity
  • Strength – Threat
  • Weakness– Opportunity
  • Weakness – Threat

You shall relate the factors according to the possibilities mentioned above.

Strategy Formulation for each Matrix – SO, ST, WO, WT

Then, try to find solutions for each ‘match’ you made. If you can (e.g.: Strategy: Go get my father to sign it during dinner time for me), put them in the corresponding boxes, like the example below.

Continue until you cannot think anymore. At the end, you should see which part of the four matrixes is most filled with solutions. So you should have an idea what you would be facing & how to solve them. The next part would be...

Picking the overall generic strategy you would want to take.

But that’s for another article. See you later.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Perceived Value: Your life is only about what YOU think, not others...

Guys & girls, every time you want to buy that expensive shirt or car, please understand the reason why. If you want to show off. No need la. If you want to reward yourself, can.

From the video: "Research shows that there is no correlation between price of wine & enjoyment, unless the price is disclosed"

In other words, you will only enjoy the wine when you know your friends know the wine is expensive. LOL


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Strategic Tools: Challenges, Promoters, Constraints Model

In order to create your strategy, you need to understand your surroundings. It's challenges, constraints and it's promoting factors.

To use this tool well, student leaders need to be experienced. Unfortunately, a lot of student leaders are always inexperienced because they always do 'easy' projects, and also because they do not have vision for their club. A person who does not take initiative to more cannot 'see' more.

Let's continue on how to use this tool. First, list down all the challenges and problems you think you will face in the upcoming term/year. You can get ideas by referring to last year's problems or from the problems faced by other student organizations. Please be resourceful and creative, that's the least you can do if you're not 'experienced'.

Some of the problems you listed might be small & easy to solve, some might be irrelevant or not in our control. But that does not matter, as long as you think it might happen to the club, just list it down.

The next step is to filter the challenges into Promoters & Constraints. Refer to 'Challenges' list and brainstorm solutions to them. It does not need to be so specific, detailed or effective. Just enough for you to have a rough idea how to solve it. The important thing is for you to realize what & who can help you in helping your organization reach it's goals. List these solutions as 'Promoters'.

If you still can't think of the solutions, take all the unsolved 'challenges' and put them under 'Constraints'. Constraints are now problems that will pose a major problem to your organization. No matter how good is your organization in doing something, there is always some part of the organization that will be held up this bottleneck, this constraint.

This stage is relatively easy. It's just that when I was in AIESEC, I felt that the usual SWOT analysis wasn't done effective enough. So I added this tool before SWOT analysis.You'll see why later. Lastly, remember that when you are using the other strategic tools like SWOT Analysis for example, please refer to this part again if you are lost.


Friday, December 18, 2009

5 Signs Of True Leadership

Everyone is talking about leadership, but still not everyone wants to or able to rise up as a leader. I think it's because of the mentality & attitudes one have in life. Anyway these 5 signs below will help you identify true leaders.

Leadership Is To Create Positive Change.

If you are somebody with power and you abuse it to do something selfish, then you are not a leader. Because we don't need people to create negative changes, it can happen by itself. It's so easy to destroy but takes a lot effort to build. Leaders build, Leader's who don't build are not really leaders. Even if you are a CEO, you are expected to grow the company, a positive change.

You Are Always Your Own Leader.

You may not be able to become a CEO but at least at some point in time, you are leading someone or some group of people. I'm sure at one point you are a leader of your family. I'm really sure that everyone is the leader of your own life. The choices you makes, only you are responsible for it. To me, that's make you a leader. A person who understands this, understands that leadership is not position but an attitude towards life. Which means they already have the right attitude.

Leadership Is People Skill Plus Being Competent At Working.

You need to be smart and also smart in working with people. As you know people have feelings & emotions, different personalities and attitudes. Also, in work there can be so many kinds of problems with different solutions. People skills are about communicating well with team mates, understanding of their situations and etc. Work competencies is about management, technical skills & etc. Being a successful leader requires us to be good at both. Imagine, would Vision 2020 happen if Dr.M does not know how to communicate his vision to Malaysia? Also, would you be happy if a teammate is all talk but no action?

You Can Only Learn Leadership By Doing.

You cannot learn leadership from a book and seminar, nuff said.

Leaders Do Things For The Right Reasons.

If a leader does something out of self-interest he is not a leader. Similar to my points in "Leaders Create Positive Change", we don't need 'leaders' who destroy by being corrupt, the destruction can happen without them. A leader is not motivated solely by fame or money, because those are easily attained when you are a leader. They are motivated to improve the community because they also are a part of the community. They want to change the world into a better place. Idealistic or not is up to themselves to think, but doubt never help ideals become reality. You can read more here.

For me personally, I want to make a change in my life and to the community around me. Because how I lead myself and my community would affect the quality of life I'm living in and the people I love. I'm not so noble to bring change to the whole world, but as long I can protect me & the people around it would be good enough. And I need leadership qualities in me to do that.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Strategic Thinking Tools

There are many strategic models and tools that are available and event taught. However, the problem is which one is suitable and effective to be used by Student Organisation.

Below are the tools that student leaders can start with:

  1. List Challenges, Constraints & Promoters
  2. SWOT Analysis
  3. SWOT Strategy Formulation
  4. Goals Grid

List Challenges, Constraints & Promoters

List down everything that you think is a challenge in your organization. Brainstorm of ways to overcome them. If you can group them under 'promoters', if not, group them under 'constraints'

SWOT Analysis

Identify your organization's strength & weaknesses and your external surroundings threats and opportunites. Group & list them accordingly so you can analye your organization's standing.

Strategy Formulation

Once you understand the position of your organization you can choose a strategy that fits your current situation based on the matrix above.

Goals Grid

This is an effective tool in comparing what you want for the organization & whether you have the resources to achieve it.

So now, you have some tools to help you in your strategic planning. Play around with these tools first. Even better, find your own and implement it. Further explanations will be available in my future posts so hang on, k?


Monday, December 7, 2009

MyLDS Visualtweets!

Hi, guys, sorry for the late post. Currently, at Malaysian Leadership Development Seminar '09 (MyLDS). Very busy.

Anyway, I'd like to introduce you guys to this new web application I found. Thanks to Brandon. It allows tweets with similar hashtags (#) to appear in a very flashy and beautiful manner. Check it out in the link below.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Read It Later

Ever found a cool website but don't have the time to read it now? Use Read It Later. Unlike a bookmark, it's much easier for websites that you just want to read once only but a later time.

With just one click, you can record it for you to read later by pressing it's icon. A clean and simple to use menu will appear. Try it out and give your comments.



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