Arquivo da categoria: O Livro Hoje

Minhas colunas publicadas (ou prestes a ser publicado) No Livro Hoje

Knowledge Silos

We know a lot. Por “nós,” I mean humanity as a whole. We know so much that it is impossible for any one of us to know more than a fraction of our total knowledge. This is why we specialize.

Specialization is good. It lets us cut deep into a specific field of endeavor; but at the expense of a broad overview of everything, naturalmente. Specialization is expected of professionals. You wouldn’t be happy if you found out that your dentist is, de fato, a well-known philosopher as well. Or that your child’s ENT surgeon secretly teaches astrophysics in the local university.

Isn’t there a danger lurking behind our habit of demanding super specialized silos of knowledge? One obvious danger is the loss of synergy and potential innovation. A case in point — a particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) faces the problem of accessing various files on different computers and networks. Being conversant in computing issues, the physicist devices a nice way of describing the file (ou, as it is known now, the resource) and suddenly the first URL (Universal Resource Locator) is born. The rest is history — we have the World Wide Web, the Internet. Fifteen years later, you have e-commerce and YouTube!

If CERN had insisted that their physicists do only physics and leave their computing problems to the IT department, the Internet may not have materialized at all. Ou, it may have taken a lot longer to materialize.

The need for specialization is not limited to individuals. It permeates into the modern workplace in the form of a typical division of labor such as HR, Finanças, IT and Business. This division has worked well for ages. But every once in a while, the expertise in such silos becomes so split and scattered that the organization loses sight of its basic objective. People in the silos begin work against each other, competing for resources and recognition, rather than collaborating for common success.

The most common pariah in a typical organization is the IT department. These poor folks always get shouted at if anything at all goes wrong in the system. But when everything is working fine, nobody even notices them. In today’s age of ubiquitous computer literacy, why not assume a bit of system responsibility so that the turnaround time in PC troubleshooting (and consequently productivity) can be improved?

De fato, we know why. When it comes to computers, there is no limit to how bad things can get. As the IT proverb says, to err is human, but to completely foul up things requires a computer. End users may screw up the system so completely that even a competent IT department (a rare commodity) may find it impossible to restore normalcy. Mas, in order to fight this self-destructive (though well-intentioned) tendency, IT departments have gone to the other extreme of making it so bureaucratic and practically impossible to get their help in anything at all!

Another group that gets a bad rap in a highly regulated organization is the auditors. Their thankless job is to look over everybody’s shoulder and make sure that they are following the rules of the game (ou melhor, complying with policies and regulations). Auditors’ noble intentions get eclipsed by one fatal flaw: they seem to measure their success by how many violations they can find. Instead of working hand in hand with those being audited, the auditors come across as though they are conspiring against the rest.

There is productivity to be gained by blurring the edges of rigid silos in organizations. When silos talk to each other, teamwork happens and those in the silos realize that they all work toward a common goal.

Internet Reading

Major changes are afoot. They have been afoot for the last twenty years. I’m talking about how we learn things, how we read, how we do basic arithmetic and so on.

In high school, I used logarithm tables to work out results in physics and chemistry experiments. Calculators were not allowed. Though inconvenient, this practice honed my arithmetic skills — skills that calculators and spreadsheets have eroded by now.

Similar erosion is taking place in our reading skills as well. We don’t read to retain information or knowledge any more. We search, scan, locate keywords, browse and bookmark. The Internet is doing to our reading habits what the calculator did to our arithmetic abilities.

Easy access to information is transforming our notion of (dare I say, respect for?) knowledge in a fundamental way. In a knowledge economy, knowledge is fast becoming a cheap commodity. We don’t need to know stuff any more; we just need to know how to find it.

I was talking to a lecturer the other day. According to him, a good lecturer is not the one who knows most and has a deep understanding of the subject, but the one that can locate the answer the fastest.

The power of instant information came with the Internet, which made experts of all of us. We can now make intelligent comments and informed decisions on anything.

Suppose, por exemplo, your child’s doctor recommends the procedure “myringotomy,” quite possibly something you have never heard of before. But you can Google it, read (desculpe, browse) the first couple of search results, and you will know the rationale behind the doctor’s advice, the exact procedure, its risk factors and benefits, e assim por diante. In ten minutes, you will know what took the doctor years of hard work to learn.

This easy access to knowledge may, quite mistakenly, diminish your respect for the medical degree. This diminished reverence for knowledge is unwise; a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A doctor’s expertise is not so much in memorizing a webpage worth of information, but also in knowing all the special circumstances where that information doesn’t apply. Além, the webpage you happened to read may be just plain wrong. We should be careful not to mistake easy information for deep knowledge. Let’s guard our respect for true knowledge and wisdom despite our access to ready information.

Such misguided lack of respect is evident in the workplace as well, where managers think they can always hire specialized knowledge at will. I had a friend who was planning to roll out a product using Bluetooth, back when it was an emerging technology. I pointed out the obvious flaw in his proposal — he didn’t know much about Bluetooth. His reply was, “No big deal! I’ll just hire somebody who does!”

My worry is, when everybody wants to hire a Bluetooth expert and nobody wants to know how it works, there won’t be an expert any longer.

Knowledge is not cheap, although our easy access to it through the Internet may indicate otherwise. When we all become users of information, our knowledge will stop at its current level, because nobody will be creating it any more.

We are not there yet, but I worry that we are heading that way. I worry about the support structure of our knowledge base. How will our knowledge empire stand when all its foundations are gone?

Saber ou não saber

Technical knowledge is not always a good for you in the modern workplace. A menos que você seja cuidadoso, outros irão tirar proveito de sua experiência e despejar suas responsabilidades em você. Você pode não me importo, desde que eles respeitem os seus conhecimentos. Mas, que muitas vezes monopolizar o crédito pelo seu trabalho e apresentar a sua capacidade de fugir trabalho como habilidades de gestão de pessoas.

A gestão de pessoas é melhor recompensado do que conhecimentos técnicos. Esta diferenciação entre especialistas e gestores de nível médio em termos de recompensas é um fenômeno asiático locais. Aqui, aqueles que apresentam o trabalho parecem obter o crédito por isso, independentemente de quem realmente executa-lo. Nós vivemos em um lugar e tempo em que a articulação é muitas vezes confundido com realizações.

No Ocidente, conhecimento técnico é mais facilmente reconhecido do que apresentações suaves. Você não tem que olhar para além de Bill Gates para apreciar as alturas a que conhecimento técnico pode levá-lo no Ocidente. Claro, Gates é mais do que um especialista; ele é um líder de grande visão bem.

Líderes são diferentes dos gestores de pessoas. Líderes fornecer inspiração e direção. Eles são extremamente necessários em todas as organizações, grandes e pequenos. They are not to be confused with middle-level folks who keep harping on the “grande imagem,” o “value-chain” and such, and spend all their working hours in meetings. You know who I am talking about. Why should they get such hefty salaries when they know and do so little?

Ao contrário das pessoas presépios, technical experts are smart cookies. Eles podem facilmente ver que, se eles querem ser gestores de pessoas, eles podem começar com um laço e um bom corte de cabelo. Se as colheitas são ricos, Por que eles não?

Going the other way is a lot harder though. For a pure people manager to become a technical expert, it takes a lot more than losing the tie. But why would anybody want to be an expert in the current corporate climate here? Slim pickings, realmente.

Is it time to hide your knowledge, obter esse corte de cabelo, agarrar essa gravata, e se tornar um gerente de pessoas? It comes down to your personal choice. Knowledge gives you technical authority and a sense of indispensability. But it also sets you up for a stunted career progression. So the choice is between fulfillment and satisfaction on the one hand, and convenience and promotions on the other.

Gostaria de saber se já fizemos nossas escolhas, mesmo em nossas vidas pessoais. We find fathers who cannot get the hang of changing diapers or other household chores. É provável que os homens não podem descobrir máquinas de lavar roupa e microondas embora possam operar maquinaria complicada no trabalho? Encontramos também mulheres que não podem equilibrar suas contas e estimar seus gastos. É realmente uma deficiência matemática, ou uma questão de conveniência?

Em momentos, a falta de conhecimento é tão potente como uma arma a sua abundância. Sim, knowledge is a double-edged sword. Use it wisely!

Married to the JobTill Death Do Us Part?

Stress is as much a part of our corporate careers as death is a fact of life. Ainda, it is best to keep the two (career and death) separate. This is the message that was lost on some hardworking young souls here who literally worked themselves to death. So do a lot of Japanese, if we are to believe the media.

The reason for death in sedentary jobs is the insidious condition called deep vein thrombosis. This condition develops because of extended hours spent sitting, when a blood clot forms in the lower limbs. The clot then travels to the vital organs in the upper body, where it wreaks havoc including death.

The trick in avoiding such an untimely demise, claro, is not to sit for long. But that is easier said than done, when job pressure mounts, and deadlines loom.

Here is where you have to get your priorities straight. What do you value more? Quality of life or corporate success? The implication in this choice is that you can’t have both, as illustrated in the joke in investment banking that goes like: “If you can’t come in on Saturday, don’t bother coming in on Sunday!”

Você pode, no entanto, make a compromise. It is possible to let go a little bit of career aspirations and improve the quality of life tremendously. This balancing act is not so simple though; nothing in life is.

Undermining work-life balance are a few factors. One is the materialistic culture we live in. It is hard to fight that trend. Second is a misguided notion that you canmake it” primeiro, then sit back and enjoy life. That point in time when you are free from worldly worries rarely materializes. Thirdly, you may have a career-oriented partner. Even when you are ready to take a balanced approach, your partner may not be, thereby diminishing the value of putting it in practice.

These are factors you have to constantly battle against. And you can win the battle, with logic, discipline and determination. Contudo, there is a fourth, much more sinister, factor, which is the myth that a successful career is an all-or-nothing proposition, as implied in the preceding investment banking joke. It is a myth (perhaps knowingly propagated by the bosses) that hangs over our corporate heads like the sword of Damocles.

Because of this myth, people end up working late, trying to make an impression. But an impression is made, not by the quantity of work, but by its quality. Turn in quality, impactful work, and you will be rewarded, regardless of how long it takes to accomplish it. Long hours, na minha opinião, make the possibility of quality work remote.

Such melancholy long hours are best left to workaholics; they keep working because they cannot help it. It is not so much a career aspiration, but a force of habit coupled with a fear of social life.

To strike a work-life balance in today’s dog eat dog world, you may have to sacrifice a few upper rungs of the proverbial corporate ladder. Raging against the corporate machine with no regard to the consequences ultimately boils down to one simple realizationthat making a living amounts to nothing if your life is lost in the process.

Spousal IndifferenceDo We Give a Damn?

After a long day at work, you want to rest your exhausted mind; may be you want to gloat a bit about your little victories, or whine a bit about your little setbacks of the day. The ideal victim for this mental catharsis is your spouse. But the spouse, in today’s double income families, is also suffering from a tired mind at the end of the day.

The conversation between two tired minds usually lacks an essential ingredientthe listener. And a conversation without a listener is not much of a conversation at all. It is merely two monologues that will end up generating one more setback to whine aboutspousal indifference.

Indifference is no small matter to scoff at. It is the opposite of love, if we are to believe Elie Weisel. So we do have to guard against indifference if we want to have a shot at happiness, for a loveless life is seldom a happy one.

Where got time?” ask we Singaporeans, too busy to form a complete sentence. De… tempo! At the heart of all our worldly worries. We only have 24 hours of it in a day before tomorrow comes charging in, obliterating all our noble intentions of the day. And another cycle begins, another inexorable revolution of the big wheel, and the rat race goes on.

The trouble with the rat race is that, no final da mesma, even if you win, you are still a rat!

How do we break this vicious cycle? We can start by listening rather than talking. Listening is not as easy as it sounds. We usually listen with a whole bunch of mental filters turned on, constantly judging and processing everything we hear. We label the incoming statements as important, útil, trivial, pathetic, etc. And we store them away with appropriate weights in our tired brain, ignoring one crucial factthat the speaker’s labels may be, and often are, completely different.

Due to this potential mislabeling, what may be the most important victory or heartache of the day for your spouse or partner may accidentally get dragged and dropped into your mind’s recycle bin. Avoid this unintentional cruelty; turn off your filters and listen with your heart. As Wesley Snipes advises Woody Herrelson in White Men Can’t Jump, listen to her (or him, as the case may be.)

It pays to practice such an unbiased and unconditional listening style. It harmonizes your priorities with those your spouse and pulls you away from the abyss of spousal apathy. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. It takes years of practice to develop the proper listening technique, and continued patience and deliberate effort to apply it.

Where got time?” we may ask. Bem, let’s make time, or make the best of what little time we got. Caso contrário, when days add up to months and years, we may look back and wonder, where is the life that we lost in living?

Quanto é Talent Worth?

Singapore needs foreign talent. This need is nothing to feel bad about. É um fato estatístico de vida. Para cada Singapura superior em qualquer área — be it science, medicina, finanças, esportes ou qualquer outra coisa — vamos encontrar sobre 500 professionals of equal caliber in China and India. Não porque somos 500 vezes menos talentosos, só que eles têm 500 vezes mais pessoas.

Juntamente com a supremacia estatística esmagadora, certos países têm superioridade especial em suas especializações escolhidas ou acidentais. Esperamos encontrar mais especialistas de hardware na China, mais gurus de software na Índia, mais jogadores de badminton na Indonésia, espírito empreendedor e mais experiência gerencial no oeste.

Precisamos desses peritos, para que contratá-los. Mas quanto devemos pagá-los? É aí que a economia vem em — demanda e oferta. We offer the lowest possible package that the talent would bite.

Eu estava em um pacote de expatriado quando vim para Cingapura como um talento estrangeiro. Era um pacote bastante generoso, mas inteligentemente redigido de forma que se eu me tornasse um “locais” talento, Eu perderia um pouco. I se tornou local, alguns anos mais tarde, e meu compensação diminuiu, em consequência. Meu talento não se alterou, apenas a etiqueta “estrangeira” para “local.”

Essa experiência me fez pensar um pouco sobre o valor do talento e do valor de etiquetas. These values translate to compensation packages that can be ordered, from high to low, como: Western (Caucasians), Western (of Asian origin), Singaporean, Asian (Chinese, Indian, etc).

I’m not saying that all Caucasians in Singapore do better than all Indians and Chinese in terms of income; but the trend is that for the same talent, Caucasians tend to be better compensated that their Asian counterparts. Nothing wrong with thatit’s all about demand and supply, and the perception of value and such economic fundamentals. Além, this compensation scheme has worked well for us so far.

Contudo, the locals are beginning to take note of this asymmetric compensation structure. When I was considering hiring a Caucasian, my ex-boss commented, “These Ang-Mos, they talk big in meetings and stuff, but don’t do any work!” He may have oversimplified; I know manyAng-Moswho are extremely talented and fully deserve the higher-than-local compensation they enjoy. But this perceived disparity between what the talent is worth and how much it costs (as depicted in the movie I Not Stupid) is beginning to hurt employee loyalty to such an extent that firms are experiencing staff retention issues when it comes to local talents.

A solução para este problema não é uma aplicação mais rigorosa do sigilo dos salários, mas um regime de compensação livre mais transparente de anomalias que podem ser interpretados como práticas desleais. Caso contrário, we may see an increasing number of Asian nationals using Singapore as a stepping stone to greener pastures. Pior, we may see locals seeking level playing fields elsewhere.

Let’s hire the much needed talent whatever it costs; mas não vamos confundir rótulos de talento.

Avaliação de Desempenho — Who Needs It?

Nós passar por esta provação todos os anos quando nossos chefes avaliar o nosso desempenho. Nosso progressão na carreira, bônus e salários dependem dele. Então, passamos noites em claro agonizantes sobre ele.

Para além da avaliação, também temos o nosso “principais indicadores de desempenho” ou KPIs para o próximo ano. Estes são os mandamentos que temos de viver de acordo com para o resto do ano. Toda a experiência de que é tão desagradável que dizemos a nós mesmos que a vida como um empregado é uma merda.

Os patrões se saem mal melhor ainda. Eles têm que se preocupar com suas próprias avaliações por chefes maiores. Em cima disso, eles têm que criar os mandamentos de KPI para nós também — um trabalho bastante enervante difícil delegar. Em toda a probabilidade, eles dizem a si mesmos que a sua vida como um chefe suga!

Uma vez que ninguém está empolgada com o exercício de avaliação de desempenho, Por que fazemos isso? Quem precisa disso?

O objetivo por trás de avaliação de desempenho é nobre. Ele se esforça para recompensar o bom desempenho e punir espectáculos pobres — o velho cenoura e gestão vara paradigma. Esse objetivo é atendido com folga em uma pequena organização sem a necessidade de um processo de avaliação formal. Proprietários de pequenas empresas sabem que para manter e que para saquear. Mas, em um órgão grande, com milhares de funcionários, como você projeta um esquema de compensação justa e coerente?

A solução, claro, é para pagar uma boa soma para consultores que projetam formulários de avaliação e definir um processo uniforme — muito uniforme, talvez. Tais formas detalhados e processos inflexíveis vêm com problemas inerentes. Um problema é que o foco muda do objetivo inicial (cenoura e da vara) a justiça e consistência (one-size-fits-all). Lembre-se, a maioria dos chefes sabem que a recompensa e que a admoestar. Mas o departamento de RH quer que os chefes de seguir um processo uniforme, aumentando assim a carga de trabalho de todos.

Outro, problema mais insidioso com esta abordagem de consultoria orientada é que ele é necessariamente voltada para a mediocridade. Quando você cria um processo de avaliação para atender a todos, o melhor que você pode esperar alcançar é o de melhorar o nível médio de desempenho por um pouco. Seguindo um processo tal, o cientista do CERN que inventou a World Wide Web teria saído mal, para ele não se concentrar em seus KPIs e desperdiçou todo seu tempo pensando sobre transferências de arquivos!

CERN é um lugar que produz consistentemente prêmios Nobel. (Uma vez eu encontrei-me com dois prêmios Nobel em um elevador CERN!) Como ele faz isso? Certamente que não, seguindo processos que são projetados para fazer melhorias incrementais no nível médio. O truque é ser um centro de excelência que atrai gênios.

Claro, não é justo comparar uma organização média com CERN. Mas temos de perceber que as formas detalhados, que se concentram nas médias e promover a mediocridade, são uma ferramenta pobre para a gestão da inovação.

Uma alternativa viável para processos de avaliação padronizados e arregimentadas é alinhar os objetivos dos funcionários com os da organização e deixar desempenho e premiar a gestão de chefes. Com um pouco de sorte, esta abordagem pode reter franja gênios e promover a inovação. No mínimo, ele vai aliviar um pouco a ansiedade dos funcionários e noites sem dormir.

Manutenção Despedidas

Segure-se em suas calças, seu pessoal-chave tem apenas apresentou a sua demissão — seu pior pesadelo como gerente! Quando a poeira abaixar eo pânico desaparece, você começa a se perguntar, o que vem depois?

Retenção de pessoal é um grande problema no mercado de trabalho atual em Cingapura. Nossa economia está indo bem; o nosso mercado de trabalho está ao rubro. Como resultado, novas ofertas de emprego são cada vez mais irresistível. Em algum momento, alguém que trabalha em estreita colaboração com — Seja sua equipe, seu chefe ou outro membro da equipe — vai entregar a temida carta ao HR. Manutenção demissões com tato e de graça não é mais apenas uma qualidade desejável, mas uma habilidade empresarial essencial hoje.

Nós temos algumas estratégias gerais para lidar com demissões. O primeiro passo é avaliar a motivação por trás da escolha da carreira. É dinheiro? Se assim, uma contra-oferta é geralmente bem sucedido. Ofertas Contador (tanto fazê-los e levá-los) são considerados ineficazes e de mau gosto. Finalmente, empresas de executive search insistem que são. Mas, então,, eles diriam que, Não seriam eles?

Se a motivação por trás da renúncia é a natureza do trabalho atual ou futuro e seus desafios, um movimento lateral ou reafectação (possivelmente combinado com uma contra-oferta) pode ser eficaz. Se tudo falhar, então é hora de dizer adeus — amigavelmente.

É extremamente importante manter esta amicability — um fato muitas vezes perdido em chefes e departamentos de RH. Compreensivelmente, porque, no momento em que as negociações de contra-oferta falhar, há rancor suficiente em ambos os lados para azedar a relação. Escove os sentimentos feridos de lado e sorrir através de sua dor, para os seus caminhos podem cruzar novamente. Você pode recontratar a mesma pessoa. Ou, você pode acabar trabalhando com ele / ela do outro lado. Salvage o pouco que você pode, por uma questão de networking positivo.

O nível de amicability depende da cultura corporativa. Algumas organizações são tão cordial com desertando funcionários que quase encorajar a deserção. Outros tratam os traidores como o exército usado para — com a ajuda de um pelotão de fuzilamento.

Ambos estes extremos vêm com seus perigos associados. Se você estiver muito cordial, seus funcionários podem tratar a sua organização como um trampolim, concentrando-se na aquisição de competências transferíveis só. No outro extremo, se você desenvolver uma reputação de barreiras de saída graves em uma tentativa de desencorajar potenciais traidores, você também pode achar que é difícil recrutar os melhores talentos.

A abordagem correta está algures no meio, como a maioria das coisas boas da vida. É uma escolha cultural que uma organização tem de fazer. Mas, independentemente de onde o equilíbrio é encontrado, renúncia está aqui para ficar, e as pessoas vão mudar de emprego. Alterar, como o cliché muito usado em demasia coloca-, é o único constante.

The Worldly Malayalees

If an average Singaporean hears of the World Malayalee Conference, the first thing they would say is, “World what now??” Malayalees are people from the tiny Indian state of Kerala. They are not to be confused with Malays, although some of the things we associate with Malay (such as pratas and biriyani) can be traced back to Kerala.

Such cross cultural exchanges point to an important trait of Malayalees. They tend to fan out and, in their own small ways, conquer the world. They also welcome external influences whole-heartedly. They are perhaps the only people (other than the Chinese, claro) who regularly use a Chinese wok for cooking or a Chinese net for catching their fish. They even practise their own version of Kung-fu, and at times insist that the Chinese actually learned it from them.

International and cosmopolitan in their unique ways for thousands of years, Malayalees are a mixture of opposites, and Kerala a minor economic and sociological enigma. Malayalees enthusiastically embraced Christianity and Muslim religions when their initial missionaries and emissaries ventured outside their places of origin. Mas, they also welcomed Marxism and atheism with equal fervour.

On an average, Kerala has a per-capita income among the world’s poorest, but all other economic indicators are on a par with the world’s richest. In health indicators such as life expectancy, per-capita number of doctors, and infant mortality, Kerala manages to mirror the US at about a tenth of its per capita wealth. Kerala is the first (and perhaps the only) third world province to boast of better than 90% literacy, and is just about the only place in India and China with more women than men.

Singapore has a special place in the Malayalee heart. Among their initial ventures outside Kerala during the colonial era, Malayalees targeted Singapore as a popular destination. Perhaps due to this historical fondness, Malayalees found it natural to host their World Malayalee Conference here.

Singapore also has soft spot for Malayalees and their contributions. The conference itself will be graced by the presence of the President of Singapore, Senhor. S. R. Nathan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senhor. George Yeo. President Nathan will launch the Malayalee Heritage and Culture Exhibition, and Minister Yeo will give a key note speech at the Business Forum.

The heritage and culture, dating back to well over two thousand years, is something every Malayalee is rightfully proud of. The Exhibition will showcase everything from cave engravings to ancient ship building technology.

Going beyond the historical and cultural affinities, Kerala also has been a business ally to Singapore, especially in raw seafood. Cingapura, in their own right, has provided a steady stream of investments and tourists to Kerala.

Eco-tourism is indeed one of the top attractions Malayalees will showcase during the conference. Nature has been overly kind to Kerala, with the undulating hills of the Western Ghat generously usurping the Monsoons and jealously guarding the Malayalees against any possible plunder of their green riches. Blessed with a temperate climate uncommon to the tropical enclave that it is, and with the hypnotic beauty of the misty green hillsides and tea plantations, Kerala is indeed a paradise waiting, perhaps unwillingly, to be discovered.

This World Malayalalee Conference, with its cultural shows and heritage exhibitions, will display what Kerala has to offer to the world, from tourism and culture to business opportunities and talent pool. It will also showcase Singapore to the Malayalee diaspora and teach them a thing or two about administrative efficiency, cleanliness and business connectivity.