Mga Archive ng Tag: balanse buhay trabaho

Kapag ang pagpunta nakakakuha ng matigas, I-Paikot!

Elton John is right, sorry is the hardest word. It is hard to admit that one has been wrong. Harder still is to find a way forward, a way to correct one’s past mistakes. It often involves backtracking.

But when it comes to hard-headed business decisions, backtracking may often be the only thing to do. It makes sense to cut further losses when there is little point in throwing good money after bad. Such containment efforts are routine events in most establishments.

The biggest loss containment effort that I had a personal stake in happened in the US in the early nineties. I began noticing its worrying escalation in a hotel room in Washington DC. I was student delegate in the annual conference of the American Physical Society (APS). Despite the happy APS atmosphere (where many graduate students find their future placements) and the beautiful pre-cherry-blossom weather, I was a worried man because I had just seen a TV commercial that said, “Ten billion dollars for a particle accelerator??!! What the heck is it any way?”

The ten billion dollar project under attack was the so-called Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) in Texas, which was eventually shut down in 1993. The cancellation came in spite of a massive initial investment of about two billion dollars.

Akin, this cancellation meant that more than two thousand bright and experienced physicists would be looking for jobs right around the time I entered the job market. This concern represented my personal stake in the project; but the human impact of this mammoth backtracking was much deeper. It precipitated a minor recession in the parts of Dallas to the south of the Trinity River.

Similar backtracking, though at a much smaller scale, may happen in your organization as well. Let’s say you decided to invest two million dollars in a software system to solve a particular business problem. Half a million dollars into the project, you realize that it was a wrong solution. What do you do?

It may look obvious that you should save the company a million and a half by stopping the project. This decision is exactly what the collective wisdom of the US Congress arrived at in 1993 regarding the SSC. But it is not that simple. Nothing in real life is that simple.

Corporate backtracking is a complex process. It has multiple, often interconnected, aspects that have to be managed with skill.

If you decide to backtrack, what does it say about your business acumen? Will it trigger a backlash from the top management accusing you of poor judgment? Sa ibang salita, will your name be so much in the mud that you would find it impossible to secure a job and support your family?

Let’s say it really wasn’t your fault and you had valid arguments to convince everybody of your innocence. Would that make it simple enough to pull the plug on the project? In all probability, it would not, because all big projects involve other people, for no man is an island. Stopping a project half-way through would probably mean sacking the whole project team.

This human cost is something we have to be aware of. It is not always about dollars and cents. If you are kind soul, you would have to move the team to some other (potentially unproductive) project, thereby eroding the savings that would’ve accrued from stopping the project. Wouldn’t it have been better to have continued with the original project, doomed though it was?

In most corporate cases, it will turn out to be wise to shutdown doomed projects. But don’t underestimate the costs involved. They are not always counted in monitory terms, but have human dimensions as well.

It is far wiser never to embark on dubious projects. When you must get involved in uncertain projects, review your exit options carefully. Halimbawa, would it be possible to reshape the project in a different but still salvageable direction?

And if and when you do have to shut them down, do it with decisiveness. Do it with skill. But most importantly, do it with decency and compassion.

Rumour Mills

Employees seek insights into their organization’s heading. And they should, because what their organization does has a direct impact on their well-being. If your organization is planning to retrench 50% of its staff, halimbawa, you’d better start looking for new job right away.

Who do you turn to when you pine for information? Your management would have you listen to them. Mula sa pananaw ng empleyado, this may not be the smartest move. But fret not, there is an alternative.

There is a city underground. Parallel to the world of corporate memos and communication meetings, this rumour city trades information, often generating it as needed.

Employees flock to the rumour mills, not out of their inherent malevolence for their employers, but because of a well-founded and mutual mistrust. Management tends to be cautious (and therefore less than candid) with their announcements, while over 80% of office rumours turn out to be accurate, as some studies show.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation. Suppose five years ago, your CEO took to the podium and declared that there would be absolutely no retrenchments. How many of you would have believed it? Those who believed would almost certainly wish they had listened to the grapevine instead.

This credibility gap that a typical management team suffers from can be addressed only though open and candid communication. Therein lies the rub. The management cannot always be as candid as they would like to be. At, they certainly cannot afford to be as candid as the employees would like them to be.

Lack of candour in an atmosphere of uncertainty breeds rumour. Rumours, as defined in psychology, are hypotheses with widespread impact. They abound when the management refuses to trust the employees with strategic information. This lack of trust and information leaves them with no choice but to interpret the developments themselves. In such interpretations lie the origins of office rumours.

Rumours are not to be confused with gossip. While rumours are based on conjecture and are presented as future, corporate-wide eventualities, gossip can be idle or with malicious intent directed at individuals. And gossip is usually presented as fact. In highly competitive settings, gossip can inflict irreparable damage on unsuspecting victims.

Once a rumour attains a high level of credibility, the top brass will be forced to talk. But the talk has to be candid and serious. And it has to be timely. If they wait for too long, their attempts at a tête-à -tête would resemble feeble attempts at damage control. And if the talk is a mere torrent of clichés and rhetoric, it will be taken as an effort to gloss over potentially catastrophic changes. Sa katunayan, such weak communication fuels more rumour than it quells.

Given that critical job-related information usually flows down the grapevine, the employees are going to talk. The only sure-fire strategy for any management is to make use of the underground rumour mill — the classic “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” paradigm.

If you are a part of the top brass, here is what you can do. Circulate as much accurate and timely information as you possibly can. If you cannot do it officially through formal channels, try informal ones, such as lunches and pantries. Sa ganitong paraan, you can turn the rumour mills to serve your purpose rather than let them run amok.

Do not underestimate the power of the grapevine, lest all your corporate communication efforts should come to naught.

Stress at isang Sense ng proporsyon

Paano natin pamahalaan ang stress, ibinigay na ito ay hindi maiwasan sa aming corporate-iral? Mga karaniwang taktika laban sa pagkapagod isama exercise, yoga, pagmumuni-muni, diskarte sa paghinga, reprioritizing pamilya at iba pa. Upang idagdag sa listahang ito, Mayroon akong aking sariling mga lihim na armas upang labanan ang stress na Gusto kong ibahagi sa iyo. Ang mga armas ay maaaring masyadong malakas; kaya gamitin ang mga ito sa pag-aalaga.

Isa sa aking mga lihim na taktika ay upang bumuo ng isang pakiramdam ng proportion, hindi makasasama bilang maaari itong tunog. Proporsiyon ay maaaring sa mga tuntunin ng mga numero. Simulan natin sa mga numero ng mga indibidwal Hayaan, halimbawa. Tuwing umaga, kapag dumating namin upang gumana, nakikita namin ng libu-libong mga mukha lumulutang sa pamamagitan ng, Halos lahat ng pagpunta sa kani-kanilang mga trabaho. Maglaan ng ilang sandali upang tingnan ang mga ito — bawat isa ay may kanilang sariling mga personal na saloobin at pinahahalagahan, -alala at stresses.

Upang bawat isa sa kanila, ang tanging totoong ang stress ay kanilang sariling. Sa sandaling alam namin na, bakit hawakan namin ang aming sariling ang stress anumang mas mahalaga kaysa sa kahit sino pa ang? Ang pagpapahalaga ng malaking bilang ng mga personal na stresses lahat sa paligid sa amin, kung ihinto namin ang mag-isip tungkol dito, ay ilagay ang aming mga alalahanin sa pananaw.

Proporsyon sa mga tuntunin ng aming laki ay din ng isang bagay upang pag-isipan sa paglipas ng. Maghawak kami ng maliit na bahagi ng isang malaking gusali na aming lugar ng trabaho. (-Istatistika pagsasalita, ang mambabasa ng hanay na ito ay malamang na sumakop ang isang malaking sulok ng opisina hindi!) Ang gusali sumasakop ng isang maliit na bahagi ng puwang na iyon ay ang aming minamahal na lungsod. Lahat ng mga lungsod ay kaya napakaliit na ang isang tuldok sa mapa ng mundo ay karaniwang isang labis na pangungusap ng kanilang laki.

Ang aming mundo, sa lupa, ay isang galos lamang maliit na butil ng alikabok ng ilang milya mula sa isang pabilog na apoy, kung sa tingin namin na bahagi ng araw bilang isang pabilog na apoy ng anumang nalilikhang isip na sukat. Ang araw at ang solar system ay kaya maliit na maliit na kung ikaw ay upang ilagay ang larawan ng ating kalawakan bilang wallpaper sa iyong PC, sila nagbabahagi ng isang pixel na may ilang libong mga lokal na mga bituin! At ating kalawakan — Hindi ma ako makapagsimula sa na! Mayroon kaming hindi mabilang na bilyun-bilyong mga ito. Ang aming pag-iral (sa lahat ng aming mga alalahanin at stresses) Halos inconceivably maliit.

Ang kawalan ng saysay ng ating pag-iral ay hindi limitado sa espasyo; ito ay umaabot sa oras pati na rin. Oras ay nakakalito pagdating sa isang pakiramdam ng proportion. Sa palagay ng sanlibutan bilang Hayaan 45 taong gulang. Gaano katagal sa palagay mo ang aming pag-iral ay nasa sukat na? Makalipas ang ilang segundo!

Kami ay nilikha out sa star dust, huling para sa isang galos lamang kosmolohiko instant, at pagkatapos ay i-pabalik sa star dust. DNA machine sa oras na ito, nagsasagawa kami ng hindi alam na genetic algorithm, na hindi sinasadya namin para sa aming mga hinahangad at mga nakamit, o stresses at frustrations. Magpahinga! Huwag mag-alala, masaya!

Oo naman, maaari kang makakuha ng reprimanded kung hindi lumabas ang ulat na bukas. O, ang iyong tagatustos ay maaaring makakuha ng taob na ang iyong kabayaran ay maaantala muli. O, ang iyong mga kasamahan ay maaaring magpadala out na backstabbing email (at Bcc iyong boss) kung magpasama ng loob mo ang mga ito. Pero, Hindi mo makita, sa isip-numbingly humongous uniberso, hindi bale isang katiting. Sa malaking scheme ng mga bagay, ang iyong pagkapagod ay hindi kahit static ingay!

Ang mga pangangatwirang para sa pagpapanatili ng isang antas ng pagkapagod lahat ng bisagra sa isang may masamang conceived paniwala na ang stress aid pagiging produktibo. Hindi. Ang susi sa pagiging produktibo ay isang saloobin ng kasiyahan sa trabaho. Kapag tinigil mo nag-aalala tungkol reprimands at backstabs at accolades, at simulan ang tinatangkilik ang ginagawa mo, lamang ang mangyayari pagiging produktibo. Alam ko na tunog ng kaunti maka-ideal, ngunit sa aking pinaka-produktibong mga piraso ng trabaho nangyari na paraan. Tinatangkilik kung ano ang gagawin ko ay isang perpektong Ako shoot para sa anumang araw.

Knowledge Silos

We know a lot. Sa pamamagitan ng “namin,” 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, nang natural. Specialization is expected of professionals. You wouldn’t be happy if you found out that your dentist is, sa katunayan, 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 (o, 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. O, 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, Pananalapi, 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?

Sa katunayan, 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. Pero, 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 (o sa halip, 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.

Sa mataas na paaralan, Ginamit ko logarithm mga talahanayan upang mag-ehersisyo ang mga resulta sa pisika at kimika eksperimento. Calculators ay hindi pinahihintulutan. kahit panggulo, pagsasanay na ito honed aking mga kasanayan sa aritmetika — kasanayan na calculators at mga spreadsheet ay bagbag sa pamamagitan ng ngayon.

Katulad pagguho ay ang pagkuha lugar sa aming mga kasanayan sa pagbabasa pati na rin. Hindi namin basahin sa panatilihin ang impormasyon o kaalaman ng anumang higit pa. namin maghanap, scan, hanapin keywords, mag-browse at i-bookmark. Ang Internet ay ginagawa sa aming mga gawi sa pagbabasa kung ano ang calculator ginawa sa ating mga kakayahan arithmetic.

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, halimbawa, your child’s doctor recommends the procedure “myringotomy,” quite possibly something you have never heard of before. But you can Google it, basahin (pinagsisisihan, 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, at saka pa. 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. Bukod, 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?

Kasal sa Job — Hanggang Death Do Us Part?

Stress ay marami bilang isang bahagi ng aming corporate karera bilang kamatayan ay isang katotohanan ng buhay. Pa rin, ito ay pinakamahusay upang panatilihin ang dalawang (career at kamatayan) hiwalay. This is the message that was lost on some hardworking young souls here who literally worked themselves to death. Kaya gumawa ng isang pulutong ng mga Hapon, kung nais nating paniwalaan ang media.

Ang dahilan para sa kamatayan sa laging nakaupo trabaho ay ang mga lihim na mapanira kondisyon na tinatawag na malalim na ugat trombosis. Ang kondisyon na ito bubuo dahil sa extended na oras na ginugol upo, kapag ang isang dugo makulta forms sa mas mababang limbs. Namuong Ang pagkatapos tinahak ang mahahalagang organo sa itaas na katawan, kung saan ito wreaks kalituhan kabilang ang kamatayan.

Ang bilis ng kamay sa pag-iwas ng tulad ng isang wala sa oras pagkamatay, oo naman, ay hindi umupo sa mahabang. Ngunit iyon ay mas madali kaysa sa sinabi tapos, kapag ang presyon ng trabaho mounts, at deadlines manganinag.

Dito ay kung saan ikaw ay may upang makuha ang iyong mga prayoridad tuwid. Ano ang halaga mo pa? Kalidad ng buhay o corporate tagumpay? Ang mga implikasyon sa mga pagpipilian na ito ay na hindi ka maaaring magkaroon ng parehong mga, bilang isinalarawan sa mga joke sa investment banking na napupunta tulad: “Kung hindi mo maaaring dumating sa sa Sabado, huwag mag-abala na pumapasok sa Linggo!”

Maaari ka, gayunman, gumawa ng isang kompromiso. Ito ay posible na ipaalam sa pumunta ng isang maliit na piraso ng mga pangarap karera at mapabuti ang kalidad ng buhay tremendously. Ito pagbabalanse kumilos ay hindi sobrang simple na; walang anuman sa buhay ay.

Undermining trabaho-buhay balanse ang ilang mga kadahilanan. Ang isa ay ang materialistic kultura nakatira kami sa. Ito ay mahirap upang labanan ang trend na. Pangalawa ay isang ligaw paniwala na maaari mong “gawin mo” una, pagkatapos ay magpahinga at magsaya sa buhay. Na point sa oras na kapag ikaw ay libre mula sa makamundong alalahanin bihira materializes. Thirdly, ikaw ay maaaring magkaroon ng isang karera-oriented partner. Kahit na kapag ikaw ay handa na kumuha ng isang balanseng diskarte, ang iyong partner ay maaaring hindi, gayon lumiliit ang halaga ng paglagay ito sa pagsasanay.

Ang mga ito ay mga kadahilanan kailangan mong patuloy na labanan laban sa. At maaari kang manalo sa labanan, may lohika, disiplina at pagpapasiya. Gayunpaman, doon ay isang ika-apat, mas malas, factor, kung saan ay ang mga gawa-gawa na ang isang matagumpay na karera ay isang lahat-o-walang panukala, tulad ng ipinahiwatig sa naunang investment banking joke. Ito ay isang gawa-gawa (marahil sadyang pinalaganap ng mga bosses) na hangs sa paglipas ng aming corporate ulo tulad ng tabak ng Damocles.

Dahil dito mitolohiya, mga tao end up nagtatrabaho huli, sinusubukan mong gumawa ng isang impression. Ngunit isang impression ay ginawa, hindi sa pamamagitan ng dami ng trabaho, ngunit sa pamamagitan ng kalidad nito. Lumiko sa kalidad, malaking epektong trabaho, at ikaw ay gagantimpalaan, hindi alintana kung gaano katagal aabutin upang magawa ito. Mahabang oras, sa aking pagtingin, gawin ang mga posibilidad ng kalidad ng trabaho remote.

Tulad mapanglaw matagal na oras ay pinakamahusay na kaliwa upang workaholics; sila ay patuloy na gumagawa dahil hindi nila maaaring makatulong ito. Ito ay hindi kaya magkano ang isang karera mithiin, ngunit isang lakas ng ugali na kaisa sa isang takot ng buhay panlipunan.

Upang simulan ang isang balanse ng trabaho-buhay sa dog ngayon kumain ng aso mundo, maaaring kailangan mong isakripisyo ng ilang upper baitang ng mga kilalang-kilala corporate hagdan. Mga mabangis na laban sa mga corporate machine na walang pagsasaalang-alang sa mga kahihinatnan sa huli na bumabagsak sa isang simpleng pagsasakatuparan — na paggawa ng isang buhay na mga halaga sa wala kung ang iyong buhay ay mawawala sa proseso.

Spousal Indifference — Huwag Magbigay ng isang sumpain?

Pagkatapos ng mahabang araw sa trabaho, gusto mong magpahinga ang iyong isip naubos; maaaring gusto mong ikalugod ng kaunti tungkol sa iyong maliit na tagumpay, o ingitan ng kaunti tungkol sa iyong maliit na pag-atras ng araw. Ang ideyal na biktima para sa mental katarsis ay ang iyong asawa. Ngunit ang asawa, sa mga pamilya double income ngayong araw, ay din paghihirap mula sa isang pagod isip sa katapusan ng araw.

Ang pag-uusap sa pagitan ng dalawang pagod isipan karaniwang kawalan ng isang mahalagang sangkap — tagapakinig. At ang isang pag-uusap nang isang tagapakinig ay hindi marami ng isang pag-uusap sa lahat. Ito ay lamang ng dalawang mga monologues na magtatapos up sa pagbuo ng isa pang dagok sa iingit tungkol sa — Spousal kawalang-bahala.

Hindi pag-iintindi ay hindi maliit na bagay na panghahamak sa. Ito ay ang kabaligtaran ng pag-ibig, kung tayo ay naniniwala Elie Weisel. Kaya kailangan namin upang bantayan laban sa kawalang-malasakit kung gusto naming magkaroon ng isang shot sa kaligayahan, para sa isang walang pag-ibig sa buhay ay bihira ng isang isa masaya.

“Saan nakuha ng oras?” ask we Singaporeans, masyadong abala upang bumuo ng isang kumpletong pangungusap. Ah… oras! Sa gitna ng lahat ng aming mga makamundong alalahanin. Mayroon kaming lamang 24 oras ng ito sa isang araw bago bukas dumating singilin sa, obliterating all our noble intentions of the day. At isa pang cycle nagsisimula, isa pang hindi matinag rebolusyon ng big wheel, at ang daga lahi napupunta sa.

Ang problema sa lahi daga ay na, at the end of it, kahit na panalo ka, ikaw pa rin ang isang daga!

Paano namin break na ito walang tapos na cycle? Maaari naming magsimula sa pamamagitan ng pakikinig sa halip na pakikipag-usap. Ang pakikinig ay hindi kasing-dali ng tunog ito. Kami ay karaniwang makinig sa isang buong grupo ng mga kaisipan filter naka-on, Patuloy Pagpili at pagproseso ng lahat ng bagay marinig namin. Lagyan ng label namin ang mga papasok na mga pahayag bilang mahalaga, kapaki-pakinabang, walang kuwenta, kalunus-lunos, atbp. At iniimbak namin ito ang layo na may naaangkop na weights sa aming pagod utak, hindi papansin ang isa mahalaga katunayan — na ang mga label ang mga nagsasalita ay maaaring maging, at madalas ay, ganap na naiiba.

Dahil sa mga ito potensyal mislabeling, kung ano ang maaaring ang pinaka-mahalagang tagumpay o matinding lungkot ng araw para sa iyong asawa o kapareha ay maaaring sinasadyang makapag-drag at bumaba sa recycle bin ng iyong isip. Iwasan ang mga ito sinasadya sa kalupitan; i-off ang iyong mga filter at makinig sa iyong puso. As Wesley Snipes advises Woody Herrelson in White Men Can’t Jump, makinig sa kanya (o sa kanya, bilang ang kaso ay maaaring.)

Ito ang nagbabayad upang magsanay tulad ng isang walang kinikilingan at walang pasubali style pakikinig. Kaayon nito ang iyong mga prayoridad sa mga ng iyong asawa at kinukuha ang layo mo mula sa kailaliman ng Spousal kawalang-interes. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. It takes years of practice to develop the proper listening technique, at patuloy na pasensya at kusang pagkilos upang ilapat ito.

“Saan nakuha ng oras?” we may ask. Mahusay, letâ € ™ s time make, o gawin ang mga pinakamahusay na ng kung ano ang maliit na oras namin nakuha. Kung hindi, kapag nagdagdag up araw sa buwan at taon, maaari naming tumingin sa likod at magtaka, where is the life that we lost in living?

How Much is Talent Worth?

Singapore needs foreign talent. This need is nothing to feel bad about. It is a statistical fact of life. For every top Singaporean in any field — be it science, medicine, pananalapi, sports or whatever — we will find about 500 professionals of equal caliber in China and India. Not because we are 500 times less talented, just that they have 500 times more people.

Coupled with overwhelming statistical supremacy, certain countries have special superiority in their chosen or accidental specializations. We expect to find more hardware experts in China, more software gurus in India, more badminton players in Indonesia, more entrepreneurial spirit and managerial expertise in the west.

We need such experts, so we hire them. But how much should we pay them? That’s where economics comes in — demand at suplay. We offer the lowest possible package that the talent would bite.

I was on an expatriate package when I came to Singapore as a foreign talent. It was a fairly generous package, but cleverly worded so that if I became a “local” mga taong may talento, I would lose out quite a bit. I did become local a few years later, and my compensation diminished as a consequence. My talent did not change, just the label from “foreign” upang “local.”

This experience made me think a bit about the value of talent and the value of labels. These values translate to compensation packages that can be ordered, from high to low, bilang: Western (Caucasians), Western (of Asian origin), Singaporean, Asian (Chinese, Indian, atbp).

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 that — it’s all about demand and supply, and the perception of value and such economic fundamentals. Bukod, this compensation scheme has worked well for us so far.

Gayunpaman, 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 many “Ang-Mos” who 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.

The solution to this problem is not a stricter enforcement of the confidentiality of salaries, but a more transparent compensation scheme free of anomalies that can be misconstrued as unfair practices. Kung hindi, we may see an increasing number of Asian nationals using Singapore as a stepping stone to greener pastures. Mas masama, we may see locals seeking level playing fields elsewhere.

Let’s hire the much needed talent whatever it costs; but let’s not mistake labels for talent.

Performance Appraisal — Who Needs It?

We go through this ordeal every year when our bosses appraise our performance. Our career progression, bonus and salary depend on it. So we spend sleepless nights agonizing over it.

In addition to the appraisal, we also get our “key performance indicators” or KPIs for next year. These are the commandments we have to live by for the rest of the year. The whole experience of it is so unpleasant that we say to ourselves that life as an employee sucks.

The bosses fare hardly better though. They have to worry about their own appraisals by bigger bosses. On top of that, they have to craft the KPI commandments for us as well — a job pretty darned difficult to delegate. Sa lahat ng posibilidad, they say to themselves that their life as a boss sucks!

Given that nobody is thrilled about the performance appraisal exercise, why do we do it? Who needs it?

The objective behind performance appraisal is noble. It strives to reward good performance and punish poor shows — the old carrot and stick management paradigm. This objective is easily met in a small organization without the need for a formal appraisal process. Small business owners know who to keep and who to sack. But in a big corporate body with thousands of employees, how do you design a fair and consistent compensation scheme?

The solution, oo naman, is to pay a tidy sum to consultants who design appraisal forms and define a uniform process — too uniform, marahil. Such verbose forms and inflexible processes come with inherent problems. One problem is that the focus shifts from the original objective (carrot and stick) to fairness and consistency (one-size-fits-all). Ayos lang sa iyo, most bosses know who to reward and who to admonish. But the HR department wants the bosses to follow a uniform process, thereby increasing everybody’s workload.

Another, more insidious problem with this consultancy driven approach is that it is necessarily geared towards mediocrity. When you design an appraisal process to cater to everybody, the best you can hope to achieve is to improve the average performance level by a bit. Following such a process, the CERN scientist who invented the World Wide Web would have fared badly, for he did not concentrate on his KPIs and wasted all his time thinking about file transfers!

CERN is a place that consistently produces Nobel laureates. (I once found myself with two Nobel laureates in a CERN elevator!) How does it do it? Certainly not by following processes that are designed to make incremental improvements at the average level. The trick is to be a center for excellence which attracts geniuses.

Oo naman, it is not fair to compare an average organization with CERN. But we have to realize that the verbose forms, which focus on averages and promote mediocrity, are a poor tool for innovation management.

A viable alternative to standardized and regimented appraisal processes is to align employee objectives with those of the organization and leave performance and reward management to bosses. With some luck, this approach may retain fringe geniuses and promote innovation. Sa pinakadulo hindi bababa sa, it will alleviate some employee anxiety and sleepless nights.

Handling Goodbyes

Hold on to your pants, your key staff has just tendered his resignation — your worst nightmare as a manager! Once the dust settles and the panic subsides, you begin to ask yourself, what next?

Staff retention is a major problem in the current job market in Singapore. Our economy is doing well; our job market is red hot. Bilang resulta, new job offers are becoming increasingly more irresistible. At some stage, someone you work closely with — be it your staff, your boss or a fellow team member — is going to hand in that dreaded letter to HR. Handling resignations with tact and grace is no longer merely a desirable quality, but an essential corporate skill today.

We do have some general strategies to deal with resignations. The first step is to assess the motivation behind the career choice. Is it money? Kung gayon, a counter offer is usually successful. Counter offers (both making them and taking them) are considered ineffective and in poor taste. Hindi bababa sa, executive search firms insist that they are. Ngunit pagkatapos ay, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

If the motivation behind the resignation is the nature of the current or future job and its challenges, a lateral movement or reassignment (possibly combined with a counter offer) can be effective. If everything fails, then it is time to say goodbye — amicably.

It is vitally important to maintain this amicability — a fact often lost on bosses and HR departments. Understandably so because, by the time the counter offer negotiations fail, there is enough rancor on both sides to sour the relationship. Brush those wounded feelings aside and smile through your pain, for your paths may cross again. You may rehire the same person. O, you may end up working with him/her on the other side. Salvage whatever little you can for the sake of positive networking.

The level of amicability depends on corporate culture. Some organizations are so cordial with deserting employees that they almost encourage desertion. Others treat the traitors as the army used to — with the help of a firing squad.

Both these extremes come with their associated perils. If you are too cordial, your employees may treat your organization as a stepping stone, concentrating on acquiring only transferable skills. On the other extreme, if you develop a reputation for severe exit barriers in an attempt to discourage potential traitors, you may also find it hard to recruit top talent.

The right approach lies somewhere in between, like most good things in life. It is a cultural choice that an organization has to make. But regardless of where the balance is found, resignation is here to stay, and people will change jobs. Change, as the much overused cliche puts it, is the only constant.