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Building a great city

United States Senator Pat Moynihan and long-time faculty member of Harvard said: “If you want to build a great city, first build a great university and then wait a few hundred years.”

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Hit Refresh – Culture

It is past midnight and I am busy finishing reading the key chapters from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh autobiography. Unsure if it is my inability to sleep or the long workday that is keeping me awake. With a decision to get off social media effective Jan 1st of this year, my writing is restricted to my website. Without doubt, the reading on Cultural Renaissance from Know it Alls to Learn it Alls from his book is impressive, prompting me to write again tonight. The Microsoft CEO talks about a new cultural mindset of growth within the company which is one of starting to listen more, learn more and talk less. The growth mindset he talks about starts with the CEO where the C stands for culture – listening, learning and harnessing individual passions and talents to the company’s mission. It is one of dynamic learning. It is a journey, Interestingly, this was the subject I talked with key members of our Senior team, this afternoon. Satya takes great pains to explain that culture is a vague term and one has to work carefully to define what one wants from culture and hence the need to measure everything and […]

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January 2019 Thoughts on two great leaders

Who Will Measure up to These Two Remarkable Leaders? James L. Heskett is UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University asks a simple question in a Harvard Business article; in a month when the world lost two great American company leaders: John Bogle of Vanguard Group and Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. Most of us in Asia may know Southwest Airlines while a lesser number would know John Bogle. What other CEOs are in the same league? asks James Heskett. To me, who in Asia would match up to these standards. He says the decade of the 1980s saw widespread subscription to the notion that there were two “generic competitive strategies” aimed at achieving industrywide success: those that provided either a differentiated or a low-cost product/service. (A third was to focus on a particular market segment.) He adds that Roger Hallowell, in a doctoral dissertation submitted some years later, took issue with that notion based on his observation of a small number of incredibly successful service organizations. He concluded that these firms were seizing large market shares by offering both differentiation and low cost, that in fact the two strategies might […]

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Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

Greetings for a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

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DEEP WORK in a distracted world

A few years ago, former CEO of Citibank Malaysia, Sanjeev Nanavathy told me about the importance of DEEP WORK. As an accomplished coach, he emphasised for the need to develop the ability to focus without distraction on a task that is cognitively demanding. He probably mentioned it as he noticed me flipping on to my I phone every now and then to check my WhatsApp messages. On a trip to my alma mater, Federation University, Ballarat, Australia, I noticed several posters around the campus on the help available if one was addicted to the mobile phone or social media. Never understood the significance of those posters until a few days ago when I had a chance to read DEEP WORK.   Deep Work is defined as a skill that allows you to master complicated information and do a great job in less time. It provides a sense of fulfilment very much similar to craftmanship. This skill seems to have been lost in a world of emails, social media and WhatsApp messages. Professor Cal Newport, the author of DEEP WORK presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming one’s mind and habits to support this […]

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Last issue of Learn & Perform E News

This issue will be the last Learn & Perform E-News. I have enjoyed writing the e-news all these years, but it is time to say adieu or good bye to all of you. I have decided to quit E-News and social media, effective 1 January 2019. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments and support all these years for my endeavours to be a writer. The early days It was 1994 and the internet was a new buzzword. We had a Jaring internet account. Dr Nat, my classmate, colleague and friend, persuaded me to write the e-zine or e-news using Microsoft Biz Central. He was trying to get me into writing as he wanted me to codify our professional practice. The writings by illustrious practitioners, trainers and speakers such as Don Kirkpatrick, Bob Pike, Thiagi, Mel Silbermann and Zig Ziglar motivated me, but I was never sure I would be able to replicate their success. Eventually, I started writing the Learn & Perform E-News in 1995. One of my colleagues M. C. Jitha did a great job promoting the e-news. Ably supported by the technological tools employed by our young CTO Murali, the list grew from a mere 11 subscribers […]

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Cyberjaya Uni confers Honorary Doctorate on TS Rafidah Aziz

Cyberjaya Uni was honoured to confer the Honorary Doctorate in Business to Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz. Tan Sri Rafidah, a former Minister and the longest serving International Trade Minister is a role model and an icon,  As the Pro Chancellor it was indeed an honour for me to confer the award at the Uni’s 9th Convocation on Dec 13th, 2018.

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Happiness Summit and Asia HRD Congress & Awards, 2018 Vietnam

The 2018 Asia HRD Congress and Awards organised in conjunction with Anphabe’s Happiness At Work, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam was an interesting event. Over 400 participants, 22 awardees and a host of great speakers from many different countries. Thanks to Thanh of Anphabe, Kannan and Deen of CEO and our colleagues Ann Nei, Yanie, Dr Amat and Dato Asariah, we had a great event. We have all the time heard about the Happiness Index and the happiest country yet we see so many unhappy people. Happiness is an elusive concept to many and linking it to the engaged workplace and organisational productivity has been the hallmark of the work of researchers in the Human Capital economics area. Happiness defined from the context of mental and emotional states refers to contentment, joy and satisfaction. The book The Happiness Advantage authored by Shawn Achor focuses on how happiness impacts people in the workplace. His research focusses on the direct connection with employee engagement. It was also intriguing to read a newspaper report this morning that highlighted teaching is no longer a passion but a burden today. The teachers, role models in society for a long time – are they longer happy. […]

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Reforming Technical and Vocational Education (TVET)

In the past few weeks, Malaysians have been both excited and rocked by certain announcements on education and foreign labour. The interlinked issues of education and foreign workers are contentious in almost every part of the world and Malaysia is no exception. In a bold move, Malaysian Education Minister Dr. Maszlee Malik appointed parliamentarian Ms. Nurul Izzah Anwar to head a committee to strengthen technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the country despite criticisms. The HR Minister Mr. Kula ran into a minefield when he forgot the gastronomic desires of Malaysians and suggested a ban on foreign cooks in Malaysia. With the new Malaysian government giving people the courage to comment, there was no shortage of advice from the public. It is important to see these trends in training and immigration control in the context of nation-building. Building the skills and capabilities of our students and making them economically successful are not isolated efforts. In the long run, no nation can afford to allow unfettered entry of foreign workers even though it may need some level of foreign skilled worker employment. It is also not advisable for a country to allow its citizens to remain unskilled or leave […]

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The business case for minimum wages

Minimum wage is often described as minimum living wage or what employees need to earn to cover their basic expenses in a community. Yet, you often see conservative economists and some business leaders, often with extreme right views, arguing against a minimum wage. Their thoughts against minimum wages are based on the notion that minimum wages will increase unemployment as businesses that cannot afford the increased wages will look for cheaper alternatives. Therefore, they claim that lower skilled workers who occupy low wage jobs will become unemployed as these types of jobs will evaporate. The attempt to help those at the bottom of the pyramid, they argue, will become a lost cause. Conservatives argue for a free market approach and for wages to be determined by market forces. In a way, they are against any form of government intervention. They contend that imposing minimum wages will result in higher unemployment, increased cost of living and ultimately, a less competitive nation. Concerns that robots or automation will replace low wage jobs are commonly raised to support their view that a low wage policy should not be introduced. They couch their arguments on the point that lower level jobs must be saved […]

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Building a great city

United States Senator Pat Moynihan and long-time faculty member of Harvard said: “If you want to build a great city, first build a great university and then wait a few hundred years.”

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Hit Refresh – Culture

It is past midnight and I am busy finishing reading the key chapters from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh autobiography. Unsure if it is my inability to sleep or the long workday that is keeping me awake. With a decision to get off social media effective Jan 1st of this year, my writing is restricted to my website. Without doubt, the reading on Cultural Renaissance from Know it Alls to Learn it Alls from his book is impressive, prompting me to write again tonight. The Microsoft CEO talks about a new cultural mindset of growth within the company which is one of starting to listen more, learn more and talk less. The growth mindset he talks about starts with the CEO where the C stands for culture – listening, learning and harnessing individual passions and talents to the company’s mission. It is one of dynamic learning. It is a journey, Interestingly, this was the subject I talked with key members of our Senior team, this afternoon. Satya takes great pains to explain that culture is a vague term and one has to work carefully to define what one wants from culture and hence the need to measure everything and […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

January 2019 Thoughts on two great leaders

Who Will Measure up to These Two Remarkable Leaders? James L. Heskett is UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University asks a simple question in a Harvard Business article; in a month when the world lost two great American company leaders: John Bogle of Vanguard Group and Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. Most of us in Asia may know Southwest Airlines while a lesser number would know John Bogle. What other CEOs are in the same league? asks James Heskett. To me, who in Asia would match up to these standards. He says the decade of the 1980s saw widespread subscription to the notion that there were two “generic competitive strategies” aimed at achieving industrywide success: those that provided either a differentiated or a low-cost product/service. (A third was to focus on a particular market segment.) He adds that Roger Hallowell, in a doctoral dissertation submitted some years later, took issue with that notion based on his observation of a small number of incredibly successful service organizations. He concluded that these firms were seizing large market shares by offering both differentiation and low cost, that in fact the two strategies might […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

Greetings for a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

Posted in News | Leave a comment

DEEP WORK in a distracted world

A few years ago, former CEO of Citibank Malaysia, Sanjeev Nanavathy told me about the importance of DEEP WORK. As an accomplished coach, he emphasised for the need to develop the ability to focus without distraction on a task that is cognitively demanding. He probably mentioned it as he noticed me flipping on to my I phone every now and then to check my WhatsApp messages. On a trip to my alma mater, Federation University, Ballarat, Australia, I noticed several posters around the campus on the help available if one was addicted to the mobile phone or social media. Never understood the significance of those posters until a few days ago when I had a chance to read DEEP WORK.   Deep Work is defined as a skill that allows you to master complicated information and do a great job in less time. It provides a sense of fulfilment very much similar to craftmanship. This skill seems to have been lost in a world of emails, social media and WhatsApp messages. Professor Cal Newport, the author of DEEP WORK presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming one’s mind and habits to support this […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Last issue of Learn & Perform E News

This issue will be the last Learn & Perform E-News. I have enjoyed writing the e-news all these years, but it is time to say adieu or good bye to all of you. I have decided to quit E-News and social media, effective 1 January 2019. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments and support all these years for my endeavours to be a writer. The early days It was 1994 and the internet was a new buzzword. We had a Jaring internet account. Dr Nat, my classmate, colleague and friend, persuaded me to write the e-zine or e-news using Microsoft Biz Central. He was trying to get me into writing as he wanted me to codify our professional practice. The writings by illustrious practitioners, trainers and speakers such as Don Kirkpatrick, Bob Pike, Thiagi, Mel Silbermann and Zig Ziglar motivated me, but I was never sure I would be able to replicate their success. Eventually, I started writing the Learn & Perform E-News in 1995. One of my colleagues M. C. Jitha did a great job promoting the e-news. Ably supported by the technological tools employed by our young CTO Murali, the list grew from a mere 11 subscribers […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Cyberjaya Uni confers Honorary Doctorate on TS Rafidah Aziz

Cyberjaya Uni was honoured to confer the Honorary Doctorate in Business to Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz. Tan Sri Rafidah, a former Minister and the longest serving International Trade Minister is a role model and an icon,  As the Pro Chancellor it was indeed an honour for me to confer the award at the Uni’s 9th Convocation on Dec 13th, 2018.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Happiness Summit and Asia HRD Congress & Awards, 2018 Vietnam

The 2018 Asia HRD Congress and Awards organised in conjunction with Anphabe’s Happiness At Work, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam was an interesting event. Over 400 participants, 22 awardees and a host of great speakers from many different countries. Thanks to Thanh of Anphabe, Kannan and Deen of CEO and our colleagues Ann Nei, Yanie, Dr Amat and Dato Asariah, we had a great event. We have all the time heard about the Happiness Index and the happiest country yet we see so many unhappy people. Happiness is an elusive concept to many and linking it to the engaged workplace and organisational productivity has been the hallmark of the work of researchers in the Human Capital economics area. Happiness defined from the context of mental and emotional states refers to contentment, joy and satisfaction. The book The Happiness Advantage authored by Shawn Achor focuses on how happiness impacts people in the workplace. His research focusses on the direct connection with employee engagement. It was also intriguing to read a newspaper report this morning that highlighted teaching is no longer a passion but a burden today. The teachers, role models in society for a long time – are they longer happy. […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Reforming Technical and Vocational Education (TVET)

In the past few weeks, Malaysians have been both excited and rocked by certain announcements on education and foreign labour. The interlinked issues of education and foreign workers are contentious in almost every part of the world and Malaysia is no exception. In a bold move, Malaysian Education Minister Dr. Maszlee Malik appointed parliamentarian Ms. Nurul Izzah Anwar to head a committee to strengthen technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the country despite criticisms. The HR Minister Mr. Kula ran into a minefield when he forgot the gastronomic desires of Malaysians and suggested a ban on foreign cooks in Malaysia. With the new Malaysian government giving people the courage to comment, there was no shortage of advice from the public. It is important to see these trends in training and immigration control in the context of nation-building. Building the skills and capabilities of our students and making them economically successful are not isolated efforts. In the long run, no nation can afford to allow unfettered entry of foreign workers even though it may need some level of foreign skilled worker employment. It is also not advisable for a country to allow its citizens to remain unskilled or leave […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The business case for minimum wages

Minimum wage is often described as minimum living wage or what employees need to earn to cover their basic expenses in a community. Yet, you often see conservative economists and some business leaders, often with extreme right views, arguing against a minimum wage. Their thoughts against minimum wages are based on the notion that minimum wages will increase unemployment as businesses that cannot afford the increased wages will look for cheaper alternatives. Therefore, they claim that lower skilled workers who occupy low wage jobs will become unemployed as these types of jobs will evaporate. The attempt to help those at the bottom of the pyramid, they argue, will become a lost cause. Conservatives argue for a free market approach and for wages to be determined by market forces. In a way, they are against any form of government intervention. They contend that imposing minimum wages will result in higher unemployment, increased cost of living and ultimately, a less competitive nation. Concerns that robots or automation will replace low wage jobs are commonly raised to support their view that a low wage policy should not be introduced. They couch their arguments on the point that lower level jobs must be saved […]

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