Slamet Hendry

learningorg

Invest in yourself

“There's one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. ... Nobody can take away what you've got in yourself—and everybody has potential they haven't used yet. If you can increase your potential 10%, 20% or 30% by enhancing your talents, they can't tax it away. Inflation can't take it from you. You have it the rest of your life.”

~ Warren Buffett

Source: Forbes

#quotes #learningorg

Shop Class as Soulcraft

“Those who work in an office often feel that, despite the proliferation of contrived metrics they must meet, their job lacks objective standards of the sort provided by, for example, a carpenter's level, and that as a result there is something arbitrary in the dispensing of credit and blame.”

“Corporations portray themselves as results-based and performance-oriented. But where there isn't anything material being produced, objective standards for job performance are hard to come by.”

“Failures often force you to ask a favor of someone else ... Such an experience of dependence makes you humble, and grateful.”

~ Matthew B. Crawford

#quotes #learningorg

Note: “Shop Class as Soulcraft” was Matthew's first book. He also wrote other books.

10 Innovation Proverbs for Leaders

I received this from Joyce Wycoff a long time ago. It's interesting that what many people claim as “innovation” would not qualify as innovation according to below.

  1. PEOPLE do innovation.
  2. Innovation means doing something that has not been done before. By definition there is risk involved. No risk; no innovation.
  3. Innovation is a win-win process. It creates new value for the customer and the organization.
  4. Innovation is a team sport. Teams are built around a common objective and trust.
  5. Innovation requires risk. Risk-taking requires trust. Trust requires honesty and openness.
  6. Innovation requires energy. Energy comes from challenges that excite the imagination.
  7. Innovation is about creating the future. Cost-cutting and downsizing are about fixing the past.
  8. Innovation is not just a rah-rah word or fad. It is an investment in the future that requires new processes, time, energy, commitment and resources.
  9. Innovation requires new information — from co-workers, customers, suppliers, competitors and from the world.
  10. Innovation requires time — time to think, time to tinker, time to talk about possibilities and ideas. Down-to-the-second controls can kill innovation.

by Joyce Wycoff

#learningorg #design

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.” Henry Miller

#quotes

Building a learning organisation

This post is my notes for a talk that I recently gave at a webinar organised by a friend.

Photo: Unsplash

I learned about learning organisation from Peter Senge's book – The Fifth Discipline – a long time ago. “A learning organisation is a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself.”

In the book, he talked about five characteristics of learning organisation: Systems thinking, Personal mastery, Mental models, Shared vision, and Team learning.

Here, I share my lessons learned of the above characteristics from a different angle: – Feedback loop – Diversity – Lateral development – Body of knowledge – Continuous learning

Read more...

Leaders of tomorrow

Finding potential leaders and developing them require investment in time and resources. It goes beyond “training” programmes.

Each future leader is unique and flourishes best in a different way. We need to give each of them the due attention and cater to their individual development needs according to their uniqueness – not “one size fits all” approach.

Furthermore, the type of leaders we develop reflects the type of leaders we are, so we need to “walk the talk” and be authentic. As leaders, we need to keep learning and continuously improve to be better role models.

The leaders of tomorrow were planted yesterday. If we do not plant today, do not be surprised if we get no leaders in the future.

#learningorg

Inspiring Leaders

A few weeks ago during a HeForShe mentoring session, I discussed leadership attributes with my mentee. I asked her what she would like to be known for, 10 years from now.

And in the past few days, I thought some more about these attributes and reframed my thoughts to be more succinct. Here is my list: competent, visionary, and kind.

These attributes reflect the leaders who inspire me and the leader I aspire to be.

#learningorg

See also: The challenge of leadership

Digital junk

Recently I wanted to install a new piece of software in my personal Windows laptop which had about 20 GB of free space. Unfortunately, the new software needed at least 100 GB.

So I went to the application list and checked each of the installed software on the machine. I removed all of the applications that I did not need anymore, but that did not get me much additional free space. Seemed fishy.

Then I went to check the disk usage for each of the folder group at the root. The Users folder was large, but I recalled that I recently purged a lot of files prior to this due to some other activity. So next I dissected the size of the sub-folders in Users folder.

The AppData sub-folder was huge. And I just uninstalled many applications. Something is definitely fishy.

I painstakingly checked each sub-folder within AppData. Turned out it contained sub-folders from all applications that was ever installed and uninstalled on the machine. This machine is 7 years old and started life as a Windows 7 and now runs the latest Windows 10. It has seen a lot of experimentation and application try out, so there were a lot of application data folders to remove. Manually.

In the end, I had about 105 GB of free space. In other words, I freed up additional 85 GB of space out 256 GB storage capacity. All this time, one third of the space was filled with junk.

Lesson learned

If it were my house' living room, I would have noticed it when a third of the space is junk and would get rid of it. Some people like to keep things around in their storage or attic or cellar thinking those might come to some use sometime in the future. But even they would not keep junk / trash around as in the case of my Windows laptop story.

Yet in this digital age, mobile devices and computers comes with bigger and bigger storage. It is easy to assume that when the storage space is full, we had it filled with things we digitally need and therefore we need to buy additional storage or new computer or new mobile phone.

But before we do that, verify first if we truly use everything that fills up our digital storage.

Even if we have the financial means to buy more storage or new device, it is a good habit to clean up the digital junks in our life from time to time. Be it in our computers or our mobile phones.

At work this can happen too

Yesterday I met with the Server team to discuss migration plan to the incoming new infrastructure. My team planned to decommission some applications, but less than two years ago, we already cleaned up our applications as part of server consolidation clean up.

Turned out my team had been monitoring that some applications were not used at all recently. And nobody in the Application teams knew who the business owners were, due to staff turnover and missing documentation. So the Server team turned off those applications and waited for who would shout.

Nobody.

So those applications will be backed up and archived but not migrated. If somebody shouts post-migration, we will find out why they need the unused application.

Even in business, digital junk exists and we need to vigilantly clean it.

#learningorg

Best tool vs optimal tool

I was looking for a cloud data storage solution recently and researched it on the internet. I read a number of product reviews with pros and cons. And then I read some users comments that provided some real world rebuttal of the reviewers assessments. These users used the product within their use cases longer than the product reviewers who used the product only a short time for the sole purpose of writing a review article for the internet. The perspectives from other users put the product reviews into context whether they are relevant or not for my use cases.

Context matters a lot, but context is often overlooked

When we want something, we research it to find the best product / service that we can buy for the specific use case. We buy it and then sometimes we discover afterward that the best product / service has other costs aside from the money we pay for it.

It is not necessarily wrong, if best performance or best value or best whatever is the one and only goal. But it is important to understand well: are we absolutely sure there is no other goal that we ought to consider within the context of the big picture?

We ought to avoid “local optimisation” that can degrade the overall expected benefit.

For example, let us say that we have two inter-dependent jobs that need to be done by two different tools and we bought the best tools we could find for each of the jobs: tool A and tool B. Great, so now we will get the maximum benefit when we put these two together, right? Not so fast. It depends on how well these two work together in managing the inter-dependent aspect of their jobs. We need to understand the short term and long term implication whether problem or additional effort or cost may ensue out of the integration between A and B.

Considering the full context, we ought to assess if A and B are still the tools of choice for the jobs, or whether alternative options will integrate more optimally to yield a better overall benefit.

Assumptions can mislead

This one is obvious, but also often gets overlooked. We want to be explicit about all our assumptions and understand how each assumption affects our decision making process. If our assumptions change, the optimal solution may change also, because what we need may turn out to be different.

As for my cloud data storage search, I challenged my assumptions and in the end I reframed my “jobs to be done” differently from when I started my initial research. By questioning my assumptions of what I need vs want, I reconsidered a solution that I excluded previously. This solution is not the technical best because it does not meet a few of my criteria, but it fits perfectly one criterion: simplicity.

Optimise for total benefit

The optimal tool balances trade-offs to maximise the total benefit.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Aristotle

In my cloud example, the best tool is not the simplest and, for now, simplest is what I need. Therefore the optimal tool that I bought, in this case, is not the technical best, but I am happy with it, because it gives me the maximum total benefit.

#design #learningorg

Related post: Best practice can be wrong?

22 Nov 2017

Authentic vs. authenticated

Marketing gurus promote the ideas that we must position ourselves / our brands / our whatever as “authentic”. And as leaders, we must become authentic leaders.

Yes, but ..

You cannot call yourself authentic on your own. Authenticity does not exist in a vacuum: you need someone else to validate that you are who you say you are, i.e. that you are authentic.

Your opinion on your own authenticity matters little. Authenticity is attributed to you by the beholders based on what they perceive about you, not based on what you think of yourselves. And their perception of your authenticity is completely subjective to their expectation of how you act out your values or principles.

There is no need to make any claim about authenticity. Instead, decide which values or principles you stand for and act accordingly, day in and day out.

Then ask people and truly listen to their answers. (Do not try to justify yourself, but let their answers – even between the lines – be your mirror.) Are you acting or living according to the values or principles you stand for?

Yes = authentic

No = need to work on it

Avoid marketing B.S. and keep it simple. Go “walk the talk”.

#learningorg

Nov 2010

Adapting project at the speed of business

In large enterprises, implementing a new project can be slow. It can take years from when management has an idea to improve the business and initiates the project until the project starts delivering value. Sometimes, by the time the project finishes many business opportunities are lost or, worse, business condition may have changed unfavourably from when the idea was incubated. Increasingly, business condition changes at a faster pace than in previous years. Projects must adapt to keep up with the business reality and deliver value faster.

Companies in various industries have projects running in their organisations at any given year in some shape or form. It can be a new business initiative, a new IT project, a new building construction, a new product launch, et cetera, et cetera. Many companies also have project-based organisations to manage the projects on an ongoing basis and send their employees through certification process for project management (such as PMI, IPMA, or IPMC Global). Sounds good, but even in the best funded and most experienced project-based organisations, project delivery often plays catch up with the timing of business needs.

Almost invariably, business stakeholders ask that projects be delivered earlier than when the projects will actually deliver. Unfortunately, projects constraints means that some projects are destined to run long. And it is the long running projects that often face issues when business condition changes midstream through the project lifecycle. So how can these projects adapt to keep up with business changes?

Define upfront, and then measure for, short term and long term business objective

Long project exists because, many times, it simply cannot be delivered in a short period of time for good reasons. However that does not preclude such project from needing to deliver business value as early as possible. Upfront, the project success ought to be defined in concrete and measurable terms for the stakeholders, not only for the long term business benefits for which the project is justified on, but also for the short (or medium) term business benefits. Short term benefits are critical in building up and sustaining support for the project and also as validation that the project is on the right course.

Aim to deliver some practical business value as early as possible even to the point of trading in some theoretical long term big picture benefit. It is a balancing act between real tangible benefit versus potential benefit in the future (that may not be there anymore if the business condition change). Early return on investment also helps make management team be more fact-based in making decisions when the wind of change is blowing. Decisions can be made either to stay the course as the return is already proven, or change the course to improve the odds of maximising return, or stop the project when getting a return takes a leap of faith. Upfront discipline enables agility later on through the project lifecycle.

Break project scope into chunks of modular blocks (as modular as feasible)

Define the project roadmap into blocks of scope that may be executed either in sequence or in parallel or a combination of both. The blocks can build on top of each other, but each should aim to deliver business value instead of only at the end of the project. Essentially, modularity allows the project to be flexible when it needs to change course, without loosing too much on sunk cost.

At the same time, modularity needs to be managed guardedly to ensure efficiency is not sacrificed and that transition flows smoothly from one building block of the project scope to the next. The project blocks cannot exist as loosely federated project streams that act only for their own benefits, diverging from the unified business objectives of the project. Whether companies have defined “portfolio management” or “program management” (or whatever fancy name) process is less important than having the entire organisation understanding and being committed to the essential driver of the business benefits.

Agree on the decision makers and decision making process upfront

Large and long project is usually, or hopefully, strategic in nature. Decision making process can be rather straining due to the impact the project can have and the number of cross-functional stakeholders it entails. So involve the right stakeholders early, clarify and agree upfront who the decision makers are. Then engage them often throughout the project.

Even when who the decision makers are clear, some decision makers can be slow in making decision. A decision making process can help mobilise the decision makers. Decision making criteria needs to be clear and pre-defined upfront with rules to break a deadlock. Analysis paralysis is a luxury that cannot be afforded when project agility is called for.

Keep the big picture in mind

Projects in most companies are funded based on annual budgeting process (true for public companies and also for most private companies), but business change does not wait for the next annual budgeting cycle. Budgeting process imposes important financial discipline but it should not handcuff the project from delivering business value flexibly. At any time of the year, management needs to assess project changes (or new projects) against decision making criteria of what brings the most good for the organisation. Budget allocation should not be static as projects are prioritised and re-prioritised according to business realities.

Also prevalent in large organisations is the institutionalisation of project methodology. This is often done out of the desire for standardisation and scalability (a la factory model for projects). Project methodology is good but it needs to be balanced with pragmatism. It should not be applied to the point of slowing the project when it needs to change course.

“Planning is good, but not if it excludes the opportunity to be able to take chances when they come up.” (Chris Wright) #quotes

In conclusion, the overriding ideas of adaptive project are smart planning and continuous pragmatic decision making. Long projects would serve business stakeholders well by being adaptive according to business changes.

#learningorg #obxerve