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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Self determination theory by Deci and Ryan. My favourite theory learnrd at a workshop this year. Here I found some materials on how to incorporate Autonomy,’ ‘Relatedness,’ and ‘Competence’ and to infuse that into our everyday work.

Autonomy
Ask yourself every day, “What choices do I have?”

Then, at the end of the day, ask yourself, “What choices did I make?”

Because you start to understand that you do have choices. The outcomes of your day are oftentimes because of the way you chose to handle things.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2017/07/03/motivation-doesnt-work-heres-what-does/

Relatedness.

We need to ask ourselves questions like, “How did I demonstrate my values today?”

If you don’t even know what your values are, then you need to start by developing your values.

“How did I contribute to something greater than myself today?

How did I contribute to something beyond my own self interests?”

Competence

What did I get done?
What did I learn today?
How did I grow?
What did I learn today that will actually help me be better tomorrow?”

That’s our sense of competence, which is that we are basically learning something every day that will make our work and our lives more manageable.

Source:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2017/07/03/motivation-doesnt-work-heres-what-does/

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The Peter Principle, Why things go wrong by Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull

With foreword by Robert Sutton

Let me have men about me that are fat
Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous
– Julius Ceasar, Shakespeare

We hire people after our own image. The authors cite Napolean who felt that people with big noses make better leaders. The Retrospective Decision making model predicts that we make decisions intuitively and retrospectively give a reason (possibly logically) for our decision.

We make judgments about people’s competence. Sometimes from brief interactions. The more powerful you are, the more impact. Interviewers sometimes take as fast as 30 sec to form impressions.

The Peter Principle predicts that many people are promoted to their level of competence.

Several examples of signs of people who posses this malady.

Papyrohobia
Cannot tolerate papers or books on his desk. Probably such piece of paper is reminder that he hates his job. He makes a virtue of his phobia by keeping a clean desk, creating the impression of incredible fast decision making.

Structurophilia
Obsessive concern with buildings, planning, construction, maintenance and reconstruction. But unconcerned about the work going on, inside the buildings.

Such as those with a compulsion to build memorial statues.

When i read this tiny book of 161 pages or halved if you put in A4 size, it was amusingly refreshing. Most bizarre types actually exist in organisations especially because the skill sets required for different levels of organisation from technical in front-line supervisors to political skills needed at higher levels of management.

What then is the solution?
As someone interested in productivity, I am curious about how to improve our decision making on promotion and hiring.

Unfortunately, beyond naming the crime as incompetence, this book sheds little light on how to solve the problem.

Perhaps its beyond my competence to read between the lines. Or frankly, no one knows. Management is as much an art as a science.

I was introduced to a interesting company Isobar, which created  “an in-store activation device using neuroscience technology to create UMOOD. UNIQLO customers were fitted with a neuro-headset and shown a series of video stimuli. Their neurological responses to the stimuli were then analysed in real-time by a custom-built algorithm that identified their current mood and recommended the perfect T-shirt for them.”

Imagine, how difficult it is to choose a T-shirt that we now relegate decision making to a technology device. Kudos to the company for getting modern man out of his dilemma of too much choice.  Now I understand why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same colored T-shirt and why the Japanese used to insist on uniforms for every staff.

Are you in the same predicament? Afraid to make choices? Why?

Perhaps the best invention yet is to simplify. Or to make a choice, and stop blaming yourself. Take notes, observe your own reactions.

Perhaps we don’t take the time to understand ourselves.

https://www.isobar.com/sg/en/work/umood/

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Tales of the Malay World currently exhibiting at the NLB Bldg on 10th floor has provided me an insight into this world I am living but not submerged.

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Last night I was at the curator’s tour and some learnings caught me by surprise. Singapore was not a sleepy fishing village when Raffles arrived. While not sophisticated as major world cities like Nanjing, it boasted a history from 14th Century.

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Alexander the Great allegedly passed through. He was known as Zulkernain.

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Raffles was inspired to pick up Malay on his boat trip from UK.

Raffles chose Singapore as a port because of the Malay book “Genealogy of Kings” <em>Sukalat al-Salatin that the Forbidden Hill housed remains of the 16th century Melaka Kings or Malay Annals Sejarah Melayu.

Raffles was a collector of many things, among them Malay manuscripts which allowed the British and Dutch better idea of the locals so as to conquer them.

Singapore was not a sleepy fishing village when the British came. The Malay annals led Raffles to Singapore.

Singapore was not founded in 1819 when Raffles came with the East India Company. Its role as a port was as early as 14th century. A significant port and settlement, known as Temasek, later renamed Singapura, existed on the island of Singapore in the 14th century. Vietnamese records indicate possible diplomatic relationship between Temasek and Vietnam in the 13th century, and Chinese documents describe settlements there in the 14th century.

It lapsed into insignificance for 200 hundred years when abandoned until the British came to establish a port without antagonizing the Dutch.

Location, location, location
Point to note that despite Singapore’s strategic location, it fell out of action for 200 yrs. The Dutch did not choose Singapore for their spice trade. The late Mover, the British chose 2nd best, Singapore. Strategic advantage is highly dependent on economic relevance. 1st Mover advantage is not necessarily winner takes all. (Unfortunately for Raffles, he died in debt.)

Importance of learning lingua franca of the day, which may not be English.

Diversity and global trade have been around for a long time.

People were more open to learning from one another. Rev Keasbury obtained the help of Muslim cleric Munshi Abdullah to translate the first Malay bible. He introduced Abdullah to the printing press to produce bibles. Initially the missionaries were in Singapore enroute to China. But as that stop was closed, their attention turned to Singapore.

While the Bible was translated into Malay, the audience could have been wider, as the varied trading community spoke Malay, the lingua franca, including the Chinese. Today’s Muslim and Christian community, it appeared to me, are more sharply alienated. It didnt seem that Abdullah converted to Christianity. Yet there was a meaningful working relationship between Keasbury and Abdullah.