Friday, August 23, 2013

Your Staff at Work

From worklife.org

The Lord said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail” – so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand.  (Exodus 4: 2-4)

This extraordinary story is an example of how Our Lord will use anything to turn our attention towards Him. God wanted Moses to get completely in line with His plans for the people of Israel. That required Moses to:
  • Understand once and for all that God calls the shots;
  • Put his role and gifting into God’s hands for God to use;
  • Use his role and gifting with confidence because they belonged to God.
Moses’ staff was standard equipment for a shepherd, which was his work before God gave him a new assignment. The action of throwing it on the ground was obedience. Running from the unexpected and unwelcome snake was plain common sense. But picking up the horrible creature? – That was obedience and courage, followed surely by huge relief as it became the familiar staff again.

Over time, and with experiences like this one, God trained Moses to take authority in God’s name. As Moses learned through practice and obedience, he became the man God wanted him to become. The staff-serpent would be used several times to work vast miracles as God broke the power of Egyptian rule over Israel.

In our work situations, the staff can symbolize the roles and gifts we have. Throwing the staff down symbolizes our surrender of those roles and gifts to Christ as part of our daily walk with Him. Picking up the serpent, and its change back to the staff, symbolize the reality that once we give our roles and gifts to Christ, He puts His stamp on them and has freedom to reshape them as He chooses. The staff looked the same afterwards, but it wasn’t the same. From then on, God used it even though Moses carried it.

What is your staff at work? You have one. Where is it along the sequence of staff-serpent-staff? Where is your heart of workplace obedience to Christ along the same sequence?

~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Flexible Work Arrangement

I think this is a good initiative to bring back talent into our workforce. Check it out at flexWorkLife.my
Unfortunately, I missed the fair at KL Convention Center.

~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Pick of the week: Story on CHANGE

Interesting bulletin I received from Heera that I decided to put here both for myself and friends...

This month I want to narrate a great story on change.  There was a monastery in a faraway land where thirty monks lived. Every morning without fail at 5 am, they would all gather at the great hall of the monastery and pray and meditate. One day as they were praying, a cat started to play in front of them and this affected their concentration. The chief monk then told the youngest monk, Zun Zi to tie the cat to a pole and give it a saucer of milk, so that it would not interrupt their prayer session. This was done and the monks carried on their prayer in peace.
           
The next day, the cat appeared again and the chief monk again told Zun Zi to repeat what he had done the previous day. The third day, the cat appeared again and soon this act of tying the cat to a pole and giving it milk every morning became a ritual. One day, after almost three years of this ritual, the cat died. The monks carried on their prayer the next day but somehow felt something was missing as they had not carried out their usual ‘cat ritual’. At the end of their prayer, the chief monk told Zun Zi to go get another cat from the village below so that they could continue this ‘cat ritual’. And thus the practice continued. This went on and on until the chief monk himself died. Soon Zun Zi became the chief monk, and in the process seven cats had died. One day, Zun Zi himself died, which meant that there was no one alive who knew the origins of this ‘cat ritual’. The ritual however was still carried out.

One day, after their prayers and as they were having tea, one of the younger monks asked the senior most monk, “Sir, why do we tie the cat to the pole and give it a saucer of milk before our daily morning prayer and meditation session?”  The senior most monk surprised by the question replied, “I really do not know. All I know is that ever since I came to this monastery we have been doing this and I am sure our past generations must have had very good reasons to do it. So let us not question them, let us just carry on with this very important ritual”.

Isn’t the above story a very true reflection of what happens in many organizations i.e. there are many systems and processes which are obsolete or out-dated and yet they still carry it out because ‘it has always been done this way’. I have personally seen this in many organizations and the excuse has always been, “I didn’t create this system, it was already here when I joined.” My view is that no system or process in any organization is ‘cast in stone’ i.e. all of them can and must be changed when necessary. It is the job of any incumbent manager, head of department or CEO to change whatever is redundant, obsolete or out-dated. This could be from people, to products, to systems and processes, to documentation.

I think however that many managers are usually very comfortable with the status quo and therefore do not make any concerted attempt to change to the detriment of the organization. They normally use inheritance of the system as an excuse. My belief is that every system and process in any organization must be examined on a regular basis and changed if it is not in line with organizational strategies. Only with this can an organization develop and be relevant in the present very competitive business environment!

Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and I do hope I have added a little to your change management knowledge! Have a great month of July and do take care.

~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

How Old is your Brain?

This is a good article that I have to duplicate in case they decide to take it down... enjoy your brain!?!

Your brain may be younger or older than your actual age. Are you ready to take the test?
Dr Vincent Fortanasce, professor of neurology at USC, has developed The Real Brain Age Test. He says that people can outlive their brains! Alzheimer’s and other types of brain diseases leave clues. These clues can be used to determine your real brain age.
If you want to take the test keep two things in mind:
This is not a “real” test, but rather a broad assessment of your general risk at any point in time.
There is a lot you can do, at any time, to improve the quality of your brain.
Take a sheet of paper and number from 1 to 25 and answer true or false to the following statements:
1.        I get seven to eight hours (or more) of sleep each night.
2.        I eat at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants daily.
3.        I eat at least one serving of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries daily.
4.        I eat baked or broiled fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least three times a week.
5.        I take fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids or flaxseed supplements at least five times per week.
6.        I take folic acid supplementation with my daily multivitamin.
7.        I take a low dose of aspirin daily.
8.        I drink red wine or grape juice at least five times per week.
9.        I exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes each time.
10.        I read challenging books, do crossword puzzles or sudoku, or I engage in activities that require active learning, memorisation, computation, analysis, and problem solving at least five times a week.
11.        My total cholesterol is less than 200.
12.        My LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is less than 110.
13.        I have “longevity genes” in my family, with members who lived to 80 and older without memory loss.
14.        I am not obese (less than 20 pounds overweight for a woman, less than 30 pounds overweight for a man).
15.        I eat a Mediterranean style diet (high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil as the source of fat; little red meat).
16.        I use olive oil and spreads with no trans fat instead of butter or margarine.
17.        I have never smoked cigarettes.
18.        I have normal blood pressure.
19.        I do not have diabetes.
20.        I do not have metabolic syndrome (high triglycerides, central obesity, and hypertension), also called insulin resistance syndrome.
21.        I do not have a sleep disorder such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, or untreated insomnia.
22.        Daily uncontrolled stress is not a problem for me.
23.        I have a strong support group and enjoy many activities with friends, colleagues, and family members.
24.        I have no problems with short or long term memory.
25.        I am ready to prevent Alzheimer’s and am willing to do whatever it takes.
Now please go back and count how many of the 25 true or false statements you marked “True”. Write your score on a sheet of paper and then use the following key to determine your Real Brain Age and risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that your score points out a general direction. It will give you useful information that will be easy to understand and apply to your diet and lifestyle habits.
23-25
Congratulations! You are aging well. Subtract 15 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.
You are presently healthy with a youthful, productive mind. Keep working to become even healthier. Unless things change in your life, your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is extremely low.
20-22
Not Bad! Subtract 10 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.
You are doing a lot to take care of your physical and mental health. Check the specific questions you marked “false” and be sure to pay attention to changes you need to make.
15-19
OK. Your Real Brain Age is the same as your chronological age.
That said, you have a mild risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so pay attention. Carefully review your results to see what changes you need to make on your diet, exercise, mental stimulation, or rest and relaxation.
12-14
You have a moderate risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Add five years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.
While there’s not a lot of disparity between your chronological age and your Real Brain, it’s important that you review the quiz and circle any of the statements that indicate some work is needed. Talk to your doctor about your Alzheimer’s risk factors you have to see if treatment is indicated.
0-11
You have a high risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Add 10 years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.
You may want to call your doctor and talk openly about health problems you may have. Ask if you’re doing all you can to manage these problems. Flag responses that may help to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
How did you do?
I scored 21 out of 25. Considering what I do for a living, I wasn’t really pleased.
But, I feel good about now having four things to work on. I plan on bringing them up with my doctor because I believe any changes should be discussed with a physician.
Dr Fortanasce’s recently published book is called The Anti-Alzheimer’s Prescription - The Science-Proven Plan to Start at Any Age. I highly recommend it! I have no financial interest - zero - in recommending it. I do believe that if you are serious about taking care of your brain this is a book you should read.
We used to believe that Alzheimer’s just occured randomly. Neuroscientists now know that damage associated with this disease begins long before any symptoms show up – even while you are “at the top of your game”. You can choose to have a healthier brain!
In the next Brain Bulletin you will learn about the surprising power of a smile.
And always remember: “You are a genius!”
Enjoy your brain.
Terry Small is a brain expert who resides in Canada and believes that anyone can learn how to learn easier, better, faster, and that learning to learn is the most important skill a person can acquire. To interact with Small, email mystarjob@leaderonomics.comhttp://mystarjob.com/articles/story.aspx?file=/2013/6/1/mystarjob_careerguide/13136557&sec=mystarjob_careerguide

~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Big Data that actually works

Extracted from http://successfulworkplace.com/2012/10/23/nielsen-is-so-much-more-than-television/


I had the pleasure of seeing a presentation by The Nielsen Company (NLSN) as part of TIBCO’s sponsorship of the 2012 Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando, Florida. Ken Rabolt, Chief Data Architect to the CTO of Nielsen presented on Nielsen’s move from independent IT systems spanning 110 countries to a consolidated market research platform that supports a single view of all customers and their research across all geographies. That’s a huge sentence and a huge undertaking.
If you’ve never experienced that kind of effort, it is an amazing feat that can kill the business if it isn’t done carefully and deliberately. But Nielsen knew that we live in a very globalized world that still has plenty of local character. Nielsen’s information systems need to reflect both of those facts.

The Nielsen Company

When I think of Nielsen, I automatically think of Nielsen Ratings, the well-known measure of radio and television popularity and demographics from my childhood. Today’s Nielsen Company is a much broader, much more data analytics-focused market research company. While they still manage research into what consumers watch (but now across television, online and mobile screens), they have a thriving business in analyzing what consumers buy. More on that in a moment.
In the ‘what-they-watch’ business, rather than collecting data just from individual samples (‘Nielsen Families’), they are now collecting the raw data directly from, for example, set top boxes used to deliver digital entertainment. As this type of data becomes more available, Nielsen is handling increasingly large amounts of data coming very, very quickly.
On the consumer markets side, Nielsen measures retail transactional data and consumer behavior across the consumer packaged goods industry. This reflects an enormous amount of data as well, and even more diverse data, and is only rising in volume and velocity as more retailers move toward real-time point of sale systems.

Globalized research

The globalization of many consumer packaged goods companies means that Nielsen has an enormous role in ‘harmonizing’ data that is increasingly more varied, ge0-specific and granular. Raw data can reflect misleading trends if it isn’t interpreted against seasonality, culture, weather and a host of other factors. It is part science and part dark art.
Most globalized companies, Nielsen’s customers, operate ‘war rooms’ where critical decision are made based on Nielsen’s harmonized input. NestlĂ©, P&G, Unilever many other companies need to ‘follow’ products across not just geographies, but also their many branding and advertising channels like television, in-store and social. Data integration is the key to make everything work and Nielsen’s systems are at the forefront of the integration that makes Big Data ‘work’ and not just interesting discoveries.
Not surprisingly, Nielsen’s systems are stretched and stressed by the changes taking place in mobile and social technology. They are constantly driving toward higher and higher levels of data integration, analytics, and reporting. The more data they take from their research, the more opportunities arise to integrate that information into more granular segmentation of consumers by lifestyle, geography and other factors.

Answers on Demand

Nielsen operates at the center of a virtuous data cycle that puts them in the lead amoung the many companies racing to be Big Data powerhouses. They provide Answers on Demand, the platform name and an appropriate description of what they do. It is a data integration dream come true that few companies can boast.
Their focus on data integration allows Nielsen’s systems to be front-ended (the input data, whether local, regional or international) and back-ended (where customer take the output, the Nielsen product) in standardized ways that allow for any source and any destination, but still make sense internally for systems operation and maintenance. Inside Nielsen, processes, workflows and analytics are streamlined and efficient, even while local algorithms are applied for each customer and their geographies, segments, etc.
Nielsen’s platform is the cutting edge of Big Data, a term they don’t even use, and goes well beyond the hype of Hadoop and simple batch processing of large data sets. Nielsen sits at the epicenter of what drives the economy from the customer and product perspectives. They’re an excellent example of where technology is headed and case study in the benefits of putting enormous focus on data integration ahead of the shiny objects that are hyped but only part of the story.
Below is the Nielsen logical architectural.



~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Al Jazeera's 101 East - Malaysia election


~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Book Review on Going Agile: Project Management Practices



Nowadays, the buzz word is 'agile'. We often hear about it and it seems to be overused at times. This book (Going Agile), breaks up what we need to know about agile nicely into 3 parts.

The first part is all about Agile, where it comes from with a little bit of background on it and then tells us how it has grown over time and you will be exposed to all other jargon that has got to do with agile.

The second part links agile to the current project management practice and discuss how it is used through experience as well as best practices known to the author as well as sharing from case study by other practitioner. This is an important area for seasoned project manager trying to make sense of agility. The author works well in trying to gel agility into project management practice.

The last part is helps the reader on how to adopt agile into their organization. This is also a valuable area especially for project managers trying to be more agile due to pressure to be more flexible, more people oriented as well as organization wanting to explore agility.

The book covers a lot of terms used in the agile world and I am sure that you will find it informative and helpful.




~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Workplace Motivation & Learning

One of the more interesting YouTube finding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

One more interesting trend is that, it seems that child learning has also adopted the adult learning method. It is interesting to see how effective it is. The reason I am exploring is to see what is best for my son's mental development. Any of you have sent their children to an effective learning method, do share with me.

See hill is hill, see hill is NOT hill


~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Research Gaps


Found here..

If you are working on original research, you will want to identify a need for your research somewhere close to the beginning of your paper. Why? Because you will want to show the reader that you are not duplicating existing research. In other words: this paper is worth reading! This is best done by surveying the current research and then identifying a gap that you are going to fill.
A common sequence for introductions in an academic journal article is-
1. Establish the field: Identify the broad problem and state its importance
2. Summarize previous research: State what is significant in what has already been written.
3. Create a research space: Describe the gap you propose to fill in the existing research literature. This then creates an opportunity for you to make a contribution to the research in the area.
4. Introduce your research project: Establish your research thesis or questions.
(The above headings derive from a scheme proposed by Swales, 1981, quoted in Bruce, 1995).

EXAMPLE In the following example notice how the writer pays a complement to existing work ('There have been a number of valuable studies of self-employment...') and then identifies the gap ('However, none of these studies provides...')
Research Gap identified: A study of the changes over the last decade.

There have been a number of valuable studies of self-employment using cross-section data (Rees and Shah, 1986; Blanchflower and Oswald, 1993; Taylor, 1996), all of which present evidence on a number of employment and personal characteristics on the sector. However, none of these studies provides a picture of the changes over the last decade or forecasts the trends in self-employment as the recession of 1990 took hold.
EXAMPLEResearch Gap identified: The effects of pit closure on women's lives.
While there has been some research on the general impact of female unemployment (Coyle,1984; Popay,1985), little has been written about the effects of pit closure on women's lives.
EXAMPLEResearch Gap identified: A research-based model for the evaluation of self-access language learning centres.
Evaluating a self-access language learning centreIn education in general, evaluation has played a vital role for more than one hundred years (Madaus et al, 1983). In English Language Teaching also, evaluation has been a major concern for over twenty years (Strevens, 1976; Stern, 1983; Lynch, 1996). In contrast, it is only recently (Star, 1994; Gardner & Miller, 1999) that attention has been paid to the evaluation of learning outcomes in self-access centres. However, if we are to argue that such centres provide an effective and efficient alternative to other existing modes of language learning, it remains a matter of serious concern that there is no research-based model designed for their evaluation. 
This paper will suggest four key issues which need to be addressed when considering the development of such an evaluation model...


~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Problem Statement


Using Audience Awareness to Contextualize Your Research Goals


A persuasive problem statement consists of three parts: 1) the ideal, 2) the reality, and 3) the consequences for the reader of the feasibility report. Well constructed problem statements will convince your audience that the problem is real and worth  having you investigate. Your strategy is one of contrast: by situating the the ideal scenario next to the situation as it exists, you can not only persuade the reader that a problem exists, but then go on to emphasize the consequences of ignoring or addressing the problem.

Remember, your problem statement is the backbone of the proposal and the feasibility report.  By giving careful consideration to how you construct it now (for the proposal), you can use it when doing your research and writing for the proposal as well as the progress and the feasibility report.

STATEMENT 1  (DESCRIPTION OF THE IDEAL SCENARIO)
Describe the goals, desired state, or the values that your audience considers important and that are relevant to the problem.

(BUT)
Connect statements 1 and 2 using a term such as "but," "however,"
"Unfortunately," or "in spite of";

STATEMENT 2 (THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION)
Describe a condition that prevents the goal, state, or value discussed in statement
1 from being achieved or realized at the present time.

STATEMENT 3 (THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE AUDIENCE)
Using specific details, show how the situation in statement 2 contains little promise of improvement unless something is done.  Then emphasize the benefits of research by projecting the consequences of possible solutions as well.

RESEARCH (YOUR PROPOSED RESEARCH TO INVESTIGATE THE POSSIBILITY OF MAKING THE REALITY MORE LIKE THE IDEAL.)
Describe the areas of inquiry you will use that could lead to solutions to the problem--- how will you research the problem? What sources of information, types of research (primary or secondary),or tools will you use to help you find solutions and make recommendations to resolve the clash?


~~~ Life is an adventure where we search for the meaning of the outcome.

Twitting Up and Down

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    Winson has about 15+ years of working experience, 10+ of which is in the area of Quality Assurance in software/design industry. A senior member of American Society for Quality (ASQ), a member of IIST and an ASQ Certified Quality Manager or better known as Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE), Certified Project Manager (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM). Currently, he has about 5 years in managerial position in charge of QA Department, managing a team of QA executives and IT Administrator, performing software testing, software quality assurance/audit and process improvement.

    He also handles area of certification and technical partnership for his current organization both for products and the organization. Currently he leads an independent team to study the software testing capability in his organization and suggest improvements for it.

    His passion is in the area of Quality, Process Improvement & Software Testing, and he is also active in Product Certification Processes, Team Building and Training.

    He is a visionary, thinker, motivator, teamwork oriented manager, communicator, proactive and forward thinker, who loves to work with multi-cultural and wide variety of people.