Volume 9 Issue 1 News & Resources | January 2016
A New Chance!
1. Action with thinking
The final goal is to be useful to others and creating meaningful solutions to life’s problems. This noble aim is applicable to individual pursuits, and more so for leaders of societies and nations. The benefits are sometimes a direct consequences of proper planning and executions, but also may be the results of collateral output from actual implemented actions. Either way, all actions should be considered not just for its direct impact. The indirect effects must be anticipated as much as possible. As much as as we cannot live on our own, all the repercussion of our actions would also not be mutually exclusive to us. The real human impact must be factored into our strategic plans for goals attainment. A concious and sincere considerations of the overall impact of our endeavours will not go to waste. We must approach thing holistically, i.e. taking account all possible matters. A true measure of an action is the output. The output will then be measured whether it has attained the outcome that we desire initially. We plan, implement and assess in a continous looping manner. The list of outcome were the results of our strategic planning in order to attain the set vision and mission. The big task (read: vision) was broken down into smaller and more managable targets. These targets were translated into real operational actions. Hence the logical mapping of the output the outcome. We measure whether each outcome has been attained in order to know what corrective actions to be done. This looping is perpetual since human is not perfect in his actions.
2. Middle managers
Most of us will be in the middle manager position some time in our life, i.e. if we ever work for someone else. A middle manager is a position where one is stuck between the real decision makers and the real people directly affected by the decision. The vision and mission created by others must now be translated into operational activities by the middle manager. Any confusion by the lower ranks workers will need to be sorted out by the middle managers. Any reductions on the productivity index will be blamed onto the shoulders of the middle manager. Any blurry directives by the top management must also be converted into lucid and clear directions by the middle managers. It is a very important yet very volatile position. Middle managers sometimes do the most difficult coordination and monitoring tasks and yet not having the full authority to make critical decisions. The mistakes by the top management sometimes are shifted to this cohort of managers. They are always in the firing range. One should pity the middle managers. They may be the management face to the other employees, but they are not the real decision makers, though it is clear understandable that without middle managers many things may not move at all. Being a middle manager needs patience and persistent. One must be clear and firm, yet be understandable and pragmatic in decision making and its follow-through. Thank you – dear middle managers.
Why would anyone aim for deanship? i.e. Why would anyone wants to be a Dean? I guess the answers would vary depending on the people whom we asked. The response will reflect the advantage and probably disadvantage of holding such an office. Deanship means power and control over a Department or School. With power and control I meant the authority to determine the utilisation of resources, such as finance and manpower, and the direction of the said department or school. All the grouses and comments which we have of the previous management can now be “corrected” under our leadership. Of course giving comments and feedback as a outsider is very straightforward and non-committal. We certainly have many ideas on how things should be done. But, as usual, things (read: problems) look very simple because we have not grasped the whole story or the overall picture. It is normal to be simplistic until we have been given the deanship and “see” the real issues. “Seek to understand, to be understood” seems to be an appropriate reminder to all of us. Before we judged, better we learn the “real” story first. The haste in judging will lead to unwanted regrets later. Deanship is not a status to be aim for. It may be interesting to be a Dean. But the not-so-interesting part will surface very soon. Nevertheless, the experiences accumulated will be an added strength to our leadership. We will empathise more and not so fast to accuse. We will be more understanding. Hopefully we will survive our Deanship.
4. A New Year
2016 is a new opportunity for us to mend our mistakes from previous actions. We should plan and take real actions which will bring impact to our lives and others. 2016 has certainly arrived with new challenges at so many levels. Economically, the country is facing a struggle to maintain a positive growth. The cuts in education budgets have affected all education sectors. At the tertiary levels, operational budgets have been significantly cut. The departments and schools have to make do with what was given and start to plan for money-making (read: income generation) activities in order to fill the university’s coffers. At the research domain, grants are getting difficult to acquire and number of post-graduates students are dwindling. The labs are trying to save in the face of urgent needs for equipment replacement and new training modules. Our graduates are facing stiff competition to get employment and employers are even retrenching current staffs. Out of all these problems, we should always have a positive mental attitude (PMA) and positive outlook for the future. Yes, the challenges are getting stronger and more varied, but we must not resigned to these obstacles. As they say, in times of conflicts, there are opportunities. We must seek the opportunities and always believe that we will survive. Life is good and we will make it.
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity”
― John F. Kennedy
Written by :
Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering