Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Strategic Thinking - An Understatement ?

This morning was the third day of the MDP and the first day for the Strategic Thinking, Planning and Implementation module. The instructor for this module is Tuan Syed Hamid Alhabshi who will be taking charge of our class until Friday, which will also mark the end of Phase 2 of the management course.
A bit on Tuan Syed Alhabshi, he is a very experienced person and well qualified to talk about management topics as he used to hold many important positions in the local and multi-national companies in Malaysia. Tuan Syed started his career in 1972 with Lever Brothers (M) before joining other companies such as Dutch Baby, Amway Malaysia and CitiBank. He was the Senior GM for the NST Group before setting up his own consultancy company in 1992, during time he has consulted with 40 different organisations in various fields including Strategic Thinking, Team Building, Management Development and many other specific arenas. Tuan Syed Hamid is also trained in the Technology of Participation (ToP@) in the USA and other countries.

The class started with an ice-breaker session on which Tuan Syed asked everyone to introduce the person sitting next to each innovative way I would say to start the ice-breaker session. After a good introductory session, Tuan Syed started the class with the description of 'Trend Analysis' using the famous Japanese painting of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa (Fugaku sanjurokkei: Kanagawaoki namiura).

The essence of a trend can be described by looking at the formation and finishing of a wave, from the so-called boundary ideas, to emerging ideas, to the established ideas and finally the dying ideas. What is a boundary idea years ago, for instance the transparencies projector, is now a dying idea with the emergence of the LCD projectors and this also applies to many other things including management tools.

Tuan Syed also talked in length about the importance to have positive vision and how it can impact our future. Visions are not always expressed in financial numbers. The class was also shown a video presentation on the meaning of vision and what I can understand from watching the video is that visions are actually realizable only if the following can be attained.

1. Someone must lead the Vision for a vision must have a leader. 2. A vision must be shared and must have supporters.
3. A vision will remain a dream until a comprehensive and detail implementation plan is formulated. Everyone supporting the vision must know how to contribute.
4. A vision must be positive and aspiring, for the vision must be worth the effort.

One must remember that Value cannot give direction but a Vision can. If a journey is without a direction, only the road will lead the way. We were also asked to list the vision of our company for the next 5 years. I thought everyone did a good job on this as we were able to produce the list. Everyone seems to know and able to visualise what our company will be in the next 5 years. But the question remains...can we do it ?

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