Saturday, February 10, 2007

What Does it Take ?

The final day of the Management Programme started with a good note at least to me as I managed to join the morning breakfast prepared by the organiser with the rest of the participants. The Friday morning rush hour was no different than any other weekdays as it took me almost an hour an a half to arrive. I made it a point to tell the organiser that for Phase 3, please use the company's conference venue in UNITEN to avoid this non-productive hours spent on the road. I sincerely hope that they got my message loud and clear.

The class started with a question asked by Tuan Syed Hamid Al-Habshi, the course instructor. The question was "what does it take to be a world class company?". To answer this question, Tuan Syed played a video presentation for about 20 minutes and asked us to observe key points highlighted in the video. Well, I did not write down the name of the person in that video but enough to say that he is a Caucasian from South Africa. His video content is superb though and I managed to list down the seven criteria for becoming a world class company.

1. Differentiation - Every successful company today has some sort of uniqueness in their product. Take Coca-cola for instance.

2. Focus - A successful company always gives a lot of focus in their product to maintain an edge over the others.

3. Thinking Global - To be successful, always have the global target no matter how small the company is. IMHO, this is an understatement. We must not be content with the'juara kampung' attitude as the real challenge is in this small planet but not limited to our backyard only.

4. Perpetual Spirit of Innovation - I totally agree with this idea. By right, we should have the constant paranoia to improve in every aspect be it in reduction in operating cost or maybe just to improve our existing work processes. The Japanese know this very well indeed as they have the word 'kaizen' to illustrate it in their language. For now, I can't think of any word in Malay that could explain this.

5. Sensitive Radar System - Knowing the changing environment and people's changing behavior are critical for any company's survival. Strategy must always be reviewed and revised to cope with change. Microsoft for instance totally dropped out their plan for Microsoft Net when they realise that the era of Internet is on the horizon and quickly strategy's their business in the Internet related software.

6. Retention of Talent - This is what I feel the most important point for any company's to adopt. Good talents are best to be kept and nurtured for they are the future leaders of the company. The key is retention and NOT recruitment.

7. Social & Environmental Responsibilities - For some reasons, I do feel this is a bit difficult in the Malaysian context as companies within the GLCs are always subjected if not haunted by the political masters and subjected to all sort of regulations. I wonder it's the same for other private companies or IPPs.

To compete with the reputable global companies, one must at least achieved the 5x10x10 target, which means 5% ROR for ten consecutive years, and 10% annual growth rate. Impossible?...well not because this number is minimum compared to companies like INTEL, Coca-Cola, 3M and Microsoft.

Later, we were asked to derive and list down the company's so-called Strategic Priorities after much discussion and deliberation amongst the five subgroups in the class. The priorities were listed in a 'tilted Pyramid" format as shown in the picture.

Out of so many visions, contradicts, strategies and plans, we finally managed to nail-down the most important things that we believe can be done fast and without requiring large budget request. We were also asked to come up with a project to address the strategic initiative or plan and this assignment is due in three month time. My group has appointed me as the convener and we are to develop a kind of Web-Portal for members of the MDP2 to upload or download any information on management and business, a kind of web-based resource center for MDP2.

The final act of the day!...we were divided into three groups and our 3 final assignments were; to tell a success story of the company in the future as envisaged in our visions complete with photos and animations,to write a lyrics and sing the song in class, and the third one was to act as in a drama, with the theme of the company already being successful. My group was assigned to write the lyrics and we did not do a great job for this as understandably, writing a song is not exactly a child's play. Nonetheless, we did what we have to do and complete the task albeit not to our satisfaction.

At about 5.25pm, the MDP programme is officially over. I personally thanked Tuan Syed for the class and hopefully we can meet again in a different occasion...Alhamdulillah.

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