Monday, April 23, 2007

Management Development Programme: Phase 4 - Day 1

From April 23rd to April 27th, will be attending Phase 4 of the Management Development Program held at Residence Hotel in Kajang. This time, two modules were scheduled to be held during the the 5-day programme. First module from 23-25th April will cover the topic on "Essential Management Towards Result" and the second module scheduled for 26th-27th April will cover the topic on "Process Improvement".

The first module on "Essential Management Towards" result was presented by Mr Chan Leck, a 66 year old MIM Certified Professional Trainer. Mr. Chan has more than 33 years of experience in the corporate world. He retired as ASEAN Director of Operations and Board Member of Johnson & Johnson Malaysia. His area of management training include Leadership, Strategic planning, Developing Management Skill, Supply Chain Management, Purchasing Management and Logistic Management. He has vast experience in management skill training and has conducted extensive training programme, both locally and overseas. Mr. Chan holds an MBA degree in General Management from University of Hull (UK)and various other qualifications.

Mr. Chan divided his 3-day modules into 9 sub-modules which include the following.

1. Management Skills and Managerial Effectiveness
2. Building Trust
3. Communicating Effectively
4. Decision Making
5. Managing Conflict
6. Gaining Power and Influence
7. Motivating Others
8. Creating High Performance Teams
9. Developing Self Awareness

The nine items listed above are the key attributes towards successful management. Management is about getting the most output with the least input. Modern management thinking listed the required skill for managerial competence as planning, organising, leading and controlling skills. These skills are essential for effective management.

On the first day of his module, Mr. Chan also described in length the sub-module about trust. Trust is essential as it contributes to individual and organizational effectiveness. Trust is a willingness to ascribe good intentions to and have confidence in the words and actions of other people, Cook&Wall. Trust is essential as it can increase the speed and efficiency of decision making. It can also reduce conflict and costs of negotiation besides improving team performance. Trust also promotes organizational change and helps organizations survive crisis.

Trust is based on our perceptions of a person's trustworthiness. We are more likely to believe someone is trustworthy when they belong to the same identity and organizational groups that we belong to. In addition, we are more likely to rely on stereotypes when we are under time pressure. Our perceptions about trustworthiness of a person may turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

The problems with trusting too few people is that we may become over-dependent on thier advice and interpretations. In addition, we may also fail to reach out to others who can provide a more complex view of situations. Trust in any organization must be managed properly. Some signs of mistrust is festering in any organization are lack of communication among co-workers, employer avoiding giving bad news, avoidance of meetings, deteriorating morale, increase absenteeism and blaming culture.

One way to build up trust among employees are through effective communication. Common communication problems include, words mean different things to different people, the initiation of a message provides no assurance it has been received and communication often become distorted as they are transmitted. Most important skill in communication is listening and in particular, active listening. In Malaysia, emphasis placed upon the basis of communication skills leaning more towards speaking well. There is insufficient emphasis placed on listening skill in school. Information overload results not only in the ability to block out irrelevant things but also relevant things. Mr. Chan also discussed the six steps to improve listening skills, which he called CARESS.

Mr Chan also made us involved in a management game called Winter Survival. The game was basically design to see the impact of individual and team efforts to survive a harsh winter condition after a plan crash. It is a tricky game, but it taught us a lot about good team effort and the need to trust others during death and alive situation. Day 1 was a good session and I attributed the lively and animated style of Mr Chan in class for such an invigorating experience....

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