Saturday, September 28, 2013

Online Comments: Kill them or Fix Them?

Source: The Straits Times, 2013, Sep 28 - Opinion A41

When things go wrong, there are 3 possible reactions:
1. Immediate retreat to the previous state
2. Do nothing and believe that things will be alright after a while
3. Respond to fixing it

The article talks about dealing with online comments - in particular the undesirable (or less desirable) ones that would create a negative impact on the original posting.

Quite often, the first reaction would be immediate retreat to our comfort zone, especially when the 'chaos' or difficult situation arises from the introduction of some new elements, especially technology. Indeed, this act of "undo" the most convenient way of eliminating the new problem(s), which is most people would choose.  Back to status quo.
  • If we choose this approach, then we have to ask ourselves, have we done enough -  how deep or thorough have we thought through our implementation plan before we execute it? This is the issue with many - that I have countless encounters. 
  • Because of this 'incompetence', some well-intended plans 'die' because of incompetent implementers who would blame the whole world except themselves when things did not turn out as it should be. They only look at "intent", "plan" and "outcomes" and assume that others will respond (as they had expected) according to what's plan, and therefore not putting enough effort to follow-through and manage the implementation process.
For instance, one wanted to impress others how he/she can use a collaborative tool to do monitoring and improve efficiently. Unfortunately, he/she failed to figure out properly how the technology worked (and in fact, it was not the appropriate choice!) before a massive implementation. As a result, it caused inconveniences (and led to frustrations) to the entire group of personnel involved. At the end of the day, the implementation died and the monitoring discontinued. What's the follow-up? I wonder. What's the 'judgement' passed to the technology (from his/her perspective)? We can guess.

"No reaction" sometimes is the "best" reaction. However, here, "no reaction" does not mean really sitting down there and do nothing. It's more like a delayed "wait-and-see" reaction, with behind-the-scene work carried out along the way. This includes close monitoring and planning for the next step. It should not jump into the conclusion immediately and hence make a judgement.

Respond and "fix it" is to address to the concerns immediately. There are occasions that we have to do this so that prevent the current situation from worsening and further damage to the well-intended plan.

Indeed, the article argues on how the agency could have dealt with such comments.

In fact, looking at online comments, when one is prepared to let others comment online, just wondering how 'prepared' they are in terms of receiving different kinds of comments. Nobody would reject compliments (I'm sure). Neutral comments are fine. How about adverse comments? Are we prepared to 'broadcast' it at our online sites? I wonder. Well, even for adverse comments, are we ready to treat this as an opportunity, 'wait-and-see' and allow the online 'community' to moderate and bring 'justice' to the 'adverse' ones in its natural course? I wonder.

Trust is a many-splendoured thing

Source: The Straits Times, 2013, Sep 28 - Opinion A39

The context of the article is about trust being one key indicator of good governance - when people place trust in the governing party for being competent, honest and benevolent.

On the other hand, it can easily and suitably be re-contextualised at the individual's or organisation's level:
  1. Trust in Competence
  2. Trust in Integrity
  3. Trust in Benevolence
It is not difficult to establish it, indeed. On the contrary, to some, it is challenging!
So, it boils down to the individual.

Competence requires 'track record' to tell/ inform/ convince others that one has it!
It's not just lip-service - of course, those who are good at this act would get buy initially; however, time tells and shows how competent one is! So, to build trust in this, I think 'track record'/ trends helps!

Integrity closely reflects one's values, I think. The thinking behind and the 'how' (in terms of action) demonstrates what one believes in, and one's values. Trust in this implies that one has demonstrated this value in a constant manner!

Benevolence comes with clarity of intent (that is supposed to be good), according to the article. It's about serving others before self. Of course, it's not about serving others blindly; but it is based on values and is about doing good to others in a rightful manner.

It takes time to 'build' trust. It's equivalent to building one's reputation (of course, in a positive manner).
We need to understand that Trust is not a given. Trust has to be earned.
To start it off, we can trust.
To those who receive 'trust, they must bear in mind that Trust must be not taken for granted.
It would be their duty to show that they can truly be trusted or to tell others that they are not trustworthy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Storm in a Teacup

Reference: The Straits Times (11 September 2013) CATS Recruit C28

A good reminder of how we should channel our energy to our work done...  without bringing about damage to ourselves (that's what I think the advice given are intended for).

The starting paragraph says something that really worth our time to put in some thoughts:
"As a manager, you need to determine what problems exist with your people and whether they warrant your time and energy." I think the second part of the statement is something we pay little attention to we deal with problems...

Several useful questions that worth to think about:
  1. Does a problem exist?
  2. What kind of problem it is?
  3. Whose problem it is? and
  4. What actions should you take?
Well, sometimes, it seems to be a problem, but the problem may lie on ourselves because of our "pre-programmed" views - as the author pointed out. It's our expectations on others, and sometimes this expectation goes beyond the "job-related" expectations. It includes one's values, perceptions, mannerism, etc. of which some could be very personal. So, are we able to isolate these? Of course, it also depends on the 'job' that one is in... if it's a frontline job that requires the person to present him/herself, then it's a different story (but the expectations would have been reflected as part of the job requirements/ expectations)

4 pieces of good advice followed:
  1. Think, don't react
  2. Can you do anything about it?
  3. Is it worth anything about it?
  4. You can't make people what they are not

7 Habits of a Happy Singaporean

Reference: The Straits Times (11 Sep 2013) Opinion A19
Rarely, have the opportunity to sit down to read newspapers in a weekday morning with a relaxed mind. Chanced upon this piece of article that I could resonate well... of course, without any doubt, Tommy Koh is a very good writer :)

This morning, he listed down 7 things that make him feel he is a Singaporean.

The very first point he made was, "I am a Singaporean because I was born here, grew up here, went to school here, ..."
Yes, that's me... isn't it? I'm proud to be a 'default' Singaporean - which this size of this category of Singaporeans is shrinking very quickly! We are becoming the 'rare species' on earth soon!

With the new citizens joining the community, of course, we have to see things from a larger perspective, and based on the 'dictionary' definition of the word. As highlighted in Wikipedia, "Possession of citizenship is normally associated with the right to work and live in a country and to participate in political life."

With Singapore so quickly grow into a metropolitan city, it's a melting pot - a place where multicultural, multi-religions can co-exist in peace and harmony - what we've achieved today is not to be taken for granted! If you look at other cities - we must be grateful of the current situation back at home here!

Time for us to look inward and be appreciative to what we have  :)

Well, Tommy Koh has offered great thoughts... and the article is a great start for the day :)