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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Changing Expectations - Update

Haha... this is something only a young idealistic person would need to grapple with. Currently, for self motivated people, we let them operate on KPIs and deliverables. For less self driven people, we hold them on a tight leash and micromanage more. Over longer term, i prefer to work only with self motivated ones at least as direct reportees. The key for any hire is to figure out quickly their level of self motivation.

Environment still the same . Very open concept and merit based. Workflows and processes are super important and quite a lot of my people's time is spent on streamlining and coming up with better processes as our functions are subdivided and our staff become more and more specialist. ============================================================================================== (Article first posted on sgentrepreneur - Jul 2006)

Reading some article lately in Harvard Business Review and it got me thinking that over the past 6 years of entreprenuerial journey I have changed my mindset and expectations quite dramatically. Here are some core changes I have observed. May be useful to compare notes.

1) Expectations of staff working hours.

I vacillated a lot on this one. At first, I felt that one should be objective oriented. As long as key objectives are achieved, it doesn’t matter how late you work or how late you come in. Then after 2 years, I switched over to the thinking that your working hours show how “on” and serious you are. Precipitated by a bunch of really quite not-too-engaged staff. So as management, we found overseas more squeezed towards watching hours and micro-managing. Fortunately, we had a major firing/exodus exercise and this allowed us to start afresh. Now, I am ina more moderate and enlightened mode.We have some rules and expectations of working hours but we are also objective and performance oriented. You may work late but if you do not work smart, I much rather prefer the guy who works smart. I have staff who leave at 5pm sharp each day and we do not judge them based on that. It sounds very simple, but it took us 4 years to figure it out and adopt it as a real mindset and culture of the company.

2)Dot com dream environment

Funny thing was that when I started the firm, I read a lot of management books and was very inspired by american dot coms. I believed in working smart, good collaboration, high motivation, fun atmostphere etc. So we worked 9 to 5, had an open office concept, minimal hierachy etc After 3-4 years, I looked and realized that we are just like any other SME. Only thing is that we work 9 to 5 :) Now after 6 years, I still do believe in all that brillant people with brillant people to make magic idea but it is very tempered with realism. And perhaps it is something for more boutique super high value consulting/IB firms and huge MNCs. For us, I am happy to have a fair working environment with good people who work well together.

3) Workflows and systems

When I started I used to laugh at systems and workflows. Being an almost fresh graduate, I thought it was very silly to have such things. It is so old economy. So you can imagine our company was pretty chaotic in our way things ran. Fast forward to now, I now still hate systems and workflows esp if I have to follow them but I now acknowledge the need for it. So as we grow we become more and more like the firms I laughed at…. Quite ironic. We just created a Human Resource (HR) handbook this year. Thats all I can think of for now. Will add in more items as I go along. Do feel free to add in your own changes

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