Samsung Entaleq …. OR rather Stand Still!

Samsung Entaleq is a competition done by Samsung Egypt for developers.  Any developer who has an idea and is able to implement it on Android or on SMART TV can join.  The competition started back in April 2013.  I joined with an application on Android with two friends.  The deadline for us to deliver was July 31st.  We were promised to know the winners on August 15th.  The prizes are monetary, Samsung products and some sort of partnership with Samsung for the top three to help in marketing products and making money out of it. http://www.samsungentaleq.com/samsung-entaleq/Default.aspx

August 15th passed and nothing was announced.  We kept calling them several times to know why the delay but we never received an answer except we will inform you.  Ever since several dates were set and then postponed again to announce the winners. Through September, October and now November all what we are getting is emails to postpone the results.  Now all applications are tested already and published on the Samsung store so they are not still testing or anything.  We were also told that the committee already decided on the winning applications.  The last email we received was today postponing the announcement again to an unknown date? They said we will inform you when.  What is this? what kind of planning and organizing is this?  How come Samsung would act like amateurs?? Doesn’t Samsung have standards? is it OK to lie to the contestants like this??  What could be an acceptable reason to delay announcing the winners for almost 3 months!!!!  I have every right now to think that they are liars and they never intended to give the winners the prizes and they just did it as a marketing campaign and they will never pay anyone anything.  I also have the right to believe that it could be fixed from the beginning and that they agreed with the winners even before the competition starts and it was all an act.

hoax

I have every right to believe anything because I was not respected by Samsung so why should I respect them???  How come a company like Samsung acts like this??  Doesn’t Samsung care about its name and reputation?? Why did they leave this competition to some amateurs to plan and organize??? IS there a competition really or is it a hoax??  Did someone already take the prizes and we are being lied at?? or did they announce prizes that they can’t afford to give and this is why they are postponing??

I don’t know exactly what they they are doing but definitely it is a Shame and it shows disrespect to the contestants.

By the way for those who don’t know Arabic,  Entaleq in Arabic means launch, start with speed, dash, set off ….. along this meaning. In fact it is not Entaleq at all, but rather Stand Still!!

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Lethal habits

Procrastination

 

Two habits I find to be lethal around the office: Procrastination and Perfectionism.  They waste time, money and energy.  Procrastination is the habit some people have of delaying tasks for no good reason except that they keep coming up with excuses why it should wait.  Sometimes it is because they think they can’t do it but they don’t want to admit it, because it is a big task and they are unable to divide it to smaller manageable tasks, because they are wasting their time on other issues that don’t really matter, because they don’t like the task but can’t say, …. so many reasons for procrastination and the result is delaying work, missing deadlines, increasing project budgets, increasing costs, angry customers and so many other negative effects.

 

Perfectionism is also another lethal habit, it is when a task takes too much time more than it should because the person wants it to be 100% perfect, so he keeps revising his work too many times and he always finds something to fix even if it is not relevant or effective.  One of the reasons of procrastination is also perfectionism, people tend to wait until it is the best time to do the job and finish it perfectly well and this time never comes! Of course perfecting your work is a must but when it turns into a negative thing that makes you take double the time to finish a task you must stop and ask: Am I spending my time right?

efficiency-perfection

 

Every job must take its right time to finish it right no more and no less.  Taking too much time under the claim that I am perfecting what I am doing is actually too much a cost to handle.  Companies can actually lose a lot of money and customers because of missing deadlines.

So how can we handle employees with such habits?

1- Make sure they are doing the right job for their character.  They should not be involved in any job that requires writing documents, offers, presentations, doing designs,….. Anything of the sort will take forever to finish and they will never get it done.

2- When assigning a task for such people never assign big tasks at once.  Divide any big task to smaller manageable ones and give them the small ones, one by one

3- Don’t tell them the real deadline, but rather make it a sooner tighter deadline to make them start feeling guilty for being late before your actual deadline.

4- Keep explaining the scope and aim of the task and reminding them of it so that they won’t go on perfecting irrelevant details and to make sure they understand the task at hand 100% so that they won’t procrastinate because they can’t do it.

5- These people must be handled with care. Never tell them in the face that they are wasting time and costing the company money but rather try to encourage them and give positive feedback about their work but at the same time keep reminding them of the time factor.

6- Assign check points with every project they are involved in and don’t wait for the delivery date to check on them.  Check points will make you evaluate the work done on intervals and remind them of the deadline.  Keep pushing on the time factor but gently without stressing them out.  Most probably people with these habit if stressed out will delay even more.

7- Give them training courses on time management.

Sometimes employees with such habits produce very high quality outcome but their throughput is the problem, so don’t lose them or get rid of them but rather try hard to get the best out of them.

But what if you keep trying and they keep wasting time and increasing your costs? what if it starts to threaten your business and reputation in the market? what then? Needs thinking especially in the case of perfectionists.  I would say if you keep trying and there is no other way but to replace this employee then do it because at one point of time you will regret the lost opportunities because of them.

More and more on productivity

I agree with this article, we need to plan our time right and choose carefully what to do when:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57589536/6-things-that-feel-productive-but-arent/

especially the point of pointless perfectionism. Some people waste a lot of time and effort trying to make things perfect when actually it doesn’t  have to be 100% perfect.  Or maybe if you go do some other thing and be more productive, when you come back to the same task you will do it even better.  Plan your time right and you will be more productive.

 

Busy or Productive?

Being always busy does not mean that you are actually getting anything done!

“I don’t have time” , “too much to do” , “didn’t have time to read your email” , “ImageNo didn’t see your message, I am overloaded”

Familiar with these sentences? You are busy busy all the time but unfortunately you are not productive.  You can be overloaded and you can have a lot of things to do but yet you can get things done.

Time and priority management are the keys to success!

1- Prioritize your tasks. What is urgent comes first then what is important then normal tasks.

2- Don’t accept interruption while you are doing something. Interruption is a waste of time and effort and causes erroneous output. SO unless it is really urgent, once you start a task don’t leave  it until done.

3- Read your email and any form of messages you receive once you get them. Sometimes you’re concentrating in the task at hand but the incoming message could be related and will cause you to redo a lot of work unless you read it on time.  So go through your messages quickly once received and read carefully the ones you need to read now and then once done with the task at hand start reading the rest. Sometimes the reply is as simple as “Received thanks”, but people need it so do it!

4- Shorter job first is a valuable advice.  If you have something that will not take time and is very simple, why make it wait for a task that could take days? waste of time and effort.  Get all the small tasks out of the way and then give the time and concentration to the long tasks. You will be amazed that finally your pipeline is not full of yet to do tasks anymore because you simply planned your time right.

5- Stop trying to show everyone how busy and overloaded you are and get down to work and get things done!  When people see how much you accomplish they will appreciate you. But when you talk all the time about how busy you are and then the size of your output is negligible no one will acknowledge your being overloaded!

6- Focus on being productive not busy

7- DO it NOW not later!

Effort is very good and most appreciated but without accomplishments, real output , getting things done, effort becomes meaningless!

So stop whining all the time about putting a lot of effort, put it right and in the right way and on the right time and you yourself will be proud of how much you accomplish.

Is it your career, your plan? Or should companies take part?

Just read this post:

http://dalemyers.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/its-your-career-your-plan/#comment-333

And I thought, is it really entirely up to the employees to devise their development plan and act on it? OR should companies take part?

What I think is it should be a mutual responsibility. Yes, employees should work on themselves and have their own development plan if they want a career. But companies also have to nurture this if they want to excel. Companies that dedicate budgets for employee development, by maybe sharing expenses with employees often do better than companies that don’t. When employees feel that their company cares they do their best to develop their skills to perform better and hence get promoted. Companies will not devise the path and help achieve it, they will only help out by offering special packages, discounts, sharing of expenses, promotions if certain degrees are earned …..This will definitely create a sense of belonging to the place and will motivate employees to do their best.

What do you think? …..

Waiting to hear your thoughts

Do you believe yourself?

When you blame your employees for every mistake, do you really believe yourself? is it their fault all the time or did you do something wrong that caused the problem and you don’t want to admit it?

In this article statistics are shocking:

http://www.management-issues.com/2007/8/31/research/us-managers-too-quick-to-blame-others.asp

The study of 700 people by Florida State University’s College of Business found that nearly a third of workers in the past 12 months had experienced the “silent treatment” from their manager or supervisor.

This rose to 37 per cent who said their manager had failed to give credit when it was due, with a similar percentage complaining their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.

Nearly four of 10 said their supervisor had failed to keep his or her promises and a nearly a quarter said he or she had invaded their privacy.”

Be honest with yourself and judge, do you really do these mistakes? I believe that often employees under-perform because their managers fail to get the best out of them.

Check out this list and if you do any of that, you need to erect your path and make a new start with your employees:

1- Do you promise and fail to fulfil?

2- Do you fail to acknowledge achievements and good results?

3- Do you focus your recognition on a couple of super performers and supress the rest?

4- Do you fail to have a clear performance evaluation criteria and methodology?

5- Do you micromanage?

6- Do you fail to offer an effective training and development program?

7- Do you fail to become a role model in time management, planning and throughput?

8- Do you fail to win the trust and respect of your employees?

If you have even a one yes from the list then you need to work on yourself before judging your employees.

Bad managers and their effect on productivity – Survey results

In my last post, I was claiming that bad managers cause employee demotivation and hence decrease productivity and increase turnover rates.  I conducted an online Survey and here are the results:

226 people participated in answering the survey and the outcome was:

1- In answering the question of “If you had the bad manager described in question 1 would you think of resigning?” – 67.3% answered YES

2- In answering the question “Do you think you can give your full potential and be productive with a bad manager” – 80.5% answered NO

3- In answering the question of “Assuming you work with a bad manager now will you think of quitting” – 67.3% answered YES

4- In answering the question “Do you personally think that a bad manager can negatively affect productivity and increase turnover rates” – 97.3% answered YES

5- In answering the question “If you have a bad manager and you don’t quit it is because…” – 50.5% answered can’t find a better opportunity and 42.7% answered can’t find another job with the same or better salary.

6- Amazingly the answers to the question “How many bad managers did you encounter in your career” were:

52.3% said 2 -5

32.3% said only one

3.2% said 6 – 10

0.5% said more

and the ones who said None were 11.8%

This means that there are a lot of bad managers out there!

Below are the results in graphs:

Steve Jobs Inspirational Quotes

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Agate Publishing to tell me a about a book titled “I, Steve” – Edited by George Beahm.  It is all about listing Steve Jobs own words in different occasions.  They compiled his quotations on Branding, Recruiting, Being The Best, Focus, Decision making, Death, Employee Potential, Excellence, Focus, Grace Under Pressure, Inspiration, Strategy, Success,…..and many other topics on different events. There is also a section at the end stating all milestones in his life from the year he was born 1955 until 2011.

I think it is a good idea to compile Steve’s words to keep remembering and learning from them.

 

The book is due to be released by November 21 and I was lucky to receive an advance reader copy.  I will list here a couple of Steve Jobs’ great quotations as mentioned in the book.

Everything he says shows how a great leader he was, if he really practiced what he preached.

Reprinted with permission from the forthcoming I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words, edited by George Beahm, Agate B2, November 2011.

 

 

 

1- About Employees:

All we are is our ideas, or people. That’s what keeps us going to work in the morning, to hang around these great bright people. I’ve always thought that recruiting is the heart and soul of what we do.

2- Being The Best

We’re not going to be the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best.

3- Beyond Recruiting:

It’s not just recruiting. After recruiting, it’s building an environment that makes people feel they are surrounded by equally talented people and their work is bigger than they are. The feeling that the work will have tremendous influence and is part of a strong, clear vision—all those things. Recruiting usually requires more than you alone can do, so I’ve found that collaborative recruiting and having a culture that recruits the “A” players is the best way. Any interviewee will speak with at least a dozen people in several areas of this
company, not just those in the area that he would work in. That way a lot of your “A” employees get broad exposure to the company, and—by having a company culture that supports them if they feel strongly enough—the current employees can veto a candidate.

4- Inspiration

As you’ve pointed out I’ve helped with more computers in more schools than anybody else in the world and I’m absolutely convinced that is by no means the most important thing. The most important thing is a person. A person who incites and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.

5- Teamwork

In our business, one person can’t do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you. You have a responsibility of integrity of work to that team. Everybody does try to turn out the best work that they can.

6- Dent in the Universe

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful—that’s what matters to me

——–

You’ll enjoy reading Steve’s so many quotes on different occasions but most importantly we have to learn from them.  A true leader creates leaders and it is obvious from his beliefs in recruitment, inspiration and motivation that he was keen on creating leaders and that he never did anything to be one of the crowd but rather to be the best.

I hope CEOs, HR managers, Chiefs and all decision makers realize the importance of “People”.  If you read Steve’s different quotes you’ll find him always stressing on the “People” factor.  Choose the right people and then inspire and motivate and you’ll get the best out of them and hence achieve your goals.

Unfortunately a lot of managers still believe that bossing around is the right way to get things done.  Some people take the recruitment process lightly or hire only by credentials.  Those forget that you have to choose the person who can culturally fit in your organization if you want to excel.

Now it is clearer why Apple Excelled!

A leader without a title!

I just retweeted this saying by Simon Sinek (@simonsinek):

” A leader without a title is better than a title without the ability to lead.”  and it inspired me to write the post.

Thinking about it, it is very true.  It is not important to have a title as long as you have the talent, qualifications and skills of a true leader.  A true leader acts all the time, inspires and accomplishes.  A true leader doesn’t wait for titles because he is busy inspiring and getting things done.

A lot of people have titles but unfortunately they are unable to lead and what do we get? complete failure.  I was on vacation about a week ago and we went to reserve a day-use in one of the hotels in the north coast for my daughter to use the swimming pool.  The employee who is supposed to collect the money and issue the receipt, came and the first thing he said is “Where is the money?” I was shocked. Is this a way to treat your customers? does he have a Boss who teaches him how to treat his customers? Obviously he was never taught or inspired by a true leader or he wouldn’t have dealt with us this way.  This means that all his managers up to the owner can’t lead although they have titles!

Another unfortunate example is major-general Mansour el Essawy- Minister of Interior.  He has a huge responsibility on his shoulders and yet he failed to deliver so far.  I think it is because he can’t lead, he doesn’t have leadership skills.  We all do respect him for accepting the job in such tough times.  We all do know that he has good intentions and he wants to reform but unfortunately he doesn’t have what it takes. Until now we haven’t seen a clear reform plan inside the ministry of interior and we still suffer from instability and thugs in some areas are still terrorizing people.   Still some of the officers and soldiers are not doing their job at all or are not doing it right.  In any case this shows that their leader was not able to enforce his new rules, not able to inspire them to change their ways and attitudes and didn’t put a clear timed plan for fixing and reform and this is why things are taking too long to settle-in.

On the other hand we see a good example of an Egyptian citizen who has a clothes manufacturing factory, coming up with a good idea to help street vendors have a legal existence and at the same time overcome the problem of them blocking the streets and causing traffic jams or bottlenecks and making the streets look messy.  It is a good idea that solves a lot of problems and makes these people have a living legally.  The brilliant part is he was able to collect signatures from thousands of street vendors that they agree to the idea and are willing to implement although it will cost them some money.  They believed in him and he was able to convince them of the idea that will resolve an issue that we have in the streets (for the good of everyone) and at the same time make them a syndicate that will make their existence legal and will dedicate a place for them to sell at.   Now that is a true leader without a title.  He was able to make people trust him and believe in him and gather around him to reach a certain goal.

Egypt now needs a lot of true leaders who can inspire and accomplish without waiting for titles or power positions.