Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lessons Learnt from Seremban

It's amazing how a 2 1/2 day leadership course in Seremban can inspire so much to blog. I have to give credit to HR and the organisers for making it a very relaxed training, and I didn't have to think about work at all, except for some SMS on club $$$ matters. It certainly helped that I decided not to bring my laptop, for with it comes great responsibilities.

So what had I learnt? (This is apart from the key leadership competencies during training)

- It's tough being a trainer. You have to read up about the company, to know the company, and to speak and endorse the company values. You will also need to understand some company jargon and culture before conducting this training. This is just one company, how about many others? I think our trainer is good and I give him the benefit of doubt that he is sincere when he says our company structure and training people is one of the best he had seen. He may just say that to every other company, but at least it sounded sincere.

- A good trainer can make a lot of money. Our trainer said he is a high risk-taker. He will go to Genting twice a year and spend $20K each time. If he wins, that's ok. If he loses, it's ok too. Our trainer is also into the stock market. Makes us wonder if we should become trainers too, but then again, it's also tough work and you need good interpersonal skills to avoid boo-boos.

- Seremban has to thank the Government for promoting their little town. It seems that when a company conducts some offsite seminar, and wants to claim for HRDF, they need to fulfill certain requirements, of which one of them relates to the distance of the training venue from the office. If the company is in KL/PJ, the nearest location would be Seremban. That explains why the hotels there are built with so many seminar rooms, and it's constantly packed with people.

- This was the first time I met so many people who were more than 20 years in the company. It was very insightful when they shared their experiences. Some of them felt they were too old to change and adapt, and just waiting to retire, but they still took effort to take part in this training.

- Almost half of the class were based in a GLC and claimed that during the 'good old days' they can enjoy work (or not to work), and still get at least 6% increment WITHOUT a performance evaluation. Most of these staff joined the company after they graduated in the 80's, and never left ever since. My eyes nearly pop out when I hear that. No wonder that company has been struggling all this while. But it seems there are winds of change in the management, and these changes may not be pleasant to the employees, i guess it needs to happen, or else it will be bad to shareholders, and the company's future.

- There was a topic on passion. One's passion on a cause, with the help of determination and persevereance, can influence countless people and transform many lives. That got me thinking : What is my passion?

- While I'm thankful of the company for providing this training, I realised that to be a leader, one can't just rely on the company to keep training oneself. The learning to be a leader has to also come from within. As much as the company can train you, you can't blame the company if you are a bad leader, or lacking leadership skills. I come to realise that leadership is a skill that is in yourself, and if you can be a leader in the company, you can also be a leader elsewhere. A leader always observe and learn. It's high time I start doing that.

- I came to realise that we are just employees of a company. Robert Kiyosak defined who is an employee. One is that they rely on the company on so much things, it's like they expect the company owes them so much more. They complaint about company benefits not being enough etc etc. An example is claims. Everything can claim also want to claim. Have anything on, first question is "Can claim or not?" even though it's only RM5.

One of the managers shared her experience with a staff who claimed over the limit. The reasoning of the staff was that he didn't eat lunch, so he ate more for dinner, and justified that he should be allowed to claim for both. Another staff tried claiming for a tin of biscuits, stating that it was her dinner. To me, the staff were being very calculative and unreasonable. Perhaps it's not my nature to be too calculative in terms of claims (although I admit i'm a very calculative person) due to some of my own principles, but it also made me realised how some people can abuse the benefit given to a company.

The company pays us our salary, but they also have the discretion to fire you if you have some violation. You can job-hop companies just because its benefit is better than others. However, during a restructuring, you will lose your job and all its benefits. Our jobs is never secured in a company, although some people may not realise it. I don't want to be an employee for life. I want to take control of my life and financial freedom at some point in life.

- I seriously need to start to work on puzzles once more. I used to love lateral thinking and puzzles, but perhaps due to the nature of my job, I confined my ideas inside the four sides of a cube. It's time to start thinking out of the box again.

- After so much training, there's really no place better than HOME :-)

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