Leader's Digest #43 (September 2020)

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LEADERS ISSUE 43

SEPTEMBER 2020

DIGEST

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Publication Team EDITORIAL

Editor-in-Chief Ismail Said Assistant Editor Diana Marie Capel Graphic Designer Awang Ismail bin Awang Hambali Abdul Rani Haji Adenan

* Read our online version to access the hyperlinks to other reference articles made by the author.

Contents

ISSUE 43 I SEPTEMBER 2020

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TEN STEPS FOR EMPLOYEES TO LEAD FROM BELOW

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE BEING MICRO-MANAGED

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FREEDOM IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT

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GRATEFUL TO YOUR EMPLOYEES? SHOW IT!

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WHY CORPORATE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION SOMETIMES FAILS

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COVID 19 – PANDEMIC: IMPACT ON BUSINESS AND HUMAN CAPITAL SUSTAINABILITY:

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DON’T BE DECISIVE (IF)

Read this issue and past issues online at leadinstitute.com.my/ leaders-digest Scan the QR code below for quicker access:

LET US KNOW If you are encouraged or provoked by any item in the LEADERS DIGEST, we would appreciate if you share your thoughts with us. Here’s how to reach us: Email: diana@leadinstitute.com.my Content Partners:

Leader’s Digest is a monthly publication by the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service, dedicated to advancing civil service leadership and to inspire our Sarawak Civil Service (SCS) leaders with contemporary leadership principles. It features a range of content contributed by our strategic partners and panel of advisors from renowned global institutions as well as established corporations that we are affiliated with. Occasionally, we have guest contributions from our pool of subject matter experts as well as from our own employees. The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those of Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service Sdn. Bhd. (292980-T). No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s permission in writing.

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From the

Editorial Desk Fata Morgana You are sitting with another 500 people for the presentation by a world master. Sitting at row P, quite far from the stage, you can also see the VIP cubicle. Only 3 people are in there. They are really close-andpersonal to where the master will perform. They will be able to hear the master’s breathing, sense her body movements as the vibrations can easily cross the space between them. What a privilege to be so near, to be in such comfort, to be one-ofthe-few. Considering that the 10 months training, development and coaching by the master will show its result in this life event of two hours and only once, the value is tremendous. The show is over and all the spectators, including the three VIPs, meet at the same venue for coffee, tea and snacks. The VIPs accompanied by the Master talk about the performance with each VIP giving their perspective. Many of the other viewers, maybe you include, try to listen in to what the VIPs are saying. At the other end of the room, people are gathering around a person who is sharing his observations having been present during the 10-month, very demanding preparation period of the Master. With details about mistakes, psycho-emotional setbacks, conflicting recovery advise by her trainers, dealings of financial difficulties and having to persuade stakeholders on radical changes towards reaching new heights, more and more people gather around this person with intriguing insights. His lively and gesture-supported delivery of unique moments of the Master are not interrupted by any of the cospectators to the show until one person interjects in a moment of silence and says: “You know, I have been listening to what the three VIPs experienced,

as some of them know my subject very well and I value their comments. I know, that I can review my performance anytime as it has been recorded by many cameras and several TV stations will air it next week with comments by professionals. Yet, what you share has a much deeper value to me! You have appreciated my path more than my result. You have had a privilege that even I don’t have, even though I am the source of my actions. Although you don’t seem to have deep technical knowledge and experience in my area of expertise, my interest is to learn about how you describe my feelings, my ups and downs as these were the true sources for my achievement and today’s impact. It’s my privilege to hear you!” While the three VIPs were schedule to have a private dinner with the master that same day, an open invitation to spend a weekend with the master was awaiting that spectator who took advantage of an opportunity to be there in the previous 10 months. Privilege, like a fata morgana, can be an illusion. Only to be replaced by another one when compared to privileges of deeper meaning, of a more memorable nature – not just to the observer, but to the person performing. Which ‘privil-edge’ would you like to create for yourself? Would you rather be in a HAVE (material), BE (status) or EXPERIENCE (do and feel) P-state? You may be in it already, just need to perceive it that way!

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TEN STEPS

FOR EMPLOYEES TO LEAD FROM BELOW BY GREGG VANOUREK

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MEETING MANAGEMENT HALFWAY In our work with leaders across sectors and industries, we often get asked about how people can ‘lead from below’. How can they exert influence on the organisation and its culture even when they do not have much (or any) formal authority, or when they work in middle management, or when they work for a bad or mediocre manager, or for a company with a toxic culture? The short answer: you can do much more than you think. Ronald Heifetz from Harvard has noted that since we tend to conflate leadership and authority, even the idea of leading without authority can be perplexing. Authority is the right to make decisions, give orders, and enforce obedience. There are many leaders who operate that way, but leadership is fundamentally different. Much of the important leadership we’ve seen in organisations comes not just from people with authority but also from people throughout the organisation, regardless of their title. We have seen brilliant leadership in action from people with little authority, from new people, from interns.

“ In addressing how to lead from below, we first note that there are real dangers associated with it.“ In addressing how to lead from below, we first note that there are real dangers associated with it. When handled poorly, it can cause real problems. You can become a lightning rod. You can be attacked. You can be the messenger who gets shot. You can become the scapegoat. You can lose your job. Some managers may feel challenged or insulted when employees try to lead from below. If they are insecure or arrogant, they may attack or punish you. Other times, your colleagues will view it as an attack on the group, and they may feel obligated to isolate you out of loyalty to the group. When leading without authority, you should expect some resistance, and you need to play it smart. Note also that there are great rewards possible when you lead from below, both for you and the organisation. Here are some tips based on our own experiences and what we have seen in the leadership literature. 1. EMBRACE YOUR OWN POTENTIAL AND ABILITIES Too often, followers give too much deference to their leaders and relinquish their own power and responsibility. With a more enlightened viewpoint, you may find that you have more potential and influence than you think arising from your knowledge, skills, relationships, work ethic, and access to information or people.

Technically powerless, but they make us change their diapers. One of the advanced leadership practices we advocate in Triple Crown Leadership, based on our interviews with 61 organisations in 11 countries, is unleashing the latent leadership, creativity, and agency of people throughout the organisation – viewing them as ‘stewards’ of the organisation’s shared purpose, values, and vision and its quest to be excellent, ethical, and enduring.

2. REFRAME YOUR MINDSET ABOUT YOUR ROLE (AND YOUR MANAGER) Followers can also be too quick to throw up their hands and abdicate responsibility for what is happening in the organisation, pointing fingers of blame at their colleagues who happen to be in positions of authority.

That means developing and expecting leadership not just from above but also employees to lead from below. That means that everyone has essentially two job descriptions: first, their normal duties, and second, defending the organisation’s results imperative, ethics imperative, and sustainability imperative.

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The best followers do all they can to help the organisation achieve its purpose, vision, and goals while operating within the bounds of values and ethics. This means shaking things up, taking risks, and helping leaders get better (e.g., by informing them of problems they may not be aware of, raising tough issues, asking provocative questions, letting their manager know what they need to succeed, and developing relationships of trust with all they work with). We should also check our beliefs about our leaders: do we hold them to unrealistic expectations of perfection or judge them too harshly even when we may not be aware of all the challenges they face, with the pressures and demands of leadership? Have we walked a mile in their shoes?

3. HAVE A BIAS FOR ACTION Too many people wait to be anointed before acting, or for conditions to be ‘just right’ (which almost never happens). In Leadership without Easy Answers, Ron Heifetz writes, “many people wait until they gain authority, formal or informal, to begin leading. They see authority as a prerequisite. Yet those who do lead usually feel that they are taking action beyond whatever authority they have.”

4. INCREASE YOUR LEVERAGE – BUILD INFORMAL AUTHORITY People generally respond positively to leadership regardless of whether it comes from positions of authority or not. Build up your bank account of informal authority by first and foremost establishing credibility through character and competence, as well as demonstrating trustworthiness, respect, courage, clarity, commitment, and effective communication and listening (even to people with whom you disagree).

5. CLEARLY ESTABLISH YOUR LOYALTY TO THE ORGANISATION So people know this is not a power play or selfish ambition. It must be clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have your colleagues’ and the organisation’s best interests at heart. Be thoughtful about how you communicate to your colleagues, taking nothing for granted.

6. IDENTIFY ALLIES, RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS, AND ADVERSARIES Map out all the people, teams, and divisions involved, and see things from their perspective. Recruit as many allies as you can, especially those with deep credibility, influence, and insight into the organisation – thinking also about who is trustworthy.

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Be open to new ideas, recognising that you may be missing something that you cannot see clearly from your perch and that other people come at it from a different perspective.

7. DETERMINE YOUR BEST APPROACH Specifically, whether you will try to get results by changing the mind or behavior of your manager or management team, or whether you will instead mobilise colleagues around you as change agents (or some combination). Too often, followers assume that they have to do the former, but in many cases the latter approach can be more effective over time.

8. RECOGNISE THAT BY LACKING AUTHORITY YOU HAVE ADVANTAGES The cons of lacking authority are clear and obvious, such as lacking power over people and resources. The pros are less obvious but often important, including more latitude to do things differently, freedom from political limitations, less need to account for an overwhelming array of stakeholders often with conflicting interests, more access to information on the front lines, and an ability to advocate for focused issues as opposed to the full array of considerations.

9. SPEAK UP AND RAISE CONCERNS WHEN NEEDED This is one of the most important aspects of leading from below, in part because it is so rare. According to the Corporate Executive Board (now part of Gartner), “Nearly half of all executive teams fail to receive negative news that is material to firm performance in a timely manner because employees are afraid of being tainted by the bad news, and “only 19% of executive teams are always promptly informed of bad news that is material to firm performance.” Leadership expert Warren Bennis wrote, “If I had to reduce the responsibilities of a good follower to a single rule, it would be to speak truth to power.” How to speak up when needed? First, get all the facts and avoid jumping to conclusions. Our brains make extensive use of mental shortcuts and these can often lead to mistaken assumptions or biases. If the issue is in fact real, address it directly with the person in question, but ask and learn first (seeking to understand). No guns blazing with accusations. Be open to their input and try to see things from their perspective. If not satisfied or resolved after dealing directly with the person involved, then go up the chain of command to object or blow the whistle. Meanwhile, consider seeking allies (and legal or human resources help, if needed).


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10. BE PREPARED TO WALK AWAY, IF NEED BE Before assuming too much risk, think through your professional options (i.e., where would you work if you left this organisation) and your personal and family finances. Have you been living lean and diligently building up savings and investments so that you are not living paycheck to paycheck and beholden to an organisation that may no longer fit with your values or goals?

ARE YOU READY TO LEAD FROM BELOW? The best way to develop one’s own leadership skills is to practice leadership, even if one lacks the formal authority to lead. Leading from below is never easy and not without risk, but it is a powerful way to learn while also providing a great service to your colleagues and organisation.

GREGG VANOUREK

Gregg Vanourek is an executive, changemaker, and award-winning author who trains, teaches, and speaks on leadership, entrepreneurship, and life and work design. He runs Gregg Vanourek LLC, a training venture focused on leading self, leading others, and leading change. Gregg is co-author of three books, including Triple Crown Leadership (a winner of the International Book Awards) and LIFE Entrepreneurs (a manifesto for integrating our life and work with purpose and passion).

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FREEDOM IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT BY JOHAN IRWAN KAMAROZAMAN

Do we have the ability to influence ourselves and others to protect our freedom?

The greatest show on Earth 31st August, 1957. One man stands before a crowd of thousands. No one can sit still. The air is charged with the nervous excitement of long-anticipated dreams becoming reality. How long people have waited for this. To once more be the kings of their castle and the gods of their universe. The man raises his fist in a one-word refrain that marks the rebirth of a free country. Malaysia was born.

To many, Malaysia’s independence meant escape from foreign rule. We were free to choose our own paths and decide the fate of our country. It’s a beautiful thing – and like many beautiful things, easily lends itself to being taken for granted. One question I find myself frequently asking is whether we could one day lose this freedom. It’s happened before… How did we ever get colonised in the first place? If the history books are accurate, they tell us that the historical kingdom of Malacca was…pretty big, to put it lightly. Under the rule of Sultan Mansur Shah from 1459 – 1477, Old Malacca reached its peak, experiencing rapid growth and progress. Within just 34 years, the great empire of Malacca was colonised by the Portugese Armada led by Alfonso de Albuquerque (getting flashbacks to secondary school history textbooks yet?). So began a string of foreign invaders claiming our land as their own, all the way up to our independence in 1957.

You just know he loved to answer questions in class.

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Why? It all boils down to leadership “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” says John Maxwell. Not some of it, not even most of it, but all of it. The rise and fall of ecosystems rest on the shoulders of those that lead it. We celebrate Independence Day annually, but what does it mean to truly be free as a nation? The 21st century is a curious time, one where you don’t have to physically occupy a space to control it. Does that sound a bit paranoid?

Not all revolutions have to be loud and flashy. They can be silent and just as effective. What matters is influence. Do we have the ability to influence ourselves and others to protect our freedom? There is room for global inclusiveness and being careful This might be a good time to clarify that the purpose of this article is not to promote xenophobia or suspicion towards others. I believe there is a pretty thick line between national pride and being prejudiced, and that there is no place for racism in a civilised society. My point is that we must be critical in our thinking if we want to remain independent in mind, body, and soul. Our freedom is not a right that can be taken for granted. It is a privilege that must be cherished and protected. There is a Malay saying that roughly translates to ‘wherever lies your home, there you must carry the sky’. We lost our home once. Let’s never lose it again.

Let’s look at what happened to Sri Lanka very recently. The leadership borrowed money from China to build a port in Hambantota, despite knowing it wasn’t exactly the most strategic of locations. To much surprise (well, no not really), it was a flop. Debtridden, Sri Lanka had to hand over the port and 15,000 acres of land to China for 99 years. The leadership has since changed, and the new leaders have had to inherit the issues left behind by their predecessors.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. Not some of it, not even most of it, but all of it.

It’s one example of how modern-day conquests do not need a single weapon to be raised. It’s easy to rest on our laurels and relive the glory days. We ‘used to be great’. We ‘used to be competitive’. But those times have passed. We need to look at the present and decide what kind of future we want for ourselves, or others will decide for us.

JOHAN IRWAN KAMAROZAMAN

Johan is the founder of Leap Leadership Academy and the author of Komunikasi Warna. He has a deep passion for helping people to improve their competencies and skills in leadership and communication.

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WHY CORPORATE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

SOMETIMES FAILS BY ASHRAF FARID

Corporate digital transformation done right is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar. - George Westerman

Among the biggest assets of corporate digital transformation is the sheer volume and efficiency of data collection, as well as the ability for software to accurately spot trends and patterns that help with decision-making. Unsurprisingly, if you want to find out a lot of stuff, ask a computer, not a human being. It is no surprise then that companies frequently prioritise Human Resource functions when ‘going digital’, As the functions of HR expand into talent and system integration across the company, the various types of data they collect has increased dramatically. There just aren’t enough cabinets in the world to store all that paperwork.

Creating a future-ready workforce

“ According to a recent survey by Digi and Vase.ai on the corporate digital transformation of Human Resource functions, 32% of employees find their current manual processes ineffective ” While the recent COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt been a huge factor for many companies taking the digital plunge, the transition was already well underway, albeit at a slower pace. The pandemic is not a self-contained incident; it represents a future filled with disruptions. The digital solutions that companies adopt must therefore not simply be to protect against COVID-19, but what it represents: unforeseeable emergencies that cripple existing processes. According to a recent survey by Digi and Vase.ai on the corporate digital transformation of Human Resource functions, 32% of employees find their current manual processes ineffective due to being needlessly labour-intensive. With remote working making data management a higher priority than ever, 21% of respondents also said that they found it difficult to track productivity, progress and overall employee performance (no, using Excel does not count as going digital).

Unless you want to combine Jenga with fire hazards.

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These constraints may make it seem like a no-brainer to digitise HR functions through the many virtual tools and platforms available today. In fact, the survey found that an


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overwhelming majority (61%) of respondents have been using some form of digitisation in their HR functions with great success. However, seven per cent of respondents said that their organisations had tried to go digital, but then reverted back to traditional methods.

The purpose of this article is not to antagonise. However, there are certainly times when systems are blamed for not working without being properly used in the first place. Within the context of digitisation, this can come down to a few common reasons:

To companies who are still on the fence, should you let the unsuccessful few discourage you from trying? That’s not to say we should ignore them, but it speaks volumes that most companies that go digital never look back. It would be more pertinent to consider why the seven per cent failed and what lessons can be learnt to ensure your company ranks among the successful many.

1. Employees and/or management did not receive sufficient training. 2. Employees and/or management fear being made redundant by new technology. 3. The processes being digitised are not the ones that would benefit the company the most. 4. There is a mismatch between the digital tools chosen and the solutions expected.

1. They couldn’t afford it

The majority of companies that reverted back to traditional HR processes cited high costs (44%). This is unfortunate, because it does not mean the digital tools and software did not work as intended. Instead, it just means the organisation could not afford to keep paying for it. Imagine having to let a team member go because they were lazy and disruptive. Now imagine having to retrench a star employee because times were bad. In which one would employers be more open to negotiation? It’s safe to say no company will commit to a corporate digital transformation plan they cannot sustain long-term. However, during economic crises, long-term revenue projection can be about as accurate as using Google Translate. Just because the numbers say you can afford something for the next 12 months doesn’t mean you should sign the cheque. Developers know this. They would much rather make some money than none at all. An ounce of transparency and goodwill could be all it takes to open the door to negotiations. Voice your concerns to them, and chances are they will be happy to give you a better deal. 2. Their digital tool(s) did not allow for consolidation

Seventeen per cent cited system inefficiency in consolidating data across the organisation. This is an interesting finding, as consolidation is one of the main purposes and benefits of digitisation. It’s a bit like returning a smartphone to the store because it wasn’t as efficient as your 20-year-old Nokia phone.

These five scenarios (yes, even the 5th) have a common thread running through them: lack of understanding. ‘Going digital’ involves more than just making processes virtual. It requires a conscious effort to upskill and educate an organisation from the top to the bottom. Decision-makers must be clear on the company’s biggest issues and expectations so that developers and consultants can advise them accordingly. Speaking of developers and consultants, remember to seek trustworthy advice. A reputable consultant will never try to sell you something just to close a deal. If you don’t need to go digital, they will tell you. Speaking of which… 3. Turns out some just didn’t need it

Twenty-eight per cent (of the original seven per cent) of companies said that they found their workforce small enough that manual HR functions and data management sufficed. They tried it out, found it unnecessary, and returned to their previous systems. This doesn’t mean digitisation didn’t help them. Rather, the net gain could not justify the extra cost. Fair play to them. They chose a system they could afford, and ideally utilised it to its full potential. Ultimately, they found the cost-to-reward ratio higher than what they’d like. They were brave enough to try something new and smart enough to choose the best option. As their circumstances change, they may find what wasn’t effective before is now exactly what they need. Is corporate digital transformation what you need?

Based on the survey findings, a safe answer would be probably. Of course, it may be the case that your current situation would not benefit from digital solutions at all. A better question might be which part of the company should be digitised for the most benefit to the rest of the organisation. Chances are, you belong to the 93% that do, not the seven per cent that don’t.

Ashraf Farid

To be fair, this may be the greatest thing our kids will never know.

Ashraf Farid had been happily teaching English until one day a student challenged him to ‘get a real job and prove he could make it outside the classroom’. He is currently a part of the Leaderonomics Editorial Team.

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Don’t Be Decisive (If) BY JOSEPH TAN

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“ Decisions propel. Indecisiveness repels.” The distinguishing mark of someone in leadership is his or her ability to be decisive especially in moments of pressure or crisis. However, more than the decision itself, the attitude and the mindset of the decision-maker is just as important. It is not just about the substance of the decision but also the spirit of the decision-maker. Firstly, is the decision made by someone who has anger issues? People seldom make good, sound decisions when they are overwhelmed with a spirit of anger. Anger has a way of clouding the objectivity of an issue because it is obsessed with pushing only a certain point of view (“I am right and you are wrong”). One key symptom of an angry decision-maker is the tendency to play the blame-game. Instead of owning up to one’s responsibility, the angry decision-maker is never in the wrong, constantly stuck in a rut. Secondly, is the decision made by someone with ego issues? The mantra of such a leader could be – “It is my way or the highway!” A great decision is seldom made alone, it is made with the counsel and input of others. Your ability to accept the perspective of others which are different from yours will indicate how much of a control you have on your ego (the bigger one’s ego, the more close-minded one become). A decision made in a spirit of self-centred pride seldom create a response of ownership in others. Thirdly, is the decision made by someone who lacks self-awareness? Competent decision-makers are those who have a sense of self-clarity, they are clear about the basis for their decisions, being aware of their strengths and weaknesses. In other words, they are aware of what they are inherently good at and also what others are good at (which positions them to be an effective delegator). A decisive leader is also an inter-dependent leader, not an independent one.

JOSEPH TAN

Joseph is a Leaderonomics faculty trainer who is passionate about engaging with leaders to transform culture in organisations.

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What To Do If You’re Being Micro-Managed BY FIONA ROBERTSON

“ The right amount of autonomy must be granted to avoid employees getting micro-managed, but not so little they underperform. ” AUTONOMY NEEDS TO BE FINE-TUNED

Obviously, the degree of autonomy that makes sense for a team changes depending on the situation. As the pace of change increases, the boss has less and less time available to figure out what everyone else should be doing and delegate instructions. If the level of autonomy is too low, the boss becomes a massive bottleneck and slows everyone down. Employees will feel cramped and micro-managed. And, unless the boss is an expert in everyone else’s jobs, they won’t know enough to make good decisions anyway.

Getting this balance right, and constantly tweaking it as things change, is one of the most important aspects of effective teamwork and creating a positive culture.

WHEN ‘CHECKING-IN’ BECOMES ‘CHECKING-UP’

Your boss keeps calling you to ‘check-in’. The conversation starts with “how are you doing?” and quickly moves to “what are you doing?”. First, let’s understand why this is happening. Imagine for a moment that you’re the boss. You’re being asked to achieve more with less and are being held accountable for everything that your team does, whether you can control it or not. Imagine being blamed for a mistake that wasn’t yours. That would be uncomfortable right?

The boss knows lots of things that the team members don’t know, and the team members know lots of things that the boss doesn’t know.

Your boss faces that possibility every day. This means not only is it slower to be overly reliant on the boss, but it’s also likely to result in far worse performance for the team and the organisation. If the level of autonomy is too high, however, chaos is likely to ensue. If people never check anything they’re doing with the boss, they will be oblivious to important context and connections with the work of others and make terrible decisions about what work to do with whom and when. The boss knows lots of things that the team members don’t know, and the team members know lots of things that the boss doesn’t know.

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Human brains are threat detection, pattern recognition machines that keep us alive by looking for threats everywhere. Social threats, such as being blamed for something, are just as real as physical threats and we all avoid them as much as we can. Our bosses are seeking to reduce the possibility of that kind of threat by trying to be ready to answer any question that is thrown at them from above. And many of them don’t even realise they’re doing it. Employees being micro-managed is just a side effect of this risk aversion. So, what can you do about it if your boss keeps ‘checking-up’?


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YOUR ACTION PLAN 1. Try not to take it personally Understand what’s driving your boss’s behaviour and try to meet their need for reassurance by giving them the information they need. When needs are met, behaviour typically calms down. Bosses are people too. 2. Have an explicit conversation about it This might seem risky, but no problem was ever solved by ignoring it. Schedule a time to speak to them and ask them directly why they have increased their questions – there may be something behind the increase that’s nothing to do with you. 4. Schedule a regular check-in time One that is specifically designed for you to update them on progress. That way you’ll be ready to answer their questions and they’ll know they’re going to get answers. If you update your boss more regularly, they will start to relax and stop asking you so many questions.

Being micro-managed is sometimes a choice Culture is always changing and perhaps never more rapidly than right now. If it’s happening by accident, now is the time to make it deliberate. Despite the evolving roles we carry out in and organisation, remember that the right amount of autonomy must be granted to avoid employees getting micro-managed, but not so little they underperform.

FIONA ROBERTSON

iona Robertson is the former Head of Culture for the National Australia Bank and a sought-after culture change and leadership speaker, facilitator, coach and author who helps leaders create cultures people really want to belong to. Her first book, ‘Rules of Belonging – change your organisational culture, delight your people and turbo-charge your results’, is published by Major Street Publishing.

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Grateful To Your Employees? Show It! BY ROSHAN THIRAN

“ Throughout history, the best leaders have always shown that they are the ones who should be grateful. ”

In a recent article, I wrote about the importance of kindness in leadership and how, even in the face of adversity, it helps us stay connected to the people around us and the values we hold. Another crucial quality that defines effective leadership is the ability to be grateful, to show gratitude for the blessings we receive. As with kindness, gratitude is seen by some as a ‘woo-woo’ concept; however, research over the past 20 years has indicated strong benefits of nurturing the skill of gratitude in terms of improving our ability to connect and inspire greater employee engagement and motivation. Gratitude can be defined as ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness‘, which implies the value of demonstrating gratitude through leadership in terms of strengthening bonds. Gratitude shows others that not only do we care, we also appreciate the contributions of all employees, the fact they show up and get the work done every day and enable the milestones, the achievements, and the reputation that their organisation enjoys. One of my favourite displays of gratitude by a leader came from Barack Obama. The outgoing President of the United States interrupted the final daily press briefing by his press secretary, Josh Earnest, to deliver a heartfelt speech about how much he admired and valued his spokesman.

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Regardless of your political leanings, it’s difficult to watch the video and not see the effects of Obama’s praise and gratitude. At the very least, we see a leader who truly values his people, and how people reciprocate that gratitude with commitment to his vision. In leadership, gratitude can often be neglected. For much of the time, we are busy planning and preparing for tomorrow, or looking at past performances and trends to glean valuable lessons. It’s easy to forget to pause and be grateful for where we are today. 1. Our people make us

Say thank you

I’ve heard some leaders in the past say that people “should be grateful for having a job”

Even in difficult times, the people who stand by us are here today, and what they do, day-in day-out, they matter. Leaders who take the time to regularly offer their gratitude send a clear message to their people: what you do matters and I couldn’t do what I’m doing without your hard work and commitment. Thank you. When we talk about investing in people, there’s no greater return than when we show people our gratitude for what they do. I’ve heard some leaders in the past say that people


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“should be grateful for having a job” – that’s totally the wrong attitude for today’s era. Actually, it’s the wrong attitude for any era. Throughout history, the best leaders have always shown that they are the ones who should be grateful for the people who show up and get the job done. But how does being thankful benefit us as leaders? There are several science-backed reasons to build our gratitude muscles, and here I’ve outlined five benefits that come with being a leader who serves others with gratitude: 2. Being grateful improves our overall health Research by positive psychology pioneer Dr Martin Seligman and his colleagues (2005) found that cultivating habits centred around gratitude (such as keeping a daily gratitude journal) increases our resilience to stress, improves sleep quality, and enhances emotional awareness – a crucial quality of great leadership. 3. Gratitude enriches our relationships One result of being consistently grateful is that it brings us more into the present moment, making us more mindful leaders. Neuroscience researchers at Harvard found that, when we are more mindful, we improve our perspectivetaking, see things more objectively and, as a result, we connect with others on a deeper level.

5. Inspires gratitude throughout the team and organisation In their book, Prosocial, David Sloan Wilson, Paul W.B. Atkins, and Steven C. Hayes make an interesting point regarding evolution and group performance. If an individual wants to be successful within a group, looking after their own interests is a beneficial strategy. However, groups that have more grateful, altruistic people tend to thrive better collectively compared to other groups. Leading by example, when leaders demonstrate gratitude and service to others, these qualities ripple throughout the organisation. In turn, thanks to what psychologists call the ‘mirror neuron system’, people are inspired to cultivate and apply similar behaviours, creating a culture of collaboration and support as less helpful traits (such as envy and disregard) fade away. 6. We become better leaders Developing gratitude offers a range of evidence-based benefits, from perspective-taking and increased empathy and understanding, to being more objective, supportive, and collaborative. Leaders who demonstrate gratitude consistently have been shown to inspire a more engaged workforce and help reduce incidents of absenteeism and presenteeism.

In other words, the ego trap of leadership starts to fade and in its place is an authentic focus on ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ when running a team or organisation. 4. Having a thankful mindset enhances humility

Side note: a sure sign of false humility is when we tell people we’re humble

It’s a word we talk about often in leadership: the need for ‘humility’. But let’s face it, being humble in a position of authority or status is no easy feat (Side note: a sure sign of false humility is when we tell people we’re humble).

And the best thing about gratitude is that it’s a skill that can be learned, rather than a trait we either have or don’t.

As leaders, it’s easy to focus on what we do and what we try to do for others. Gratitude reminds us that so much is done for us on a daily basis and that any success we enjoy wouldn’t be possible without the daily contributions of so many talented and bright people around us. Humility reminds us that we are part of a team and that, as leaders, we have just as much room for improvement as anyone else – if not more so.

ROSHAN THIRAN

Roshan is the founder and CEO of the Leaderonomics Group. He believes that everyone can be a leader and make a dent in the universe, in their own special ways.

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Covid 19 – Pandemic: Impact on Business and Human Capital Sustainability: A game changer for Malaysia that shattered the economy and employment! An innocuous beginning to a “New Normal” BY DR MICHAEL CHIAM

Council Member of Malaysian Employers Federation Director of MEF Academy Adjunct Associate Professor, Swinburne University of Technology

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The unprecedented Covid 19 Pandemic started innocuously in December 2019 as a “flu” virus but exploded into a global pandemic! It was perceived by many as localised flu like infection that was alleged to have started from Wuhan in China. Little was known of this Corona Virus then, but it was later described as Covid 19, that now infected millions of people worldwide and close to a million fatalities. Covid 19 sparked off a global crisis that threatens the health and safety of the population across the globe and Malaysia was no exception. In January 2020, the alarm bells went off and it was no longer a localised problem in Wuhan, China, which was locked down when death knocked on its doors. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Medical Experts like virologists, epidemiologists and scientists came to the forefront. The lifethreatening infection panic was felt all over the world and the Malaysian government reacted swiftly, with focus on saving the economy but shifted quickly to the health and safety risk when news and reports flooded the world of the epidemic. It was then that Malaysians were inundated with news, reports and fears of this Pandemic which brought the world and economy to a near standstill. The Malaysian Prime Minister’s announcement on 16th March with the enforcement of the 1st phase of Movement Control Order (MCO) from 18th March triggered Malaysians to be concerned on the impact and the gravity of the Pandemic. It did not take long for the general public to understand the severity when infection rates and fatalities statistics were released daily! MCO, Police and Army Road blocks, quarantine, travel restrictions were imposed which started to impact on the lives of the population. These were issues that can be alarming to the ordinary business community who started to familiarise themselves with the “Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988” and understand what is “Essential Services”. It does not take long before Organizations and Entrepreneurs began to face the reality of the impact on business and economy that came to a standstill.

Uncertainty and Unemployment

The cloud of Uncertainty due to the Pandemic loomed overhead and for the Entrepreneurs and Employees alike, “who didn’t know what that was, how to get paid and would it be the same role in very company?” Fields, J (2011). The impact of managing and control of the business from the Human Resource Management (HRM) perspective would cover the whole spectrum of human capital under the “New Normal”. We can be sure that working life will never be the same during these disruptive periods of the Pandemic and post Pandemic era. The HRM part will have to be re-engineered and jobs have to be re-invented. The MCO period have been a good test for many in the Industry and the trial of working from home exposed new strategies and changes that will be the norm henceforth. The current disruptive periods have inflicted massive unemployment. The think tank group, The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research in their report estimated that 2.4 million

consisting of non-salaried jobs while unskilled workers would make up 67% of the figure (MIER, 23rd March, 2020). Meanwhile the Malaysian Employers’ Federation, in another news release (MEF 24th April, 2020) estimated that “the Covid 19 Pandemic will cost more than 2 million people their jobs in Malaysia. During the period of the MCO the country was grappling with financial challenges on the payroll, survival tools on wage cuts, downsizing, jobs re-design, and staff separation. There were the tricky parts on the legal compliances and employment legislations interpretations, industrial relations, trade unionism and disputes management. The age-old questions arose, “How do you know when to hold and when to fold”. Fields, J (2011). It may be timely to prepare yourself as events unfolded and the challenges that emerged from the crisis impact on business survival and employment.

Government Initiatives – the Penjana Scheme

The Prime Minister in proposing the above Scheme whilst announcing the 4th phase of the Recovery MCO with the intention that the “6 key steps as proactive action to support businesses and strengthening the nation’s economy” with: Resolve, Resilience, Restart, Recovery, Revitalize and Reform. His message: quote: “The repercussion brought about by Covid 19 in the past three months have impacted Malaysian lives and livelihoods, with up to 2 million jobs (8% of the workforce) estimated to be at risk by end 2020. With potentially higher unemployment levels compared to the Global Financial Crisis 2008/09 and the Asian Financial Crisis 1997/98, it is imperative for Malaysia to take bold measures to protect and empower our people over the short term.” The Prime Minister summarised the predicament that the country was going through and thus, the agenda for the Industries leadership to respond appropriately. There is however, one difference of this Pandemic Crisis with the other two crises! The Asian Financial Crisis and the Global Financial Crisis were not life-threatening infections that killed thousands of people.

Impact on National Economy – GDP Contraction

With the onset of the Pandemic, the World Bank and IMF revised their forecasts for Malaysia with a larger contraction than Bank Negara Malaysia’s estimates. Zainul, E (June 2020). The World Bank reported that Malaysia’s economy, “as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is projected to contract 3.1% due to the significant impact of economic disruptions resulting from the country’s MCO to curb the spread of the pandemic.” The IMF has revised its “Malaysia 2020 GDP forecast to a 3.8% y-o-y contraction from the previously estimated 1.7% contraction as the Covid 19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on global activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated.”

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Local reports indicated that “it is becoming clear that the economic cost is substantial and getting bigger. Malaysian economy is expected to face two different waves of negative economic impact in the coming months.” Casadio, Dr. P, et.al (July 2020)

Agenda on Overcoming Challenges

Certainly, time is of essence and Industry captains will have to react and address the many unexpected challenges that will call on their creativity and innovation talent. The following is not in the order of priorities but leaders will need to throw in their lot, to • Assess and appraise on the consequences and impact of Covid 19 on their business and employment: • Identify the issues and challenges for business sustainability, human resources management and development arising from this calamity; • Analyse the “New Normal” and changed work culture during the pandemic in the post pandemic era; • Adopt and adapt techniques and tactics to deal with the “New Normal” in the local and globalized environment; • Transform and re-organize the Business structure by integrating practices that was tested during the MCO and move forward in the post Pandemic era. These may call for tough, and possibly unpopular, actions and programmes.They have to revise processes, replace jobs, review the compensation packages and re-synergize structures and the supply chain.

Emergence of Show Stoppers and a “Recess” for Social Policies

For Developing countries, like Malaysia and other 3rd World countries their programmes on social policies, particularly on poverty eradication, education, health care and investments on industries for job creation were disrupted and progress made were either undone or reversed. (Economist International, May 23rd Edition). The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2015) are a collection of 17 Global goals set by the United Nations in 2015. The goals were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015. Poverty Eradication and human rights are among the many goals to be achieved by 2030. The Global Pandemic will cause disruptions to resources and plans. Malaysia could be on track to tackle the opportunities and challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The country’s leadership have declared that the “country must ensure the proliferation of knowledge intensive enterprises that leverage on science and technology to take the economy to the next level”. The first source of “the 4th Industrial Revolution offers the opportunity to integrate the unmet needs of two billion people into the global economy, driving additional demands for existing products and services by empowering and connecting individuals and communities all over the world to

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one another. Schwab, K (2016). As a result of the Pandemic, this may cause the suspension and delay in achieving of these targets which will impact on the country’s technology advances. The pathway for Malaysia to join the league of industrialized economies now faced the new hurdle due to the pandemic. “Innovation requires research and development (R&D) in products and technology. Advanced countries have succeeded in innovation on the largesse of government support of R&D of around 4% of GDP.” Xavier, J.A. (2020). The decline and contraction of the GDP will be the show stopper or the slow-down for progress of industrialization for the nation. New look at Globalization – the imposition of “No border movement of trade and people” (Economist International, May 18th edition) literally shut the door to Globalization. This caused a huge mobility problem for people who need to work cross borders, to neighbouring countries like Singapore. The restriction on travel, mostly on air, rail and travels have great impact on tour and tourism which came to a complete standstill. The resulting confusion and disruption to business activities have caused massive cancellation of orders and congestions due to non-movements of products, equipment and services.

Pandemic: Human Resources Management (HRM) Landscape

The MCO which commenced on 18th March started the closure of many businesses due to the travel restrictions nationwide, although employers under the “essential services” as defined in the Malaysian Industrial Relations Act (1967) were allowed to operate. As expected, the clampdown was not only for the initial 2 weeks but extended until June, although some gradual relaxation under the Conditional MCO (CMCO) allowed some limited operations under strict “Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). This was later upgraded to Recovery MCO which will be until 31st August. The issues and concerns from the HR perspectives emerged when business ground to a halt with zero income, were: • the payment or non-payment of wages under the MCO? Whether Employers are legally obliged to pay wages for “no work done?” • Challenges and the mechanism of implementing: - Pay-cuts - Unpaid leaves - Forces leaves • Is there a case for Force majeure? Economic Stimulus Packages – the two main financial assistance under this with funds from the Government:

Employment Retention Programme (ERP)

• The ERP came into force on 1st March 2020 (managed by Socso) • Financial aid of Rm 600 is paid to an employee through his employer on a monthly basis for a period of one (1) to six (6) months with the objectives:


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• To assist employers affected by Covid 19 to take measures to reduce operating costs • A Social security protection to employees for loss of source of income due to the effect of Covid outbreak. • The application of the ERP is subject to the following conditions: • The employers have issued notice to employees concerned to take unpaid leave for a minimum period of 30 days • The employees concerned have agreed to take the unpaid leaves • Both Employer and Employee are registered and contributing to EIS and the wage of the eligible employee is not exceeding Rm 4,000 per month

Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP)

• WSP (revised) is effective for 3 months from 1st April 2020 or from the month an application is made by an employer and the closing date is 15th September 2020. • Under the WSP, a sum of Rm 600 to Rm 1,200 per month will be paid to an employer in respect of eligible employees.: • The payment for WSP is subject to the employer complying with the following conditions: • The employer must ensure that for a period of three (3) months while receiving the wage subsidy and another three (3) months thereafter, he does not: - Retrench/terminate the services of employees - Instruct employees to take unpaid leave; or - Reduce/deduct the employees’ existing salaries It was reported that the wage subsidy of Rm 14.9 Billion was supposed to last for six months but the stimulus packages to address the economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic have been less successful than anticipated. Ayamany, K (July 2020). The Report added that “wage subsidies have failed to help employees keep their jobs” and recommended that “to ensure that the money is going to the right places, a study be conducted to find where things have gone wrong.” • The Economic Stimulus Packages rolled out a series of handouts and incentives for the businesses beside the assistance that directly impact on employment such as the ERP and the WSP. This article will not focus too much on the non-HR related benefits but the following are worthy of mention: - Loans repayments moratorium of 6 months from April to September 2020 - Bank Negara lowered Overnight Policy Rates (OPR) - Suspension of contributions to HRDF, for 6 months - Child Care Subsidy and Social Assistance Support for Vulnerable Group - Cash handouts to B40s and also incentives under the “Prihatin” or Caring projects and the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). The assistance under the Stimulus Packages was a welcome relief to entrepreneurs to re-start the economy, although critics have pointed out that it was not sustainable. Similarly, netizens have also expressed concerns that cash handouts were also not sustainable and over-dependency on handouts

will send the wrong message to the millennials and to the B40 and M40 groups. What was strongly advocated was to “open up” and get everyone back to work and revive the economy!

HRM re-engineering to the “New Normal”

The various stages of the MCO have hatched many ideas and inculcate new behaviours which also transformed into new and different work cultures. In the still of quiet empty offices and serene atmosphere, without work, deep thoughts evoked job creativities and how work practices could change. It will never be the same again as employers and employees restart their businesses under the new normal. They will now explore and re-invent work that can be done differently or not at all so that the business does not collapse! • Work from Home (WfH) – this emerged as a new choice and options under the new normal. For organizations that were technology sound with good internet connectivity this was a success story. Of course, this were mostly confined to jobs that does not need tools or equipment that are only available at the workplace. It has now emerged that post MCO, WfH will continue with savings in office rentals and travelling costs. • Investments in technology and automation – this will have to be fast forward and not something that you planned to do in the next 5 years. Experiences during the MCO have exposed how some organizations were caught when the connectivity or server have not been updated. Telecommuting is another benefit from this investment. • Flexitime – this was not anything new, and many MNCs have this in place even before the Pandemic. • Compressed workweeks – this met with approval from companies that needed to achieve orders and backlog of production. Longer hours on certain days but replaced with off-days. • Job sharing and work sharing – allowing 2 or more people to share a single job. This will prevent layoffs.

HRM Reorganization and Change

After a lapse of inactivity for more than 3 months, the inevitable need to restart business and to sustain operations were new challenges. It was back to the drawing board for many organizations who managed to hang on since the MCO started on 18th March until June. It was apparent that to survive in the new normal, change was inevitable and enough time was spent on reflecting the new needs and remodelling the organization, in the following areas: • The organization Structure – lessons learnt from the MCO and how the business continued operation then with a simple structure and possibly applied a workable solution at lower cost. Is there a need for “delayering”? “Delayering is the process of removing red-tape to make the organization function better. It involves stripping out layers of management and hierarchy between the lowest and highest levels effectively flattening the structure to reduce cost and improve efficiency.” Jones, M (2017) The experience during the MCO has proven

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in many instances that a delayered structure with less headcounts did work and also lowered cost. • Workforce Planning – closely aligned to restructuring the organization, it is also appropriate to examine the workforce planning or also referred as manpower planning. In simple terms, workforce planning is “a process of getting the right staff with the right skills in the right place at the right time.” Crawshaw, J.R. et al (2017). Learning from the pandemic experience, workforce planning became an important function and it also opened up the shortcomings of having the right size of the workforce to face the pandemic or any other crisis. Were there too many staff and how did the number grow and the payroll multiplied? To put it bluntly by Louch, P, (2014), “Despite its importance, this asset is often not carefully planned, measured or optimized. This means that many organizations are not sufficiently aware of the current or future workforce gaps that will limit execution of business strategy.” • Essentials of Job Functions – the Job Analysis: Why a study on jobs? Job analysis is the procedure for determining the duties and the skill requirements of a job and the kind of person and who be hired for it. Dessler, G. (2005) This will be followed by preparing the job description and the job specification. When the Work from Home was introduced during the height of the MCO, it became evident that certain duties and functions were not necessary and business operations were not affected with or without the staff in the office! It exposed the “fat” in the structure and a recipe for a review of staff numbers. This job function of conducting a Job Analysis exercise became important. • Outsourcing – It is not unusual that certain functions and operations can be outsourced and this was not new. Globally, it was a trend and many organizations have taken this route to simplify operations and the Pandemic crisis have proven that business operations carried lower risk under such conditions. Outsourcing is the process of externalizing tasks and services previously performed in-house to outside vendors, is hardly a new idea. Jenster, P (2000). Companies are being transformed from highly integrated organizations producing and delivering goods and services themselves to much more specialized enterprises. In adopting more outsourcing strategies in the post pandemic era, there were also concerns which must be addressed. These were in controls and the contractual terms have to be studied carefully. The movement or reduction of staff need to be addressed fairly and these can be cause for grievances which can end up in the Industrial Courts.

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• Downsizing: Redundancies and excesses – News of Covid 19 pandemic spread like wild fires and it was not long before reality strikes at the heart of the business. The severity of the problem was evident from the daily public announcement of the infection and fatalities statistics by the Ministry of Health. The closure of businesses and without work and income, the need for downsizing and the painful task of retrenchment of staff emerged. These are the hard skills that HR Professionals were put to tests to manage the redundancies and the consequent retrenchment. The rules for retrenchment were entrenched in the Malaysian Employment Act (1955) and strict procedures have to be observed and it can be a costly exercise. By April 2020, close to 800,000 Malaysians have lost their jobs. Views were expressed that Government incentives should mitigate job losses but proven to be inadequate. The fears and concerns that the pandemic can be prolonged and not contained stymied by lockdowns and quarantines lent justification for the downsizing. In response to cries on unfairness that workers were “dumped” were dismissed as case studies from courts have proven that Employers were on the right side “when the court recognizes that it is the right of every employer to reorganize its business in any manner for the purpose of economy or convenience.”

The Way Forward

This pandemic has exposed the myth of job security and business security. Lessons were learnt with this unprecedented crisis with no indication when it will go away. The sudden MCO and closure of businesses exposed the weaknesses and risk of the traditional business structure. The question arose on whether the old ways of doing business can survive in the post pandemic era? Is business and job security robust and adequate when just the sudden enforcement of the MCO cause untold disruptions and business closure thus bringing everything to a near standstill.

Workforce skills and culture

There is no doubt that the workforce will have to be equipped with the right skills and competencies to restart the economy. Best practices included multi-skilling and multi-tasking. There should be parallel development to the new digital world in the new normal and even globalization cannot exist in its current form. In the report by Culture Pioneers (May, 2020) “Covid 19 will change working culture for good and has fundamentally shifted the way businesses operation. Covid 19 marks a watershed moment for the future of work.” How prepared are Industries in facing this sudden crisis? To start with, serious studies and attempts on “Workforce Planning” have to be instituted, at a regular time frame. In the area of organizational flexibility, it has to distinguish between short run responsiveness and long run agility.


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Boxall, P. et.al (2011). There have to be attempts to bring about greater headcount flexibility which covered easier hiring and firing and greater financial flexibility in terms of compensation.

References

Globalization & Home market

Boxall P. et.al (2011) Strategy and Human Resource Management, Management, Work & Organizations. Palgrave.

It’s “good-bye” to globalization, at least in the short term. The closing of borders is unprecedented but a necessity to curb the spread of the virus. After decades of growth for world trade, this spoiler came. At the World Economic Forum, the Covid 19 economy, it was discussed: does it mean the end of globalization. Richter, F (My 2020). World merchandise trade is set to plummet by between 13 and 32% in 2020 due to Covid 19 pandemic and a 2021 recovery is expected, but dependent on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses. There should also be an urgent global response to the disruption of lives and livelihood including the events that lead to the undoing the years of progress in eradicating poverty, education programmes, health and social policies. Will the developed economies, who were also hit by the pandemic, can recover fast enough to resume their leadership roles in the post pandemic era? This is a wake-up call and Industries will have to explore the development of the home market and self-dependency.

Race and embrace Changes

For survival, the task ahead is to join the race for automation and adopt as much technology as possible. The pandemic was a good lesson and no doubt the shift away from the traditional way of life and livelihood, not only in technology, but to embrace new work culture, restructure and delayer organizations, flexibility in workforce employment and seek new markets and be self-dependent!

Ayamany, K (July 2020). Stimulus packages boost cash flow, but wage subsidies fail to help employees keep jobs, the SUN daily.

Casadio, Dr. P et.al (July 2020) Brace for the second wave of economic bad news. www.freemalaysiatoday Crawshaw, J.R. (2017). Human Resource Management, Strategic and International perspective. SAGE edge Singapore Culture Pioneers (May 2020) Shaping company culture in an uncertain world. The future of work: how Covid 19 will change working culture for good. Dessler, G (2005). Human Resource Management, The Nature of Job Analysis, Pearson Fields, J (2011). Uncertainty – Turning fear and doubt into fuel for Brilliance. Penguin Groups Ltd, UK. Economist International (May 23rd 2020 edition). The great reversal Covid 19 is undoing years of progress in curbing global poverty. Economist International (May 16th 2020 edition) Goodbye Globalization – the dangerous lure of self-sufficiency. Jenster, P.V. et. al (2000) Outsourcing Insourcing. Can money be made from the new relationship opportunities? Wiley Jones, M (2017). Delayering: is it right for your business? Louch, P. (2014). Workforce Planning is Essential to HighPerforming Organizations. Malaysian Industrial Relations Act 1967 – First Schedule: Essential Services Malaysian Employment Act 1955 – Employment (Termination and Lay-Off Benefits) Regulations 1980. Richter, F. (May 2020) World Economic Forum. The Covid 19 economy: does it mean the end of globalization. Statista. Schwab, K. (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Penguin, UK Sustainable Development Goals – United Nations 2015 Xavier, Datuk Dr J.A (June 2020). Pay attention to technology, innovation, entrepreneurship for long-term growth. NST Zainul, E (June 2020). World Bank, IMF project larger Malaysia GDP contraction in 2020. theedgemarkets.com

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