Through collaborating with clients, developing courses and by living and working in Vietnam and SE Asia, we are constantly exposed to new ideas, future trends, new processes, and ways to do things.
Our Blogs highlight some of the newest and developing ideas.
We hope you enjoy.
Businesses strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors by positioning themselves as being unique in the market.
However, this uniqueness does not lead to differentiation unless it offers something of value to the buyer – it either lowers buyer costs or raises buyer performance as perceived by the buyer.
Some firms see differentiation only in terms of the physical product but as Michael Porter highlighted in his Book, “Competitive Advantage”, the firm needs to consider the whole value chain. Any activity in the Value Chain is a potential source of differentiation. Examples include superior staff training, lack of defects, ease of procurement process, rapid installation, timely delivery, and superior after sales service.
This whole of value chain approach assumes that that the firm understands the buyers purchasing criteria very well and is able to accurately map their offering with the buyers requirements.
Differentiation will almost always incur additional costs so you also need to understand the cost of differentiation. This will help you create value for buyers but at a price in excess of this extra cost.
There are also pitfalls of a differentiation strategy – a uniqueness that is not valuable, too much differentiation, too big a price premium and not knowing the cost of differentiation.
Differentiation can be a powerful strategy but you need to consider many issues before it is implemented.
Leadership and Initiative
The leader who encourages initiative shows that they have faith in employees. They can draw out the best in people and they are loyal employees because they feel valued. When the employee is successful in the project for which they have shown initiative, the leader will credit them for it. However a true leader will also accept responsibility or take blame if it doesn’t work out.
As one of my childhood coaches would say, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one is concerned with who gets the credit.”
A leader wants their employees to feel that they have a place at work and that they feel comfortable to share their ideas and opinions. When this happens they can produce their best work. Be prepared to take on and accept new ideas from others and make yourself available for new opportunities.
As an employee you want others to see what you are capable of and what you can contribute. This doesn’t have to recognize in an open manner by everyone but through hard consistent work that people can believe in. This strengthens the organization as a whole and recognizes the parts that make the organisation function and be successful.
Believe in your abilities and show you are willing to learn, take risks and challenge the status quo.
Taking the Initiative
Taking initiative is where you make things happen- this is seen as highly valued and important in today’s workplace.
Find out what you need to know in the organization; when you are particularly challenged, find a way to keep going; be aware that you can use these challenges as opportunities that others will miss. Follow up and move forward on things.
‘Thinking on your feet’, shows how you are flexible in your thinking and taking action and is seen by organisations as useful and timesaving. Employees who take calculated risks to help their team are better equipped for change and innovation.
By showing initiative, you are exerting your self confidence, and you need to be able to stand your ground if others question you or disagree with your actions or suggestions. Your actions indicate that you care about the organization and are willing to be open minded.
You may however encounter some difficulties and setbacks. Your initiative and actions need to match with the organisation’s goals.
Gain trust with your colleagues by building on projects and following through. By making good solid decisions and justifying your actions, others will see the value you bring to the projects. They are then more inclined to seek you out for future projects.
For further reading, check out this article - https://www.mindtools.com/pages/
Nothing more practical than a good theory
Undergrad students often told me they didn’t want theory – they wanted “…something that they can use in the real world”. Yet as MBA students, they wanted theories to describe and explain their “real world”.
People often think that theory = theoretical = impractical. However, a good theory is very practical as it describes something that has been observed and offers a possible explanation as to the cause.
When solving problems, managers review data to understand what has happened. Unfortunately, data is only about the past events, but theories allow us to look to the future and see possible solutions or strategies.
Next time you come across a theory, don’t be so quick to dismiss it. Even better, develop your own theories as to how to solve your next business problem.
Are all theories correct? No – theories still need to be proven but they are still very useful in trying to make sense of the world. (FYI - if a theory has been proven correct it is called a Rule or a Law).
If you still have problems with the word ‘theory’ – then change it. A theory is now a description and a possible solution to a problem that you have. Simple.
And some more suggestions…
....about adapting to your new job -
1. Be patient. You are enthusiastic and you want to change the world, but it won’t happen today. Your challenge is to maintain your enthusiasm and drive until you can affect change.
2. Your University degree is a big deal to you, but your boss or co-workers are interested with what you can do, not what you know. Adapt your knowledge from university to show how you can help solve problems at your job.
3. Listen, look and listen some more. Learn from your peers and leaders and become credible by listening, watching and learning.
4. Be respectful to ALL your colleagues – from the Gui Xe, to the cleaner to your co-workers to the CEO. Treat everybody with kindness and respect and people will notice. Eventually people will change from looking at you to looking to you.
Good luck and remember - listen, look and learn.
Congratulations – you’ve graduated...
….and have your dream job.
Now you have to learn and thrive in a very different environment which high school and universities did NOT prepare you for.
Here are some tips to help you survive the first few months –
1) Start learning. Your learning has only just begun. Learn your new job and the tasks assigned to you. Learn to do them quickly, learn to do them well and then ask for more.
2) Learn about informal structure of the organisation. The people in authority (formal authority) are easy to identify but you do need to identify the influencers (informal authority). An influencer is a person who’s opinion or actions is more important to other staff than their title or position suggests.
I am not suggesting that you immediately join tribes but you do need to know the structure of the organisation and who is who.
3) Understand the culture of the organisation. Culture is quickly defined as “how we do things here”. Understand what is acceptable behavior and attitudes. You may not agree with them but at this stage you need to understand your environment.
The first few months is about settling in, learning and adapting. How you interact with your new environment is another issue.
Congratulations, you made it to the interview beating perhaps 80% or 90% of all candidates who applied for the position. Now the hard work begins.
Your CV is a historical document which describes what you have done, who with and when. It doesn’t really explain the why and the how. Companies want to understand what you are capable of, how flexible you are and if you can grow with the company.
How they answer these questions will depend upon the organisation. Some companies may have 1 short interview, other companies may require multiple interviews with different people. Some companies may include activities such as presentations, role plays and group work. The interview process could last weeks.
The difficulty is that the Company will interview many, many people so you have to stand out, you have to be memorable. You need to have a very good understanding of yourself and your skills. This will give you the confidence to approach the interviews without too much stress and anxiety and to leave a positive impression with the interview panel.
EDCentral can help you with job seeking by reminding you of your skills and building your confidence. We can also help with your lack of experience – just ask us.
Spare a thought for recruiting companies and the volume of CVs that they receive. One of the HCMC “Big 4” accounting firms, receives over 2.000 CVs for each of their 2 recruiting intakes each year.
It is almost impossible to deal with this volume and companies are resorting to machine learning to solve this problem. Employers are increasingly requiring candidate’s to apply online and submit their CVs electronically and are also reviewing their online profiles (Facebook and LinkedIn).
Some ways to beat this hiring algorithm is to optimize your application for the technology and
• Make sure your CV is in a format that’s been requested, eg, correct version of MS Word
• Populate your CV and social media profile, especially LinkedIn, with keywords from the job description of the role you are applying for.
• Use industry-standard job titles such as chief financial officer or payroll officer in applications.
• Don’t change jobs too often. The algorithm are increasingly looking for candidates who have remained in certain roles for a particular time.
Getting a Job
It could be argued, that the purpose of University is not so much about getting an education but getting a job.
Getting a job is tough and it is getting tougher - there seems to be less jobs, more candidates and employer requirements that seem to changing all the time.
Apart from your University degree there are 2 things standing between you and your dream job – the CV and the Interview. You need to have an outstanding CV and Interview to be considered.
Your CV needs to show how your skills and experience are suited to this particular job and you must have the confidence and showmanship to delivery in the interview.
You need something to help you stand out from the crowd.
The Training Journey
It was very refreshing to hear a HR Director talk about the training journey she wanted to create for her company’s staff.
She understood that training is not a destination, a single location or point in time, but an ongoing process.
We often come across the opposite, training is a HR KPI, a box that needs to be ticked and for the staff involved, something that must be endured.
Learning & Transference
The key aspect of learning is the ability to transfer knowledge from one domain or context to another.
The ability to read is a great example. We learnt the alphabet, spelling, grammar, sentence construction so that we could read.
We learn a system / skill that can be transferred from one book to another - we don’t re-learn reading for each new book.
With the world changing so quickly, a strong foundation of essential skills is vital
Creativity & Transference
Creativity is often created by transference - transfer something from one context, area or domain to another.
Foodies and chefs from all cultures and cuisines travel to different locations, to see, taste and learn about new ingredients, different tastes, and new techniques.
They bring back or transfer this new knowledge to their old domain and fuse, adapt or include it into what they already know or have.
Inspiration is a term that is often used in conjunction with being creative or innovative.
Inspiration is often about seeing, hearing, feeling something somewhere and then recreating or applying it in another place or context.
In other words, transference.
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