December 9, 2013

Three ways how the economy can reduce imports

Import substitution policy

A policy or initiative to reduce import should be imposed so imports can be reduced. Businesses should be able to produce goods locally. Probably raw materials would still be imported but raw materials can be manufactured to other goods, of which it has its own sellable value and create demand from other countries to be exported out.

Given good infrastructures and communication facilities, Government may also encourage Foreign Direct Investment by getting business corporations to invest on establishing a manufacturing or operating facility in Malaysia. Other than providing jobs to the local, goods produced may also be exported out. Other than goods, products like services, talent and machinery items can be locally produced with a lower cost since duties, transportation cost and management cost can be reduced. These manufactured goods or services that produced with lower cost can be exported to further create trade surplus.

This is a long term solution that can economically improve the economic situation of a country further.

Supporting Trade Policy

Government may impose supporting trade policy like import tax, higher duty and so on. This action will help to increase price of imported goods thus discouraging market from continuing using all the imported goods.

Market is not only reducing consumption of imported items, locally manufactured goods will also be strongly supported locally thus strengthen the local manufacturer to continue manufacture their goods, thus increased the foreign importers to continue buy their goods from the manufacturer.

Governments often work with other country’s government to deal on agreements that will benefits both or more parties. ASEAN countries signed a treaty called AFTA to regulate the trades between participating countries. It would often help all participating countries to improve their trade scenarios. As per AFTA treaty, will have to impose lower import tax for goods traded from a participating country to another participating country

Exchange rate policy

Using this policy, a government will always attempt to lower its currency value. By doing this, it will discourage import thus more goods can be exported out as the currency exchange rate will be lower, thus other country will be able to obtain the goods at a better price. Anyway, this is not a good policy to exercise as it will actually lower the buying power of the people and will cause inflation.

This would normally be used as a short term solution, could be due to certain economic condition of a country. When it is used for long, inflation will further increase price of goods so the purpose of lowering price of goods will no longer be achieved.

November 20, 2013

What is Full Employment

Basically full employment is achieved when an unemployment rate reached 2%. Readings made through books and internet shows that some would define variable percentage of full employment. There were 0%, 1%, 3%, 4% and even up to 5%. In this context, we will use 2% as the benchmark for full employment rate.

This 2% is considering only people who are eligible to work, at certain age for instance from age 16-60, not inclusive of children. These 2% is actually including those who were just graduated from university, those who were in between jobs and those who are waiting to get into a new job. Malaysia is considered one of the countries with full employment besides Austria, China, Switzerland, Germany and Japan.

Full employment is highly influenced by factors of production being fully utilized in the country. One of the factors is the land & premise availability factor. Mentioning Malaysia as an example, initiating a business would require a premise and probably a land to start with. Considering Malaysia has a lot of new business parks or shop house lots being developed, it is considered that the offering of premises to start a business is very high. Land would also easy to be rented out.

Other factor would be rising of public construction work like building highways, parks, public buildings, transportation and internet infra using public funds. These are the medium where people can make use to create business or to find a job as these projects would create many jobs and it will continue to provide jobs through maintaining the infrastructure build as using these infra will definitely for some payment.

Government may also impose other policies like active labor market policies of which to protect both employers and employees. Tax policies for start-up companies will also help to boost new companies in order to generate more business thus creating more jobs for the people.

When most of the factors above exist, more and more business will grow, thus more jobs created. With supplest job in the market, people would easily get a job or switching jobs thus full employment rate is achieved.

October 11, 2013

Vatican Humor

After getting all of Pope Benedict's luggage loaded into the limo, (and he doesn't travel light), the driver notices the Pope is still standing on the curb.

'Excuse me, Your Holiness,' says the driver, 'Would you please take your seat so we can leave?'

'Well, to tell you the truth,' says the Pope, 'They never let me drive at the Vatican when I was a cardinal, and I'd really like to drive today.'

'I'm sorry, Your Holiness, but I cannot let you do that. I'd lose my job! What if something should happen?' protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning.

'Who's going to tell?' says the Pope with a smile?

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 205 kph. (Remember, the Pope is German.)

'Please slow down, Your Holiness!' pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens.

'Oh, dear God, I'm going to lose my license -- and my job!' moans the driver.

The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio.

'I need to talk to the Chief,' he says to the dispatcher.

The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going 205 kph.

'So bust him,' says the Chief.

'I don't think we want to do that, he's really important,' said the cop.

The Chief exclaimed,' All the more reason!'

'No, I mean really important,' said the cop with a bit of persistence.

The Chief then asked, 'Who do you have there, the mayor?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Chief: 'A senator?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Chief: 'The Prime Minister?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Well,' said the Chief, 'Who is it?'

Cop: 'I think it's God!'

The Chief is even more puzzled and curious, 'What makes you think it's God?'

Cop: 'His chauffeur is the Pope!'

September 27, 2013

How to create a positive email culture in an Organization

Organizations can create a smarter email culture by asking everyone to do their part to save time with email. Email can be a pain to some people, as the more they are, the more time you have to spend reading them through. Some people prioritize, give immediate attention or simply skip emails, according to the priorities of the email.

It would be a lot different to send an email. There are a lot considerations to be thought off before pressing the send button on your email client. Things like, who are the recipients, was this information useful for the recipients or this would be just another junk?

Not everyone uses email the same way we do. Different people have different perspectives, priorities, experience, job scope, interest and so on when it comes to managing email; this would include reading email and responding back. We should all agree that too much email can be wasting your time, same goes to email that is too long or too many information in it, would a waste of time for you to compose as other people would just had a glance through without picking up the real points you intended to the recipients.

The following would be some tips of getting the positive email culture in your organization, probably it can start off with YOU :)

  1. Possibly refrain from sending email - Keep it human. Go talk to the intended person, either face to face or via a phone call. 
  2. Keep your Distribution List (DL) updated - You need to get updated if the recipients in your DL really needs your email or otherwise. This should be done at least after a few cycles of sending out the email
  3. Send only to relevant stakeholders - Some people would just click reply to all or put everyone in the CC list just to get them notified on issues. This would definitely create unnecessary email chain going on and on. By not doing this, you're ensuring only relevant people gets the info and probably CC you manager just to get him notified, or possibly as he/she requested
  4. Compose a short and clear structured email - Write a clear subject of the message so your recipient would have a clear picture of the subject you're talking about. It would later be easier accessible from the archive if they need to find it back. Possibly write one issue per email as having multiple issue per email would result a branched email to many possible subjects later would result possible delay and confusion. It's proven that email with specific content is getting responded/resolved faster
  5. Try to summarize - When there's an email chain, and it's going to be redirected to some new recipients, try getting it summarized, so it will eat some of your time but save a lot of others. Prioritize top 'Action Items' so people would be on the same page. This is helpful, especially for mobile users.
  6. Check your Inbox in a smarter manner - After some times, you would be able to predict what kind of email to be coming in to your inbox. You may skip and prioritize based on the sender or subject. If you're a mobile user, you should be doing this from time to time so it will save you time on your desktop later
  7. Structure your mailbox - You may create rules or automatically copy all your mailbox to another local folder. Accessing your email locally is normally faster and save a lot of time. Probably create folder named tasks or something. Be smart
  8. Be a role model - Set a good example for others to follow. Once you're comfortable you may give other constructive feedback to help others in your organization practicing these best principles.

April 29, 2013

Hiring Decision :: Do it based on Big 5 Personality Traits

How does Big 5 personality framework affect a manager decision in hiring a subordinates. Big 5 traits had become a topic that was widely discussed in Organizational Behaviour or Management in Organization subject for years. Some would highly depend on it but some just took it as a steering guide without having to be steered exactly by the trait.

Let's have a look at the Big 5 Personality traits.

It is the level to indicate how outgoing or how shy a person is. Extroverts or high extraversion person have a tendency to seek a place and being comfortable in a social situation while seek stimulation within company of others. Introverts or low extraversion people tend to seem quiet, low-key, deliberate and shy away from social situation
The level of how approachable and welcoming a person is. People with high degree of agreeableness have a tendency to be cooperative, compassionate and warm. People with low degree of agreeableness would normally suspicious and an antagonist towards others and always make an excuse not to be in a social situation
Person with high conscientiousness is a person with high self-discipline and rather approachable, very organized, very focus on achievement, never take responsibilities for granted, reliable, dependable and accountable. Person with low conscientiousness is disorganized, easily distracted, no discipline, not someone you can rely or account to and will always try to give excuses when assigned a task or responsibility iv.
Emotional stability
Also known as neuroticism (high emotional stability = low neuroticism). This is indicating how good a person may understand and manage stress level. People with high emotional stability tend to have high self esteem and self confidence. People with low emotional stability have the tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability while showing signs of nervousness, anxiety and insecurity 
Openness to experience
It is a magnitude that typify the level and range of interest or curiosity of a person towards creativity and a preference for novelty and variety. People who are very open to experience appreciate arts, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, very curious and may offer variety of experiences (creative). People who are less open to experience tend to be ‘old-school’ conventional type and prefer not to take risks of trying new things 

How these attributes might affect a manager’s own behaviour in dealing with subordinates?  By understanding Big 5 Personality Framework, a manager may find ways to deal with subordinates in many better ways.

A manager may have hired a subordinates based on the Big 5 Personality Framework attributes, based on the job scope or role of a position, or a manager may use this Big 5 Personality framework to assign a role or tasks to subordinates. A subordinate will be comfortable doing tasks assigned, based on their attributes and it may help a subordinate to perform in his tasks or roles. For example, to get a sales person or a Public Relation executive, a manager would want to hire someone who is high in Extraversion and Agreeableness trait as people from this trait were easy going, approachable and welcoming. By doing this, it will help a manager to appraise or evaluate subordinates as objectively as possible because it may impose significant effects in people progress, rewards and satisfaction level and may help locate the subordinates in a specific status socially, and this is much easier as people were doing job suits their traits,

A manager may also avoid perceptual distortion caused by stereotyping, halo effects, projection and self-fulfilling prophecy in understanding process of a subordinate. This will help to maintain good relationship with the subordinates while giving good impression of these subordinates to the higher levels. A manager may be seen as a manager who is successful in managing subordinates.

A manager may also learn subordinates uniqueness and respond differently to stimuli and subordinate request or retaliation based on the knowledge of the person attributes. Generally Big 5 Personality Framework will help a manager to find commonalities and differences between subordinates. This is useful when assigning tasks that requires group/team work effort. Unnecessary conflicts can be avoided in advance.


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