Milestones of Life # I graduated !

Time really flies!

Huff….I can finally take a breath from all the rush I had..

From the late night study before exam, intensive internship in Belgium, until the tight schedule of thesis work.. It’s all finally comes down to the fun festivities I had the last few weeks.

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Since Last Month Wednesday, April 4 2013, I can officially say that I am now Dipl.-Ing (FH) Yosef Adji Baskoro M.Eng !!

Master of Engineering

I would like to share a huge milestone in my life with you. Just look at my face at the photo taken just after my thesis presentation outside the room. (two thumbs up with a HUGE smile on my face!)

My master degree is Technical Management with focus in Industrial Management. In plain words, it is similar to MBA degree with focus on production management and I am so thrilled to be able to apply the knowledge I gained in internship. I hope in the future I can combine my love for production management, teaching and human side of productivity.

A few highlights of my graduation…..

Yes, that is me, PROUDLY holding my certificate

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My amazing parents flew in from Indonesia to Germany for my graduation and we made a little round family trip around Europe!

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Graduation Dinner with my ONLY Indonesian friends in Germany in the same city where I studied..They are really amazing friends!!

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Some of my international friends!

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We did it!! PROST!!

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Thank God for the achievement and I hope I will have a less bumpy route ahead…cross my finger and trust in God!

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You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world ~Tom Brokaw

Supplement for Productivity Boost: Which one is for me?

Similar like in a body building world as it is in our daily life. Be the best means doing the task with full immersion, focus and wholehearted. Sometimes, winning takes a lot more than that. In a situation where a lot of competitions and desire to be the best owned already by many, a lot of time this challenge will brings men to the search of additional boost to reach a level that would not be possible if the same men wish to attain the same level in which he desires in a short amount of time with fairly less effort.

In bodybuilding world, this additional boost came from supplements and there are magnificently vast amount of choices about it. All supplements, created for the benefit of the general user. However, everyone is not the same biologically and therefore smart decision is needed. Choosing the right supplement could mean a good well shape body or in the other side of the coin partly disable body.

In our daily life, higher productivity is attainable by an additional boost to our brain power through the use of “supplement”. A trivial decision is about answering questions such as what are supplement for brain power and which one is actually fit to our personality, biological nature of our body, etc, etc. So that in the end we are sure that our decision will actually prove us to achieve more and become more productive.

English: Everyone take a drink

English: Everyone take a drink (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent interesting hot topic about “brain” supplements by consuming everyday drinking create blind followers and fans to a certain supplement. There  are lots of debate about which one is the best, coffee or tea or wine or beer ? Some of them are, Does drinking beer makes you more creative?What Coffee do to your brain?, Why tea is really the best drink of the day?, Stay young with the health benefit of red wine.

Turkish Tea

Turkish Tea (Photo credit: dimi)

All of those articles and many more are trying to study and find out which one has better health effect or decreasing stress or any other effect which at the end will have an impact on enhancing general productivity. However, following all the advice blindly is fool and so neglecting all the advice.

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it. ~Benjamin Franklin

Smart decision is needed so that we don’t be like fools that either follow all advices that are coming or reject all advices. It is better to be stupid as stupid people learn, getting better and at the end thrive and become wiser and smarter but fools are unwise and can’t be made wise.

Fools

 

 

Can of Brain Toniq

Can of Brain Toniq (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

A word to the wise ain’t necessary. It is the stupid ones that needed advice. ~ Bill Cosby

That is the reason that we should pick the right supplements that really fits our needs. Personally, I drink all of them but with different function with I unconsciously has strategically decide which drink I will drink when and how much. However, my personal favorite that I always drink everyday is tea.

Why Getting Better is the only way…

In the world that keeps moving faster and faster, everyone is challenged. The constant velocity of  change set pace to an even greater need to become better and better at a multiplied rate than before. Innovation has become a sacred word that even books on the topic become hunted by entrepreneur, managers, CEOs, even daily house mother that just try to run a business while baby sitting her children.

As country against country and organizations against each others to take the lead in the competition, it seems that the race to become better seems to take additional burden on personal level. It is because organization behaves as organism because indeed humans drives it and when organization would like to become better, humans inside it has to become better as well.

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“You learn something everyday if you pay attention” ~ Ray LeBlond

The pressure that will build into personal level is actually where the challenge is the biggest. In this micro level , with the already many life problems that faced by each ones of us, loads of responsibility to improve are put on our back by the necessity of organization to improve. Even it is understandable that if organization is not improving, at the end we will have the consequence by having much more problems (such as layoff, salary cut,etc.). Thus this becomes non-negotiable deal that led to rapid change in our lives. Those who can learn fast will adapt to the organization and those who do not improve will be left alone.

“Each day learn something new, and just as important, relearn something old.” ~ Robert Brault

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My remarks is that to keep pace not only we have to learn something to get better. Getting better means not only to learn something new, but also to never hesitate to re-learn and most importantly unlearn the things that is of no value for the future.

Education consist mainly of what we have unlearned.” ~ Mark Twain

Learning to Learn : The Feynman Technique for Productivity

Researchers have been recently analyzing about organizational learning so vigorously because the many facts that proves that organization that could learn faster than their competition could lead the race. One of it is the works of a notable researcher from MIT, Steven. J. Spear in his book The High Velocity Edge. He mentioned that the top organizations that he investigated could lead their industry year in and out because the learning capability. It means success comes not only because of a good performance or planning, but more accurate is when learning and learning it fast.

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brain (Photo credit: TZA)

The value of learning could not be emphasized further by human as every parents sent their children to school and for some until university. The result expected is beyond a paper that prove the child to be graduate as an engineer or a doctor, but to prove that the child can actually learn. In school and/or university, people learn how to learn because it is no doubt that those who could learn faster has a big probability of getting way easier in this life and be more successful than those people who are considered a hard learner.

Feynman  is an influential theoretical physicist and his works is radically changing the world. one of his works is in the development of atomic bomb as an important assistant. He is also considered a pioneer  in the field quantum computing and introducing the concept of nano-technology. Behind his successful career, he shares with the world a method called Feynman Technique to teach how to learn anything faster.

 

Productivity cannot be separated from learning as by learning, one can devise a thousands of ways to reach a goal and hence increase their productivity. Leaning to learn as a way to become more productive is very deep concept. In a sense that being more productive involves updating and enhancing our foundational concept and remake the structure of our minds in learning things. This knowledge inside our head will at the end gives additional capability to us to think about probable improvement of methods that will later increase productivity of our desired goals.

To get to know who is Feynman:

What else increases productivity : Brain Tweaking!

I could  agree when the crowd mainstream shout for so long that psychology is a degree that apparently not so useful in the job market. Just take a look at yahoo answersocial anxiety forum, until student awards. Most of the graduates indeed found their job have a little or no relation at all to the degree they obtained. Psychology even included in 20 most useless degrees in a famous blog the Daily Beast.

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People who don’t intend on becoming Psychologists or working in the field as a mental health professional shouldn’t pursue degree’s in Psychology.

Somehow, I felt that the quote above is right to the point and contain a bitter pain fact that should be accepted by those who hold first degree in psychology. However, I always captivated to watch an expert in psychology shows their understanding and ability to understand human.

When psychology combined with TED Talks, it’s exactly my guilty pleasure. Who wouldn’t like to watch TED with all the inspiring persons talk about how we can actually improve our self, our community, and even not surprisingly our world. This week, I came across a video which lighten up my mind and open my view into another eye opening fact about increasing productivity through the use of Neuropsychology.

Improving your brain means everything in your life start from your body, to your money, your relationships, to the level of innovation.

Daniel Amen, a psychologist gave a TEDx Talk about what impact a healthy brain has on innovation that human produced. He revealed a study about brain using a sophisticated brain scan study that looks at brain blood flow and activity pattern to figure out at how brain is working and what it can bring to human productivity.

His thesis is simple that healthy brain makes us happier, wealthier, wiser, more creative, more innovative whereas unhealthy brain will bring sadder, sicker, poorer, not as smart, rigid and inflexibility to us.

We can accelerate the aging process with our behavior and you can decelerate it. It works the same with innovation. ~ Daniel Amen

What is interesting about his talk is that he presented about some activity that could lead to unproductivity. I was so amazed when I saw the video because not only he mentioned the kind of activities, but also the reason why. It turns out that obesity damage brain function in a way that as the weight goes up, the actual physical size and function of our brain goes down. Additionally, smoking and high blood pressure also very important to monitor. High pressure causing low flow blood to brain and smoking cause upnormal blood flow.

Exellent idea, kid with illustrated bulb above his head

Below, is the quick summary from Daniel Amen talks about what kind of activities we should have to enhance productivity by means of making our brain healthier.

WHAT ENHANCE YOUR BRAIN ?

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These powerful recipe will guide us to a more effective journey toward gaining more productivity. In fact, I started to apply some of the techniques given by his TEDx Talks and in the near future I will let all of you fellow travelers know about my journey on this one.

Finding Your Job and Your Passion, Finding your trueself.

Passion is a very interesting topic to talk. It is interesting because of its nature that is dynamic. Recently, I saw a video from TEDx Talk that really point out a unique point of view as well as delivering inspirational statement about passion.

DON’T JUST FOLLOW YOUR PASSION.

It is the title of the video. It is so controversial that urge me to start clicking at the play button. I watched it, and what is most  intriguing for me is that of her explanation that following passion is a new phenomena that people in the old days were never really anxious about not finding their own passion. Unlike recent generation which are often asked to follow their passion without actually knowing the way “how”. I don’t say that following passion is bad, it is the reverse. But it is interested to know what went wrong in our process of finding our passion.

It is so compelling for me that the concept of finding passion being put in a different context as what currently perceived by the mass. It explained that passion is something that you are looking for that makes you “move” yourself intrinsically and that with passion you find yourself in a meaningful state. Interestingly, the well known phrase of your job is your passion is not totally right.

First of all, if you are lucky, your job “IS” your passion. It is because for some people, they will find their passion LATER in their life. She even mentioned in the video that one woman find her passion in the age of 40s. So, in this case you couldn’t really say that the woman was not looking for her passion during his 40 years of life. She might looked for it intensely without ever bumped into what she considered as her passion. But what she did meanwhile she tried to find her passion? She works for a living. That’s just the way it is.

But don’t ever stop to find your passion. Because you will indeed find it, and find the right one. Because in other case, some people  will find their passion in life, but by one or many things they are led to leave that passion.

What happen to those people? It turns out, the presented give an unbelievable explanation of why people could forced to leave their passion as well as how one could at the end find a new one.

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So, there in the diagram you will find that those people that forced to leave their passion will be those who have passion that unfortunately did not meet community needs. It is disappointing indeed that in reality you are unconsciously force to leave the things that you are passionate about. But beware of this, it will not stop there. You could still find a passion that will meet community needs shown as “potential” field in the diagram.

Hence, the old lady that finally find her passion might have previously found another 1000 passions that were simply not met with community needs and forced to abandoned it. But in her 40s, she finally finds the right one. Thus, I thoroughly believe, if all of us keep searching for one passion that meeting with community needs and are not thinking about if you don’t have your job the same as your passion and you are not happy and doomed, we will at the end find it.

So, the key take point is this:

KEEP SEARCHING FOR THE ONE THING THAT YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT THAT ALSO MEET COMMUNITY NEEDS AND YOU WILL BE SURE THAT YOU HAVE IT YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

Supermarket Stocktaking, Happiness in Working and a Lesson of Variation

I am considered myself as a kind of person who is so interested on listening more than speaking. For me, being able to listen to ideas, a glimpse of someone else’s life experiences or a feeling of someone about something is so inspiring. I can learn from the story and get an idea of things that I had not realize before because I just never thought it would be possible, never experienced it myself, or simply didn’t know that such a thing could exist. By listening more, I can open myself to the presumption world that I previously held  to a new perception of the world as I listen to the story of people around me.

This post is referring to my comment on my dialogue with one of my friends. He has an interesting experience in which I had not any experience on  being employed in the type of industry he was in. It was all begin in a totally normal day. After lunch, we had a normal afternoon chat that suddenly led to a story of his previous employment in Supermarket Industry. Due to my curiosity, I started to ask probing questions that led him to tell his own experience working in a supermarket with a role as an assistant store manager with most activities that deal with audits.

What caught my attention was when he talked about his experience in stock taking procedure and penalty that he did in his time (and I believe still many also have the same principles even until this time). He told me that in his company, stock deviation from the ideal value of difference between beginning of month and end of the month in comparison with actual reality value of difference between beginning of month and end of the month difference will be assigned to store employees. It means that, if beginning of month stock minus sold product in that month ( which this become ideal end of month stock) is not the same as actual counting at the end of month stock, then the difference between ideal and actual counting in the form of amount of money will be paid together by employees from their salary to substitute lost products .

When he told this, I quickly recalled a wise words from Dr.Deming. Then, I found the exact same story that happen in Deming’s book titled “Out of The Crisis” in 1982. Deming has already elaborated what is wrong with this kind of system setup and why management not only in manufacturing industry but in all industry, even government, education, and any systems that has management on top of it has to learn the knowledge of variation.

Stock counting at the end of the month, if deviated from the ideal amount, can cause from many factors. the accuracy of inventory system, security of store from thieves, logistics in store, and still many other factors. It is indeed easy to directly attributing lost of stocks to employees for replacing the money that lost with the assumption that all lost rooted in the negligence of employees to prevent it from lost without looking into details about the root cause. However, by doing this, it is also easy to get trap into a bad system where everyone is dissatisfied, work is stressful, and at the end surviving will be impossible if not very difficult without sacrificing employees.

Actor businesswoman express sadness isolated in white

Imagine a staff that start to work in a company with a good pride. He and the company both have an expectation on both sides. The employee starts with a willingness to contribute to the company maybe even thinking that this company that he will start to work will be even better, fun and fulfilling. It is also the same good expectation that come from the company that hired this employee, because after all resources available in company’s labor pool has been filtered, this man has the best fit with the company to help reaching for the company’s goal. The new employee is ready to grow with the company and contributing the best effort possible. Isn’t that exactly what we feel when we want to start working in a new company? Excited! Happy! Want to prove ourselves! and having better a time? Sadly, this man so shocked to find the fact that even though he begin his job by working as hard as he can with the will of contributing his maximum effort and with their own heart and soul trying to be nice to every customers coming to the shop, he finds himself at the end of the month getting paid with less salary than promised and that they ought to receive it due to stocks lost that they don’t have any ideas at all of  how it could be lost, why they have to be the one who take the risk of something they just don’t have any idea about, and the fact that he cannot improve or doing anything about it.

Drawing from the world of manufacturing, this could be seen as assigning defect of products to the workers that works in assembly line. Whenever there are defects, put the blame on workers with the reason that workers are the one who actually works assembling all parts into a product. This obsolete philosophy have proven to be a downfall of manufacturing industries before Japan could set the pace again and followed by a reparation to systems of managing manufacturing in other countries and companies.

People in management should as Deming urge long time ago and yet still valid, realize that there are two types of variation (natural/normal variation and assignable/special variation) Classifying defects in case of lost product in supermarket into these two kinds of variation classification will give us more insights. If a defect/lost product happen, manager should be able to determine if this will attributable to workers/store employees or to system that managed by management. The action directly blaming workers for a system problem then is not a wise act of management because normal variation and special variation should be handled in different ways. .To learn more about differentiating this, I would suggest reading “Out of The Crisis” or “The New Economics” by Deming.

Young business woman presenting colorful charts and diagrams

As we came to know that those defects or lost of products are caused by system, then improvement to a system could reduce the lost of product. In relation with supermarket system, let’s take one defect example of lost product. Previous assumption is that employees should watch closely everyone on the store so that no product is lost, but employees indeed can be forget or not paying attention to someone stealing because fatigue which so normal. What is not normal is to assign tasks that obviously normal people with normal capability cannot do and give them penalty for it.  In fact, lost product happen also because the environment provided thieves to steal some products despite of the hardworking that employees have done in preventing it. This environment setup is management job. A system should be setup by management to prevent lost from happening by creating a better environment for employees to work and a better system to prevent lost of products. Usual flow is that mistakes that management makes is attributed that should be management responsibilities (system design and improvement) are all assigned to employees.