Humble Pie

I’ll take my turkey with a side of humbleness. That’s my feeling heading into the Thanksgiving Holiday this week.

I think a dose of humble is the biggest thing I’ve taken away from Term 2 so far, that I’m not quite as awesome as I thought in some areas. I think those in our program have a decent amount of self-confidence. I wouldn’t say it’s a prerequisite but it helps a lot in being successful and having the drive to take on not only work but a big load with school. It means we are confident in our abilities to get crap done when we need to.

For me, Term 1 was a little tough but nothing too much to sweat about. I had heard rumblings through this blog, from admins and professors in Term 1, and through the grapevine that Term 2 would be a different animal. Well here we are and boy is it! The funny thing is, it isn’t the class I was warned about that I’m humbled by, it isn’t intro to accounting that’s giving me fits. I’m a CPA, so that means I’m familiar with accounting. It doesn’t mean I’m an expert as CPA can mean you are in finance, taxes, management, consulting, government, or so many other areas. Still, I do have an advantage. So with that, I feel comfortable with most of the accounting. It takes a TON of time even so, but it isn’t anything compared to the exams I took to get my license.

No, it isn’t accounting that has me sweating, it’s Decision Models. It’s actually amusing, when I step away from it and look at how I’m doing, that I’m like the proverbial monkey with a typewriter as I work with Excel to develop my models. I feel like if I tweak this or that, maybe something coherent will come out of it. I’ve gone so far as to find a stupid book on Crystal Ball! Ugh, I have to find the time to work through that. The frustrating thing is I actually find it interesting but I am still having issues with it. I get the concepts after I look at the solution, but coming up with a plan of action ahead of time has been quite a challenge. The grades to date came out today and I’m barely, oh so barely, near the average though I’m on the bad side of that average. The thing is, when finals come around, I’m screwed unless I seriously get my act together.

So with that being said, I know where I’m at but I’m also capable of working on things. Here’s the part that I think many others in our program share: we see a problem and we tackle it head on. So yeah, I’m underwater with DM, but I know that and I’m confident that I’ll somehow learn to at least tread water, or even learn the rudiments of doggy paddling, by the time we hit the final. I won’t drown, I’m sure of that.

What’s the point of this post? Well I got my piece of humble pie, but I’m also confident enough to know that I can work through this. I bet a few others are in the same spot. Well we can get through this like we have with other big challenges we’ve faced in life. Just know that those facing this avalanche of work aren’t alone, that others are going through the same thing, and that you will get to the other side so we can celebrate in Dubai. See you on the other side of Term 2! Alright, back to the case studies…

P.S. To those having fits with accounting: To get through the accounting stuff, I’d seriously suggest looking over the class slides and watching the classes again (I’ve listened to the lecture twice in prep for the case). There is gold there for getting through the case work and in prep for the final. I think of the book as a place of last resort as I get lost in there more often than not. Just my two cents on that.

Competing with China

How China redefines leadership…

As the clock struck 08:08:08 PM on 08/08/08, three words filled the air around 100,000 souls – “Citius, Altius, Fortius” – Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger” and motto of the modern Olympic games that has inspired hundreds of thousands of athletes in the past century. But what did it mean for China, a country that had never staged an international event of such a magnitude?

The Beijing 2008 Olympics were not just a symbol of China’s sporting prowess, but of becoming a powerful nation. So, is China perfect now? No doubt, it struggles with issues any other developing nation does, but by adopting the higher-faster-stronger principle, it manages to take the giant leap.

Time and again, we are faced with the question – “To do it the best?” or “To be the best?” The former reflects ability while the latter reflects attitude. The only way out is to set our eyes on “To be the best”. With the right attitude, ability can be fostered. But without attitude, ability is orphan.

In fact, I used this lesson in a feedback to one of my team member who was dissatisfied with his performance evaluation. His view was – “I’ve done better than I did last time”. In other words he did his best. But was he better than others? In these competitive times, one has to look outward for improvement – China’s “satellite vision” scans the world to see what is best. It then sets out to better it. Be it the Bird’s Nest or the Water Cube – world’s finest architects were hired to build these magnificent structures, a befitting example of China’s better-than-the-best mindset.

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