“Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization" and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.”, - Wikipedia.
What do you want? This is one “bloody” honest question one must answer. Maslow said if you are damn poor, you only one to be fed but when you are damn successful, you want to be “self-actualization”. Meaning, your wants change according to time. You must have a reasonable want that you may think you can achieve within your means. You cannot possible have wants that is beyond your means. List out this wants in a list.
What do you don’t want? If you cannot list your wants, at least list what you do not want. It is much simpler and it is the boundary that you do not wish to cross. By completing this task, you will be able to know for sure of what you want…
I don’t know what I don’t want? This is drastic. If you don’t know what you don’t want or by the same token don’t know what you want, just stay put with what you are doing right now, currently and vow to do it better. That is the minimum consciousness you need to have.
These wants when it is structured, organized and listed or itemized form the basis of needs. The architect calls it as the Client’s Brief. It is therefore the very intention of any model of production. It is a component of the trilogy of Intention – Action – Production.
The entire model of production of 1MDB is deeply rooted in the American model of “spending beyond your mean” and the Hollywood movie, “The Wolf of Wall Streets” truly embodied the essence of such, where if you need money, just print more “I owe you” bonds. After all, through the instrument of government’s guarantee, it is the public and the future generation of Malaysian that is going to pay for the sins of their “forefathers”. May God has mercy on us.
KLRCA (Kuala Lumpur Regional Center of Arbitration) is one of the government agency overlooking the matter of Arbitration that was less known for what they stood for until quite recently. With the newly minted Director who acted as the CEO, for the first phase, he wiped out completely any residues of its former regime from the staff to its Logo, upgrading the premises from a run-down 1970s office to its corporate look with top of the art conference and meeting facilities, brand new tagline with brand new vision and mission. Not forgetting with larger budget at his disposal from the Cabinet. The jet-setter Director is on his way to market KLRCA as the top regional center for Arbitration potentially overtaking Singapore. With such a high profile, he requires minions to work with him, if it is not - for him.
For the second phase, he brought in external talents to champion a cause. It has been for more than a decade, within the building industry, to adopt a highly controversial approach in law that state – Pay First, Argue Later! In fact this has been a new tagline for KLRCA, where with the new enforced CIPAA 2012 (Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012) since 15 April 2014, anyone within the construction industries including suppliers and consultants have had the avenue for mandatory Adjudication to claim for outstanding payment for work completed, within a relatively short period of 100 days. The outcome of such law has brought KLRCA to a whole new chapters and never in its history has KLRCA achieved such prominent role. With such high power lobbying, he was eventually decorated by the Supreme Ruler of the country.
With this new Act, lawyers were said to have great funs in court, arguing on its merits and demerits until the cow goes home at the expanse of the industrial players. With more jobs for the lawyers and arbitrators as adjudicators going all round, the retinue of minions grew in leaps and folds. KLRCA even took a bolder stance to increase the Adjudicator Fee, feeling that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. It is time to see what has been installed for the third phase before he retires and move on to a higher pedestal.
On CIPAA, it will be great to note that in regardless of the contract one has entered into, the avenue to collect the unpaid fee, contract sum or due payment for work done through adjudication has been provided for by KLRCA within 100 days for lower fee compared to arbitration or litigation. Any awards issued by the adjudicator is enforceable in law. It placed the concept of “pay when paid” principle into oblivion and sub-contractors can now seek payment directly from the principal.
The unfortunate event of MAS Airline Company with the missing MH307 and the mishap of MH17 has made the company broken beyond repair. It is already making huge losses prior to these 2 unfortunate events. Like most of the GLC companies, unlike our neighboring SIA and our homegrown AirAsia are reaping huge profits, such heavy losses occurred under the purview of the largest shareholder – the sovereign fund of Khazanah. The question is what make 100% ownership by Khazanah would make any different? Well, they may probably rope in a new CEO and this is what he may do taking reference to what a situation may have been in private entity.
The Observation phase (the 1st Four months) – He will give a throughout analysis of the situation and establish himself as the knight on silver armor. Salvage whatever salvageable. Identifying what are the assets and liabilities. Rock the establishment to the core shaking up status quo, placing the previous management on the chopping block under CBT. He will suddenly stop payment to all non-productive supplies that the earlier management has entered upon. Renovate his new office and bought himself a new car under company expanses. Recruit his panel of Yes-man and he will continue to strive the value of its share further downward so that it reaches the ocean floor. On top of such, he will buy these shares in an under value state with bank facilities and he sits in his make-shift office, usually a 5 stars hotel lobby and start dishing out statements of how he is going to make a comeback to the media. Follow-up by luncheons and dinners with bankers, lobbyist, political agents and proxies, striking deals after deals to strategize short and midterms plan to dissect the valuable leftovers, pawn the liabilities, camouflage its commitments and so forth. The immediate goal is to make the company off from the red.
The Execution phase (the 2nd Four months) – He will disposes some and if not all the valuable assets the company has to 3rd party (could also be his benefactors) and reported to the shareholders as debt management. He will also enter into rearrangement with bankers with these potential sales for more bridging facilities that can bring him through over his tenure as the CEO. Such deal makings may and may not materialize in kick-backs and so forth. He may also renegotiate terms with the existing suppliers, who are by such time may have to resort to legal recourse, with a win-win situation including bringing in his preferred suppliers, swapping contracts. He will undoubtedly recruit new talents, motivate existing work force, draw up a new plans that cover every aspect of the company as his mission and vision statement. Continue to be the media darlings so that his effort not only being implemented but seen to be implemented with new ventures steam rolling out from the company. Such selling of assets is rated the most effective means to bring the company back to the blue and the question is how many assets can one disposed?
The Evaluation phase (the 3rd Four months) – It is time to reap his benefits. As the value of shares rose up from the abyss, he is in the position to demand more and he will pocket a chunk of huge bonuses from the shareholders. He and his merry men are ready to “rape” the company so that by the time he is no longer needed, everything will fall back to where he begins with. He will release his shares at market price progressively. All the sudden deals are cut short or rather didn’t materialize, assets are bought back at exorbitant price and the outflows such as debt repayment start to escalate. That is a good portrayal of what is happening in most distress companies run by professional CEOs.
The same can be applied anywhere else from running an architectural practice to running a country (with a longer period of 5 years). Such paradigm is not new and it is reflected in Chinese Metaphysics for century, a topic I shall discuss some other times.
What is IDEATION? Wiki defines Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract. Ideation comprises all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization. As such, it is an essential part of the design process, both in education and practice.
In short IDEATION is a model of production, where production is a process of combining various material inputs and immaterial inputs (plans, know-how) in order to make something for consumption (the output).
When we look at IDEATION as a MODEL, It has to make up of 3 entities, resembles of an act would be the Actor, the Play and the Stage.
The Actor would probably be a living person. He must have some intention either to create or to produce. To do so, he must learn the art and the law of creation or production. This is known as the “know how” or the PLAY. He must also find a platform to do so such is called a STAGE. Like a builder must find an Architect for his IDEA to build and a SITE for the building to sit on. Like an artist, he must have a canvas to draw.
The product of an act by the actor is call the PRODUCT. It can be a built form or just as an idea. Such product will again be a subject for another ideation. This is summarized as intention – implementation – product, the 3 aspects of IDEATION.
Now we investigate a little deeper – the Actor. We are all the actor. The self is the actor. Jung described the self as Noia, Para Noia and End Noia. Noia is defined as the self with an undifferentiated ego. Enlightenment is the best way to prescribed Noia. Paranoia or paranoid is a state where there is a differentiation between the self and its ego. The normal person would like to project himself as someone with an identity such as male/female, race, religions, rich/poor, weak/strong and so forth. These are paranoid mentalities. End noia is a total displacement of the self and the ego. Crazy may be a better choice of word. To understand the actor we must know who we are and what are the product we create for? This is the first principle as a designer or an actor.
For a paranoid self, we are GOD fearful. We are afraid to commit SIN. This draw a form of self-censorship we call conscience. We acknowledge there are ALMIGHTY living somewhere in Heaven above. His law is our code of morality inscribed in our conscience that defines our intention which ultimately translate into our action. It is very subjective no doubt, but such action required it to be executed none other than on a specific place, called the stage. As above, so below and Heaven bestowed upon us Earth as out stage. Classical man called this Heaven Man Earth – Trinity. Modern man call this Opportunity – Timing and Action.
All things are but a product of IDEATION.
Strategizing Your Firm is an uphill battle for an architect. Your architectural education does not provide you with the essential knowhow to survive the Red Ocean. That is one good reason why a Business degree is always the preferred choice before you do a post Grad in Architecture. At the very least, you will not be a pauper.
So what did the Business Guru has to say about strategizing? A “Farm House” matrix is a model of production to gauge the current situation of your organization against what you ought to be in the next level. Likewise, Architecture is a failed business model from the first principle and this matrix will tell you so.
Relative Market Share (RMS) is a yardstick to measure the popularity of a product, in this case your services as an Architect. The higher the demands means your services are highly sought after and the reverse is true for the lower RMS.
Market Growth Rate (MGR) is a yardstick to measure the ability of the organization to grow. Growth is in terms of acquiring RMS. The faster it is the better and it is very dependable on Marketing, Product Acceptance, Advertising, Lobbying and BRANDING… It eats up into your operation cost but together it is essential to push up your revenues.
Errorneous (E) is the measurement of regressive of an organization of moving forward. It is a measurement of Self-Denial, Self-doubt and most importantly Self-Destruction (A Topic we shall discuss later).
Go back to the business of architecture, you need to ask what your business model is? Production, Service or Design oriented? Then you dwell into the matter of Doing the Business, Branding and so forth…
The greater E factors you have with regard to low MGR and RMS, you are considered a DOG. Someone that can easily forgotten and disposed of. There is very little value in the organization.
If you woke up someday with lower E factors, will reorganize yourself. Re brand your establishment engage new talents. Have a good business plan. You will rise above being a DOG into something UNKNOWN. This is most start-up wannabe. The firm has the potential to grow ie. High MGR. It is a very good indicator for Investor to fund. Technical know who is essential to make higher RMS by disclosing new ventures and projects so that the masses believing into the trend. This is where a good CEO is needed.
With the right opportunity your firm will be a STAR or GOD-like with high MGR and RMS. This is where the Firm is going to be RAPE by its shareholder and subsequently a downward path begins.
With the decline of MGR, your firm is going on a plateau hopefully, as a CASH COW that continuously milked by its shareholders until a time where it becomes from GOD to DOG. That is the entire life cycle of your Firm.
Strategize with this matrix in mind, you will know what action to take for being relevance and not forgotten into oblivion.
We often come across the term – The Angry Boss. How often do we ask, why the Boss is angry? Well hypothetically he is angry because he is not able to complete a task perfectly and he aspect you to complete it perfectly. Because you are, in fact, imperfect and how is it possible for you to carry out a task perfectly? That is why he is angry and his anger will also make you angry and you throw your anger to your subordinate and everyone in the organization is angry.
To mitigate such do a One Minute Management, daily: -
1 – MINUTE OBJECTIVE. For whatever we do contemplate for 1 minute what is our purpose and objective of doing such thing and write it clearly. For example, my objective is that by 3pm everyone should have a tea break. Can the HR look into these?
1 – MINUTE PRAISE. People say, praise must be cast in stone, insult should be written in sands. Praise your fellow mate for helping you even as small as picking up the phone for you. Trust me, it will make your day.
1 – MINUTE REPRIMAND. Your fellow mate is your mirror to oneself. It is good to reprimand someone who you think had done wrong – but that is only for 1 minute and no longer. For example, hey! Why the HR only brief us on the spot without issuing the guidelines much earlier?
1 – MINUTE APOLOGY. Be brave and if you had identify your shortcomings just ADMIT and apologies. Live moves on. For example, Aiya! My mistake… I should have given you more time to vet the document…
It is PERFECT to be IMPERFECT. Drill oneself of these 4 mantras and everybody’s life will be better. Give it a try!
What is in a Business of Architecture? What makes a FIRM ticking? It is again the model of production – A Stage, A Script and The Crews.
A Stage – Is defined as a Hardware. Its address speaks a thousand words. A Firm in CBD is different from a Firm in the Suburb. The Location, Imagery and its Organization gives meaning to a BRAND. Your office represents what and who you are!
The Crews – Is defined by its ORGANIZATION. Organization is who’s who within the confine of an Office (Stage). There is a “BOSS”, called it by whatever name – CEO, MD, Managing Partner, Principal, he is the “Fountain Head”. He alone makes the ultimatum. If you have 2, the organization is going to doom. Subsequently, it is ROLE PLAYING. The head is supported by his team, all in it is called the ADMINISTRATION. Different components or ROLES are classified as PRODUCTION, MARKETING, IT and so on so forth, each potentially becomes a full-fledged company in itself. Crossing this line, it is an amalgamation of Holding Company with its Subsidiaries. This ORGANIZATION defines its POLITIC.
THE SCRIPT – Each Crew liked an ACTOR has different SCRIPT such as LEADERSHIP, STAFFING, DIRECTING and CONTROLING.
Leadership is best done by example. There are basically 2 types of leadership – the BOSS and the LEADER. You choose…
Staffing is what you want your staff to be 5 years down the road. There is a different between a Career and a Job. Every employee should have a Career path, not just a Job scope!
Directing is another word for Communication. Right communication is essential. If the instruction is clear, the execution erred – it is the executives’ mistake. If the instruction is unclear, the execution erred – it is the superior’s mistake. Communication is to put a decision into action and worse of all is no decision and not wrong decision. It is judgement call. Everyone should have it. For standardization is good practice to lay them down as SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) and DL (Discretionary Limits).
Controlling is the flow of authority. If it originates from the top, it is called top down control and there are various sort of controls. What is your preference?
When you gel all these together, you get yourself a FIRM.