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Minor League Syndrome

Author: Marvin James

After almost two months of inactivity, I finally mustered enough effort to finish my third blog entry.

Its amusing how some people with exceptional talents or at least skill sets that exceed the expectations of the norms are predisposed to feel inadequate, especially during at times where those talents are crucial for success. After watching the film Pool hall junkies starring Mars Callahan as the prodigiously gifted but notorious pool hustler Johnny Doyle, I began empathizing with the main character, reminiscing about the times of doubt in my past where I choked and failed to deliver what was expected of me. I realized that people who think highly of themselves in terms of their capabilities are more prone to choking whenever they are faced with apprehensions that tests their skill under immense pressure than of those people who think ordinarily of themselves since failure would only give them a realization of the difficulty of the task at hand and a learning experience, as opposed to a person who thinks highly of his skills and can execute the task but was unable to do so because of the pressure associated with the expectation of people, particularly of those who they revere.

The film begins as the young Johnny playing a friendly match of pool with a local hustler named Rex as they chat about the old days where hustlers rule the land or in this case the pool halls, and the pros were nowhere to be found. Johnny expressed his aspirations of becoming a professional someday, and more than that he just wanted to be the best. Fate, however, had different plans for the gifted youngster since his backer/mentor/father figure Joe would not allow Johnny to leave his sights to become a pro because he fears that he would astray from him the moment he sits on the lap of luxury that professional pool can bring. Being a selfish person that Joe is, he entraps Johnny within his clasp and indoctrinated unto him a mentality of inferiority despite his obvious talent. Fifteen years have passed, and Johnny now all grown up, is the most renowned hustler in Southern California. Assimilating Joe's principles of street smart and guile, he was controlled under a string where the potential to make money by insidiously trapping less skilled players to play against him was the priority and not the maximization of his true abilities. After discovering the truth about how Joe secretly concealed tournament invitation letters for a chance to become a pro, Johnny becomes infuriated and he deliberately dogged a shot in order to lose the game, while Joe as his backer, suffers the consequences of a beat down because of his inability to pay for the bet. This was Johnny's revenge, and a chance to start a new life away from pool since he felt it did not do him any good. After only a few weeks, Johnny was missing the game, he immediately accepts a friendly game as he quits his job at the construction site. He discovers that he loves pool so much and that he can never escape it. But it doesn't end yet as Joe returns to exact his revenge at Johnny by getting his brother imprisoned after losing to his new protege who is very skilled. In the final part of the film, an all-out battle of nine-ball pool ensues between Johnny and Joe's protege and the stake is at its highest. Johnny knows that this is the most important game of his life not only because of the money involved enough to bail his brother out of prison but because for the first time in his life, his real ability will be tested.

As future HR professionals, it is inevitable that we feel inadequate when faced by situations where there is a lot on the line and we either make or break it. What we have to learn from this and what is most important is to always keep ourselves, regroup our composure because the moment we lose ourselves is also the moment we lose everything. We must treat our failures as stepping stones for success because it is an opportunity to grow wiser and careful of future undertakings.

Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 2:32 AM | | Click here to add a comment |

Book review: Strategic Management competitiveness, globalization, and concepts by Michael Hitt, Duane Ireland, and Robert Hoskisson

Author: Marvin James

The most painstaking part about writing a book review is finding an interesting topic that would invoke interest among the readers and more importantly than not, appeal to the writer’s palate. This, I must admit was a very difficult task since I had no intentions of purchasing a book because I thought it would be just a waste of money, so it almost took me forever just to rummage in the school library for one, and not to mention my inability to finish reading the book due to my swamped schedule reinforced by the compounding demands of other school subjects, and given the requirements that it must pertain only to management and/or leadership contexts and published not earlier than 2009. For purposes of brevity, reading a book isn't my cup of tea, however, because of the events that transpired along with the pressures greater than I have experienced in school, my outlook on reading gradually shifted from mild aversion to subtle affinity.

The book is quite technical but easy to understand. This is because of its informative writing style adjoined with logic and explained through actual experiences of the top leaders of the elite global organizations around the globe. One of the most important topics discussed was the Strategic Management Process (SMP) and its contribution to a sustained competitive advantage. This book also featured a comprehensive analysis of the cases of companies that underwent organizational change and further explicating the cause of their successes and failures.

After understanding the essence of Strategic Management, this gave me a wider view of the ever evolving environment. It gives an advantage of knowing current trends, carefully planning ventures that can yield above-average returns while avoiding unattractive ventures that can be disastrous. As I near the finish line of my college life, I don't plan of spending the remainder of my life behind a desk in front of a computer working as an employee for some company. Instead, I will venture in the world of the high-risk takers, gamblers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. I'm pretty sure it will not be an easy ride for me, and I don't expect the people to take me lightly, but with my knowledge in strategic management and my willingness to learn more, I can safely argue that I have a puncher's chance of becoming successful in this field. I strongly recommend this book to novices and experts alike.

Posted Monday, March 15, 2010 at 7:22 AM | | Click here to add a comment |

Book Review: Relational Intelligence by Steve Saccone

Author: James Ortiz

I developed the habit of reading books that would either increase my knowledge of uncertainties or books that would inspire me. When I started to read this book, I was easily enticed to finish it due to the concepts and ideas that it is revealing to me. I haven’t fully read the Bible yet I could relate to the examples in the gospels that Steve Saccone used in this book in order to relate it to relational intelligence. Come to think of it, if Jesus is relationally intelligent and Jesus became human therefore humans can be relationally intelligent. As I continue to deepen my analysis with this book, I started to understand how people who are relationally intelligent become successful in life.

After reading the book, I started to assess myself as to whether I'm relationally intelligent. I started to list my positive and negative attitudes when it comes to socializing with people. One positive attitude that I believe I excel at most is that I am "a conversational futurist." When having a conversation with people, I often connect to what they are getting at into a higher degree of thinking. For example, when my friends would tell me their problems, I make it a point to create progress in his/her burden instead of continuing to stress out his/her problem. One negative attitude that decreases my relational intelligence is that I don't usually start conversations with people. It usually takes me two to three days before I start a conversation. This is critical because I may end up not getting to know the right people when the right time comes that they might be the key for my success due to missed chances. One suggestion that the book gave to this certain dilemma is that I start initiating conversations with the use of open ended questions that would get other people to start opening up to me very easily. The more a person opens up the more comfortable the relationship would be.

I would recommend this books to people who would like to be good leaders someday. Not only does it give recommendations but also strengthens a persons character in relation with getting along with others. It could also be considered as a self help book to people who believe that they lack inner motivation to progess in their work groups.

Posted at 7:11 AM | | Click here to add a comment |

Book Review: The 60 Second Organizer by Jeff Davidson

Author: Yuta

First of all, I'm a person that really really hates reading other books especially if it is not related to astronomy or space matters. But as I have seen myself today, I have noticed that I have difficulties in organizing my own time, things and doings for the day. Since a book review is required in our class, I need to read and analyze a book that has management perspectives on it. As I have scanned several books in the bookstore, I found this book called "The 60 Second Organizer" by Jeff Davidson that will possibly overcome one of my weaknesses.

In my experience reading the book, I can say that 60 Second Organizer is easy to read, enjoyable and effective in terms of beating the stress and chaos of being disorganized. In this book, there are lot of different solid techniques that will help us to overcome our problem in organizing and also help us to streamline our life and maintain order in office, school and even at home. For me, it is a motivational jump-start to drop our own excuses and get organized.

What amazed me by reading this book?

Simple, I realized that when it comes to perfection in everything that we do, that the additional time we spend to take projects from 95-100% in most cases it is not worth it. Striving for perfection is ensuring that the final 5% is completely and correctly done, often takes as much time as the initial 95% of effort required. OOOOH GOD!!!!!!!! NO WONDER THAT IT FELT VERY DIFFICULT!!!!!

Another one, is in terms of making important choices. In choosing our own priorities we automatically redirect ourselves to accept that there is nothing we can do. If we choose to keep working on some task, even one assigned to us, this personal decision is made in the present moment and not based on prior agenda.

In this world no one rules by love; if you are but amiable, you are no hero; to be powerful, you must be strong, and to have dominion you must have a genius for organizing. -John Henry Newman

Having a new idea and priority is such a rare thing because we often simply imitate what we hear and read, we people can make our own choices that are not congruent with our own history.





Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 9:46 PM | | Click here to add a comment |

Book Review: The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene

Author: Marc Alvin Tan

nihil timendum est - fear nothing

Ever since I picked up Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power from the library a couple of years back, I knew that he was going to be one of my favorite authors from the way he writes in an amoral fashion to the people he uses as examples in his books (e.g. Zhuge Liang, Nietzsche, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Napoleon, Baltasar Gracian, Ninon de Lenclos and Cardinal Richelieu) that I had a hard time putting it down as I was simply astounded in the way he distills knowledge from these respected leaders and philosophers and the extensive research he has done to compile their instructions into a book that would be helpful to anyone who seeks power or wants to arm himself against it. So, naturally I also read his other books, 33 Strategies of War and Art of Seduction, simply because I love how he uses anecdotes of historical personalities to provide the reader a clearer understanding of the lessons he espouses. It's like reading world history...on steroids.

Late last year, I learned that Greene co-authored a book with 50 Cent (yes, the rapper) called "The 50th Law" and I was ecstatic to hear about the news that I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy
of the book. When I started reading, I wasn't disappointed, if the 48 laws of power was a history book on roids, this is a self-help book...on crack. The book starts with a little background on Curtis Jackson, how he used to be a drug dealer in Queens and how a close encounter with death changed his life to be the person he is today - 50 Cent.

The book centralizes on the topic Fear, Greene uses 50 Cent's life experience to show how fearlessness could help us reach our potentials. In the introduction of the book he writes,

‘…your fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of action. The less you fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live.’

Some of the rules mentioned in the book include
being realistic, having unshakable self believe, learning to utilize your aggression and taking advantage of opportunities. The section that captivated me was on taking advantage of opportunities or as the book aptly calls it "Turning Shit into Sugar".

The section tells us to take events in our lives as neutral, that it is our minds that chooses to interpret whether something is positive or not. It teaches us
to do a paradigm shift in times of adversity. Basically when you are down and you've got nothing to lose, that is the time when you are closest to success since you have nothing to fear, ergo you are free to do anything. If you could frame a negative event in your life as a blessing in disguise, it makes it easier for you to move forward, a kind of mental alchemy - Turning Shit into Sugar.

This book was simple and straightforward unlike Greene's first two books, 48 Laws of Power and 33 Strategies of War which carries more academic weight, nevertheless it was a good read and puts the intended message across. Though people might question the credibility of 50 Cent in preaching life lessons yet alone be a motivational writer
he is in fact an astute businessman who invests in companies outside the music industry. He is most famous for earning over $400 million, thanks to his foresight for making an early investment in vitamin water company Glacéau, which was bought by Coca Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion.

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Posted at 8:45 PM | | Click here to add a comment |

Book Review: Put Your Dream to the Test by John Maxwell

Author: Patricia

Thanks John for reminding us to dream….for….There is a place within each and every one of us – a spark lies there – and from that spark is ignited a dream.-Peter Sinclair @ johnmaxwellonleadership.com

I was never a bookworm and to tell you honestly I hate books and I am not fond of reading books that is why when I heard about this book review the first thing that comes into my mind is 'ay ang hassle' but because it is a requirement that I need to pass and I need to graduate on time so I have no choice but to read it but then I realized that the book that I am reading is very helpful. despite of my busy schedule as a student and also taking my internship, I see to it that each day before my day ends I read 4-5 pages but after 2 days reading the book, I increased the pages by reading the whole chapter per day and reach to a point were I read the book three times and would like to read it more often.

While I am reading the book, I realized that the 10 questions precede the next one. The first chapter of the book was the very crucial one that needs to be addressed well because it asked the ownership question that would test if it is really your dream. It might have been your parents dream for you or worst is others dream that you adopt to get the recognition of people. So from now on, always remember that Before you pick a dream make sure it's your choice because it will be the one that you will be working in your life.

After three times reading the book, I wonder why even though I've repeatedly read the book, it didn't stop me to refer to the book each day when I remember my dream.It's like their is something that pushing me that I can achieve my dream by remembering the guidelines given by John Maxwell because all questions and advices are all practical and realistic. the book comprised of 10 chapters, with each chapter has its own question of somehow testing your level of achieving your dream. I also apply the 10 question into my life, I also test myself with these ten questions. On some, I answered yes but I stopped on question number seven which is the Cost question which states
Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?. I am currently on my Human Resource course and I want to become a Flight attendant. It is somehow my course is irrelevant on my dream. I want to achieve my dream but sometimes I ask myself if I can sacrifice my course that I am taking up now which will definitely be put to waste. I am enjoying and happy doing HR work but I feel that I am not productive nor satisfied with what I am doing. I am honestly confused but as John Maxwell says that "think of what will make your mind and heart engaged on what you are doing."

Before or After my graduation, I am planning to apply first on an airline company well not as an HR practitioner but a flight attendant. who knows you might see me soon on your next trip. I research about it always and I am also preparing on the things that I will encounter. I know it won't be easy but again at least if ever I fail in this part of my life, I actually will not stop until I reach my dream and will never regret that I did not do anything to achieve my dream

I know each and everyone of us has a dream, even you have difficulty or not in achieving your own dream, try reading this book. It will really help you realize your potential and your direction.


Posted Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 10:38 PM | | Click here to add a comment |

BPA/P National Competency Test Launch

Author: Marc Alvin Tan

To ensure the hiring of qualified people in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms in the country, the Business Processing Outsourcing of the Philippines (BPAP) together with Assessment Analytics, Inc, the country's exclusive distributor of Previsor, the world's leader in competency-based online assessment, launched the BPAP national competency test (BNCT) at the Mandarin Hotel, 10 A.M. today. The BNCT is a 2 1/2 hour computer aided exam that comprises of tests in Learning Ability, English Language Proficiency, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, Computer Literacy and Service Orientation. Secretary Ray Roxas-Chua III of BPAP was the first person to sample the BNCT and the test was administered by yours truly :) This competency test aims to make the recruitment process both for firms and the applicant more efficient, from the large number of graduates that wish to apply and career shifters, this makes it easier for firms to target their applicants and get better results of what they want making the screening process faster at the entry level.

I would like to express my gratitude to Assessment Analytics, Inc (where I'm currently having my internship) for giving me this opportunity to take part in this momentous event that would change the course of the recruitment process of the BPO industry in the Philippines.

For more info please read: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Click on the following links to learn more about Assessment Analytics and BPA/P

Posted Monday, March 8, 2010 at 5:13 PM | | Click here to add a comment |

The Downside of Downsizing

Author: Marc Alvin Tan

The clown was wondering if he heard right when Alfred told him
that he's fired

According to a 20-year study of 20 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development economies, labor-productivity growth was higher in economies that adopt formal prohibitions against dismissal of employees as opposed to those that lay off employees left and right. The research reached a consistent conclusion that shows that layoffs are in fact ineffective.

Wayne Cascio, a professor at University of Colorado professor lists the direct and indirect costs of layoffs in his book - Responsible Restructuring:

• severance pay
• paying out accrued vacation and sick pay
• outplacement costs
• higher unemployment-insurance taxes
• the cost of rehiring employees when business improves
• low morale and risk-averse survivors
• potential lawsuits
• sabotage
• workplace violence from aggrieved employees or former employees
• loss of institutional memory and knowledge
• diminished trust in management
• reduced productivity

Some Myths about downsizing

• Increases stock prices than peers (announcement of downsizing) — either immediately or over time
• Increases individual company productivity
• Increases profits
• Cutting off people is similar to amputation where you cut a part to save a whole (it does not save the organization, it just delays its demise)

Some Effects of downsizing

• People cut back on spending - since people who lost their jobs lose income, they would end up spending less. Workers who kept their jobs, would be more cautious in their spending habits our of fear that they might lose their jobs too. This in turn would affect the economy, since when sales drop, companies would need to fire more people, continuing the vicious cycle.

• Health of people suffers - since people lose their health insurance along with their jobs, it leads to people skipping diagnostic tests (e.g.
mammograms and colonoscopies) that could prevent more serious problems. Studies show that there is a direct relationship between not having health insurance and individual mortality rates.

• Depression - losing their jobs could lead people to depression, leading to anxiety and other psychological problems and even violent tendencies on those the feel responsible for their lay off.

• Suicide - suicide rates increase as much as 2.5 times
according to a study in New Zealand among people aged 25-64 who had been layed off.

• Substance abuse - downsizees are more inclined to depend on alcohol, smoking, drug abuse, and are prone to depression.

So for whatever reason, companies should always think carefully before they consider downsizing and weigh the pros and cons, and more importantly the consequences of their actions not only for the organization but for the country’s economy as well. I still remember what Mr. Rich (Richie Rich’s dad) said in the movie Richie Rich that one of his policies is to never fire an employee and that he has never fired an employee in his whole life (except when he had to fire the villain who kidnapped him at the end of the movie) and I was surprised that there is at least one company that shares the same belief currently the largest domestic U.S. airline and has a
bigger market capitalization within the industry, Southwest Airlines has never had an involuntary layoff in nearly 40 years of its existence. As its former head of human resources once said:

"If people are your most important assets, why would you get rid of them?"

Source: Newsweek

Posted Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 4:22 PM | | Click here to add a comment |

No Thanks To Smoking

Author: Marc Alvin Tan

Albert Whittamore who died of emphysema had his dying wish honored with the words "Smoking Killed Me" placed on signs in his hearse and at his graveside, encouraging people to give up smoking.

Source: The Washington Post

Posted at 12:04 AM | | Click here to add a comment |