Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, September 10, 2004
I don't usually write fiction like a few of my daughters do in their blogs. I did write stage plays when I was in Maktab Perguruan Bahasa and when I had to, I write radio drama scripts. I did write something that you might call docu-drama for a now defunct magazine "Business Trends". The following was published in the Business Practice column in the October 1994 issue:

Educating the E.D.

The haze did not come and it was a bright sunny Sunday morning at one of the capital's better-known (and expensive) golf club. The morning was made brighter by the loud red and black plaid pants topped by a blushing pink shirt of one of the golfers getting ready to tee off. He was abetted by a diamond -studded gold Rolex on one wrist and a shining gold bracelet on the other. His partner was more subdued in an anonymous off-white cotton slacks and navy blue shirt of indeterminate pedigree. His only concession to the status-conscious world, it seemed, was a Tag Huer watch that he kept looking at.

"Do you still want to play 18 holes Sam?", The guy in the pink shirt asked testily.
"Yes, Dato' ", replied the partner, calmly. "My flight is at 5. We have enough time."
The Dato' grunted something incomprehensible, tossed his golf club to his caddie and announced brusquely "I'm hungry. Go tell the Captain I'll play later. Let's have some breakfast Sam!"

Sam nodded his head. You do not argue with a hungry Dato'. He was not surprised at this change of plan. The only predictable thing about this Dato' is his unpredictability. He only hoped that the Dato's temper will improve after breakfast.

The breakfast did improve the Dato's temper. He was telling dirty jokes while shoveling nasi lemak and fried eggs into his mouth. The Dato' is not scared of cholesterol. He is not scared of anything. Sam remembered the Dato' telling him one should eat anything one fancies because one will die anyway. So might as well die happy.

"So what is this meeting in Penang all about?" The Dato' asked.
"Meeting?" Sam was shaken out of his reverie. "Oh, it is not a meeting Dato'. It is a workshop. A follow-up on our last seminar."
"Ahhh....waste of time and money", snorted the Dato', "I never send any of my staff to seminars or workshop. What's the seminar all about anyway?"
"Grid Management, Dato'."
"Greed? It teaches you to be greedy?" asked the Dato', his eyes gleaming.
"No, no. Not greed, but grid. It tells you where you are on the management grid."
The Dato' sank back in his seat, a little bit disappointed. "I know where I am. I am the boss!"
"The Grid is not about pecking orders, Dato' " Sam explained patiently, "It is about management styles. Give me a moment. Let me draw you the Grid." Fortunately the golf club does not use regular cloth napkins in all its outlets. Here, in the coffee house it uses paper napkins. Sam unfolded one of the serviettes and drew a square filled with ten vertical lines and ten horizontal lines altogether. Then he wrote some numbers. On the first line at the top left he wrote "1,9" while on the first line on the top-right he wrote "9,9". "1,1" was on the bottom line on the left while on the extreme right at the bottom, Sam put down "9,1". When he finished, Sam's drawing looked something like this:

The Grid Posted by Hello

Sam showed his drawing to the Dato'. "According to GRID, your management style is classified by the degree of your concern for your people and the job. If your main concern is the job and you couldn't care less about your people then you are a 9,1. On the other extreme, if your priority is your people and not the job then you are here, 1,9. The ideal is here on the top right 9,9 and the worst is on the bottom left 1,1."

The Dato' drained his teh tarik and started to unwrap a fat Davidoff cigar. "I know that 1,1 is the worst. I've fired many of those. If they don't care about the job they have no business being on my payroll. I can't stand those 1,9 type either...."
"The country-club managers."
"Yes, those!" agreed the Dato' ", biting of the end of his cigar and spitting the tobacco out. "I have no patience with managers molly-coddling their staff and trying to make them feel good all the time! For goodness sake, we are running a business, not some welfare organizations!"
"There are proof that workers do better and more work if they are happy."
"I tell them to do better work or else!" The Dato' snorted, blowing smoke out of his nostrils. "Being happy about it is optional!"
"Unhappy workers might leave, Dato'!"
"So what? I can always hire fresh workers."
"A high staff turnover will affect productivity Dato'. Fresh workers need time to be trained."
"My workers will not leave anyway. Where will they go? Mine is the only factory of its kind in this country."
"That, Dato', cannot last forever," declared Sam, dodging an advancing puff of cigar smoke. "Sooner or later, you'll have competition. In the meantime, unhappy workers unable to leave will do subversive things that will damage your company in the long run."
The Dato' took a long drag at his cigar, let out a long stream of smoke, dislodged a piece of tobacco from between his teeth and asked "And you say that Grid Management can prevent this?"
"I didn't say that, Dato'. Nobody can say that a particular management philosophy can solve everything or prevent anything. Grid Management is just one of the framework for managers to see how to work with and through one another to achieve the company's objectives."
"People work FOR me, Sam, not WITH me!" retorted the Dato', stabbing the air with his burning cigar.
"Doing business these days requires team-work Dato' " explained Sam, calmly. "Excellence and profitability can be achieved when there is synergy."
"And Grid Management can help you get the synergy?", the Dato' asked without his usual cynicism.
"Yes. Grid Management will help you increase Team Effectiveness, manage Intergroup conflict and develop a better culture in your company."
"Sounds interesting enough. You can tell me more about it during our game. Waiter!"
"I am afraid we can't play right now Dato', look at that haze."
"Blast it! It was fine just now! I shouldn't have smoked the cigar!"
| 1:02 PM :: ::
6 CommentsOldStyle:
  • What's an "E.D."?

    I see where my siblings get the writing flair..
    Too bad it skipped me :P

    *figuring out where I am on the grid*
    I wanna quit so bad, i'm prolly OFF the grid.

    By Blogger elisataufik, at 8:03 AM  
  • E.D. = Executive Director.
    You write good fictions Elisa.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 10:52 AM  
  • Hmmm... rather typical boss attitude isn't it Pok Ku? The whole, "They work FOR me, not WITH me." Then again, as a former management student, I've also seen extremes of this molly-coddling that he mentions... and it's true, orang kata, "bagi betis, nak peha." So anyway, the point being... I wonder if balance can really be achieved practically... or is it one of things that does best only on paper?

    By Blogger DaisyBoo Blacksheep, at 11:17 AM  
  • If you look at companies practising "Exellence", you will find that they do strike a happy medium. Principles and theories are just there to guide everyone.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 11:22 AM  
  • well i might have to introduce my darling boss about the Grid Management.. but i hope he doesnt turn it into a fish net and roll me in it like spring roll...LOL

    i do think that when the staff is 'happy', the end result would be more than was expected from them. i think i need to find 'feel' again.. its been lost along the way for quite sometime now. anyone got a map????

    till next blog Uncle, take care... may Allah bless u n ur family and pls listen to ur kids once in awhile...


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