What’s Your Unfair Advantage?

25 Jul

“Anything that is worth copying will be copied, so how do you establish an advantage? By building something that cannot easily be copied or bought.”, 2012

This article was writen by Stark and Steward, and it was posted on inc magazine. It is an article worth reading. If you are a business owner or planning to start up a business, this article will help you understand yourself better. There’s a very thin diving line between success and failure, just like what Richard Branson said. If you don’t know your Unfair advantage, you are more likely to fall in the wrong side of the dividing line.

So before you run that business ask yourself “Do I have an Unfair Advantage?” If the answer is YES, then go ahead. Of course NO doesn’t exist, but “I Don’t know” is the only alternative answer to the question. So for those of you who don’t know it is better to go back and search the unfair advantage that is already built in you.Image

齊牧圖在學中文的時候

24 Jul

我學習了一年的中文 (從2007年到2008年),但目前中文對我來說,還有很大的進步空間,不過我已經可以和不少的中國人用中文問候及聊天。很多人都問我為什麼想要學習中文呢?我發現我沒很好的答案,因此我都會回答說:「我想跟所有的中國人說話聊天,並且沒有溝通障礙。」

       剛開始在師範大學的國語中心學習中文的時候,我一位老師,她姓張,我都稱呼她為張老師。記得某一天,張老師教了我們一些認識顏色的單字,例如:黑色、紅色、白色…等,之後,她又教了不少台灣人喜歡喝的東西,比方說紅茶、珍珠奶茶、冬瓜茶…之類的,那個時候我很專心的看著課本,我們在學習中文的課本上有英文和拼音,因為我們是剛開始學習中文的初學者,什麼都不太熟悉的我在看著課本時就發現了一個有趣的地方,黑色的英文是”Black”,紅色的英文是”red”,但奇妙的是紅茶的英文竟然叫做”black tea”,我就覺得納悶,怎麼black tea的中文會是紅茶不是”黑茶”呢?

馬上,我就請教了張老師,我說:「老師,black tea的中文怎麼會是紅茶,而不是黑茶?」張老師回答:「齊牧圖,英文和中文是不一樣的哦!」

從那個時候開始,我認為學習中文一點都不簡單,它是非常困難的,尤其是對外國人的我們來說。所以,如果我所說出口的中文,讓大家聽起來,感覺跟小朋友一樣,請別笑我,多給我一些指正,讓我有更大的信心面對已經慢慢熟悉的中文囉!
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Empirical Study of High School Teacher’s Job Satisfaction in Malawi and Taiwan

24 Jul

INTRODUCTION
For a few decades, a number of studies have been conducted about job satisfaction and its components (Dogan, 2009). Many researchers and administrators have noticed the significance of job satisfaction on a variety of organizational variables (Dogan, 2009), and not surprisingly has been the focus of a great deal of attention in the field of industrial and organizational psychology (Mueller, Hattrup and Hausmann, 2009). Job satisfaction amongst teachers is a multifaceted construct that is critical to teacher retention and has been shown to be an important determinant of teacher commitment, and in turn, a contributor to organizational (Judge and Robbins, 2010) or school (Bull, 2005) effectiveness. Shan (1998), reports that many researchers have revealed wide ranging differences in what contributes to job satisfaction (Bull, 2005). In particular, we know that teachers are one of the most important people for every nation’s future. Thus, understanding the factors that contributes to job dissatisfaction and designing interventions to retain employees in existing positions is especially important, given that many organizations, education sector in particular, are facing critical shortage of qualified teachers (Gormley and kennerly, 2011, Dogan, 2009). The aim of this study is to (1) explore factors contributing to job satisfaction for employees in education sector, (2) examine significant differences between high school teachers’ job satisfaction in Malawi and Taiwan and (3) examine the relationship between National culture and Job Satisfaction.

JOB SATISFACTION
Definition of Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is an affective reaction to one’s job, resulting from the incumbent’s comparison of actual outcomes with those that are desired, expected, deserved and so on (Weiss, 2002). In other words, it is an affective orientation that an employee has towards his or her work (Dogan, 2009). Locke (1969) also defined job satisfaction as the pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job as achieving or facilitating one’s job. Shortly, job satisfaction is an affective reaction to one’s work (Skaalvik and Skaalvik, 2009). Furthermore, Job satisfaction is described as a positive feeling about job, resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics (Judge and Robbins, 2010). According to Hattrup, Mueller, and Joens, (2007) job satisfaction represents a fundamental relationship between the individual and his or her work life, reflecting the interaction of basic values and beliefs about the meaning of work and the reality of work as experienced. 
Measuring Job Satisfaction
According to Judge and Robbins, 2010, there are two approaches that are widely used to measure Job Satisfaction namely Single global rating and summation score. According to them, single global rating is a method used by asking respondents few general questions for example “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your job?” Respondents will then circle a number between 1 to 5 (very dissatisfied to Very satisfied). Summation score, which is simply the summation of all job facets is a little bit more sophisticated as it identifies the key elements of the job and ask employees how they feel about each facet. Judge and Robbins (2010) argue that although single global rating is cost effective and not time consuming giving enough time for managers to work on other things, it gives less accurate results as compared to summation score method. This is because summation method looks at not only one facet of satisfaction which helps managers to be able to single out where problem exist, making it easier to deal with unhappy or dissatisfied employees (judge & Robbins, 2010).
Levels of Job Satisfaction
Research shows that the level of job satisfaction varies from facet to facet (e.g. Judge and Robbins, 2010). Judge and Robbins (2010) report that people are more satisfied with their jobs overall, work itself, supervisors and coworkers than with their pay and promotion opportunities. This clearly shows that pay alone is less likely to create a satisfying work atmosphere. It is also argued that employees with high level of satisfaction tend to have positive feelings about their job, whereas dissatisfied employees tend to hold negative feelings.
Causes of Job Satisfaction
A variety of factors can influence a person’s level of satisfaction depending on how he or she feels about the job facets. For example, according to Hattrup, Mueller and Joens, (2007) Job satisfaction occurs when individuals receive outcomes that they value, and dissatisfaction occur when individuals fail to receive what they value. According to Judge and Robins, (2010) major job satisfaction facets (work itself, pay, advancement opportunities, supervision, and coworkers), enjoying the work is always the most strongly correlated with high levels of overall job satisfaction. Barling et al (2003) explains that most employees tend to be satisfied by interesting jobs that provide training, variety, independence, and control. In other words, jobs that are challenging and stimulating satisfy most of the employees than those that are predictable and routine (Judge and Robbins, 2010).

If you would like to read the whole paper and the findings of this paper, please do not hesitate to e-mail me

http://mlifetw.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/national_culture_and_job_satisfaction_final_presentation1.pptx

Link

5 videos you must watch before starting a business

21 Jul

5 videos you must watch before starting a business

I quoted Inc Magazine, one of my favourite online business magazine about 5 videos you must watch before starting a business. Here is the link to the videos

http://www.inc.com/francesca-fenzi/five-must-watch-videos-for-starting-a-business.html

Enjoy it

Selling Fearlessly

18 Jul

Most of my prospects do ask me to give them price list; I have given price list to “not few” of them, but disgustingly none of them placed an order. So today I decided to google my situation and see if I was doing something wrong. Then I came across an article called “Selling Fearlessly” by Mr. Robert Terson. The article started with a sentence that captured my attention and drove me to continue reading the article. It reads “Don’t just automatically give price”. I was like “Really?”…….

So what do you do when your prospect ask you the same boring question, “Can you give me the price list”?

Here is Terson’s reply…  

Dear (name of prospect),

Thank you for your interest in [specific product or service]; it’s much appreciated. However, simply giving you a price without being able to talk to you, without being able to ask you the vital questions necessary to completely understand your particular situation, your specific wants, needs, and problems that you’d give almost anything to solve, is in neither of our best interests. All you’ll receive is a number, which will not differentiate any of the other vitally important aspects of why you should (or shouldn’t; at this point it’s impossible to know) do business with me and [name of my/your company], and I won’t get the opportunity to serve you in the highly professional manner that I demand of myself. That’s just not how I do business, [name of individual]. If, however, you’ll give me the opportunity to interview you, to discover if doing business with me and [name of my/your company] is the right choice for you, well, I believe that’s time you’ll find is well spent and worthwhile. I hope you’ll give me that opportunity. I’ll tell you this flat out: If at any point you think your precious time is being wasted, I’ll shut up and shake your hand.

I take a lot of pride in how I serve my clients [or “customers”; whichever fits], how I better their lives. If that’s the kind of individual you enjoy doing business with—someone you can completely count on 100% of the time–I’m someone you want to get to know. If, however, you just want a price without the kind of professional interaction I’ve described, I’m sure there are plenty of other “salespeople” who will accommodate you.

Very respectfully yours,

………………………………

It’s like “WOW” right?

Global Brand Face-Off

17 Jul

The main issue of the case “the global brand face-off” is the difficulty that multinational companies face when building a global brand, in other words, the barriers that are affecting Espoir to build a global brand. As we know that each country has its own culture, it is therefore very difficult for a company which is based in one country to build a global brand that can be sold successfully in another country that has totally different culture. For a global brand to be successfully built there are a lot of factors that are needed to be looked into, one of them is to understanding the cultures of the countries that are to be offered the brand.

Natasha Singh has a lot of problems that she needs to solve. First problem raises as Natasha thinks that the movie-based promotion is an ideal vehicle for global branding strategy, but some of Espoir’s regional executives do not see it that way. According to Vosylko Mazur for example, he argues that Eastern Europe is different from the rest of the world, therefore movie-based promotions will not do anything for sales. To solve this problem Natasha has to try hard to convince the other regional executives by showing them how feasible and durable the idea is.

The second problem is that Natasha seems to be having a budget deficit; this means that she doesn’t have enough money for promotion and advertising as CEO Ed Johnson points it out. Johnson also pointed out about the possibility of US recession getting worse, which may force the CEO to cut marketing budgets causing the country heads to have little left for local promotion and adverting after paying for global promotion. First she has to make sure that the budget is enough to carry out her plans, and also she has to make sure that the global branding shouldn’t interfere with the local marketing budget.

As Vosylko has pointed out about the difference that is there between Eastern Europe and the rest of the world, this raises another question of culture difference. This is another problem that Natasha Singh has to solve. First she has to identify the common needs of the people from all the target countries, identify something in common and stick to that, use it as a global branding strategy tool for unification.
There are so many choices that Natasha can have. The first choice can be solving the problems that have been explained earlier in this paper, like defending the idea, budget deficit issue, and cultural issue. After solving those problems then she can go ahead. The other choice is to give up, having looked at all the problems, especially the culture problem and the recession, it is unquestionably right to give up, otherwise the executive will blame on her if she fails.

I will conclude my paper by saying that if I were Natasha Singh, I would take a risk. Taking a risk sometimes is not a bad idea because from my understanding, in any action or any idea I can make, there is a reaction, either positively or negatively. If the reaction comes negative, I would still accept it because that is what life is all about, if comes negative, then thank God….

Evaluating teachers

17 Jul

Teachers’ performance at MCU

I am currently studying at Ming Chuan University, the first American English school in Asia. A lot of students from all over the world have access to the International College where all courses are conducted in English. You can imagine how hard it is for all the teachers, Asian as well as Western teachers, to please everyone. Still this teacher-student relationship is particularly interesting at Ming Chuan University in comparison with what I personally used to have back home, especially by considering the way they conduct the courses, control the class as well as the way they interact with students.

A couple of years ago, I happened to have a meeting with a dean of students at my former university. That was my second semester. He was telling me a story about how impressed he was with one of my former Mathematics teacher, complementing him about how well he manages his classroom. Well, I had a different view about Mr. Mazibuko, my former Mathematics teacher. He was harsh, gives no room for a student to open mouth and talk to another student while he is teaching, his voice is extra-ordinary low, that I couldn’t even hear what he says since I fell in love with the back seat, He checks attendance the very first period of his classes, and marks absent for 5 minutes late, he gives a huge pile of homework every week, he always wear shorts to school and allows no food in class and the worst part he always gives a grade of less than 75%. Although there is this same attendance checking system at MCU, unlike Mr. Mazibuko however most teachers at MCU do not have to petrify us in order to control the class.

Indeed they promote group discussion and welcome questions from students so that everybody is focusing on what the teacher is saying. This exactly what we students need, and failing to do so leads to a teacher’s failure. As students I don’t like a teacher who gives no room for discussions and student participation between lectures. I describe a teacher who talks the whole lecture without asking throwing a question or a joke to students as boring. A great sense of humor is in fact more than welcome. It usually helps to increase the level of connection between the students and the teacher. Unfortunately this quality seems not to be one of the strongest that teachers at MCU have. However, I can say that as a whole in terms of class management, teachers at MCU try their best to do it well even though it is not always the case. For some Asian teachers for example who have been greatly influenced by Confucius teaching, we believe that they somehow expect us to be great listeners rather than being great speakers. Everything is at its place, the teacher should be teaching while the students should be listening. Well, it is definitely not always the case, some of us need to be managed and if not, we are inclined to sleep, talk, and play with our electronic gadgets or anything our classmates but not without paying attention to a teacher. Some teachers however, develop some tricks such as taking early attendance or attendance checking for each period so that we come on time, having frequent interaction with the students so that everybody is focusing on what the teacher is saying. Another method is to deduct some points if caught for disturbing the class.

Of course there are other factors that can be accountable for the class atmosphere like the weather. If it is too cold you have the tendency to sleep or if it is too early or just after lunch, sometimes we cannot help but sleep. Sometimes, it is just because of the teacher’s public speaking skills or simply the teacher’s teaching style. Some professor will spend most of the time lecturing with a PowerPoint presentation and the light turn off. For others, it is also about the voice, the tone or the rhythm that may be sometimes similar to lullaby to send a child to sleep. Even the best among us may somehow be tempted to sleep. Can you imagine a statistics course, which is usually not the most popular subject among students, from time to time being taught that way? We can totally guarantee that it is almost impossible for students to like it. To compensate the lack in public speaking ability or reinforce their teaching ability, we believe that some of the teachers are willing to do others stuff than teaching the actual course. For example they may revamp the original planned schedule given to us at the beginning of the semester to include some aspects such as extra curriculum activities, field trips or simply spend some time discussing things other than what should originally be the case.
If it is important for a teacher to be able to help students understand, learn and encourage students to want to know more about a particular subject, it is also true that the teacher needs to have a good influence on the students so that he can be able to motivate them. Most teachers at MCU are really flexible. They like to be available for helping students; they are ready to give second chance to students. For example if you have been getting relatively bad grades you still can have a chance to catch up by providing a report, or an oral presentation that can eventually contribute to increase your participation grade.

We like to think that everything should come easy, that makes us happy without any challenge or extreme difficulty. I guess it is human nature and as students we really do like to believe it. No matter how we may perceive this notion or fixate on it, this cannot be the way. In a learning process there will always be the down side of it. This is also why it is hard for us not to be biased since we usually tend to focus mostly on what is in our own interest. Although we cannot have all, we believe that we have the best.

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