Celebrating the Class of 2020 – Proud graduates from York St John University

Last week we celebrated alongside the Class of 2020 as they attended their graduation ceremony. The ceremony was magical and its grandeur as grand as the manganous and iconic York Minster. 

Many stories were shared, and memories created when smiling and proudly beaming graduates of York Business School in exclusive partnership with Robert Kennedy College, walked down the aisle attending their final graduation ceremonies. It is indeed a delightful sight, seeing all the graduates don their hats and gowns and graduate York MBA programme from York Minster.     

Graduation Ceremonies – Class of 2020 – York St John University

On this glorious occasion Reeta Chakrabarti, Chancellor York St John University congratulated the Class of 2020 and applauded their hard work, determination and resilience especially coming out with flying colors during the pandemic. 

Congratulations to all the graduates of Class 2020!!

What is globalisation?

I don’t know if you have noticed, but many of the online master’s degree programmes we at Robert Kennedy College offer either have the word Global or International in them. Why do you think that is? Is it because of “globalisation”?

Business globalisation. Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash.

I know the word is self-explanatory, but we have to start somewhere, so let us begin with the meaning of globalisation. According to the BBC, Globalisation is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected due to massively increased trade and cultural exchange.

How has this come about?

The first thing that happened was transport became cheaper and faster. We invented the wheel, then the steam engine, then the combustion engine, and so on. People and goods were able to be moved around the world almost overnight and in large quantities.

Then the communication boom. From snail mail to the telephone, it took a bit of time. Then came the era of mobile phones and the internet, and everything changed. The changes seen just in the last 25 years have been miraculous. The world has been brought closer together (Only in business. In every other way, the world is still pretty divided). Companies have become truly multinational and cross border trade – a mundane reality. At this rate, Gene Roddenberry’s vision in Star Trek of an Earth utopia could become a reality (fingers crossed here).

Advances in communication technology changed how we do business. Photo by Stellan Johansson on Unsplash.

Now, if you combine the two (travel and communication), what you get is globalisation.

To understand this better, let us take Apple Inc. as an example – Designed in California, Made in China. The iPhone may be designed in California, but everything that goes into the iPhone is global. The phone itself is manufactured in China with semiconductors sourced from Italy and Germany, memory chips and processors from South Korea, wi-fi and Bluetooth from Japan, and minerals from Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

While this looks impressive, what is really impressive is the Supply Chain Management that must go on behind the scenes. Apple sells upwards of about two hundred million iPhones a year globally, and they bring out new models of the phone every year. This means the material has to be sourced, the components manufactured, the phone assembled/manufactured and then shipped to ensure they reach the customers’ hands-on time. All this has to be carried out like clockworks across multiple countries. Let’s face it, none of us has any patients anymore, and if there is a delay, I am going to Samsung (Oops, I already have, but for a different reason).

How does Apple Inc. sell 200 million iPhones a year? Supply Chain Management! Photo by Kyle Ryan on Unsplash.

For all this to happen, the communication behind the scene has to be real-time, continuous and spot-on. The shipment planning has to be on-time and seamless. Because remember, you are operating across countries here.

There are a lot of positives to globalisation, such as creating jobs and new income in poorer communities, thereby giving them food and a roof over their heads, making a cheaper yet high-quality product for the customer, and keeping manufacturing costs low, thereby enabling the company to invest the money into some other aspect of the business (hopefully no into the pockets of the executives), just to name a few.

While it is hoped that working with companies from developed nations, the local business partner will be able to adapt the best business practices from the developed countries and raise the standard of living of its employees, the reality is companies still need to secure future contracts with the “big fish”, and the way to do that is by giving a lowball quote on future services. They get this done by cutting corners, cutting wages, and cutting the workforce by increasing the workload.

While this is more likely with companies operating in blue colure job segments, it comes down to the laws of the nation they are operating within at the end of the day. If the countries have strong labour laws and enforce them, then this is less likely to happen.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.

Then there is the question of what happens to the people whose jobs just got outsourced? Are they being retrained and upskilled, or are they just let go? Do companies pass on the cost-benefit of outsourcing to the end-user?

So, while outsourcing and globalisation can be great to the bottom-line of any organisation, companies must ensure ethical business practices of their partners because no one else will. Companies must also provide training and upskilling of their employees before outsourcing because a strong and happy workforce is the backbone of any organisation.

If you are ready to be an efficient and knowledgeable global/international business manager, consider joining one of our 100% online master’s degree programmes. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Anicet

We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

There is no better way but to learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!

An Introduction

Who are you, really?

I am Anicet.

Which Uni are you studying with?

University of Cumbria

Which programme did you choose and why?

Energy & Sustainability. Chose this to acquire skills and knowledge in environment impact assessments and protection.

The Study Plan

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

I took one module at a time. Depending on the volume of reading and assignments, spent on average 2 hours a day

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Early morning and lunch break

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

Research, book/articles selection and reading, writing and reviewing took a lot of time. I would say on average 40 hours per week.

Photo credit: Canva.com

Travelling and Communication  

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

Except the time seating on the plane, no major impact as long as I was connected to the Internet

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

It was not a big deal since I spent most of the time in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

Wake-up at 5:00 AM. Meditation, Gym and toilets till 6:40 AM. Breakfast at 7AM. Arrive at office at 8:30 AM. Stay at work till 6:00PM. Arrive at home at 6:25 PM. Diner at 8:00 PM and bed at 10:00PM

Photo credit: Canva.com

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

Prepare and start reading materials/books ahead of time. Do not wait until last minute to work on your assignment. Avoid overloading oneself with many modules at a time.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and answers to any questions you may have.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Friedrich Karl

Continuing with our series of blogs that answer some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked frequently by students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

Let’s learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!

An Introduction

Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

Who are you, really?

Friedrich Karl, born in 1963 German citizen and my whole life on an exciting journey through this amazing world

Which Uni are you studying with?

York St John University

Which programme did you choose and why?

MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting. This programme seems to fit best with my tasks in future.

The Study Plan

Plan your study. Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

Plan: See at the beginning what the module leader was recommending. The next step was to find out what had to be done exactly in order to pass the module. After this, I tried to get an overview of all units right at the beginning. This enabled me to structure the assignment at an early stage. Finally working together with my classmates and the module leader through the regular tasks given and parallelly working on the completion of the assignment. Reality: Pretty much that way, but depending on the workload of my business. Depending on my business: Roughly ten hours per week, sometimes on one day, sometimes split over the week.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Evening/nights

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

It is part of the evaluation. Most of the time, as I mentioned above because as you see I focused my studies on the assignment right from the beginning.  

Travelling and Communication  

The challenges of learning while travelling. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

Good question for a commercial pilot 😀 Actually, it does not affect me at all because I am used to getting my work done in hotel rooms somewhere else. 

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

Most of the time, the conversation is not a dialogue. So, write/get an email and answer it/wait for the answer. 

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

Stressful. I do have a demanding and time-consuming job, and it became tougher from module to module to self-motivate. You always have some pressure in mind. You do your job and think: Oh, I have to do something for my studies. You reach the hotel after a long flight and annoying ground handling, and you cannot go to some spa, because you have to work on your papers. You go to dinner and have a guilty conscience that you are not dealing with unit tasks. So, your whole life is circling around YSJU.  

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

Be aware of what is coming up. I think my planning was alright. But it is important that you keep your life as free as possible from any usual desires. Be ready to postpone bigger parts of your normal life during this period to a later date.  


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and answers to any questions you may have.

Are you an early riser or a night owl? Which sleep pattern is best when studying for the online master’s degree? 

I have never been a morning person (as far as I remember). Yes, there were school days when I had no choice but to get up early in the morning and go to school. Adulthood gave me a little freedom when I could take it a little easy. But starting work full-time brought the stress of waking up early, long commutes, long working hours, and less time to take it easy. Luckily, I had no husband or kids to take care of, phew! I  hats off to those who manage work and family and find some “me” time in the little window of 24 hours of a day. Working with Robert Kennedy College (RKC), I realise this already challenging routine of our students gets overextended when they choose to study for a master’s. A challenging but rewarding experience, so say our students.   

Everyone’s sleep pattern is different based on an individual’s internal clock (24 hours defined by earth’s 24 hours of the dark-light cycle), scientifically known as circadian rhythm. If your circadian cycle is shorter, you are an early riser, and a longer circadian cycle makes you a night owl. Another fascinating fact is that the circadian rhythm or cycle changes over time. We are neither larks nor owls necessarily but a mix of both. As a child, one tends to be an early riser, while reaching one’s teens inclination is more towards being a night-owl and adults gradually transition back to being early-risers.   

There is a never-ending debate on which sleep pattern is more rewarding and leads to a successful and happy life. The popular image of the happy-go-lucky early risers is that they are go-getters and believe that they get more done, making them super-productive. On the other hand, while night owls usually catch up on the lost time, are more productive post-midnight, they tend to be more dependent upon caffeine, liquor and generally less emotionally stable. Scientists have found a direct correlation and association between morningness and happiness and morningness and concentration levels.  

We asked a few of RKC’s current master’s students and alumni what their day looks like while studying and what part of the day or night they found more productive for learning. Here is what they had to say:  

Wilson says, “I found morning hours very apt, especially if the assigned time implied adjusting your wake-up schedule and morning routine. The mind is less polluted and cluttered with the day’s requirement, and one is able not only to concentrate but also bring out the best in terms of thinking and concentration”.  

Another student shares her opinion saying, “If you’re working during the weekdays and have children, then the evening is best. It’s dependent on other obligations in your life. But you must schedule it and make it a habit. It eventually becomes routine if you have some discipline and focus on the end goal of achieving the MBA”.   

For Nigel, a morning start of 5 or 5:30 was the most productive.  

On the other hand, Beatrice looked for a balance, “What worked best for me were early in the morning and late in the evening, when there is no distraction (work, children, etc.)”.  

Patrick mentioned, “What has always worked for me is starting my day early when the rest of the world still sleeps. So, I set aside three hours every morning (4 am to 7 am) and occasionally added an hour or two after work (8 pm to 10 pm), depending on how the day had treated me. Discipline and consistency paid off, and I am happy that I achieved distinction grades in three of the four taught modules.”  

One of our 54-year-old mature student shares his opinion, “Usually, in the evenings after work, while on travel on planes but most of the time, weekends where you could really indulge without disturbances. Taking OFF hours and hours to fully concentrate and advance was the biggest pleasure for me on weekends/holidays. Most of the assignments/deadlines were scheduled for Sunday midnight, with the time difference allowing me to work until late Sunday night to complete tasks (if delayed or under time pressure).   

Every student has a unique sleep pattern and routine to follow. While you can take a cue from our students and alumni’s experience, you need to figure out what works best for you. For any career advice, you can talk to one of our advisors in real-time and get answers to all your questions. 

Mature Students – 2 of the biggest challenges of getting back to school

I recently celebrated a birthday, and, in my melancholy, I got a little philosophical and started to think about growing old, achieving, or failing to achieve milestones, etc. You get the picture. Then I started thinking about our students, and I can honestly say they inspired me to write this blog. A majority of our students are mature students, and they choose to challenge themselves by doing a master’s degree.

A master’s degree is a challenge by itself, and added to this are the additional challenges that most mature students face, and I just have one world for our students – RESPECT!

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

I want to start this blog with the preface that I know there are a lot of challenges mature students face when they get back to studying. And I am not saying that any of the other challenges mature students face are not worthy of being considered a “big” challenge; one person’s Everest might be another person’s molehill, by which I mean for each of the challenges we face are the biggest and the only ones that matter.

This blog is about the two most significant, most common challenges faced by mature students, in my opinion, based on what I have seen, heard, and researched. They are –

  1. Job
  2. Family

I consider two other challenges equally important; I find that they are deeply integrated into the above two “big” challenges, so I am putting them in a subcategory. They are – time and finances.

Job

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

There are several reasons what one might decide to a master’s degree late in life.  One of the worries most people would naturally have when they choose to get back to studies after a break is how they will manage work and study at the same time? The fact of the matter is it is not going to be easy! Most of us are set in our ways and have a routine that we are used to, and as human beings, we do not like change.

But you decided to do a master’s degree for a reason. Either you are not happy with the job that you are doing and want to change to a career that gives you fulfilment, or you are among the lucky few that have found a career that gives you job satisfaction and are looking for a leg up either in terms of academic knowledge or padding your resume to provide you with an edge in your next appraisal cycle.

So, keep this in mind the next time you feel down and stressed. Yes, it will be hard, and you will have to make changes to your schedule to work in a daily study time. You will have the challenges of completing assignments on time and doing research. But you will learn from everything you do, and things will improve.

Family

Family time. Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

Family is another aspect of your life that will be impacted by your decision of going back to school. And for those of you who are single, with minimum family responsibilities, family for you here means your social life (friends). You will have to make sacrifices; you are working towards earning your master’s degree! Keep in mind, a little hardship and sacrifice can result in great rewards in the future.

Work with your family, explain why you have decided to get back to studying and how you plan to change your schedule. Don’t sugarcoat it, tell them it will be hard, and your time will not be your own, but it will be only for a short time and will be worth it in the long run. It might surprise you how supportive your family can be, and you will require their strength and support when you get stressed.

The other challenges

Finance

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Time to tighten your belt and cut down on frivolous expenses. Doing a master’s degree can be an expensive prospect, especially if it is from an accredited, globally recognised university. Noting is free, and anything worth getting will cost. You get what you paid for! Budgeting for the additional expense of a master’s degree will have an impact on your lifestyle and family. It also brings into focus the importance of having and keeping your job. But if you plan and start budgeting early, it can be done comfortably. 

Check with the college about the payment terms. You might find the down payment to start the programme reasonable with multiple easy monthly instalment plans options. Check and see what works best within your budget. And don’t forget, a little hardship now can lead to greater rewards in the future.

Time

Time management is the key. Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Time is the one thing that waits for no one. There are multiple challenges when it comes to managing time. Can time be managed? First, you must decide if this is the right time to go back to school. Can you wait any further? Are you losing out if you delay? How are you going to manage your work, family, and study at the same time?

The answer is to plan and schedule everything. People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with your family’s schedule; this will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

Time management is the key! IT. CAN. BE. DONE.


Now, if you don’t want to delay anymore and are ready to start a master’s degree programme, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Pascal

Through the #DILO series of blog posts, we have been bringing you insights into the life of our master’s students, sharing their thoughts and opinions, ups and downs, and key learning points during their online studies. The whole idea behind this series is to make you aware of the realities of online studies and aid you in decision making.   

This week we take a look at a day in the life of one of our master’s degree student, Pascal. Here are a few insights and some words of wisdom that Pascal had to share from his own experience:  

An Introduction  

Who are you, really?  

Pascal S, a journalist for more than 25 years  

Which Uni are you studying with?  

University of Cumbria  

Which programme did you choose and why?  

MBA Media Leadership, to get even better in my job as a journalist/editor/redactor in chief. And another challenging part was to study the programme in a foreign language.  

  

The Study Plan  

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

I studied between one and two hours per day during weekdays and at least two hours per day during the weekends, sometimes more.  

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Because of the family and the job, the only suitable time to study was the evenings during the weekdays rather than in the afternoons & evenings during the weekends.  

How much time did you devote for each assignment?  

ItI took me around 10 days for the interim assignment and a little more than two weeks for the final assignment. Coordination for the final assignment is quite delicate as I wanted to end it at least a week before the due date, in order to check, read, correct, Turnitin Test, etc.  

  

Travelling and Communication  

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

It did not, as I did not travel a lot—only a daily commute.  

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

I consider interaction as satisfying, although I prefer chatting directly with people. But I enjoy reading contributions and experiences all around the world, which is a bonus for online teaching.  

  

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Master’s student look like for you?  

After the daily chores and home duties, I read the assignment documents, trying to find out what is the most relevant or, at least, the general picture. I take notes, references and try to see if there are other sources to complete the assignment. Sources I will use for my final assignment.  

  

Any advice?  

Study a bit each day (one to two hours in a day), prepare yourself a work schedule, take notes, write down your ideas and start your assignment(s) early; otherwise, the time pressure will kill you.  

Well, indeed, incredibly helpful advice from Pascal. A proactive early start not only saves you from an unpredictable situation but also helps you follow your study plan with confidence. To get you through the master’s studies, we have an excellent faculty team of subject-matter experts, who guide and encourage students to achieve their potential.   

If you have been dreaming of joining a master’s programme or have had this personal goal to gain a higher education, now is the time! Take the valuable advice from our current students, gain from their experience, add your own unique study strategy, and make your own success stories! I would love to feature you one ce day on our college blog.  

Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time. 

Want to study for long hours? Here are 7 tips to get you started!

University, for me at least, was a blast. I had loads of friends and every day was a party. I wish I were a better student than I was, but at the same time, I don’t think I would change any of my experiences. The friends I made then are pretty much the same friends I have today. Someone wiser than me once said that a good friend is the one who comes to bails you out of prison, but your best friend/brother is the one sitting next to you in jail saying, “dang! we are now in trouble”. These are the kind of friends I have today.

But in having this amazing experience in university I pushed studies to the background and would try and cram as much learning as I could a week (or a day) before the exams. But that never worked; I would get easily distracted, and what I did learn would slip right out of my mind the second I closed the book. Last-minute cramming sessions hardly ever work. Studying long hours, like everything else, is a skill that needs to be developed and fostered.

Learning to study long hours is especially important for mature students doing an online programme. Apart from the usual work pressures, there are also many other things around that demand our attention and can be an unavoidable distraction from studies. So, putting in the time when the opportunity arises, even if it is a marathon study session, can be very important, and learning to learn and retain during this time is critical.

But how does one go about studying for long periods? Here are 7 tips to get you started.

1. Break it down

Don’t feel intimidated by the amount you have to study. Break it down! Photo by Teslariu Mihai on Unsplash

Some of the study material you have to go through can get quite intimidating; there is just so much. This intimidation could lead to anxiety, which in turn could lead to your getting distracted, and finally, you will just end up procrastinating. Take a pen and paper and write down what you intend to achieve by the end of your study session, and then break it down to smaller targets that can be achieved. This list of achievable targets will be your guiding star; this will help you focus your efforts and concentrate on the micro picture, reducing overall stress.

2. Changing your frame of mind

Let’s face it; you will not come back from the office or a football game and get right into studying. Your mind is still at the office or at the game or whatever you were doing before getting to your studies. Give yourself some time to get into the right frame of mind, say 30 minutes. First, get rid of all distractions – tv, phone, tablets, etc., then use these 30 minutes to transition into a learning frame of mind – get your study set up, ensure all stationery required is on hand, eat something and keep drinking water close. Once everything is set up, just relax your mind – do some breathing exercises, listen to some calming music, or take a hot bath. And once the 30 minutes are done, get to studying!

3. Think positive

Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash

I know there are a thousand different things you’d rather be doing than studying. But this is what you must do to get ahead in your career, improve your knowledge, and earn that degree you always dreamt of having. So, keep thinking positive as you work towards your dreams, and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. 

4. Unscheduled breaks

Schedule and time all your breaks. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

AVOID unscheduled breaks! I get it; you have to take breaks but ensure that they are timed and scheduled. Don’t be tempted to check your phone or watch that match on tv in the middle of your study session. Once you get that ball rolling, it will just pick up speed, and the next thing you will be doing is studying during commercial breaks. Take the break when you schedule it and only for the duration it was planned for!

5. Study actively

Be engaged with what you are studying. Start reading the study material actively, making notes, asking questions about what you are reading, and answering them to better understand the subject. Don’t just read for the sake of reading; understand and learn by getting engaged with what you read.

6. Mix it up

Get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

While it is essential for you to have your own study space devoid of distractions, during an extended study session where studying can get physically tiring, you might get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Try to keep distractions to a minimum, so maybe go out to a park or sit in your backyard, but if you end up in a café, make sure you take your noise-cancelling headphones with you.  

7. End it

Once you are done with your marathon study session, end it. Close your books and maybe go right to bed, don’t think about studying anymore, this way you will be fresh and rested for your study session the next day.


These study habits, like everything else, must be cultivated and developed; it is not something that will work right off the bat. You get into a habit of long study sessions by repeating regularly. Start with one full day of studying every alternate week. If you have the time, do it weekly, and before you know it, this one day a week study session will help you get ahead of your class. But please do not neglect your regular study sessions; this is just a boost to give you an edge in class and help you cement what you learnt. 

We would love to hear from you about what helped you with your long study sessions. Is an all-day-long study session something you would do?

If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.

The Subtle Art of Saying No

Ever wondered why we tend to say “yes” to people when we really don’t want to? Blame it on human psychology or human beings being social animals. We find it extremely difficult to say no to anyone.  

We adore attention and feel gratified when others admire us, trust and look up to us. But when this takes the form of constant requests and more work for yourself, you detest being the go-to person. People want to say yes because they are afraid, afraid to disappoint others. We feel personally responsible for letting others down if we decline their proposition or their request for help. During these troubled times, with businesses being in jeopardy, everyone is overwhelmed, constantly working, and juggling work and relationships. Everyone is over-extended, and it is not the best soil to grow ideas or make sound business decisions.  

Are you saying a “good yes” or a “bad yes”?

What begins as an intent to help becomes a bad “yes” – simply because you do not have the productive capacity or knowledge to complete the task. Such a “yes” is bound for failure. When there is so much asking around in an organisation and collaborative overload, one should focus on moving to good yesses and good nos to avoid failures.  

How to say No?  

You have decided that you are going to turn down someone’s request to undertake a task. Now comes the even more difficult part: actually saying “no”! How do you effectively communicate your decision?  

Begin with a positive statement by appreciating the opportunity extended your way, that you were considered worthy enough to do justice to the job. But present your “but” in a way that shows you have carefully considered the proposition and convey the “why” of your decision. Let them realise that you did not decide to say no lightly, that the “no” was not because you are lazy, un-zealous to learn, or simply being difficult.  

Saying no can be an onerous process but trust me, it will prove to be more productive for yourself and the business. Base your decision on this checklist:  

1.    Do not let fear decide  

If you fear that saying “no” will stress your work relationship, remember that saying “yes” when you cannot deliver the results will stress you and the relationship even more. If the working relationship turns sour just because you said “no”, then it was never meant to be. Let it go.  

A decision taken under duress leads to stress on oneself and on work relationships

2.    Evaluate the proposition  

I know from personal experience when we are new to an organisation or a job, we are eager to learn because knowledge is power. Gain that power but keeping in view the quality you are gaining. Ask yourself what ‘value addition’ can you get from this task. Ask questions such as why, when, and what is needed for the task. Doing due diligence on someone’s request is respecting them and yourself.  

3.   Remember what you want to be known for  

What may seem like an opportunity to learn for you could become an opportunity for others to learn a thing or two about you. When you say “no”, back it up with legitimate and fair reasons, tell them why the proposition is not worth your time or effort or simply that you do not have that kind of time to invest in this project. You already have enough on your plate. When the other person: your boss, your client, your colleague, hears your side of the story, they will understand your situation, and you will become known for your work ethics and values. You will be known for authenticity and for being a good decision-maker. Everyone will respect your decision when you say “no” the next time because they will know there is a genuine reason behind it, and it’s just not a lack of interest or laziness involved. They will even bring better propositions to you that you will find difficult to turn down. They will try to please you and not the other way round.  

When you say “yes” to someone’s request, you commit to executing and delivering results.

4.    Deliver results  

The only consideration that should drive your professional decisions should be results. When you say “yes” to someone’s request, you commit to executing and delivering results. You do not want to be in a position where you realise later that either you cannot, are not allowed to, or should not do so. Do not bite more than you can chew. Do not be hard on yourself thinking that you are being difficult. Convey that you are making a good business decision.  

5.    Provide options  

While it is not easy to say “no” to someone who had high hopes on your saying “yes” and was relying on you for completing the task, remember that people come to you because you are a problem-solver and are resourceful. If you cannot do the job yourself, give them other options on how to complete the job or provide solutions to resolve the issue. It will save your time and help build trust with team members that learnt something valuable when they approached you.   

You can also choose to defer the project instead of completely shutting it down. Offer them a plan where you can join the team at a later stage and be more valuable once the project’s gone past its conception stage.   

6.    Don’t be afraid to say the ‘C’ word  

The majority of the time, bosses try to use influence to get things done. Little do they realise that when they use power, they lose influence.  

Photo credit: Canva.com

Every employer has a budget, and the more he can get done without expending his budget, the better (the lesser the merrier, in this case). This is one of the most frustrating and de-motivating situations when you are asked to deliver more results and but are not “C”ompensated for that extra work. You might say “yes” to the extra load now and then, just to be nice or on the pretext of learning something new, or simply because the boss asked you to do so, but this will eventually burn you out. Be firm to tell the work is simply beyond your pay scale and justifies an extra dollar or two.  

It is a misconception that you must be a “Yes Man” or a “Yes Woman” to be successful and boost your career. Remember Jim Carrey’s movie – Yes Man? The film is a classic story where the protagonist is encouraged and made to promise to answer “Yes!” to every opportunity, request, or invitation that presents itself. After a series of interesting events in his life, he realises that the covenant was merely a starting point to open his mind to other possibilities, not to permanently take away his ability to say no if he needed to.  

So, are you the go-to person at your workplace? Do you always end up saying yes? How do you strategically say no? 

Coronavirus Vaccine – To take or not to take?

I realise this is a departure from my usual blog. I recently got the second shot of the Coronavirus vaccine, and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But I soon realised that nothing had changed. A couple of days after getting my shot, I learned that one of my neighbours, who coincidentally is a doctor and fully vaccinated, was tested positive.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

At the end of the day, we still have to wear masks and practice social distancing. And I urge you to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, try self-isolation (at least as much as you can before going bonkers), and hand sanitise, at least until COVID-19 is well and truly behind us. Just because you have been vaccinated doesn’t mean you are fully protected against the coronavirus infection; it merely reduces the chances of developing complications by helping your body develop antibodies. Keep in mind, most vaccines have only about 90% efficacy.

But why isn’t COVID-19 just going away? Why does it keep evolving and mutating?  

The simple answer is because we are giving it time to evolve and mutate. Even today, a vast majority of the world’s population remains unvaccinated; only about 30% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated (status on Sep 14, 2021, see the chart below). There are several reasons for this – from the lack of availability of the vaccine in certain areas to false information being spread and an inherent mistrust for vaccines. 

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

So, why is it so hard for us to believe highly educated and qualified scientists and doctors, who have worked endless hours to get us COVID-19 vaccines in record time, but are swayed by celebrities and politicians who tweet for publicity and whose only research is a cousin in Trinidad who won’t get the vaccine because his friend got it and became impotent (a reference to a recent Tweet by a popular rap star).

The answer is FEAR. All we need is a kernel of doubt to be planted in our minds, and our imagination will do the rest.

People are afraid of the unknown

There are many reasons people come up with for not taking the vaccine or for looking at alternatives. I can understand the fear, but more than a billion people worldwide have already taken the vaccine, and it has worked out well for the overwhelming majority of them. It is no longer the unknown.

People are afraid of the government – because they “rushed” the vaccine to look good in the eyes of the voters or to blame the inaction of the opposition

Protest in Liestal, Switzerland against the corona pandemic measures. Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash.

As for the government rushing the vaccine (which they did), this is a legitimate concern. Do you want to put something in your body that was rushed or not tested enough? The fact of the matter is that researchers were already researching vaccines for other coronaviruses for years, so when COVID-19 hit, they were already ahead of the game. In the US, “Operation Warp Speed” wasn’t about rushing the science but about cutting down the bureaucracy. Researchers were able to compress the timeline for the development of the vaccine; things that were done in sequence were done in parallel to save time. 

People are afraid of the side effects of the vaccine

Most medications will have side effects; you can usually find the warning on the label. For a vast majority of people, the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine will just be minor – headaches, cold or flu symptoms, fever, and body pain are some of the most common. Serious side effects like anaphylaxis are very rare (example: 4.7 cases/million for Pfizer-BioNTech and 2.5 cases/million for Moderna, for vaccine doses administered) and usually only occur for cases with a history of allergy.

People are afraid of big corporations – they have the right to be because most big corporations are out to get your money 

The greed of man can be astounding, and it won’t surprise me to find out that some might have cut corners or taken other underhanded steps to increase their profits. But this is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the eye of the world is riveted on this. And it will be a brave (and in this case, by brave I mean psychopathic) company or executive that will play around with results that can impact millions of lives. But I still wouldn’t put anything past man’s greed, but that would not be more than the usual (cynical, I know).

The point is, we have to flatten the curve. We must develop herd immunity. And for this to happen, more people must be vaccinated. Because if you do not take the vaccine, you might not be affected by COVID-19, but you can still spread it to other people, becoming a carrier and helping the virus mutate. Encourage your friends, neighbours, and family to get vaccinated.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-cases

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Stay safe. Stay healthy. Get vaccinated.