Blog Archive

How to Develop Analytical Skills



By Junaid Tahir

In our day to day life whether official, personal or social, we have to deal with complications. Some situations are easy to handle with but other are complex which snatch the peace of mind because our brain gets stuck on how best to handle such state of affair. This is where our Analytical Skills help us. The prime purpose for the Analysis of any given situation is to get to know the root cause(s) of the issue, to forecast the impact and to plan corrective/preventive actions strategy. So basically analytical skill is to visualize a given situation, task, project or issue from several angles in order to breakdown it into smaller steps.
Below are different situations where our analytical skills are required. I shall give advises in each category accordingly:

1)    When Summarizing Large Amount of Data: In this situation, I highly recommend using Pivot Tables feature of MS Excel in order to generate reports. The Pivot Reports feature allows us playing with the data in several ways to generate multi-dimensional reports. We can breakdown large amount of data in different sheets to apply Pivot Reports separately as well. Youtube is a very good source of videos for learning this skill. Pivot table can also generate reports for Trends and Forecast in two to three dimensions.

2)   When  Resolving Conflicts in Office: In this case, listen to all parties which are having difference of opinion. List down the positive and negative input factors and after-effects based on feedback from individuals. Make it in tabular format and review this with your manager to see which one is the best option to go for. Then call for a meeting to elaborate the overall picture based on your fair analysis and convince personnel for the option which is in the best interest of the company. Read me detailed article here


3)   When Being Assigned a large project: in this case you need to make a high level agenda (High Level Project Deliverables) and then start working on WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) and then assign each task to relevant resource. While making WBS you can have a meeting with your Team Leads and other stake holders. You can consider Fishbone diagram to analyze the inputs of any task. 


4)   When Resolving a Technical issue: The advice here is to consult the product guide to see the possible root causes, consult the SME (Subject Matter Expert) for opinion or consult the Lesson Learnt Register. For all kind of issues resolutions, I always recommend two things. First is to take corrective action to fix the issue, Second is to take Preventive Action (fix the root cause permanently) so that the issues do not pop up again. Six Sigma's DMAIC is another recommended way for analyzing and improving.You may want to get Six Sigma documents by dropping me an email at mjunaidtahir-at-gmail-dot-com


5)   When purchasing something: Let us take the example of mobile phone. When you want to purchase a new mobile you need to ask yourself: do I need touch screen, do I need wifi, do I really need to purchase new mobile, what is my budget? do I need 5MP camera, do I need iphone or Android, do I need 4 inch screen or less? What other specs do I need to consider. So Basically you are analyzing your demands to come up with the right mobile which is to be purchased. Read my article on how to buy the best phone here


6)   When handling family conflicts: Being a sensitive subject, this is something where you need much more than analytical skills; For each family member involved in the conflict, you have to have sense of feelings, emotions study, stress absorption power, age factor, relationship level and convincing power so in my opinion this is the most difficult part of practicing your analytical skills. You have to consistently guide everyone about 'forgive and forget' policy. You have to calmly listen to each party and take adequate time to analyze all aspects (as mentioned a couple of lines back) vigilantly before concluding something on the brawl.




Conclusion: Analytical skills can make your life easier in almost all aspects of decision making or problem solving, however, it's not only the matter of considering all the options and the inputs, its matter of considering the weight of each option as well. For example, for a given situation you have two options having equal number of advantages or disadvantages so in order to conclude in such situation you have to consider the weight of each option. While doing your analysis you might want to consider the difference between Urgent and Important things. If that is the case please read my article 


About Author: Junaid Tahir, a telecom engineer and a blogger, writes articles on wisdom, happiness and stress management. His articles can be read Here

The Ant & the Contact Lens

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took hold on the rope and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens.

Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet Below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn't there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff.

She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?" Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it.

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me do, I'll carry it for You." I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy.
But, if you want Me to carry it, I will." 

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Muslims

By Junaid Tahir
Yes, this book is great; The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People® as it has inspired millions of lives across the globe; includes me!
The title triggered me to search and read about Seven Habits of Highly Effective Muslims, I googled it but couldn't find any results although I found 7 habits of Bloggers, Christians, Catholics,  Churches, Missionaries, Teachers and Believers which have been well thought and well written. This saddened me but at the same time initiated a thought process to come up with Seven Habits of Highly Effective Muslim. When I say effective that means a Muslim is having a positive and constructive EFFECT on himself/herself and also on the society; the society which comprises all kinds of humans regardless of any condition of religion, skin-color, nation and country.
When I compiled the list of 7 habits, I decided to split them in to two groups INTERNAL EFFECT and EXTERNAL EFFECT. I put Four Habits under INTERNAL EFFECT group and 3 Habits in EXTERNAL EFFECT category. By 'Internal Effect' I mean that these habits are impacting at the individual level and by 'External Effect' I mean that these habits if adapted by a Muslim will have a positive effect on society. However, the INTERNAL EFFECT Habits form the basis of EXTERNAL EFFECT hence all 7 habits are critically important.


INTERNAL EFFECT:

1.     Habit of COMPLIANCE: A Muslim, by all means, is supposed to comply with the mandatory requirements of Islam. This covers but not limited to Prayers, Zakat, Hajj, Fasting and belief in Allah & the Day of Judgment.  A Highly Effective Muslim clearly understands that  these pillars of Islam teach us several lessons which eventually have Effect on the Muslim himself and then on society both. For example, Hajj teaches the lesson of patience which is need of the hour considering the psychological conditions of the society. Zakat teaches the lesson to take care for others by financial means. Fasting teaches us to have control on desires. So all these mandatory things result in super-positive Effect on a muslim's personality.

2.    HABIT OF SELF AUDIT: This habit makes a Muslim a Convicted (Mujrim) and the Judge at the same time. An Effective Muslim keeps auditing himself, specially at the end of each day. He asks himself several questions before he sleeps, for example, what Major sins I did today. Did I do lie, back-biting, harshness with parents, fraud, stealing, abuse, deceive, alcohol and/or illegal sex. In case the answer for any question is yes then he performs Touba. The process of Touba purifies a Muslim's thoughts and indirectly improves his personality by taking out all bad habits. To develop the habit of Audit, an Effective Muslim always remember his death and always remember that he is going to be answerable for his deeds which he is doing every second in this world since every single activity is being recorded by Almighty.

3.    HABIT OF HONESTY: The Effective Muslim is always honest, honest at home, honesty at office, honest in every single deed he does. He is honest in earning, he is honest in paying tax, honest in treating people, honest in all kind of financial matters, honest in judging people and resolving conflicts. He loves people and use things; not vice versa. This quality cleanse his heart, mind and soul.  The article written by Junaid Tahir (mjunaidtahir at gmail dot com)

4.    HABIT OF DIFFERENTIATING HALAL-HARAM:  An effective Muslim clearly understands the difference between Halal (allowed or lawful) and Haram (forbidden). He understands that Halal is not limited to eating only rather the concept of Halal-Haram is applicable to every aspect of life. He understands that if he earns money by illegal ways (financial frauds, by lying, by deceitful ways, by not giving his energies to his job as per the company's requirements) then his earning is not pure. He stays away from all Haram things.

EXTERNAL IMPACT:

5.     HABIT OF GOOD MANNERS (Ikhlaqiat): An Effective Muslim is a live example of Great Manners. He speaks politey, he does not dishearten others by his tongue or deeds, he sets example by actually doing good things. He respects the elders and kind to youngsters. He is helpful, friendly and an easy going person. He stays away from gossips, back-biting and other social diseases. He understands fully that "The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome person." Ref:  Sahih Bukhari Volumn 003, Book 043, Hadith Number 637.  He wins people's hearts by his kindness, gentleness, politeness, courtesy and helping nature. The article written by Junaid Tahir (mjunaidtahir at gmail dot com)

6.    HABIT OF PROMOTING GOOD AND STOPPING BAD: An Effective Muslim knows the importance of Amr bil maroof and nahi a-nil munkar. This is what Allah has mentioned in Quran that Muslims are the best nation because they Promote/encourage for Good and discourage/stop the Bad. The Effective Muslim understands that he is supposed to help others in the manners of goodness and righteousness and he is supposed to discourage the evil matters. He does not take the law in hand but handles the bad situation by involving the right Law Enforcing Agencies or by dialogues. The article written by Junaid Tahir (mjunaidtahir at gmail dot com)

7.    HABIT OF BRINGING PEACE:  An Effective Muslim always endeavors for peace. He is patient in the situations of brawls and quarrels. He understands that two people can definitely have difference of opinion so he respects this fact and respects others too. He strives for resolving conflicts whenever observed. He believes that every single soul on earth has his/her rights so he respects the humanity regardless of skin color, country, nation, level of education.
So these are the 7 habits which every single Muslim must adapt in order to have a Positive and constructive EFFECT at individual and social level. How many habits are you practicing? Are you an effective Muslim? I appeal you to please go through these 7 Habits one more time and evaluate yourself and change your life style to become an Effective Muslim starting today. Always remember, everyone of us is answerable to Allah for every single deed we do so we have to change ourselves the way our religion demands. May Allah guide me towards the right path. Prayers requested.

References:


Listening Effectively

Read slowly to concentrate these lines:
To improve your communications skills you must first improve your listening skills. Effective listening is all about eye contact, because people listen with their eyes as well as with their ears. Also, learning to be silent in your mind and on your tongue are both important listening traits. Truly listening to another is showing that other person that you care and what they have to say is important.