Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Olympics of Magic 2009

In a few hours’ time, I will be departing for Beijing for the 24th FISM 2009 (26 – 31 July), hosted by the China Magic Art Society. FISM is an abbreviation of Federation Internationale des Socits Magiques (International Federation of Magic Societies) founded in 1948. It is the international body bringing together the world's leading magic societies. The Federation today consists of over 80 clubs, both national and international, as well as national federations, which represent nearly 50,000 Magicians from 41 countries.

Every three years, an international contest is held to select the best-of-the-best. It is equivalent to the Olympic Games of magic; mostly, professional magicians take part and they undergo a rigorous national-level selection.

I am the current Vice-President of the Singapore Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM). IBM Ring115 is a 59-year-old magic club started in Singapore. It is, essentially, a club comprising amateur magicians, magic collectors, and a few professional magicians. Our membership includes PMETs, industry leaders, teachers, lawyers, engineers, and students. It is also with pleasure that I will meet our President, John Teo and several members of our Management Committee there. We will be treated to magic lectures, demonstrations of new illusions, magic contests and shows. The contests will be the most exciting part of FISM as there will be abundant displays of national pride.

Singaporean professional magician, Jeremy Pei will compete in the Parlour Magic category; at last count, he has won about 23 different magic awards since he was 13 years old. He is renowned for his stage and close-up acts, which have bagged him some championship titles; I am keeping my fingers crossed for him at FISM. Street-magician Charlie Caper, from Sweden competed with Jeremy in the IF Convention in 2005 and lost to Jeremy for first place. Another Singaporean, Nique Tan was third; Charlie was runner-up. This should be an interesting match-up. Incidentally, Charlie won Sweden’s Got Talent this year. Past-Asian winners in FISM have come from Japan, Korea and China.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Paper on Leadership

Dear Readers,
The following is a link to my friend, Lex Lindeman and his article on leadership. He is an experienced international trainer and consultant. This piece on corporate leadership is insightful, and draws upon Lex's extensive experience and astute observation and analysis. Enjoy!
Another article on Trends in Leadership Development – Part 2 is now published.
http://internationalhr.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/trends-in-leadership-development-part-2 <http://internationalhr.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/trends-in-leadership-development-part-2/>

In my previous post, I wrote about the various
generic ways to approach Leadership Development in Public or Private Organizations.
In this article, I will go somewhat deeper into recent developments and strategies within Leadership Development.

In Part 3 I will discuss
my recent experiences with Leadership Development in AFRICA.
In Part 4 I will discuss my practical approach to the development of managers in Africa.

Kind regards,

Lex Lindeman
Managing Partner
Human Resources Boosters
The Netherlands

An Evening with Macca Part 2









Macca was recently in town to conduct his triathlon clinic for about 18 triathletes.

We chatted briefly, and Macca and I agreed that Ironman China 2009 was a dreadfully tough one. Other useful performance tips offered by Macca in the 1.5 hour sharing session included:

1) The 70.3 and Olympic Distance formats are more similar in nature (as faster races).

2) It is more useful to use liquid energy sources for faster races, up to 70.3 races.

3) Take lots of calories early on the bike.

4) Treat all injuries: rest, or stop.

5) Less training is more training.

6) Every athlete is insecure. Training gives you the thing to hold on to! You have to find those sessions to help you.

7) The mental side is so important. You have to deal with your self-doubts, and the pressure coming from people behind you. Doubts fester, and they manifest. Mental anguish burns an athlete out ultimately!

8) Racing is the only time in your life where, ‘It’s only about me and me.’

9) You have to believe in yourself. (‘You are the best runner, mate!’).

10) Speed-suits give an edge; compression socks have no conclusive benefits.

I hope that you found these useful. Lead with your first stroke, pedal and step!

(Photo credit: David Chee)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Evening with Macca Part 1


Organised by Macca X and Beats Per Minutes-Asia, this talk held last night was a relevant and unique one for both new and seasoned triathletes. Ironman Triathlon World Champion 2007, Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack focused on many useful aspects like training, nutrition, rest and recovery, mental conditioning, coaching and anecdotes on the champions. I will share key aspects about this session over the next few postings. You can also join his fan club on Macca X.

I, finally, took a photo with him (after missing my photo-opportunity with him in China and Singapore). I also won a mini-poster sized, photograph of him (riding his bike), with him penning some very inspirational words. These ‘four words’ will, hopefully, drive me towards performing better in a sport that I am passionate about. I will upload this photo on my Facebook account soon. I am also happy to have met new triathlete-friends (Trish, Kevin and David) through my training buddy, Jacob Lieu.

The essence of Macca’s sharing included:

1) Work on your weaknesses in the early-season; strengths in the late-season.

2) Be structured in your training.

3) Races do not make you tired or perform poorly, the buildup period (training) does.

4) Races are like hard, key workouts that bring you to the next level. Or else, train at the intensity of a race.

5) Your races test you and give you a point-of-view.

6) Less is more. Take the occasional rest.

7) Do strength-specific stuff. Macca does not do weights as he gains muscle quickly.

8) You cannot be too skinny as it may impair your race performance.

9) Coaches are motivators; Macca prefers consultants. Have faith in them!

10) Learn to trust your own instincts.

[Image from MaccaX website, all rights to Chris McCormack].

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sweet Musings

My friend, and ex-colleague Bernadette has a wonderful website that combines her three loves: baking/cooking, writing and her children. Her recipes are as delicious as her writing; her pictures of her finished creations are delectable. As former journalists, we still continue to write and we definitely encourage you to write. It is therapeutic. If not, you can always bake or cook!

Go to DIVA INDOORS, and find out more.

Salespeople are Leaders of Industries

Salespeople, or sales professionals tend to suffer from poor marketing. Traditional or old school, thinking positioned them as salesmen (which is also politically-incorrect). Selling is considered one of the oldest professions in the world. It was believed that those with the gift of the gab had a better shot (literally) at overwhelming customers with a barrage of questions and selling points. The more introverted ones suffered (in silence) when confronted with an extraverted and domineering customer.

If you look at all financial reports of public-listed companies, sales revenue heads the business spreadsheet (and profit and loss statement). Without sales, there is no business, and thus no profit, and therefore no company in the long term. Even charity homes and not-for-profit organizations need to generate sales from philanthropists to sustain their existence.

In reality, and research has substantiated it, the top-20 percent of your sales performers tend to rake in up to 80 percent of your revenues. Yet, colleagues cry injustice over the commissions the performers may earn: Front-liners get more than backroom staff!

Salespeople are leaders in various ways:

1) Selling is about influence. The ability to persuade others is, essentially, selling.

2) They are ambassadors of your company. They are the face of your organization, products and services.

3) Selling is about getting somebody to commit to a cause.

4) When you raise funds for charity, you are selling a cause that connects with a person’s values and beliefs.

5) They connect with your pain. They connect their company’s products and services with your company’s capabilities.

6) Like hunters who migrate to where the livestock is, salespeople aspire and perspire to hit their sales targets.

7) They focus on communication, mainly rapport and persuasion.

Leadership Lessons: Selling is a core communication skill. Sell your ideas. Communicate how what you do benefits others. Sell the abilities of your staff. Speak well of them. Selling is about influence.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Branding Your Leadership

Is it important to brand your leadership?

In many ways, the answer is a resounding YES. In fact, your personal branding is a critical part of how people identify with you as a leader.

When surrounded by others, how do you stand out? What distinguishes you from others? What is your signature style? Do you have leave a distinct impression when you leave a room?

What is brand? Simply put, it is more than your name. It is the person behind the name. It is your foreground combined with your background. Your brand contrasts yours with others. Branding makes comparison with others more focused and relevant. Branding makes the common, un-common. It enhances your perceived value and capability when others measure you, and decide to include you in their equation for a successful future.

These are dimensions that you may consider as you explore and develop your leadership brand.

1) What are your values and beliefs about people?

2) What do you stand up for?

3) Who do you represent?

4) How do you express your personality?

5) What is your character?

6) How do you position yourself with others?

7) Which are your strengths and weaknesses?

8) What motivates you into action?

9) How do you reflect your tacit wisdom and tacit experience?

10) What do others say of you when you leave their company?

Can we afford to NOT brand ourselves? We will delve in detail each dimension in the coming weeks.

Leadership Thought: What is behind your name? How would you like to be addressed?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rest Your Weary Bones

Wrote Evan Esar: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Jill a rich widow.’

Rest is an important part of life. If we spend eight hours a day at work, and eight hours at play, therefore the remainder we spend sleeping or resting.

It has been exactly two weeks since I completed Ironman Austria; I can still feel the residual memory of 226km in my muscles and joints. I have heard anecdotal evidence that it takes about one month to recover from a marathon. I wonder how it takes to fully recover from an Ironman* triathlon?

It is useful to take time off for a vacation; it allows you an opportunity to take a break from the routine of work. It would be more useful to take your allocated time for vacation, than it is it is consume your quota of sick leave.

Your body needs rest in order to recharge and rebuild itself. Rest and recuperation takes place thoroughly when we have enough sleep, rest and proper nutrition. If we don’t rest, our body and mind may deteriorate. We can only deprive ourselves of sleep for so long until we begin hallucinating, falling sick and becoming unbearable to live with. You may be familiar with an irritable colleague who is not coping well with his stress – they may display irrational behavior.

How do you rest? How much time do you make for resting? If you indulge in work that fatigues you, take rest breaks. You may see construction-workers take a nap after lunch. This practice is popular and serves to rejuvenate the worker’s tired body. Athletes perform better when their bodies are given adequate rest. The traditional eight hours of sleep a night may not be far fetched if you are both mentally and physically active. Those who drive long distance would do themselves and others a favour, if they were to take a rest a pit stop.

Sometimes, we may have to work over the weekend or even bring work home. However, it is also relevant to rest between bouts of work to gather your thoughts, wits and composure. Resting may be the pause that refreshes. A speaker may get to rest her voice. A punctuated, moment to reflect may assist a writer trigger off a better-constructed sentence. Silence may provide a philosopher with new insights and epiphanies. A leader may pause to deliberate over a tough decision. Thomas Edison rested as he incubated his pregnant ideas. Hey, he gave us the electric-bulb, didn’t he?

Resting is not about being lazy. It is an important part of our human functioning, if we know when to enhance its capabilities. Rest if needed. It may be more a necessity than a luxury.

*‘Ironman’ is a trademark of the World Triathlon Corporation.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Review of THE GEEKS' GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION

Are you a geek? Could you have been a geek in a previous life? Bill Gates may be the most famous geek in the world, yet there are many even in the entertainment field. Geeks are not just confined to the worlds of academia and technology, as there are many who are in entertainment, sports and other professions. In one essay I wrote in the magazine, The Quantum Ring I argued that celebrity magicians like David Blaine, Criss Angel and David Copperfield are magic-geeks. Like amateur magicians, this trio is also excited by the latest magic trick and illusion. It was reported that Copperfield bought the exclusive performing rights to a levitation illusion within hours of it being posted on YouTube.com. He, thus, deprived the magic community of the pleasure of owning the secret and method.

According to Garth Sundem, a self-confessed geek, geeks are everywhere. The content in this book includes facts (and factoids), insights to secret societies, puzzles, mathematical applications, and even revealing information about geeks who have met ironical endings.

Sundem writes in a fun, oftentimes humorous way, and certainly with clarity and insight. You can read the book in any order you prefer, as there are no real chapters as the book jumps from point to point with wanton playfulness. There are strategies for tackling Sudoku puzzles, writing English phrases on a calculator, use the valuable words in Scrabble, and how to join secret societies. A world that is obscure and secretive has now been illuminated by one of them (us). Buy this book on Amazon.com. This book is packed with useful knowledge, and still fun to read.

May the geek may inherit the earth…

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Great Start to a Day

Choose your attitude was one of the Pike Place Fish Market’s philosophies of success. In essence, you decide to be happy or not be happy – your choice. The company of about 14 fishmongers, successfully, moved from average to world-class reputation because they revolutionized the way they ran their business. The world-famous fishmongers from Seattle decided to make a commitment to have our customers leave with the experience of having been served. In a unique way, the customers had the opportunity to experience being known and appreciated whether they bought fish or not.

What makes the Pike Place Fish Market different from its competitors? How did they influence other companies, in various industries, to consider adopting some of their success factors? One of the four philosophies indentified by the fish-throwing staff was to choose their attitude.

Attitude stems from our likes and dislikes. Attitude covers aspects of the ABC model: Affective, Behavioral and Cognitive. Our attitude reflects on how we are affected by an agent (place, person, event, or thing) emotionally. Our behaviors demonstrate how we respond or react to these agents. Cognition covers our thinking, perception, learning and reasoning. Recognition comes from cognition. Our cognitive abilities also include how we process and apply our beliefs and values.

For the staff of Pike Place Fish Market, it was a united and unrelenting commitment to become ‘world famous’. What would it take to become world famous? Thus, they engineered behaviors of worth that distinguished them differently from others. They inspired tribes of fans and shoppers who enjoyed the dynamic work environment that the humble company created.

If you have worked in an environment where people are helpful, encouraging and considerate, then your attitude towards people will likely be positive. If you have worked for a manager who has showed preferential treatment and put your career at risk, then you may have a negative attitude towards managers in the future.

Colleagues can describe each other’s attitude as positive, negative, good, bad, and indifferent. These words can have, long-term ramifications on each staff. Our words drive us to actions, or inactions.

What is your attitude as a manager? Do you treat your staff fairly? What is your view of staff? Do you find them an invaluable resource, or a necessary inconvenience? Do you think you are better than they are?

Leadership Lessons: 1) Do what you say you want to be. 2) Commit relentlessly to your cause. 3) Be. Never pretend. 4) Choose an attitude based on strong core values. 5) Love it. Live it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

10 Tips for Running Your First Marathon

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. How do you begin yours?

Completing a marathon can be a deeply fulfilling experience, especially if it is your first. Unlike the tragic, romanticism of the famous Greek messenger, Pheidippides who died soon after making the critical announcement after running without stopping from Athens to Marathon, running 42.195km is a relatively safe activity. Friends, students and acquaintances have asked me about running a marathon. Here are 10 tips for getting your much-anticipated finisher t-shirt and medal.

1) Sign up for a race (such as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon)

2) Start training in a systematic way for at least 4-6 months

3) Train with other runners for inspiration and motivation

4) Train regularly with a heart-rate monitor to measure your pace

5) Train at your aerobic heart-rate zone (jogging pace)

6) Do at least one 10km and 21km race before your marathon

7) Run and walk up to 28-32 kilometres at least once every 3-4 weeks

8) Practise drinking a cup of water/sports drinks every 2-2.5km

9) Practise running in similar run-gear (attire and shoes) for the marathon, a few times beforehand

10)If in doubt, engage a run-coach (as the learning can be priceless)

The SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon, and Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will take place in 16 August and 6 December, respectively. Consider them as one of your attempts!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Path to Parenting (Part 2)

JL: Still, I am very thankful that my mum is living with us, and I still get to socialize a little. Or else, I will go crazy listening to crying and screaming baby, and as I have countless sleepless nights when my son woke up in the middle of the night, crying for attention. It is really no joking matter.

I really have to salute my mum. She did not have the luxury of a helper when I was my son's age, and she still managed to take care of me and my sister, without complains. How did she do it? I really wonder. This also gave me an opportunity to chat with my mother on a daily basis, and appreciate her more. This is something which I have not done since I started work.

EV: Being a Mr Mom (stay-at-home Dad) for a few months, what was that like? [I presumed you did that for a short while?]

ET: It is good as this is the important part of their lives. Once we miss it, it is gone forever.

JL: It is not all about tough and tiring work. When I first saw my little Daryl smiling at me, and called me "Daddy!" I thought that this was the SWEETEST sound in the world that I have ever heard. My mind went blank for a while, and I felt emotional. This is one of the most magical moments, which I will remember for the rest of my life. It is beyond words and description, but I think these feelings are understood by most parents.

EV: How has being a parent enhanced your leadership ability?

ET: I am not sure… as you will have to discover their potential, develop them, motivate them, coach them, communicate to them, get them to do things that they dislike, etc. skills that you use as a leader except that I think it is harder since it is for life.

JL: Daryl loves to smile and laugh: This has brought us a lot of sunshine to the family that money cannot buy. He also loves to smile and wave at strangers, and because of that, I get to know more neighbors. He manages to force strangers to talk to us, or wave back, using his charm and cheeky ways. Now, I love this neighborhood even more as I get to know more neighbors; some of who have lived here long enough, but I we never talked to.

This had taught me that I could find happiness in simplicity too, which is usually not too far away, and how valuable family relationship is to me. This prompted me to think more about life in perspective, and I have made plans to live better, for myself, and for the future generation, instead of bashing through life aimlessly.

LESSONS LEARNT:

1) You child can be your coach.

2) Keep learning. You start from scratch as a parent.

3) Parenting is the joy of discovery.

4) My colleague once described his children as ‘toys for adults’. Nurture these 'toys' well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Path to Parenting (Part 1)

[Contributed generously by happy fathers, Edwin Tan and Joshua Lee]

I sat with two ordinary guys who lead extraordinary lives. One is a father of two children, and the other is a new father. I recall when I was a young boy I watched a popular American sitcom called ‘Father Knows Best’. Do fathers really know best? This interview explores the perspectives that fatherhood sheds on men with diapers, feed-bottles and interrupted slumber.

EV: What is different now that you are a father?

ET: I guess the responsibilities that come with parenthood that for me means that the children come first. I will consider things from their perspective when I do things. I imagine it to be another pathway in life that I am taking and it is a long journey (perhaps till I die).

JL: It is really quite different from what I had in mind. After deliberating for sometime, my wife and I decided that it was a good idea to take care of our newborn son (Daryl) ourselves. I thought that it would be an experience of a lifetime to be able to play a more active role in this. Not too many males in the modern society will have this kind of experience.

EV: Which is your favourite part of being a Dad?

ET: The unpredictable nature of my children. It always amazes me to discover new things about my children and acknowledging that they are different. I appreciate that my child can teach me things and help me look at my own blind spots (when they demonstrate certain behaviors (through modeling after me) that I disapproved of which lead me to start to be more aware of my own behaviors in front of them. I guess you can call this personal development. So my children can be my coach in becoming a better person.

JL: After I resigned from my work as an IT manager, other than taking care of Daryl, I had a few personal plans in mind. I had wanted to read some good inspirational, management, spiritual, Information Technology and magic books. I wanted to learn some really cool sleight of hand moves and magic tricks. I also wanted to pick up new skill-sets in IT technologies that I had previously no time for. On my physical aspect, was hoping to do some running and exercising, and maybe I can participate in some cool running events, like what my friend Enrico is doing, and look as good.

EV: Which is your least favourite part?

ET: At the moment nothing, I enjoy the journey of being a father. Of course I am lucky that I have my wife and other people to help with the poop and other stuff. But if I have to do it, I will and can.

JL: Did I achieve anything? I can only remember that I must have washed close to 3000 milk bottles, and lost count on how many diapers I've changed. Spending most of the time entertaining my son, worrying that he will be bored or his brain is not properly stimulated. My whole world is almost about him. I still tried my best to read a little, or go for a jog whenever I can, but it is nothing near what I had wanted to do. Oh, did I mention the ton of housework that needs to be done?

EV: Which lessons have you learnt being a Dad?

ET: That my child is a mirror of me. Thus, it is important for me to behave in ways that I want them to behave. Pay attention to my children qualities, characters, strengths and weakness. To discover their potential and o help them develop it. Not to force my ideas onto them. Be a cheerleader and encourage my children. Teaching the right values and morals and disciplining is important and so it encouragement especially when they made mistakes. I tried to be Solution focused in my thinking instead of criticising, I tried to encourage my children to do the right things.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Attitude Behind the Altitude

Create an attitude towards life that is positive, broadening and enhancing. Life is meant to be experienced. There is a time for regret. There is a time for celebration. There are times to grief, and there are times to ponder and reflect.

Time is a critical component of life. Time can heal all wounds. Time and tide wait for no man. Timing is everything when it comes to making decisions. Performance can be timed.

Which are the other critical variables in life? Variables refer to conditions that can be manipulated. These may include:

· Experiences

· Events

· Places

· People

· Capability (including skills & knowledge)

· Mindset

· Beliefs

· Values

· Thinking/Cognition

Attitude stems from our likes and dislikes. These then determine our judgments about our preferences and prejudices. If you like somebody, your behaviors will show attitude towards that person. That is also how bias is formed. As leaders, we will need to manage our biases and prejudices.

What do you base your attitude on? How do you meet each new day? How does your attitude affect those around you? Focus on what else you can like about each of the aforementioned variables. You can learn to see the goodness in others; you can determine what is useful in each process you engage in.

Samuel Beckett wrote: I can’t go on. I must go on!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gracious Even in Defeat

What does being gracious mean?

It is defined as being ‘pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous’. It is also about ‘being merciful and benevolent’.

I was reading an interview by Kevin Mackinnon on Ironman.com, and it highlighted Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack’s behavior and responses at the post-race conference. In particular, he focused on McCormack’s graciousness. Macca said very kind things about his opponents, despite his disappointment over his marathon performance and close margin of losing. However, both writer and champion triathlete gave credit where credit was due. That is one of the distinctive marks of a gentleman (and leader). Lose graciously – you can’t change the past. Sir Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln lost several times in the polls before they won their rightful seats in government.

On a national level, how gracious are we as citizens? Commuters on the Austrian public train systems observe an honour system. You pay, you use. Even if the conductor does not check you, you are expected to have paid for your seat. I’m sure there will be the occasional abuse, yet it is about self-monitoring and self-checking. Marathoners and triathletes do a series of checks throughout their races, so that they can complete the race safely and in reasonable time.

Leadership Lessons: Learn to accept your results. There is no failure, only results. Pick yourself up, and focus on the next project. Learn to be gracious. Ask: what can I learn from the guy who beat me? What will I do better and differently the next time?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Footprints in the Sand

Travel is an educational process. You can get breadth and depth when you move across geographies. My last 10 days in Austria completing an Ironman triathlon, and doing it with friends left another lasting impression on me. Memorable experiences leave an indelible mark on people; life is a collection of numerous experiences. My friend, John Cooke wrote an introspective, and heartfelt essay on his experience touring the concentration camps in Munich. The footprints of the past still resonate in the living history of people and its monuments.

Shoe-designer, Jimmy Choo wrote: ‘Holidays are all about taking time to relax and do something you enjoy. That's so important because if you feel good, you pass that on to those around you. God gave me a good, comfortable life and I like to share that.

The thing I like to do on holiday best of all is sit with friends I have invited as my guests and just be together, have some delicious food and maybe some champagne. If you pass something on, it makes you feel good, so you benefit and so do other people.’

Mr Choo is right in his observation and practice. You can share in many ways – both simple, or creative. You can join a lone friend on his journey to another city by train. Hop on the subway with that same friend to view a landmark before sunset. Thank a stranger on a train for offering a seat on a train, and then have a small chat. Smile at a stranger. Show respect for the train-conductor. When things are done from one’s heart, it reflects on our genuineness and sincerity, values that endear ourselves to others. People can be polite and courteous, too.

Passing goodwill along seems like an admirable thing to do. Spreading your joy is about sharing your values.

Lessons: Plan your next holiday, and ensure that you execute it. Never compromise vacation time. Share stories; be attentive and bask in the storyteller’s rendition. There are so many dimensions and complexity in each story told, and even retold.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Against the Odds

Two days ago, on a 4-hour train ride from Vienna to Klagenfurt, Austria I happened to spot two lone deer within a five-minute interval. What were the odds? I was glad I kept my eyes open for those two instances; otherwise, I would have missed those decisive moments.

Talking about deer, I read about the concept of Purple Cows as a marketing principle (Seth Godin). A purple cow stands out from the boring brown ones by being different. Purple cows are rare. Yet, brown cows are just as rare in a country with few cows.

How do you stand out? Leaders have to make a stand. Stand out, and be noticed. If you stand back, you might be missed. Gary Yardley and Jan Kelly proposed in Profiling Instruments of Potential Succession (PIPS) that we take different stands like: withstanding, understanding, upstanding, outstanding, and standing out.

What do you do to stand out? What do you stand up for? What is your standing in your company and community? As a leader, how do you develop your ways of standing? How do you stand up to the truth?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Trading Up

In his book, One Red Paper Clip, Kyle MacDonald actually traded up a single piece of stationary into a dream house within one year! He took 14 trades, integrated through active and passive networking, and achieved his amazing results. This was the challenge he posed himself, and his inspirational story may trigger off your own ideas. By the way, did you attempt the challenges I posed you recently?

A few days ago, I proposed doing something with 80 pairs of spectacle frames. What can we do with them? Shall we:

1) Trade them up for something of higher perceived value?

2) Sell them to get some startup capital?

3) Combine them with a lens sponsor and an ophthalmologist to equip 80 children and adults with better vision

4) Start a blog called ’80 Pairs of Vision’ and trade up like Kyle did in One Red Paper Clip?

Come on. Participate. Let’s make some changes. Change can be very good. I will be collecting the frames soon.

Update: I had quite a few suggestions on what to do with these spectacle frames since then. Keep the ideas flowing. Remember, this project is for charity.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Save A Sight

Here is an initiative for us: A kind sponsor will be giving us 80 pairs of spectacle frames. These frames are, by fashion standards, out-dated. However, functionally, they can be used.

Our Challenge: What opportunity and actions can we take to enhance this act of generosity? How can we grow this into better results? What are your ideas for growing this investment into something much larger and useful?

Write me, and we will review our options. Thank you all.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Memory and of Memorials

The past week has been strongly focused on the death of Michael Jackson. Major TV networks have spent exclusive, air-time on his memorial service held today. Such was the late-singer’s impact on numerous performers, celebrities and his fans. The last time a celebrity made such a global impact on television viewers was Princess Diana.

MJ was a leader in the field of entertainment. He was a mega-star (in the league of Bruce Lee and the Other King, Elvis). MJ made history for his many musical and artistic achievements. Thus, he had a legion of dedicated and loyal followers. Leadership meets followership.

When watching the many celebrities paying homage and tribute to the King’s memorial service, I could not help recalling the final lines in the film ‘The Last Samurai’. When the Japanese emperor asks Tom Cruise about his teacher’s demise, ‘Tell me how he died!’ Cruise’s reply was: ‘No. Instead, I will tell you how he lived!’
That line, I believe best summarises a eulogy of a great person. Tell them how you feel about them now; not later.

Leadership Lesson: Learn how others lived. Learn how to live. Take pride in being with the living.