Thursday, August 4, 2011

Valuable Finds and Charitable Deeds

I found three $2 bills yesterday evening; they just lay there, unimportantly, like litter, however my curiosity confirmed that this was cold cash. With no body around, I picked the bills and decided to drop it off to charity today (with a minor ‘top-up’). Since they were not mine to keep, why not give it away? There was no loss for me, but a potential gain. Few people will know what I did.

When was the last time you gave something away? Must everything be for an abject gain? Sometimes we gain by giving things up. In negotiation, we are taught to consider what we are willing to trade, give up, and not give up. Compromise is about give and take – what will you give in order to take?

There are many things to be found at the Transition areas, T1 and T2 of a triathlon. In our haste to secure a shorter ‘changeover time’ (a term I gleaned from my days in manufacturing), we tend to chuck unimportant things aside. However, when we return to the area after area to collect our bikes, we may notice missing personal items such as the speedometer, goggles, sun-shades, excess gel packets, etc. That is why bags are provided during longer races such as the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman triathlons to reduce the chance of carelessness. Seasoned and educated athletes bring a small basket to contain all their personal items, so as to track them easily in one common place. That is why we use pigeon-holes like In-box and Sent-Box to distinguish our electronic mails.

What would possess a high-powered executive to give up a cushy job for a stint in charity? Perhaps, his personal values mattered more than his plentiful paycheck. An ex-colleague of mine did just that, and later found his dream job helping others indirectly. Sometimes, we lose in the short term so as to gain more in the long term. How do you compare personal achievement and satisfaction with financial success? Does continued economic gain buy you happiness, or is it overwhelmed by your sense of ambition or desire to prove yourself right? At the end of the day, how much does status really matter to you? When you get 'chicked' during a race or presentation, how do you respond? Chucky V writes a hilarious but poignant essay on this.

Leadership Lessons: How do you locate things and others? How connected are you to your ex-colleagues, former-clients, customers, consumers and contractors? How do you create value out of things and opportunities? How often do you return a favour? How do you discern between generosity and obligation?

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