Monday, January 26, 2015

What Is Your Inspiration?

President Nelson Mandela: 'What is your philosophy on leadership? What inspires you?'
Captain of Springboks, Francois Pinnaar: 'I believe in leading by example.'
Mandela: 'That is exactly right? But how do you inspire your team to become better than they truly are? Now, that is difficult I find!'
~ INVICTUS, film.

What inspires you? Where do you get your inspiration? 

Inspiration is a form of motivation. It is something that can sweep us off our feet, or make us stand to steadfast attention. We can be inspired through the following ways:

From People Around Us
People are real, dynamic and interactive. Engage with them. Every person has something to offer  or teach us. Everyone is very good at something. The room is the expert. Ask, so we may learn. What can you learn from a person you dislike? We would be surprised. Most people lead fascinating lives in private, through their passions, passionate pursuits and pastimes.

From Films, Music and Songs
President Mandela was inspired by the words of the national anthem of South Africa, when he was at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He was inspired to become a better leader.

From Quotations
These can be become personal mantras, and even powerful beliefs. Our internal self-talk can motivate us to do things, or avoid them. Beware of talking yourself out of duties you are expected to perform. 

Leadership LessonsHow do we inspire others to become more capable? List down your sources of inspiration, and apply one of them daily.

Monday, January 19, 2015

10 Lessons From Films

I have always loved films. In 1990, I assumed the responsibility of reviewing videos for a magazine. Every month, I would receive a stack of videos from Warner Home Videos (WHV) from the distributor, and I would give either a deep review or one, or superficial ones were there a few. These are lessons I have gleaned over the years, as a fan and buyer of 'box-sets' and 'collection of classics'.

I am not a graduate of film-school, yet I grew up loving the film of medium. With the technology of Blu-Ray and DVD, the reach of films has become one of attainment and attachment of what we term the 'classics'. My box-sets of 'film trilogy' and television 'season' box-sets are a testament of my fascination with 'moving pictures'. Thank you, Mr Edision for the invention of the projector.

What can one glean as lessons from films? Here are my observations and perspectives.

1) Watch the film once, and enjoy it for what it is. Regard it as pure entertainment.
2) Films deliver  a message. Distinguish what it is communicating. What is it attempting to educate, entertain, or engage us about?
3) Wach a film and study the relationships. Which character is playing Functional Dynamics? Who is playing Dysfunctional Dynamics (Victim, Persecutor, Rescuer ~ Jan Kelly & Gary Yardley, EOM technology)?
4) Watch the Feature section (if available) and learn how digital technology has enhanced film. How has sound technology enhanced the total viewing experience (Dolby-sound)?
5) What did you enjoy most about the film? Script, character, plot, scenes, staging, or sets?
6) Which quotations stood out for you? ('Carpe diem!' in Dead Poets Society; 'I feel the need for speed!' from 'Top Gun').
7) When a film is 'inspired by true events' or 'based on a real story', how much did it lead you to explore more about the theme or message? How have you checked on the authenticity and audacity of the film? How factually through was it? How much was contrived or rewritten for dramatic impact?
8) What draws you to watching a film? Trailers, posters, cast, director, genre or theme?
9) Which films are most memorable to you? Why? How did it make an impact on you?
10) Which are the 'coming of age' films? What makes a classic?

These considerations and questions, help give us structure to our Critical Thinking. The film is a stimulus, an artistic expression, and a demonstration of 'artistic licence' (where certain liberties are made). How did the film influence you? Which films formulated our life decisions?

As you can see, there are much we can learn from film and film critique. Enjoy the big screen!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book-Ends: Filling Content, Not Filling Content

Books are a treasure trove of not just content - fiction and non-fiction - they can be our companions of our minds, hearts and hands. These cover-bound pages may conceal, yet reveal much about our past and present. They can be treated casually or seriously. We can refer to them, study them, be inspired, engaged and entertained.

The sub-heading of Guy Kawasaki's book 'Enchantment' is 'The Art of Changing Hearts, minds, and Actions'. Underlined subtlety in this book on business, is the elusive art and science of leadership. [I reviewed this book on this blog, before its release in 2011.]

Books may seem indirect, silent, and unimportant yet, once opened, they may offer an avalanche of possibility and purpose. In an ADD world, we may be easily distracted by real-time news, 'live broadcasts', drama of sports, viral videos, and rants and raves. Rants are more terrifyingly attractive, whereas raves are perceived as marketing ploys and deceptive devices to meld the Buyer's Mind. We can be led, and misled - and the distinctions may be hard to discern.

Quotations are popular on the Social Media platform. These sayings can be inspiring, and move us to do things that matter to us, and others. The popular books are filled with these utterances, as they can be shared as words of wisdom, despite coming from a source sometimes untraceable. That is why biographies and memoirs contain much that have been said, or seldom revealed. There is always another side of the truth.

Reading is a discipline that seems to be losing its popularity. Perhaps, eBooks read through mobile devices like tablets and Kindle may prolong its gradual demise. However, Slide-Shares and memes enhance our sense of thoughtless urgency for condensed versions of content. In the distant past, we read 'Reader's Digest'. Today, we succumb to 'instant news' which are propagated through social media sharing. Oftentimes, without verifying the authenticity of sources, we accept news as fact, and fact as truth. The consequence of unquestioned acceptance of knowledge is as dangerous as blind obedience and subservience to a defiant authority.

Without reading, and thinking about what we read, we become 'book-ends' that limit books, rather than retain them. A un-read book is doomed for intellectual perdition.

So, read on. Read widely. Question what you read. Digest. Challenge. Engage in dialogue and argument. Expand your consciousness.

Leadership Lesson: Read a book. Finish it from cover to cover. Summarise your knowledge in a100-word review. What did you like about it? Why? What did you dislike? Why? Would you recommend it? Treat it as post-holiday review on '' or ''.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Leadership Re-Booted 2015

Leadership training may sound uneventful. Who would want to attend one of 'those' events other than enjoying nice buffet meals and spectacular coffee-breaks? 

Being assigned a leader can be overwhelming. Why the big fuss over leading others? After all, I may have been a class-monitor, school-prefect, student-counsillor, or class-President in school.

Who wants to be leader, anyway?

Yet, leaders are much anticipated for their decisions, clarity, confidence, and commitment. Leaders - lead. We look to leaders for instruction, guidance, direction, and a sense of purpose. The future has more premise and promise when leaders abound. As followers, we direct our actions through those of the leaders.

We can be a leader in these areas of preference and competencies: thinking/thought, business (vision and strategy), people, and personal. We have choices. We need to help others create choices for themselves. We have to be mindful and considerate of others, their fears, hopes, desires, doubts, anxieties, dreams and aspirations. It is so easy to allow ourselves to be clouded and occluded by fancy thoughts, wild ideas, and idealism.  

In this new year, we will review much about what we think we know about leadership, and innovate it. We will consider different ways to apply our leadership, with purpose, positive intent, to achieve our personal and collective goals.

The journey will be turbulent, so brace on, saddle up, and enjoy the ride!