Saturday, May 24, 2008

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

The following questions, which have been formulated to help you get started in defining your own personal mission statement, came from Stephen Covey, author of 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People':

What would I really like to be and do in my life?

What do I feel are my greatest strengths?

How do I want to be remembered?

Who is the one person who has made the greatest positive impact in my life?

What have been my happiest moments in life?

If I had unlimited time and resources, what would I do?

What are the three or four most important things to me?

How can I best contribute to the world?

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"To be prepared against surprise is to be trained.
To be prepared for surprise is to be educated."

(James Carse, author of 'Finite & Infinite Games';)

Friday, May 23, 2008

7 QUESTIONS THAT SPARK FRESH IDEAS

Here's a link to an interesting article, entitled '7 Questions that Spark Fresh Ideas', by Alex Shalman, creator of the Practical Personal Development blog.

In a nut shell:

1) what's broken here?

2) what's missing in my life?

3) what value can I bring here?

4) what can I learn here?

5) what would enough be?

6) how can it be simplified?

7) how can this be remarkable?

FUN PIX #18 FROM AROUND THE WORLD


FUN PIX #17 FROM AROUND THE AROUND


BOOK REVIEW: 'DEEPER THAN THE OCEAN', by David Chiem & Brian Caswell

In the marketplace, there are a lot of good books in which authors have drawn practical insights from brain research to create competent strategies for developing academic excellence.

One of the most prominent authors is this respect is Eric Jensen, who has co-founded the internationally acclaimed SuperCamp accelerated learning program for young people with Bobbi dePorter, during the early eighties.

He has in fact written a lot of good books in this genre, which included 'Superteaching', 'Student Success Secrets', & 'Brain-based Learning & Teaching', just to name a few notable ones. Under his consulting outfit, Jensen Learning Corporation, he is also the organiser of the semi-annual 'Learning Brain Expo & Conference' in the United States.

Likewise, Bobbi dePorter has written some 18 books, based on her SuperCamp success model, with 'Quantum Learning' & 'Quantum Teaching' as two notable contributions to the world of learning.

SuperCamp from the United States, a 25-year world leader in youth achievement, producing programs for students, teachers, schools & organizations across the US & in 12 countries, has been operating, in a quiet manner, in Singapore since the mid-nineties.

Probably enticed by the attractiveness of Singapore as the regional educational hub under the Global Schoolhouse project, 'MindChamps' from Australia, have renewed its vigour, since mid-2007, to consolidate its re-entry into the marketplace, after the capital injection of some S$7.5 million by local business tycoon, Quek Leng Beng of the Hong Leong Group & a hookup with two local educator stalwarts, Mrs Carmee Lim & Dr Tan Sie Keng.

In fact, 'MindChamps' were here a few years earlier, under the name of ALW or Accelerated Learning Worldwide.

Apparently, they had teamed up with Prof. Allan Synder of the Center for the Mind, a joint venture between the Australian National University in Canberra & University of Sydney, Australia, who pioneered the 'Champion Mindset' philosophy in the late nineties for developing peak performance:

"Great achievers have a vision that they will succeed and sometimes even see the steps leading to their success. So, in my opinion, what makes a champion, and I mean a champion in the broadest sense, is a champion mindset. And, if you have done something great in one field, you are more able to do it in another. Your champion mindset is the transferable commodity and not the skill itself. It is our mindsets which ultimately limit our expectations of ourselves and which circumscribe our boundaries. It is our mindsets which determine whether or not we have the courage to challenge others and to expand our horizons."

With that exclusive technical collaboration with Prof Synder, ALW apparently became 'MindChamps'.

The founders of previously ALW/now MindChamps, David Chiem, with a professional background in performing arts, & Brian Caswell, with a professional background in teaching & writing for young people, have in fact combined their 50 years of experiences to write a great book, as part of their contribution to the world of learning.

It's entitled 'Deeper than the Ocean'.

In a nut shell, this is a well-written book that illustrates the many ways which parents can sculpt their children's brains through a working understanding of the critical brain functions that contribute to learning, creativity & productivity, & can help the children in developing the champion mindset in order to maximise their fullest potentials in the 21st century.

Because of the two authors' literary backgrounds, they have been able to interweave fascinating stories & interesting anecdotes with poetic metaphors as well as solid scientific evidence to deliver their message to parents.

I wouldn't say that their stuff is ground-breaking or novel, but the book certainly has a lot of workable strategies, which a parent can easily take away to implement its philosophy.

For me, these are my takeaways:

1) as parents, we must assume total control & responsibility for the children's education - parents are the children's first teachers;

2) as parents & teachers, we have the most crucial role of all to play in developing the positive side of the children's psyche, no matter what the circumstances, i.e. helping the children in developing a positive orientation towards life;

3) from the standpoint of growth & change, learning & creativity, being synonymous, as each enhances the other, must go with productivity, as expressed in productive thinking - thinking that produces positive results;

4) the champion mindset philosophy actually boils down to a positive mental attitude, which is the transferable key to building excellence in whatever we do academically & professionally;

5) instilling self-empowerment as champions ultimately means "creating more options to choose from", since life is essentially making choices after all;

6) a good working understanding of the brain, in terms of its tripartite arrangement (confluence of logic, emotions, & fear), its reticular activating system, its mindset engineering, its self-talk mechanism, & its learning preferences, gives parents the power to leverage on the great potential already inherent in the children;

7) the Optimal Flow Method of Learning, as a powerful tool for developing an active understanding in reading & studying is interesting but sketchy, & I presume the authors will cover this aspect in subsequent companion books to be released;

According to the authors, this current book is the precursor to a series of companion books to be released shortly:

- The Art of Communicating;
- The Art of Learning How to Learn;
- The Art of Creative Thinking;

The only adverse comment I want to make about this book is the two authors' exhortation on page 64 of the book, in particular the following:

"Beware of programs built around the work of one guru - often these people develop a cult following among their employees & presenters, who blindly repeat the 'wisdom' of their mentor & unsubstantiated claims, without ever questioning its scientific basis."

Obviously they are targeting at the two locally entrenched competitors in the marketplace.

To me, from the standpoint of professional courtesy, I reckon that such a pointed remark is uncalled for.

Other than this, this book has been an entertaining read.

I will take the opportunity to use the ending paragraph in the preface of the book to sum up my overall sentiments:

"Deeper than the Ocean is about all the deep love we have to give - as parents & teachers - but more importantly, it is about the vast knowledge that exists in many varied forms, to assist us in the vital task of turning that love into the strategies - social, emotional, educational & personal - which will help our children determine who they will become in the years & decades ahead."

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Suppose it occurred to me one day that every day would be a wasted day unless one thing happened. What would that be?

NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE MIND

I have always been fascinated by the intricacies & idiosyncrasies of the human mind, at least for the last three decades.

I believed it was Napoleon Hill's books, 'Think & Grow Rich' & 'Law of Success' that had initially sparked off my personal interest.

Let me quote some of his memorable lines:

"All achievements, all earned riches have their beginning in an idea."

"Any idea, plan or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought."

"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas & plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination."

"All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment & wealth."


I knew then the brain was our preeminent information processor as well as our perpetual idea generator.

It became my personal mission to find out how to learn all about the critical brain functions & how to maximise its innate potential.

I recall that the first few books that gave me a really good introduction as well as a wonderful understanding were the following books:

1) 'The Power of Your Subconscious Mind', by Joseph Murphy;

2) 'The Psychology of Consciousness', by Robert Ornstein;

3) 'Make the Most of Your Mind', by Tony Buzan;

4) 'Mechanism of Mind', by Edward de bono;

5) 'The Brain: A User's Guide', by The Diagram Group;

These were followed by:

6) 'The Global Brain', by Peter Russell;

7) 'Your High Performance Business Brain', by Dudley Lynch;

8) 'Use Your Head' by Stuart Litvak;

9) 'More Ways to Use Your Head' by Stuart Litvak;

10) 'Whole Brain Thinking' by Jacquelyn Wonder;

Then, came two great pictorial books, printed in large format, with many beautiful photographs:

11) 'Brain Power: Unlocking the Power of Your Mind' by J G Beaumont;

12) 'ABC's of the Human Mind', by the Editors of Readers' Digest;

Last, but not least, was Ned Herrmann's 'The Creative Brain'.

These were my Baker's Dozen, so to speak.

The first thing I got out of the foregoing books is realising the distinction between the brain & the mind, which we often use synonymously.

In reality, the brain is the physical entity in our head, but the mind is the metaphysical i.e. beyond the physical.

You can have the brain without the mind, but it doesn't work the other way around. In other words, you cannot have the mind without the brain.

More specifically, you can "capture" a brain & put it in a bottle, but you can't do that with the mind.

Come to think of it: the brain is not the mind, & the mind is not the brain.

The brain continually processes "sensory information", bio-chemically. Likewise, the mind continually processes "life experiences", emotionally as well as spiritually.

Your brain & my brain are similar, anatomically speaking, but it is our "life experiences" over time that make the big difference in us.

So actually, for all intents & purposes, the brain & the mind form an unified system in our head.

Operationally, waking, sleep & dreaming are our three fundamental brain-mind states.

They determine the quality & quantity of our ultimate experiences in life.

Interestingly, our brain-mind does not merely react, but anticipate.

Our brain-mind also continually updates our internal store of representations about the world around us.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

BOOK REVIEW: 'SO WHAT?', by Kevin Duncan

I reckon it has to do partly with my engineering training, especially from my days of daily involvement in technical problem solving, that I have been fascinated by the power of questions.

I also remember back in school, especially during essay writing, the common 'Journalist's Questions' were a formidable tool in flushing out relevant details in preparing a written proposition.

As part of my reading repertoire, I have also found that probing questions, using extended variations of the 'Journalists' Questions', often help me to navigate the texts & question the authors at exponential speeds.

The first business book that gave me a lot of interesting insights about the power of questions was Dorothy Leeds' 'Smart Questions: A New Strategy for Successful Managers' during the eighties.

This was followed later by Anthony Robbins' 'Awaken the Giant Within' in the nineties. His treatment of questions in terms of achieving personal mastery was really excellent.

Since then, & over the years, I have acquired & read several wonderful books in this genre. I have reviewed many of them in earlier posts &/or on the Amazon.com website.

I am very glad to acquire & also to read 'So What? The Definitive Guide to the Only Business Questions That Matter', a new book by Kevin Duncan, an Oxford-trained business advisor & marketing expert.

First of all, I must compliment the author for his ingenuity & inventiveness in pushing the standard 'Journalists' Questions' to the highest order, culminating into the 'So What? Cycle of Questions' as embodied in his book.

The result is an intelligently inquisitive way to help readers to get right to the heart of strategic issue management, irrespective of whether it's for business or otherwise.

In a nut shell, the cycle consists of ten structured questions, organised in a step-by-step manner, starting with 'So What?', followed by 'Why?', next, 'How?', 'Who?', 'When?' & 'Where?'.

The next three questions are designed as some sort of reality checks in the questioning process:

- 'Do we really need to do this?'

- 'Something must be wrong if'...

- 'Are we there yet?

The 'what?' is left as a postscript at the end, because, according to the author, "if you haven't worked out what you are doing in the first place, the you shouldn't be embarking on other questions at all".

What I like about the author's innovative approach to questioning is the intended surfacing of emotions in the process.

The author shares a novel approach with great examples on how to move from pointless expression of feelings to helpful directional expression of feelings. He calls it, 'pointy thinking'.

In the end analysis, although the cycle of question plays a vital role in the inquisition process, I must say that the crux of issue management lies in the produced answers, & also in the many different scenarios that come out of the produced answers.

Come to think of it, questioning is fishing. Fishing for insights!

I have really enjoyed reading - & playing with the questions in - this book thoroughly.

For business applications, I would also recommend this book to be read with 'Question of Business' by Curtis Page.

GOAL SETTING & OPPORTUNITY FINDING

I am a goal-setter, & have been doing it for slightly more than three decades.

I have learned "goal setting" initially from the work of Napoleon Hill, & fine-tuned it from the work of Paul J Meyer & Steven deVore. I have written about my goal setting experiences in earlier posts.

I am well aware that there are some people who are up against "goal setting". They believe that "goal setting" has "a predetermined outcome" & is too much focused on "a specific action plan".

One of these people was James Olgivy, who actually wrote a book about it, entitled 'Living Without a Goal', during the nineties.

Unfortunately, his book was, in my mind, too much engrossed with philosophical musings, than to have real practical value for the reader, although I would fully concurred with him that life should be treated as "a personal work of art."

Another author, Keith Ellis, also wrote a book on "goal setting for people who hate setting goals". He entitled it 'The Magic LAMP'. [According to the author, 'LAMP' is just an acronym for 'Lock on', 'Act', 'Manage' & 'Persist'.]

In the end analysis, after I had perused his book, I found that it was just a artful variation in the approach to "goal setting".

From my personal experience, goals are not terminal destinations. They are just guide-posts.

That is to say, in a nut shell, the overall outcome can be predetermined, but the tactical approach to attain it can still be flexible.

Life is dynamic. Change is the name of the game. Not only that, the world around us is always in a constant flux. Therefore, our goal setting should follow likewise.

To enhance its effectiveness & efficiency, I reckon goal setting should always incorporate the element of "opportunity finding" in the process.

To me, "opportunity finding", in the simplest terms, is maintaining a "eyes wide open" attitude towards new developments or happenings or information that crop up or are lurking along the highway of life.

In fact, at the preparatory stage of "goal setting", I reckon "opportunity finding" should take precedence in addition to deciding what you actually want in life.

That is to say, in order to make your life goals exciting & motivating, you need to know "what's out there" & also, "what's changing" in the landscape of work, business & play.

Our environment, with its economics, industry, politics, society, technology, lifestyles, health care, provides abundant potential opportunities as well as risks.

Any goal setting endeavour without taking into these considerations, especially in today's context, is just as good as day-dreaming.

In fact, I would say that "opportunity finding" should be part & parcel of our daily endeavours.

We should actively seek out opportunities.

The important tasks in "opportunity finding" are to scan for them, gather interesting ideas, generate some workable options, refine the final options & then make decisions to act.

One of the most important tools in "goal setting" as well as "opportunity finding" is our ingenuity, creativity & imagination.

Think of 'what if?', 'why not?', 'how could I...? & other mind expanding questions.

Once we have thought through the possibilities, we can then set appropriate goals for our desired opportunities & more importantly, for continuous improvement in our lives.

One quick & easy way to engender flexibility as well as allow serendipity in the goal setting process is to install more "think time" in your action plan. Remember, John Kao, the author of 'Innovation Nation', calls it his "white space".

You can then make use of the "think time" to reflect on "what's out there" & "what's changing", so that you can later incorporate new actions to exploit all the available opportunities that come your way.

Come to think of it, "goal setting" & "opportunity finding" are the dynamic duo in our life design.

They should not be annual events; we should do them everyday.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Today is a bright new day, complete with 24 hours of opportunities, choices & attitudes - a perfectly matched set of 1,440 minutes. This unique gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced or refunded. Handle with care; make the most of it - there is only one to a customer."

(Author Unknown)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

TOP ATTRIBUTES WHICH EMPLOYERS EXPECT FROM THEIR EMPLOYEES

In a broad brush, this is a list of the top attributes that employers often expect from their employees:

• Come to work everyday – on time;

• Make smart decisions;

• Follow directions;

• Concentrate on my work & care about the quality of my work;

• Read, write, & calculate well;

• Recognize problems & find solutions;

• Finish a job when I am supposed to without sacrificing quality;

• Be honest & dependable;

• Take the lead & work hard;

• Communicate well & get along with others, especially customers;

• Dress properly & practice good grooming;

• Be cooperative & have a positive attitude;

Notice any common denominator?

With perhaps one or two exceptions, the list of attributes is more focused on an employee’s attitudes & behaviors, rather than on skills.

I remember once, Frank Ogden, a well-known Canadian futurist & electronic evangelist often recognised as Dr Tomorrow, made a predictive remark to the effect that, as employees entered the 21st Century, the most important attribute was 'ATTITUDE'.

Interestingly, today, when an employee gets the kick in the butt from work, invariably 'ATTITUDE' isn't the only thing; in fact, it's everything.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Only the curious will learn & only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient."
(Eugene S. Wilson, Dean of Admission at Amherst College during the forties/fifties; he was known for his sense of humor & his genuine interest in the welfare of each student; also, author of 'College Ahead! A Guide for High-school Students & Their Parents';)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

HOW TO GET MORE DONE WITHOUT DRIVING YOURSELF CRAZY

While browsing the Amazon.com website, I came across one interesting book about time management, entitled 'The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy', by Pamela Dodd, an organisational psychologist, & Doug Sundheim, an executive coach.

Both authors run the Clarity Consulting Group Inc., based in New York City.

What had intrigued me most was that, in writing the book, the two authors had started by reading the Amazon.com customer reviews for over 40 time management books.

Then, they bought & read the top 20 of these books.

Finally, they extracted the key points from these books, & then summarized them as 25 clearly workable tools & techniques, under five areas of significance:

I) FOCUS: Determine what is really important to you;

- put it in writing;
- find out what time means to you;
- identify your values;
- create a vision;

II) PLAN: Manage your plans to get results;

- use a time planner;
- set goals;
- plan backward;
- prioritise;

III) ORGANISE: Organize your living & work spaces;

- have a plan for everything;
- keep a clean desk;

IV) TAKE ACTION: Manage your actions;

- overcome procrastination;
- learn to say NO!
- be punctual;
- reduce information overload;
- minimise interruptions;
- do one thing at a time;
- take risks;
- delegate more/better;
- hold better meetings;
- communicate strategically;

V) LEARN: Implement continuous improvement;

- experiment;
- review & reflect;
- give & get feedback;
- measure results;
- manage stress & well-being;

Come to think of it, after reviewing the foregoing end-analysis of twenty time management books, I must add that there isn't any new or ground-breaking tools & techniques.

In fact, I reckon most of us are already fully aware of the 25 field-tested tools & techniques as outlined by the two authors.

To me, the crux of the matter in successful time management - in reality, it's self management - is actually execution, or putting the tools & techniques to work consistently in one's life, & following-through with the formulated plan.

However, that takes a lot of self-discipline!

MEMORABLE QUOTE FROM THE MOVIE



"Hey! Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something. Not even me! All right? . . .


You got a dream. You gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want something, go get it. Period."


A struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) to his son, Christopher (played by Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, who is Will Smith's son in real life) in the heart-warming movie, 'In Pursuit of Happiness', as he took custody of his son during the course of beginning a life-changing professional endeavor.

In that powerful scene, Chris went on to teach his son that there were people everywhere who were quick to tell him that he could not reach their goals or achieve their dreams.

Because of their own mediocrity & failure, these people discouraged success. They were jealous of & hated anyone who wanted to be or achieve more & they would do almost anything to bring everyone down to their level.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Suppose I could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent: what would I like to be?

inspired by 'Suppose: Questions to Turbocharge Your Business & Your Life', by Bil & Cher Holton;

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow & substance, of things & ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone."

(Rod Serling, 1924-1975, American screenwriter, best known for his sci-fi anthology television series entitled 'The Twilight Zone'; among my personal favourites during the sixties; the series often focused on ordinary folks who suddenly found themselves in extraordinary, usually supernatural, situations; the stories would typically end with an ironic twist that would see the guilty punished;)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

THE SECOND MOST COMPLEX ORGAN AFTER THE BRAIN

Today's Straits Times has a seemingly large ad from a purveyor of lasik surgery.

It has this eye catching caption:

Do you know that the eye is the second most complex organ after the brain, & it has 2 million parts?

I fully concur, although I recall Woody Allen has always thought otherwise.

Information experts as well as brain scientists have come to the conclusion that as much as 90% of all the information we learned in a life time comes through our eye balls via visual cues.

In tactical or operational terms, our eye balls gather visual images & pass them to the appropriate brain centres for processing & synthesis. [In a normal life-span, your eye balls will bring you almost 24 billion visual images of the world around you.]

In this respect, our eyes balls provide the basic foundation for our long term intellectual development through observing, reading, thinking & writing.

These facts explain how critically important are our eye balls. For this reason, I always have a soft spot for blind people.

In reality, our eyes are actual extensions of our brain.

I have read that about 40% of our brain cells are accounted for by our eye balls, which in turn utilize 65% of all the pathways to our brain.

Therefore, it is imperative for us to take good care of our eye balls by maintaining them in peak condition at all times.

Just think about this phenomenon.

Our fore-fathers were hunters/gatherers. They always had opportunities to look long distances, across the horizon, to look out for food as well as predators. To put it in another way, our eyes were originally adapted for distant viewing.

Also, our bodies were designed to move, not sit.

Today, most of us - I reckon no less than two-thirds of the population - are forced to look short distances, arising from the necessity of working within the confines of a work station in the office.

Worst still, physical stresses that were once borne by our body's large muscles are now concentrated on some of our smallest - in the hands!

On the other hand, our eye balls are only 35cm from the computer screen.

Just imagine the kind of visual pressures on our two small eye balls.

In fact, our eyes are often the first part of our body to register fatigue even when the cause may be postural.

That's why it is very important for us, especially after working long hours on the computer, to do regular eye aerobics. I have already written about the aerobics in an earlier post.

To ameliorate work stresses on your poor eye balls, it will be helpful if you can occasionally look up from the computer screen to view across the room at some distant objects.

Alternatively, go & stand at the windows to look outside, for a few minutes, at some natural greenery or distant objects.

The eyes you have will be yours forever — treat them right, & they'll never be out of sight!

10 KEY LESSONS FROM THE WORLD OF NEGOTIATION

I have found an enlightening article about negotiation from 'The Negotiation Academy'.

It's entitled '10 Key Lessons from the World of Negotiation', by Dr David Venter.

I particularly like the author's approach to framing negotiation as a joint opportunity finding endeavour.

Here's a link to Part I & link to Part II.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction & you find yourself in a new, great & wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties & talents become alive, & you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
(Sage Patanjali, 1st to 3rd century BC, believed to be the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, a major work containing aphorisms on the philosophical aspects of mind & consciousness;)

Monday, May 19, 2008

RAMBLING THOUGHTS: SOLUTIONS vs OPPORTUNITIES

I have been reading quite a number of interesting articles on the net in recent weeks, which seem to draw some fine distinctions between "solutions" & "opportunities".

The readings sort of wake me up a little.

In many respects, from what I have read, "solutions" imply addressing a problem, especially the need to rectify, or to prevent its occurrence.

"Solutions" somehow imply something of a stop-gap nature, hence, negative in value, whereas "opportunities" have a more positive connotation.

"Solutions" are more inward looking. Presumably, within a problem domain, since they need prior analysis & evaluation. They are also compliance-driven, with an absolute minimum, so to speak.

"Opportunities" are both inward & outward looking.

Within the context of business planning, this viewpoint equates with what we call 'internal audit' & 'environmental scanning'.

However, within the context of the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) methodology developed by Alex Osborn & Sidney Parnes during the fifties/sixties, I can see that the perspective of "solutions" & "opportunities" has already been very clearly defined.

In a nut shell, here's the outline for the CPS methodology:

1) Opportunity Finding;

2) Data Finding;

3) Problem Finding;

4) Idea Finding;

5) Solution Finding;

6) Acceptance Finding;

From my own understanding, "Opportunity Finding", also known as "Mess Finding", implies an 'eyes wide open' exploration of the broad environment to understand the "mess of problem issues".

This initial stage obviously gives rise to abundant possibilities to be creative & imaginative, since there are likely to be "unknowns" out there.

At this stage, one should act like an Explorer (thanks to Roger von oech), with a curious & inquisitive mind. A roving eye, to be exact, so that potential opportunities are not missed.

The goal is to look for what's out there!

"Solution Finding" implies zeroing or narrowing into the most applicable ideas already generated in the earlier stages, with the view of finding one or two that can be applied to resolving the real problem at hand.

At this stage, one should act like a Judge (again thanks to Roger von oech). This calls for an analytical & rational mind to weigh pros & cons as well as interesting aspects.

The goal is to decide what works best in the circumstances.

Come to think of it, it seems to me that "Opportunity Finding" is the starting point of the whole endeavour. It can of course takes several trajectories of exploration, so to speak. Open ended?

Hence, "Solution Finding" can be seen more or less as the end point. Close ended?

Since the CPS methodology is often an iterative process, there are in reality, at least from the application perspective, many "try again loops" forward & backward.

So actually, the end point can also be the starting point of another trajectory. This is certainly very interesting.

In my end analysis, "Opportunity Finding" is never ending. For "Solution Finding", once the problem is resolved or goal state is attained, it's done!

3 MYTHS ABOUT CHANGE, 4 CHANGE-FRIENDLY MINDSETS & 3 MOTIVATORS FOR CHANGE

I am always fascinated by articles touching on the subject of developing change-readiness skill or tool sets.

Here's one I have found on the net, even though it has been written from an organisational perspective:

- Three Myths About Change;
- Four Change-Friendly Mindsets;
- Three Motivators for Change;

Here's the link to the article.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

What am I doing tomorrow?

And the next day?

And the day after that?

Is it any different from what I did yesterday, or the day before that?

Do I feel trapped by circumstance – like nothing’s going to change soon?

What about today?


What’s my day looking like?

inspired by an brief article, entitled 'Take Charge' by Badumile

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"EVERYONE is a leader either by choice or default . . .

If you don't think of yourself as a leader, then you are limited in your thinking.

Leading is the way we help move people into action, including us. The question is not whether or not we are leaders, but how well we lead . . .

Remember that "group think" begins with "leader think". At its core, an organization strongly reflects how its leader thinks, feels, and acts."

Janice Bastani, CEO of Focus Coaching, a leadership development & executive coaching outfit in New Jersey; she has written a series of articles on the '7 Levels of Energy Leadership' in her Energy Leadership blog;

DEVELOPING THE CEO MINDSET

I have found an interesting article about developing the owner or CEO mindset on the net.

It's originally written as “Becoming a Strategic Business Owner” by Daniel Murphy, who is known as 'The Growth Coach'.

Here's the link to the original article.

NOTES FROM MY SCRATCHPAD: SHIFTING SOURCES OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

from the sixties:

• Low cost
• Quantity
• Stability
• Capital equipment
• Control


to the 21st century:

• Knowledge
• Quality
• Speed
• Flexibility
• Networks


New Realities:

1. Technology is a given
2. Globalism is here to stay
3. Knowledge builds wealth
4. There’s no such thing as a smooth ride
5. Competition is relentless
6. Alliances are the way to get things done
7. People are the key to success

[Source: 'The Innovation Opportunity', by Doug Henton]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams."

(Jeremy Irons, English award-winning film, stage & television actor;)

FUN PIX #16 FROM AROUND THE WORLD


FUN PIX #15 FROM AROUND THE WORLD




Sunday, May 18, 2008

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

1) What if I could be happy & successful by breaking the rules?

2) What if I could be myself, & use those differences to my advantage?

3) What if I could relish being the odd one out?

inspired by Jennifer Koretsky, writing in her new book, 'Odd One Out: The Maverick’s Guide to Adult ADD';

MEMORY LAPSES & SENIOR MOMENTS

I often get new ideas whenever I am in the toilet, especially when I am taking my shower. They always come in the spur of the moment.

Sometimes, when I step out of the shower & put on my clothes, I just happen to forget about them, or more so, I get distracted by something else. In that case, the new ideas just disappear, to my utter disappointment.

Scientists call this phenomenon, a "memory lapse". For senior citizens like me, it's known as our "senior moments".

So, what do I do to rectify the problem?

I repeat the new ideas mentally in my head until I can get a chance to write them down in my notebook.

Oftentimes, I just utter the ideas verbally so that I can hear my own words.

That works beautifully.

At other times, I always have my pocket notebook with me. It's a very good habit, which I have actually embraced since the eighties.

The pocket note notebook is always:

- in my gym bag, when I go to the gym;
- in my waist pouch, when I hang out with my gym buddy in the neighbourhood coffee-shops;

- in my vest pocket when I go window shopping with my wife;

My gym buddy uses his Nokia Communicator for more or less the same purpose.

I have read that people who suffer from hypertension are more likely to suffer from memory lapses. Here's a belated article from WebMed.

The findings may have some truth, but don't despair.

My personal philosophy is very simple: use more of your brain or lose it!

Here's also an interesting article by Scott Ginsberg, which throws some bright light to help you navigate social mingling or business networking situations, where memory lapse causes you to forget some one's name.

I append below some additional activities to help you beat memory lapses:

- discuss matters of common interest, say the daily news, deliberately with your spouse;

- engage in social conversations with strangers in the streets;

- talk about stuff e.g. movies you have seen or read about, with your friends;

- play Scrabbles, chess, cross-word puzzles, brain teasers, & other mental games;

- do some thinking & writing activities as much as possible, e.g. journalling, blogging, etc.;

- learn new things or engage in stimulating activities e.g. learning a foreign language, trying out computer software, etc., as often as possible;

- engage in active reading, e.g. asking yourself questions, paraphrasing the author or key ideas after reading, etc.;

- engage in some regular form of physical workouts e.g. house-hold chores, walking, working in the gym, etc.;

My granny-in-law, now in her mid-nineties, & also suffering from mild dementia, is still pretty sharp on the mahjong table. She remembers my beloved Catherine vividly - she somehow refuses to accept the fact that she was gone - as she was one of her early nannies at one point in time.

[I am sure many readers will remember the action movie, 'Memento', released a few years ago, in which Guy Pearce played an insurance investigator, who suffered from short-term memory loss after a head injury. In an attempt to trace the murderer of his wife, he continued to lead his tough life by tattooing notes on himself & taking pictures of things with a Polaroid camera.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"This we know . . . the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to earth. All things are connected, like blood which connects one family. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
(attributed to Chief Seattle, of the Suquamish Indians of Washinton State, in 1854; Al Gore has used his speech in the 1992 book, 'Earth in the Balance: Ecology & the Human Spirit';)

READING BETWEEN THE LINES

Here's a link to a nice article about 'Reading between the Lines' in yesterday's issue of 'Weekend Today', under the Xtra Media column.

It has been written by Manoj Thulasidas. He is a scientist from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). He currently works as a Senior Quantitative Developer at Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore.

I understand that he has already written a book entitled, 'The Unreal Universe', which is now available in local bookstores as well as in his personal website.

I wrote to the author yesterday evening to ask specifically about how to conduct a personal media audit in the light of his article.

This is his quick & kind response:

"Skepticism is a very powerful tool. The question really is how to develop it.

I have found that traveling helps. You end up meeting people with different perspectives -- at times disturbingly distant from yours.

To give you a few examples, if you stay put in a place like India, you naturally grow up thinking that Pakistan is the enemy. But if you step out, you might end up meeting a couple of Pakistanis and realize that they are essentially the same people as Indians.

I heard a similar story from an Israeli friend when I was at Syracuse University. When he first came to the campus, he visited the International Student Office. As he was trying to figure out how to get to his apartment, this Lebanese student offered to give him a ride. My friend was shocked -- how could this "enemy" be so nice?

Traveling helps you open your mind. Skepticism then grows naturally. Paradoxically, skepticism is a means of seeing the good in everybody because it blurs strict divisions like good and evil.

For instance, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say evil? Probably Hitler, right?

Now, assume for a second that Hitler had actually won the second world war. Do you think you would've still thought of him as evil?

I think you would probably think of him as the father of the modern world or something.

Of course, we would be having this conversation (if we were allowed to exist and have conversations at all) in German.

History is written by the victors. Knowing that, how can you trust the greatness of the victors or the evil in the vanquished?

Reading is another way of waking up the skeptic in you.

"Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins is one extreme suggestion. Of course, you have to turn on the skeptic filter while reading.

As an exercise, what could be my hidden agenda in writing the columns? Sell my book? Drive people to my website? Generally sound smart and show off? Find better jobs and make money? Political? Altruistic?

I ask myself such questions when I read. I watch out for word meanings and connotations. These things help.

Thanks again for contacting me. There is probably enough material here for my next column!"

I am looking forward to reading more about media audit from this author.