Saturday, August 2, 2008

MEMORABLE QUOTE FROM THE MOVIE

I just happen to watch a very funny & hilarious movie this afternoon.

Even though I am not a rock fan, I have enjoyed watching 'Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny', starring the comedian Jack Black, whom I last saw in 'Kung Fu Panda'.

In a nut shell, the story revolved around two fat slackers, played by Jack Black (JB) & Kyle Gass (KG), who formed the rock band, Tenacious D.

Aspiring to become the world's greatest band, they set out to steal what could be the answer to their dreams - a magical guitar pick [believed to be the broken tooth of Satan] housed in a rock-and-roll museum.

They succeeded in stealing the device, but broke it while quarreling with each other. They were shattered by the sudden loss, until their host appeared to give them a good pointer.

I was impressed by that part of the dialogue in the movie, which went like this:

Host: "You guys, having some satanic guitar pick isn't gonna make your rock any better . . . because Satan's not in a guitar pick, he's inside all of us . . . in here . . . in your hearts.

He's what makes us not want to go to work, or exercise, or tell the truth.

He's what makes us want to party and have sex with each other all night long.

He's that little voice in your mind that says "Fuck you" to the people you hate.

Now, you can stay out here and fight on the ground and cry like babies, or you can go in there like friends and rock. So, what's it gonna be?"

KG: "Let's go in there and show'em what Tenacious D is all about."

JB: "Yeah. I already got a guitar pick anyway."

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Life is 10% what happens to you & 90% how you react to it! Put your heart, mind, intellect & soul even into your smallest acts. This is the secret of success."

~ Swami Sivananda

WHY CEOs FAIL

While browsing the Amazon.com website, I happen to stumble upon a seemingly interesting book, entitled 'Why CEOs Fail', by two leadership coaches, David Dotlich & Peter Cairo:

From the synopsis, I gather that it describes the most common characteristics of derailed top executives & how you can avoid them:

1) Arrogance—you think that you're right, & everyone else is wrong.

2) Melodrama—you need to be the center of attention.

3) Volatility—you're subject to sudden &ce unpredictable mood swings.

4) Excessive Caution—you're afraid to make decisions.

5) Habitual Distrust—you focus only on the negatives.

6) Aloofness —you're disengaged & disconnected.

7) Mischievousness—you believe that rules are made to be broken.

8) Eccentricity—you try to be different just for the sake of it.

9) Passive Resistance—what you say is not what you really believe.

10) Perfectionism—you get the little things right & the big things wrong.

11) Eagerness to Please—you try to win any popularity contest.

I reckon, as long as we are managing a team of people or just working with people, we should learn to identify the "shadow side" of our personality & take immediate steps to control our impulses & increase our effectiveness.

So, we don't have to be CEOs to read this book.

This book is now in my shopping basket.

Friday, August 1, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"The only difference between a rut & a grave is their dimensions."

~Ellen Glasgow, 1873-1945, Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist,

CHANGE READINESS: PERSONAL MUSINGS & EXPERIENCES

Developing change readiness is one of my pet subjects. I love to read books &/or magazine articles as well as watch videos &/or listen to podcasts about it.

Naturally, I also like to talk or discuss with other people, especially like-minded professionals, about it.

To me, change readiness is the degree to which one is prepared:

- to take a proactive & positive role in making personal change;

- to be ready for & surmount the challenges of tomorrow, so to speak;

- to be ready to manage in the face of complexity;

- to be ready to adapt & even to preempt continuous & accelerating changes,

- to continuously innovate;

In this respect, one can choose to be either a change agent or a change recipient.

My personal view is that, to be change-ready, one needs to be a change agent.

Making changes or dealing with change in one's life is often not an easy task. In fact, it's quite daunting, especially when it involves moving out of our comfort zone & going into the stretch zone.

That's why only a wet baby really appreciates change.

I had faced my biggest change experience in life during the early nineties, when I was contemplating to quit the corporate world for good, after spending twenty fours of toiling in quiet desperation.

Looking back, I reckon that the 16-day boot camp [known as 'Excellerated Business Schools', preceded by a 3-1/2 day 'Money & You' workshop in Adelaide, Australia, in February 1991] in the United States during May/June 1991 was actually my turning point.

Fortunately, I had done a lot of personal research - pretty extensive, to be precise - as well as soul searching, prior to my ultimate decision to take the plunge. I was then 43 years old.

My personal motivation to change came from an initial understanding of pain avoidance vs pleasure acquisition. Thanks to Anthony Robbins for his brilliant insights!

In this post, I just want to share with readers some valuable lessons:

The change process, as I had envisaged & later gone through then, involves the following stages, drawing from my understanding of the work of James Prochaska, based on his classic, 'Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits & Moving Your Life Positively Forward':

- precontemplation: pondering about whether to change or not to change; of course, this is often besieged by skepticism, & fears, also constantly vacillating between indifference, doubt, rejection & neutrality;

- contemplation: gathering & reviewing pertinent information; thinking about changing; weighing the pros & cons; challenging assumptions; & assessing personal risks;

- preparation: consolidating analyses; seeking expert advice; soliciting support; working out plans; getting ready to change; & picking up courage;

- action: making the first move into change, with willingness to play with different approaches & alternatives; there is, of course, constant testing & experimentation;

- maintenance: staying on track with the change initiative; reviewing progress; this takes an unwavering commitment to the new way of life; also, a willingness to apply a broad repertoire of skills & knowledge in the new world;

Prior to the change process, I was really lucky in a sense - or is it: preparation meets opportunity? - i.e. to be able to learn from great minds [& ride on the shoulders of giants], e.g. Robert Kriegel, Robert Gilbreath, Dudley Lynch, Paul Kordis, Beverly Potter, Price Pritchett, that change-ready people are:

- always ahead of the wave, so to speak, & not always trying to play catch up;

- proactive, not reactive;

- leading, not following;

- action-oriented, rather than just wait & see;

- always shifting paradigms & challenging the status quo, old modes & myths;

- rethink rules, redefine roles & reinvent the game;

- always seeking innovative strategies & solutions;

In terms of personal traits, these are the prerequisites:

- passion: I consider this as the #1 driving force;

- resourcefulness: knowing what one has available & what to do with them;

- optimism;

- adventurousness: willingness to explore & venture into the unknown terrain;

- confidence;

- tolerance for ambiguity: knowing that there are a lot of grey areas ahead, not just black & white;

In essence, change readiness, as I understood then, involves two vital perspectives:

- commitment to change;

- capacity to change;

For me, commitment to change comes first with the strong conviction in one's intellectual understanding of the need to change.

Next, comes the will or emotional resolve to see & follow through the needed change.

The capacity to change comes in two forms:

Firstly, the identification & acquisition of the necessary skills & knowledge sets to be learned quickly, as they generally measure one's ability to operate in a new environment.

Building a personal library with selected bibliography is the first step. Next, attend workshops & seminars selectively. Finally, meeting like-minded people, if possible.

Secondly, consolidating a whole gamut of enabling facilities & human supports to assist one in surviving & thriving in the new environment.

Rounding up all the appropriate technologies e.g. computers, Internet, digital resources, communications, etc., is the first step.

Next, building a social support network with spouse, mentor, if any, &/or good friends. Naturally, masterminding is part of it, too.

The change road map, based on my personal adventure, looks like this:

- wake up call: for me, it came as a pointed question from Robert Kiyosaki: do you want to spend the rest of your life behind the viewfinder, or in the field of action?;

- prepare well to lead the change initiative;

- create a compelling vision, with the desired outcome;

- assess the situation, with an environmental scan as well as an internal audit of one's strengths, problems, opportunities & threats;

[In fact, I had completed quite a handful of internally as well as externally administered profile assessments. I had also completed my fair share of change readiness audits, just for the fun of it!]

- design the desired outcome, with all the metrics in place;

- analyse possible impacts or interferences, & their possible resolutions;

- implement the change initiative;

- celebrate & integrate the desired outcome;

- learn & make the necessary course correction;

It is pertinent to point out that the path as I have outlined above looks like a linear process - it's not; it's an iterative as well as recursive process.

More importantly, it works on the principle of course correction.

[At the bootcamp, I had learned from the legendary Jim Channon of Arcturus Research & Design how to create an imagineering blueprint of my personal vision quest, with illustrated strategic designs highlighting core values, true purpose, intentions & objectives. That served as my guiding personal change manifesto upon my return to Singapore.]

Good Luck!

[Readers interested to learn how to create an imagineering blueprint can pick up this workbook from The Grove Consultants: 'Personal Compass: A Workbook for Visioning & Goal Setting'. Please read my review of this workbook in an earlier post.

Alternatively, readers can also contact my good friend, Dilip Mukerjea of Brain Dancing International, who teaches quite a similar imagineering process called 'Lifescaping' at the Singapore Institute of Management.]

WHY DON'T WE DO THE THINGS WE KNOW WE SHOULD TO CREATE SUCCESS?

I believed it was Bob Proctor who posed the foregoing question as part of his sales pitches - I had stumbled on it while surfing the net recently.

Interestingly, Bob Proctor has a CD product that goes under the label of 'Success Habits'.

He has deliberately listed 12 'Success Habits'.

Although I have not reviewed his product, I like to take the liberty of using those success habits as a platform to tackle his pertinent question, drawing learning experiences from my own journey.

1) Success:

- most of us have a foggy idea about success, except for equating it with money &/or fame;

- it's never the end-result or destination; it's always the ride or journey, & as such, there are always road blocks & even unexpected accidents e.g. storms, to deal with; sometimes, we may need to take detours to continue the journey;

- Earl Nightingale & Paul J Meyer defined it best:

"Success is the progressive realisation of predetermined, worthwhile & personal goals";

- it's also pertinent to point out that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed;

2) Decision:

- I once read that life is a sum of all our choices or decisions; unfortunately most of us like to sit on the fence;

- I am sure you can remember the jocularity of the proverbial 3 frogs sitting on a lily pod; two decided to jump into the pond; how many frogs are left on the pod?

- no wonder peak performance coach Anthony Robbins once said:

"It is in your moment of decision that your destiny is shaped";

what he is saying is that using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any & every part of your life in an instant;

- interestingly, good decisions come from experience, & experience comes from bad decisions;

- hence, indecisiveness is a stumbling block to success;

3) Risk:

- Most of us are risk adverse, including myself;

- I remember vividly during the late seventies, while I was a deputy divisional manager, one of my young engineers who left to start his own business [he wanted to make S$1 million before his 30th birthday] had posed me a question to the effect as to why I was still working for somebody else while I had more than a decade of professional experience; to be frank, risk was my concern at that point as I was gainfully employed; [that young engineer made it!]

- Helen Keller said it best:

"Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing".

- I am always bemused when I read this quotation from an unknown author:

"Never be afraid to try something new. remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic."

- So, in late 1991, I left the corporate world after 24 years, & the rest was history!

4) Persistence:

- I believe it was my persistence & perseverance that kept me going when I started my own small ventures during the early nineties, as the first 3 years were hell of a ride;

- the following advice from Paul J Meyer still rings true:

"90% of those who failed are not actually defeated. They simply quit!"

- in fact, I have learned that when defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not working, so rebuild those plans, & set sail once again toward your preferred outcome;

5) Responsibility;

- I am sure most readers can recall Stephen Covey's elaborate definition of "responsibility" in his debut classic, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People';

- For me, "responsibility" is taking charge of & taking action on one's own life;

- I just can't help thinking about what Spiderman's dying uncle had taught our young hero, as his parting advice:

"Great power comes with great responsibility!";

6) Confidence:

- I believe quite a lot of people, for one reason or another, suffer from low self-esteem; as a result, they have a poor image of themselves, & this always boils down to the lack of confidence in oneself;

- most of the time, this has also to do with one's own self-talk, especially the negative aspect;

- One problem I reckon has also to do with one's incessant need to compare with others - follow the Jones, so to speak; I always believe that we don't have to out beat anybody; we just have to be better our self everyday, & that's the first small step towards building self-confidence;

7) Action:

- action always follows decision, but the problem is that we often don't want to act on what we have decided; that's stupidity!

- from another perspective, famed scientist Marie Curie shared her thoughts this way:

"The common conception is that motivation leads to action, but the reverse is true - action precedes motivation. You have to 'prime the pump' & get the juice flowing, which motivates you to work on your goals. Getting momentum going is the most difficult part of the job, & often taking the first step is enough to prompt you to make the best of your day."

- remember, I have talked about "inertia" in an earlier post; also about "action-mindedness";

- Bruce Lee, whose fists shook the world, once said this:

"Knowing is not enough, you must apply. Willing is not enough, you must do.";

- Interestingly, futurist Joel Arthur Barker has this great perspective:

"Vision without action is daydreaming; action without vision is random activity; vision with action changes the world."

how about that?;

- Interestingly, as a counterpoint, action has consequences, but action also creates feedback for learning & opportunity;

8) Money:

- Most people like to hold the view that only after we have the money, we can then do something;

- I like what the cash flow guy Robert Kiyosaki has once taught me:

"Money is only an idea; if you want to have money in your hands, change your thinking!"

- it's also important to note that money isn't everything: I have some friends who are loaded, but surprisingly, they are still unhappy with their own lives.

9) Goals:

- many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or even courage, but simply because they have never organised their lives around a goal;

- undoubtedly, in any success or prosperity literature, old or new, goal setting & goal achieving always form one of the critical approaches to personal success;

- once your goals are set, life takes on a meaningful purpose, & everything else just falls into place - that's what I have found;

- in retrospect, you simply can't hit anything unless you have a target;

- successful companies, successful individuals & successful students have one thing in common: they have specific goals! Best of all, they know where they are going!

- I was so glad that I had learned about goal setting during my early professional years - many thanks to Napoleon Hill!

- Aristotle was right to day:

"Man is a goal-seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out & striving for his goals."

10) Attitude:

- Attitude is everything - it's very true!

- A positive mental attitude can really make the difference;

- There is a wise saying:

"It's your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude!";

- put it in another way, aptitude may get you to the top, but it takes attitude to keep you there!;

- I remember in my employment days that knowledge & skills often help one to get a job, but poor attitude & bad habits can get one fired from the job!

11) Creativity:

- we are able to enjoy many modern technological conveniences today primarily because of the creativity & imagination of our forefathers;

- No wonder, Napoleon Hill once said:

"Ideas are the beginnings of all riches . . ."

- I don't know who said to this effect, but it makes sense:

"Ideas make money. Everything else is housekeeping."

- not only coming up with good ideas, but we must also have the will power to put them to work;

- it's also pertinent to point out that the problem is never how to get new ideas into your mind, but how to get old ones out;

12) Communication:

- peak performance coach Denis Waitley once said:

"No man or woman is an island. To exist just for yourself is meaningless. You can achieve the most satisfaction when you feel related to some greater purpose in life, something greater than yourself."

- We are social animals, so communication with others is vital to creating good relationships, resulting in happiness as well as success;

- not only communicating with others, but also communicating within ourselves - that is to say, personal victory must come first!;

- in fact, I would say the internal self-talk or dialogue is critical to one's own success;

- in the workplace or business landscape, the ability to communicate effectively can really make the difference;

- successful people are generally great communicators - what's the point of having great ideas, if you can't sell them &/or persuade others to accept your propositions;

- Stephen Covey's sage advice certainly comes to mind: Seek first to understand, then to be understood; also think synergy, as I reckon it values & exploits the mental, emotional, & psychological differences between people;

In summing up this post, & like Bob Proctor & other peak performance coaches, what I have discovered on my personal journey is that we must have success habits - in a nut shell, we must establish disciplined daily routines to get going & get moving on course.

Come to think of it, success is just a matter of strategy & discipline - the discipline to exercise daily rituals that empower us to grow & move forward.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"The most critical thing with any new venture is we must deliver a tremendous value to the consumer so that it enhances all the ventures we've done before it."

"I start businesses when I have a passion for something. That's also why I went into the airline business, even though everybody I talked to told me that there was no money to be made there. I felt that I could make a difference. That's the best reason to go into business because you feel strongly that you can change things."

"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, & it has to exercise your creative instincts."

~ from the rebel-billionaire & maverick mogul, Richard Branson;

My quick recap of the three tips on generating entrepreneurial success:

1) Create Value;

2) Pursue Your Passion;

3) Trust Your Guts;

[Source: Success Magazine]

AS MINDS AGE, WHAT'S NEXT?

If one were to ask Dr Marian Diamond, a world famous neuro-scientist [she reportedly cut open & analysed a small chunk of Albert Einstein's brain following his death to discover why he was so brainy], the foregoing open question, I am very sure that her answer would be direct & succinct:

Just keep yourself stimulated & also, keep your environment stimulating!

For me, I have more or less fine-tuned the following disciplined routines to keep myself stimulated & to keep my environment stimulating:

1) Keeping myself physically active:

- through walking to the gym & back home, at least for 40-45 minutes, & physical workout in the gym, at least for 1 to 1-1/2, everyday from Monday to Friday;

- When I go window shopping with my wife, we take public transport, wherever possible, even though I own a car - so we do a fair bit of walking, too;

- I take an evening stroll with my wife in the neighbourhood, almost every day after dinner;

- the physical chores at home are divided between my wife & myself: I am in charge of the laundry & home repairs;

2) Keeping myself mentally active:

- through reading; browsing my personal library; blogging & also reading other blogs; writing book reviews; desk research with the Internet; surfing the Internet; pow-wow with business associates & friends or buddies;

- constantly updating my current portfolio of training resources, mostly in Powerpoints;

- regularly converting written notes in my scratchpads into visual maps with MindManager Pro, Inspiration & SmartDraw;

- I am currently reorganising - & also updating - my physical as well as digital information libraries;

- I am currently venturing into digital photography; learning how to use photo & video editing softwares;

- also currently exploring several new social networking tools;

3) Keeping myself socially active:

- through deliberate social interaction with my gym buddy, as well as members of 'The Wednesday Club';

- regular lunch meetings with my business associates as well as other buddies, e.g. classmates from the Singapore Polytechnic;

- business as well as social networking on the net;

- my gym buddy has recently suggested social community & volunteering work - this is an area I have yet to explore;

4) Keeping myself feeling good:

- through spending quality time with my wife;

- this area has great potential for improvement, especially once I get started with my social community involvement;

5) Constantly challenging my brain:

- through experimenting of personal scenarios & environmental scans, as part of my own ongoing favourite pasttimes;

- playing around with all kinds of interactive brain games &/or profile assessments on the net;

- playing around with my personal collection of Googleplex, K'nex, Tensegrity & Zometools construction kits;

- for me, surfing the net deliberately for new ideas, approaches or models is also an excellent way to challenge my brain, especially having to do testing & verification;

- of course, regular pow-wow with my business associates;

6) Constantly monitoring my diet & nutrition;

7) Constantly monitoring & taking care of my heart;

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

If we let the great philosophers guide our thinking, & if we then begin to become philosophers ourselves, we put ourselves in the very best position to move towards genuine excellence, true prosperity, & deeply satisfying success in our businesses, our families, & our lives.

Why should we settle for anything less?

Why indeed?

~ inspired by Tom Morris, writing in 'If Aristotle Ran General Motors';

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Greatness occurs at the intersection of what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best at in the world, & what drives your economic engine."

~ Jim Collins, author of the classics, 'Good to Great' & 'Built to Last';

BUYING BOOKS AT OFFER PRICES

Yesterday, after a pow wow session with my good friends from Indonesia, & together with them, we popped into PopCentral [Popular Bookstore] on the 2nd floor of Bras Brasah Complex.

Many books, fiction as well as nonfiction, were on display with offer prices.

I picked up three books, namely:

- 'Weird Ideas That Work', by Robert Sutton;
- 'Innovation Nation', by John Kao;
- 'The Adversity Advantage', by Paul Stoltz;

& paid almost S$25/- for them, using my Popular card.

All were hardcovers & the last two were released in 2007.

Come to think of it, & as far as business non-fictions are concerned, I reckon if one can wait for a year or so after the publication date, one can save a big bundle of cash for buying books.

For example, 'Innovation Nation' is currently retailed for S$46.01 in Kinokuniya Bookstores.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"It is not how long you live that counts but what you do in your life that is important. You got to learn how to deal with the storms of life."

~ Rev Richard Brown, Jr.

POW WOW WITH MY GOOD FRIENDS FROM INDONESIA

This morning, I drove down to the city centre to meet two good friends from Jakarta, Indonesia.

We had a pow wow over breakfast at the Kopitiam outlet on Purvis Street, near my old office at the North Bridge Centre.

They are Alexander K Taslim (Alex for short) & his wife, Santi, as shown in the photo [taken at the entrance to PopCentral on the 5th Floor of the nearby Bras Brasah Centre].

The husband-&-wife team currently owns & runs some sort of a franchised operation in Jakarta, that offers memory training, mental arithmetic skills & art craft training to school kids from 9-12.

Incidentally, they have been doing that for almost a decade.

Both of them, plus a few of their trainers, had attended my proprietary workshops in accelerated learning, visual thinking & idea mapping during the mid-nineties, & from my professional clients, they have now become my good friends.

Naturally, we talked a lot - & compared notes - about current market developments in the field of accelerated learning in Singapore & Jakarta, involving mainly young students.

They have in fact recently enrolled their son in a MindChamps extended program, 'Success for Life', comprising some 90 hours of coaching, including parenting. When asked the reason for their choice of MindChamps, they said they were really impressed by their professional organisation & extensive curriculum.

We also explored various possibilities of leveraging on their current business endeavours.

As usual, I have always enjoyed touching base - & a good pow wow - with my old clients/friends.

As the adage goes, knowledge shared is power squared!

AN EPITOME: DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE & CLARITY OF THOUGHT

As I have mentioned many times before, Jet Li is one of my favourite action movie stars. I have seen most of his action movies.

Hence, a write-up, under the byline, 'Dragon Rising', in today's issue of Life page in the Straits Times, in conjunction with his latest action movie, 'The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor', caught my personal attention. I have yet to watch the movie.

I am referring to the interview responses on the topic of Tibet as well as about the latest movie venture from the movie director Rob Cohen as well as Jet Li, who played the Dragon Emperor.

from Cohen:

"My word to the Chinese government was that I was making a fantasy movie . . . My personal feelings & Buddhist beliefs are separate from the career I've chosen.

When you're making big movies for the studios, park your politics at the door because it's an inappropriate medium to get your political views across."

from Jet Li:

"Tibet is an area. It has nothing to do with Buddhism, which is about "emptiness" & has no politics or views. Lots of people have asked me about Tibet & I tell them, don't ask me what I think. Ask the United Nations . . .

People think too much. It's just a commercial movie, & our concern is how to make money out of 'The Mummy' ."

As far as I am concerned, & notwithstanding what is happening &/or has happened recently in Tibet, these two gentlemen certainly epitomised the definiteness of purpose & clarity of thought in their professional pursuits.

From my personal experiences, I have come to realise the harsh reality that, it is often the lack of definiteness in our purpose & also the lack of clarity in our daily thinking that invariably muddle up our perspectives in & about life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"The most important things in life are what you currently take for granted - intentionally or not."

~ Gary Vurnum, success coach & publisher of 'Our Success Partnership' ezine;

WHY BUSINESSES FAIL?

I like to share with readers what I have read in success blogs recently.

Michael E. Angier, founder & CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Success Networks, shares his pragmatic thoughts about why businesses fail.

Firstly, he highlighted what the experts say about business failures & why they're wrong.

He has compiled the 'Top Ten Reasons for Business Failures' (as Part I) as follows, based on the SBA, Entrepreneur Magazine & other sources:

1. Insufficient Capital (money);
2. Poor Management and Lack of Experience;
3. Poor Location;

4. Poor Inventory Management;
5. Over-Investment in Fixed Assets;
6. Poor Credit Arrangements;
7. Ineffective Marketing and Promotion;

8. Over-expansion or Unexpected Growth;
9. Competition;
10. Low Sales;


According to him, these are only the symptoms of business failures.

Secondly, as a valid counterpoint, he gives his own 'Top Ten List of Reasons Businesses Fail' (as Part II), as follows:

1. Not Being Clear on Your Core Values, Mission & Vision;
2. No Clear Business Model;
3. Unclear on Target Market;
4. Not Clear on USP;
5. No Written Strategic Plan;
6. Inadequate Systems & Controls;
7. Inability to Adapt;
8. Not Paying Enough Attention to Relationships;
9. Not Having the Right Team;
10. Inadequate Support System, Advisors, etc.;

Come to think of it, the foregoing reasons also generally reflect the reasons why we, at the personal level, fail in life, especially from the perspective of #1, #5, #7 & #8.

Then, he offers readers his 'Top Ten Pillars of a World Class Company' as a .pdf document.

Readers can proceed to this link, Part I & Part II, to read his original exposition &/or to download the free document.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Do I really want to pry into the future?

Do I have the capacity to accept unhappy endings?

~ inspired by Daryl Green, a business strategist, writing in his article, 'Strategic Foresight: Understanding the Negative Future';

Monday, July 28, 2008

RAPID RECAP: WORK SMARTER

Price Pritchett is one of my favourite authors in the field of developing change readiness, organisationally as well as personally.

In his book [actually, it's a crisply written booklet!], entitled 'You2: A High-Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness', published during the early nineties, he says:

"Trying harder isn't necessarily the solution to achieving more. It may not offer any real promise for giving what you want out of life. Sometimes, in fact, it's a big part of the problem.

If you want to make a quantum leap, quit thinking about trying harder. More effort isn't the answer.

It is necessary to work smarter."

In fact, I recall during the early eighties or so, Michael LeBoeuf, another favourite author of mine, gave more or less the same advice in his classic, 'Working Smarter: How to Accomplish More in Half the Time'.

[By the way, here's a link to an interesting article, entitled '13 Tips for Working Smarter, Not Harder', by Jan Jasper at LifeOrganisers.com.]

INERTIA PREVENTS US FROM EXPLORING NEW WAYS TO SOLVING PROBLEMS

I just happen to stumble on to a video preview of a Faculty Seminar CD from Harvard Business School on the net.

In that preview, Prof John R Wells talked about 'Strategic Agility: Managing Continuous Change'.

In a nut shell, he was explaining why companies fail, & while they were failing, they still refused to make changes.

I became fascinated when he listed inertia as one of the reasons.

Interestingly, he broke down inertia into 3 types:

Cognitive Inertia:

- can't even see the need to change;

Action Inertia:

- can see there is a problem & yet do nothing;

Volitive Inertia:

- can see the problem & the need to do something about it, & yet don't really want to;

To me, this inertia issue also applies to all of us at the personal level. Inertia prevents us from exploring new ways to solve problems.

[Readers go to this link to watch the short video preview.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Sometimes it make sense to go where the path may lead . . . Other times to go where there is no path & leave a trail."

~ Trudy Canine, founder of Pathfinder, an executive coaching, career management & outplacement outfit;

Sunday, July 27, 2008

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

“Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical & physical changes in the brain. Expectation shapes reality. People’s preconceptions have a significant impact on what they believe. Attention density shapes identity. Repeated, purposeful & focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution.”

~ David Rock & Jeffrey Schwarz, authors of the article 'The Neuroscience of Leadership';

[Readers can go to this link to read the article in its entirety.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

". . . businesses cannot be launched like space shuttles, with every detail of the mission planned in advance . . . Instead, . . . you play with & explore ideas, letting strategies evolve through a seamless process of guesswork, analysis, & action."

~ Amar Bhide, author of the article 'How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies that Work' in the Harvard Business Review, (March/April 1994),150-161;

JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER

I am rather intrigued by a remark made by Mr Christopher Tong, operations manager of Harris Bookstores in Singapore, as reported in today's Sunday Times:

"I would say 90% of a customer's decision to buy a particular edition of a title depends on the design & look of a book cover, if the price difference is reasonable."

In other words, "a pretty, punchy or classy book cover can make a difference for buyers", adds the tagline to the article.

I reckon that assessment applies more to general interest titles &/or designer collections.

As for me, & since I read mainly non-fiction titles, I am guided more by the subject of interest under my purview, the credibility of the author, the synopsis of the contents, & what I can take away, judging from a preview of the table of contents, preface & end summary, if any in the book.

I do read online book reviews though, but they don't actually determine my final choice, because sometimes I do go for books that have received bad reviews, & yet I have gone ahead with my purchase decision.

It turned out that, in most instances, that my purchase decision was right despite the not-so-good reviews.

There are also instances when book titles are available in both UK & American editions, then the lower price will dictate my eventual purchase.

Over the years, I have forked out good money to buy out-of-print non-fiction titles, depending on my personal urgency, from online stores, like abebooks & alibris.