Saturday, June 5, 2010


"If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need."

~ William McKnight; CEO of 3M (1924);


"How much of our days are consumed in the pressures of what needs doing? How much do we lose of ourselves in the process?

We must not confuse leadership with position and place; we must not confuse it with structures, systems, tools and techniques.

These are not what earn you the respect and commitment of your people. What earns you respect in the end is whether you are what you say you are and whether what you are embodies what they want to become or follow.

So what’s it like being led by you?"

~ The Academy of Chief Executives, UK: 'Rising to the New Leadership Challenges';

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Here's the link to an interesting though belated article, 'Making Thinking Visible', by Dr David Perkins of Harvard University.

What fascinates most about the article is the power of questioning during the process of thinking about an important issue, as he describes it from an educational perspective.

This is what I have captured:

1) Language of Thinking: What if? What if not? How else could this be done? What's the other side of this case?

2) Thinking Routines: What's going on here? What do you see that makes you say so?

3) Circle of Viewpoints: Think about what you have learned from looking across multiple viewpoints;

4) Powerful Questions: Asking ~ i) questions of exploration; ii) questions about making connections; iii) questions about making conclusions;

I like his concluding remarks:

"With persistent and ardent attention, all this can flow from making thinking visible. However, to get that far, one has to get past the problem of invisibility. A large part of the challenge is that the very invisibility of thinking is itself invisible. We don't notice how easily thinking can stay out of sight, because we are used to it being that way.

As educators, our first task is perhaps to see the absence, to hear the silence, to notice what is not there.

The Chinese proverb tells us that a journey of one thousand miles begins with but a single step. Seeing the absence is an excellent first step. Without it, the journey is not likely to happen. With it, and the direction and energy the realization brings, we are on our way to making thinking visible."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"If people are coming to work excited... if they're making mistakes freely and fearlessly... if they're having fun... if they're concentrating doing things, rather than preparing reports and going to meetings - then somewhere you have leaders."

– Robert Townsend;

Sunday, May 30, 2010


While browsing through the Popular Bookstore at Jurong Point 1 this morning, a book title suddenly caught my personal attention. It was 'How Philosophy Can Save Your Life', by Marietta McCarty, an assistant professor of philosophy.

From the back cover of the book, I gathered that the book was framed around ten "big ideas"- themes that, according to the author, would be necessary to grasp if one wants to live a truly fulfilling & enriching life.

They are:

1. Simplicity (philosophers include Epicurus and Charlotte Joko Beck)

2. Communication (philosophers include bell hooks and Karl Jaspers)

3. Perspective (philosophers include Bertrand Russell and Mary Wollstonecraft)

4. Flexibility (philosophers include Socrates, Plato and Alan Watts)

5. Empathy (philosophers include the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King, Jr.)

6. Individuality (philosophers include Jean-Paul Sartre and Elizabeth Spelman)

7. Belonging (philosophers include Albert Camus and Rita Manning)

8. Serenity (philosophers include Epictetus and Lao Tzu)

9. Possibility (philosophers include John Stuart Mill and Simone de Beauvoir)

10. Joy (philosophers include Shunryu Suzuki and Jane Addams)

From what I could gather from quick skimming & brisk scanning, the author argued how the heartbeats of philosophy - clear thinking, quiet reflection, and good conversation - would be essential ingredients in a well-lived life.

Makes a lot of sense, especially in today's busy world. I concur that reflecting actively, recognising priorities, embracing tolerance, maintaining flexibility and broadening perspectives are essential to success achievement.


"Things may happen to you, but the only things that matter are the things that happen in you."

~ Eric Butterworth;