YOU CAN DESIGN AND CREATE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE WORLD, BUT IT TAKES PEOPLE TO MAKE IT A REALITY

YOU CAN DESIGN AND CREATE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE WORLD, BUT IT TAKES PEOPLE TO MAKE IT A REALITY

WRITTEN BY: ALIL

“You can design and create the most beautiful place in the world, but it takes people to make it a reality”Walt Disney…

Team building: A term everyone can relate to, but what really is team building? Getting to know each other better, build better rapport, helping each other etc, etc… These are some of the things that we can describe about team building. We go through team building programs every now and then, and we put these attributes in actions. The question is, do we really
practice these attributes in our daily working lives?

Team building doesn’t end when the program ends, as a matter of fact, it’s the beginning of a new adventure for an organization. Directly, or indirectly, and no matter how small the
actions are, team building happens every day in our daily working lives.

People are the driving force in an organization. By working together, bringing down barriers, working out differences, negotiating ideas, will only push the organization forward to greater heights!

WHY CHOOSE FOCUS ADVENTURE?

WHY CHOOSE FOCUS ADVENTURE?

WRITTEN BY: JOSEPH FERNANDEZ

                                                                                                                        Why Choose FOCUS?
                                                                                                                        By Joesph Fernandez

“No theory or plan or government policy will make a business a success; that can only be done by people. The most important mission for a manager is to develop healthy relationships to create a family like feeling within the corporation. 

Those companies that are most successful are those that have created a shared sense of fate amongst the employees.” – Akio Morita, Sony Co-Founder

Okay, a hard-working manager like you comes across this statement.

Having personally gone through years of office intricacies, one would find it difficult to believe that one man can claim such an audacity. But how could you disagree?

This man build a juggernaut of an empire which still rolls with the Benjamin’s until today.

It is possible you say, Mr. Morita an industry icon, said it himself!

Hold on a minute; remember that higher up that constantly gets under your skin? How about the guy who is directly a competition in the other department?

Reality checks in. There are simply too many variables involve when you speak of personnel relationships in the office, and a “family like feeling”? Come on, it’s outrageous!

An incumbent rain on your parade.

Also recently, an article was posted on the internet indicating that people care less about others. Citing real situations on the self-directed mentality on everyday life.

Yet what’s up with a guy with a golden track record, respected by business leaders, priding on the importance of people and relationships?

Couldn’t success be attained with systems and principles alone? Isn’t it viable to multiply a company’s asset minus the personnel variable?

All these questions have been lingering ubiquitously in the corporate world, and we could assume only a handful know the real answers.

It’s not like you can whip a magic wand and whala! The office becomes a much more conducive working environment, with highly efficient employees and results.

Much of this issue is still a subject of debate and discussion; and it will never end.

If you go on reading more about economic magnates and brand tycoons however, you would realize that in their own approach, they concur with Mr. Morita.

Since the human factor is almost impossible to disregard at least in the foreseeable future, it does make sense to deal with it, doesn’t it?

Ordinarily, one wouldn’t really care much about personnel ecology. But as a manager, aside from it being your responsibility, you somehow have that gut feel of dryness inside the office.

You provide seminars, training, & incentives, still the empirical data shows that your office isn’t significantly growing; both in output and in human interaction.

Then how? What now?

It seems that we have more questions than answers so far.

Wait! Don’t stone me yet!

Now that you feel compelled to address workplace nuance, let me help in leading you in the right direction (or at least the alternative direction).

Admittedly, creating or even attempting to create a cohesive workforce is no doubt easier said than done; a tall order.

Not to mention the very tight and fast paced routines offices subscribe to every single hour, every single day of the year.

When employees cram for something as small as a tea break, who would take a minute, to plan, initiate, or design “something” specifically engineered to uplift relationships in the workplace?

Don’t fret! For this, I would borrow a very famous line from a movie ages ago: “If there’s something strange in the company hood, who you gonna call..?”

FOCUS Adventure

According to Connors (1995), “When people come together for any purpose for a period of time, a psychological boundary develops around them and separates them from other people. This boundary has a unifying force, which makes those within it act to some degree as a unit, a whole. When people form a relationship or join a group, they gradually become more dependent on each other and must move, interact and change together because their outcomes become connected.”

In layman’s terms, imagine spending 8 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week with the same group of people – these individuals plainly become your life. In fact, you spend more time with them than your family or friends.

Somehow, in way or another, some kind of connection or a bond for that matter would be formed; it’s inevitable.

You have an effect on them & vise versa; directly affecting your life, and the company’s life.

And most often than not, you cannot choose the ones you work with. (As if you have a choice right?)

Essentially, all of you become a team or more commonly known as an organization.

FOCUS Adventure specializes in organizational growth & change; initiating dramatic and evolutionary transformation. The process is intended to improve micro and macro personnel interaction or relationships within a company.

But of course, you can simply view the website and read the plain text.

Fine, the company has a pristine track record and for more than a decade, has been the leader in adventure based corporate training programs. They have passed the acid test with flying colors.

I guess the million dollar question is how and why?

Why choose FOCUS Adventure? And how do they do it?

Again, you can browse the basic details online. This time though, allow me to give you a slightly deeper, broader and more substantial, yet simple perspective on what FOCUS Adventure is all about.

Learning By Doing

You heard of the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?

First, I’m confident that you are not that old; second, I’m sure you are not a dog.

Though very rampant nowadays in references, studies, researches and even the internet, this school of thought has existed for thousand of years; the concept of Experiential Learning.

Companies from various industries do their own versions of the method.

Because believe or not, adults have particular needs to learn new things (Knowles 1978; McCaffery 1986; Zemke and Zemke 1981).

Like children, they need to explore and engage with the outside world for new inputs. Unlike their young-aged counterpart on the other hand, if an object, activity or person is not or would not play a relevant in real life, forget it.

Also, if something does not relate to past, present or would be future experiences, the learning curve slopes down.

Full participation and involvement are required for adults to acquire new knowledge. The process should be conducted in such a way that they can discuss with others and the activity facilitator (Connors & Caple, 2005).

That is why FOCUS Adventure’s repertoire is experience, adventure & activity based programs, and adheres to the premise of the Experiential Learning approach.

Experiencing

Learning by doing right? Doing what?

Do is defined by dictionary.com as to act, perform, to accomplish.

Any form of activity that requires physical or mental engagement action turns into some form of accomplishment, an outcome; either an answer to a mathematical equation, or beating the track record for a running competition.

For corporate team building courses however, the tale of the tape is a tad different.

FOCUS Adventure has a set menu so to speak, of activities an event organizer or manager might envision.

On the naked eye, these experiences can be taken at face value. But what lies underneath is more instrumental to an organization’s development.

Programs abide by a set of codes that are critical for success.

At this point, the architect and one of the cornerstones of FOCUS Adventure, its Project Managers, together with the organizing team and Facilitators, carefully and meticulously draft a blueprint of activities with an objective.

They work behind the scenes to make something that focuses on goals such as improving internal communication, promoting leadership skills, self discovery, reiterating company values, so on and so forth.

In other words, a program tailored-fit for a certain organization.

The organizers get a first hand knowledge of what would be the ingredients of this program, and can be confident it’s just not another phony event.

In psychology, there is a model known as SLE (Structured Learning Experience). The philosophy behind it is to customize an activity based on a group’s needs. Most of the time, this principle is applied on group counseling, leadership training, group dynamics, and behavior modification.

Sounds easy.

But what must be advocated to ensure its quality?

According to Ortigas (1997), there are guidelines in designing a well-organized, spot-proof program.

In her book, Human Resource Development and Management: The Philippine Experience, she elaborated on the suggested 3 components of a program. These are:

Input Data

The bulk of information in this part includes Clientele Profile, SKA (Skills, Knowledge & Attitudes), Specific Learning Issue, Theory Input, Experience, Style and Personality of Facilitators allocated Program file & Logistics.

Technical Framework

This aspect discusses the parts of a program from Orientation, Introduction and Activity proper, Process, Synthesis and Closing remarks, then finally Evaluation.

Sometimes, for experimentation and testing purposes, the facilitation team could conduct a dry-run.

Other books would similarly show the same pattern with a 5 to 7-section framework.

Implementation

The title speaks for itself. Contingency is also considered when doing a program. The facilitators foresee actual difficulties that may arise in a program; may it be on equipment, the location, the participant’s situation, etc.

FOCUS Adventure defines this as SA or Situational Awareness.

Alternatives or Plan B’s is prepared as well.

Okay, so experiential learning and engaging in a team building program make more sense now.

Then again, if one can find these concepts in an encyclopedias or books in the library, you now raise the multi-million dollar question:

Ultimately, why FOCUS Adventure?

See, if they can do it, chances are someone else out there can do it as well.

That’s why FOCUS Adventure prides on its front runners that make them stand above the rest of the competition, the Facilitators.

Facilitating

Taken from their company website it states, “The competitive edge of our experiential learning programs lies in our highly committed and energetic facilitators”.
True. But highly committed and energetic are broken records. There must be something up their sleeve that makes them really good at what they’re doing.
The answer is right under your nose.
FOCUS Adventure, using thorough screening, makes certain that their Facilitators are Facilitators, and are very good Facilitators.
Hold on, that sounds redundant; doesn’t seem to make any kind of sense.

Most often than not, a program’s success almost completely rest upon the shoulders of the facilitator, so it’s important to note his information.

So first, let’s try to provide an operational definition for the word.

According to MerriemWebster.com,

Facilitator means:

one that facilitatesespecially: one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision <the workshop’s facilitator kept discussion flowing smoothly>

So why not hire professors or a lecturer conduct your team building program instead? With the dissertations and the PhD’s. These people are well educated and respected in the academic community?

Why a facilitator to bring about learning, result or communication?

What do you think disparate them?

The difference lies in what they do. School gurus discusses concepts, explains theories, impart equations and logic.

Facilitators on the other do not teach nor lecture; instead, they facilitate a process.

In all human interactions, there are two major ingredients – content and process (Pfeiffer, 1973).

Sure, the program has objectives to meet. The content. The organizing team is adamant about the target being met.

No worries, the activities ahead have clear direction and intention. In spite of this, is there a guarantee that everyone would absorb the same message from the event? Could you possibly convince each and every participant to like one another?

Could a random person, say a facilitator, force an adult to subscribe to a philosophy he believes otherwise?

Based on what we talk about so far about adult learning, please assist me in offering an answer for this.

Once and for all, corporate team-building sessions do not and should not impose an ideology, a mentality to its clients. It cannot, and never will.

They can learn and explain the content in class, but do they understand?

The modern trends in learning nowadays suggest that learners must have a certain degree of ownership of the lesson learned. This school of thought is more applicable in adults wherein they must have a number of opportunities for active learner involvement (Jones & Pfeiffer, 1973).

That is why a Facilitator’s personal outlook, as much as his skills, is so crucial in engraving the elements of a program; especially in providing the must-have process within the group dynamics of the clients.

The program is the highway, the Facilitator presents the vehicle.

Little heavy to digest? Understandably so.

So how would you know if the facilitator did the job?

If you attended a program not feeling you just got out of philosophy class.

The process is what matters. The facilitation. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. It’s not what’s waiting on the other side, It’s the climb; as what Miley Cyrus’ song would say.

The profound experience.

Facilitators help amplify the program’s message through the process; providing timely intervention, necessary reinforcement, promoting acceptance and sensitivity to differences, illuminating vague ideas, and lubricating language between individuals.

The process is the culmination of a team-building event; and compared to lectures and lessons, ithas a more lasting effect. A continuum.

In eventuality, that effect is what participants would take away.

It’s what would induce them to apply the learning and insights in the home, work and social world situations,

“Out there” or “back home”, life is a series of experiences; a more elaborate interaction with the world so to speak. Only when the above mentioned activities are processed can they provide learning and life become an experience of continuing growth” (Pfeiffer, 1973).

According to these studies, here is where the paradigm shift takes place; the culture and belief systems evolution within the organization.

By linking this processes to workplace realities, FOCUS Adventure programs foster change from the participants themselves; harnessing useful insights, worthwhile ideas, and overall scale sharing atmosphere in the office.

Ergo, the organizers achieve their objectives.

In the end, a manager can view corporate team building programs basically as an alternative to in-house training sessions.

Like Eastern, in contrast to Western medicine if you may; a prescribed diet for an environment with high blood sugar, corroding the capillaries of personnel welfare.

Or simply something to give the office a breath of fresh air, a new outlook in the bigger scheme of life.

One day, Transformers & Iron Men will walk the surface of the earth.

But for as long as human beings still exists, people and relationships would always one be the foundations of a successful company or a brand.

Allow me to quote a sports commentator for the last line.

For experiential learning, corporate team-building, adventure-based programs:

“Nobody does it better” than FOCUS Adventure.

The single most important ingredient in the formula of success is learning how to get along with people – Theodore Roosevelt 

WHY (ORGANIZATIONAL) VALUES MATTER?

WHY (ORGANIZATIONAL) VALUES MATTER?

WRITTEN BY: DAMIEN TEONG

Whilst being compare to the mission and vision of the companies, organisational values have always been downplay as a good-to-have addition to the mission and vision statements and provides an aesthetical feel to the entirety of the image of the organisation; yet interestingly enough, how could something as visual as the face of the organisation seen only as something so superficial.

After facilitating 500 (thereabouts) corporate teambuilding programmes for companies whom are either having their annual teambuilding or going through a post-merger or post-restructuring process; a troubling yet critical element of these sessions surfaces. Most of these sessions placed emphasis on creating social interactions between the team members, inducing cooperative efforts between the team members or understanding collaborative efforts between the various team mates; there is rarely, if any, efforts to reinforce organisational values. The lack of emphasis of organisational values for a teambuilding session is understandably so, because values are usually inducted during the initial phase of a partner’s/employee’s journey with the organisation.

While it is understandable for the lack of emphasis through his/her journey with the organisation, this doesn’t signify a lesser importance for the need of organisational values. One could understand organisational values as the D.N.A. of the organisation and the foundation of which the culture is built upon.

A relevant example of importance of values to the corporate culture and decision making would be Google. Google’s values are “avoid micromanagement, openness, general ethics and corporate citizenship” which breeds it’s culture of open spaces and market its employees as “Googlers” as a form of citizenship, these creates a sense of belonging for it’s ‘citizens’.  Organisational values not just shape the organisation’s environment and culture, it also plays an important “decision-making-guideline” for it’s products and decision making process, this is evident in Apple’s “value simplicity and avoid complexity” which in particular showcases its Iphone products to be elegantly simple and intuitive for even adolescence to utilize.

Organisational values also clarify the skeletal understanding of the company’s priorities; for e.g., using a particular ministry’s values: In pursuing this mission as XXXX’s officers, we remain always constant and true to our core values of HONOUR and UNITY; with their explanation of their values as extracted from their website written as follows:

HONOUR

We will always carry out our mission with honour, guided by the values of bravery, impartiality, integrity and the moral courage to do the right thing even in the face of personal danger and adversity.

UNITY

Unity is the key to our strength. While individually our departments are strong, collectively we are even stronger when united as a XXXX.  Our diversity becomes the source of strength. We respect each other as partners and the pursuit of a shared mission to keep Singapore safe and secure.

As XXXX’s officers, we will serve with determination, pride and passion, bonded always by the core values of Honour and Unity.

From the above-mentioned values, the amount of emphasis placed on seeking the individual’s commitment to the organisation speaks volume of the organisation’s priorities towards obligatory sacrifice and the team’s spirit towards a need for cohesion. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as these values originates from the Ministry of Home Affairs of Singapore (MHA is the umbrella ministry overseeing Singapore’s Police Force and Civil Defence Force of Singapore).

Hence, regardless of the nature of the gathering sessions from formal settings such as Annual General Meeting to informal sessions such as teambuilding sessions, there should be at least a slight emphasis towards the core values before it becomes an estrange list of words.

Written by Damien TEONG (Facilitator)
on 3rd January 2018

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE GREAT LEADER?

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GREAT LEADER?

WRITTEN BY: ANDRE KIRCHHOFF

“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.” – Joseph Joubert

Most Entrepreneurs, founders of companies and even people who had a –in their opinion- great product, service or business model idea which never materialized, will probably agree with this. Being a visionary and having great ideas alone is not enough to make things happen the way one dreams of. Other than a brilliant vision, it takes hard work, perseverance, dedication and in a lot of cases, taking risks, to make a vision, a dream, an idea come true.

This can not always be done by just one person, the genius, but takes the work and support of a lot of people. Oftentimes, the geniuses and visionaries in these day’s economy do not even have the necessary skills and expertise to materialize their ideas into actual products, services or businesses. To start and sustain a successful business these days, one needs to have valuable employees. That’s why Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said:

“Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters. This is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“…the one who offers faithful service…” obviously refers to an employee in this case. When talking about employees, this automatically leads to hierarchies, people being superiors of others, people giving orders and others following orders. And of course, a boss. Hierarchies have been existing for as long as there is life on this planet. It is not only in the human nature but in the nature of all living beings that spend their lives in groups. You will always find a leader and in some cases further hierarchies below him/her.

Of course, we want to focus on the human system of hierarchies here. The most prominent example for hierarchies is the military, because here you will find a lot of hierarchies, which are strictly regulated and demonstrated by the individuals. To make sure, everyone is aware of the hierarchy and the standing of the individual within the hierarchy, the uniforms even feature the ranks. Another example for hierarchies is our workplace. You will always find at least one boss and depending on the size of the company, further hierarchies, like head of department, project manager or others. This means that a lot of people are leaders of sometimes only one person and sometimes up to thousands of employees.

Being a leader, you will be responsible for a lot of things, more than you can handle on your own. That’s why you will have one or more persons working for you. The persons you are supposed to lead and in order to make life easier for yourself and to keep the persons working for you, you have to delegate work to these people. If you manage to perform the art of delegating tasks to perfection, you will do what Calvin Coolidge mentioned:

“One rule of action, more important than all others, is in never doing anything that someone else can do for you.”
– Calvin Coolidge

But delegating the right tasks to the right people is an art of its own. This is part of being a good leader. In big companies with a lot of hierarchies, obviously it’s highly unlikely, that all these leaders have got the necessary leadership skills which shows in a high fluctuation of personnel in some companies/departments. Asking people who quit their jobs for their reasons for leaving, you will probably find that the number one reason is the boss/superior. In second place might be the nature of the work they are doing. That means the reason why most people quit their jobs is because of the leadership they are under at work and because they are not enjoying the work they are doing. So, how can we overcome those issues and establish a more stable workforce in our company/department? Dwight D. Eisenhower once said:

“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Obviously, this would be the best case and can not always be achieved. But taking this as a guideline, what can it mean? Maybe in a lot of cases we should review our reasons to hire a particular person. I believe in most cases we look at the task this person is supposed to do, then we look at the certificates, the person has and check if the qualifications this person got at school match with the requirements of the job. Until now, a lot of people think, if these two match, this will be enough for the person to do the job. In a lot of cases this might be true. At least, having the right qualifications should lead to being able to do the job. But just because school enabled a person to do a job, does that actually mean, that this person will do the job as efficiently as (s)he could?

I am sure, a lot of us have experienced that people we hired for a certain job, either never lived up to their expectations and estimated potential or only for a very short time before their performance dropped and remained low until they eventually quit or we released them. Maybe when hiring people we should not exclusively concentrate on their qualifications but also on their previous jobs and especially their attitude. How does looking at their previous jobs help us to find out if a person will perform well in a position? As Eisenhower said, a leader needs to get people to do something they want to do themselves. Now, if a potential job-candidate has had similar jobs in the past and always dropped out after a short time, maybe it is not always because the superior or environment was bad, but maybe this person is simply not enjoying this particular job or not capable of doing it efficiently. So, maybe when we try to fill a position in our company/department, we should not focus too much on the qualifications. Of course, we always have to consider them since the applicant will still have to be capable of doing the job, but maybe we should look into other factors as well.

One factor would certainly be, if the applicant would possibly enjoy doing the job, we need to be done. Of course, we need to create an environment and job scope that can possibly be enjoyed. We can not just create a position which can hardly be enjoyed by anyone or put a person in an environment where performing would be difficult for any person. This is where the leader has to prepare and support. In a lot of companies, the false conclusion is made that employees always support the leader. In a company that has the intention to care for their employees and by that make their employees care about the company, the boss has to support his/her employees as well as receive strong support from them.

Besides the right skillset and the right dedication to fill a position in a company an applicant needs one more thing to be truly an asset to the company with commitment and a high potential for development. This is the right attitude to fit into the company culture. As mentioned before a good leader will create an environment in which a good employee feels comfortable in, but obviously, this can only be done to a certain extend and within the established and desired company culture. Only if an applicant can adapt to and adopt the company culture (s)he will be able to willingly perform to his/her full potential.

If you can fill a vacant position in your company with a person who fulfills all these requirements rather than just having the right certificates, you will have found someone who can be lead the way, Eisenhower mentioned. By “someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” So, once you have a team of individuals which are willing to do what the boss wants them to do, what else does the boss have to do? Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once mentioned:

“What chance gathers she easily scatters. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

According to this, a leader has to be able to choose a team of great people. The right people for the right job, as we have talked about before. But finding the right person for the right job, is one thing. As a great leader, you are also able to keep this person. Let’s face it, if you find someone really good at some point either other companies will gain interest in this person as well or the person itself will be aware of his/her value and start thinking about alternatives to his/her current position. What can a great leader do to avoid this?

Obviously, there are a lot of ways. First of all the monetary way. By paying the person more than the competition would. Other than that changes in the work environment can be made. But we want to focus on the leadership skills here. So, how do you lead a person in a way that binds him/her to your company/department?

There are a lot of different ways to lead a team. More or less authoritarian approaches can be chosen. A good leader might even be able differentiate and lead different people in his team in different ways. However, no matter who you work with, what culture, race or religion your employees are from, they will appreciate if you “rule” them the way, Ovid suggested:

“A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward.”
– Ovid

 

By being “slow to punish”, you give your employees the freedom and confidence to try new things and take chances. Like that you bring in new and fresh ideas into your business from different angles and backgrounds. Note that Ovid said “slow to punish”, which means that of course, punishment is still part of your leadership. It is clear that you can not lead without making your aware of their mistakes at all. If there was no punishment, the people you lead might repeat mistakes over and over again, because they do not see the need to change anything since there won’t be any punishment anyway. However, if you managed to find great people for your team as we talked about above, these sort of people won’t be repeating mistakes anyway. Which makes it easy for you to be slow in your punishment, since these people won’t give you much reason to punish them. Let your people make mistakes, but do teach them the lesson in case they have not learnt it from their mistake itself.

The other part of Ovid’s quote is “swift to reward”. Acknowledge and appreciate your employees’ achievements. Not every little achievement needs to be acknowledged in a monetary way, but let your people know that you recognize their successes, even small ones. For the bigger ones however, a monetary “thank you” will be highly appreciated by your employees. A simple “well done” can make your employees feel valued in the company and by their boss, but it will be even more impactful if accompanied by a monetary reward for outstanding achievements.

All this contributes to your employees’ satisfaction in their job and will keep them from thinking about leaving your company or department, because once they start thinking about changing jobs, you will not be able to effectively lead them anymore. As mentioned, one non-monetary way of keeping the spirits of your employees up is by empowering them. Empowering them to make their own decisions and perform tasks without asking for approval every time. This is even more difficult than choosing the right person for the right job, according to Napoleon Bonaparte:

“The art of choosing men is not nearly so difficult as the art of enabling those one has chosen to attain their full worth.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

The way of ruling Ovid suggested obviously helps to enable our employees to attain their full worth. As a leader you have to give your employees the confidence and the authority to make their own decisions, within certain limitations, of course. The more freedom you can give them or the wider your can stretch this limitations, means the more your employees will be able to unfold their full worth and potential.

Of course, this takes us back to choosing the right people. Obviously, there are people out there who cannot work without clear guidelines. Some people need close supervision, simply because of their mentality. Not everyone enjoys to have a lot of freedom at work, but performs better within clear boundaries. On the other hand, there will be people taking advantage of their freedom. For example, by exploiting the freedom given to them, always looking for the easiest way out for themselves, rather than the best solution for the company and maybe even spending a lot of time at work doing everything but working. This means, that a leader has to choose people with the right attitude and mindset in order to be able to vastly empower them and thus tap on their full potential. As Thomas Jefferson said:

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
– Thomas Jefferson

According to this, the persons you are hiring have to have the right mental attitude which includes that their goals are in line with the company’s goals. In order to promote this, a company can do a few things, such as aiming for work-life-integration. This basically means, spending time with work-related matters which an employee can share and enjoy, for example with his/her family or friends. This can be done in a lot of ways, which can easily be figured out be a good leader, open to this idea or even left to the suggestion of the employees themselves. Important is, that these ideas are to the benefit of the company and at the same time to the benefit of the employee him/herself. Benefit of the employee can mean a lot of things in this case. It can mean a further development of his/her skills or even just spending an enjoyable time, not even feeling that what (s)he is doing is work-related.

This however, is only possible if the employee has the right mental attitude. Above mentioned persons, who only function within certain guidelines or take advantage of these opportunities, will not be able to understand and apply this or only to their own benefit, without considering any added value for the company. But even if we have people with the right mental attitude, these people need one more thing. Which leads us to a quote of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The right mental mindset does not just include to think the right things and in the right ways, but to act upon this thinking. It does not help if our employees understand our ideas and culture but do not tap on it. In that case, a leader has to demand initiative from his/her employees. They should soon be able to adapt a culture in which they know how not just to realize and recognize the right and wrong things, but also act accordingly and correct the wrongs while sharing and performing the good. There should be no need to ask for this culture to be “lived” anymore once your employees have tried it, since they themselves will not just know about the benefits for themselves but have experienced them.

After all, you can not force your employees to do anything, not even for their own good. At least you should not. In some cases, you might be able to apply force on your employees, but you will soon find out that your employees will not be willing to endure this for long. They will escape your leadership and leave. Like Abraham Lincoln once said:

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”
– Abraham Lincoln

This shows clearly in the fluctuation that we see in a lot of companies these days. Depending on the economic environment, people might bear to work under an unwanted leader for a longer or shorter period of time. The better the economy, the shorter the period of time, people will be willing to spend under your rule. This applies especially for good people. Good employees will have an easier time finding a new job and thus not bear with bad leaders for long. Obviously, good people are the ones, we would like to bind to our company. That means, we have to offer them good leadership. A leader they choose to be lead by. John Churton Collins took this even further than “consent to be lead”, when he said:

“Always mistrust a subordinate who never finds fault with his superior.”
– John Churton Collins

This statement might sound extreme but makes perfect sense when we think about it. Everybody, even a leader, makes mistakes. After all, we are all human. A team of bright people, will surely notice your mistakes and let’s be honest, would you rather have your employees or your boss/customers, make you aware of your mistakes?

Empower your employees not just to make their own decisions, but also to question yours. Do not give them the authority to act against or ignoring your decisions, but allow them to criticize them and listen carefully to their criticism. Let them know that its heard and considered, no matter if you find it reasonable and decide to adjust based on their input or if you stick with what was initially planned in spite of their criticism.

If all these wise quotes and suggestions fail, you can try to convince your employees about the necessity to work, mentioning what Voltaire once said:

“Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.”
– Voltaire

DISCLAIMER: the following information is from http://en.wikipedia.org/

Joseph Joubert (7 May 1754 in MontignacPérigord – 4 May 1824 in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne) was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées published posthumously.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749  – 22 March 1832) was a German writerpictorial artistbiologisttheoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature.

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929).

Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army.

Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BC – AD 17/18), known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: HeroidesAmores, and Ars Amatoria.

Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. His legal reform, the Napoleonic code, has been a major influence on many civil law jurisdictions worldwide.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom (1777), the third President of the United States (1801–1809) and founder of the University of Virginia (1819). He was an influential Founding Father and an exponent of Jeffersonian democracy.

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in 1865. He led the country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and promoting economic and financial modernization.

John Churton Collins (26 March 1848 – 25 September 1908), was an English literary critic.

François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religionfree trade and separation of church and state.

VALUE ATTRIBUTION: 5 CENTS AND 10 CENTS

VALUE ATTRIBUTION: 5 CENTS AND 10 CENTS

WRITTEN BY: JOEY NG

                                                                                                    Value Attribution: 5 cents and 10 cents
                                                                                                                     An Article by Joey Ng
                                                                                                                   Date of Review: 3/4/2010

                                                                                                                  ‘No men are equal’

 

No men are equal because humans are different. No two roles in a team are equal because they are different. Difference leads to comparison and comparison results in order. When working in teams, order is classified by the importance (perceived or not) of the role. The value we give to a person or role reflects the importance of it. Let’s say 10 cents is more important, 5 cents less. Labeling values in team can allow a team to better allocate resources. For example, the role of a CEO is highly valued, and it will be rewarded as such. How much we label a person determines how we perceive and judge him. When we judge, we not only judge the person, but everything about the person, for example, competency, works and information. Because of this, if we are fixated with the value we attribute to 10 cents, they will always be perceived as more right then 5 cents, even if that is not the case.

Fixation is the child of Diagnoses Bias. Commitment further cements fixation.

When our mind is fixed on certain perceptions, we erect walls, blinders against any facts or information that is not aligned with our mental model. Some psychiatrists call this putting up of blinders Diagnose Bias. Diagnose Bias
occurs when we label someone and form a perception that closes off any avenue to see who the person really is. Once a label is diagnosed, it is hard for people to see the person in any other light. Add commitment into the mix, it becomes even harder.

The more we commit into someone, the higher the value we place on him, the stronger the blinders will hold. Commitment requires investing of resources. Because of the effort and time we have invested to make someone a 10 cents, we will put on blinder if the person’s action or words are not aligned with our perception. The alignment is placed not against the person per se, but also, the resources we have invested in him.

Assigning someone a label or value will affect the way we perceive him, and how we perceive an individual will determine how we work with them. ‘You are what you think you are’ is based on how we align our thoughts and actions towards the mental picture we paint of ourselves. On the same notion, ‘You are what OTHERS think you are’ happens when we take on characteristics ascribe to us. This mirroring of expectation is know as the Pygmalion effect and the Golden effect (taking on traits assigned by someone else) in the psychological circle.

Put Diagnose Bias and Commitment together, it could result in a cocktail of serious misjudgment. Now, think about it – if someone is misjudged and labeled as a “5 cent”, he is treated like one and takes on traits of a “5 cent”. It might make him a lesser person just because of someone’s misjudgment.

Assigning values happens all the time, whether it is differentiating roles in a team, or comparing oneself against another. Assigning values facilitates decision making process. However, a combination of arbitrary assignment and fixation could result if dire consequences. The key when attributing someone a value is to stay open to changes. Just like how the value of currency will fluctuate, so to, will our 5 cents and 10 cents. So, watch how loosely you give that ‘change’.

TRUST, HOW DO WE REBUILD IT AFTER A STORM

TRUST, HOW DO WE REBUILD IT AFTER A STORM

WRITTEN BY: TK CHENG

In every aspect of life, we form relationships with the people around us. Trust is always a key measurement of how strong our bond is with the people around us. Be it at work, play or even at home, trust comes in to every facet of what we do. To build trust is something that most people know how to do already but this article is not about building trust.We’re discussing today something much tougher than just building trust: Regaining lost trust.

“To err is human”, Alexander Pope (1688-1744). Making mistakes is unavoidable, even if the environment requires perfection, there is always space for error. Take for instance Nuclear Reactors. Nuclear Reactors need a perfect system to keep them going, any slight mistake may snowball into a nuclear meltdown. In every nuclear power plant, there are multiple levels of safety and the highest standards of safety are practiced. Yet with all these safety measures in place, the recent Fukushima Daiichi incident still happened.What went wrong then? Multiple reports have been written for this incident and most of them pointed to a lack of rehearsals amongst the staff in the event of a natural disaster like an earthquake. It seemed that due to the busy schedule of all the staff, it was hard to organize safety simulations for different scenarios. If mistakes can happen in a place like a Nuclear Plant, what about amongst friends or even the workplace?

When mistakes happen, working relationships may sour and trust wavers. The tricky thing about trust is that it is just so easy to lose. One little slip-up and the trust that you have built over time with your colleagues drops by quite a bit. Especially for a leader where the trust of your team is in your hands, it is inevitable that along the long and winding road of success, there will be times where you fumble. To gain back the trust of your team, there is the TRUST model: Transparency, Respect, Understanding, Small Steps, Thankfulness.

This TRUST model is encompasses 5 key concepts. Each concept will be illustrated with a brief guideline on how to achieve them.

  1. Transparency. Be transparent with what you do and how you do. Make your actions accountable so that your team knows what you are up to. According to research by Dr Brad Rawlings on organizational transparency, he has highlighted three areas where transparency helps build trust:

Informational Transparency means openness. Make publically available all legally releasable information — whether positive or negative in nature — in a manner which is accurate, timely, balanced, and unequivocal. The information needs to be substantial for the parties involved. Disclosure by itself does not equal transparency; in fact some forms of disclosure can defeat the purposes of transparency.

Participatory Transparency is what separates transparency from disclosure. Transparency cannot be successful unless you know what stakeholders want and need to know. So, to ensure that the information shared is relevant and useful, stakeholders must be allowed to identify what they need to know. We need only ask and they would give.

Accountability Transparency. Transparency holds people accountable for their actions, words and decisions. Rawlins cited The Naked Corporation: If you’re going to be naked, you’d better be buff. In other words if you are going to let people see what you have, then you’d better have a good act going.

  1. Respect. When something goes wrong in the workplace, tension rises and moods heat up. Gaining back control of the situation is crucial and the very first step is to calm things down. Having an abrasive attitude and nonchalant attitude will definitely not get people to respond to you. As the perpetrator or even the peace maker, we need to give each party due respect. One does not have to like a person or understand his viewpoint to accord him respect for respect is such a fundamental value. Respect comes with the belief that a person or culture can have beliefs contradictory to ours and we can still honor them.

Research on how doctors treat patients and the resultant level of trust patients in their doctors is correlated to how much respect and care they give to their patients not how technically sound they were (Thom, 2001). Even though this piece of research is on doctors and patients, for us in the organization, there is something to learn: The amount of respect you give to
your peers commands the level of trust that they may then give to you.

  1. Understanding. Before trust may be regained, we have to first understand what’s going on. For without having a grip on the situation, we might unknowingly offend.We need to understand two key factors, the situation and the people:

The situation:What happened to create this situation;What were the factors that led up to this situation;What are the consequences of this situation;

The people:Who are the people involved; Who are the people we have to address;What are their beliefs (no matter how disagreeable we are to them); What are their needs.

Yourself:What went wrong to create the situation that you are in? How did you contribute to the breakdown?Where are your blind spots that have created this error?Was there an overestimation of your own abilities?

In 1950, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham created a model termed the Johari Window that helps people spot their blindspots and help create personal awareness. It creates a mental framework for us to check on all facets of us and it has prescribed some very simple steps to attain higher awareness and understanding of any situation. Completing the window will shed more light into your understanding of the situation and other people’s beliefs. It is such a simple model that most would look at it in scorn and ask why would they do something that may equate to common sense. People have various abilities to handle stress, and in a situation of distress, sometimes common sense is sent out through the window. Having a framework, particularly a simple framework helps guide a person back on track.

  1. Small Steps. Trust is like a tower of coins, every coin counts.When trust is lost, the tower falls and the coins are scattered. Regaining our trust will be like building this stack of coins again where every coin counts. Some people try to compensate for their mistakes by attempting a bigger harder task to redeem themselves but this puts them at a risk of losing even more. Not to mention if the task involves a team that has lost trust in their team leader, it will be unlikely that the big task will be completed beautifully. Overpromising and under delivering leads you no where. Take it slow, one coin a time. Set small goals and take small steps. It takes people time to slowly rebuild their trust in you again.When realistic and achievable goals are set and met, trust will gradually build again. More ever under promising provides you space to over deliver.

When it comes to setting small goals, the S.M.A.R.T mnemonic developed by George T. Doran (1981) comes in handy. Respectively they are:

Specific – Be specific about the objectives that you want to achieve because the more specific your goals are, the clearer you are about them. More ever in a situation where you are trying to rebuild trust, you probably want the people around you to be clear about what you are doing as well.

Measurable – These goals need to be measurable because if it is not, the team would not know if you or they are making progress. Knowing where their progression motivates a team and motivates you.

Achievable – Setting too lofty goals will lead to utter disappointment. The goals need to be achievable and realistic for you to have credibility.

Relevant – Your goals need to be relevant to the vision of the team for it to be worthwhile both to yourself and to the time of the team.

Time-bound – Lastly it needs to be time-bound so that the team may know when to expect the achievement of each goals. Nobody likes not knowing when a task will end.

  1. Thankfulness. Appreciation has to be shown to the team members that helped you. For without fear of failure, these people placed their trust in you. Even though you messed up, a little gratitude may go a long way. By showing appreciation, not only do you show people that you are apologetic for what happened, you also demonstrate humility and the willingness to correct any wrongs. Lower your pride and demonstrate thankfulness to your peers. One challenge in this is that if done insincerely, you might just get the opposite effect.

To be thankful, a GIFT may be all we need.

Gratitude – People like being appreciated for their contributions and sacrifices, especially those who helped you and those who are willing to give you a chance.

Importance – People like being given a sense of importance and knowing their role in the organization and the team. Making them feel important helps you to re-connect with the people you want to build trust in.

Fairness – Assure people that if anything went wrong, consequences are fairly dealt with and that includes yourself; If there are any rewards that are to beget after placing their trust in you again, they have to be equal and fairly distributed.

Touch – Your team needs to know that you genuinely care about them. They need to feel the connection with you and feel your sincerity.

The TRUST model may not be the only model that helps anyone rebuild lost trust yet it provides a very simple framework to rebuild what was lost. This model does not dictate a specific method to rebuild trust but it provides the key ingredients that will help foster trust within the team. Rebuilding trust is never an easy task and it takes much time and effort. We would not need this model if every one is able to survive in an environment where cooperation and a team is not needed. No man is an island, therefore trust is still vital for the survival of a
team and an organization. It is never too late to regain trust. Some people make the mistake of thinking that they will never earn back trust again but as the saying goes “its better late than never.”

References

Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and
objectives. Management Review, Volume 70, Issue 11AMA FORUM, pp. 35-36.
Heathfield, S.M. How to rebuild trust at work. About.Com, Human Resources.
“Http:// http://humanresources.about.com/od/workrelationships/tp/rebuild-worktrust.
htm”.
Lederach. J.P., (2003). The Little Book of Conflict Transformation. USA, Oregon:
Good Book Publishing.
Luft, J.; Ingham, H. (1950). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal
awareness. Proceedings of the western training laboratory in group development.
Los Angeles: UCLA.
Martinuzzi’s B. (2006) The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person
OthersWant to Follow. USA , Six Seconds Publishing.
Pope, Alexandar (1709). An essay on criticism.
Rawlings, B. (2007). Measuring the relationship between organizational
transparency and trust. The measurement standard, Vol 8, pp 425 – 439.
Thom, D.H. (2001). Physician behaviors that predict patient trust. The
Journal of family Practice.Vol. 50, No. 4

THOUGHTS ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

THOUGHTS ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

WRITTEN BY: ANDRES KIRCHHOFF

How do you want to spend your life?

Every person has a lifetime. Obviously, for some a lifetime can be very short. For the most unfortunate ones, it will even only last for a few seconds or minutes before death strikes. For the most fortunate ones, this might be 100 or more years. Obviously, “fortunate” is a relative term in this context. First and foremost, because the sheer number of years does not mean “happy”, “enjoyable” or “valuable” years. Probably everyone heard Abraham Lincoln’s quote “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” at some point. Now, the average human will get between 60 and 90 years old these days which of course, heavily depends on what part of the world you live in, as well as environmental, genetic and individual circumstances. Assuming our life has a “normal” length and we are not haunted by an early death or blessed by an extraordinary long (and happy) life, what is our goal in life?

Do we want to develop as much as we can within the years that are given to us? And if that is the case, in what sense do we want to develop ourselves? Of course, there is physical
development, which will happen automatically but can within certain genetic boundaries of course be significantly influenced by ourselves. By the food that we eat and the activities that
we do and these days there is another, relatively new way to “develop” physically with the help of plastic surgeries. The physical development is something, I do not want to talk about in this paper, however. So, when I talk about a person’s development, what am I talking about then?

All of us will develop mentally over time. Like physical development, this will happen automatically, simply by the process of growing up as well as being shaped by the environment
around us and experiences that we make. Furthermore, we have the chance to develop ourselves for example through studying, activities (physical as well as mental) and experiences.

Asking around, a lot of person’s goal in life will be to climb as high on the professional ladder as possible. Their vision is to become a director or even CEO some day. Their sole focus of
development is professional development, considering a higher position in the corporate hierarchy equivalent to more happiness and meaning in life.

Now, the question is, how much meaning does work give your life? Assume, you are getting old and you have had a successful professional career, becoming director, CEO, CFO or even
owner of a well-running business, does that mean you will be satisfied with your life, when death is closing in? Do you think you will feel like your life had more meaning because you managed to become a director and did not spend your days being an Executive or Assistant Manager? Is that, how you will rate your own life? By how high on the corporate ladder you have managed to climb during your working years and how much you have developed professionally?

If the answer is “yes”, probably you can stop reading here. If the answer is “no” or you are just curious, maybe you want to invest a little bit more of your valuable time to read the rest of this article.

Assuming your status in the corporate world will not give you eternal satisfaction when your life is ending, what would you want to achieve in life to die with as little regrets as possible?

How about personal development? Do you think, your last few weeks, days, minutes or seconds will be filled with lesser regrets and more satisfaction if you invested more time into personal development and less into professional development? Do you think, developing as a person will be more important to you than developing as a professional?

If you think, being a valuable person to yourself and others will be more important than being a valuable employee or employer, then how can you develop as a person? What are ways to
develop as a person?

Obviously, different persons will have different answers to this question. One answer, you will get a lot, is by having a family. Marry, raise children. A lot of parents will share with you, that raising children is the most important, enjoyable and rewarding experience in their lives and that having a family with children totally changed them and the way, they look at the world. Children give these persons a meaning, their life has not had previously.

Others will tell you that developing their spiritualism or spending more time on their religious beliefs made them develop as a person much more. Generally, these people will be convinced about their own righteousness and think of themselves as “good persons” because they spend a lot of time, reflecting on themselves, being active in churches, meditation or whatever other practice they have committed to. Unfortunately, their righteousness ends with their spiritualism and religiousness at times and does not translate into everyday life.

Others will find happiness in doing volunteer work. Other than happiness, these people will find, that volunteering made them develop as an individual tremendously. Going to countries where the poorest of the poor live in the most miserable conditions, you can imagine surely makes your view of the world and your own environment change a lot. Especially in days where our “friends” in social networks like to announce their eternal sorrows openly to the world because every individual feels treated more horribly by the world than anyone else! Helping people with real rather than perceived problems surely develops your mind and makes you realize how much you have and what actual problems and sufferings are like. The less adventurous or ambitious ones however, simply choose to do something good not for the poorest of the poor but for the needy ones in their own community. If you really want, you will always find people who are more in need than you yourself and your family are. Most likely, you can take something away from spending time with and helping them and through that develop as a person.

A few others will even tell you to just give everything up and travel the world, if possible on your own, is the best way to develop as a person. They will say, it helps you to get to know and
understand not just the world but also yourself. And isn’t it crucial to know and understand something first, before you can develop it? These people will not be rich and they will not stay in luxury resorts around the world but rather travel the way the locals do, stay in hostels or cheap guesthouses and take every path untraveled they can find. For them it’s not about seeing the nice and safe sides of a place only but to actually experience a place with everything that is part of it. The good and the bad because only that makes you truly understand a place and its people. By being out there in unfamiliar environment, surrounded by people you do not know and whose culture you do not share, yet have to adapt to, you will learn not just about them, but most of all about yourself.What do you enjoy, what do you not enjoy, what can you or can you not take and why? What are you capable of? Only by doing it on your own, you will find all these things out because there is no one else you can get to do things for you. You have to take care of yourself, find all the basic things you need in life yourself.Where can I eat? What can I eat? What am I eating? Where are the washrooms?Where can I sleep? You have to get all these information and sometimes without being able to communicate properly because you do not speak the same language as the persons who hold all this information and no travel agent and resort staff is there to take care of these things for you. Some say challenging environments are the only ones, that make you develop.

Whatever you decide to do to develop yourself, eventually work will still have to be part of your life again. At least to a certain extend. Then what to do? If we can not live without work, but actually would like to spend time developing as a person rather than as a professional, how can we balance our needs and intentions?

The best case would be to find a job which combines professional and personal development. A job that gives us the chance to earn the money we need to live and feed our family while maybe even climbing up the corporate ladder and at the same time makes us develop as an individual. Obviously, the random corporate career won’t offer us this opportunity.

But what to do, if we have already spent too much time, working on such a career and developing professionally, to let all this go to waste and start anew? Well, a consideration often
mentioned is “But if I change careers now, so many years I have spent working on this career will go to waste!”. True, all those years working hard on your career might go to waste, but if you do not change, is there a chance your entire life will go to waste? Is it better to keep doing something for the rest of your life simply because you have already done it for a long time and do not want to let the time you have spent on it so far go to waste? Or is it better to let the time you spent on something you do not enjoy doing go to waste and start anew, maybe from the bottom in order not to let your entire life go to waste by spending it doing something you do not want to do and do not enjoy doing? This question can only be answered individually, so you answer it for yourself!

As we say in FOCUS Adventure “if you do something for a living that you enjoy, you will never work a single day in your life anymore!”.

Some people might want to do something different but find out that they’re simply not good at whatever they would like to do. Instead they happen to be good at all the things they do not
enjoy doing. Maybe they are lucky enough, to find the job they are good at even though not necessarily enjoying it in a company that makes you enjoy the work. Maybe because this
company does not just give you the chance to perform (in) your job, but also to develop as an individual while doing your job, for example by giving you the chance to pick a field of your
choice and liking and spend some of the time you have to spend at work, performing in the field you have chosen for this company. In FOCUS, we would call that “Secondary Role” or “The Leadership Challenge!”.

Maybe more companies and leaders should explore this option to get more performance and productivity out of their employees who might otherwise spend a lot of time just going through the motion of doing their job while being mentally absent and dull, maybe even just pretending to be busy working a lot of times. After all, this can create a win-win situation since the company will improve productivity of their employees, while the employee will spend time doing something, they are genuinely interested in and not just killing the time they have to spend being physically present at work. As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said about Leadership: It is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

THE RISE OF THE FUTURE GIANTS

THE RISE OF THE FUTURE GIANTS

WRITTEN BY: LEMUEL MATUTES

A famous National Hero once quote about a century ago “the youth is the hope of the Fatherland.” He believed that the future of a nation lies in the hands of the youth. And indeed history will attest that significant milestones and events in all facets of life whether in the personal or corporate world were affected and effected by fresh and innovative minds of young generation who never allowed the “you-are-just-a-kid-and-you-know-nothing” syndrome to stop them from shaping the world where we are now.

My thought- the youth certainly is a powerful catalyst to make an impact whatever life offers them.

And sure enough, the business world is just one of the many industries where these powerful catalysts thronged and they are the prolific, young and aggressive entrepreneurs actively engage in the vast world of opportunities.

However, there are numerous opinions going on in the world of business on the issue of risk for young people who start new enterprises which create jobs for themselves and reaching their personal goals but due to lack of familiarity and means can entail a high percentage of failure during the first few months of operation.

And yet we could mention several names behind successful enterprises: APPLE, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, GOOGLE, TWITTER, WORDPRESS etc. and admire them for their  accomplishments, and in essence, look up to them and wonder how did they do it? In a sense, what are their SECRETS that they soared high above the monsters called risk and failure which most likely be anticipated due to their lack of education, entrepreneurial skills, social capital and other resources? But the fact just stands out: These men have just become the “YOUNG GIANTS” in the world of entrepreneurship and many are persuaded to bask into immense business opportunities as well.

Let’s find out where their strengths lie:

COLOSSAL PASSION

Apple at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better- Steve Jobs

According to a survey in Latin America, young entrepreneurs are predominantly male and some have not even reached the university level but gender and educational achievement has nothing to do with passion. Passion emanates from someone who is driven for something, who couldn’t go to sleep when things aren’t done, knows no limit when talking about possibilities and has no appetite for mediocrity; passion is what really consumed someone.

Mark Zuckerberg of FACEBOOK said “You have to really love and believe in what you’re doing. I think that’s the most important thing.” He even furthered, “Most people have something that they’re super passionate about, and I would just encourage you guys to find that thing.”

Do you have the passion for something? What are you passionate about? Start from there, after all, you got to start from somewhere.

UNSHAKABLE MOTIVATION

“I’m motivated by working with great people towards and democratizing publishing on the web” – Matthew Mullenweg of WORDPRESS

Many have been hooked and thousands are still coming to believe this idea that what highly motivate people to work is all about money and power. But just like what the song says, “it’s not about money, money, money.” There are things money cannot buy and one of them is motivation. At one point, a person can be deceived that money is all there is but as you move along and grow, you will be surprised that money is just one of the buy products of highly motivated people. Zuckerberg reasoned about the movie the Social Network “They frame
it (the movie) as if the whole reason I invented Facebook was that I wanted to get girls or to get into some kind of social institution. They just can’t wrap their head around the idea that
someone might build something because they like building things.”

Walt Disney said: Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.

To be motivated is one issue and what motivates you is another issue. If you’re looking for something that will drive you and keep you going despite whatever, be driven by things that are lasting like relationship, joy, learning and fulfillment and for the greater good.

But the question is, are you a highly motivated person? How will you stand out from the rest? Here’s a quick check list:

  1. Do you have extraordinary purpose?
    2. Are you willing to take risks?
    3. Are you committed to lifelong learning?
    4. Do you possess the attitude of success?
    5. Do you rise above adversity?

-Traits of Self-Motivated People-
If you say yes! carry on you are not too far to succeed, if you are not, then it’s time to look for people with such traits and learn from them and you will find out that they too have some rough times, failures and disappointments just like the rest, they are not supernatural people, they were just people with unshakable motivation!!

SUCCESS ATTITUDE

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
-Walt Disney

For many, success is spelled as H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K and whether you read it from right to left it remains to entail WORKHARD, which I believe most celebrated personalities in various field of expertise would attest it to be one of the most critical ingredients for success. Success doesn’t happen overnight but just like any other pursuit, it can be achieved. Do you possess the success attitude? Here is an exceptional personification of what success attitude should be, you have read and heard of it a long time ago and it’s about Walt Disney.

An eight-year-old boy approached an old man in front of a wishing well, looked up into his eyes, and asked: “I understand you’re a very wise man. I’d like to know the secret of life.”
The old man looked down at the youngster and replied:

“I’ve thought a lot in my lifetime, and the secret can be summed up in four words Think. Think about the values you wish to live your life by. Believe. Believe in yourself based on the thinking you’ve done about the values you’re going to live your life by. Dream. Dream about the things that can be, based on your belief in yourself and the values you’re going to live by.
Dare. Dare to make your dreams become reality, based on your belief in yourself and your values. ” And with that, Walter E. Disney said to the little boy, Think, believe, dream and dare.’

Success attitude isn’t a result of success per se but it is what will groom you to succeed even in the midst of failure. One of the most striking quote about success attitude came from one of the best NBA player if not the best, Michael Jordan when he said:’ “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” “ I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not
trying.” The people we admired whether in the business or whatever field of industry has one thing in common, and that is not that they have failed many times but that all of them have learned that failure cannot stop them from trying and working hard to achieve success.

I have learned of others that they have quit on something without even trying, I have heard of many that tried and haven’t finished anything and I know a few who failed and yet they keep on fighting. Whatever your dreams are, reach for it, capitalize on the strengths of these great men- consider yourself a giant already and your future is just about to come!!!

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING

WRITTEN BY: LEONARD KOK

 

                                                                                                            The Power of Positive Thinking
                                                                  A Set of inspiring Corporate Warm-Up Actions You Can DoToGet Back On Your Toes
                                                                                                                            By Leonard Kok

 

Whether your head is up in the clouds; or under the weather, all of us need to exercise. We also need to think more positive thoughts everyday of our lives, yes?

Cheryl and Mei Fang, two of our very positive staff from Camp Challenge, our business arm dealing with teambuilding programmes for schools, recommend you a set of warm-up exercise, arranged chronologically in the order below, which you can actually do right where you are. This is a set of physical stretches which will also put your heart, spirit and soul right where they should be. We recommend that you gather a bunch of colleagues; people who make your life meaningful, to do this perk-me-up activity. It will make you more resilient.

Are you ready? (You can remove your tie for a while) Let’s GO!

             Do This Action

            Say This Aloud When you do

                                  Action Explanation

                             

                           

                                  Stand with your feet comfortably apart 

                                    and stretch you hands upwards

                                    (Get in touch with your aspirations)

 

 

                                From the first position, retract your hands to

                                     your waist level, palm facing upwards

                                   (We must know who we are; our core, in 

                                   order that we can walk on solid ground)

  

                       From the palms up position, shoot out your

                               hands upwards to your shoulder level

                      (Opportunities abound everyday. Embrace them!)               

 

                             

                                 (Be open to the ideas and opinions of others –

                                             we don’t have all the answers) 

 

 

                                 Cross and fold your arms towards yourself

                    (Don’t sweat the small stuff; do nice things for yourself often)

 

                                      The classic Kung-Fu fighting stance! 

                                       Ready for the next and final step…

                                                               (Don’t
                                        settle for mediocrity; Go for Gold!)

 

                              From the Kung-Fu stance, lift your left or right leg;

                                           pull your arms back with a

                                                jerk and shout OOSH!

                                                            (Feel good!)

We hope that you have a great time inspiring yourself and your folks at work or even at home with this set of warm-ups! Alternatively, you can focus on each action and in a relaxed and Yoga style, Focus on the statement for each action meditatively, doing it and breathing in deeply at the same time.

I would like to thank Wahid, our Partner, for introducing these set of actions in a programme in 2007.

 

THE NEED FOR PASSION

THE NEED FOR PASSION

WRITTEN BY: ISAAC PETER

The usual adult life is as follows: wake up, go to work, back home to rest, wake up again.., go to work again…, back home to rest… and this goes on and on and on.

What’s the meaning of life? This seems to be the question most asked by the Gen Y generation. Interestingly, this is also a very popular question during ‘the mid life crisis’ period.

To some, life begins upon retirement and others, well…. ‘having a life’ is merely a statement thrown around rather than reality.

Having the privilege of encountering people from various nationalities, industries and background, I would have to say that what makes life worth the living is passion.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PASSION?

One of the more interesting definitions given by Webster’s online dictionary for passion is suffering. This brings to the understanding that one is willing to endure suffering in order to fulfil/ satisfy their passion.

Very so often we come across people who would say ‘I am passionate to help the poor’. When asked what have they done about it, some interesting answers would be ‘let me accumulate enough wealth first’, ‘I simply don’t have the time because of work’ or simply… ‘no poor people asked me for help’. Does this sound familiar? At times I suspect we love the idea of it rather than the idea itself.

How then does one differentiate passion from just ‘expressing desire’? If we were to put it in a mathematical formula;

Desire +Action = Passion

Because we are all so uniquely different, the actions taken by different individual may differ significantly in achieving similar passion.

For example, when someone says ‘I am passionate to help the poor’, person A works hard to gain wealth and contribute towards the cause, person B would volunteer time and  work with an organization that reached the poor while person C would simply go about seeking out poor people and taking them out for a simple meal.

IS THERE A PLACE FOR PASSION IN A PRAGMATIC WORLD?

Over the years we have systematically either consciously or unconsciously chip away passion from our lives. Why? For the pragmatic reason of not wanting to get hurt or disappointed emotionally or physically. It is like saying “If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t love”

Though the intent is good but the long term effect is a generation of ‘human robots’. I am not disclaiming the importance of rational and pragmatic judgement, rather highlighting how passion armoured with the right skills and knowledge will produce superior results and greater satisfaction.

When was the last time you achieved something that you are not passionate about? Was the satisfaction level ‘out of this world’? Food for thoughts…

So next time when someone aspire to reach the sky, hold back the thought of ‘this is ridiculous’ because Man has walked the moon.

For the pragmatics, here’s the consideration, if skills and knowledge can be easily replicated, wouldn’t passion be the competitive edge since it tends to be unique?

PASSION: THE VALUE MOTIVATOR

Suffice to say that we act based on our own motivation, not motivation of someone elses. The reason why we find ourselves motivated from a motivational seminar is because the speaker was able to surface our own motivation. This is why not everyone who attends motivational seminars is motivated.

If our value system is like a compass to our vehicle, allow me to suggest that passion is the fuel. Without passion it is like a vehicle running on an empty tank. The vehicle can still reach its destination but probably with the help of a tow truck. Interestingly, does this also mean we need to constantly fuel up our passion? I believe we do because there’s just too many distractions in life and just like how soil loses its nutrient with every batch of produce, if we don’t add nutrient to it, the quality of the next batch would deteriorate systematically.

So how do we fuel up? The simplest and most effective way in my opinion is by recalling those achievement and memorable times when we tasted the fruit of passion. This is probably why pictures and video are very powerful tools.

When was the last time you wanted to do something meaningful for yourself and held back because of many ‘legitimate’ reasons, why not fuel up now and press on?

PASSION AT WORK?

Rather than looking for something ‘out there’, let’s start by visiting the place where we spend most of our adult life at, our workplace. What differentiates a job from a career? In a manner of tongue in check, a job is when a person goes to work and looks at the clock every now and then hoping it is time to go back. A career is when a person goes to work to accomplish something meaningful only to realize that time has passed.

How does one have passion in their work if the work is merely to fulfil the bosses’ objective? Once you identify your passion, simply ask yourself how would you achieve it? Would it require you to designate certain days at ‘no overtime’ days or saying ‘not today’ for some of your regular group lunches? I have the opportunity to meet some people who had the courage to talk with their superior about their goal to fulfil their passion and were pleasantly surprised that their superior are supportive of their intentions and got them to draft a plan how the organization could make it possible. Go ahead, try it, your superior may be nicer than you think *smiles*

For some of us, achieving our passion may not seem possible in the current environment. This is perhaps because the environment is not supportive of our ‘mission’.  In such situations, if all avenues have been exhausted, perhaps a change of environment, either internally or externally would be a more positive push forward.

Ultimately, infusing or creating a link between our passion and our work not only makes us a more productive worker, it makes us a happier and satisfied person. Not only will this give meaning to what we do, it gives meaning to life in a broader sense even while we are at work.

Now… with this aspiration, when will your life begin?