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I’m currently reading a book called “The Secret“. It’s a good book actually. Not because it teaches us how to ‘cheat‘ our way by using the “Genie of the universe“….by wishing what we want and imagine we have it, we’ll eventually get it.

To me, things like this do happen because our human brain is so wonderful and powerful that we can actually do many many things which only a mad scientist will think it’s possible. Human beings can heal themselves (ok…i speak as if i’m not part of human race) by just focusing on happy things etc. There are miracles happening around us…people who got their cancer cured within months. It’s not impossible.

I even came out with my own Vision Board or so-called Mission Statements board…where i post up all my “wants” and “dreams” so that i will look at them and visualize everytime i wake up. And i’m feeling grateful for the things i have now and will visualize the things I want (remember the power of daydreaming? yea..just don’t get too much of it, you’ll get addicted).

However, i believe the book or the Secret didn’t say one thing – efforts. You dream, you visualize and you hope…you feel grateful and you feel happy……but you need to make an effort to fulfill your dreams. Your dreams won’t come to you. You hope and hope and hope for a good company to come and hire you….but you will need to improve yourself, to learn more things, to excel in your field of expertise so that this company will notice you. When it does, it might come to you and offer you a job (oh ya, and you need to make an effort in the interview n stuff…u get what i mean). BUT, at this moment….you hold the key…you decide whether to accept or reject. True, you’ve visualized all you want before this…but if you say NO…in the end, whatever you have visualized will go down the drain. No?

The key is yourself…not the universe. I do believe there’s a greater force in the universe doing all these nice n wonderful things, but there are more things that YOU control.

Anyway, I personally love this book because it really made me feel better….feeling grateful, being happy with my life, and thinking about the positive things, focusing on the things i want to achieve, etc.

Not sure whether you’ve read it. Haha. And the author even came out with a DVD and some free video clips in Youtube.

Here are the links.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=phL0RLKL8bc 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2MqciSMOmk 

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Phew…last week was a pretty busy one for me. 2 of my good friends got married (yea, the husband n wife are my good friends). Congratz to Ryan and Andrea 😉

Wasn’t been able to post up something until now (which I think, is late Monday).

I’ve been reading a book titled “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I’m sure some of you have heard about this book before. It actually enlightened some of my friends who have read this book. I’m still at chapter 2 or 3….so…don’t expect me to talk much about it. 😉

What I intend to discuss today is the so-called “Rat Race“. In the book, the author mentioned that most people work for money…and not the other way round. Don’t believe so? Let me ask you a simple question. I am sure most people (including myself) have this big dream of doing whatever we like…pursuing our passions in life…abandoning our current job and go chasing after our dreams. But we didn’t. Why? Because we have something called commitments – families, bills, etc.

We need money to support these things.

In other words…we’re being controlled by money. We are working for money.

Also, most of us will say that a higher pay can actually help us to solve the problem. I can assure you, it won’t. The higher your pay…the higher your expenses. You will have more bills to pay, more desires (nice-to-haves) to fulfill. The cycle will go on and on and on…never ending, and this is what they called the “rat race“.

So if you are in a situation I’ve described above….do take some time to ponder…whether you are really in control of your lives…or you’re being controlled by money.

Think about what you really want. I know what I want…. and it’s not paying bills. I have the option to go to the SAP world…earning big bucks, but I chose not to because I realized that’s not the direction I wanted to go. Bigger bucks might be able to solve some of the short term solution……but the long term problem here is, I am still chasing after the $$…working for the $$.

Do take some time to think about this. 🙂 Life is not just about chasing after money…or involving in the never ending rat race.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called “Blue Ocean Strategy” which I am sure some of you here have heard of it before. It’s a very good book with a lot of valid points on the businesses of today. A must read, if you’re very much into business and management stuff.

In the early part of the book, it talks about the 3 kinds of things businesses focus to create – things which enable us to go to work, things to help us at work, and things that we like to do after work.

Example of things which enable us to go to work is the car industry. Ford revolutionized this industry with its T model which enabled thousands of not-so-rich families to own their own car (though Ford is trying hard to survive in a battle against the likes of Toyota and Honda). Besides car industry, you can try to think of ways to create new values in any of the transportation section – public transports, light-weight transportations, or things that people can use while going to work such as mp3 player.

The things which help us at work should be quite obvious – anything related to the business. Computers, photocopiers, printers, projectors, telephones, etc etc etc. The list goes on and on and on….. and everyday, we’ll see at least few new items being added to that never-ending list. As long as the product can help to improve the business values – efficiency, quality, etc – then it can be considered a good product in this category.

The final category will be the things we do after work. I personally believe that this will be the place where most money is spent….and the target customers will be the majority of the world’s population. Why? Everyone needs to do something to relax or enjoy themselves after work…..the bosses, the leaders, managers, and even the normal low-income workers. As the competition in the corporate world becomes more and more competitive, workload will increase as well together with the amount of stress generated by these workloads. The higher the amount of stress, the more people will try to escape from it and “seek help” from this world of entertainment and relaxation. That is why the movie, music and gaming (including casinos) industry are earning big bucks now.

This post has briefly touched on the 3 categories which you should look into if you are planning to start something (a product, or even a company). I’ll talk about these 3 categories again (more in depth) in the near future.

Hope it helps. 🙂

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard. It’s a very thin book but its content is as good as some more long-winded leadership and management books.

In this book, there’s a part which talks about an employee’s meeting with his manager to discuss a problem. The employee was having a difficult time trying to solve a problem with one of the contractors. That’s why he approached the manager, hoping that the manager has some advice or can offer some help for him.

Well, this is normal for most of us. When we are faced with a problem….we will try for maybe few times and give up especially if there’s someone there to help us with the problem. We assume that this person will help us fix the problem easily without troubling ourselves with it.

Easy isn’t it? It sure is…that is why most of us would go for this option.

However, in this book, the manager (who is known as “The One Minute Manager) refused to help when the employee asked “Can you please help me to solve this?“. Why? The answer is simple. The employee’s role is to fix the problem, not the manager’s. By helping the employee, the manager is making him too dependent on the manager………and also wasting the manager’s time which is meant to do something else.

What the manager should actually do is to hint at the employee on what should be done. Questions like “What is the problem?“, “How do you like it to be if there’s no such problem?”, “How do you intend to get to this path you wanted?“, “Is there any plan for it? Do you think this plan of yours can work? If no, do you have any other plans?“.

I believe these questions will make the employee think for himself. If he cannot answer the 2nd question which is “How do you like it to be if this problem doesn’t exist?“…….then it is not a problem. The employee is just complaining without putting some thought into how to fix the problem.

That is why we must always remember that we need to be independent especially when it comes to solving a problem. Other people can only give us hints, tips or advice…but they should not be solving it for us. Let’s fix it ourselves.

Hope it helps.

In Malaysia (and probably in other parts of the world as well), we have a lot of entrepreneur-wannabe individuals who have plan (or plans) to have their own business (or businesses)…including myself. But, what does it take to start a business? Do you need a great idea to start a business? According to the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, you don’t necessary need a great idea to start off. In this post, I’ll look at the pros and cons of starting a business with a great idea.

Many of us want to start our own business. It could be based on a franchise license, a business idea (or business ideas) or it could be based on purely the willpower of the creators. Funny? Ridiculous? Nope, it’s true. Throughout the history, we’ve seen the likes of Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Sony etc. which started off with basically …nothing…not even a good business idea.  The pioneers of these companies started off with one thing in their mind – to create their own company which will be successful in the fields which they are going to venture into. What kind of fields? They have no idea….they used the concept of “trial and error”. None of the above companies (who are few of the most successful companies in our world today) succeeded in creating something in their first try.  They needed some time before finally decided on a field (or fields) which they wanted to concentrate on.

The key point here is that these companies are started by a bunch of “right people” who have the company’s interests in their hearts. What they did was to have brainstorming sessions..again and again and again…on what they could do to be successful. They kept repeating the same thing until they managed to achieve a result which they considered as SUCCESSFUL.

Why do these companies are better without a great idea? Well, if you started off with a great idea…..there’s a possibility that the idea will sell very well…..providing your company a lot of needed $$. It’ll be hard for you to change that idea (thus lacking innovation)….or even let go of it (stubborn and ego will come in). In the end, your company will be sticking to the few business ideas you initially started with……and not adapting to the ever-changing market. Face the fact, no company can be successful without proper change. Your company will be left out.

However, I do understand that in most industries, a great idea is needed to start off a business. You’ll need a great business idea to convince the venture capitalists…the possible investors…the banks, or even your relatives and friends. Without the idea, most people would label you as “foolish” or “immature”. I’m in that situation right now. It’s something inevitable in our world today. Everyone wants to see something concrete and reliable, before they can trust you.

Conclusion, I feel that to start off a successful business, you don’t need a great business idea. You need good people, and commitment to make the business a successful one. It is the process of developing the business which matters, not the single business idea. However, if you can have some great business ideas…and start a business/company based on these ideas with the right people and the right commitment…..and most importantly, stay innovative and not tied down to these ideas…then congratz, I believe you’ve found the correct formula in creating a successful business. 🙂

Again, open to comments. 😀

Are good leaders home grown or does a company actually need to import them from outside? With the amount of leaders (CEO, CTO, managers, etc) increasing each day, a company can easily hire a manager from outside to lead a team of people. But, is this a wise choice?

In my humble opinion, I feel that a company should only look for outside resources if the HR or top management of the company feels they do not have anyone which suit the proper criteria at that moment. Thus, they look to outside.

If there is indeed someone within the company who is less experienced, but has the proper attitude and skills required…it is always a wiser choice to assign the leadership role to this person. True, it’s important to have a proven track record and they can easily find someone with that ‘proven track record’ outside the company. However, there are few reasons to consider before they opt for outside resources.

Firstly, the person within the company knows the inside out of the company. He knows how the top management works and what are the processes which he needs to follow. Most important, he knows what direction the company is trying to go. He knows the core values of the company, and if he has been working there for some time…he’ll feel the core values and live with it as if it belongs to him. For example, if a company has been a leader in producing electronic gadgets for many many years. One day, the company’s CEO resigned and they need someone to replace him. Should they be looking outside the company, or inside? In this case, they should look to the people inside, who knows the core values and the direction of the company.

Why? In the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, he mentioned the need to keep the momentum going. As all of us know, to have a momentum, you need to be moving to one direction CONSTANTLY. For the example above, the company has been moving towards the electronic gadgets direction for years. The following CEO should be focusing on that direction as well, to further apply force on the momentum. If the next CEO is someone who has different ideas…who does not share the common core values and the vision of the company….he might change everything and create a new momentum in the opposite direction. What happened then? All the previous efforts done by the previous leaders will go to waste.

Also, a leader who has been with the company for a long time, will have the same passions as the pioneers of the company. He is the one who will carry on and work towards their dreams and ambitions. That is also why, only a leader from outside is willing to abandon all the current processes, directions and dreams in order to create a completely new direction. Is this good thing or bad thing?

Let’s say your company is dying. Something must be wrong somewhere. Maybe the things the company has been doing all these years are not the right things that should be done…or maybe, the people inside are too stubborn and arrogant to change, or they just do not want to admit they’re problems in the company.

Fine, the top management finally realized the problem and started to look for internal people. However, nobody within the company seemed to have the capability to revive the company. This will be a good time to hire someone from outside who has different ideas. He will be the one who turns things around. He will be the one who is willing to let go of all the old traditions and invent a new look for the company. He will be the one who has only one responsibility – to turn the company around no matter what he does.

So, are good leaders home grown or they need to be imported from outside? Well, it depends on situation. If your company has been doing well and going towards the right direction…..it’s good to continue to do so and hire someone from inside. However, if your company is dying and nobody from within the company knows what to do, then it is time to hire someone who is very different, from outside the company in order to turn things around.

Just my opinion, do feel free to comment. 😉

p/s…i used ‘he’ instead of ‘she’ doesn’t mean i’m biased. Just to make my writing simpler.

In this world, we don’t live alone. We’re surrounded by a lot of people – our family, relatives, friends, colleagues, customers, etc. Our connection with these individuals varies…depending on how important someone is to you.

So, you have a relationship with somebody right now….be it a friend, a colleague or anyone….and you’re wondering whether should you make an effort for it? Actually, any relationship requires us to make an effort if we want to maintain or improve it. It just depends on the level of attention/effort you yourself want to give.

Well, I personally believe the amount you receive in a relationship is normally more than or equal to the amount you give. If it is lesser, it depends on how much you treasure the person. If the person is someone important, such as your boss or your client……you have no other choice but to continue and maintain the good relationship, right? If the person is just your average hi-bye friend…..then you can choose to “prune the person out of your social garden” like what Bill McFarlan and Dr Alex Yellowlees said in the book “Are you good enough?“.

Relationship of any kinds, needs the efforts from both parties.  If you’re willing to make an effort in maintaining or improving the relationship, you must also make sure it is always both sided. Otherwise, you’ll run into the “clapping with one hand” problem which will only frustrate and tire you out.

So, make an effort if you feel it is worth it. Any relationship is worth giving it a try. If you find it’s not worth it, “prune it” and move on to the next one. Always remember that a relationship is like a pot of flowers…….if left uncared, it’ll wither very fast. 🙂

p/s….It just happened to me that I’m in a situation which is quite similar to this…thus resulted in this post. 

Check out this short article from Entrepreneur.com – http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,1540,2075948,00.asp

It is an excerpt from a new book by business productivity guru Ram Charan.

In my previous post, I’ve asked the question “What are your passions?”. Let’s assume you’ve found your passions…and you’ve planned how to fully utilize your passions. Do you think, by having all these little plans of yours, will make you achieve lasting success?

It’s possible, but not easy.

I’m currently reading a very good book “Success built to last : Creating a life that matters” by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson. In this book, the authors mentioned something which I personally feel is very true – being passionate in your job, can make you successful but being passionate and having a reason to do so will enable you to build a lasting success.

Do you want a success which is only short term, or a success which can last long..perhaps outlast even yourself?

If yes, I believe you need more than passions. It’s good to do what we like…..for myself, I love to play games, read, cook, etc. Can I really be successful or start a business based on these passions? Yes, there’s a high possibility. However, I do not have a proper reason to be successful….I just love to do my work, that’s all.

What if I add a reason to do what I like to do? It’ll start an inner fire….a very strong will to make it big and successful. When you find the reason to work hard (such as to contribute to those who needs your help), you are no longer doing something you like for yourselves. You are doing something because of certain beliefs.

The classic example will be the story of Mahatma Gandhi who found out that his passions were not that applicable after he graduated. However, he found a different reason to work hard after he travelled to South Africa. In the end, the thing he was fighting for, became aligned with his initial passions.

It’s important to have passions in whatever you do….but if you want to achieve something big and lasting, you need a reason for it. A reason which will lit the inner fire within you.

Hope you’ll find this post useful.

p/s…. Do refer to the link for futher information. I might not have provided a good description on this legendary figure. My apologies for that. 🙂

Being innovative and creative are not easy. You’ll need ample of space to let your imagination runs wild, to think of the impossible, the new, the strange…and make all these things work and materialize !
That’s not a problem, IF (a big if) you’re working for yourself. Working for yourself, you have no attachments…no restrictions….no rules and no boundaries. You are like living in your own world (provided you have enough financial support to survive), thinking and developing your ideas.

Let’s have a scenario here….let’s say you’re working in a big company as the division head for the company’s main Research & Development division. Your company has all the usual stuff a big company should have – processes, procedures, policies, forms, paperworks…etc. In order for you to test out an idea, you need to go through process A, by filling up form B, and prepare paperworks consisting of > 100 pages……and after all these things have finished, you need to wait for your department’s director to approve…and finally, you need to present to your CIO, CTO, CEO (all the big shots).

Do you seriously think that you (as a creative thinker who promotes creativity and innovation in your work) can handle all these processes, procedures, policies? If yes, congratulations…you’re a genius. The late management guru, Peter F. Drucker mentioned that it was quite impossible to do so (in his book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

The solution? Separate the innovation part of the business into smaller groups or divisions. If your company is a large corporation, start a subsidary. Separate your core business processes from this small team. Leave them be. Let them do whatever they want…as long as it is within a predefined scope. Never pester your creative thinkers with all these fussy stuff. You’ll just slow down their research.

Hope this helps 😀