22 March 2019

The Formula to Success

The formula to success can be found in the famous "Parable of the Sower" in the Bible. It shows there are 3 ways to fail and only one way to success. The failures are due to missing the opportunity, overcame by obstacles, distracted by seemingly better opportunities. The only way to success is to learn and make progress one step at a time till the end.
Reference: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15

Key verses  Mark 4:14-20 The farmer sows the word.
  1. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 
  2. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 
  3. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 
  4. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
Applications to Business:

While the right interpretation of the seed is the Word or Good News, we can use it to represent an opportunity.  The four reactions represent the ways people handle the opportunity. We can see the four reactions as follows:
  1. Missing the Opportunity - Fail to see the Potential:
    Many people hear or see the opportunity. But they fail to listen carefully and see the business opportunity and value in it. Hence they let them pass by.  In Wozniak: 'I begged HP to make the Apple I. Five times they turned me down.‘ we see HP failed to see the business potential whereas Steve Jobs did not. There were many startups from staff who left their employers because they did not see the potential. e.g. Tandom from HP etc.
  2. Overcome by Problems and Obstacles.
    Starting any new business is difficult. There are many problems to be solved. Some are technical and some are cash flows. It is important not to be caught in the bleeding edge where you have to refine the technology and/or educate the market such that you run out of cash before it could be a viable product/service. It is better to be at the leading edge where you can focus on using proven technology to build valuable products/services where customers can easily appreciate their value.
  3. Distracted by Seemingly Better Opportunity.
    A startup could be easily distracted by a customer who gave a large order. It could leave its original mission and become just a subcontractor to build the product for this one large customer rather than a common product for the larger market.
  4. Learn and Make Progress a step at a time:
    The only way to success is to learn and make progress quickly in small continued steps. Product development and Customer development should occur concurrently according to Steve Blank. Learn in quick steps by coming out with the MVP Minimum Viable Product according to Eric Ries' Lean Startup. See also Seven Easy Steps to Great Success According to Lao Zi. Only by staying focused and in persistent learning to make improvements can we eventually make it --- bearing fruits 30 times, 60 times and 100 times.
Here is an illustration:

Lim Liat (c) 22 March 2019

29 December 2018

Building High Performance Teams According to the Bible Ephesians 4:14-16

This blog has been sharing the wisdom of Ancient Chinese and Western Modern Management. But there is another great source of wisdom which is the Bible. This post will share about building a high-performance team according to the Paul from the Bible Ephesians 4:14-16. The key ideas are diversified members with specialized abilities, development of members from infants to maturity, mission, leadership, modelling of maturity, communications and connection to link up all the members with love seeking after the truth.
The Text of Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV

We break the sentences into sub-sentences to show the main concepts(in italics) better:
    • 14 Then we will no longer be
      • infants,
        • tossed back and forth by the waves,(unstable, changing all the time)
        • and blown here and there by every wind of teaching (easily influenced by others)
        • and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.(victims of evil people & wrong teachings)
    • 15 Instead,
      • speaking the truth in love,(Know the Truth through Love)
      • we will grow (from infant to maturity)
      • to become in every respect the mature body of him (Jesus/Leader as the Model)
      • who is the head, that is, Christ. (Jesus as the Leader)

    • 16 From him the whole body, (The Team as One body)
      • joined and held together by every supporting ligament, (connection & communication)
      • grows and builds itself up in love, (Growth for the members & the team)
      • as each part does its work. (Diversities & Specialization of Members)
What can we learn about Team Building?
  • Members:
    • They are in Different Stages of Growth:
      • Infants
        • uncertain, not stable
        • changes often by others
        • can be deceived
      • Maturity
        • stable - not easily influenced
        • helping others to grow-up
        • know his position and abilities and contribute accordinglyjoined up with others, especially the infants-members
        • know the mission of the team
        • Follow and attain the standards of Jesus as the Model/Example
The Glues

  • Mission - By Jesus - The Leadership
    Some questions, seeking the truth, we should ask are:
    • What is the mission of the Team? & Why?
  • Truth
  • Truth, facing the reality, is the key ingredient for teaming and performance
    But the truth could hurt especially for the infant-members, and hence must be done through Love. 
    Infants must be coached with love else they get discouraged and give up or become rebellious and destructive

    • what is the true state of the members - infants?
    • what is the true performance of the whole team?
    • Do the members understand and embrace the mission?
    • Is the team mission being accomplished or each one fighting for his own?
    • What are the reasons for lack of performance?

  • Model Of Maturity JesusThe leader should set the standards for maturity. He himself being the model. Then the standards become the yardstick of measurements for good performance.
    • Are members behaving like Jesus?

  • Connection & Communication
    The team must be bonded together to act as one and differentiated from others. They must maintain a close relationship. This is done through frequent connection and truthful communications.
  • Do they meet often? Do they communicate truthfully with love?
  • Specialized & Diversified
  • Every member uses his abilities to work best in his particular function.
    • Does everyone know its position/function?
    • Are the assignment according to their special abilities?
  • The Growth - Team & Its Members
  • grows and builds itself up in love, Love does not mean without discipline. Any good father will discipline his sons for their good.

    • Do the members grow?
    • Does the team grow?
  • Self-organized & Directed
    • Are the mature members self-directed and self-organized? 
    • Do they need to be supervised constantly?
By providing answers to question raised above, we can learn how to make improvements to our team. May you spend the time to discover the true state and the problems that you are facing with your team and get the improvements that you so desire.

Here is a mind-map:

By: Lim Liat (c) 29 Dec 2019