25 December 2013

SunZi's Art of War - The Misquotes and Keys that are missed even by the Experts

A famous book like SunZi's Art of War is likely to be quoted partially. Even so, there are already much wisdom to be gained. But, having the full quotation will lead us to greater success. We look at the famous quote, or misquote, of "知己知彼,百战百胜  know self, know others, win every time”. Yet, the best strategy is to win without a war. Having peace in the world is not about just building more powerful weapons and larger military, but more importantly, it is to build better well being and sharing for more people so that there is no reason for war. That's the heart of Sun Zi.
What has Sun Zi's Art of War to do with Christmas that have me to write about in this season of peace and joy? Much, if you know the heart and purpose of Sun Zi's Art of War. Let begin with the famous quotation, or mis-quotation.

The source of Know-Self-Know-Others can be found in two places in Sun Zi's Art of War book. They are shown below in the mind-map:


There are 3 key errors
  1. Order. 
    • Know our enemy first, and then we can compare ours against the enemy. 
    • Most people look at themselves first to claim their strengths and weaknesses. That is incorrect.  Typical SWOT analysis begins with listing your own strengths and weaknesses. That is an error. We should look at the external Opportunities and Threats first and then back to your strengths and weaknesses to address those opportunities and threats.
    • Furthermore, our strengths or weaknesses can only be determined in comparison with the enemies that we are going to fight with and with respect to the theatre and timing of our operations. 
    • Strengths and weaknesses should be determined from the external. In a business, the external are competitors and customers, the markets, industries, and locations that we operate in. 
  2. Not Win every time but Not Loose every time. 
    • It is a secured position but need another two factors to ensure a win every time. 
  3. The Two More Factors: Know the Heaven & Earth - i.e. The Right Timing and the Right Terrain to take advantage of.
There are Four Factor
  1. Know-Other, 
  2. Know-Self, 
  3. Know-Heaven: the Time & Seasons, 
  4. Know-Earth: the terrains and the positioning. or the market and industries, the PESTEL factors
How do we know others and our strengths or weaknesses. Sun Zi proposed 7 measures. See Sun Zi Art of War-3: Health Check with 7 Measures.

Sun Zi however tells us that knowing something is better than knowing nothing. Knowing self and not knowing other bring us 50% success rate at times. The worst case is, not knowing anything which will result in 100% failure.

We need the two additional factors of knowing Heaven and Earth to ensure completeness.
How to appraise a situation is given in Sun Zi Art of War-4: Appraisal & Prediction.

Even Better is Not to Go to War - How to Win without a Fight .
Another misunderstanding about Sun Zi's Art of War is the purpose. It is not a book that teach us to win every war. It is in fact book that teaches us how we need not go to war! Sun Zi say the best strategy is to win without a fight! Fighting will result in destruction and deaths that both sides will suffer. The better way is to build oneself up such that others will not dare to take us to a war. They surrender voluntarily. Other better strategies will be to defeat their plans before execution, negotiate for win-win for all, and war is only the very last resort. Even if have to, win it quickly without much losses of lives.


See Sun Zi Art of War-5: The Principles for Good Strategies

How to Build a High Performance Organization that others will respect and follow.
The heart then of Sun Zi's Art of War is about building an organization or nation that other will respect and follow rather than trying to dethrone you.
See Sun Zi Art of War-6: Leadership Skills and Creating HPO

Having peace in the world is not about just building more powerful weapons and larger military, but more importantly, it is to build better well being and sharing for more people so that there is no reason for war.

Hope this post encourages you to look deeper into Sun Zi's Art of War.

Lim Liat (c) 25 Dec 2013

21 December 2013

Chaordic - Chinese Mindset from a Westerner, Dee Hock

Chaordic is a word invented by Dee Hock, the founder of VISA. It is made up of Chaos and Order. This combination is very Chinese in thinking as it is well known that Crisis in Chinese is 危机, which is made up of 危 danger and 机 opportunity, or CrisOpp if we follow Dee Hock. The teaching of Dee Hock is actually very close to the Chinese philosophies of I-Ching and Dao. 
In my recent reading, I came across the work of Dee Hock. There is his famous The Chaordic Organization: Out of Control and Into Order paper and his book Birth of the Chaordic Age. On further reading of his work and quotations found in the internet cloud, I am surprised that it teaches many concepts from the Chinese Philosophies of I-Ching, Dao and Confucinism. Starting with the word Chaordic = Chaos + Order. This combination is very Chinese in thinking as it is well known that Crisis in Chinese is 危机, which is made up of 危 danger and 机 opportunity, or CrisOpp if we follow Dee Hock.

Here is a mindmap showing some of the similarity of teachings between Dee Hock and the Chinese mindset:

Dee Hock is proposing that the Chaordic mindset is needed for solving the problems in this 21st century and to bring it to the better harmonious world with God, nature and man. The study of harmony with Heave, Earth and Man has been the objective of the Ancient Chinese Classic, I-Ching, the Bible of Change, 5000 years ago. Chinese philosophies, basing on the book, covered greater depth and scope than Chaordic. It just supports the many who said that the Ancient Chinese wisdom is in fact the future mindset for this VUCAD world available now.

Lim Liat (c) 20 Dec 2013

17 December 2013

Regrets of the Dying & How to Live Without Regrets

The regrets of the dying points out the important and meaningful things of life. But we need to move one step further to know how to live positively without regrets. We take the teaching of the Bible as a guide and combine them with the regrets of the dying to give us the way to live well and die well without regrets. The tagline for living is "Live out your unique self in peace with God, yourself and others."
An ancient Chinese saying, 曾子言曰:‘鸟之将死,其鸣也哀;人之将死,其言也善。’, tells us that the departing words of the dying are true and good for us.  http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html gives the top five regrets of the dying. http://tonycampolo.org/if-i-had-to-live-it-over-again/ gives us the top 3 things they could have done if they are to start over again.  I did some reflections and consolidated them into 5 keys. I also looked up the Bible to get some further advice for living a good and happy life (5 Keys for A Happy & Good Life).  Then, we live through life through several stages that are well captured in the famous Psalm 23 that we read often in funeral and wake services. But we should read the Psalm 23 when we are young. It will be a regret for others to read to us when we laid death in the coffin. The Meaning and Cycle of Life from Psalm 23.

Here is condensed mind-map on how to live without regrets:


The 5 Nuggets for Living Well:

1. Find Your Calling

2. Live Out your Calling

3. Be Balanced in Spending your Time

4. Be & Seek Peace with Yourself & Others

5. Do Good & Turn Away from Evil in Speech & Deeds.

The Tagline for Life:
If you like the advices above compressed into a tagline, then try one of the following:
  • Live out your unique self in peace with God, yourself and others. or
  • Find your calling and live out your calling rightly and be in peace with God and others.
Lim Liat(c) 17 Dec 2013

05 December 2013

West Moving East - Chinese Mindset in Gladwell's David & Goliath

The Wharton's interview of Malcolm Gladwell about his book "David and Goliath: : Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" have many so new ideas that are actually very familiar to the Chinese. In fact, such ideas are just Ancient Chinese Wisdom of thousands year old.
I was giving a talk on 'taking a seat in the cockpit' (27 Nov 13) for HR managers to shift into Strategic Human Capital Management and spoke on the story of David vs Goliath. Specifically, I mentioned that the West thinking is about getting more strength to win, but the Chinese thinking is about how the so-called weak, the underdog can beat the giant. That was how the start-up dethroned the existing leaders.

Today I got the email about this interview with Malcolm Gladwell.


Here is the mindmap that summarized the key thoughts and the similarity to ancient Chinese Wisdom.

Sun Zi's arts of war, see Sun Zi Art of War-6: Leadership Skills and Creating HPO | BvOtech, clearly pointed out that winning a war does not just rest on the size of the troops. He went deeper to give the strategies for how to win: Alignment, Foreseeing Enemy’s actions or reactions , Getting Commitment of Staff, Detailed & Careful Planning with Agility and Humility (Never Under-estimate the Enemy). More wisdom can be found in Sun Zi Art of War (Sun Tzu) in One Minute.


A summary of East-West Mindset differences can be found in East West Fusion Mindset as a Key and as Simple as ABC.

More comparison between East and West management and Chinese Management Style can be found in Sinology & Chinese Management

To learn more of the Chinese mindsets, see Ancient Chinese Wisdom and 

Lim Liat (c) 6 Dec 2013


28 November 2013

Gaining Clarity and Conflict Resolution with 5W2H

Use the 5W2H questions to get clarity and to resolve conflicts.
To get clarity in something, we need to provide answers to the 5W2H (Why, What, How, Who, Where, When, How Many) questions. Conflicts that result from misunderstanding due to lack of clarity can be easily resolved too by going through and comparing the answers to 5W2H.

Conflicts at the lower levels of how much/how many is a matter of degree, when and where can be resolved easier than the higher level of what and why. If a disagreement occurs at the highest level of purpose, then the parties involved have to part company unless a higher purpose can be reached.

Most often, the purpose are the same, like trying to do good for the company or for so-and-so or peace rather than war etc. Conflicts occur in what are good and more often on how to do the good things. Finding out the details of the disagreement using the 5W2H model will allow for faster resolution to the conflict and make the discussions fruitful.

So, let put down the list of questions in order to gain clarity and resolve conflict:
  1. The Purpose. Why are we doing this?
  2. The Components: What are the things that we are trying do?
  3. The Methods & the Process: How are we going to do those things?
  4. The Assignment: Who are to do the tasks? When and where to do the tasks? What are the tools and resources that are needed and to be provided by who?
  5. The Measurements & Targets: How many or much? How can we know our progress? How can we tell we have finished (the Targets)?
The scope of options gets bigger as we go up the ladder until the purpose level. There are many things that can be done to achieve the purpose. There are many ways (How) to do the same thing (What). So, there are much opportunity to get agreement and to co-operate. Save the time for quarrel into spending more time to find and workout details of 5W2H.

Please use the questions above to gain clarity and resolve conflict in the future.

Lim Liat (c) 28 Nov 2013

08 November 2013

The Highest Form of Leadership - Leaderless

The best form of leadership, for this VUCAD world, one that is adaptive and sustainable over time, is leaderless. But you don't get that kind of leadership overnight. It can only be built overtime with right people and a simple principle of remaining leaderless. Surprised? Read the details....
Who should Microsoft choose to be the next CEO? Some one that can compete with Google and Apple ? No says Ancient Chinese Wisdom Book I-Ching. An Invisible Leader says Lao Zi. Lou Gerstner who saved and transformed the ailing IBM says, "It is the culture only". So, pick someone who can build the self-managed leaderless culture.

What is the highest form of leadership? 
According to I-Ching, the Book of Change, it is leaderless.

A key hexagram in leadership in I-Ching is #1 Heaven - The Creative Force. See Learning from "I-Ching" Part 04 1-乾 Heaven - Creative Force. In it, it lists out six stages of growth for a 'dragon', representing an able person, from learner,  to executive, to manager, to entrepreneur, to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), to retiring chairman. Then it adds a seven grand summary stage with description of “用九”:见群龙无首,吉。". Translated as "Use Nine: Seeing a host of dragons without a chief. It is good fortune." A group of dragons without a chief is a stage of good fortune! In the commentary added by Confucius or his disciples, we find the following:
  • 乾元“用九”,天下治也。Heaven/Creation is great. Use Nine and the world is ruled well.
  • 乾元“用九”,乃见天则。Heaven/Creation is great. Use Nine is the model of the rule of heaven.
So we can see that the best or the good fortune stage of an organization is leaderless. 
The good fortune is seen in the following:
  1. a host or a group i.e. an organization or a community
  2. dragons : more accurately, mature dragons that went through the six stages of growth. They are independent persons with good virtue of character and ability.
  3. without a chief: There is no one designated as the chief or commander to direct others around. The people know what to do for the good of the organization. When face a crisis, may be the best person to handle it will take the lead and others will contribute according to their best abilities. When the situation changes, previous leader hand over to the next one who is most able to do the leading.  He that is able takes the lead is the leadership model of the Ancient China before formation of Dynasty when the kingship is handed to the son. Such leadership model ensures the organization always has the best person to run it. It is self-renewal.
Building the High Performance Self-Managed Leaderless Organization
Such a high performing self-managed and self-sustained organization does not come just like that. They must fulfill the 3 criteria listed above, namely, an organization, dragons, without a chief.
  1. Shared Mission & Values: An organization or a grouping of people must have common mission and values as the glue to bring and hold them together. 
  2. Dragons - Talents Development. We need to hire and develop the talents and make sure they grow up in character and ability. In I-Ching, we can find the details those qualities and know-hows in the 64 Hexagrams and 386 stage lines of wisdom.
  3. Leaderless - The Best One Lead: The organization needs to have a simple rule on leadership. There is no fixed leader under normal operation. When there is a crisis or a need, then the most able one to address the need take over as the leader. When the issue is solved or resolved, the leader steps down and the group return to leaderless mode. 
The important one to note is that such a flexible self-manage organization needs to be built over time. But we now have the guidelines to build such an organization. In the present commercial world, there are more and more organizations adopting such a self-management model. The most popular one is The MorningStar Tomato Company  http://morningstarco.com/index.cgi?Page=Self-Management.

See also Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership?, where Lao Zi tells us the highest level of leadership is the invisible leader. This also shows Lao Zi's actionless principle in action. See The Tao Bible in One minute .

If you are still doubtful, consider the purpose of parenting. The job of parents is to develop their children from dependence to independent mature adults. The job of CEO is then about developing their staff to be capable and engaged staff so that they can be independent and yet co-operative staff to achieve the mission of the organization.

Lim Liat (c) 8 Nov 2013

18 October 2013

Learning Persuasion from a Pop Song "Please Release Me"

"Please release me and let me go" is a popular song in the 60's. The music and the lyrics must be good to get popular. Many must have liked the lyrics and are persuaded. We learn the following five points of a persuasion: ask instead of push,  give reasons, use truth to justify, show the benefits and repeat the proposition tagline.
When thing goes wrong or when we can't get something that we like, then we blame others for the failure or the withholding of the good things. It started since the beginning of creation. Satan accused God of withholding the best to Eve. Adam blamed God for giving him Eve that caused him to sin against God. Eve blamed the Serpent for tempting her. On the surface, it sounds reasonable but it does not really help, and the real issue is not faced and resolved. There are really excuses for not taking responsibility and be accountable to one's action.

Nevertheless, blaming and passing the bugs remain one of the key technique to defend or get one's wishes fulfilled. We can learn them from the famous pop song "Please releases me and let me go". We must be aware and know how not to be fooled such as persuasion.

The mind-map below give the lyrics and the advice or hidden message.

  1. Ask instead of push - Soft is better than Hard
    1. Giving respect and power to the party boosts his ego and give him face. It is better to be soft rather than hard and pushy.
    2. It also passes the bug to him since he is the one with the power to change the thing.
    3. It makes him appear as the big bully and us as the victims that we can get sympathy support.
  2. Give reasons - Examine the Foundation of the Reasons to Remove Mere Excuses
    1. Without any reason, one will be judged to be unreasonable.
    2. The key to discern the right or wrong is to examine the reasons given.
    3. The reason here given is "I don't love you anymore".
    4. If you buy his reasons, then you have to agree to his appeal.
    5. 'Lack of Love' is a common excuse for divorce. We need to examine the meaning of love. Most think love is a feeling. But true love is a commitment and of the will rather than just feeling. In old days, marriages are arranged by parents. Love comes after the marriage. 
    6. The reasons or excuses given are the key parts of discernment. Examine them carefully to differentiate true reasons and mere excuses of passing the blame.
  3. Use truth or Generality Accepted Principles to Justify - Watch out for Using Ends to Justify the Wrong Means.
    1. Watch out for this. The spin has been done earlier in the excuses given. Once you buy this, this is used to the utmost justification. Most people use a good cause, the desirable and worthy ends to justify the wrongful means.
  4. Show the benefits to the Approver.
    1. This is another key point. Why should you approve if it is only good for me? There must be benefits to the one granting the approval.
  5. Summarize and Repeat the Proposition Tagline.
    1. Need to bring all the points given to a conclusion. Best is to have a tagline.
    2. "Release me and let me love again" is a good one.
    3. A better one might be, "Release me and let us all be free again". 
So, when you need to make a presentation or give an approval, please follow this that you can get your proposal approved or not be fooled by carefully disguised proposals.

Lim Liat (c) 18 Oct 2013

12 October 2013

Understand Innovation's Value and Behavioral Econmics from Apple iPhone 5s & 5c

Understand the reasons why Apple iPhone 5s and 5c, despite being double the price of its cheaper competitors, do extremely well in China.
Most people expected Apple to sell a cheaper iPhone5 to compete with the cheaper competitors, especially those from China. When Apple sells a lower price iPhone5c with price that is about double that of the Chinese competitors, they got upset and expected Apple to get into big trouble. Apple stock dropped. But Apple iPhones sold 9 millions pieces over the weekend in China and even Apple has to revised its forecast. Many don't understand why. That's because they don't understand the customer's value and behavioral economics. Here is the explanation.

Here is the Apple stock price around the announcement in September 2013. There is a drop in price after the announcement in 10 Sep showing the market disappointment and then rise in price after the China success about 2 weeks later see Apple Sells Nine Million iPhones Over Debut Weekend:

Understand What Influence Customer Value:

l expect the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to do well in China even though there are cheaper and more features Android Chinese phones.  I made such a prediction on my facebook on 12 Sep after reading journal articles that complained that the 5c is not as cheap as the Chinese competitors. See:


Why?

The value of a product has two main factors - the rational or utility factor and the other more powerful one is the Identity factor of emotional appeal, the status symbol and life style statement and significance. Rational factors need only to be necessary, but the Identity factor is the true motivator.
See Innovation Defined

Behavioral Economics

According to Behavioral Economics, the present of 5C makes 5S to be of a higher class and a better status symbol. With Gold color, the preference of Chinese, 5S becomes a real desirable phone to own. For luxury class products, the high price is a key factor besides the design and quality. The higher the price, the more desirable is the product!

With 5C priced lower and higher than the cheaper Chinese local phones, and designed as Funky to attract the younger generation. Owning a cheaper local phones only show one as cheap but owner the more expensive iPhone 5C shows one has taste and class. Will you still buy the Chinese phones? Only if you can't afford the higher priced and higher class iPhones which prove Apple's point.

Once we have a correct model about the value of any innovation and the behavioral psychology of the consumers, we can roughly predict the outcome, of success or failure, of the innovation.

An Opposite Illustration - The Tata Nano
Tata Nano was to be the cheapest car that the poor can afford to have. About the vision of the Ford Model-T, car for the masses (or at least the middle class). But it is now reported that Nano was a failure. See for example The Tata Nano Failed Because It Was Too Cheap, or what went wrong with tata motors nano and WSJ A look into why the world's cheapest car flopped:http://on.wsj.com/1hT3YRf.

A key point is that the bike/scooters don't want to buy 'cheap' car, and they rather buy a used better class car.

It turns out that those climbing into India's middle class want cheap cars, but they don't want cars that seem cheap—and are willing to pay more than Tata reckoned for a vehicle that has a more upmarket image.” from  The Tata Nano Failed Because It Was Too Cheap.

We must therefore understand that customers value has at least 2 factors of utility (cheaper, faster, better, safer, easier and longer lasting) and identity ( of style, status, and significance); or economic and social value.

Lim Liat (c)

08 October 2013

Creating Fully Engaged & High Performance Teams and the Wisdom of I-Ching

There are many articles and books that talk about how to create high performance teams. But many only cover the subject from a narrow angle. The wisdom of I-Ching however, is able to look at the subject from a wider angle. This post gives the details to show the power of I-Ching wisdom. So, save yourself the time to read many business books and let I-Ching guides you.
How to have an engaged and high-performance team has become a popular topic recently again. Maybe this is due to the multi-generation workforce, or the merger and acquisitions that are getting more frequent. Team building has always been a corporation favorite subject. Many team building programs are activities based. They get the people to play some games and to socialize together. They are good basic steps to get staff to know one another better, especially for some for the staff that are new to one another. However, just having happy staff working and socializing with one another is not the only objective of a business. A business is about having engaged staff working together to achieve the mission and visions of the business. The mission objectives must be shared, cascaded and aligned for all the staff to work passionately towards achieving them. Therefore, having team building games are but the very basic starting point for building a high-performance team. There are much more to be done to create the policies, directions and culture for high performance and fully engaged staff. We must address the mindset and the attitudes in greater scope and depth.

By searching, we can find many articles and books on the subject of teamwork. Each one will cover a certain aspect of the subject. If you can find some books that address the topic more comprehensively, please let us know. I personally find that the I-Ching is able to do more comprehensively than the books we find today. For example, in term of leadership, in 4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching, we find that leaders need to have creative power, receptive and nurturing love, integrity and humility as for basic virtues and five orientations to lead, depending on the situations. The five orientations are mission-task centered people-centred, synergy from diversities, congregational (team) culture centered and matching of talents and jobs. I have yet to find a leadership book that covers the scope and the agile principles for application. The early days business books talk about task oriented to achieve the mission. Later business books shift to people-centred. Present business books talk about inclusivity and the importance of talents. Business fads are like fashion where certain topic becomes popular and then dies off. But a business cannot be run by following the fads of its day.

Back to the main topic of interest, namely, "teamwork". I can do a keyword search of 'team' on my I-Ching mind-map. The following is the result of the search with the relevant wisdom being displayed:


What's Next?

1. I will expand the selected Hexagram (#38, #10) to include the wisdom from the 6 stage-lines associated with the Hexagram (i.e. like the Hexagram 45 Congregation in the map).

I will then get the following mind-map with some highlight to make it clearer:


2. Go through Each Branch of Map and Write down the thought triggered and the action that you will take to improve teamwork. The thoughts and actions will be very specific to your organization and hence I offer no specific answer here.

3. Grouping 
I will then group the thoughts and actions into clusters. It will get rid of duplicates but keep the related ideas together. Then, I will end up with a shorter list of things to do.

4. Prioritize, Collaborate and Share.
I will then prioritize the list of actions. The important and easiest things to do will be listed first.
I may want to share my discovery with my staff and gather more feedbacks and suggestions. After this, it will be a good time to think of the 5W2H for the actions. i.e. What, Who, When, Where, How and How much/many. Such assignment of work can also be conducted in a group with the right person volunteering to take over the relevant tasks.

In summary, I hope you find the wisdom of I-Ching useful. It can give you a wider and deeper view of things. It serves as a trigger to other or better ideas.

Lim Liat (c) 8 Oct 2013

07 October 2013

"Rule for Success" - A Case Study for Multi-Brain Whole-Man Mindset

Success is the desire of everyone. Having a Multi-Brain Whole-Man(MBWM) mindset is a key for people to know how to achieve it.  So, I use this "Rule for Success" as a case study to help introduce the MBWM mindset that will hopefully help you to attain the success that you want.
Here is the mind-map that summarize the whole story:


Multi-Brain Whole-Man(MBWM) mindset
We all know that "exercise is good", but many are still not exercising regularly. Why? Because the fact ('Exercise is good") only enters our mind and not our heart.  We don't feel it is important enough for us to do something about it. Our heart is not fully persuaded. We make excuses like "I don't feel like it now", "I'm too busy now", etc and the best excuse of all, "I'll do it tomorrow".  So we know that any behavior change or improvement, must address at least two parts of our "Whole-Man", namely the mind and the heart. If we have friends, the relationship part, then perhaps our friends can encourage us and even force us to join them in their exercises. So now we have our mind, heart and relationship that trigger us to get our body to go out and exercise. This is the concept of Whole-Man mindset. 

One of the key part of the Whole-Man mindset is the MIND. To help us develop our MIND, I introduce the Multi-Brain model making up of rational Left-Brain, creative and intuitive Right-Brain, the Digital-Brain of the computer, software and knowledge bases and the internet collaborative Cloud-Brain of the millions of people of the world. Left and Right Brains are well covered in the literature or in the internet Cloud and I shall not cover anymore except to remind us that we should not be fooled into thinking that we are either a Left or a Right Brain person. We have both and should develop and use both Left and Right Brains. 

I have intentionally show the mind-map to above to show that we can use computer and software to extend our biological brains. The digital brain serves as our brain or mind extender. We must develop our extended brain ---- our Digitial Brain.  For more information on how to develop our digital brain, please see Thinking Frameworks, or at least the series on mind-mapping starting with Brain Storming with Mind Mapping - Illustrated with Future of Singapore.

"Rule for Success"
www.inc.com Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs is a good site for reference. So if I do a search "Rule for Success", I will get back a list of quotes and short articles from the successful people. Here is the screen capture of the 1st page (as shown in the mindmap above):

These are the great wisdom from the crowd of successfull people available in the internet Cloud Brain. It will be too much to digest, remember and to recall.

Making the Cloud Brain into Personal Digital Brain
For us to benefit from the Cloud Brain, we must do a little bit of processing and organization of knowledge. That's where mind-mapping comes in. I did the following:

1. Copy & Paste or Retype the Key Words into the Mind-map.

2. Read the articles refered and try to make the article title more meaningful.
For example, the first article title by Evan is just "Do Less". If we read the article, we get to know more. He is talking about doing less so that we can focus on the key thing (something that Steve Jobs also said in "Say No to a 1000 thing"). Furthermore, he said to follow our gut! His success in Blogger and Tweeter are subsets of his main thought that he felt have great potential. These keys are important. So I change the title from "Do Less" into "Do Less - Importance of Focus & Follow Your Gut". Of coure, you are free to shorten it to whatever that help you understand and remember better. So a shorter title might be "Focus & Follow Your Gut". But I prefer 'Do Less' because that is what focus means and 'do less' is a great reminder for us who naturally want to 'Do More'.

I spent the time to read all the articles and rephrase the titles shown in the mind-map above.

3. Beautify the Map.
You can then color, number and format the map in whatever way you like to make it appeal and easier to understand.

4. Link it with Existing Mind-maps.
This is not the first time we look for the secrets of success. Most likely, we have read many quotes and stories of the rich, famous and successful people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Stephen Covey etc. That was what I did and have shared it in Integrated Success Principles - Adding the 5 Secrets of Richard Branson. So I put link in this mind-map to the "Integrated Success Principles".

In fact, I have go one-step further to integrate this one into the larger "Integrated Success Principles" mind-map. When I do that, I will discover there are many duplicates and there will be some new thoughts. This is how an existing mind-map of knowledge grows with time.

Study the Rule for Success:
I went through the mechanics of building a mind-map for success principles. Don't forget to read the content of the "Rule for Success" and see if you can learn something from them. All the very best to your success.

Lim Liat (c) 7 Oct 2013

See also: Map Your Way to Greater Success from the Keys of the Super-Rich.

04 October 2013

Practice makes us better but make sure it does not become permanent

Don't know where it comes from:

"Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent."

If your golf swing is wrong, more practice will ensure you continue to swing wrongly.

So, some wise guy, Vince Lombardi, American Football Player 1913-1970, says:
"Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect".

Hence, before you practice, make sure you get the right practice first, else you will be wasting your time and energy.

However, how and when do you know you have the 'perfect' practice before you can start? There is this danger of analysis paralysis resulting in never starting to do any thing at all except for dong another study or research to be sure.

Furthermore, we seldom grasp the true meaning of any teaching until we do it. You can teach the theory of swimming or riding a bicycle, but until I do it, I don't really appreciate them. There is therefore the concept of learning as you do which results in the initial statement of "practice makes perfect". May be we can qualify it to make it clearer, "Practice makes you proficient in the practice" and to make the story complete, to add, "and there is always a better practice". Coaching helps me to my errors in practice so that I can correct them.

If you bring in the Eastern mindset where the people and the situation should be a consideration, then you would want to add, "which right practice is best for me in the particular situation (golf, swimming in pool or sea). What is the right practice for a man may not be the right one for the woman. It could also be age dependent etc.

Then there is the seemingly smart Alex who says, "If practice makes perfect, and no one's perfect, why practice?". So the goal for practice is not about perfection but about improvement ... to be better.

What am I trying to achieve?

1. Be critical and go for deeper depth in our understanding. Beware of the seemingly great quotes from people.

2. Have a wider framework to guide our thinking and decision making.
See Thinking Frameworks

"Practice makes me better, and there are always better practices for me to be better."

So we practice to be better and at the same time always looking for new ways to be better.

21 August 2013

Business Strategies and Decision Making According to the Bible

The Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is a book of wisdom written by King Solomon. One key piece of wisdom is "there is a right time for everything".  There is more to it and the extras are covered in this post.
The Map of Wisdom:
Let's begin with the mind-map that captures the essence of the decision making wisdom of Solomon:


Key Lessons:
  1. Everything in Life goes in Cycles. 
    • It is important for you decide at which stage or phase you are or your business is in? There is the technology S-Curve. There are the TALC Technology Adoption Life Cycle and the Market/Category Development Life Cycle of Geoffery Moore. You can look at the technology and the market life cycle of your business. You can extend that to cover the PESTEL factors of politics, economy, society, technology, environment and laws. There is this supply chain of customers, suppliers, staff, management, partners, owners. Which stage are they in? Are they just starting, scaling up fast, maturing or declining?
  2. Under the Situation and the Type of Action Needed. 
    • While Solomon says there is a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to harvest etc, the key word is not just the timing but also the action. The mind-map shows 8 types of action that you can take such as to start or to quit, to invest or to sell out, to compete or to co-operate, to tear down or to rebuild, to be sad or to celebrate, to keep or to give, to stay quiet or speak up, to embrace/merge or to separate and depart. The wisdom is in knowing what to do at the right time. You have to read the situation and understand it carefully.
  3. Seize the Kairos and not the Chrons Time.
    • Chronos time is the time that just go on.
    • Kairos time is the opportune time. The event or milestone time. You know the kairos time by reading the trends as in point 1. You create the kairos event time by your action as in point 2. 
    • Read and understand the trend. Be prepare for it. Don't be caught by surprise and ends in disaster is the great warning given by Solomon. He said most people got caught. May you be the one that rides the wave rather than be sinked by it.
  4. The Multiple Factors
    • You can't win on just being strong in one particular factor alone.
    • Solomon lists out 5 factors of speed, strength (of resources), knowledge, smartness of seeing and adapting, and the master skills. We know the sad stories of many famous artists and performers. They have great talents that the world know not or got to know after their death. It is important that we don't just be good at our own domain but to connect to others. Success is usually team work with lots support from others. Get mentors, seek advice, collaborate, build relationships with others. Be interested in knowing about the knowledge of other domains. Steve Jobs success is not a one man show. He know how to connect and ride on the work and talents of others in diversed fields. See The Least Known Strength of Steve Jobs - Standing On ...
Hope this is helpful to you as you strategize to grow your business or personal life to the next level.

One more thing, you may know that this is very similar to the teaching of I-Ching, the Bible of Change of the Chinese.

See Making I-Ching Come Alive! The Key Principles & Applications

Lim Liat (c) 21 Aug 2013

19 August 2013

What Make Great Businesses? Learning from Jack Ma

From his speech at "China 2.0" hosted by Standford GSB in 2011 titled "Alibaba's Ma Reflects on 12-year Journey", we can learn much about building great business of the 21st centuries. Great businesses are about creating value to fill the gaps to impact and bring benefit to the largest number of people. Ma chose to work with the SMEs and to create value for them with his Alibaba, TaoBao and Alipay.  It is not about making money alone.  
Here is a mind-map of Jack Ma's speech given at the China 2.0 conference in Sep 2011. It is my summary of Ma's speech. It may not be comprehensive. It is just the key points that I picked up from him.


Here are the Key Points:
  1. Business is not about making money but about creating value for the society. 
  2. The large amount of money made represents the trust from the people of the society. 
  3. Hence, everything should be transparent in this 21st century.
  4. The major business of the future is about solving the problems of the society rather than just pursuing the opportunities to make money. Company policies affect the society too.
  5. It is Eco-system of connected contribution and not the 'Empire business' of killing of competitors.
  6. Staff should run the company.
  7. Global vision with local wins. Back to basics is key.
  8. Solving Misunderstanding: Our job is to change ourselves to suit the others.
The Chinese mindset of "Harmony" is clearly seen in his belief of "Eco-system of mutual contribution" rather than the 'Empire thinking of domination and killing off'.  Business is about contributing to the maximum good of the society. You need to decide and pick the area of operation where you can contribution. Gaming could bring you lots of money, but Jack prefers to help the SMEs to grow and that he can sleep well at night.

The best evidence of his work can be seen in the people on whom he met on the streets to thank him for the help his businesses brought. It can also be seen in the word of his staff when asked why is still working so hard? He replies:
  1. I never know in my life I can do that much 
  2. I never know the things that I am doing are so meaningful to the society.
  3. I never know life is that hard. We work day and night.
People are very concern about the business ethics of the Chinese with so much bad publicity on the poison milk powder, oil, etc. Does the Chinese know about other values beside making money? With business leaders and thought leaders like Jack Ma, we can see hope. With greater emphasis and popularity of the Sinology (Ancient Chinese Wisdom and Philosophies) and greater emphasis of anti-corruption by the government, they will learn about sustainable business is about righteousness, ethics and laws-abiding. 

15 August 2013

Reflections on the "Reflections of Our Singapore Conversation"

Using a reference mindset we can make additional contributions of the "Reflections of Our Singapore Conversation". Firstly, asking the people is only side of the Yin-Yang bipolar thinking. Asking may not you the innovative breakthrough answer. Secondly, by relating to the past, values and strategies revealed in the National Flag and Pledge, we can trace the changes and decide the future. Thirdly, the perspective and the core aspirations wording are vague and  are subjected to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Better clarity can be obtained by describing the observable behavior, defining the measures and targets to monitor progress and to make changes when needed. By reframing the OSC in a different format, I hope we can discover new jewels and help in the defining and the execution of the Singapore Dream. We may need to have Pledge 2.0 to convert the OSC document into a more inspiring and useful form.
"Reflections of Our Singapore Conversation" (https://www.oursgconversation.sg/) is an important document at least for Singaporeans and residents since it will be a reference document for government policies.  It is also good to know, or to confirm what we already know, about what some Singaporeans think and like. Here are my additional reflections on what else we can learn and do with the document.

Use a Thinking Model or Framework to Guide
I personally think the Ancient Chinese mindset is the one for the VUCAD 21st centuries of connected diversity. See The Essence of Sinology or Chinese Mindset - The Values & Methods for 21st Century.
Of course, I am not stuck to just using the Eastern Mindset of the Chinese, I can do both East & West. So here is the fusion mindset East West Fusion Mindset as a Key and as Simple as ABC.

We can see immediately that the Chinese Sinology mindset is very related to the OSC such as 'A Society based on Values', harmony of diversities, values of love, righteousness, proper rules of conduct. wisdom, trust and boldness. Any leader can build a strong nation on those values and mindset.

Yin-Yang Mindset of Tell & Ask,
Chinese mindset is not about A or B but both and a dynamic balance of A & B depending on the situation. See Yin-Yang Thinking Framework – Innovative and Critical.

OSC is the 'ask' side. Asking and finding out what do the people want, think and feel. It is only one side of the story. "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." was attributed to Henry Ford. Steve Jobs have a much improved version, "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

Asking people only gives the answers, usually incremental, based on their perception of the current and short term situations. But we do know that the world is changing fast (VUCADly) and could they have come out with the answers for the near future challenges? OSC Perspective '7 A Singapore with a competent and trustworthy government ....'.  Do we have a leader that can stand above the circumstances, see further, broader and deeper than the people at large and lead the people well to adapt and progress in the future? If not by a person alone, but at least by a gathering of top minds in diverse fields. See The Superior Mindset of A Leader - The 4 Dimensional ...

Going Back to the Past - The Leaders of Nation Building
When our past leaders were building the nation, they did not publicly conduct such OSC.  Based on their experience and study, they had a dream of the kind of nation that they want to build and have the confidence of leading and persuading the people to join them. Their dreams, values and strategies are reflected in the National Flag and also in the National Pledge that came later.

In my days of growing up, it was about building a 'rugged society'. We were told that Singapore has no resources but only human. We are just a small nation. We are poor. But we can become strong and rich if we are rugged and we try together. We should be able to face up and overcome the obstacles and disadvantages confront us. We did build such a nation. Have we gone beyond the need to be rugged? Are the nation building values and strategies still relevant now?

Here is the mind-map of the 12 Perspectives with my additional comments to hope to make them clearer. I also regroup them to show the cause-effect relationships. These bring out the key differences of perspectives ... some are values, some are goals, and some are just strategies.

Let me add in the Flag and the Pledge:
(See also :The Kia-Su Kia-X's Uniquely Singaporeans - Mindset ...)


Here are a few comments we can draw from the above mind-map:

  1. Many of the past values are still applicable. 
    1. The old wording is better than the present one with alot more punch. (May be the younger generation think the wordings are old fashion).  Happiness is clearly better than the passive form of "other definitions for success" (the author may intentionally make it vague to encourage discussion.)
    2. 'A Singapore for Singaporeans - wanting the immigrants to adopt Singapore values' expressed the stronger desire to retain the nation building values.
  2. The addition of the Soft Side of "Love, Care and Respect"
    1. A major contribution from the OSC is this soft side of values. In nation building from a state of poverty, the leaders might just want the people to charge forward and did not want to emphasize the needs to care for those who could not. 

OSC remaps the 12 Perspective into 5 Core Aspirations.
I think it confuses rather than help. Here is a mind-map of the matching.
Are you inspired by the Core Values? Do you know want it means at first reading?

The Right Way to Describe Values
As a consultant in Corporate Performance Management, it is better to cast a nation's future in terms of mission, vision and the key values that enable the people to achieve the visions (over time) of mission (identity and uniqueness) through the strategies to be designed.

Values is best described with observable behavior so that others can see and copy. What does dignity for the aged means? A list of do and don't observable behavior will help clarify. Of course, we need to be careful of that such external acts may not have the true motivation within.

Are we there yet? How do we know?
To have greater clarity and understanding, we need define measure and set targets. By measuring we know our progress or lack of progress. We may need to change our methods so as to achieve our objectives. By having the target sets, we can see that when it is enough to re-channel and re-balance our efforts. If we take the strong view wanting to implement our strategies to achieve the dream we want, we can see that there is still much work that need to be done. But at the very least, we know the next few steps to take.

National Pledge 2.0
To go forward, we need something shorter and more inspiring than the 5 cores aspirations. It is perhaps time to change our National Pledge to incorporate the dreams and values that we want to build. We may need to add in the love side factors to build our nation into a balanced one of meaningful joy with love and wealth.

By reframing the OSC in a different format, I hope we can discover new jewels and help in the defining and the execution of the Singapore Dream.

Lim Liat (c) 15 Aug 2013

07 August 2013

Which Grammar Checker to Use? A small sample to try.

Here is a short list of some Grammar Checkers for your consideration. They are helpful tools for writing but are not perfect. You still need to rely on your English Language training.

I was looking for some Grammar Checkers and tried to use them to check my blog post.
Here is the original blog post (a subset only) that I wrote:

Multi-Brains Whole-Man Thinking & Behavioral Model

Thinking and making the right decisions and plans are very important for successful living. To increase our thinking power we need make good use of the multiple brains that we have access to. Besides the popularized creative right and rational left brains model, we need to see that can enhance our brain power with the digital brain of computer and software. Furthermore, we can draw upon the brains of our friends. Stretching even further, with the connected world of internet, there is this powerful brain of the digital cloud that we can gain much knowledge and help. This is the Multi-Brains model that we need to master better to cope well with this increasing volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and deceptive world.

However, without the motivation to take action and to persevere in the face of challenges faced in the execution of the plans are equally important. Any behavioral change requires the study of the whole-man besides the brains. The whole man model shows that man is made up of body, mind and heart as an individual and the man's relationships with others which also impact the behavior of the man.

Here are the results of a few of the Grammar Checker:

1. Microsoft Word 2003
Word did not pick up any error.

2. Virtual Writing Tutor:
No error was picked up when this post was written on 7 Aug 2013.
However, the latest version (as tested on 30 Mar 2015, see comments on this post), picked up 8 errors and give useful feedback as shown below:


3. After-the-Deadline:
There are some suggestions but no errors. The explanation is helpful.


There are no errors besides the US spelling and the haven in Whole-man.

5. Grammarly
There were many remarks. I did not sign up for the trial and could not provide the answers. You can probably guess.


6. Ginger:
http://www.gingersoftware.com/
Ginger picked up four errors as shown below:
I can agree to "need to make", an error missed by the others. I will leave the "right and left brains" as in the original. I do not think I need to add the 'the' to internet since I already have 'the connected world of internet".  I also agree to "persevere in the face of" rather than "persevere in face of". But on reflection, in the face of challenged faced is rather redundant and needs to be rephrased. 

7. There is also http://www.serenity-software.com/ Editor to be considered. I just uninstalled the trial and could not use against the text. It is a very good checker too except for the user interface.

This is not a post to tell you which Grammer Checker to use but rather a quick survey of some of the possible ones for your search.

I also discovered that when my speed of writing was slower than the speed of my mind, I will end up with very confusing writing as illustrated in the 2nd paragraph. It is important for me to write in short sentences as in Chinese. The 2nd paragraph should read:

"However, the motivation to take action and to persevere in the face of challenges during execution are as important as thinking effectively with Multi-Brains. Any behavioral change requires the study of the whole-man and not just the brains. The whole man model shows that man is made up of body, mind and heart as an individual. Man's relationships with others which also impact the behavior of the man is an important 4th factor of the Whole-Man model."

Such improvement is not possible with present Grammar Checkers (Ginger software has a rephrase feature but it works more like a theasuarus suggesting alternative words such as replacing "impact" with "affect", "as important" with "equally important"). Let me know if you find one that can rephrase my English writing.

Lim Liat (c) 7 Aug 2013



18 July 2013

Integrated Success Principles - Adding the 5 Secrets of Richard Branson

Does 5 Secrets for Starting a Business from great man like Richard Branson add any new knowledge to what I already known? I can tell when I have a existing knowledge base of wisdom on success. 
The Five Secrets to Starting a Business written by Richard Branson in his book "Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School" is integrated to my "Integrated Success Principles v8" mind-map for a comprehensive and concise secrets for success. This illustrates how we can grow our knowledge through building mind-maps. 
Friends in Facebook lead me to the book "Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School" by Richard Branson.  In the book, he mention 5 secrets for starting a business. It immediately strikes a nerve (brain or neuron) that it will be great if I can integrate them into my existing "Integrated Success Principles". I can then discover whether there be anything new.

The Five Secrets for Starting a Business
Here is the mind-map:

Some of the branch headings could be unclear, like point 5 Be Visible. On reading the text of the book, Visible means don't stand at the desk but to go out and interact with staff, customers and others. It includes listening to them, taking notes and taking action. So I change the heading to "5 Be Visible - interact, listen, act" to make the point clearer. Point 4 Lead by listening is more about not imposing one's ideas on others. It is about listening and having a debate of ideas to getting buy-in. It then goes even further into praising others. So, I changed it to read "4 Lead by Listen and praise too". Point 3 on pride is about the pride from associating with working for a good and reputable company. There is the motivation to do well and not to let the company reputation and image down. So I think it is about having or building up a good brand or image. 

Adding into the Grand Integrated Success Principles Mind-Map:
I can easily find similar statements by others in the v8 map. However, I think I like to emphasize "Branding" in the new map. In the v8 map, branding was included under communications. But I think it is important enough to bring it out of communication and stand out as a main topic.

The Version 9 Integrated Success Principles Mind-Map:
So, here is the latest mind-map that includes Branson's five secrets. There isn't anything new that I did not know before, but does cause me to bring up 'Branding' as an important point. Branson's points are highlighted in green in the map. You can read about other masters' quotes too to get a better overall and more detailed picture. 


I hope this is a good illustration for knowledge building over time using the mind-map concept.

Lim Liat (c) 18 July 2013

03 July 2013

Success with Ease and Free of Stress

Common wisdom tells us to work hard for success. Success for many people spells 'stress' and 'no balance life' etc. Success with Ease is oxymoron for many. But it is not so, says Lao Zi. In Dao De Jing Chapter 73, he told us the secret ... it is like net casting. Build the net with strings of principles or values, cast it wide, make it sparse enough and yet never miss the catch.
The secret of a productive and stress free living with great ease is hidden in Lao Zi's Dao De Jing Chapter 73. The basic principle is to follow the way of the working of Heaven always. Following the laws of heaven is the natural and paths of least resistance. Hence, it is the ease. Trying to work against the tides of natural forces is where we get our stress and pains and the lack of productivity. Working with our natural passion and strengths energize us to produce quality and excellence without end.

Here is my version of the translation of Dao De Jing Chapter 73:
To do or Not to do?
It is a very difficult question says Lao Zi.
To boldly do it may cause one to die.
To not do it may save one's life.
But the final outcome, good or bad, in the longer term, it is unknown.
Who knows the intention of Heaven?
Even the wise sages find them difficult.
But wait, we can see the working of Heaven as in:
The Way (Dao) of Heaven is not to compete yet win well,
not speaking and yet responding well,
not bidding and yet they come on their won,
not worrying much and yet the plans are good.
Here is the secret:
The net of Heaven cover a wide area,
sparse yet never lost a thing.
The Original Chinese Text and Literal Translation in English:
(You may skip it if you like. You may also use it to cross check my translation.)
勇于敢则杀,勇于不敢则活。此两者或利或害。
Too daring may end up in being killed.
Being cautious and careful and taking no action may preserve our lives.
These two things, sometimes one is good and sometimes one is bad.
天之所恶,孰知其故?是以圣人犹难之。
Who knows the reasons of what Heaven hate? Even the sages find them difficult.
天之道不争而善胜,不言而善应,不召而自来,繟然而善谋,
The Way (Dao) of Heaven is not to compete yet win well,
not speaking and yet response well,
not bidding and yet they come on their won,
planning with ease and yet the plans are good.
天网恢恢,疏而不失。
The net of Heaven cover a wide area,
sparse yet never lost a thing.

The Key Lessons:

Dao(Way of Heaven) is like a large net cast wide, sparse yet never loose its catch.
While the coverage is wide, and there are lots of flexibility and freedom given, but the principles are adhered to like the ropes, to ensure success is caught.

1 Mesh: Ropes of Principles, Missions, Objectives, Strategies

2. Wide: The Net covers a wide area and not a narrow focus.

Don't just see things from your own point for view. Don't just be concerned of your own self- interest. Extend the net of coverage and the scope. See from the viewpoints and the interests of all the possible stakeholders. Don't just see what you want to see. Ask around and get advices from the mentors and key people affected at least. Don't stop at the first solution or answer. Explore further for better solutions. Force yourself to come out with at least 3 possible solutions if not more. Compare them and have a final one that includes all the benefits and non of the harms of the solution derived earlier. Aren't these stressful work? Not at all if you have interest in them. Try asking Nadal or Federer not to play tennis or Tiger Woods not to play golf. Furthermore, badly planned solution will create a lots of problems and complains when implemented. Better to consider them now and find the right solutions at this time of ease.

3. Sparse:  But it is sparse with lots of holes, to let the non-important things to go.

How big should the holes be? It all depends on what you are trying to catch. Try to be as large as possible to give people flexibility and freedom in the execution of the work.

4. Caught: Yet, the strings will never miss but catch the items of importance.
Just be consistent and give enough time. Learn and adapt all the way till your big catch.

Leadership or Management is about letting go the non-importance, giving flexibility, and yet hold on(never let go despite the temptations or the pressures) the principles and key issues.

Lim Liat (c) 3 July 2013

04 June 2013

The Essence of Sinology or Chinese Mindset - The Values & Methods for 21st Century

The Essence of Sinology, or the Chinese Mindset of Values and the Methods to achieve those values are shown in a mind-map below.  The 6 values and methods are righteousness of created order, harmony of diversities, dynamic balance of plurality, from love to reasons to laws, principles centered flexibility and transforming resolution of conflicts.  Such values and methods are the keys for peace and abundance for present and future world of diversities. 

The most challenging issue facing today face is the diversities of demographics and cultures being brought together in close contact. The behavior of one will greatly impact the others in this connected world. This impact is further intensified by speed of information exchanges through social network. Many keywords become popular recently such as inclusivity,  tolerance, balance, diversity and acronym like VUCAD (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complex, Ambiguous, Deception).

I believe that the Sinology, Chinese Classical Philosophies, provide the answers for the today world to achieve peace and meaningful abundance.  It is of course important to note that the present day Chinese,  whether in the main land, Taiwan or in overseas, do not fully possess such classical values. Many Chinese, especially those overseas, have been educated with and in the Western schools, universities and corporations. So, they may have some but not many of the proposed values and methods. Nevertheless, some of such values do filter through the traditions and festival celebration practices. What are being proposed are therefore my version of the Classical Chinese Philosophies ideals and are shared for your consideration.

The Sinology Mindset of Values and Methods:
See also The Secrets of Truly Successful Chinese Businessmen

Lim Liat (c) 4 Jun 2013

16 May 2013

How a Company or Nation Get Complex and Unproductive


If a fundamental problem is not solved or resolved at the root, it is typical for us to add more rules to handle the additional varieties and exceptional cases thinking that the added rules will work. I am not so sure.
The Singapore Government is adding new rule to curb the cost of car ownership.

Individuals may need to pay surcharge for second car onwards - Channel NewsAsia
www.channelnewsasia.com
If a fundamental problem is not solved or resolved at the root, it is typical for us to add more rules to handle the additional varieties and exceptional cases thinking that the added rules will work. I am not so sure.

This is how company and government get bigger and more complex over time and everyone think that they are working very hard and productively. 
They do create a lot of work and hence of jobs for 
  1. the people to make the laws, 
  2. people who monitor the laws, 
  3. people who judge the violation if any, 
  4. people who argue in courts, etc etc. 
They don't realize that they are the inhibitors rather than the facilitators for the entrepreneurs and the business of those that producing the foods, products and services. 
They just add costs and not value.
For any new rules added, there are many ways to by-pass it.  The Chinese has a saying "上有政策,下有对策", translated, “The top set policies but the bottom has counter measures". It will be just a meaningless spiral to complexity, higher costs and greater inefficiency.
Let's fix the root problem and minimize the rules and complexity. (note: I am not saying that rules not needed. But they need to be minimized to ensure clarity, simplicity in following and enforcement). The costs of extracting the goodies must not be higher than the value of the goodies extracted.
The teaching of Lao Zi's should be studied and followed here. See The True Teaching of Lao Zi’s Dao De Jing in 1 Minute.
Lim Liat (c) 16 May 2013.

14 May 2013

East West Fusion Mindset as a Key and as Simple as ABC

The East and West mindset can be integrated and represented as a Key with the round base representing Eastern/Chinese circular mindset and the straight grooved pin as the Western linear and detailed mindset. The application of the fusion mindset is as simple as ABC represented using computer language statements of assignment, If-the-else and looping construct. The details of ABC can be found in my blog posts.

The East-West Key
After much study, comparisons and reflections on the Eastern/Chinese and Western(trained in high schools, university, post graduate, consultants, management books, HBRs etc etc) , I think both can be integrated into a key, represented by a physical door-key. The rounded based representing the circular, cyclical Chinese mindset, with Yin-Yang balance and harmony as objective and the pin with groves representing the linear, sequential, and detailed task oriented mindset of the West.  Here is the picture with greater details:


Note: To know more about the Chinese Mindset see The Essence of Sinology or Chinese Mindset - The Values & Methods for 21st Century.

Fusion mindset calls neither East or West alone thinking but both, applying them in different degree, depending on the situations and the players, to achieve the right result by thanking the right action at the right time and place.  We should also be aware that the 'right result' is a dynamic balance of among multiple forces. The balance will and have to shift through time as situations change.

The Application of Fusion Mindset is as Simple as ABC:
Using the computer language as a means of representation, the following picture show this Fusion Wisdom can be applied:


If you have only one take away, just remember the IF statement:

IF then DO A else DO B.

All the very best to your business and career.

To know more about Chinese vs Western Management, see Sinology & Chinese Management.
To know more about Ancient Chinese Wisdom, see Ancient Chinese Wisdom

Lim Liat (C) 13 May 2013