29 June 2011

Strategies and Presidential Election - Bill vs Steve ?

Under a democratic and clean government and in a society with law and order, like Singapore, the strategies for politics and business could be very similar.

Singapore shall be holding the election for a President very soon and this provides learning lessons on strategies and principles.

Principle 1 Election is a love affair between the Candidate and the People.

It is not a War Among the Candidates. This is what I said in Business as War is Half the Truth. The most direct and main concern is with the People. The competing Candidates are the indirect, secondary, not primary, reference points for the People. Hence Sun Zi Arts of War the trickery part may not and should not find ready application here. We will come back to this in a future post.

Strategy 1 The Common One: What do the People Want? The Bill Method

Since people is the primary target, the most common strategy is to find out what the people want. Ask the customers says the Market Researchers.

This is a good strategy as demonstrated by Microsoft. Most people may think that Microsoft is an innovative company. Yes it is. It is an incremental innovation company. It almost perfects the arts. Microsoft is seldom first and those that he was first it flopped e.g. Do you remember Bob - An easier to use Office suite? But Microsoft is great at replacing the leaders. Microsoft Excel replaced the leading spreadsheet program Lotus-123 then (who actually replaced the 1st spreadsheet killer application known as Vasicalc. If you know Vasicalc then you and I belong to the same generation). Microsoft Word replaced WordPerfect which replaced WordStar. When the browser war started, most people were expecting Netscape to replace Microsoft. Microsoft was so late in the game, even wanting to come out with their own proprietary network when the world was going for internet. But it took only IE 3.0 to replace Netscape as the leading browser. Of course, Microsoft had its market size and other strengths. The Window Interface was started at Xerox Palo Alto, adopted by Apple in Macintosh and further extended by Microsoft in Ms-Window. By Window 3.0, Apple was less than 10% of the PC market and was almost erased from the world except for the return of Steve Jobs. You can see how good Microsoft is at catching up and replacing the leader. Will this happen again in the Smartphone world? That will be another subject.

Coming back to the strategy. If you are good at making increment improvement, good at execution, good at scaling, good at delivery, have a good backing, have a long term record, then by all means, follow this strategy of understanding customer needs, peek into the competitive offerings and then coming up with your better than others offering in the eyes of your beloved customers, I mean, People. This is a safe strategy but almost everyone are as good as it too and the existing and old party supported candidates have a longer track record and reputation and other advantages than the new starters.

Strategy 2 The Breakthrough Strategy -Who would the People Follow? The Steve Way

People vote for leaders that give them what they want. But they will vote and follow the leaders they admire with their heart and all! Steve Jobs' track record has not been asking the customers what they want because customer can't tell what they don't know. He believes in leading, giving and convincing the customers what they should have. He bring into existence innovations that customers never even dream possible or at the very least, for the future oriented customers, making their dreams come true. This is the inspiring Leadership.

This is my wish of a President. Someone who can look beyond us, take the lead, and inspire us to become what we should and could be. One such leader is Martin Luther King Jr - "I have a Dream!" - breaking the present norms and bringing people to a better world. Here I like to describe in greater details:

Leadership of Height, Depth, Length and Breadth
  1. Height: Our leader should be able to stand at a higher plane than us so that he can bring us to a better place. Einstein says "The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

    Height is about being able to stand above the circumstances, think above the line to take positive actions rather than trying to blame others and give accuses; being able to overcome obstacles and challenges.

    It is positive and optimistic. It response creatively rather than react negatively to challenges. It is about courage and boldness to stand up and be independent of the crowd. It is about innovativeness.

  2. Depth: At the same time, he comes down to our level to understand our problems and to be one of us. Yet, he is able to go even deeper to find the root cause rather than look at the superficial and the symptoms only.I It is about intelligence and insights. Seeing things and making things work. Depth see the root causes. Height provides the innovative breakthrough.
  3. Length: He is able to see beyond the present, and look into the future. He is able to give us a dream and paint a clear vision for us to be inspired and to follow. It is about the ability to seeing things before we even notice it. Worry before we do and then be happy after we are.
  4. Breadth: His heart is wide to be able to accept and appreciate and hold at the same time, the diversities of viewpoints, priorities, opinions, desires of the people.

    He go one-step further to integrate them for a win for all. He does not use threat to stop people from having different opinions. On the contrary, he believes in diverse opinions because the greater the diversity the better is the solution.

    The greater the participation, the better the solution and the greater the support for the implementation. He love rather than he fear. He draw out respect and willing support rather than force people to follow them out of fear. Fear results in minimum standard of achievement. Love surpass the minimum requirement.
When you have your ideal president model, then perhaps you can rank the present candidates accordingly and pick your choice.  I will pause here for your reflection and will continue with a future post.

Next Post: Strategies and Presidential Election - Bill vs Steve Part 2

Lim Liat copyrighted 29 June 2011

Disallow - Overrule - Unfair Questions & Accusations

Continuing from the post Washing Away the Mud to Gain Clarity in Thinking.

In a court room, there is a judge to decide, to allow, disallow and to overrule unfair questions and objections.

How could a question be unfair?
I first encountered such a question in English class in high school days.  Our English teacher from the US Peace Corps taught us. He gave an example of such a question.

A lawyer asked the accused husband, "Have you stopped beating your wife?".

The lawyer in defense quickly stood up to say, "Objection!".

The Judge said, "Sustained." and ask the accusing lawyer to rephrase the question.

Firstly, let us understand why the question is unfair just to make it clear.

We can tell from the answer we give.

If we say 'yes' then that means we have been beating our wife.
If we say 'no' then it is even worse, we continue to beat our wife!
No matter how you answer, you got the worst part.
That is the unfair question.

A Unfair question is one that pre-supposes you have done it. The interpretation and the judgment has already been reached even in the proceedings of trying to find out the truth. Hence, it is unfair and should be disallowed.

Unfair questions are not easy to detect since they work on our thinking inertia. Under pressure and stress, we will be caught. It comes in many forms and there are people trained to know how to use them to their advantage.

There is NO Judge or Referee in Social Network
The sad thing is that in the Social Network, there is no judge or referee to blow the whistle and disallow or overrule unfair questions or statements. It has to rely on the readers' clear thinking and for them to point them out with the attached risks of incurring the wrath of the persons who posts the unfair questions and statements or his supporters. There are now team of people who work together to attack anyone they dislike.

We find quite a few of such unfair questions and statements in all elections. Here are some of them:

"There is no smoke without fire" or in Chinese version, "There is no wave without wind".

Why it is unfair?

It prejudges that there must be something wrong already otherwise where did the such rumor comes from?

So it is easy to smear people by just telling some story with some hear-says, lies, partial facts,  misinterpretation of facts and so forth. In such story, the facts are not as important as the 'believe-bility' of the story. If you can link up some seemingly facts (those that could be verified are even better. Always be as less specific as possible. Use so-and-so etc) and tell a juicy story, you will get people to believe in you.  Strangely, we are all ready to believe in some juicy and bad story about people, sometimes, even our closed friends!

What should our attitude be towards such unfounded juicy rumor?
We should always adopt the basic judicial principle of "One is always innocence until proven guilty".  If not, there is no purpose in having the case heard. This is not easy for most people as we all have the tendency to interpret and judge quickly. We want the answer fast.

We should ask whether the rumor can be verified? In what ways can we find out whether the rumor is true or not. Can we answer the 5W1H questions for the rumor?

We can perhaps take a step further volunteer information that we know to be true to invalidate the rumor.  A true friend is one who will defend for you in the midst of lies rather than believe in the lies and doubt your friends. Unfortunately, in my experience, there are few true friends that will stand with you against the rumor about you.

The Other Unfair Statement is Labeling or Categorizing.
If you are following Taiwan political scenes, you find them using terms like painting them red, blue or green. Any action, whether good or bad, is being labelled as "betrayal to Taiwan" (卖台) or "not loving the Taiwanese" (不爱台湾).
The label is stronger than the action or fact and people are drawn towards the stronger emotion and will forget to check on the reality of the action or event.
These are common, simple and yet powerful tactics to use against the opposition or to draw people for support.

Accountability is Needed.
To prevent Singapore political scenes to degrade to smearing and mud-throwing, divisive and disharmony, we must uphold the standards of truth and level-minded, open and fair thinking.

These can be done through everyone in the Social Network following some codes of good conduct, questioning the unfair postings, and volunteering true and complete information to refute the lies.

It can also be done by the victims seeking justice through legal means and taking a libel suite. But taking a legal case may be too late to stop the damage when the election could be already over and the victimized party lost.

When you come across any juicy story about so-and-so or slogan type labeling of candidate, please be on your guard to validate the story yourself and not be taken for a ride.

28 June 2011

Adding Biblical Wisdom to Bill & Steve Jobs' Wisdom for Success

Continuing with the last post on Adding Bill Gates to Steve Jobs Wisdom for Success, let me add the wisdom from the Bible. The verses shall be taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by King Solomon, the wisest man of all time.

<< Ecclesiastes 9 >>
11 I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all. 

12 Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come:
As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so men are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them. 

Where is the Secret of Success?
At first reading, you may say that the passage is a list of failures, and where is the secret of success? 

v12 reveals the reason of failure - man are trapped by the unexpected evil times like fish and birds that are caught. 

Why are they caught? Because man don't know his hour or his time has come.

Why does man know not? Because Time & Chance happen to them all.

Because Time & Chance happen to them all, relying on just one factor, like speed, is not going to work all the time. The race is not won by the fastest runner or the first mover because there are other factors that happen, chance and time, and disrupt the plan. The rain came and the road becomes slippery, the fastest guy on the dry tract now slip and fall. The slower guy who does cross-country running win the race.

Principle 1 Time and Chance Happen to All - This is a Changing World.
You must be thinking, 'is not this stating the obvious?'.
Yes it is. It is so obvious that we forgot to see it. It fails to get our attention. Most of us live life as if tomorrow shall be the same as today. v12 shows reminded us that many people are caught by surprise. They are not ready for the imminent change.

The Greek has a good understanding of the concept of time. They have two words for it:
  1. Chronos (时间) - This is the chronological time, measured in years, month, day, second, thousandth second, nanosecond, and now pico-second.
  2. Kairos (时势) - This is time that mark changes, such as seasons and the trends, the disruptive and structural changes. The event-time, the D-Day and H-hr that a major event get started or completed.
We can't manage chronos time as most time-management trainers want to tell us. Chronos time just tick along and won't wait for us. That is good. Because it is fair play. The day is always 24 hours for everyone, to the rich and powerful and to inconsequential poor.  If we truly want to manage time, we must manage Kairos time - the event time or activity time. i.e. we manage our activities according to the dreams we have set.

So we can work out principle 2 and principle 3.

Principle 2 Watch and Prepare for the Kairos Change of Event/Trend Time.
We need to recognize the change in the environment around us. There are many factors beyond our control that affect our environment. They are not personal as if someone up there in heaven or down there in hell that is against us. Rest with the fact that it happens also to everyone around us. What we need to know is to face up to the changes. It is better if we could foresee and be prepare for it. That is what the Bible in Ecc 9:11 is hinting to us which we are discovering the wisdom there in.

Principle 3 Manage Our Kairos Activities Time and not the Chronos Time.
What should we be doing is the key thing we need to answer. What should we be doing depends on where we want to go, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years from now? What is our vision and our dream? What do we want to become? When we have a vision, we can break them down, work out the what, and the how and the time. In business, that is called strategic planning. Strategic planning does not mean the plans are fixed. Strategic planning helps to tell us which are important and which are now. So that when changes come, we know how to drop the unimportant and manage the important. Dynamic balancing to keep the course in face of changing circumstances is what life is all about. Hence, we has worked out for the need of principle 4.

Principle 4 Have Vision or Dream of Your Life or Business
If you find yourself constantly busy and don't know what to throw or keep then you problem is a lack of vision. Without a vision, you can't prioritize activities and everything seem equally important. Stop now and seat now to reflect and draw up a vision for yourself. Bill Gates tells us to have a vision and Steve Jobs tell us to follow our passion. Your vision should be something that follow your heart and your gifted talents. It will be something that you love to do and the more you do the more energize you get. That is working on your strengths. Your strengths defines the champion you will become. You are not defined by your weaknesses but by your strengths. You develop your strengths and outsource or delegate out your weaknesses. This is principle 5.

Principle 5 Develop Your Strengths and Delegate Your Weaknesses.
Thank God that He created a world full of varieties and diversities. You are uniquely, one and only you. There are many many others that are similar but really very different from you. Hence, Steve Jobs tell us to be yourself rather than trying to be someone you are not. You don't try to live the dream of another.

Secondly, the things that you dislikes most, you can always find someone who would love to do them! Delegating your weaknesses mean to look for someone or some others, to do those things better than you could do them. They are using their strengths against your weaknesses. Guess who can do better? They of course. Delegating does not mean just pass the bug. You can delegate the tasks but not the responsibility. Please communicate much with them so that you can be best served by them.

Now I am going to shock you. Oops! it is not me but the Bible. The Bible tell us that one single factor of strength is NOT enough for long term sustainable success! Read v11 again - the winner is not always the one with speed, strength, wisdom (creative and innovative, the entrepreneur), scheming intelligence, nor the highly educated PhDs! So that leads us to Principle 6.

Principle 6 Have Multiple Factors to ensure Success - One is too risky

I wish I know Hebrew as much I know Chinese so that I can tell you clearly what the 5 factors in verse 11 are. I check up the Hebrew Concordance for their meaning. But Concordance are not real dictionary and is good is telling us approximate, too approximate for my taste, meaning of words. So I can't really tell you the difference between the 3 wisdom related words of wise, brilliant and learned. A pity. I can only make good guesses by checking out the different translations of the Bible and from the 'food', 'wealth', 'favor' associated with the 3 wise-words.

So here are the Five Factors:
  1. Speed: swiftness, 1st mover, agility, responsiveness.
  2. Strength: large resources like money, people, powerful weapons.
  3. Creativity: Innovation, wisdom, knowing the right thing to do. Food from new seeds.
  4. Analytical Skills: Ability to discern and plans. Scheming. Calculativeness to the last digit so that you can accurately count the wealth. Financial skills.
  5. Education Levels. The technical skills and titles that you have.
 We now come to the next Principle of team.

Principle 7 Have a Harmonious Team of Different Strengths.

Since one factor is not good enough to face changes. A combination of different factors will be able handle it much better. How can we get them except by forming a team. However, there is a catch. It is not a team of same kind of people. It is a team of very different kinds of people, some is quick for action where some will analyze forever; some with brain and some with brawn and so forth. The only thing we need for such a diverse team to be successful is for them to share the same vision. The strength of the team is determined by:
  1. commitment to the shared vision
  2. the extent of diversity of the team.
Commitment to the shared vision will enable the diverse team to contribute their best to the common goal. This is what our body is made of - of hands and feet, of heart and lungs, of brain and many other parts.

Let's round out this post with a nice number 8, principle 8.

Principle 8 Use the Combined Strengths to Detect and Exploit the Chance and Time (a.k.a. Opportunity) and not be caught by surprise.

Use this as a check list to review your life, your work, your business. Are you letting chronos time goes by and not managing your kairos moments. Is it because you don't even know where you are going? Do you even know your strength and delegate out your weaknesses. Do you have a uniform team or a diverse team. Do they share the same vision? Are you all watching the time to catch the change of seasons? Are you looking out for opportunity or are opportunity looking back at you?

Hope you have learned something useful.

If you want to know how to use unchanging principles to handle the changing situations, check out i-Ching posts in Ancient Chinese Wisdom.

Lim Liat copyrighted 28 June 2011.

27 June 2011

Adding Bill Gates to Steve Jobs Wisdom for Success

In the previous post Follow Your Heart - Learning from Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech, we share Steve Jobs' wisdom to success.

Now we add Bill Gates' wisdom on Success to Steve's and see if we can pick up anything thing. The sources come from Bill's interview with Larry King Life and one from Shawn Lin. I changed Shawn's description some what to create clearer understanding and impact.

Richard St John has a powerful and very short 3 min speech on Success on ted.com, and so I included it but I arranged it in the order that I think is better. Starting a Passion, of an Idea, to Serve people, and staying Focus on it, by Working hard, be Good at it by practice, Push ourselves and Persist until success.

Here is the mind map that captures all for your quick reference and learning one time.
Using Them as Reminders
Are you feeling that your life is going no where. Perhaps you should ask yourself about where you passion has gone? Are there things that interest you? Things that are of significance are things that serve others. They bring happiness and convenience to others. Can you think of such a thing that could cause a stir in your heart?

May be you are discouraged by the things that happened in your life. They did not turn up as you wished or expected. Even things that embarrassed you just like Steve Jobs who was fired from Apple from the very person that he brought in! What a betrayal, you may think.  But recalled Steve's words, "It was awful tasting medicine, but the patient needed it". It made Steve humbler, even more courageous since what else could be worse, and made him even more creative and rebuilt Apple that has now surpassed Microsoft in market value! (For the last few months, Apple market value was US$300B to Microsoft US$200B).

Don't be discouraged, stay focus on your dream, push yourself, persist until you realize your dream and on to bigger dream.

You may need to know that while your dream need not change, your methods may need to be changed. Mission is focused but methods must be flexible and adaptable to the changing world.

You may need advices and ideas what to do at your present situation, check up my posts on the Ancient Chinese Wisdom, those on innovations and entrepreneurship, and even on corporate performance management in this blog.

Summarizing Further - Dream and Work

If you want to summarize further, then it is about a Dream of Serving People from your Heart and Working hard to accomplish it against all odds. All the best wishes for your pursue of your dream. Share your success with us.

Next: Adding Biblical Wisdom to Bill & Steve Jobs' Wisdom for Success

26 June 2011

Washing Away the Mud to Gain Clarity in Thinking

Election time is interesting time to watch. There will be all kinds of stories, distortions, lies, accusations, mud slinging, watching of dirty linen in the public with regards to the candidates. The emotions run high and the language used at times become rather unbearable. They provide good lessons for us to train our mind so that we can think clearly for ourselves and not be misled. We can also learn to tell the characters of the people who said those things and also from their behavior too. Lessons like these probable make for a better logic, language and thinking class. Let's start with the simple ones first.

Facts, Interpretation and Judgment
Whenever some one make a statement, we can see it from 3 different points of view (not all may be present).

They are:
  • Facts: Is it true? Is it complete (Partial Facts to confuse is called lie)?
  • Interpretation of Fact: What is the meaning? What is the intention? Normally, we must know the context or environment surrounding the events to make accurate interpretation. Facts are observables (can be observed wrongly of course; if you believe seeing is believing then you are good victims of magicians). Intention and motivation can only be inferred. That is normally the job of the Judge and the Juries.
  • Judgment of Value. People will make statement about the fact and intention as whether it is good or bad and thereby showing their evaluation.
A Simple Example - An Event
Let's say in a shopping mall, you reported that you saw a lady beating a boy child.

Statement of Fact : I saw a lady beating a boy child.

If you said I saw a mother beating her child then you have made some interpretation of facts unless there are additional information that tell you.

Accurate Interpretation Needs More Facts/Information else it is Speculation
Why did you interpret the lady as the mother? It could be auntie or even just anyone unrelated. How can you tell the child was hers? Again, we must have additional facts to make such interpretation. Maybe you heard the child crying "mummy mummy don't beat me!". If there was no such additional fact, please understand that you are making a interpretation of speculation, a probable one but may not be true. We watch movies and the script writer like to use sister being misunderstood as girlfriend to cause jealousy. That was a wrong interpretation of fact - a boy was close with a girl must be boy friend and girl friend. It was just close brother and sister.

Interpretation of Intention and Motivation is Even More Difficult
Let's say we heard the boy calling the lady mommy.

Why did the Mother beat her child?

Is it because the mother is abusive and beat her child on first irritation. OR
Is it because the mother is disciplining her child for some misbehavior (e.g. taking things without paying)?

We can't really tell until we find out more. But in most instances, we are quick to jump to our own conclusion about the intention of people on hearing just one fact or a few facts. And usually proclaim our great interpretation without checking with the person concerned.

Our Background and Past Experience color our Interpretation
A person with a background of suffering under abusive parents is likely to draw the conclusion that it is abusive. There are people who believe that beating children is not right and any such beating is abusive. They will report to the police that the mother had committed the abuse children crime We read about those reports in newspapers in the past.

The Famous Story of Su Dong Po (苏东坡) and the Zen Monk

SuDongPo was a famous Chinese Scholar/Sage/Magistrate. A cartoon about this story is here. DongPo and his Monk friend were meditating one day. DongPo asked his friend what did he see. His friend said he saw a bright Buddha. DongPo proudly told his friend that he saw his friend as a pile of dung. DongPo happily went home to tell his sister about this incidence. He proudly told her sister that the famous monk saw him as a Buddha while he saw him as a dung. His Sister laughed at DongPo that he was actually the dung because we saw with what was in our heart. DongPo's heart had dung inside and therefore saw the Monk as dung whereas the Monk and a Buddha inside and saw DongPo as Buddha!

We See/Interpret from our Heart

The Bible has a similar statement. Titus 1:15 New Living Translation (©2007)
Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.

Judgement of Value
After we make our self-proclaimed wise interpretation, we will give our self proclaimed unbiased non-prejudiced judgment on whether the person is good or bad or worthy of trust.

Because we tend to be so full of ourselves that we loose our objectivity, Bible has warning for us. Mat 7:5 New Living Translation (©2007)
Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

Next time when you read about comment on so-and-so is such-and-such, please have the following checklist to evaluate the statement:
  1. FACTS:
    Where is the Fact?
    Are the facts complete.
    Did we fall into the trap of only show you those facts to support our version of story?
    Did we only see what we wanted to see in the first place?

    (e.g. there was someone who cited a EP candidate for wasting company money to do his pet project on a car-sharing scheme. He did not tell us that at that times there were quite a few such car-sharing schemes making the scheme actually an innovative business that quite a few businesses want to participate. He was also not aware that in Corporate there are rules and regulation to control investments and any investment of significant size in new project are usually supported with approval from the board).
    What is the meaning?
    What is the intention?
    Are your Interpretation Sound? (Supported by facts, context and over a significant period of time. Or is it just you seeing your own biased in it. To the impure, everything is impure).
    Will someone else make the same interpretation as I?
    What are the values that I used to conclude that it/he/she is good or bad.
    Am I fair, based on the incomplete facts gathered and my likely biased interpretation, to make such a judgment of good or bad?
    Will your judgment be defend-able in a libel suite? If you have doubt, please give the benefits of doubt to them too. 
Hope you can pick your choice for the President Election wisely. May the best man win for the good of Singapore.

See also Positive Interpretation, even a miss, is Good for You

20 June 2011

Guided by Templates - Fast and Secured Problem Solving

Continue from Beautifying Your Maps to Create Gestalt - Ease of Understanding.

When we have observed or done our tasks a few times, we will soon see a patterns. It will be great that we capture those patterns in mind-maps so that we can re-use them whenever we need. Such captured patterns are what I called mind-map templates. Mind-map templates when re-used give us productivity and also help us to be mistakes-proof. Even pilots and doctors use a simple check-list to ensure the essential things are taken off.

Our templates can also be upgraded, i.e. improved with new knowledge as we use them so that we get better and faster at decision making and problem solving. This is the method that our knowledge are retained and our learning increase over time.

You should create a index mind-map to point to all your mind-map templates so that you can easily locate them for your use. Here is an example:

Here is a Fishbone mind-map created with xmind (see xmind.net) :

There are many mind map templates available on internet. Do a Google search on such things like six-hats, SWOT analysis etc. You can then modify them for your own specific use.

Next: Expansion of Existing Map to Capture More Knowledge.

Beautifying Your Maps to Create Gestalt - Ease of Understanding & Revealing the Missing

Continue from Re-Organizing Your Map where Real Learning Starts.

Once we got the classification done, it is time to beautify the map. The purpose of beautifying is increasing the ease of understanding of the map content. Here are the methods and steps:

See an example on Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech 2005.

Next: Guided by Templates - Fast and Secured Problem Solving

15 June 2011

Follow Your Heart - Learning from Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech

Steve Job's commencement speech delivered in 2005 at Standford is highly popular.  You can find the video and the transcript easily in the net. Here is one source. I was thinking to use it as an exercise in mind-mapping but I found it was quite challenging as every sentences and words used were important. Steve must have spent quite a lot of time to get his story of life into such a short passage. Nevertheless, I will show you the mind-map, not as condensed as I like but I do not want you to miss out the key details of the story else the touching and motivational will be lost.

Have Faith & Follow Your Heart in Life
Most important of all is what I have learned from his speech. If I have to use the least amount of words, a typical requirement for doing good mind mapping, then it shall be in three words, 'follow your heart'. To make it more complete, it can be "Have faith & follow your heart in life".

More Details - The Seven Principles
Here is the mind-map of my take away from Steve's speech giving more details.
  1.   Your destination is not determined by your starting point.
  2.   Have faith and courage. Follow your heart - the dream of your heart.
  3.   Be ever hungry to work hard to learn and grow
  4.   Never mind if you look foolish to others
  5.   Letting go the rest - pride, fear of embarrassment or failure
  6.   Go for things that have value in face of death.
  7.   Loving parents & family gives you strong faith to start & to overcome.
Loving Family is the Foundation for Success in Life
I wish to emphasize a key point in Steve's speech that is likely to be missed by most people. It is a loving family. While Steve did not get adopted by his mother's wish of graduate parents (a familiar reasoning for Singaporeans with the old 'preference for graduate mother policy'.), he actually got something much better, a loving parents. Love is much more powerful than just intelligence. Emotional Quotient(EQ) is more important than IQ. IQ gets you in the door but EQ gets you promoted and keeps you progressing in life.  How do I know? His parents saved up enough to send him to Reed College, a college whose fees was about that of Stanford. Steve started his Apple company in his parents' garage, not in Wuz's parents garage. This show that his parents were very supportive of Steve' work. We can also see that Steve loved his parents much. He quit Reed College after six months not wanting to waste his parents' life savings that was of no help. We also know that Steve appreciated the importance of a good family. He was grateful to get married and explicitly stated 'And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together'.

I think it is the love of the family that give Steve the faith and the courage to venture out in life; to do things that is out of the ordinary. It is also his support for overcoming the challenges of rejections and failures. He can start all over again. His parents and wife later must have given him a lot of support and encouragement during the time of his firing from Apple and later the starting of NeXt and Pixar. "Love keep me on". His love and passion for his vision of future must have come from love experienced. (note... I am not aware of the private and family life of Steve Jobs except from what I can deduce from his speech here. If you know more that contradict or support my deduction, please post your comments. Thanks).

The Full Story Mind-Map

Lim Liat copyrighted 15 June 2011 
Updated the mind-map a little 27 Jun 2011

Note: A friend recommended this http://heresthenews.blogsp
ot.com/2011/06/losing-yourself-in-pursuit-of-life.html to read together with this post.

  • My additional comment:
    No man is an island. Our identity is defined in relationship with others. Our passion is only meaningful with reference to creating value for and serving the community we live in. I think this is the passion of Steve Jobs - making the world a better place thru technology and arts. It is in loosing ourselves that we find our ourselves. Facing death each day helps us find ourselves. Thanks for citing the article to bring forth the other view. For Chinese with the doctrine of mean, we can easily hold both extremes in balanced.

Instead, find the thing that you’re great at, put that into the world, contribute to others, help the world be better and that is the thing to follow.   updated 9 July 2015

The Philosophy of Steve Jobs
While reading through my past post, I discovered that the philosophies of Steve Jobs captured in "follow your heart", "simplicity and beauty" etc resonate well with the Chinese generation of 2000 years ago. See Understanding and Answers for the Present Generation.

See also Adding Bill Gates to Steve Jobs Wisdom for Success
and Success Principles - Version 5


09 June 2011

Integrated View of the Wisdom of Chinese Classics - Future of Management Now

In my past post The Future Of Management is Ancient Chinese Classics, I argued that the practices of the future of management discussed in management books and blogs are in fact something very old. They were promoting self-management or self-governance. Such teachings are found in the Ancient Chinese Classics.

Here is a integrated view of the Wisdom of Ancient Chinese Classics. I don't use the term Classical Chinese Wisdom as there are many Ancient Chinese Schools of thoughts. This integrated view is to show the key similarities and differences among the Ancient Schools.

1 I-Ching
The foundation of Chinese wisdom is from I-Ching. It tells us that there are unchanging principles revealed by the Creator in the ways the Heaven and the Earth work. The virtues are captured in the 64 Hexagrams. The main virtues are creation and the 'love and care' for the created. Man can live well by following and applying the right principles for the right situations and living in harmony with 'Heaven and Earth' and with one another. The wisdom is "READ and understand the SITUATION and then apply the RIGHT PRINCIPLES to change the situation for good or preventing the good to decay to bad".

2. The Dao School
The DAO school of Lao Zi recognizes the WAY of operation of the heaven. His main teaching is 'to follow the WAY and not to work against it'. Following the WAY will be effortlessly easy, productive and self-sustaining. One of the virtue is LOVE, the soft rather than hard, the pull rather than push, the forgiving rather than punishment. Lao Zi warns that the setting of rules to compensate for the lack of love will not be effective. It can result in legalism where the rules become the goals and be more important than the people.

3. The Ru School
The Ru School of Confucius teaches Love (Ren 仁), and love to be expressed with the right protocol of behavior called Li 礼.  Love begins with loving our own, those closest to us before extending outwards. Confucius believes in education. 仁义礼智信勇 Love, Righteousness, Rules of Conduct, Wisdom, Trust and Boldness are the virtues promoted by the Ru School. The key difference between the love of Ru and love of Mo (see below) is that Ru prioritize love according to the closeness of relationships where as Mo stresses on equality. For Ru, one shall love his parents and siblings more than relatives, friends, and then acquaintances and strangers.

4. The Mo School
Mo Zi believes in equality of mankind. Love extending to everyone. It stresses on fairness and treating everyone equally.

5. The Fa School
This school stresses on establishing strict Laws and Orders by incentives and severe punishments. It is about forcing the right behavior out of people by fear.

Besides the 4 main schools, there are others popular ones like the Strategies and Warfare School of Sun Zi and others, the Logic School, the Mathematics, the Yin-Yang, and many others. See Ancient Chinese Wisdom.

The Differences
The differences among the schools can best be seen in answering the question:
What if People do not behave well?
  1. I-ching school tells us to study the problem first and then apply the right principles.
  2. Dao tells the leaders to set the standards and then lead by examples.
  3. Ru tells us to educate and teach the people the proper conduct
  4. Mo tells us everyone must be treated the same way. There should be no favoritism; i.e. the rich and powerful should not be above the low and poor.
  5. Fa tells us to punish the violators severely so that they can learn the lessons and dare not try to be funny again.
Here is the mind map that summarizes:
Application to Management:

How can the learning here be applied to management and leadership?
The highest of form of leadership and management is self-management where the people work out from and for themselves. You can find the answers from the above example of "People not behaving well" with the 5 points. To make it even clearer, here are the five principles for developing a self-management organization.

5 Key Principles For a Self-Manage Organization

  1. Situation Analysis with Open Mind and Follow the Principles of i-Ching.
    Staff should be taught to look at any issue with an open without pre-judging and biases. The right solution depends on the particular situation and there is no one-size fit all. Understand the situation, the trends, positioning, context and multi-views of the stakeholders. Apply the harmony of balances of multi-forces and values of i-Ching (summarized in Heaven Hexagram of creative power and Earth Hexagram of love and development). For the teaching of i-Ching see Ancient Chinese Wisdom and look up the section on i-Ching.
  2. Dao tells us to adopt the values and principles of the universe and nature and have have minimum rules to guide behavior. The leaders must teach those principles and lead by examples. Dao tell us to simplify the rules and not to violate the natural principles.
  3. Ru School teaches us that education/learning/training are important and have clear standards of protocols for communication to minimize misunderstanding. We must see things from other people point of view (love). The values of Ru are 仁义礼智信勇 love, righteousness, conduct, wisdom, trust/integrity and courage/candor. Staff development is a key issue
  4. Mo school tells us to have fairness and treat everyone equally. The bosses should not be treated with greater favor than the rest.
  5. Fa school tells us to have clear discipline and accountability - a good rewards and punishment system. The discipline must be strictly enforced.
Comparing with the Bible.
Does not the Bible teaches similar things - servant leadership, Kingdom Principles and Virtues?
What will be Biblical answers to 'People not behaving well?'
Please share your wisdom with me by posting your comments here.

Lim Liat copyrighted 9 June 2011, updated 14 Dec 2011.

05 June 2011

Re-Organizing Your Map where Real Learning Starts

Continue with Mind Mapping Made Easy - Follow Your Thoughts & Heart.

Now that we are back from our tea-break, we shall proceed to re-organize the ideas that we have captured. Knowledge is about understanding the relationships or associations between and among the ideas.

Types of Relationships/Associations Between Ideas/Concepts
  1. Definition - Is a
  2. Description & Attributes
    1. a descriptive statement 
    2. the other attributes
    3. it is good to show the similar and contrasting ideas.
  3. Classification - Hierarchical or Family Tree
    1. Go from Broader to Narrower concepts
    2. Go from Parent to Child concepts
  4. System & Its Components or the Whole-Parts.
  5. Cause and Effect.
  6. Event like a Meeting or an Incident - Using 5W1H.
The Mind Maps below give the examples:

Questions on Classification:
  1. Which concept is the parent or broader concept?
  2. Which concepts are the finer or child concept?
  3. If two concepts are on the same level, can you come out with a higher concept that contain both?
  4. Can you classify the concepts by time sequence? Which concepts come before or after which others?
  5. Which concepts are past, present and future?
Feel free to come out with new concept to group existing ones. Feel free to drag and drop concepts to change their relationships. During this process, you get to know more about the subject you are studying. You may also discover that you have others things that you need to find out and clarify. Clarifying our understanding shows that we get to know about the subject.

Don't worry at this point about the beauty of the mind-map. We can do that later. Think more about how concepts are related.

When you feel you have done a good job of classifying the subject of study then we can go the next step of beatifying the mind-map.

Next: Beautifying Your Maps to Create Gestalt - Ease of Understanding.

04 June 2011

Expansion of Existing Map to Capture More Knowledge

Continued from: Guided by Templates - Fast and Secured Problem Solving

Our organized and beautified mind-map forms the foundation for future addition of knowledge. When we acquire new knowledge, we should add them to our existing map. Having a foundation allows us to validate the new knowledge.

Does the new knowledge extends our understanding?
  • Just adding new branches to existing ones.
  • Break a branch into more sub-branches with our refined understanding
Does it conflict with our existing knowledge?
  • Re-classify our existing map to reflect new understanding. May be a paradigm shift that we need to change a major of our map.
  • Delete some existing branches since new knowledge tells us we have been wrong.
  • May be the new knowledge is wrong when we consider the bigger picture of our knowledge. 
  • We may need to ask more questions about the new knowledge.
Here is mind-map:

We now apply what we learned to the "Future of Singapore" that started this series of posts.
    The "Future of Singapore Brainstorm with Youth" Expanded
    Using the illustration that started this series on mind-mapping, here is the expanded version that I included the suggestions from the comment posted.

    The following are changed made:
    1. I added a main-topic called "Suggestions" and put in the suggestions (keeping them as short as possible) and tagging it with the names of the suggesters. 
    2. I also inserted a grouping branch to classify the suggestions. e.g. "Go Online" to include 3 suggestions, "Include PRs" to capture the essence of the suggestion.
    3. Another main-topic on "Action Plan" where the suggester Guan Hock Teo make important contributions that deserved a proper follow-up on.
    4. Add a suggestion to an existing branch "Economic Arguments" that was originally blank.
    5. Added "Continued Action & Learning" by a suggester to the "Collaboration Platform" branch so that it is next to the "Action?" branch. I should also have a link from "Action?" branch to the main-topic "Action Plan" so that we can follow the action into a major issue that we want to address further on.


    By now, I hope you can see the power of mind-mapping with a software tools. It will help create of knowledge base that is usable at the time of needs to help you make better decisions, solve problems or generate new ideas. You also have a good base from which to extend or validate the wealth of information that is hitting you everyday.

    The key skill that you need to handle this information overload is to have the mind-mapping skill to organize your acquired knowledge that is adaptable and extensible as well.

    All the very best in your attempt to master the skill of organizing the your own personal knowledge. (Google is about organizing the knowledge of the world and making them easily accessible to you).

    Help us and others by posting your comments here about your learning in mind-mapping.

    The What and How of Mind Mapping Series:
    1. Brain Storming with Mind Mapping - Illustrated with Future of Singapore
    2. Mind Mapping Made Easy - Follow Your Thoughts & Heart 
    3. Re-Organizing Your Map where Real Learning Starts
    4. Beautifying Your Maps to Create Gestalt - Ease of Understanding
    5. Guided by Templates - Fast and Secured Problem Solving
    6. Expansion of Existing Map to Capture More Knowledge
    Lim Liat copyrighted June 2011

    03 June 2011

    Mind Mapping Made Easy - Follow Your Thoughts & Heart

    Continuing from Brain Storming with Mind Mapping - Illustrated with the Future of Singapore.

    It is always worthwhile to go back to the very basic and see we can improve and shorten the way we acquire mastery in a particular subject.

    I want to share about mind-mapping using a software tool like freemind. See mind tools for a list of some of the software.

    Using a software version of mind-mapping is much better than the paper version. You will never run out of paper and you are never afraid of changes. These two main problems caused a lot of people to giving up on mind-mapping even though they acquired the skills in their school days.

    Here is my list of tips:

    Stage 1 Start with a Central Idea and Just Go for it

    1. Begin with Some Main Theme
    Just jot down what is your main issue you are thinking off. Please note that you don't need to worry about coming out with the perfect wordings. Just type in what you think is best for the moment. You can change the wording and you can even demote it, yes, demote it from main theme to just a branch topic later. Hence I intentionally insert the word 'some' showing that you can change it whenever you think you come out with something better latter.

    2. Flow Naturally From Broad to Details
    From the main theme, you put out branches describing more and more details you your thoughts flow. Don't worry about your getting it right the first time. You can re-organize them later. The software allow you to that. Just capture your thoughts as they flow. Even if it does not seem logical, just stick it any where to capture your thoughts.

    3. Be Bold & Free. Just put your ideas down.
    Don't even worry about whether you got the parent-child classification right. We can re-arrange them later.

    This is especially true when you are following a train of thoughts and then suddenly think of another. Feel free to break out from the train and start another one. You can go back to revisit the earlier trains of thoughts later.

    The principle is simple - when the idea-juice is flowing, don't interrupt the flow. Just keep it flowing. The more you write down, the happier you get and you will think of more. After some time, we will come to stage of needing a break, this is then you take a break and go into the next stage of Reflection and Reorganization.

    4. Use Few Words for Each Idea
    To capture quickly and to see quickly, use as few words as possible to describe your concept. Drop all unnecessary the, a, words. Use noun or verb as you like. If you fill you need to write longer sentences to minimize misunderstanding later, do so now. Write the long sentences down too. There is a good place to handle such long sentences later. But capturing it now is more important.

    5. Expand in Depth or Width in any order
    There is no specific rule or order to follow. You can go wide first and then go in depth any particular branch or go in depth first and then by width as your ideas flow. Be flexible. Some time width and some time depth.

    When you think you have recorded all your ideas and it it time to take a break. Have it now and come back 10-20 mins later to see how we can organize  them.

    Here is the mind-map for what we have and shall be covering in future posts. You would notice that I actually write this from my mind-map. Actually, I tried to write as usual thinking it is only a short post, but after a while I feel I need to organize my thoughts and fall back to a mind-map. I work on the map to get my thoughts better organized and then re-write this post following from my finalized map.

    01 June 2011

    Brain Storming with Mind Mapping - Illustrated with Future of Singapore

    Former Minister George Yeo posted on his FaceBook page a photo of the result of a Brain Storming Session with some youth on the "Future Possibilities of Singapore".  The photo is perspective adjusted and shown below:

    I posted a comment that the Brain Storming could be improved by using Mind-Mapping software for ease of capture of ideas, for organization, and for follow-up in the future. It is immediately available for distribution saving the need for an extra to transcribe, polishing the work, into another format, likely in a word file.

    Being not a member of the discussion, I can only take a guess as to what the text means, and group some with the colors used. Shown here is my mind-map version of the photo. I may not be correct in the grouping, but the ideas can easily be dragged and dropped to be regrouped.

    This electronic mind-map version provides greater ease of extension as you will never run out of paper! Greater ease of grouping topics and adding topics.  It is also quite obvious from reading the map as to where we could do more work.

    You can see that Powerpoint, Word are just output tools and provides no help in your thinking. To extend your mind, use the proper tools. See mind extender - the killer apps after office.

    There are many FOC mind mapping software available. The recommended are Freemind, Freeplane, Xmind. And if you want refinement into Concept Mapping, then there are Cmap and VUE. The above mindmap is from Mindmanager from Mindjet (need to pay). A super-duper more than mind-mapping software written by fellow Singaporean is Axon - It is an Ideas Processor. You can paint your ideas and then simulate, generate and compute, etc.

    Here the mind-map is different software. It is good to know that they can accept the format of the more popular mind mapping software like Freemind and MindManager.

     In Xmind:

    Freemind or Freeplane:

    How to Start to Do Mind Mapping?
    If you are convinced that you want to give mind-mapping a try, then follow me. Firstly, go to mind tools and install a FOC mind map software. If you don't know which one, just pick Freemind/Freeplane. We will use them for our posts.

    The What and How of Mind Mapping Series:
    1. Brain Storming with Mind Mapping - Illustrated with Future of Singapore
    2. Mind Mapping Made Easy - Follow Your Thoughts & Heart 
    3. Re-Organizing Your Map where Real Learning Starts
    4. Beautifying Your Maps to Create Gestalt - Ease of Understanding
    5. Guided by Templates - Fast and Secured Problem Solving
    6. Expansion of Existing Map to Capture More Knowledge
    Lim Liat Copyrighted June 2011.