23 September 2011

Success Principles - Version 5

Following on Success Principles from Bible, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc, I suddenly recalled Stephen Covey's "7 Habits for Effective People".  He later added a 8th habit "Finding your voice and help others to find theirs". 'Finding your voice' needs explanation. It is about discovering your talents and your unique purpose of life, contributing and making the best out of it. It is about the significance and meaningfulness of your life. After you have found and developed yours, you are to help others to find and achieve significance as well. This is very much like Confucius definition of Love - 夫仁者,己欲立而立人,己欲达而达人. Love or Compassion or Empathy is about wanting others to success and stand like our desires too or more directly, helping others to success as we have.

So, below is the updated mind-map. I did some re-organization of the map and changed some main topic name to make them clearer. This is to be encouraged in mind-mapping. As new information comes in, we want to refactor our existing map to take them in. In the process, we refine and enlarge our existing knowledge. Come to think of it, I should have kept copies of my earlier efforts to show the progression. I will try to find them.

For the latest version 8 go to  Success Principles from Li Ka Shing Quotes.

22 September 2011

Success Principles from Bible, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc

I have been making changes to the success principles mind-map to incorporate more principles from others. The mind-map was first posted in Kingdom Principles Discussion 03 The Golden Rule for Business.

Here is the latest with what I learned from the Bible. I have been a proponent for the use of mind-map as a good framework to organize our knowledge and as a reservoir for storing our growth in knowledge and hopefully resulting in greater wisdom, better decision making and better life for us.

Back to the mind-map:

Will add in Ancient Chinese Wisdom in future. But expect to see many similarities. One of the conclusion that can be drawn is precisely this - the principles for success are common.

The latest version can be found at Success Principles from Li Ka Shing Quotes

21 September 2011

Thinking Framework 3 - Necessary and Sufficient

I have covered two thinking frameworks in the past. Namely, The Basic Thinking Framework 5W1H and Yin-Yang Thinking Framework – Innovative and Critical.

Here is the third one – Necessary and Sufficient Conditions.

We can have the following 4 combinations:
  1. not necessary and insufficient – need to find out the influencing factors.
  2. necessary and insufficient – the common error committed. e.g. why doesn’t by Quality program brings me more business?
  3. not necessary and sufficient – is this possible?
  4. necessary and sufficient – the best case.
It is important to classify any factor that affect an outcome into a necessary or a sufficient factor.

Herzberg’s  2 Factor Theory
The best illustration is given by Herzberg’s  2 Factor Theory on Job satisfaction. He classified factors into two main group of Hygiene and Motivation. Hygiene factors are those that their absence will cause dissatisfaction but their presence will not result in satisfaction. Motivation factors are those that their absence will cause dissatisfaction and their presence will cause satisfaction (Of course, there are critics that say satisfaction does not lead to motivation).

The factors are:
Hygiene Factors
Leading to Dissatisfaction
Leading to Satisfaction
  • Company policy
  • Supervision
  • Relationship w/Boss
  • Work conditions
  • Salary
  • Relationship w/Peers
  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Work itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Growth

The lesson is that some factor are necessary but insufficient.

We also need to know that too much of a factor will result in less motivation according to the law of decreasing marginal returns. But in some cases, the law of increasing marginal returns will kick in such as the more expensive a product is, the greater the increasing demand!

Here is a chart to show the refinement in our thinking. There is a threshold that the factor need to cross in order to becoming motivating.

Multiple Factors - Vector Thinking
We are not restricted to looking at a single factor, such as price, but a combination of factors, forming a vector, as a competitive advantage against our competitor. If I can't compete on price, then I must offer my customer some thing else that he also desire or even more, such as timeliness or greater flexibility or greater reliability etc.  Don't think about just one factor, have a combination of factors to make up a good vector offering.

BBH China MD Christine Ng said that "relationship GuanXi 关系" alone did not work in China anymore (at least among the leading companies that she was working with). She said you need Relationship+, i.e. the capability. In short, you need both, know who and know how, to win business in China.

20 September 2011

Gentleman and Villain According to Confucius

Confucius spent his life trying very hard to educate people about being good and the officials about good governing. Implicit in this effort is the existence of good and bad behavior, good and bad people, who are described as Gentleman 君子 and Villain 小人.

In any organization, we will find such people around and give us an understanding of the problems that we are facing. Here a summary list, in mind map format, of what Confucius says about Gentleman and Villain. If you find any more, please add them to the list.

The first thing we need to learn is that there are gentlemen and villains in this world and even in your organization and social network.

The second thing is that we need to discern who is who. 
Who is the gentleman and who is the villain. Jesus Christ tells us to go by their fruit. Confucius tells us to observe whether what they do matches up with what they say. St. Paul in his letters tells us much about these two groups of people as well.

The third and more challenging question is how can one change from being a Villain to a Gentleman. 
Is this possible? Confucius believed it can be done but concluded that it was very difficult for some. Jesus Christ tells us that knowing the truth will set us free. Hence, both of them spend their life teaching the Truth. Man is made up of body, mind, and spirit (heart at least). We need to address the three areas - feed the body, mind, and spirit. Believe in the wrong thing binds people (e.g. to be rich, one must be like a wolf, ruthless, and be selfish). We need to work on the hurts and also the inner spirit. There are things beyond us and we need the spiritual dimension to help transform people.

Nonetheless, there are things which we can learn and apply to bring a good result.

For more Ancient Chinese Wisdom on knowing people and employing them. Please read the posts below:

Lim Liat copyrighted 20 Sep 2011

18 September 2011

Yin-Yang Thinking Framework - Building Upon the Great Teaching

My brother sent me an email on
"The Way to True Happiness in Life---8 Chinese Words"

Translated: Forget about oneself, handle things with humility and gentleness (as if empty).
The Illustration



人生如何体验?只有一个办法,就是指出其自相矛盾. 请参考 傅佩荣的

Translation (in meaning only):
When on a boat crossing a river, you are hit by a boat. If the boat is empty, we will not be angry if even we are bad temper. However, if there is a person on the boat, we will break out with hurting words.
So, if only we can stay with this concept of 'empty boat' to handle things in life, we will never have a fight with another. This is about forgetting oneself, or our self-interests.

Because of the existence of me, there is, therefore, a concurrent existence of you. Between you and me, there always will be a comparison of strong and weak, good and bad, success and failure. If we are not such self-aware and not insistence having my way, then we can make ourselves as if non-existence, no form nor shape, then we can meet up with whatever situations and be at peace, and be joyful with little things such as seeing fishes and share their joy of swimming freely.

How cane will experience life? There is only one method. That is to point out the contradictions.

The question I had was whether I can build on this and discover other things.

I recalled the I-Ching Yin-Yang thinking framework. See Yin-Yang Thinking Framework - Innovative and Critical So, I will like to apply it and try it out.

Here is the Chinese Version:

如果我们用华人易经阴阳的思考法, 那我们会这样来想:
1. 如果'我'是阳. 我的对比不是'无我' 而是 '他人' 或简短的 '他'
2. 那么更深一层的思考是 要想到'他人'的利益或好处.
3. 把'船' 改成 '车' 来用到现今的时代. 那我们的故事可以这样:
4. 在繁忙的马路上, 被别人的车撞上, 如果是救伤车, 里面还有病人, 我们就不会很生气. 我们会尽快解决, 或者甚至算了, 叫他们快走.
5. 顾及他人, 损己利人 是易经 41 损卦的教导.  助人为快乐之本也!

Application of Yin-Yang Thinking Framework
  1. We find the two poles. The opposite of 'I' is not "no I" but 'others' or at least 'Him'. 
  2. So, we do not just forget about our own benefits, we should think about the benefits of him or others.
  3. We update the means of transport from boat to car. 
  4. In a busy traffic, if we are hit by a car, we will be upset. But if we are hit by an Ambulance carrying a sick person in an emergency, we will want to quickly settle the issue and get the ambulance on its way. We may even forget about the damage to our car and wave the Ambulance off.
  5. The principle of happiness in life becomes "Caring for Others. Taking from Oneself and Benefiting Others". This is, in fact, the teaching of I-Ching Hexagram 41損 Decrease – Give, Invest, Less is Better(need to register). Or see Less is More 41損 Decrease' It is a common proverb that helping others bring joy to oneself.
If you are a Christian, then the secret of happiness is "from Me to Him". Focusing on Him, Jesus Christ, our Savior, will bring joy to our heart. We have the famous hymn, "With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm!".  Most of the problems and suffering in our life is the focus we have on ourselves - our needs, our pride, our face and our hurt. True joy is found is shifting our focus "from me to Him"!

Lim Liat copyrighted 18 Sep 2011.

15 September 2011

Understanding Chinese Mindset of Personal Relationship and Face

The rise of the popularity of books like Dan Ariely's 'Predictably Irrational' and Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubne, tell us the increasing importance of non-economic factors such as social norms and feelings are getting noticed in decision making. It is not a purely rational world after all. 

Such a concept of decision making by rational and feelings is not new at all to the Chinese. In fact, it is ancient Chinese. Chinese has always stick to the integrative and dynamic balanced mindset of yin-yang ( see Yin-Yang Thinking Framework - Innovative and Critical). On the one end, it is rational 理. On the other end it is emotional/feeling/relationship 情.

Any good decision must be 合情合理 adhere to feelings/social and to reasons. With increasing stress on following the government legal systems, then a good decision must be 合情合理合法 adhering to social feelings, reasons and laws.

The Power and Danger of Human Relationship 人情
One of the key strength of Chinese Relationship is the human or personal relationship. Personal Relationship is built by doing things, giving favors 交情, and sometime saving the life 恩情 of one another. The recipient of the favors, gift or service owed the giver a favor that need to be repaid in future. The recipient is in some way beholden to the giver. The giver has a powerful influence on the recipient.

This relationship favor cannot be measured in economic terms and get its power from the strength of the moral obligation. One of the Chinese virtue is about always remembering the giver of life (such as our parents who give birth to us) and other benefits. A famous phrase is "饮水思源" When drinking water one must remember the source. Favors and benefits must be repaid to the giver when the opportunity arises in future.

Hence, the influencing power of person can be increased by doing service and giving favors to many people. In this case, we increase the wealth of favors that others owe us. Such relationship wealth can be exercised at proper time to get things done.

In Chinese society, very often, the relationship obligation 人情债 is stronger than rational reasoning. In the Eastern Culture, not just the Chinese, there is always a struggle between relationship 亲情 and righteous justice 正义. Do I value my family relationship or friendship more than righteousness, justice or even the laws. Given a choice, Chinese tends to side his own relatives and friends. He cite another principle, principle of loyalty and faithfulness to one relative and friends in defense. Hence, Sage like Mencius, praise people who place righteousness more than relationship, 大义灭亲.

The Power of Face 面子 or 颜面 - Personal Brand
Another related concept that is powerful is Giving Face 给面子 or Saving Face 保住面子. Chinese concept of face is similar to the western concept of "Brand", except that in this case, it is personal brand rather than product brand.

Having Face 有面子 is the respect and praise given by others. It comes from making good contribution to the community, achieving something great and bring glory to community, or more frequently, by doing service and giving favors to many people. Many personal relationships 多人情 will add up to give a good face or a good brand. A person with a Good Face will have power over many people. Hence, if you need help from a person who you have no relationship, you may approach a person with a Good Face (Brand) who most likely will have personal relationship with that one directly or indirectly. He will give face to the Good Face one and help you.

Face plays an important role in encouraging the practice of moral righteousness (gaining approval and praise) and in prevention of doing evils due to loss of face (shame from doing evil). 

In business, there are likely to be many administrative approvals that you need. You can go by officially. It will eventually be approved but it could take a long long time. To expedite the matter, you need to have personal relationship with the approving official or you need to know someone with a Good Face that the approving official will give face to or owe the personal relationship debt to.

The Misuse and Abuse of Face and Human Relationship - The Misunderstanding
Face and Human Relationships should not be perceived in the bad light of corruptions. Most Good Face and Human Relationships are built in normal time of helping one another and improving effectiveness of community working with one another. Steven Covey talked about the speed and productivity of trust. Face and Relationships are about trust. But because of the Power of such relationships, some may misuse and abuse them to break the laws. Breaking the laws, such as corruption, is not about building personal relationship or building Face (Brand). It is just breaking the laws. The intention and motivation are different.

Personal Network is Strength
Face and Personal Relationship are related to one network of influence. The bigger and stronger the network, the greater is one's influence. Chinese has a saying, 人脉就是钱脉, people network is money network. But the order is different, we don't pursue money for money sake. We build personal relationship network and Face (Personal Brand) by helping others and contributing to the community. The wealth comes from the network strength later.

Hope this help you in understanding the Chinese Mindset better.

Lim Liat copyrighted 14 Sep 2011