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:


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.