22 September 2015

Nine Keys to Management Excellence - Gui Gu Zi's Chapter 12 Addendum

What is management? What makes good management? Management is about doing things rightly, getting things under control and making sure there is no surprises. Any surprises is an indication of something is beyond the control of management. If the management forecast a 10% growth in sales, and the actual growth is 30%, is a good surprise. But it also shows the failure of management. There is much more to telling the manager to be wise and loving. Gui Gu Zi Chapter 12 Addendum gives us nine keys, and show us the ways, to better management.
Here is the mind-map that show the nine keys with additional explanation:
1 Position 位- Secured, Steady, Upright & Calm

Know your job (position) well. Be secured and make changes steadily. Be upright and fair in the way you treat people and make decisions. Always remain calm in face of any disruptions.  The original Chinese text and the translation are given below.

    + 安徐正静,
    Secured, Steady-change, Upright and Calm.
    + 其被节先肉。
    Treat others with love and self-control and it will bring abundance.
    + 善与而不静,虚心平意以待倾损。
    Be good at giving and networking. If unrest happen, be ever ready to deal with that disruption or loss with humility, fairness & calmness.

2 Brightness 明- Information flows to you.
How can one be wise? The best way is to make sure you have all the information, then you will not be swayed by biased and partial information. So, make use of all the eyes, ears and heart (judgment of intents) of the staff and technology that you have. Let the information flow to you automatically.
Here are the original text:

    + 目贵明,耳贵聪,心贵智。
    Eyes are to see brightly/sharply. Ears are to hear clearly.
    Heart is to know wisely. (understanding the intentions and love)
    + 以天下之目视者,则无不见;
    Using the eyes of everyone, then nothing cannot be seen.
    + 以天下之耳听者,则无不闻;
    Using the ears of everyone, then nothing could not be heard.
    + 以天下之心思虑者,则无不知;
    Using the heart of everyone to think, then nothing could not be known.
    + 辐辏并进,则明不可塞。
    All the information flow to the center like the spokes of a wheel, then discernment cannot be blocked.

3 Gaining 德 Advices
How do you motivate people to willingly come forward to offer you information and advices? It is by accepting and implementing the their suggestions or advices. However, you must be discerning to know what are good and what are bad advices. Don't just reject or accept but evaluate calmly & objectively.

    + 德之术曰:勿坚而拒之,许之则防守,拒之则闭塞。
    Don't insist on rejecting it. If accept it then defend it.
    Rejection results in no suggestions but isolation.

    + 高山仰之可极,深渊度之可测,神明之德术正静,其莫之极。
    The top of high mountain can be seen.
    The depth of deep water can be measured.
    The wisdom of the gods are righteousness and calmness where there are no limits.

4 Rewards 赏 with Integrity
Promote trustworthiness by keeping promises of rewards & punishing fairly. In addition, if you have built your reputation (see 9th Key below too) of integrity and fairness, then you will not be afraid of slandering by others. Much office politics can be avoided.

    + 用赏贵信,用刑贵正。
    Rewards must be trustworthy.     Punishment must be fair
    + 赏赐贵信,必验而目之所闻见,其所不闻见者,莫不谙化矣。
    The giving of rewards are trustingly fulfilled. Let such testimonies be seen and heard. So that those who have not the first hand experience will be influenced too
    + 诚畅于天下神明,而况奸者干君。
    Let your integrity be known throughout the world.
    Then you will not be afraid of slandering by evil people to the king.

5 Seeking 问 to gain Understanding
To gain understanding of anything, one must be willing to ask and to do a thorough job of investigation. Here are the factors to gain comprehensive understandings:  Seasons, Position, People, Direction, Super&Sub-system, Future & Past, Surrounding. cf 5W1H, TRIZ 9-windows

    + 一曰天之,二曰地之,三曰人之;
    Consider the seasonal timing (When),
    the terrain/positional advantages(Where),
    the harmony of the people(Who,Whom),
    + 四方上下,左右前后,荧惑之处安在。
    the direction of north,south,east,west, up and down(super system and sub-systems),
    left & right(surrounding, less & more important), front & back(past & future), where are the problems and doubts that we not comfortable with?

6 Right Principles 因- Find Root Cause & Institutionalize them.
Evaluate and then Rewards the good and punishes the evil.

    + 心为九穷之治,君为五官之长。
    Heart is the root of healing for the body.
    King is the ruler of all the ministers. (Find the root causes & the Indian Chief)
    + 为善者,君与之赏;为非者,君与之罚。
    Those who do good, the king rewards them.
    Those who do evil, the king punishes them.
    + 君因其所以求,因与之,则不劳。
    The king deals with them according to their needs and performance.
    Following such a principle will not be tiring(efficient & effective).
    + 圣人用之,故能赏之。因之循理,故能长久。
    The sages use it and hence can appreciate it.
    Because it is reasonable/rational, hence it can last long.

7 Thorough 周 & Connected to the outside world
Be thorough and opened to manage well with understanding.

    + 人主不可不周;人主不周,则群臣生乱,家于其无常也,
    The leader of people must have prudence and thoroughness. If he is not thorough and careful, then there will be chaos/confusion among his officers and put the house in disorder.
    The in and out are not connected (isolation), then who can know what are happening. Open and close are not done properly(the analysis is bad) and the root cause cannot be know.

8 Honor 恭 Observation - Investigate & root out evil
Observe and detect the hidden evil. Train your eyes, ears & discernment.

    + 一曰长目,二曰飞耳,三曰树明。
    First is telescopic and microscopic eyesight.
    Second is powerful hearing to hear any minute noises.
    Third is clarity and discerning wisdom.

    Able to see thousands of miles away, every little hidden things, is called identifying all the evils. Then no changes in the dark cannot be known.

9 Reputation 名 of Uprightness - Protect your Brands
Reputation comes from your actions, not empty talks.

    + 循名而为贵,安而完,名实相生,反相为情,故曰名当则生于实,
    Following your reputation/brand/name is important. It brings stability and completeness. Name and the reality mutually support give rise to each other and mutually tied up in close relationship. Hence, right reputation comes from real commensurate actions.
    + 实 生于理,理生于名实之德,德生于和,和生于当。
    Reality comes from reasoning. Reasoning come from the the virtue of real reputation. Reputation comes from harmony. Harmony comes from the being just right (right fit).

In this fast changing VUCAD (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, Deceptive) world,  the greatest danger is to listen to the wrong people (those villain that want to sabotage us) and getting the wrong information. Not only we must know our job well, we must be humble and open to use technology and to motivate people to willingly give us the information and suggestions. We must build up our reputation for humilty, uprightness, fairness, trustworthiness to overcome the slanderings and get true feedbacks. We must be thorough in our investigations, objective and calm in the midst of disruptions, and then we can decide wisely to make the right decisions. We will not be easily caught surprises again.

Lim Liat (c) 22 Sep 2015

Previous:Wise Decision Making with Gui Gu Zi Chapter 11
First: The Original Spin Doctor - Gui Gu Zi on Open & Close

More On Strategy: V Sun Zi and Other Strategists(Gui Gu Zi)
More on Chinese Wisdom: Ancient Chinese Wisdom

12 September 2015

Conclusions from the Results of Singapore's GE2015

The result of the recently completed Singapore General Election 2015 shocked many people, especially the oppositions who had seen great attendances at their rallies and waves of support in the social media. The ruling PAP's popular votes went up from 60% in 2011 to 70% in 2015. They even won back a lost seat in Ponggol East and narrowed the gap to less than 1% against the opposition A-team in Aljunied GRC with their rookies.  What can we learned from such a shocking election? Here are my conclusions.
Conclusions from the Results of GE2015

1. Statistics is a powerful tools - Use it. 
This method have been used in past elections. But this time, the Election Department make it publicly available. The final results did not differ much from the sample results. You can actually go to sleep earlier as the predicted election result (the winners and losers, the % differ by less than 2%) matched the final result.

2. The winning formula is "Let the feet do the talking".
Those who spent more time, not just 9 days, but years, in connecting and serving the people win. e.g. TPL, Sitoh etc. Those who spend about a year or less, can gain some additioinal support, but not overcome the strong holds of the opposition eg. hougang, Aljunied.

The PAP went back to their root of connecting and working with the people whereas WP adopted the past PAP way. That was given by a commentator in Channel News Asia.

3. Other Contributing Factors:
such as Appreciation of LKY, SG50, Pioneer Generation Package, etc may help but I think the key is still point 2 spend years in doing the walking and not just talking.

4. What is the job of an MP?
The job of an MP is not just respresenting the people. That is too vague. It is connecting and serving the people in the short term and more importantly drawing up laws and policies that better the lives for the people in the future. The help that mp can give his residents in the short term can often be hindered by the policies. With better laws and policies that bring in the jobs, increasing the standards of living, the wealth to care for the needy etc, there may be less needs from the residents. This is what a Korean serial drama, "The Assembly Man", said. The job of an MP is to legistrate the right laws and policies for the people.

5. It is NOT over yet. It is the Start!
The election is not over. It is but the start. For the winners, they have to deliver their promises and gain the trust that the people have given them. For the losers, it is the starting point to lay the work for winning back.

6. The Check & Balance.
The check and balance for the ruling party is not just the existence of opposition parties. It is also through participating and giving feedback in all possibe ways .. in community work, volunteering services and even through social media tc.

And there is one more to come, the election of President, who holds the key to the national reserves and can say No. Some have already been laying the foundation work for such an election.

Finally, to all the winners, show the people that you truly deserve the people's trust. There are actually no losers but learners who will learn, work and to come back stronger to the challenge.

Lim Liat (c) 12 Sep 2015

03 September 2015

A Leader Holds Things in Balance and Reject Not - DaoDeJing 28

Effective and powerful leadership does not only do one thing extremely well. Rather, it holds opposite demands in balance and increase the pie for the sharing. Lao Zi uses analogies of rivers and valleys to highlight the attributes of great leaders. There are 6 attributes we can learn from Loa Zi.
Time really flies. I checked up where I left off in translating Lao Zi's Dao De Jing for this blog readers. It was July 2014 and now it is Sep 2015. Slightly more than a year has passed since I felt like taking a short break from the translation to have fresh and better ideas. Now I'm back to continue the work. Here is on DaoDeJing Chapter 28.

The mind-map gives the details:
The Six Lessons for Effective Leadership:

  1. Be creative and also nurturing - innovate and refine - start and sustain
  2. Know what to show and what to hide/silence (the white and the black) and when too.
  3. Know the glory and the shame. Seek glory without commiting shameful acts.
  4. Be inclusive, take in all the diversity and put them to good use, be balance.
    Synergy is not white and black becoming grey. It is white and black keeping their color but rather co-ordinating and complementing each other to form patterns giving beauty and meaning. eg. the writings of black ink on white paper.
  5. Be like rivers and valleys the consolidate the diverisity leading to abundance
  6. Be authentic, be sincere. keep moral virtues.

Lim Liat (c) 3 Sep 2015