Friday, July 30, 2010

Discover. Passion. Freedom

I had a really great talk with Hong Koon, my publisher, yesterday on passion.

We also touched on many things, from writing with great responsibility, to having a great marriage, and to even living a life that touches people through our words and written text.

The biggest take away was when he encouraged me to write works that have the greatest quality. Works of art that can touch generations after generations. Works like Shakespearean magic; Works that are God-Breathed like the Bible; Works like what many authors are passionate about.

Yes, there may be Best-Selling Authors and there may be Best-Writing Authors, but at the heart of it all, there must be the Author who wants to reach out to people because he yearns to share his knowledge and passion.

In short, passion is what keeps us sane in the mist of madness.

Passion is what keep us, authors, alive.


As Featured On EzineArticles

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leading Effective Teams-Maintain Your Character

If your team doesn't trust you, you can be rest assured that you would not have a team for long. One of the most important reasons for why teams stick together with their leaders would be because they feel that their leaders exhibit a high moral behaviour.
These are four ways to maintain your character so that you would be able to lead effective teams.
1. Know Your Ground. Knowing your ground is to know your principles. Knowing your principles means that you know where you stand morally. If you have some form of principles in which you set your lifestyle by, your character would be reflected.
For example, if I had to choose a project leader from two persons, and one was a tri-athlete, and the other was just a normal man in the street, I would immediately pick the sportsman because in order to reach his level of fitness, he would have exhibited discipline. And discipline is a principle.
Do you have some ground rules for yourself so that you know where to draw the line? If you know where the out-of-bound markers are for yourself, you are clearer in setting rules for your team members.
2. Be Trustworthy. Being trustworthy means that people can trust how you behave in the open is how you would behave in the dark.
Jack Neo, a famous Singaporean actor, television host and director was the first filmmaker in Singapore to be honoured with the Public Service Award in 2004. He was also a Cultural Medallion recipient. He managed to assemble a great team of comedians, actors and actresses to touch the lives of many Singaporeans and perhaps even many Asians. However in 2010, his illicit affair with a young girl opened a can of worms and it sent his world crashing down.
His artiste management company of around ten years is now is danger of collapsing because his senior partners want nothing to do with him.
As a leader, if you aren't trustworthy, you really have nothing worthwhile for your team members to follow. If your own family members can't trust you, why should they?
3. Be Reliable. If reliable means that if you agree to do a task, you would do so and not give any reasons not to do it. To lead an effective team, you need to be reliable to delegate the jobs to your team members, and to expect yourself to do more in a shorter time.
I used to have a superior who would always report sick just before a major presentation. We would work together all the way until the day itself, and lo and behold, he would not be present. And there I was, one of the most junior officers trying to get a grip of myself explaining concepts to the general. I must thank that superior though because if not for his absence, I would not have gained the experience in writing this article!
Are you reliable enough for your team members? If they ask you for help, would you agree immediately? What would be the consequence if you were not there for them?
4. Be Transparent. Being transparent really means that you have nothing to hide. Of course there would be certain information that is not privy to your team members. For such circumstances, just tell them that it's a need to know basis. Once your team members know that there is certain information that you are not in a right position to divulge, they will learn appropriately. People are smart. They learn and adapt fast, so don't worry too much.
If you are a transparent leader, you would not hesitate to share your success and failures as you would understand them to be lessons. Similarly, you would enforce the same for your team so that all would learn from each other.
Are you able to treat all failures as feedback and share these with your team members?
In summary, these four ways are just the tip of the ice berg in the never-ending quest of leadership learning. Use them appropriately and you would first see changes in yourself, and then in others.

As Featured On EzineArticles

Monday, July 26, 2010

Leading Effective Teams - Caring for Them

As you sign on that dotted line of the latest business contract with your Mont Blanc pen, on yet another successful deal, you smile to yourself and try to enjoy the sweet taste of success. Tastes good, doesn't it?
And you would have accomplished it with the great team that you have assembled. Now, leading effective teams take time and the reward is really sweet, especially when you had spent time to nurture your team. Watching them grow from strength to strength and achieving extraordinary results is one of the most satisfying feelings that you can ever have.

These are three ways to show care to your team members, so that you would be able to lead effective teams.
1. Respect Them. Respect is earned. It cannot be commanded and demanded. If anyone salutes you because you demand it, you are not a true leader. You must first learn to respect your team members, and then they would in turn respect you. In addition, respect builds commitment and trust towards each other.
I know of a CEO who would often engage his staff on a personal level. He would get the Human Resource department to organise birthday celebrations for his staff on a monthly basis. He would even text them personally on the short-messaging service (SMS) once in a while to enquire their well being!
So do you talk to your team members openly and frequently? Do you genuinely care for their well being? How do you show your care?

2. Fight for Their Rights and They Would Fight For You. If you fight for their benefits and rights, chances are many of your team members would remember this. There are many times that you as a leader could defend the interests of your members. Do note that this is not defending them blindly, but rather to defend them because they are your team members. If they had done something wrong, then admonish or chide them separately, and not in front of a senior leader. They would learn to appreciate your flexibility and be loyal to you.
A friend who was offered a higher pay job and regional head appointment turned it down as he felt that he was indebted to his current superior who had fought tooth and nail for him to be promoted to where he was right now. While I wouldn't comment on the difference in salary scale, I felt that it was very admirable of him. His superior had obviously influenced him positively.
And how much are you willing to sacrifice your time for your team? Are you able to fight for the interests of your team?

3. Shared and Meaningful Purpose. Many team members would always ask, "What's in it for me?" They want to know why it's so worthwhile for them to work for you. Hence the very reason for the existence of the team becomes the bedrock of the team and organisation. It also becomes the cementing agent that binds everyone together, as they would have common shared values.
Japanese workers in the past used to believe that their employer is for life. However, the younger generation now believe in working for their benefit. They do not want to be tied down to anyone. Hence they take on multiple jobs to learn more and to interact with more people. Their beliefs are therefore very different from their parents. If you are a leader belonging to a previous generation, you would thus need to gain insights into their thinking. And if you are a leader belonging to the current generation of yuppies, you would need to gain their trust by having shared values common to them. These actions would then reflect a deeper commitment by your team members because you show that you care about them.
Do you have common shared values for your team? Is it aligned to their beliefs? Can you reach out to those younger than you?

In summary, these three ways are some ways for you to learn in the never-ending quest of leadership management. Use them appropriately and you would first see changes in yourself, and then in others.

As Featured On EzineArticles

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Effective Business Teams-How Diamonds Can Help

Everyone likes to be successful and to be in a winning team. However success takes time and as a leader, you must be prepared to put in a lot of work to build the right foundation for your winning team.
If you have just assembled a team, it is like graphite or pencil lead, soft and breakable because this is the start stage. Theoretically speaking, graphite could metamorphose into diamonds with extreme pressure and heat.
Therefore your team has the potential to also produce sparkling results like diamonds with appropriate pressure. You would then be able to unravel a shiny attractive and desirable diamond with perfect colour, cutting, clarity and carat.
To find out how diamonds can help you build an effective business team, you would just have to read on.

1. Colour. Diamonds within the colourless range are the most rare and valuable of all the colours.
Just like the colourless diamond, your team should be colourless. If your team members are able to offer honest and constructive feedback to one another without fear, you would have built the basic foundation of transparency.
2. Cut. The cut of a diamond does not refer to only its shape, but how effectively the stone can reflect light back to your eye. A well-cut diamond will appear brilliant and fiery; while poorly cut stones can appear dark and lifeless, regardless of colour or clarity.
Just like the reflective diamond that went through the vigorous process of polishing and cutting by its maker, its end result would be that of sheer reflective brilliance.
Your team must thus be able to go through all these external pressures as well as internal pressure. Legal Laws, uncooperative clients, demanding work schedules, and all these would exact a toll on the team. But if you can treat all these problems as gifts, then everyday would be Christmas.
So do not wish for the problems to go away, but rather wish that your team and you were better in terms of skills and knowledge to overcome it.
3. Clarity. Clarity is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond or other gemstone. A perfect stone with perfect clarity--clearness--is rare, and most flaws that do exist in jewellery grade diamonds cannot be seen without looking at stones through a jeweller's magnifying loupe.
And just like that rare perfect stone, you should not crack your head to develop a fully perfect team. Once you accept that there would always be flaws in a team, you are able to build on these, as a good team is one which leverages on each other strengths and improve each other weaknesses.
4. Carat. Carat is a measure of weight. You could say that the bigger the diamond, the heavier and bigger the carat.
Just like the diamond that is of optimum size and weight, the products that you create together with your team must be optimum for the market. Too small or unnoticeable, and the products would be mistaken for yet another one in the market. Too big or expensive, and you would not appeal to the masses, but only to the most ostentatious crowd.
Always remember that service for the mass leads to greatness. That would enable your goods and services to gain enough ground support and finally enough momentum to sustain itself for the future.

In summary, your team is a reflection of yourself. When you take them under your wings to nurture them, it is always good to understand each team member, and have clear and specific goals set aside for them. This is the sparkling diamond-like quality of a true leader.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Learning Through My Baby's Eyes

It had rained heavily the whole day, and by the time the rainfall tricked to a slow drizzle, it was last light. I really wanted to take my baby girl out for a stroll, so I carried her and brought her down to the barbeque pit area of my house to show her around.

She stared at the leaves of the bamboo plant, and was absolutely fascinated with the water dripping off the thin bamboo leaves. As I touched each leaf, the drop of water that had formed in each leaf fell magically to the ground. She squealed in delight. Such simple things in life thrilled her!

I then thought if it was possible to always be there to watch her grow during every stage of her life? 

I want that freedom of time to do so.
I want that freedom to enjoy time with my loved ones.

I want that freedom of mind to enjoy time without having to worry about finance and health.

Then I smiled at her. Cause I realised that I've started to build my pipelines that will enable me to do all these.

And I can see it in the near future.

Have you? :)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Learn to Share and You would Gain More in Return.

After church service last night, I listened to the teachings and it inspired me to share with all on this. Enjoy.

Nick opened his eyes and was surprised to see a figure with bright lights surrounding it, standing in front of him. Was he in heaven?

"Don't be afraid, Nick. I'm your Angel and I'm here to show you a vision"

Angel brought Nick to a big wooden door and gently pushed it open.

It was a big banquet hall with delectable and sumptuous food laid before the guests. However there was only ONE available long wooden spoon that the guests could use to feed themselves. However, every guest in the hall looked scrawny and ravenous. They were also fighting aggressively for that one spoon so that the winner can use it to feed himself. It seemed strange that they couldn't just reach out to grab the food to feed themselves.

Nick was puzzled, and asked Angel, why this was so. Angel shook his head and merely nudged Nick to proceed. He then closed the door and led Nick to the next.

As the next door was opened, Nick could see that this was exactly the same banquet hall with delectable and great food laid before the guests. There was also only ONE available long wooden spoon for the guests. However the only difference was that the guests in the hall looked very healthy and well fed. There were happy faces all around and they were all aglow with laughter and joy.

Nick was puzzled and asked his Angel for the reason.

Angel looked at Nick with love in his eyes and replied, "Because they fed each other with that one spoon."

Nick stood there silently and Angel smiled and added,"Learn to share, and you gain more in return. Because it's in giving first that you'd receive."

Moral of the Story
This is the same with many things in life. Many of us think that we should get the first bite of the pie and all knowledge should be retained for ourselves.

It takes a more discerning mindset to understand that it's by sharing that you gain more.

Essentially, it's the sharing of knowledge that I'm focusing in this posting. Once you learn how to share with knowledge of your expertise with others, they would benefit and you would too.

After all, success is like a library. Everything you ever wanted to know and learn about success is out there. Once someone tells you where it is, all you have to do is to follow and learn.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

My First Posting to Ezine Articles

Today, I submitted my first article on Effective Business Teams to Ezine Articles. Hope they would publish it. I aim to write more than 25 articles over the year so that I can establish more credibility in my writing pipeline.

I was quite intrigued by this article, ,when I read it about a year ago, and it inspired me to write a similar one addressing it to my brother and his girlfriend. They were enroute to starting a business together, and I wanted to guide them on what it took to build a good team.

A year has passed, and I finally decided to post an edited version of what I wrote to them, to Ezine Articles.

So once it's up and published, I would show it to all in this blog again.

Incidentally, the article was written and sent, also to align with my latest news that my first manuscript for "The 4Fs of Leadership" had been positively reviewed and that the publisher is now thinking to publish it.

It has taken me about 4 months to write that book and I have more plans to come up with more books. So stay tuned world!