Corporate Innovation Not A Department

Corporate innovation is an important feature in large organizations. I wouldn’t suggest it to be a corporate function or division or department as it will create another layer or compartment; bureaucratic and adds extra cost to the company.

I think corporate innovation should be an embedded strategic program cut across divisions. Who should lead? I’ve seen HR doing it, IT doing it and CEO office doing it. Easy way out is CEO office, but I’ve seen CEO has 25 direct reports, how could he adds another? My best bet, corporate innovation mandate should come from the Board as strategic program (with start end period) max 3 years and review every 3-6 months.

Each year is a different “focus” leading towards the objectives and outcomes. Why Board? Because Board changes is a lot less than top management. Besides, Board has greater cohesion between them that can drive management team zand its workforce.

Now, the problem with Board? They lack customers voice and seemingly out of touch of the business realities on the ground. The Board can use corporate innovation to get this mended instantly. Greater customers voices should be heard directly at the Board with wider attention. Let’s get on board. corporateinnovation business relationships #innovation

Brickbats? Please write to donkhairul@gmail.com

Corporate Innovation Champion Is….

In the most innovative and valuable companies in the world, the CIO is the CEO. For innovation to happen, top down & mandated approach has better chance of success. In the meantime, the executive management also marshall the bottom up innovation approach by getting people excited about giving ideas, tweak some process and embrace feedback culture.

When these two strategies in alignment (top down mandate + bottom up excitement), it will eventually creates its own equilibirium and a meeting point. Once a meeting point reached, good to have another round of “workout – GE way” and ask “Where should we go now?”. I can almost guarantee this question when asked sincerely and with gratitude will bring you and your team to next level performance.

Amidst all the BAUs priorities, if at all you want to do it, let’s do it well. innovation #business relationships improvement corporateinnovation success corporatemodel

What Are Personas?

“Personas” is a creative tool you can use to distinctively segment your ideal customers. They are usually fictional that resembles groups and clusters of actual people. Here some definition to help you understand:

“A persona is a representation of a user, typically based off user research and incorporating user goals, needs, and interests.” – www.uxbooth.com

“The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference. These representations should be based on qualitative and some quantitative data.” – www.usability.gov

“Personas represent people that are related to a concept, but are generic so they cover a large number of real people. They also have all of their details specified (e.g., where they’re from, their values and motivations, their job) to help designers empathize with their needs.” – www.openIDEO.com

Here are some samples of “Personas” to get you familiarize with it:

  1. Personas of Users for An Online Video Tool

personas

  1. Personas of Digital Shoppers

Online Personas Infographics 4g

  1. Personas of Facebook Users

Facebook-users-Final2

We can create “Personas” for every business and across industries.

So what are your “Personas”? Try it yourself.

From Khairul’s experiences running Design Thinking workshops and coaching, he found his clients become more imaginative as soon as the “Personas” have been identified.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Design Thinking Workshop & Coaching

 

 

3 Teachable Things and 5 Unteachable Things That Every Leader Should Know

Leadership development is very key in today’s business environment. The leaders are getting younger, leadership cycle is getting shorter and the cost to retain good leaders is getting higher. If you desire to become great leaders, consider this suggestion.

Here are the 3 teachable things on goal setting and behavioural change that highly successful leaders can use to get better at their game (General Goal – Behaviour Desired – If Then Action)

General Goal Behaviour Desired If-Then Action
1. Build better relationships with the sales team to improve sales numbers. Commit one hour per week for lunch with sales team members to get to know them and understand how to motivate and dealing with them. If I am reviewing my weekly schedule on Monday morning, then I will call a sales team member to schedule for a lunch meeting.
2. Become more personally connected to my subordinates. Participate with subordinate one time per week in informal activities to learn more about their personal lives. If I am invited to join the team lunch or birthday celebration, then I will find a way to make time and say yes.
3. Demonstrate strategic thinking. Offer my support or be assertive to critique of proposed strategy and the reasoning behind my position. If a discussion about strategy occurs during executive team meeting, then I will offer my opinion concerning the proposed strategy along with my rationale.

While there are many things we could teach leaders, there are 5 Unteachable things that we can’t. Here are the 5 things, according to my friend, Mr Ridzuan Buasan (Senior Vice President, Talent Management and Organizational Development at Prasarana Malaysia Berhad)

5UnteachableThingsLeaders

  1. Will – defined as the “ability to control your thoughts and actions in order to achieve what you want to do.”
  2. Drive – defined as the “strong desire or need in people.”
  3. Agility – defined as the “ability to move quickly and easily.”
  4. Sincerity – defined as the “act of showing feelings or beliefs of what you really feel or think.”
  5. Passion – defined as the “very strong feeling of love, hatred, anger or enthusiasm.”

Leaders, start teaching while you can because it is the hallmark of super great leaders. Great leaders? Teach!

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Does the Success of Social Entrepreneurs Matter?

Its been bothering me for sometime to pen down this post. Does the success of social entrepreneurs matter? I teach, train and consult companies and start ups on design thinking, management and leadership. Lately the engagement has been around social enterprises (SE). I jaw dropped to learn that SE in Malaysia is growing expansively and there are many social entrepreneurs around. It is a great news and I learn so much about their businesses and most importantly their causes.

socialentrepreneur

I found most social entrepreneurs are driven by their volition to make change. They are change makers. They are the square peg in a round hole. They are the misfits where they can’t settle with seeing broken things, especially societies that are broken apart.

In the words of Otto Scharmer, Professor at MIT and Chairman of MIT Ideas, there are “Disconnects” all around us that are structural. These “Disconnects”, after sometimes somehow gone unsettled. The old way of dealing with change is over, we need to now anticipate change and take it by our hands. Two of the “Disconnects” captured my attention.

“Disconnect between the infinite growth imperative and the finite resources of the planet Earth. The overuse of scarce resources such as soil and water has led to of a third of agricultural land globally.”

“Disconnect between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and well being. Research has shown that higher GDP and higher material consumption doesnt translate to well being.”

I found these “Disconnect” disturbing. There are other 4 which you can find in his book Theory U.

Theory-U

When I met these social entrepreneurs they usually shared their challenges, pain points, constraints, doubts, fears, problems and many more. Some of them even wonder why were they in social enterprises at the 1st place? My answer to them, “How would I know?” Social entrepreneurs are people that wake up every morning telling themselves that “I am going to make a difference in somebody’s life.” At some junction, they sometimes feel their life is more miserable than the people they serve through their enterprises. I listen attentively to most of their sharing. Why would the social entrepreneurs such hardship is their success doesn’t matter to anyone?

In one social enterprise I know, the lady founder has to tolerate with “fussy” homeless families. These families prefer not to join her re-skilling program because they find it hard to follow – “It is tiring” they said. In another social enterprise, the youth founders said they have trained 50 rural areas change agents but only 2 turned up to be change makers, the rest are just passive agents.

Successful-business-man-standing

My question is, does the success of social entrepreneurs matter?

If it matters, why when they face so much challenges they only receive very little help? if it matters, why most corporate leaders are still oblivious to benefits gained? If it matters, how can we collectively ensure the success? If their social enterprises become successful, the impact to the target group is manifold. It makes the world a better place, perhaps.

However, if it doesn’t matter, what is all the buzz about social entrepreneurship? If it doesn’t matter who are going to address the “Disconnects” above? If it doesn’t matter, who is going to look after our future generation? The recent and current generations have used up a lot of the finite resources on Earth.

Now, if the success of social entrepreneurs matter, to whom does it matter? Taking the insights of using design thinking for social innovation, picking the right stakeholders and hit it hard is very important. Yes, we can have tonnes of ideas but if we missed the right target group, the impact is poor. While design thinking as the methodology can help unleash our creative potential, we need more social entrepreneurs to “do” things.

Buildings

Leaders from big business and corporates Malaysia could reach out more to social entrepreneurs and extend hands to improve the success of social entrepreneurs. Don’t wait in the high office for the proposals to come to your desk. They might not because it is gated at your PA table.

If the success of social entrepreneurs matter, we need to humanize their experience and find ways so we can help them cross the “death bridge” successfully and sustainably. Otherwise, all of us need to find a new Earth to exploit, crash and burn.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com 

Turn On Your Headlights

In a coaching session recently I blurted out something that I thought meaningful for top talents and would-be leaders. “Turn on your headlight”. I was coaching a very smart talent and he is in the top talent pool – grooming up to lead a division of few hundreds people. Let’s just call him Saiful.

headlights

A prolific sales person cum product manager, he tops the sales chart for months this year. Last year he won the top sales awards. The clients love him. Without him, his company will lose easily 50% of sales target. He manages the sales department right now and he is very likely to be the best candidate for the divisional head. There is only one challenge, he prefers to be by himself.

His communication has always been one-to-one. Seldom one-to-group (department level) and rarely group-to-group (department to department). As a result people have heard of him but don’t really know him. The top management felt for the divisional head they need someone that are able to do more of one-to-group and more importantly group-to-group. Groups alignment is very important to ensure sustainable revenues.

His feedback to me was “it is me to be by myself”, “I am not the drama type that love the limelight” and “I prefer to be the background person”. My feedforward to him (suggestion) was, turn on your headlight. It is an analogy.

Autobahn at night
Autobahn at night

When we drive on a runway at night usually there will be street lights. We speed up at 110 – 140 km/h with a good vision of what’s in front of us and we could pretty well read up the signages and signboards. But we usually turn on the head light right? Why did we do that since the street lights are already there? The headlights are not for us, the headlights are turned on because we would like others to see us.

Can you imagine someone driving behind you with his / her car headlights off? What comes to mind? Will you pay any attention to it? Turn on your headlights by reaching out to others.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com 

Three Factors Contributing to Professional Growth and Development

Some months ago I ran a short survey on Professional Growth and Development. It was a “lazy” survey where I just published it without much promotion. I wish to only have respondents that are interested to answer the survey. I gave small token in discount vouchers but the desire and “giving back mindset” by the respondents were amazing. They answered because they wanted to share their thoughts. Big hand to them. Running for 1 month, the survey gathered 130 respondents.

The main objective of the survey is to find out factors that contributing to successful Professional Growth and Development for executives and managers. I have yet to published this survey with more details. I only decided to give you some highlights that captured my lazy mind.

Here are some insights on the factors contributing to Professional Growth and Development:

1. Tertiary Education Works

Almost 70% of the respondents confessed that their tertiary education – basic degree help them to gain entry level position. You see, all we need is to enter somewhere first. That’s the goal for a start. This applies to top bracket university graduates as well, if you fail to secure entry level position in the next 6-18 months after graduation, you are going to meet some difficulties (not the end of the world though, just some difficulties).

I recently met several graduates in a workshop that have graduated from 8-26 months from local university. They took science courses such as biomedical, engineering and chemistry. They said they found the job offering mismatched their tertiary education experience hence they ignored those offers. I gave them some advise and asked each of them to write me an essay of any topic they like and together with their CV. I gave them a week and only one reminder, that was before we part ways. One week later, only 1 graduate came back and her essay was solid. She was a graduate with chemistry background.

I told her that while her degree is in science, she could easily adapt to other roles – to gain entry level position. She said, she wasn’t aware that we can “switch”, but that I don’t really want to discuss here. So now she is ready to take up entry level position – to gain experience.

2. Mentors and Coaches? Go Find Them Now!

Next, around 80% of the respondents said that they owed their professional growth and development to mentors and coaches. These people include their managers, bosses, supervisors, leaders, colleagues, nemesis, trainers and friends. These “helpers” come internally and externally on need basis. In other words, these professionals get helped. Somebody took interest of them and shape them to become successful. I believe this is true. I am personally a product of mentors and coaches. I wish to share someone’s else story here.

Have you heard of Asafa Powell? He is a Jamaican sprinter – colleague to Usain Bolt. Asafa broke the Olympic record of 100 metre in Athens Olympic in 2005. He clocked in 9.77 at Olympic stadium. The more interesting story, 3 years before that Asafa was just another Jamaican teenager trying to find a place to train himself. He has been training by himself, unlike Usain Bolt that already in sports school since young. Asafa was lucky, a guy named Stephen Francis found him and gave him the opportunity to train and be coached in his camp. Three years later, Asafa was an Olympic champ.

asafapowell

The above stories resonated well to many successful people. This is also true with Sir Jony Ive, the Chief Designer of Apple Corp. While Ive was already an accomplished designer from young, it was Jobs that gave Ive the opportunity to flourish further and harness his creative giants inside him. Ive thrived and build many great products including iPod, iPhone, iPad and so on. You may refer to Ive’s biography – Jony Ive, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Product by Leander Kahney.

jonathan-ive-quote

Some respondents also highlighted that parents too helped them in manoeuvring successfully in their professional journey. However, the percentage is rather small, 10-15%.

3. Hard Work and Persistence, This Goes Without Saying

As many as 95% of my proud achievers respondents said they work really hard to get to where they are now. They gave examples such as having to take up professional certification, stretched assignments, late night meetings and hectic schedule. However, their persistence paid off handsomely because they are now have become professional and live a great life.

While going through this, they also admitted experiencing some breakdowns and frustrations. Taking it positive, go slower at times and having strong support from loved ones boosted their morale to go further.

The drive home the point, from this insights it is clear to all of us that while most of us may have the innate ability and super resources to work hard, we shouldn’t discount the other 2 factors i.e. tertiary education and mentors and coaches.

Firstly, get good grades if you can. If you can’t or you are not qualified into tertiary education it is ok. Now you need to find mentors and coaches to learn about the workings of life. You need to learn about the trade. Yes you may be strong, why not waste your energy for something else? Go find mentors and coaches.

Coaches

It is ok to ask for help because no one knows everything. Right? For young executives and graduates, my advise is to always be mindful of people that could become your guidance. Be willing to have interest in people and talk to them. For the seniors, reach out to the young because they actually are curious whether your seriousness is towards them or to someone else! 🙂

Someday I wish to read your story and when I looked back I thanked you for allowing me to be part of it. “The thing is, it’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.” – Jony Ive

Behavioural Change Using Design Thinking

Innovation is a tricky business. It is tricky because you are NOT going to get it right the first time. Yes, it upsets a lot of people in the quality and production departments. It boils the blood of the financial controllers and accountants. Innovation also going to frustrate your marketing department because of the changing consumers mind. Typical change management framework and processes might have to change, as well.

DSC_0002

On the flip side, innovation has hues of greatstuffs. It enlarges the possibilities that you initially thought a constraint. It motivates your sales people to try something out of the box. It triggers your vice president’s thinking to reimagine the service you provide to new customers segment. Innovation celebrates fail early and fail often (of new things) because persistence will always take us to greener path. Innovation generates new revenue streams and give you the confidence that things are not so bad after all.It gives breath of fresh air to get unstuck in mind-numbing headquarters strategy presentation that has become so out of touch from the customers. Innovation unleashes the creative potential within us all. Innovation offers window for behavioral change in all organization around the world.

There are many ways that we can innovate – from the very basic and chaos creativity skill such as “randomness – just think of something great” or “just throw stuffs there and see what happen” to the most complex and quantifiable research on creativity. One technique that I wish to share is using design thinking method. There are several versions of the method, the one I have competence and experience is from the d.school Stanford University and Hasso-Platner Institute (click here to know more). I have been a practitioner and great fan of innovation and creativity tools, but design thinking transcended all other tools.

20150604_112206

Design thinking helps uncover something that was unknown. What you are doing is rediscovering what you already have. It enlarges our capacity to imagine, be creative and build upon big ideas. Creative energy is one of our most precious resources – said Tom Kelley in his book, PDF – Creative Confidence. Using design thinking, we can address a wide variety of business, personal, customer, social and complex challenges in creative new ways, said David Kelley (Tom’s brother) of IDEO.

The CEO of ideacouture, Idris Mootee in his book, Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation said that design thinking is “disruptive and provocative by nature because it promotes new ways of looking at problems”. I find this very true. I had one client who attended my workshop on design thinking said she never thought that it is possible to look at the problem in this new way before this.

Jessica runs an insurance company and the “customers” that they always have in mind is the new subscriber of their insurance. However, in the course of the design thinking workshop she jumped out and said I have been focusing on my customer all wrong. My actual customers are the claimants. That’s where the “pain points” stuff happen. No wonder she said, that sales have been dwindling because in the market their actual customers have been very unhappy about her company.

Another example I came across is from entrepreneur development centre. They have been running programs after programs to build entrepreneurs. As part of the program, the entrepreneurs were later can offer services to the centre. So its a great deal and worth going through the program. However, after some time there are less people attending and the entrepreneurs somewhat hesitant to offer their services. This is unusual. They dig deeper using design thinking method during the workshop. Apparently the issue stemmed from the account department. The entrepreneurs were paid very late (more than 6 months) and when they get paid using cheques, there are always errors and misprints. As an entrepreneur myself, cash flow is king. They “fired” the entrepreneur development centre as their customers.

In a book, Stories of What Works – Solving Problems Using Design Thinking published by Columbia Business School, there was one story from Dublin that captured my attention. A story about public old folks centre. This centre provide shelter and subsidized food for senior citizens. While most of the senior citizens enjoyed meeting new friends with enlarged social circle, the food served there wasn’t to their liking. Same old same old. Fortunately, after some time the centre decided to do something innovative and brought in a team of design thinkers. The project is called the The Good Kitchen. (video below)

One anecdotes that stand out to me was the design thinking team found out that all the “cooks” were “chefs”. These are real chefs that had superb experience working on cruises, 5-star hotels and can cook really well. However, when the management decided to be “overly efficient” with the ingredients they buy and “strategically plan” the menu for months ahead, the chefs said “not much we can do”. Besides, the chefs can no longer do food styling, seasoning and other details hence the bland and boring food. After rounds of workshops with the stakeholders – municipality, mayor, senior citizens and so on, they decided to make small change with big impact. They changed title “cooks” to “chefs” to reflect the actual experiences and skills. This boosted morale and dignity of the senior citizens. They dressed the chefs well and they started to redesign the menu offerings. In short, they re-imagined the kind of food service that is more apt and caring to the senior citizens.

One final story is from a high school counsellor. His school has been doing a lot (which school doesn’t ?!) to find ways to discipline the students. They have tried many ways including some forms of corporal punishment but somehow it makes things worse. How much more corporal punishment needed? As a counsellor, he knows this won’t work.

During the design thinking workshop, an idea sparked. He prototyped the idea instantly in class and he received outstanding reviews from his colleagues in the workshop. His idea was to ask every student on their wishes of how to make the school better and harmony so everybody is safe with each other. He told me later, at the initial actual implementation he said the students were surprised by the change of “regime” but they contributed anyway. Simple things are being implemented for example, the students wish the teachers could smile more. Next, extend the lights out at 11 pm instead of 10 pm because most of them prefer to do homework at dormitory instead of study room. Another, weekend outing to start earlier at 8 am instead of 10 am so the students can spend more time with their family and friends outside the school. Simple stuffs that worked. The students are happier and less discipline issues occurred, somehow.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com 

Five Things I Learned About Top Talent Leadership Development

My recent work with top talent was very interesting. They are mid level managers from several organizations. Some were grouped together and another dispersed in their own role while going through the program with me.

These are top talent. They earned their spot through the their experiences on the job while scaffolding their growth. They are very talented and some are opinionated. All of them went through several screening processes before being short-listed into this program.

Advertising_Executive

The insights I got here worth sharing. Here there are:

1. True Leaders Show Up

Apparently there are a lot of us want to be a leader. We like the attention given to a leader. Some crave for it from distance.

However, not many willing to show up and hustle their way to become one. Most expect someone somewhere “recognize” them as “leader material”, in other words, they are offered to be a “leader”. Please don’t be mistaken, being a leader doesn’t equate of a promotion at work. Yes, for a promotion you need someone to offer you however, there are many leaders become one without a title – said by Robin Sharma. In other words, anyone can be a leader.

This person I call Jim is very interesting. When engaging him in a group he was very quiet and a follower type. He sometimes talk about his idea but yeah all he did was talking. However in our private coaching session, he projected himself as “leader-material-that-yet-to-be-found” by someone in his organization. He reminisced about his past when his colleagues and bosses often talked about his achievements at work. He usually observed others from afar. However when asked why did he not act like one in the group, he said he had his moments so he feels others should have their moments now. That’s the reason why he “stepped aside”. Jim was making excuses. This kind of strategy may backfire if you want to be seen as a leader. True leader shows up.

2. Leader Knows and Expresses Quality

“You know it when you see it”.

This is how sometimes we used to describe quality in a person or a thing. As an adult most of us have seen lots of things. We have experienced several setbacks and winning some battles at the same time. We met so many people with varying characters and qualities. Some we like, some we don’t. In summation, we roughly know in general whether a person is with substance or whether another person is just a BS. The only thing we don’t do sometimes is to show it.

This person call Randy was given a task to evaluate his colleagues assignments. Randy has been in the organization for 15 years and he’d seen a lot. Some of them are his new colleagues and from the rumours these new people are the bosses allies. So Randy gave full marks without considering the quality of the assignments. In the private coaching he was asked why he did that. At first Randy was shocked because he didn’t realized he was observed. He thought people are not watching. Later he confessed he did that because he wanted to please the “future bosses”. Randy substandard mindset actually is a self-sabotage. He is scared to evaluate other people. He wanted to please people that he doesn’t know enough, although he has wide experience in his work and in the company. Leader should express quality.

3. Proper Selfishness Is Okay

The word of Charles Handy, proper selfishness theory means

“That in order to truly be ourselves, we need to serve others.”

A leader must go beyond his own domain and reach out to others. He usually acts even without being asked although it may cost him economically (within his means) and sometimes to the detriment of his personal life (especially his family members would say how come you always do things for others?)

This great man I call Harris is such a guy. In an open team setting, I could see him attempting to show up and offer his wealth of experiences. Although some time he successfully did it, most of the time he ended up hesitant and follow the crowd. There were cases when his team lost in games we play, although they had great chance had Harris jumped in and steer it right.

In the private coaching, he explained that he is worried that people might think of him as trying to show off and to gain merit points. Although he admitted no one has spoken to him directly in that way, he “felt” he knew it from the look “in their eyes”. This is true to most of us where we sometimes overly thinking of what others have to say. Proper selfishness is okay.

4. Some Top Talent Not Leader Material

You see most leaders in many organization these days grow up from top talent pipelines. Typically they excel in their formative education till tertiary. Some come from Ivy League universities or top scorers. Later they are groomed in a well designed top talent development program before being promoted into rotational roles paving path to leadership position. The thing is, we know the big challenge with top talent is the way they carry themselves with people. Often, this top breed find difficulties working with others. In some cases, they loathed having others around them. In the word of Marshall Goldsmith,

by the time we reach teen years our minds are already shaped of how we see the world.

Throughout our youth it get reinforced and become our identity. By the time we reach the workforce we already a “complete” person carrying our own “tainted lenses” around.

This lady call Carly is such a person. She is a product of top local university. She did very well in her academic years. According to her, she was supposed to go to USA for her tertiary education, however due to financial crisis, she only managed to complete year one before called back. She completed the remaining years here in Malaysia. In private coaching with her, you can tell that she is very proud of her achievements as a student and a career woman. After about 30 minutes into our conversation, she looked at me and said actually she hardly had any conversation like this with her colleagues or direct reports. She said she find these people are “not able to match her calibre and intellectual capacity”. She also mentioned that lately her bosses have been favoring other candidate for regional role although she hit her numbers well. There’s a saying, as you grow further in organization or in life, the only significant thing that matter is how you treat other people.

5. Leader Roles Sleeves, Ideas Are Cheap!

I hammered this many times in my program, ideas are cheap! Ideas are cheap! You can’t make money with just ideas, no matter how brilliant it is. Ask any innovators and inventors, they stumbled many times on their initial ideas. Moreover, often the things they commercialized later on is very likely something they never thought before. As a leader, we need to know that we need to milk ideas and then put the ideas to test. Some leaders, because of their position or role, throwing ideas from left right centre. Ideas after ideas and expect others to pick it up. Worst, they have this idea that their direct report should be of the “same wavelength” with them and should know how to fly the idea.

This person call Peter is a direct report to a director. Peter’s boss, is such a person. The boss will come in the office and throw in ideas. Call Peter to his room and try to win Peter with his idea and expect it fly the next day. When Peter failed to do so, his boss get very angry. He said that Peter is unable to think outside the box – even after various training sent.

In a design thinking ideation, we brought his boss to participate and we could see him in action.

However, through our design thinking guidance where we get them to try out some creative tools and active collaboration techniques, we could see that Peter and his boss could work on really well – they become great sparring partner. They work on simple prototype and test it around. It is a real hard work for any idea to win the marketplace. We leaders, lets role our sleeves.

I hope these sharing has been insightful and helpful.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com 

How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded And Left World Leaders Perplexed

 

This is actually a title from a book that I recently bought at a discount. I love discounted books and I have been very lucky that this book is one of the books that I bought at significant ROI – at least 1,000%. I have bought several other books with similar ROI – Fifth Discipline (Peter Senge), Origin of Brand (Al Ries) and Good to Great (Jim Collins). These are great books and I was very lucky. Coming back to this book that I just read, the actual title is “How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded and Left World Leaders Scratching Their Heads”. It is actually a compilation of entrepreneurs stories by Sabirul Islam – very prolific young entrepreneur. Check him out.

“Anger, frustration and a serious call for change. This is the reaction of today’s youth on being labelled ‘the lost generation’. But are the youth of today really a lost generation?” This is the opening of the book at the Introduction page. It captures the very essence of “perception” of youth around the world today. I remember attending Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2013) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where youth entrepreneurs around the world were a significant force. They are mostly from 3rd world countries and developing nations. Their “solutions” to social problems around them are very straight forward and inspiring. There was one African youth whose business is selling thumb drive softcopy of text books. Another Bangladeshi entrepreneur selling organic fertilizer – which he gave me a bottle to try out. Are they a lost generation?

This book by Sabirul Islam contains 25 interviews of successful youth role models who are true leaders of youth in their fields and have achieved extraordinary success in short period of time. They are the ambassadors of true grit for youth around the world to emulate and get inspired regardless of color and creed. The spectacular part of all these 25 teen-trepreneurs are all under 30 years old! Are they a lost generation?

millenial age children

Let’s find out some of the key highlights (in Q&A format) from the interviews. If you want full stories, I suggest you get this book yourself. 😉

1. What drives you as an individual to continue to do what you do?

“Knowing that I will be making a difference and serving others. The passion to pass along the things that I have been taught. The freedom and flexibility I create in my life by not working for someone else and creating the foundation for a financially secure future.”- Alexandra DiRuscio Cooper (Founder, Your Life Our World)

2. How have personal development programs helped you?

“They’ve had huge impact on my life. When I attended the first program at age 15, I was still a bit reserved and unsure who I was, trying to fit in. But that one event is what I credit that help me to break through. It opened my eyes what I had been missing out because I was playing small, I was holding back and I was uncertain. I gained confidence and determination.” – Alexandra DiRuscio Cooper (Founder, Your Life Our World)

3. What are three most important attributes you’ve developed as a young entrepreneur?

“Persistence, organization and solid critical thinking.” – Ben Weissenstein (Founder, Grand Slam Garage Sales”)

4. If you were the President, what would you do or what would you change to encourage growth in youth entrepreneurship?

“I’d have lots of programs to teach entrepreneurship and also to give seed money to aspiring young entrepreneurs. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who, with little funding help could really get off the ground.” – Ben Weissenstein (Founder, Grand Slam Garage Sales”)

5. What is the best solution for youth who have tried but failed to get where you are today?

“Try again, again and again! Find your passion and desires in it! If you want to a very successful business just find a very huge problem you see and try to solve it for everyone.” – Boris Kolev (Founder JT International)

Its not just jobs, its about passion.
Its not just jobs, its about passion.

6. In today’s world, what would you ultimately is more valuable, education or experience?

“The most valuable is education through experience. We have to define what we mean by the word education because I think experience is a key part of education.” – Boris Kolev (Founder JT International)

7. You seem to have had many jobs before you became the successful entrepreneur, at what point in your life did you realize that jobs weren’t your way forward?

“What I wanted was spare time doing my own thing, work with my own hours and be passionate about what I was doing – do something I loved. It’s hard to do when you have a job. I cant stand people telling me how much money I am going to earn and hours I am going to work. It’s my life so I am going to decide.” – Carly Ward (Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Society)

8. How has social media helped you to become a successful entrepreneur?

“Social media has been an integral part of my business. I have got some friends of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I can reach thousands people with social media. My mentor actually found me on LinkedIn. He is a successful entrepreneur and an angel investor. I got random message from him, “I like what you’re doing, can I help in any way?” and three months later he was my mentor and a non-executive director of my company.” – Carly Ward (Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Society)

9. How did you come with the idea to develop the multi-bucket carrier and what was your vision behind it?

“When I was 16, I noticed that people in Africa mainly women and children were walking in distance carrying two buckets of water. One of their shoulders and another on their hands. Using local materials I design multi-bucket carrier that can carry up to five buckets of water. I later distributed the instructions how to make it for local people to produce themselves.” – Emily Cummins (The Serial Inventor)

10. What have been the major challenges that you’ve faced when developing your products?

“The major challenge was my age. Initially some people looked at me as a younger person but when I showed them I what invented they find it very refreshing especially at my creativity. I also had to convince my parents that I was very capable to go to Africa on my own.” – Emily Cummins (The Serial Inventor)

11. How has travelling helped you to become the inspirational figure that you are?

“I believe the fastest way to inspire someone is to be inspired. The fastest way to inspire yourself is to do what you love and invest in yourself to feel alive. For me I gain that through travelling. I love to fly and be in the air, experience new culture, be in transition, meet new people and be stretched out of my comfort zone. It’s where I find perhaps my greatest appreciation for each moment.” – Emily Gowor, The Word Artist

12. Are the youth of today good enough to be world leaders?

“People will believe whatever they want to believe. People who consider youth to be unfit to be the world leaders are firstly, judging based on their lenses. Is there a rule about what a world leader should look like? If there is or was, I didn’t learn it in school. I haven’t seen any two leaders following the same script. Someday we will be old as well and new youth generation will come.” Emily Gowor, The Word Artist

13. What would you say unique about yourself?

“I consider myself a normal kid. The only difference is that my extracurricular activity has been business instead of sports or music. I helped my mum’s business since I was nine years old.” – Jason O’Neill, Founder, Pencil Bugs

14. Who has provided the most support to you during your journey as a young entrepreneur?

“My parents definitely are my biggest supporters. Without them there would not even have been a business. I sometimes hear other young entrepreneurs say that they run their business alone but that is usually not true. It takes a lot of help from many people to make someone successful. Even the most successful adults have people on their team.

15. How did you manage to pull yourself out from poverty in Brazil?

“The only way you can leave poverty and negativity behind is by being able to rise above your circumstances with your mind first. You need to be self reliant, especially if you have no role models. Leave the bad influences and friends behind, and make replaced them with books as companions. Set goals and not give up easily until you achieve what you want.” – Pedro De Abreu, Co-Founder, Moofaces

16. What are the change society needs for youth at young age?

“It is important that youth and society in general to open their eyes around them. Stop being so self-centered. It seems many focus on unimportant things such as hair, make up, clothes and adults are always concern about money and what their neighbours or friends have. We also judge others (youth and adults like) too quickly. We need to focus on the good in each of us.” Cassandra Perkins, Founder, Global Voices Reaching Out

I have purposely selected the questions and answers to provide breadth of the context and topics. Check out the full interview in this book. “How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded and Left World Leaders Scratching Their Heads”

In conclusion, I don’t think our youth is a lost generation wherever they are. In fact youth today is a force to be reckon with and I think we should embrace them with open arms. I also believe the more senior generation that has greater responsibility should reach out more to youth and groom them further through providing various opportunities including the basic such as time and thoughts. Its more than enough for a start.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Great Leaders Teach

Leadership is today’s buzz word akin to management in the 1980’s. You probably have been asked at least once, “Are you a leader or manager?”. Of course the right answer is “leader” because it is incumbent that all of us must be one, at least to be relevant in today’s organization. But how to become great leader?

Robin Sharma once in his book said that a leader decides which mountains to climb and a manager decides how to climb it efficiently. I think that analogy makes it easier to distinguish the function of leader v. manager. I juggle both most of the time and I believe most of us do the same. Right?

I was at a client’s office late afternoon last week. I was waiting for the Chairman long enough to strike a conversation with one of the managers, whom happened to be the Human Resource Manager. She is leading the organization’s academy and we exchanged smiles – and we talk. Replying to her question, I said my coaching is targeted to top talent – making top talents even better and hopefully they stay longer. Besides, my leadership program for managers and leaders is to enable them learn how to teach. She shared her stories of going through a particular coaching program, NLP programs, EQ and so on. She is a very prolific manager and hungry for new knowledge. She is quick to share her coaching experiences with talents around her but except these talents are not internal but external to her organization. According to her it is not possible to share her knowledge internally because no one would appreciate – she hasn’t tried yet. She hasn’t got over the feeling yet to drive the coaching initiative for her organization. She doesn’t know where to start. What a waste.

Large organizations are endowed with this wealth of experienced managers and leaders at all areas. They are groomed from ground up (most of them), defended the organizations through thick and thin and possess deep knowledge of the organization trade secrets. Unfortunately they don’t have the platform to showcase and transfer this latent and tacit knowledge embedded in them for years. So much knowledge sedimented in the same body and brain for years. These are not top leaders and senior management that may come and go – I am referring to prolific managers and leaders that are on the ground; servicing the customers and take the brickbats from their direct reports. We must do something.

One of the ways to scoop out this deep seated knowledge is through making these managers and leaders learn how to teach. This “teaching approach” has been used by General Electric, PepsiCo, Southwest Airline, Home Depot, Cisco, DARPA and many global organizations. Just look at yourself, someone must have taught you well. So it worked! Hence, we need to make our organizations teach and learn from each other. Best if the top management learn how to teach their experiences and the rest will ultimately follow.

You can start by getting the managers and leaders go deep down themselves to truly understand what is it they are very good at. This is call Teachable Point Of View (TPOV). Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) in his own words said, “As a great leader, you need to have teachable point of view.” TPOV helps managers to focus on their ultimate strengths and dissect them into learning curriculum. Say for example a Marketing Manager may be good at product launching. So he will create his TPOV based on product launching. He will gather all his experiences related to product launch (its successes and failures) and organize it to match his organization needs – and the best part he is doing this to teach his engineering department about product launching! This applies to all other managers and leaders from various department.

Coming back to the Human Resource Manager, her eyes lit up when I shared that with her. She now plan to make 2015 as her experimental year from just a manager to becoming a great leader through teaching. Wish her good luck!

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Fifty Productivity Strategy Secrets For 2015

Hi all, I have been on hiatus (*again) and now I am back. It must be the intense review of my goals that I had with my mentors and fellow coaches. Every year I will meet my mentors and coaches friends to discuss things that matter to us. So by end December 2014 where we had reviewed that I failed to produce 3 articles per month since April 2014. I sit on several unpublished articles and gave priorities to other things. That is about to change because this time around I am far more committed because I have better clarity of what I want to achieve in 2015.

Let's Make 2015 Our Single Best Year!

I begin this post with my Leadership Beliefs which I review every 6 months, hence twice a year. I stumbled on the latest edition of Fast Company, Harvard Business Review and my own Joker’s Guide Personal Effectiveness list which helped to kick off the year with zest! Here are some Productivity Strategy Secrets shared by the movers and shakers, entrepreneurs, technocrats, top chefs, brand advisors, CEOs and top people. I believe you will gain miles from applying any of this strategy. Some you have may have heard, whilst some push you to repeat even more because the ultimate secret is about mastery. Here’s for you.

Productivity Strategy Secrets For 2015

1. Think and write about what you want to achieve in 2015.

2. Own productivity, make effort to schedule what matters to you on daily basis.

3. Prepare RTDL – Real To Do List each night before bedtime or early morning. It helps you plan the day effectively and efficiently.

4. If you come very early in the office, don’t check emails or read news online. Rather spend on thinking of your vision or do uninterrupted work that needs your brain.

5. Start your day with positive thoughts. Think of something really positive.

6. Manage your time insanely because you gotta manage your time.

7. Focus while you are doing something. If you are at work, focus. If you are with your kids and spouse, focus.

8. Scrutinize your calendar for the day. Prioritize and compress if you need to.

9. Delegate and follow up the tasks you ask someone to do for you. They could be struggling to execute and it doesn’t help when you abdicate the tasks.

10. Pray or meditate in between your hectic day. It has calming effects to the brain.

11. Use Post-It notes when you remember something out of your main RTDL / schedule. Don’t ignore it or don’t jump into it immediately (unless its extremely urgent).

12. Compile the Post-It notes by the end of the day and schedule them in your calendar and RTDL.

13. Use alarm clock to wake you up. Your biological body needs 66 days to stabilize and register – chances are you may have variations of biological clock in 30 days so use alarm clock.

14. Ditch the alarm clock and wake up fast head to the bathroom.

15. Take a nap in somewhere during lunch of slightly before lunch. 10-15 minutes is enough – use alarm clock to wake you up. Make a sign on your door or close it completely – uninterrupted.

16. Charge your devices. Don’t let the fear of dying batteries take your energy.

17. Avoid unnecessary phone calls or meetings that you can get someone else do for you.

18. Have a drink eg. coffee, tea, water or juices between 2-3 hours in between.

19. Make sure you drink enough water per day – preferably plain water. How much? Mayo Clinic’s advise is 3 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women. More is fine.

20. Hunker down when you need to complete very important work. Allocate 90-120 minutes uninterrupted for this.

21. Play some sports during the weekdays or find ways to walk the stairs. It helps you think better and it is good for the body.

22. Make team discussions and meetings interesting by removing the chairs. Get everyone a Sharpie and Post-It notes for further engagement. Boring meetings suck more energy than anything else!

23. Ask everyone participates in the meeting why are they present at the 1st place. If they don’t have the answer you are looking for they shouldn’t be in the meeting.

24. Go to bed with a question that you are working in your head – you might get the answer when you wake up!

25. Go somewhere for short travelling – it helps to clean up your thoughts and reenergize your body.

26. Cave in and have private light moment for yourself away from kids and spouse. Do this very privately. It doesn’t have to be a weekend getaway, sometimes a half day by yourself fortnightly is enough.

27. Don’t delegate your motivation to anyone else including best friends, spouse, children, neighbours, parents or anyone. Your motivation is your’s. Own it.

28. Do some art work eg painting, playing music, gardening, crafts, tinkering or singing. It rejuvenates your body and mind.

29. Make time for the people that matters to you personally. It could be your loved ones, parents and besties!

30. Eat same thing everyday helps to improve productivity. Once awhile, it is ok to change the menu.

31. Use productivity apps on your smart devices. Games are not productivity apps. 🙂

32. Turn off your television in your busy day. Throw if you can afford to live without it.

33. Set a dedicated time to reply emails. You can try LIFO method – Last In First Out to handle emails.

34. Build a network of friends that see you as who you are. Friends that you can laugh at and laugh at you – freely. It’s fun really!

35. Have a walk once awhile, either early in the morning or evenings. It’s a good distress method.

36. Have breakfast – eat something healthy to start the day.

37. During meeting or discussion, if it is not in the agenda don’t bother to talk about it.

38. Capture your random thoughts when you browse social media or roam around the internet. Some people use Evernote, Mashable, Pinterest.

39. When you are tired, pick the most interesting task and that require not much effort.

40. Have the habit to ask people around you these questions: What next? What else? How so? So what? What if?

41. Make time to read heavy stuffs related to your work and career. It helps you progress further and make more money to feed your passion.

42. If you think to job hop – put your economic needs as number one priority. Unfortunately, some passionate thing you do may not generate enough to get you further. Give it some time to develop. Meanwhile, try to love your career and what you do.

43. Keep promises so you don’t have to spend time remembering what you said.

44. Once a while, bend the rules and make big change for creativity and innovation sake. You don’t know your limits until you push them.

45. Keep some really nice, inspiring, motivating, captivating or whatever that will make you light up again during your down time. It could videos, music, letter, photos, mementos, books, lectures, articles etc..

46. Look your best when you are at work. Wear make-ups, spray perfume and dress well. It matters on how other perceives you at work place.

47. Stick to deadlines – earlier is better but don’t screw up your deadlines.

48. Discipline your emotion, nonetheless be direct in your comments.

49. Reframe your lost opportunities and do it at your own time, privately. Seize the right opportunity when you see it. Don’t play the waiting game.

50. Always stay hungry and stay foolish. Keep learning and adopt action bias. Do Think Leap.

Good luck and let’s make 2015 our single best year!

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Design Thinking (DT) As Strategic Tool – Personal Experience

“I may have overused DT tool because I conveniently used it in several occasion, and the latest was during a strategic meeting to evaluate a partnership proposal.” – That was my starting remarks when I shared my personal experience using DT tool at genovasi aka (Malaysian DT House). Let me tell you why.

From my personal experience, “a tool and a fool seldom differ”. Hence learning how to use the tool is paramount and foundational to anyone, and by knowing how to use it to your advantage is a skill and a gift. A tool helps me to put things in perspective and find the relationship of various information. Just like a hammer that helps you to pound nails so you can hang your jacket. But if you decide to “think” like a hammer where you pound on everything, please be reminded that – “a tool and a fool seldom differ”. I have been using A3 report introduced by Toyota to build business case, I used Porter’s Five Forces to analyze market and I used my intuition to give that second opinion about affairs of the heart. 🙂

Now, why Design Thinking (DT) tool? Simply because it is one of the tools that I learned inside out where with the help of the coaches at genovasi; my team and I learn its application and limitation. Briefly, DT is a human-centered tool where the ultimate focus is to humanize the solution for optimum users satisfaction. You can use this problem-solving tool to create new products, services or in my case to evaluate business proposal. It is humanly possible to learn how to use DT tool and it is also almost impossible for your solution to go wrong if you adopt DT as part of your solutioning design. Nevertheless, just like any tool, DT has its own critics, which I wont touch here. Now let me summarize my own DT experience in the 5 steps and how I used them.

Five Steps of DT Problem Solving tool
Five Steps of DT Problem Solving tool

EMPATHISE

At this stage, my team and I discuss the broad view of the Why, What, When, Who, Where and How about this partnership proposal. Since this partner is an international partner, we are very serious in making sure we put all things on the table. I found getting all team members to Check-in help to uncover their emotional state during that discussion.

We exchanged numerous questions, choose certain key words and drill down further and help ourselves with coffee and tea at the same time. 😛  We used post-it notes and flipcharts. The purpose of this is simple, to put things up and let everyone see it. It gets everyone involved and be part of the solution. This step is critical in getting everybody on one-page and clarify matters early. This step is explicitly discussed and practiced in DT process.

We also ask people outside from our circle and get their feedbacks on partnering with international business ventures.

In some occasion we meet to discuss issues surrounding our objectives. Surprisingly, many of the people we met were rich with tacit experience and knowledge in these areas. This is the power of conversation which is hammered on in DT process.

We also shared our vision using a journey map to get their thoughts and learn their reservations, which could help us in the long run.

DEFINE

We got back from all these interactions and unpack our thoughts and share it out.

Of course, as a DT practitioner I don’t really say things like, “Let use DT and unpack”.

I use DT tool and processes without acknowledging it, I just guide our session through and it takes several days.

Unlike in our program @ genovasi where we have to quickly get it done (because of time limitation), but here I really take them through and get them to buy in especially my team because it takes only one believe that “this is not worth our time” to drop everything. Besides, in the process we also are in on-going communication with the international partners to shape this proposal.

In the process, we try to define the Point of View (POV) of our international partners. Navigating the international waters is very challenging with differences in time, culture, communication and perception. I recently learned that a “mediator” in Middle East is understood as “someone that meddle things up”. How about that? So we really need to define the people that we are dealing with and to avoid any prejudice or negative perception. We finally identified several POVs and we agreed to dive further  and move forward.

IDEATE

With clear POVs and after getting feedbacks from various people, we started to Ideate possible scenarios and situations that would help us uncover some information to validate our assessment. We also internally discuss and sometimes argue whether what we choose is acceptable to avoid any the curse of knowledge and setback of incremental judgment. Just like in other DT session, we allow as many ideas, similarly here where we let people throw in any thinking that come cross their mind. I also let people to ask question so they can substantiate and clarify their idea to gain further understanding.

PROTOTYPE

We end up with three scenarios (which remained confidential) and we internally tested them in several engagements. We iterated a few of them and we earned better confident level now. We also build further communication strategy on our prototypes and humanize it further. It is important to always remember that it is not about “us” or/and ‘them”, its always about achieving our mutual goals. This is difficult to do and I have to continuously remind myself, because it is easy to fall trap in either one and forget the goals and objectives. At the end of all this, we need to satisfy both parties hence the goals are sacred to us all.

TEST

Gladly, we ran several testing session and we are very happy with the results. We make some changes in the prototypes as we learn new information, especially in the POVs. The continuous conversation and discussion internally and externally help us to formulate the right solution to achieve our goals.

In conclusion, DT helps me to help my organization making better decision in evaluating this partnership proposal.

It improves my ability to exert creative confidence, provoke my own and team thinking, expand the team’s capability, strengthen trust and build strong determination to shape the right solution. Of course, with more practice I would do better in using this tool because human is unpredictable; and that quality makes DT even more interesting as a human-centered tool. It is fluid yet structured, it is fun yet strenuous and it break rules yet build trusts.

During a presentation with my team @genovasi
During a presentation with my team @genovasi

You can learn DT tool from internet, just Google Design Thinking. There are many courses and article about it right now and its free. You can buy a book on Design Thinking, again just Google or go to bookstores near you. But what truly a big difference in my own DT learning journey was the passion and patience that genovasi coaches have demonstrated throughout 10-weeks of real DT lessons @ Malaysia DT  House in Petaling Jaya. This program was in partnership with Hasso Platner Institute (HPI) and it is also taught at Stanford University. I couldn’t be more thankful to Prime Minister’s Department for initiating this awesome program and to let genovasi team be on the driver’s seat to drive this – they are just the right team and at the right time.

My sincere thank you and big-hearted congratulations go to The Ultimate Genovasi Team; Carol Wong, Mahadzir, Azman, Michelle, Mike, Foong Wai, Firdaus, Suyin, Teck Hin, Jun-Elle, Fazlina, Genie, and not forgetting our Outreach Project Partner (OPP) and also other genovasi team members. Special thanks to all IADP 3D intakes members, you guys rawks!

"DT house" @Malaysia
“DT house” @Malaysia

“Master It, Muster It”

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

15 Rules to Personal Effectiveness – Joker’s Guide

It’s always refreshing sometimes to look back and reminisce of the past. For me, i wrote back a similar title – Personal Effectiveness ; Joker’s Guide back in 2011. You can read it here. From where i started writing about it, i have been practicing and sharing with more people on this thoughts and what i call RULES. The more i talk about it to more people, the more profound the rules become. I get more evidence that the rules work the way it is supposed to work and it validated what i always believe.

For example, Rule 10 is “Learn to Write”. I started writing in 2007 and now i am reaping the benefits of it. My language command is a lot better and my thinking process is more orderly than it was. I learned how to do creative writing and it helps my proposal writing to be more personalized and convincing.

Another is Rule 11 – “Run Your Own Race”. Sometimes i can be easily caught up with other people’s race. Especially when things dont work out the way i want it, i got trapped in the losers mentality. It is hard to live when you feel trapped and in the state of hopelessness. When i practice this Rule 11, i make a point to remind myself that my time will come and i should persevere. It also help me not to be a procrastinator for a long time (short term procrastinate is fine i guess!). With this Rule 11, i also learn about people around me have their own race. Therefore i learn how to communicate better with them. Just because i am their supervisor, i can ask them whatever i want or wherever i want it. On the other hand, it is also applicable to business where it takes time to see any initiative to take shape and let alone to bear fruits of success.

One of my favorite rules is Rule 8 – “Self Leadership, Self Management”. It is easy to ask others to lead, but it is a lot easier to be a bystander in a leadership position. Many leaders do that and they gain credits for things that they dont deserve. While it is without a doubt they earned that leadership position, they should also live up to it for as long as they in that position. For example, leaders should lead from the front – which i call show up leadership. Show up means your face is always around in good and bad times. Leaders make decision and take ownership of that decisions. Some leaders hide behind the veil of “developing the young through delegation” – these are leaders that hide instead of becoming the first line of defense in times of crisis. As leaders, they are responsible to manage themselves professionally. Some leaders misbehave professionally by accusing their organizations and products too openly. They do it in the name of “open communication”. I like to tend to this issue by asking them back openly on their contribution to the problems. Most of them felt embarrassed because they know they just talk about it – but they hardly do anything about it; and they have been “there” for years.

Well, there are 15 Rules to Personal Effectiveness – Joker’s Guide altogether. Some of the rules are things that you are already practicing. Therefore it is good to acknowledge that you are doing the right thing. On the other hand, for rules that are new to you, please consider practicing them slowly and put yourself a challenge to acquire it. One thing you must know, these rules are universal and have been the guiding light for ancient people as well as successful modern citizens in today’s world.

The differentiation this time is about how i deliver these 15 Rules today, it is in a video format – 15 Rules to Personal Effectiveness – Joker’s Guide. Something that i do by chance with some friends. The result was awesome and i want to share it with you. Hope you will enjoy this video and hopefully later you will start considering some of these 15 Rules! 🙂

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com 

Thinking Needs Re-Thinking

I am fully convinced now. I have been looking for evidence and now i have found it; few months ago. Its just i am buying time to write it down.

Initially i disturbed that almost everyone i met in the management rant about today’s graduates and workforce lack thinking skills. They lambasted them for being clueless and ‘like chicken no-head’ when it comes to problem solving and creative solutions. Of course they are and surprisingly the management was equally clueless how to solve this perennial problem.

Guess what? I have found the answers. Thinking needs re-thinking.

In the beginning i am curious why a children can generate many ‘creative solutions’ but as we become grown ups we stuck up? It’s just illogical right?

Not really, this is where it needs re-thinking. They are two major findings here. Let me explain how we can accelerate thinking skills for our current workforce.

Firstly, teach them thinking skills and tools. Seriously, SWOT is a thinking tool that helps us to see a problem in a SWOT manner. I bet some of you dont know what SWOT is. People that understand SWOT would have this simple thought process when approaching problems.

Next tool is WDYM; What Do You Mean is a great tool to question any statement and uncover the gist of things. Ask this several times you will get to the bottom of any issue. The best part you will only stop once you reach an agreement of the thing you WDYM about.

Other tool is Sweeper; where you generate all the bad stuffs and sweep it under carpet. This could help you and your team find ways to find loopholes and anticipate the consequences. It is also helping you to prioritize imperfections while trying hard to perfecting something.

See, with tools you actually start thinking. I bet with practice you will create the new neural network in your brain on how to think (including your workforce).

"There's a way to do it better. Find it."
“There’s a way to do it better. Find it.”

Secondly, provide ‘open playground’ to express ideas. Opening up a playground always excites me. I once told my boss, if you want to see my play and soar, open the playground. I soared and fly as the top salesperson.

The idea of ‘open playground’ is to allow mistakes to happen and provide support for your team or workforce to fall back on.

It is important for building better confidence and learning. Person responsible for this are the leaders and bosses. Often we get so stuck up and we forget to build other leaders and thinkers. Doers alone are not enough, we need thinkers at the same time.

In conclusion, my two major findings probably are nothing new to you however our ability to put it to practice and continuously asessing its effectiveness would garner new outcomes to your organization.

I strongly feel we are able to create a truly different results (better long term achievements) when we start thinking and leading at the same time. Certainly, if we fail, thus our thinking needs re-thinking.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com