Sunday, July 15, 2018

Working with women leads to great results

“You finally feel — I want to say, ‘equal!" one Saudi woman exclaimed. Another has her heart set on a car vanity plate reading, in Arabic, “Get out of the way.” Saudi Arabia ended its status as the last country on earth to prohibit women from driving. 

Women. Over half of the earth's population, and creators of life for the whole of it.

Wait a minute. Why is a 53-year old man penning an article about women? I assert GSO South East Asia's success is the direct result of our 70:30 female:male composition, which contributed to the "secret recipe." Bottomline: in my experience, when men and women work together as equals, great things happen.

As someone who surrounds himself with strong female friendships and colleagues, I can strongly say the women in my team have proven time and time again to be unparalleled problem solvers, visionaries and value creators. They have a much better EQ. So, not only do I think that women are pretty smart, but they have more EQ.

The women I worked with over these past seven years shape who I am and who I become. As much as people refuse to believe it, behaviour and beliefs are contagious: you easily "catch" the emotional state of your colleague; imitate their actions, and absorb their values as your own.

We live in a world where most everyone has come to expect instant this and instant that. The fast lane. One-click ordering. I have also come to expect fast results, to demand them. Working with the women in my team, I have come to learn that it's not slow - but steady - that wins the race. Doing things won't create your success; doing the right things will. And if you're doing the wrong things, doing more of them will only make you fail faster.

I love the women in my team. They are uniquely female and their abilities and drive to get things done are unparalleled. They work their butt off for the sake of the organization, they exude warmth and they're personable. With their refreshingly unique strengths as women, we are definitely better together.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Should we be givers or takers?

An artificial earthquake was triggered by Mexicans jumping in jubilation after their team scored a surprise victory over World Cup defending champion Germany recently. At least two of the sensors of the Institute for Geological and Atmospherical Investigations inside Mexico City detected a seismic movement during the World Cup match, "most likely produced by the massive celebration" according to the Institute's blog post.
Find ways to move people en masse. This is what inspirational, motivational leadership is all about. 
In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns or relationship and the capacity to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, positions and titles.
The Harvard Grant Study makes it clear that it isn't just that people who are more connected are the happiest people. They are also the most successful at work. 
Here's a critical but often neglected thought: success depends heavily on how we approach our interactions with other people. Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?
In personal relationships and friendships, we contribute whenever we can without keeping score. But in the workplace, few of us act purely like givers or takers. We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and taking. 
In fact research demonstrates that givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder. Across a wide range of important occupations, givers make others better off but sacrifice their own success in the process. Going out of their way to help others prevented them from getting their own work done.
So who's at the top - takers or matchers? 
Neither. It's the givers again. According to the research, the worst performers and the best performers are givers: takers and matchers are more likely to land in the middle. Some givers do become pushovers and doormats. But with the right strategies and choices, givers  can dominate the top of the success ladder.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Facing frustratiom and disappointment

Kim Jong In and Donald Trump did their best to set aside 60 years of dark history and distrust as well as their own jabs at each other. They shared a smile and a lingering handshake before their nations’ flags and the anxious eyes of the world.

Every day there are plenty of good reasons to be vexed. A long queue. Telemarketers. People don't do what they're supposed to do. Rejection. Disappointment. How to deal with it all?

At our own risk, we've become too used to immediate results. Emails zip across the globe in seconds. Parents text their kids about dinner. You can get the temperature in London with a click of the mouse. These digital age's marvels has propagated an emotional zeitgeist with a low tolerance for frustration.

Sooner or later, in business or the most loving relationships, you'll get disappointed, and you'll disappoint others. There will always be disappointments; mindfully dealing with them is what counts.

Frustration makes us tense and kills ours sense of humour. Disappointment is a form of frustration that occurs when our expectations are dashed. Conquering frustration and dealing with disappointment are skills I'm trying to learn so I can quickly bounce back.

I'm fed up with letting frustrations get the best of me. Nowadays, I constantly give myself pep talks: "I'm going to behave in a new way because the old way isn't working." When something aggravates me, the old way is to brood on it, which can taint an otherwise lovely day. The new way is to tackle the incident for instance, if I get a flat tire which cause me to miss an important meeting, I feel the frustration and express it to a friend. But I cut it short by not staying focused on it. Now, I try to focus on the positive. In any situation, there's always something positive if you look for it. I try not to turn a frustrating ten minutes into a frustrating day.

Next time, when someone says they can't see any good in you, just hug them. Because life can be very difficult for the blind.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

If you're going through hell, keep going

Even those at the top can know the lows of depression. This was evident from the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain - sudden suicide by people who seemingly have it all.

Life is difficult. There's just no getting around that fact.

Sure, life is more difficult for some people than others - but no matter how hard we try or how privileged we are, it is not possible to lead a life free from discomfort and difficulty.

We are living in an age of anxiety and when we feel stressed out (or sad or disappointed or bored or frustrated), our world offers up a host of ways to numb the pain. Alcohol, drugs, we overeat; we go shopping for things we don't need; we keep ourselves too busy to feel anything; compulsively checking our phones and email and facebook.

The moments in my life when things seemed the bleakest have also been when I found my greatest successes. As I look back at my life so far, I see that the darkest moments were immediately followed by spectacular illuminations.

Now that I'm older, I understand that when things get difficult and challenging, when you're in crisis mode and nothing seems to be going right, what really makes a difference is not that you just don't quit. You use it to leap forward. It's not about clawing yourself back to where you were before; it's about charging into a whole new space.

I prayed a lot. I can almost see the cynics rolling their eyes. But pray I did, as fervently as I can remember ever doing. 

It's up to us to make the choice to be grateful even when things aren't going well. To me, it means not just being grateful for the good things, because that's easy, but also be grateful for the hard things too.

I read somewhere that the root cause of upset is unmet expectations. In any area of your life in which things aren't going as well as they should, your pain, anguish, disappointment (or whatever your thing is) is greater where the gap is widest between what you expected and what you actually have. It is harder in practise than in writing - I know it personally - instead of getting my knickers in a twist about how things didn't turn out the way I wanted or expected them to, I try to accept them for what they are.

Do it when a new job is going to take some getting used to, whether it's the tasks you're performing or the people you work with. If your relationship is struggling, change your perspective and get the whole picture. Many of us expect our partners to be a certain way consistently. But your partner, like you, is an imperfect human with his/her own set of complicated emotions and thoughts. So it's appropriate that they may sometimes be distracted or get short with you after a bad day.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light. Only when it is dark, can we see the stars. Love the life you have, not the one you expected to have.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Adding too much value. Don't.

"Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Trump got historical with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. That was an apparent reference to the War of 1812. Canada did not become a nation until 1867. That was the prelude to the most acrimonious world summit in years - the G7 which began in Quebec yesterday. Trump continues to play a poker game with international relations. 

There's a fine line between being competitive and over-competitive. Between winning when it counts and when no one's counting.

If the need to win is the overwhelming reason we're successful - then winning too much is a perverse genetic mutation that can limit our success.

We need to win people's admiration. We need to let them know that we are at least their intellectual equal if not their superior. We need to be the smartest person in the room. It usually backfires.

Many of us do this unwittingly all day long. If we are always expressing our opinion, no matter how hurtful or non contributory it may be, we are having an excessive need to be "me."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that we have to zip our lips. But the higher we go in the organization, the more we need to make other people winners and not make it about winning ourselves.

You have the right to remain silent. Exercise it sometimes. Keep this in mind, It's not about you. It's about what people think of you. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We cannot resist change - successfully

Harry and divorcee Meghan's wedding is proof the royals are changing, TIME reported. Much has changed since last time an American divorcee married into the family when Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry Mrs Simpson in 1937 and the 1950s when the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret was forced to choose duty over love and declined the marriage proposal of divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend.

Mistakes are part of life, but intelligence means not repeating the same mistakes over and over - while expecting different results.

Most couples who stay together for more than ten years would probably agree that a relationship is a humbling school of self-knowledge, whose lessons reappear until we learn them. We also discover that long-term relationships provides constant demand to grow up or get out.

Successful relationships are built with the bricks of friendship, communication, honesty, loyalty and on occasion, putting our partner's needs and wishes before our own. If we continuously struggle to improve our partner ("if only s/he would stop doing X or start doing more Y") - that relationship becomes war.

We can only control our own behaviour, maybe a successful relationship comes down to the capacity to put up with each other. It's all part of the dance.

Few of us consciously intend to undermine our relationships or careers. Yet we remain unaware that lessons reappear until we learn them. The more we learn, the more adaptable we become and the fewer mistakes we repeat. 

Learning requires change; change requires losing face. Nothing really changes until we do. 
Charles Darwin explained what happens to animal species that fail to adapt to changing circumstances. They cease to be. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

You and your relationships

Can "Likes" lead to love? Facebook announced it is launching an online dating service that will allow the 200 million Facebook users on the service who classify themselves as “single” to find a partner.

What's your vision of a great relationship?
What would it take for you to be fulfilled in your relationship?

The happiest people on the planet are the men and women who have dynamic relationships. No matter what continent you are in, this is a universal truth. People who give focus and priority to their relationships have a richer experience of relationship and of life.

The state of our relationships has an impact on every aspect of our lives. If we have a relationship that is struggling, there's a good chance it is affecting many areas of our life. The troubled relationship may be with a significant other, or we may have a relationship with a colleague, friend, child, parent or sibling that has fallen on rough times. This failing relationship can have a negative impact on the way we perform at work. On the other hand, when we are thriving in our relationships, especially our primary relationship, we tend to carry a very positive atmosphere with us wherever we go.

It's important to remember that the people you spend your time with are the people you spend your life on.

It doesn't matter if the relationship is between husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend, lead and team member, or business executive and customer. The most empowering relationships are those in which each partner lifts the other to become the best-version-of-themselves.

There is no greater satisfaction than laying your head on the pillow at night and knowing you have touched another person's life, made his burden lighter, taught her some infinite wisdom, made him laugh, allowed her to cry on your shoulder, lend him an understanding ear...made a difference.

Make a difference. It is not that hard. Make a habit of making another person's day. Every day.

I'm as guilty as anyone; I admit it. My friends will tell you that I don't take the simple very important step needed to keep friendships going. Specifically, I'm not the guy that picks up the phone to text or call people as often as I should. I'm not the most nurturing guy. I've become aware that I need to start working on that, because encouraging and caring for one another is a basic step toward creating meaningful moments. I'm taking this more seriously the older I get. We all should.

Make time for the memories, because they're what matter most in the end