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26March

2016

Taking The Road Less Travelled

March 26, 2016Art of DeterminationEmpowermentHopeNo Comments

MANY people mistakenly believe that any form of vision-setting should be the CEO’s responsibility. That is erroneous thinking and not only limits the growth of any leader, but also makes his career much less exciting.

All leaders in any organisation, community or team are able to effectively manifest their vision (that is, “see” what they want to be) as long as they create specific and achievable goals while initiating positive actions and enlisting the participation of all relevant team members.

Of course, to reap maximum synergy and motivation from his team, a leader’s vision should be congruent with that of the company.

However, there are a few questions that beg to be answered.

As a leader, how important is it to set a vision? How should leaders rally their team behind that vision? What is the role of the leader in communicating and bringing out that vision?

Vision

A visionary paints beautiful scenes of the future and articulates them with great enthusiasm.

A visionary leader, on the other hand, brings that vision into reality and, thereby, impacts the space others dwell in.

Even though he was asked to leave the company he helped build, Steve Jobs never threw away his vision of what Apple could be. Instead, he dug deep, persevered and returned to Apple as its leader, impacting the company even more in the process.

As leaders, how ready and enthusiastic are we to share a piece of our dream with our team? More importantly, how determined are we to see our vision bear fruit?

“Buy-in”

Successful leaders should also be able to get positive “buy-in” from their teams. Therefore, we should concentrate on the various aspects of the buy-in process and manage them accordingly to reach maximum leverage.

As a business leader, I have had to invest time and effort to secure “buy-in” from various stakeholders.

I have come to realise that just because two potential partners have similar visions, it does not necessarily guarantee “buy-in” because the two parties may have different goals, and vice-versa.

It is good for leaders to help their team members “see the big picture” and understand how their involvement will help the team reach goals and also result in the growth of each team member.

After all, leaders are dream makers who know that dreams are made from future probabilities and never from past liabilities. The more we nourish our teams with possible visions of what they can achieve, the more dynamic and motivated they will be.

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Step-in and step-up

A successful “buy-in” process will often result in committed relationships within the team.

Engagement (step-in) is the primary product in all fruitful relationships. As leaders, we should steer our teams towards active participation and assimilate everyone into the culture of the company.

A healthy relationship between leaders and the rest of the team ultimately results in empowerment (step-up) of all involved. For empowerment to occur, constant feedback is needed. Gallup research conducted in 2009 shows that teams need constant feedback — not just yearly — from their leaders about how they are performing.

Effective leaders also need to receive feedback and to mentor their teams in a way that increases engagement and commitment.

Motivation

For teams to be highly motivated, everyone should be speaking about the same vision. It is essential for information to be received and transmitted in a clear and accurate manner.

It is useful to remind ourselves that the success of the team only occurs when everybody wins.

Here are some handy reminders:

* Always take into account your boss’s point of view

* Focus on the solution rather than the problem

* Communicate “upwards”; inspire “downwards”.

Many of us avoid the responsibility of visionary leadership primarily because we are too sensitive to criticism and failure. But all these fears may fade away when we realise the impact our vision has on the organisation.

As American poet Robert Frost once wrote:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Article by Dr Darren Chua, the chief empowering officer of DC Empowerment. He was awarded the Young Outstanding Singaporean 2011 and Successful Entrepreneur Award 2011. For more information, visit www.drdarrenchua.com

from: http://www.stjobs.sg/career-resources/workplace-success/take-the-road-less-travelled/a/85888

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7May

2016

What is Performance made of?

There is a simple equation of performance and it reads somewhat like this:

Our Performance =   Our Can’s      X         Our Want’s    X         Our May’s

OUR CAN’S

Whether or not we can do a task depends on our expertise. The good news is that expertise does not depend on paper qualifications. Rather, our expertise in our work is related to our focus. You see, to be an expert is to build depth around a certain topic or subject.  The very act of focus is like building depth. If we were to take two people of similar intellect and abilities and charge the first with building a business with a broad focus and the second with building a business with a narrow focus, we would find that the second person would build a depth of expertise exponentially greater than the other. He could not help but do so, for when we narrow our field of thought we think deeper. We need not be smarter or more creative than our competition. We just need to be more focused. Focus is powerful.

OUR WANT’S

Whatever we desire, we are motivated to achieve. And one of the better ways I have found to be better motivated is to be purposeful about our goals. Instead of doing things that you feel like you “should” do in 2016, work towards the resolutions that you genuinely care about. When you do this, you tap into a different part of the brain that uses less willpower to take action and make progress.

An inspiring purpose does not need to be an over-the-top goal of curing cancer, solving world hunger, or becoming the CEO of your company. In fact, it can be as simple as changing perspectives.

OUR MAY’S

While our “Can” and “Want” are compelling, our current life conditions play the final leg in propelling us to our peak performance. Making sure that situations are optimal in our environment, emotional state, sociological, psychological and physiological makes it easier for us to reach the performance we desire.

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24September

2016

Winning Mindset

Mindset will determine the way we behave, our outlook on life and our attitude towards everything that is happening around us. Our mindset is our ideas and attitudes that shape the way we thinks about ourselves and the world around us. Simply put, our mindset is our way of thinking and our frame of mind.

Our mindset not only determines our collection of thoughts and beliefs, it also shape our habits. And our habits affect how we think, what we feel, and what we do

The mindset we have shifts the way we approach our everyday life. And the good news is, our mindset is not set in stone; there are things that we can do that shift your mindset so that we can get the most out of it.

As the 2016 Rio Olympics and Para-Olympics come to an end and we look forward to 2020 Tokyo Games, we celebrate the success of Schooling, Yip Pinxiu and Theresa Goh as a nation. It is also apt that we remind ourselves what led these elite athletes to shine. I call this the 3 P’s.

Perseverance
Theresa Goh first competed in the Para-Olympics way back in 2004 at the Athens Games where she finished fifth in the 100m breaststroke which is her pet event. Back then she was the first female swimmer to fly the flag for Singapore at the Para-Olympics. And although she will continue to make Singapore proud, including bagging 27 gold medals at the ASEAN Para Games, the Para-Olympic medal remained elusive.

Until 2 September 2016 where she was the bronze medal for this nation and her determination finally bore fruit.

Progress
Before even before Schooling’s gold medal win in 2016 at Rio, back in 2008, there Yip Pin Xiu who attained a gold medal at the highest level of sporting competition in Beijing as a para athlete swimmer.

She added two more gold medals at this Rio Para-Olympics in the 100m and 50m backstroke S2.
What is more fascinating is that she did all these even though her physical condition is causing her to loose muscle strength and control.

Pin Xiu’s story reminds us that continued growth and progress can always happen if we keep the right mindset despite less than ideal conditions.

Pillars of support
During the 2016 Rio Olympics, the side story besides Schooling’s outstanding swim and gold medal, was the story about his parents and how supportive they were. Both parents have been widely credited as the main driving forces behind Joseph’s success as a swimmer. The two have reportedly spent more than S$1 million on Joseph’s swimming career over the past seven years to send him to the Bolles School in Florida, United States to train and study, and now the University of Texas. And Joseph’s success today is clear validation that all their sacrifices throughout the years have paid off.

For champions to be born, both in life and in sports, I firmly believe that mindset of Perseverance, desire for Progress and a keen interest in building Pillars of support is need.

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12October

2016

Leadership Mindset

As leaders, have we ever reflected upon how the role of our mindset plays in the way we approach our leadership, as well as our leadership styles? 

A mindset can be defined to comprise the entirety of our attitudes, beliefs and expectations we hold that act as the foundation of who we are – which in turn shapes how we lead and the ways we interact with our team. Our mindset determines how we think, as well as how we interpret the situations occurring around us. It impacts the quality of our relationships, as well as moderating the way we live and lead our lives.
Over the years of both working with as well as honing various leaders, I believe there are four important perspectives in a mindset we need to adopt in order to be a good and effective leader.

I call these the S.T.A.R. mindset:

S – Sight
A leader’s sight enables us to be excited about the future, and they allow the team to be able to see the vision that we dare to place upon ourselves. It is the end in mind; the goal in which the team strives towards together with the leader.

T – Testament
It is almost a cliché, but also a truism that great leaders must not only “talk the talk,” but also “walk the talk”. Actions speak louder than words. A good visualization of the team’s success and heights the team can reach can only be achieved through concrete, actionable steps and actions taken in order to inch towards the end goal in mind. Without actions, ideas would remain afloat, and visions would only remain as dreams.

A – Assurance
One of the foundations of good leadership is the assurance and the determination we give to our team members. The amount of commitment that you bring as leaders sends a powerful message of commitment to your team mates. Leaders lead by example and lead a group together by trudging forward with them, whereas bosses only give directions for his subordinates to follow.

R – Responsibility
As leaders, we take the lead in all aspects of the team’s functioning and performance and we are willing to be accountable for our actions and results. A good leader will take ownership of the actions and decisions made by him or herself, as well as those of the team – shifting of blame or finger-pointing is extremely detrimental for team dynamics, and would not attribute to good leadership as it slows team growth and progress.

Edited by Ms Sakeena Tan

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5November

2016

Mentality Trumps Ability

On 4th Nov, I attended the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme (LED) Symposium 2016 held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. With the SMEs in Singapore in mind, LEDS was mooted by Minister Lim Swee Say back in 2015 with the following objectives:
a) be more manpower efficient/lean;
b) develop a strong Singaporean Core and
c) enhance the quality of our workforce.

Mr Lim also spoke in this event and on that day he reminded Singaporeans that “With ageing and low birth rate, our local workforce is growing much slower, and may stagnate in the next decade. So in other words, 10 years from now, the local workforce will stop growing. With foreign manpower growing much slower too, our challenge is to ensure that this sharp drop in our total workforce growth will not become the bottleneck in the future growth of our economy and also for your businesses.”

Many other industry leaders spoke that day and a few common themes seem to stand out. One of which was how we can use technology in increase our work efficiency and efficacy. Another is the need for our workforce to be able to add value in what they are currently doing as tasks become more multi-faceted.

As I listen and lean in to what the speakers have to share, there was one word that was repeated throughout the various presentations.

Mindset.

More than one speaker spoke about it was how they changed the way they look at the problem that caused a change in perspective that finally led to a breakthrough in results generation.

I am convinced that as we move into 2017, one thing will bring us out from the current sluggish economic climate and that is our mental attitude and disposition that will predetermine the interpretation of and the respond to the situations we face.

After all obstacles are but opportunities for us to lean and grow as leaders. What is needful is then a mindset shift that helps us to refocus and look through the same situation but with a different lens.

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15December

2016

Pursuing Purpose

Recently I had the pleasure to meet a new friend who is also a stroke survivor. Both of us had our brain attack due to an AVM (arteria-venous malformation). Over coffee in the afternoon, we shared how our lives were affected because of the bleed.

Over the course of our conversation, one theme cropped out often and that was about our life’s purpose. Maybe it is because stroke at our relatively young age makes us realise just how fragile life can be. Or maybe it is because we both appreciate and acknowledge how grateful we are for God’s unmerited favour over our lives. As I relaxed and enjoyed the time with my new acquaintance, it reminded me why it is so important for us to seek out passionately what our purpose in life is.

It was Dr Myles Munroe (1954 – 2014) who was a pastor, inspirational speaker and international author of numerous books that wrote, “The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live.

And so I shared over our afternoon coffee why it is so important that we have a duty to live out our life. Paul (5 – 67 AD), the apostle who taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in the first century, had the privilege to complete his life’s destiny when he wrote these words, “My life is being poured out as a part of the sacrifice and service… Yet, I am filled with joy, and I share that joy with all of you.” – (Phil 2:17)

How absolutely wonderful it must feel to know that we have impacted others through the lives we have touched!
As we go into the final few days of the year and we look forward to 2017, let us ponder as consider the purpose of our lives and how we pursue. it.

Perspective
One of the best ways to develop a healthy and positive approach towards life is to be intentional about our mindset and the thoughts that we dwell upon.

Again, it was Paul the apostle that reminds us that “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – (Phil 4:8)

Authenticity
To live a life that is meaningful and rewarding, we need to be real and authentic about who we are, what we have done, where we want to go and how are we going to reach there.

One of the most important thing we can do to develop our purpose to be be self-aware of our talents, abilities, gifts and inclinations. And this is what I routinely do for my workshops and talks.

Service
When we are determined to live a life where we are continually giving, we act with respect, care, and mindfulness for the well-being of everyone and not just for our self-serving interests. When we serve others first and be a leader second, we help individuals achieve worthwhile results while keeping the best interest of those we serve before our own.

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29December

2016

How to Develop a Successful Mindset for 2017

What is Mindset? The dictionary defines it as “the established set of attitude held by a person”. In other words, our mindset refers to our mental inclination, tendency and habits. It is our way of thinking and opinions. Through our mindset our attitudes, moods and disposition is established. Moreover, this mental frame of mind; which we term mindset; drives our ideas whenever we approach a situation. Mindset is important because it refers to our thought, actions, results and beliefs.

It was perhaps the Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu who first wrote about mindset and its significance more than 2 500 years ago with these words:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Stephen Covey (1932 – 2012) was an American educator, author and businessman who wrote The Habits Of Highly Effective People; and it was he that coined the idea of abundance mindset contrasting it with scarcity mindset. For Covey, he believes that the emergence of an abundance mindset creates a mentality that gravitates towards enough resources and successes to share with others.

In 2006, Carol Dwerk (1946 – present) published her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success in which she postulates that individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. According to her book, there are those that believes their success is based on innate ability and she termed them as “fixed mindset” vs those who believes that success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness whom she termed as “growth mindset”.

I believe that mindset is the key that unlocks the treasure that is stored within us. As we move into 2017, let us remember together some keys that will open up our possibilities as we position ourselves for a great year ahead!

Why are we doing what we are doing?
One of the most important thing we can know in 2017 for ourselves is what is important to us? As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) so profoundly said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Our purpose drives our reasons and reasoning.

We can accomplish almost anything when what we are trying to accomplish is what we are passionate about. Let us be focused and disciplined to a cause and purpose that connects with who we truly are. All of us bear a unique voice that is longing to be expressed so let us start living sincerely though this expression.

What can we do to achieve transformational results?
All of us have the responsibility to deliver to the world the potential that is trapped in each and every one of us.

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister of Great Britain ran the first sub-four minute mile. In fact, he ran it in 3 minute and 59.4 seconds. Before this feat, it was thought to be impossible to run a mile in under four minutes. Interestingly, two months later, he raced his great rival John Landy of Australia and won that race, with both men going under four minutes, and within three years 16 runners had gone under the barrier.

What can we learn from this? The moral of the story, of course, is that so often our limitations exist only in our minds, and when someone erases the mental limits, performance takes off.

What are we believing today about our performance?

Where are we going as we move into 2017?
How do we reach our destiny? After we discover our purpose and recognized our potential, we have to realize our destiny can only be reached through determination, dedication, persistence and perseverance. In other words, the fulfillment of our destiny is decided by us.

There is currently 7.4 billion people here on planet earth and it is my belief we are all born to do something valuable and be an impact to the environment around. Our existence is proof that there is something important for us to deliver that made our presence necessary.

Fishes are meant to swim. Birds are meant to fly. Seeds are meant to grown. Our destiny is hard-wired into us. Yet, fear and false identity too often robs from us our success and the full expression of what we are capable of.

As we enjoy the last few days of 2016, let us all be committed to a mental frame of mind that will reap the results we are aiming for in 2017!

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16January

2017

In The Pursuit Of Purpose

Mankind is facing a tipping point. In almost every culture and social systems, we are struggling to find our place in a fast-changing world. In many societies, dramatic changes at the workplace has left a significant number of people discontented, disconnected and disillusioned. Indeed, in our current world which is internet-driven, our postmodern world can be so easily caught in a worldwide web of confusion.

Change is often the cause of uncertainty. And this uncertainty can very often lead to fear and anxiety. The 21st century has brought upon us an unparalleled acceleration in knowledge and information; and has led us into a maze of new paradigms and uncharted waters of social and cultural convergences.

I find that the key to stabilising our lives is in finding our purpose. Purpose is the key to life. Without purpose, life has no meaning. We find that it is so easy to be busy making a living even though we may be experiencing very little in life. Without knowledge of purpose, life becomes an endless string of activities with little or no significance.

Everything in life has a purpose. Everyone who is reading this blog post is born with and for a purpose. Finding this purpose creates our source of meaning. Purpose, therefore, is the original intent in the mind of the creator, in the mind of God. And it is this reason why I believe we are all hard-wired and we have an in-built system that tells us that we are born on purpose and with a purpose.

I have come to realize that nothing is truly ours until we understand it. In other words, we will never be fulfilled until we find out what is the reason for our existence. Vague goals such as “I want to be rich,” “I want to make the world a better place,” or even “I want to be happy” are not helpful and nearly useless. In the final analysis, our life purpose must be answered with the question, “What is the reason for my existence?” and the answer always invariably is linked to our talents, ability, gifting and inclinations.

Recognize that we are unique, special and that God did not make a mistake in creating us. This ought to give us confidence and assurance in living out our lives. Be determined to pursue our aspirations, dreams and goals deliberately and consistently.

Once we have found our purpose, remember to cherish it. In life, there will be many people, including well-meaning friends who may try and remake us according to THEIR plans, purpose and intention. Let us remind ourselves, today, not to let anyone prevent us from becoming, being and doing all that we are born to be and do.

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