You Promised Me A Candy!

You Promised Me A Candy!

Children are such innocent beings and whatever you say to them, they believe.

They believe always, all the time … until that one time when you did not deliver on your promise, when you failed to honour your promise. Then, they begin to question promises and its meaning.

Have you ever made a promise to your child you did not keep?

I sure have …

I’ll bring you to the park over the weekend. Weekend comes and it’s freezing cold outside and you decide to laze at home instead.

Let’s read some stories after dinner. Dinner finishes up and work suddenly beckons and you forgot to read your stories.

These little actions add up and we disappoint a little at a time.

So, what can we do?

Well, I learnt 2 things to do:

Only make promises you know you can keep, and not of others.

Such a simple principle, yet, we often fail at this, because we want to be nice. Or we over promise and under deliver. It’s better to turn down and not promise too much, than to over promise and fail to deliver. Remember, the power to “No”?

This absolutely translate in the work place too. If you can’t deliver, don’t promise you can. If you need more time, say so. If it ain’t going to work, tell somebody. No point making it all rosy up front, and then majorly disappointing after. Not to mention the reputation disaster you have to clean up after.

Keeping it simple, also helps to make the promise more manageable. Breakdown into bite-sized tasks for work, or small little 10 mins fun activities that you know you can absolutely keep for the kids.

Do this and keep the trust going with your kids and your colleagues.

Next, put it down in writing and post it for everyone to see.

The idea is to tell as many people about your promise, doing so motivates you to keep them. Telling others make you committed to make it happen. It also helps you get regular check in from friends and colleagues. At home, make a promise board and stick those promises up there, so you can remind yourself and your kids can remind you too. It also feels good when you finally make good on those promises and check them off.

Well, as we end the year and move into 2018, many of us are making promises to ourselves (resolutions anyone?) and also to our family and friends.

This year, let’s keep the promises/resolutions simple, only make those you absolutely know you can keep, and tell everyone about it. Get your family and friends involved in encouraging you to make it happen.

Finally, let me let you in on my little secret. This post comes in the final date of 2017, just a few days after my previous. Want to know why? Because, I made a promise to myself to post 12x articles for 2017, and I intended to keep my promise. Now, about the “go to the gym & lose weight” promise, maybe next year I’ll just totally scrap it! (“,)

Have a blessed new year!!

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

For Them to Become Greater, I Must Become Less

For Them to Become Greater, I Must Become Less

In parenting, when you are nurturing or providing for your kids, you are almost always in a serving mode, be it cooking, bathing, changing diapers. Even while you teach them, you humble yourself to do so.

Why would a parent need to become less, for their child to become greater?

Well, by becoming less, you let the child take initiative, take responsibility, be accountable for the outcome.

You give the child the opportunity to grow up and make decisions for themselves.

In the workplace, the same thing absolutely applies.

As a manager, my goal is for all my direct reports to eventually be able to take over my role. It is only when they have risen up to be greater, can I as the manager be freed from the more routine work and rise up to even more challenges.

Hence, my practice is to give as much freedom for self-discovery, loads of opportunity to try themselves, and to let them know where they do well in. If done well, this would bolster your reports’ confidence and help them grow.

Think about how can you create project opportunities for your reports to take ownership and report directly to senior management. Be wary about mistakes, but not afraid. If you can “afford” the mistake, i.e. not always monetary, then let them make mistakes, as it is all part of learning.

Create areas where they can contribute their ideas and their passion. It won’t be work if they get excited about an idea they want to bring to life. Even if you think it’s not a great idea, resist the temptation to reject immediately. Provide room for experimentation and give feedback on how to improve.

Always remember to be encouraging and promote a growth mindset, never be condescending and never make it seemed like it was the end of the world.

As a final note, just wanted to point out that this principle of becoming less was taken out of the bible. We must become less so that God can work through us and help us become greater.

John 3:30 – He must be greater, I must become less.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

Clean up, Clean up, Put Your Toys (Mess) Away

Clean up, Clean up, Put Your Toys (Mess) Away

Anyone with a kid will know how challenging it is to get your young child to keep and clear up their toys after they are done. Many ultimatums must surely have been issued …

Clear up your toys now, or it will be all gone.

Clear up the mess, or no more TV time tomorrow.

Clear the floor up, or else …

But, why is it important to even teach them to clear up their toys?

Well, ideally this helps to nurture responsible teenagers and later on adults that are responsible and accountable for their actions.

Image a workplace where everyone takes ownership of every project they run. They become responsible and accountable for any deliverable, any issues that arise and, of course, the eventual success. It’s about having the mindset to work through to the end, even if it gets tough and it is all a mess.

I believe the only way of teaching this is to “Be an example”. There really isn’t any other way around this. Action surely speaks louder in this case. Sure, you can throw ultimatums at work too, but that probably won’t fly very well.

So lead by example …

Do you clear the dishes after a meal?

Do you put away your computer, books, TV remote, etc after you are done for the day?

Do you make the bed sheets in the morning?

Make sure your children are aware. If they aren’t tell them (repeatedly) about how you have cleared up after yourself all the time. Children might need more time to get the point, but they do eventually get it.

At work, do the same and lead by example too.

On projects, complete the project from start to finish. Have the plan and the review prepared. Socialize the findings, share the learnings, even if they were poor.

On more mundane things, do you clear up the meeting rooms after a meeting, do you put away your trash, do you tidy your table? Every little details speaks loudly of the kind of individual, the kind of leader you are.

Since it is year end, and we are moving into 2018, perhaps you can jot down a new year’s resolution to clean up after yourself.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

Focus: One Thing At A Time

Focus: One Thing At A Time

Kids love shiny new things.

Their attention will almost always shift to the new kid entering the playroom.

They would glance up from their drawing to peek at what their little brothers are having fun with.

The iphone you are intently looking at seems more intriguing than their own television cartoon.

As young kids, their mind are often racing with all kinds of ideas and looking for the next fun thing. Yet, parents need to ground their child, and teach them to focus on accomplishing one thing at a time.

Children cannot multi task and adults cannot too.

When adults say they multi task they simply say they switch context very quickly across different task in hope that they can accomplish more. Yet, you must still acknowledge that our brains are wired up as a pipeline and only one thing can be processed at one time. We are not computers with multi core processors that can process multi threads of tasks.

Therefore, just as we teach our kids to focus on the task at hand and accomplish it before doing something else. We need to bring that same practise to the workplace.

By doing so, we cut down on contextual switching, and you will be able to focus and be entirely immersed in the task. This reduces errors and, in fact, increases the quality of the thinking and the work.

Who wouldn’t want to do more and do better?

Well, we all say we do, but the typical workplace is still myriad with all sorts of distractions. Emails, instant messaging, phone calls, polite knock on the door/table, laughter acrosss the table, etc. They all add up and even if you had noise cancellation headphones, the visual distractions of notifications and people randomly passing by would still be difficult to ignore. (Note that this is slightly different from when we go to a cafe to zone out with the help of random noises and random people.)

So, what can you do?

Set a side time when you can work with undivided attention on a task. Block off your calendar time if required. Inform your colleagues. Let your boss know. Work from a cafe even (and speak to your boss about it).

Set your phone to DND (do not disturb) mode, your computer too. (Yup, easier said than done.)

Give yourself a time limit, let’s say 1 hour, so you know it is just a fixed amount of time before you can move on to other matters.

Just as we breakdown task into manageable portions for kids, lets do the same for ourselves so we can focus on doing one thing at a time and getting it done well.

I would love to hear more about how you cut out distraction, dissect your projects into digestible portions. Feel free to share in the comments.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

What is your LTV? Long Term Vision

What is your LTV? Long Term Vision

We are all very familiar with LTV when defined as Life Time Value of a customer, in fact, we can be overly obsessed with this metric and create all sorts of spam opportunities for the customer. However, that is a different story for another day.

Today, I like to discuss Long Term Vision and how it is important for the entire company and how it trickles down to every person in the company.

Before I do that, let’s take a look at how parents nurture their kids. We teach to count, read, write, etc.  We teach them to be independent. We teach them to empathetic.  We teach them to be kind. All our efforts goes into nurturing a kid to excel.

Why?

Is it just so they can fend for themselves? Is it just to be rich? It is just to be happy?

I believe, most, if not all, parents do so because they want their kids in the long term to be able to contribute and do meaningful work, hence, be happy individuals. It’s very intangible, but also very achievable vision for our kids. With that vision in mind, everything we do, every goal we set, every course we take, every activity we participate in then becomes a continuous, incremental building block that will shape the kids belief, actions and mindset towards achieving that Long Term Vision (LTV).

So, at the workplace, setting the right LTV is very important. This begins with the CEO of the company, the captain of the ship, and he/she must set the vision for the company. Whether it is to be top 3 brand in a market, most favourite brand, etc … this then can have extensions into every department and every personnel to ensure that everyone’s KPIs are all working towards that LTV.

Another point to make about KPIs, is that most companies set short term KPIs that do not really work towards a longer LTV.

For example, when a parent gives a “star” for a kids good behaviour, the kid learns by association that good behaviour gives you a star. When the star disappears, the kid might not be so good anymore. So, parents perhaps should learn to inculcate long term good behaviour through other means (those that do not require short term gains)

In a company, are your KPIs setup with LTV in mind?

Do you even know what your company’s LTV is?

Think about it, and perhaps, you can speak to your manager when Performance Review comes about this time of year.

Getting personal, think about your own personal LTV, what do you want to achieve, where do you want to go, what do you want to impact, who do you want to make a difference to?

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

Eat Your Dinner and YOU CAN HAVE ICE-CREAM; the Power of Selective Listening

Eat Your Dinner and YOU CAN HAVE ICE-CREAM; the Power of Selective Listening

With kids, you never really know which part of the conversation they have absorbed and which they had totally ignored.

For example,

When an adults says, “Eat your dinner and you can have ice-cream”, the child usually only hears “you can have ice-cream”.

When we ask, “Did you break the vase?”, the child usually/most often never hears anything and goes on to say, “How beautiful clouds are against the blue sky.”

It all boils down to selective listening.

A skill that children pick up without needing proper training!!

And, I believe, we should all (re)learn this valuable skill.

First a disclaimer on selective listening.

Selective listening is not about ignoring criticisms or pretending the problem away.

I believe that to be an effective selective listener (what a mouthful!), it really is about listening but not immediately engaging in the issue or problem.

Why would you want to do that?

It gives you time to get your emotions in check and engage only after.

It allows you to observe and get a sense of who else in the same room as the same issue or problem.

It lets you appreciate the problem slowly, later in your own time.

After which, engaging with the problem is a must. We aren’t kids so we do have to face up to the issue and find solutions. However, by selective listening, you would probably have avoided any conflicts, rally allies and solve problems in your own time.

Always happy to (selectively) hear more about how you handle situations at work. Share your thoughts in the comments, I love to hear from you.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

Active Collaboration = WIN WIN

Active Collaboration = WIN WIN

Daddy, Mummy, See what I have done?

Can you do this with me?

Can we draw this together?

Can I hold this for you?

Can I help you?

Children are always wanting to be involved in what their parents are doing and they also want parents to be involved in what they are doing.

Whether you call it seeking help, looking for approval or just getting attention, it’s amazing how kids can be so inclusive when they play.

As adults in a work environment, we often tend to think of our work and your work … separately. Inclusion is not the default mode, collaboration is by the way. Why? Mainly because different teams have different KPIs and the KPIs do not match up, often conflicting with each other.

From an organisation perspective, a clear vision and goal needs to be effectively communicated. Once that is done, at a team or individual level there would be lesser conflicts of KPIs and higher tendency of working together.
Let’s start active collaboration in your organisation, just by being a kid again, and …

  1. Ask for feedback often
  2. Show work in progress often
  3. (This is for everyone, especially bosses) Encourage, define and don’t jump to conclusion and kill a project too soon

Always happy to hear how you create active collaboration within your organisation. Share your thoughts in the comments, I love to hear from you.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills
“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

Every Bruise is a Learning Opportunity

Every Bruise is a Learning Opportunity

Kids run and play almost all day long.

Falling down and bumping into things is very natural.

Bruises & abrasions (within limits) are all badges of real world learning for your little one.

When they fall down, and bump their head, their brain starts to wire that this is painful and not to do what they had just done. For the young brain, it might take a couple more tries/bumps for it to really sink it, and every bump/fall is a learning opportunity, first not to do that which cause the bump, but also the brain grows by exploring alternatives to doing the same thing in a different way.

Companies can go back to basics and learn from the original & most natural way of learning. Learning through failing. Too often many companies are bad at failing. It’s ok, if its a tiny mistake, that has minimal cost implications. Once it scales up to 10s of thousands of dollars, things change and failure becomes frowned upon. When there is no room for failing, there will be no room for the organization to wire itself up against not to do that thing, it also disallows growth through finding suitable alternatives.

What can you do? Start at a manageable level, (i.e. Just big enough to make an impact) and empower staff to make decisions and drive projects at that scale. Give them total freedom to try, with only one caveat – come back with a learning on how to make it better. If the project succeeds, everyone is pleased and the process continuous, if the project fails, be aware of what caused the failure and figure out a new way to make it better.

Does your organization have room for learning by failing? Share if you think it is working and how it can be improved in the comments, I love to hear from you.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column combines of 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

“When Boxes Turn Into Pirate Ships”, Making The Best Of Available Resources

"When Boxes Turn Into Pirate Ships", Making The Best Of Available Resources

Blocks of wood magically become ingredients for a pizza

Boxes turn into helmets

Sticks become drum sticks

Empty bottles become magic wands

and the list goes on …

Kids are amazing in that their imagination knows no bounds, and they are always able to the best use of what ever they have on hand. The world is their stage and everything becomes instruments in making their world a more exciting place.

In the workplace, we are not always fortunate to have all the best resources available. If budgets were no issue, then sure, perhaps, you could, but that would be the rare occasion than the norm.

Hence, we should learn from kids play and turn every available resource in the organization to their best value and to your advantage. If its just sitting around not doing much, why not just leverage it. The extra computer, the additional admin personnel, the extra thousand dollars, everything adds up like magic to make an even better pizza, if you just made the best use of all available resources.

If you have thoughts on how we can best leverage available company resource, please share your thoughts in the comments, I love to hear from you.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

All day is “Give my best” day

All day is "Give my best" day

Regardless of time of day, kids are super kids all day, without a good concept of time yet, kids will do most things till they complete it, they will also do most things with whole hearted dedication. If they don’t know how to do it, they just keep trying. The same determination that teaches them how to pick up a single pea with their fingers, the same will that powers them to take their first step.

Kids are fighters

Kids are optimistic creatures

Kids keep on doing it

Kids give their best all day

The caveat to give their best is not always being on their best behaviour, but really pouring their heart into everything that they do. It could be making a mess of the home too. 😃

As employers and employees in organisations big and small, it is the collective giving our best in everything that we do, in all the tasks that will result in the least friction and best outcome for the organisation and hence, its people.

Let’s learn from kids to give your best in everything.

When on a task, forget about time, don’t let the calendar reminder distract your thought process. Really block out time to get something done, well. What do I need to do a little more so I can get it done, do you need someone else’s assistance? Keep trying so you make it happen, iteratively work on the project so there will be continuous exploration and learning.

At the end of the day, giving your best not only helps the organization but yourself too. You’ll definitely grow and be better the next time around.

Are there days when you felt you had given your best? How did that work out for you? lease share your thoughts in the comments, I love to hear from you.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.