2012 Series 008 – Teamwork

Stewardship

Why put stewardship in teamwork?

Because before business model, before strategy, before tactics, when people gather together to work, they need to agree on the principle of stewardship so that the organization they work for can have a significant and sustained impact.

 

Stewardship leads to sustained impact

Recently (July 2012), the world financial community was rock by news massive trading losses in JP Morgan. The immediate cause of the billions dollar lost is several trades done by few traders.

But a financial institution tottering under a loss cause by a trader is nothing new, Barings Bank collapse in 1995 due to trade loss by a “rouge” trader, and the insurance company AIG also faced trading related loss in 2008.

The real cause of the above example is not the “rogue” trader, the real cause is the incentive structure, monitoring, and check and balance within the organization that is at fault. In almost all the trading loss cases, the failure to say “stop” is the intermediate cause.

Now, what is the root cause of the failure to say “stop”? Continue reading

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2012 Series 007 – Growth

Ambition x Humility = Growth

Without ambition, there’s no impetus for growth.

But without humility, growth is not sustained.

Recent history reveals many companies that are thought to be successful, but due to what is arguably, a lack of humbled ambition, these companies went bust, where these bankrupt companies stop being useful for their stakeholders.

For an organization to be useful for its stakeholders, the organization needs sustained growth.

Sustained growth comes from ambition and humility.

“High performance organization” are crafted and sustained by leaders with strong ambition and yet possessing many degrees of humility in greater quantity.

“Low performance organization” have leaders that are strong or weak in ambition yet possesing only superficial humility.

In the context of value creating organization, where organization is nothing more than a group of people, it’s important to speak about “value creating people”

  1. Humility

There are several layers of humility; the acquisition of each in greater quantity will increase the sustainability of growth.

  1. Superficial humility

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2012 Series 006 – Communication

The Power of Shutting Up

I once attended a business dinner where one of the participants is an expert in a particular type of business, whom I was looking forward to learn from. To my horror, another participant sitting close to us has the uncanny ability to answer questions not directed at him. This participant did not have work experience on the business (I asked) yet he continued to answers questions about the business, and when the expert finally had the chance to talk, this other participant doesn’t seem particularly interested. What could have been a chance to learn something, was wasted.

My chance was wasted because this other participant didn’t want to shut up.

But this other’s participant’s chance is even more wasted because he is carrying that inability to shut up wherever he goes.

But I too find myself guilty of the same inability to shut up. Continue reading

2012 Series 005 – Integrity

Moments of Truth

Integrity is the ability to face personally compromising situations with courage, and consciously choose truth as a response even at risk of loss.

Integrity is proven at moments of truth.

Person of integrity recognizes moments of truth, faced the fear of risk and loss that characterizes such moments, and choose to speak truth.

Person of integrity does not allow lapses in integrity to continue.

When he fails to act or speak with integrity, he/she is willing to admit such failures, even at risk of losing face.

He/she choose to not define himself, or his future actions by what he had failed to do and decide he can do something different, the right thing, when the next moment of truth comes up.

  1. Recognize moments of truth

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2012 Series 004 – Respect

Respect here means respect for human and the human nature, which are:

  • Man will always seek value
  • The definition of value is different for each man

And that respect is important because the person, company, or organization that respects the human nature will be successful.

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The difference between life and non-life

Introduction:

I read an article on SciAm on how life is actually non-sense, that the reason people struggle to find a consistent reliable definition of life is because life doesn’t exist. The article is here: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/brainwaves/2013/12/02/why-life-does-not-really-exist/

A quote from the article: “There is no threshold at which a collection of atoms suddenly becomes alive, no categorical distinction between the living and inanimate, no Frankensteinian spark. We have failed to define life because there was never anything to define in the first place.”

I find the above conclusion somewhat fraught. It looks at 2 phenomenon: life & the fact that life and non-life items share the same base components, and make a conclusion based on 1 direction of correlation; which is: since atoms makes life and non-life, then there’s no difference between life & non-life, thus such distinction is fictional.

Yet it could have easily see the 2 phenomenon, and instead conclude this: since life exist, and yet the same atoms make life and non-life, then there’s a factor that differentiates life and non-life.

Here’s my take on the definition on life and non-life

I posit that there’s a factor that differentiates life and non-life.

Life cares about its continued existence, through homeostasis, reproduction, and evolution.

One question about evolution that’s rarely asked is: why should genes care? Why should gene care whether they exist or not? Why should genes care enough to evolve?

Everything in universe, if left as it is, has a tendency towards degradation, the slow decline to continually lower energy states. The existence of matter and concentration of energy itself shows the existence of vacuum. Vacuum demanding equilibrium, achieve through decline of the non-vacuum.

Why should life be different? Why should genes, be any different? Why should genes has motive when everything else in universe, except vacuum, has no motive?

Rock has no motive. It doesn’t try to achieve homeostasis, or to reproduce, or to evolve. Rocks formed, then energy exerts its forces to rock through lava eruption, tectonic movements, erosion, meteoric impact, etc.

Water has no motive, hydrogen has no motive, oxygen has no motive, stars has no motive, matter has no motive, energy has no motive. Everything in universe has no motive. Vacuum has motive. Motive to degrade concentration of matter & energy, degrade non-vacuum.

And life, life has motive.

Whatever shape of life. They all have motive.

So i think, the distinction between life and non-life is the existence of motive, the motive to exist. Continue reading

Startup CEO Role

A. Defining the business model & operational model

B. Defining the activities and how it’s going to be distributed

C. Defining the battle commander and the quarter master

D. Creating intense excellence and spreading it around

Continue reading