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WEAK INSTITUTIONS ARE CORRUPTIBLE
This is an unfair world.
A deserving student who had no pedigree or family wealth to back him/her out cannot dream of an Ivy League education or more less get it in these times. But when wealth/power overrule merit, then this country (or any country) for that matter is on its way to ruins. With the recent scandal on school admission bribery in the US, eight universities are being investigated by the US Education Department.
When wealth, abuse of power, lack of accountability corrupt institutions such as colleges and universities, it showed two things:
That people in power and authority that are supposed to be bastions of integrity, ethics, and high moral leadership can give in to the temptations of the job. This begs the questions about the effectiveness (ineffectiveness) of the people that should be guarding the process, ensuring clear lines of reporting and accountability, supervision, and guidance. Who are they and what were they doing when these things have been going on for years?!
When institutions are weak, corruption can take its place without detection. It is allowed to be brought in by people who doesn't care about rules and equity for all. The moment greed and personal self-indulgence and selfishness rule in any place, there is no more meritocracy and respect for individual achievement through hard work and ethical performance/it is all about who can buy its own way to success and stay unscathed when the hands of justice will swing again.
It's an unfair world but this has to stop now.
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BAD INPUT EQUALS BAD OUTPUT
You know the saying from the Bible, "bad company corrupts good character."
Well, I have more permutations along that line.
Bad ideas corrupt good morals.
Bad attitude corrupts good opportunities.
Bad assumptions spoil the relationship.
Bad appearance decreases the restaurant's value.
Bad analysis creates false convictions.
Bad manners dissolve good impression.
Bad customer service leaves money on the table.
Bad boss means high turn-over of staff.
You know the drift, it goes on and on.
If you have a bad input, the output wont be that far behind.
If you can't take the consequences, change now before it's too late
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Sam Walton's (Made in America: My Story) rule No:10 is Swim upstream.
"Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there's a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction. But be prepared for a lot of folks to wave you down and tell you you're headed in the wrong way."
He built the first discount store in a town with less than 50,000 population and from 1 to 8 to hundred stores in US, and now in North America and overseas. He totally proved a lot of skeptics wrong and made the competitors baffled. Walmart is truly an American success story.
Reflecting on his life and experiencing the sickness brought by cancer, he bemoaned, "I don't know that anybody else has ever done it quite like me: started out as pure neophyte, learned his trade, swept the floor, rung the cash register, installed the fixtures, remodeled the stores, built the organization, etc."
It takes a lot of courage to swim upstream, where there are less pathways made out for the traveller. Beware of the people that you listen to and seek counsel with, a wrong advice can drain your efforts. Commit to your enterprise and wholeheartedly believe that it will happen for you.
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SHOW ME YOUR CULTURE
There is a prevailing misconception that only those that are in Fortune 500 companies have a corporate culture.
Small organizations have culture too. Every organization has culture if its made up of people. People have culture.
Culture is anything that governs behavior. It could be the founding principles, values, beliefs, ethos, and assumptions about the organization. It could be how the Founder thought the business should be. It could be anything that is accepted tacitly but never consciously questioned.
While culture is never stagnant, it could get stale and could be fossilized into something that your organization is fighting against. It could be a tradition devoid of any pragmatic and practical use for the organization. It could be a culture fighting a new strategy that is bent on bringing new and fresh perspective with the way things are done. It could be anything that is made to become the standard of behavior of people in the organization.
Culture cannot be static and immutable. It has to grow and flourish in the service of the company's goals and objectives. It has to be tended as people and culture go along together in creating the best company/organization where people prefer to work, invest, and support through patronage and client loyalty.
Show me your office culture and I will show you who you are
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ARE YOU REALLY AN EXPERT?
If you are the best at what you do, then you are the expert.
Then, stop doing these things to undermine that.
1. Asking people about what to do next.
2. Accepting bad advice from people that do not have the credibility or success for themselves.
3. Asking people to give you the chance. You are not auditioning.
4. Having self-doubt all the time.
5. Getting intimidated in front of people with PhDs, and other initials in their names.
6. Getting intimidated with people in high positions.
7. Trying to be somebody else's that you are not.
8. Creating opportunities for people to doubt you.
9. Agreeing to every one's opinion no matter how incredulous it is.
10. Complying instead of negotiating for your interest.
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DISRUPTION IS NOT THE ISSUE
Disruption as the new normal is becoming trite and tired already.
The reason why organizations get disrupted is because they fail to anticipate the obvious- the sea of change that is enveloping their very existence.
If you are not innovating, you are not growing. And if you are not growing, you will be disrupted.
Innovation in my vocabulary is not about invention. It's applying everyday creativity to achieve luminosity.
It's supportive of looking for opportunities in underserved and overlook areas such as customer problems, product problems, workplace issues, to name a few.
When anticipated, disruptive forces that tend to cause harm can be mitigated or totally thwarted. Are your leaders ready to act when that time comes?
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IT DOESN'T PAY TO BE PAYLESS
Have you heard lately that Payless is closing all of its stores in Canada, some in US and Puerto Rico? According to the news, the reason for the closure is that the prior reorganization was ill-equipped to account for the current retail realities -which means that the management made a big mistake by not accounting for the growing online shopping in Northern America.
It is quite revolutionary that the buying patterns of the public has led to massive reorientation and bankruptcies of major retail players, Sears, ToysRUs, Macy’s, to name the recent ones that have folded or beginning to fold up.
While Payless caters to the lower segment of the market where price is a sensitive issue, it wasn’t immune to the competition that was happening online when buyers shifted the way marketing, merchandizing, branding and promotions, distribution, delivery, payment systems, and customer services are done with retail. Big box companies are beginning to see the follies of the mantra, “big is big.”
What should be obvious is that Walmart remains the number 1 competitor in industry. Walmart is trying to succeed in the online shopping space where Amazon remains the industry leader with selling things online. Amazon and Walmart are up to the races to dominate the future of the marketplace.
Let's see who will win but at present, these two companies have shown that it pays to be adaptable and to listen to your customers!
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Value-based governance and leadership is the newest breakthrough these days.
The underlying belief that the values of the staff and stakeholders match the values of the company and therefore, it is the best test for the cultural fit and the drive behind excellent performance within organizations.
Values-based has gotten to be practiced in extreme. CEOs telling human resources to pick certain types of people who are more compassionate but do not have the skills set for the job means that cultural fit trumps other considerations when hiring.
Cultural fit although very important in the success of the employee and the company together cannot be the end-all and be-all of effective hiring, retention, and training process. The competencies for the job is critical for that person to succeed or feel fulfilled. Certain types of employment and occupations call for a balanced combination of skills, competencies, and values appropriate. Those social types without the structure of the job will not be capable as the fish in the aquarium.
But values are intangible? How to govern through value-based leadership? Values are demonstrated through beliefs, beliefs are manifested through attitudes, and attitudes form part of overall behavior. We can influence the values of a person to a certain extent, but it is mostly an individual choice and a product of their context. We cannot shove it on their lungs to become a worker that values integrity, compassion, and excellence if they don’t have it in their DNAs. The right ‘fit’ as they say.
Training and development programs in companies do not tackle the belief systems of individual workers and their teams but are typically looking for short-term remediation in performance, addressing behavioral issues that arise, and keeping it topical and on-point as part of the Return on Investment on Performance.
The following questions should be asked when you are working on value-based governance/management?
1. How does your value-based leadership impact behaviors that are helpful for the organization?
2. How does your value-based leadership measure behavioral performance that are good and not good for the organization?
3. How does your value-based leadership reward great performance over bad performance?
The starting point is to check on behaviors that manifest those traits that demonstrate great performance over mediocre ones because the latter are latent and can be observed with the naked eye. The best training and development programs are those that address behavioral problems with adequate, effective, and compelling rewards and non-rewards systems that align with company culture and ethos.
Only when great behaviors are consistently reinforced and aligned, then beliefs and values will align to behaviors.
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LUCKY TO LEAVE THE JOB
You are lucky enough to have a job right now!
What does it mean if it comes from a supervisor, boss, manager, or the Head of your department?
Two things come to mind:
1. Better shut up, get to work. Take the job or leave it.
2. Don’t think about making suggestions to improve your work or your work environment. It is what it is.
This is not a very empowering statement. But I heard it from a manager a few years ago. At first, she better be kidding, but yes, it was an opening statement in a meeting with employees in our division. The looming context was a departmental budget cut, possible lay-offs, and a restructuring. But despite the depressing reality at that time, the manager positioned herself defensively by not addressing any question but by simply stating what is to come in a few months. The memo will be sent to those that will be affected by these changes.
People in higher positions saying these are themselves powerless in a bureaucratic organization where the safest bet is to push it down to more powerless people in the organization. It starts from the top.
That being said, if there is no genuine care, concern, and commitment to workers' welfare and well-being, it shows not only in policies but also in language and attitudes of the management.
I have come to understand one thing from that meeting. There is no real progress in a career/ in a work environment where you are made to shut up and just do the job.
I was lucky to leave in five months!
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COPYING OTHER PEOPLE'S SUCCESS
There is too much going on in pop culture, social media, and business schools that you can be like Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban by knowing how they go about their days, eat the kind of food they eat, mediate the same way, read the same books they read – all for the sake to be like them- millionaires /billionaires. This is utter nonsense.
Copying other’s people success is the biggest billion-dollar scam to hit the millennium. You can never be like Elon (there was one interview where the lady interviewer asked Elon “how to be like him?” which was pretty dumb and patronizing) or Mark or Bill Gates for that matter. They are as unique as their genetic makeup, upbringing, social network, educational attainment or non-attainment, life paths, and their predilection for high risk, high ambition, and high rewards.
People who wanted to be a millionaire/billionaire or become wildly successful in business, career, or life has to ask two fundamental questions:
1) Do you have what it takes to succeed in your game? Do you have the innate confidence, talent, determination, and ruthlessness in your pursuit of excellence, health, business domination, and other lofty goals?
2) Do you have the energy, vitality, and open-mindedness to innovate, recharge, retool, and continuously learn and evolve in what you are doing all the time?
If you answered yes to the two questions, you are 20% above the rest of the world population in getting what you want in life and your pursuits. Mastery of yourself and mastery of your environment will take you to places you have never imagined because the first wall that limits you are the walls that you build in your mind.
You cannot copy somebody’s life or life choices. And even if you copy them, you will never be like the people that you want to copy. You can achieve the heights of their success only if you follow your song and dance to your beat and create opportunities for yourself and others in the process.
Success doesn’t come by chance but continuing the path where you can become great or do something great and create value for many people is the best bet of all.
Success doesn't come from some neat formula somewhere, people trying to get to third base when there capacity, attitude, and mental stamina remain in the first base. There are principles that are evergreen to guide one's path but it is up to the individual person to become that master of himself and his environment.
The cavemen did not know who were the people inside the caves that they see. Only when a sunlight penetrated the cave that they found out that it was their shadows playing tricks on them.