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CHEAP BIRDS IN THE AIR
Cheap airlines are getting better and better.
Newer offerings in new routes. More options to choose from such as print your own tickets, online check-in, are getting better as well.
This is very good for fliers whose budget cannot afford the amenities and the frills of the regular airlines.
The key here is providing value to the point that customers are eager to try on without sacrificing a lot of dollars for the whole experience. The safety, comfort, and overall no-frills experience are what counts at the end of the day. Beware, if you do not read the fine print, you get charge for every little thing. Little thing that we take for granted but adds costs to the operations.
When did you start to think about your organization's value addition to your customers? Is it the price, comfort, peace of mind, guarantees, "the relationship," or the expertise your provide? or how about the lethal combination of these musts.
In these days, standing out in the market is not being the loudest or the most noisy product or service. It is about the filling the gaps, combining the best value for your offer, and ensuring a follow-through of a great experience.
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THE INTERPRETER OF MALADIES
Our Guest Author is Raj Prasanta, the Chief Editor of Assam Newspaper in India. Raj is a Rotary Peace Scholar and a Graduate of the Certificate in Peace and Conflict Resolution from Chulalongkorn University, batch 18. Raj and all of us in our class honor Mr. Suthan Antony, another Peace Fellow from Sri Lanka who passed away recently. He has devoted his life for community peacebuilding efforts and will be missed by his family, friends, community, and Rotary Peace Fellows.
Raj wrote this article in 2015 while we are studying for the Peace fellowship.
Suthan Anthony. Thirty-six years of age. As a child, he said, he was very diffident, so much so that he was embarrassed whenever he had to talk to someone. Now Anthony thinks the ups and down that he has gone through so far have made him confident to take on life, or face it as it comes. Over the years, Anthony has shaped his personality and mental make-up in such a way as to be able to tackle any adversity of life.
At present my batch mate in the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Suthan Anthony is a Sinhalese and comes from Battikalowa in south-west Sri Lanka. Like me, he never had to sit for oral and written examination to get the Fellowship to come to the University, but was selected for the same through online test conducted by the Illinois-based headquarters of the Rotary Foundation. In fact, Anthony could not have sat for the examination in Sri Lanka because he is a suspect in the eyes of the political establishment there. Being a Tamil and a Catholic Christian has made the matter further worse for him, because in Buddhist majority Sri Lanka, a kind of insecurity always haunts the country's minority communities.
It is quite possible that had the Sri Lankan government known about his applying for a Fellowship of a foreign university, it would not have stopped short of putting impediments at his attempt to get Fellowship of a foreign university, at least that is what he thinks.
(To be continued...)
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THE AIR WE BREATHE
These days, Alberta, BC, and some parts of Saskatchewan have an air quality warning. 600 BC forest fires and counting have left Western Canada literally covered with smoke. In Calgary, the air quality warning hit to 10 ( 10 being the highest).
Air is a precious element of life and is taken for granted. Unlike water, air is all around us but invisible. But where there is smoke, you can see, feel, taste, smell, and experience the air that is not good for you.
What kind of air are you breathing these days? Is it coming from the smoky past of failures, disappointments, and frustrations? Or are you breathing fresh air-new beginnings, new possibilities that await you?
Are you sharing air with the people that are inhaling their own exhaust? Better not
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There is so much thinking, investigating, consulting, checking things out, and consulting back and forth, including more people, and more networks for an executive decision that should be done by a strong executive. This is utterly useless!
There is no strong executive to do that obviously. The time is slipping away. There is too much time lag consulting too many people whose views are not that important in the long run.
Take that decision and recalibrate as you go. There is no such thing as a perfect time to make a decision. When you have 60% of facts, go and dive in.
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PEBBLE IN THE SHOE
Pebble on the shoe, dirt under the nails, sliver under the skin -
Little things that hurt the body. Little things that undermine your performance. Little things that derail you from your objective. It hurts like crazy, it is annoying, it is derailing, it gets in the way.
What is the pebble in your life that does affect your performance? Remember, it is insidious, inconspicuous, obtrusive, alien, and absolutely annoying.
Most of the time, you do not know that you have it because it doesn’t feel like it until it hurts like crazy.
Take time to identify areas in your performance that gets in the way of your best.
Take them off before you stumble or ask someone to help you get it out of your system
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A few days ago I got an inquiry from a manager of one of the growing community programs in Central Alberta. She inquired about evaluation and how they should go about it.
One of the things I noticed is that from all the other networks that I have traveled is that she is the only one who had the courage to inquire about evaluation as one of the elements of her program development. The word “evaluation” conjures feelings of fear of being found out that they have failed, fear of being found out that their work is insufficient, just plain fear.
It is a normal feeling but evaluation is a standard program requirement these days. And the “no money, we are a non-profit” doesn’t work too. Don’t use these excuses to know about this important topic. The initiative to know is why good managers stand out from the crowd.
The question is how you are going to deal with the “you don’t know what you don’t know” challenge.
· The first thing is to do is to ask the right questions and acknowledge that you don’t know anything about it. Organizations refuse to seek outside help because they want to keep their independence but there are no resources internally that can actually provide enough momentum for the kind of change/result they want to see. Staying independent but not knowing what to do is not the smartest move.
· The second thing is to seek experts and people and organizations who have done it before and learn from their success or failure. Look around your sector and talk to organizations that are in better shape in this area and learn how they came to be. You do not have to reinvent the wheel.
· The third thing is to seek ways to get a beginners knowledge and understanding that will propel you to commit to small actions that are building blocks for something greater in the long-run. It is about being a champion or an initiator in your office. Tell your boss that you want to improve your program development skills and get the best practice in results-orientation out there. It will help your organization move incrementally as you seek to be enlightened and later champion progress in this area.
An inquiring mind is a good start. The more you learn about something new, the more you can begin to see its value and usefulness in your organization. Take small steps and you will never regret it
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CAPACITY IS A STATE OF MIND
A single parent mom aged 25 years old with two kids less than 5 years old each managed to finish her college education, get a degree, get a good job, pay the mortgage, raise her two kids, and now looking to get a Master’s degree after saving some monies.
A paraplegic has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro helping fundraise a million dollars for building schools in Africa. He trained for one year and with the help of trainers get him into shape to accomplish his goal.
How can they do that? Do they have superpowers?
No, they are just regular people with an extraordinary sense of commitment to a certain task or a goal. Their bodies, environment, circumstances, and conditions were never perfect for those goals but they set out to perfect and harness their assets- strength of character, wholeness in their lives, and getting support they need from loved ones to get to the place where they want to be.
Capacity is not what you have in the present moment. Capacity extends and grows out of the abundance of your vision to change, to advance, to grow, to move forward. Capacity goes with you in the direction where you want to go.
When organizations say they do not have the capacity but are not able to invest either their time, staff, and resources to build capacity, they are simply saying that” it is not a priority.” Because capacity-building is never without a cost.
When people refuse to build personal capacity because they are lazy, ill-motivated, disillusioned, given-up on life and work, it means that they have given up on themselves.
Capacity is not about the size of your wallet or your mansion or the type of the car you drive.
Building capacity is building oneself. Building capacity is loving your self to work on how you can be a better person, a better manager, a better employee, a better husband/wife/son/daughter.
Capacity-building at the personal level is not the crash diet that is never effective.
Effective capacity-building is operating on the basis of why and coming up with accountability measures so that change is internalized into the core being of your person. The ‘who’ you are inside is dying to be fully freed from the shackles of mindless and thoughtless self-defeating thinking and action.
It is time to build your capacity muscle. How big is your capacity? It is as big as your vision.
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ASK, ASK, ASK
My two-year daughter knows how to pull the right strings. When she wants to play with the dog, she would say, “Nemo” a hundred times until we give in to the demand. This incessant demand will drive us crazy and will not stop until she gets what she wants.
In life and in business, are you persistent (not overbearing and spammy) enough to endure the momentary hardships that accompany the task of getting your products out to the door, getting donors to support you, getting to the right audience for your content, or getting to the right customers that know and value what you are offering?
Are you persistent and ever-acknowledging that getting to the goal is incremental? It is not that one shot, one sale, one product. The basketball player has to get hundred (or thousands) of shots to perfect their shoot. The athlete has to prepare for the Olympics one to two years ahead of the game. The farmer has to persist with weather, prices, and regulations that made harvest a truly happy result. The juggler in the circus act has to perfect his stunt for two years before he can confidently perform on stage.
Have you asked enough to get what you want? A promotion, a raise, a referral, a testimonial, a developmental project, a speaking engagement? A product endorsement? A Board Trustee for your non-profit? A mentor? A sponsor? A friend of a friend of a friend that can get you to the right venture funder? Have you figured out in your head or have you really tried asking?
Ask more. Ask often. Ask until the door is opened for you. There is no reward for not asking. You get nothing.