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Stand For Something

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

These are nice words to hear. More than just words, there’s practical use for this piece of wisdom in daily life. Make decisions based on your values and priorities, from mundane things, all the way to decisions that will chart and influence the course of your life in the years to come.

Be aware of what you feel about certain things, but also be wary of the same. Emotions tend to have some power to sway your thinking one way or the other. It’s thus critical to sometimes put emotions aside and not be misled by such. The sentiments of today will be gone tomorrow – but you’ll still have to live with the consequences of decisions made because of what you felt at the moment, long after the feeling is gone.

Stand for something. Know yourself, and in particular know what’s important for you. Such will be the basis for making decisions. Such will be the reason why you do what you do, why you do what you have to do.

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Work-Life Balance on Both Sides

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I once remarked that the term “work-life balance” is deceptive because if you actually compute for the “balance,” then what you get is “work minus life equals work;” in other words, you have more work and no life. Of course, “work-life balance” can also mean you get equal time for both each day: 12 hours of work, and 12 hours of life – the end result is still misery.

Usually when you think of the term “work-life balance,” the thought inclines on the side of ensuring you also have a good amount of the “life” portion, sometimes even more of this. The focus is valid: Organizations should put in a lot of thought in making sure you have the opportunity to have a life to live outside of work, given how stressful work is in this day and age and the need to cope with it and such. Beyond just merely thinking about it, it’s important to intentionally exert effort to ensure you have a chance at an actual life to live. There’s no point in working if you’re not happy and what-not.

Ironically, it can be challenging to enjoy life if there’s no work as well. Work serves a purpose: Aside from the matter of providing for financial practicalities and related, it can give you a sense of excitement in life. Work can give you a sense of purpose since it gives you an opportunity to do something meaningful with your life. And at the bare minimum, work can give you something to do, lest you die of boredom.

At a personal level, work has a way of enriching your life because it gives you more life stories to cherish, reflect upon, and share. This, holistically, makes your personal life more interesting. Whatever challenges you face and eventually overcome will also make you a better person for it.

There should be an appropriate balance for both work and life. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive; rather, they are actually complementary to each other. You need both of them to thrive in life.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Leadership: A Leader’s Success

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

A leader is successful in at least one of two ways (or both): Either as a subject matter expert (SME), or a manager.

  • As an SME: You provide thought leadership on a specific technology or domain. You tell people what to do and how to do it. Success comes from using your skill to deliver what’s needed.
  • As a manager: You define the mission and vision (the outcome, expected result), and provide guidance on how to get there (the plan). Success comes from using the people under you to deliver what’s needed.

Frankly, as a leader, if you’re neither technical nor functional, then you’re useless.

Not everyone is able to be a leader by virtue of being an SME; not everyone is meant or called to play this role. But everyone is a leader, in his or her own right, at some point in our lives, by working with and through others as a manager of people and organizations (and at the very least, as the head of a family!).

The Right Leadership Team

Success as a leader is highly dependent upon the success of the people under you – and in particular, of your senior people. As the size of your organization grows, it becomes more obvious that you can’t be the only leader in the group; you can’t lead alone. Your success as a leader in large organizations becomes highly dependent on your ability to develop and empower future leaders who will help you drive your agenda.

People at the senior levels are expected to be proactive, innovative, and disruptive.

  • They should think of something specific that they can drive differently.
  • They should think of a creative idea to make work more efficient (more digital, if you will).
  • They should think of how they can transform and do things better: Identify the pain area and ideas on how to improve it (state the problem, propose a solution).
  • They should do something independently, which contributes to the overall goals and objectives of the organization, that hasn’t necessarily been a directive given to them.
  • They should be “leading” something vs. just “delivering” something. In other words, you need leaders, not “order-takers,” for people at the senior levels of your organization.

These days, your success as a leader results from the success of the leaders under you. It’s therefore imperative that you invest in developing the people you entrust to carry out your agenda. And with the right disposition and expectations, give them the authority to drive the particular area you make them responsible and accountable for.

The Right Influence

It’s absolutely essential that, at all times, you treat the people under you with respect and dignity. It’s the right thing to do. And if you want to succeed, it’s the best way to get their support. The idea is obvious, but in this day and age, it’s sad that this has to be said.

The more powerful you are, the kinder you should be. You can get people to do what you want them to do either through respect or through intimidation. Intimidation is effective but only up to a certain extent, because when people do things out of fear then that’s as far as they’ll go for you, and nothing more. But when people do things out of respect then they’ll go farther. It will be easier for people to be willing to go above and beyond for someone they respect versus someone they fear. And, at some point, that fear will turn into hate – be warned.

As a leader, you’ll be more successful, and consequently more powerful, when the people under you are willing to do more for you. Your influence will be greater. And your value to the organization will be higher because you’ll be able to get more things done and push things farther.

Success as a leader is closely linked to the success of the people under you. How you as a leader develop your leads, and how you treat and nurture the team, will be the difference that will either make or break you.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Remember Why You Do What You Do

October 31, 2017 1 comment

Things won’t always be good. In fact, things can go from bad to worse. As much as you want to believe that the point of life isn’t to suffer, the fact is that life will always be a constant struggle.

All sacrifices will exact a measure of pain. In the midst of suffering, it’s crucial that you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Remembering this will sometimes be the only reason why you’ll be able to carry on. The pain won’t go away, but if you believe that what you’re doing is what you should be doing then it at least becomes somewhat bearable.

And don’t just be complacent with what you need to do. The reality is that a lot of times, things just don’t “work out alright” without any effort. Avoid procrastinating on a difficult task; inaction won’t magically make it disappear, but will only give you more reasons to worry. At the most basic level, your motivation is simply this: Get it done to get it over with.

It is always meaningful and fulfilling when you go through obstacles and experience a hard-won accomplishment. Gives you a feeling of joy able to do a difficult thing extremely well. Those who insists on comfort, feel good only in the present without care of concern with the future would not be able to experience fulfillment. Always work for something that is beyond our present gratification. Work for something that is beyond us and that will be the time when we are fulfilled because we have contributed. – Francis Kong

Nothing in life is ever easy; everything that is of any importance is always so difficult to do. To somehow successfully manage to avoid all pain means you’ll never grow to be the best person you could ever be; at best, things will be boring and stagnant. Get a grip on fear, get a grip on some grit, and do what you need to do!

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Have A Plan

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

First of all, be clear about the outcome you want to achieve. It’s hard to even plan to do anything if you don’t know what you want to happen, so this prerequisite is important. Define your goal; know what you want to get. Once this is clear, have a deliberate plan to get the outcome desired.

To be successful in any endeavor, you need to have a plan. At a minimum, it should look something like this:

1. Tasks and actions are defined.

These are at least all the key / high-level items that need to be accomplished. The objective of what each task or action is supposed to achieve should be clear. The outcome or deliverable of completing the task should be visible and / or measurable.

2. Owners of tasks and actions are identified.

Overall accountability remains with the plan owner.

However a person should be responsible for completing each task or action defined. As much as possible, assign only one owner of the task or action to ensure there’s ownership to get things done.

The person assigned to a task or action should be made aware of the same, and they should accept ownership of the assignment given to them.

3. The organization of an overall outcome should be broken down into milestone segments with defined targets.

A plan is not a plan when there are no target milestones to hit at predetermined points in the journey. In other words, if for example you have a 10 month plan, then you don’t start at 0% on the first month, and remain at 0% in succeeding months, and then suddenly become 100% by the 10th month.

A plan, especially one that will need a certain length of time to complete, should have measurable progress to show successful completion of tasks and actions at predetermined intervals. If such doesn’t happen then it also serves as a basis to escalate and get help if a target is at risk of slipping.

Establish a rigor of regular status reporting, and risk and issue tracking and mitigation, to ensure progress and concerns are documented and tracked to completion / resolution.

4. Agree on a time and target with all parties concerned. There should be sign-off and commitment to hit targets!

All stakeholders to the final output of the plan should be identified. They need to agree that the plan of action and its timelines make sense.

The plan should include checkpoints for the appropriate reviews and sign-offs. A task or action isn’t considered complete, regardless of what the owner of the task says, unless the stakeholders say so.

Measure of success: A plan is acceptable if it’s easy to describe (1) what will happen, (2) when it will happen, (3) who will make it happen, and (4) how success or failure can be identified and measured.

Talk and more talk become useless and will remain so until there’s an output on a plan. Frankly, this is just basic project management. It’s no surprise when stakeholders become extremely annoyed when people just keep on talking but there’s no action. Don’t TELL – SHOW. And one good way to show something is to have a solid plan.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

God Meets You Where You Are

September 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Be honest with yourself: Accept who you are and your current status in life. Be genuine; keep it honest and real. And with that acknowledgement, be honest with God, too. Go to Him just as you are, for He accepts you as that, and He meets you where you are.

God doesn’t expect you to be perfect. Now, this doesn’t necessarily give you an excuse to sin. Rather, He accepts the imperfect love you can give for the perfect love that He has for you. It’s enough that you make the effort to love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Come to Him for all your needs and concerns. It’s an act of humility to depend on Him because there’s nothing you can do on your own. Be grateful for all that He gives you, for all that He doesn’t give you, and for the manner and time that He gives you want you truly need and want in life.

Trust God at all times, and most especially during times of trial that He allows to happen in your life, for trust in Him is probably one of the best ways, if not the best way, to express your love for Him.

Categories: Religion

Just Being Silly: Never Admit You’re Bored

September 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Never, EVER, admit that you’re bored! It’s like asking the question, “What else can go wrong?” – Life’s answer to this question is swift and ruthless. Life is listening, and this bitch has a way of “fixing” your problems, imagined or otherwise; this also includes any sense of boredom you harbor.

Being bored means you’re just not creative enough to pass the time. Find a way to keep yourself busy. If necessary, then pretend to be busy! Some people get so bored that they actually start doing their work; if you’re desperate enough then you can do that too, even on a weekend or holiday.

At the very least, try to appreciate the mood of laziness that comes with boredom, for when the insanity of work in particular and the stress of life in general finally comes, you might end up just laughing maniacally at the same.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy