Archive for the 'Business Articles' Category

Article: Leadership Competencies pt.1 – Passion In Star Wars Leaders

“Passion is the genesis of genius.”
— Anthony Robbins

 

Surely you noticed that people who really succeed in their career or life have a strong passion for what they do. From the ancient time we were fascinated by the great leaders – from Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates – just a few of those who has had the passion and achieved their vision. I am sure you personally know ‘passionate’ people around you.

 

Passion is one of the competencies a great leader whether in professional career or personal life, and the first topic of discussion in our blog.

 

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All copyrights for image belong to Disney and George Lucas Film.

 

All great achievements start with passion. Passion is an intense emotion that shapes the very core of who you  are and the choices you make, whether your inspirations are coming from spiritual, intellectual, political, economic, social, or technological reasons. When you wake up in the morning and all you think about is the thing you want to create, then you are passionate about it.

 

For a leader, passion is a key element; once they have this powerful feeling, they become unstoppable. And even when things turn bitter, and difficulties and challenges take over, this does not crush leaders because the love towards what they do takes over any negative emotions. This ‘fever’ lets them overcome any difficulties and move towards their ultimate goal.

 

In Star Wars, passion is perhaps the most controversial subject between the Jedi and Sith.

 

Sith believe that everything starts with passion – they embrace it, and their Code sums this up in the following verse.

 

“Peace is a lie. There is only passion.
Through Passion, I gain strength.
Through Strength, I gain Power.
Through Power, I gain Victory.
Through Victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall set me free.”

 

Jedi on the other side do not believe in passion. Here is what they think of it.

 

“There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force. ”

 

It seems like that fundamentally if you have a passion for something then you turn to the Dark side. Sorry the creators of the worlds of Star Wars – I do not agree. I could never understand the dilemma in the most culminating moment in the 1st Star Wars Trilogy – the battle between Luke and his father the Darth Vader. I could never understand why he could not fight back, as he believed that fighting back will make him turn to the Dark side and become like his father. It feels that Luke was driven by fear of not becoming the ‘baddy’. What about fighting in the name of love and friendship – to save his sister, to save his friends from an imminent death?

 

Perhaps humans are more complex than Siths or Jedis.

 

Perhaps we can embrace both sides. Mother Theresa was a passionate woman whose passion was to help those less fortunate, and she certainly did not turn to the Dark side. So as Gandhi, who practiced nonviolence whilst fighting for independent India. And that does not include only missionaries or political figures but also entrepreneurs. By 2013 Bill Gates donated $28 billion of this fortune to his charity to fight poverty and improve healthcare, and continues his donations. In our human world if you want to achieve the great, you certainly need some passion.

 

What are you passionate about? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Article: How Music can Boost Productivity

How many of us put a music on whilst we are working? I certainly do when I work in a kitchen, whether I do dishes or cook a feast for my friends and family. Music puts me in a better mood and as a result makes me so productive.

 

However, a cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Levitin has a different opinion, which is described in his book ‘This is Your Brain on Music’. He believes that listening to music whilst working making us less productive since it negatively affects our memory and attentional capacity. However, for repetitive or monotonous tasks it has a positive effect since music helps to get rid of boredom. Looks like he is right with my kitchen work there.

Love Music

 

 

Levitin explains that listening to music makes us less productive while working because we have fewer resources left for the task we are working on.

 

So what shall we do?

 

Levitin suggests listening to music for 10 to 15 minutes before we start working, like for studying or writing, and then work in a quiet environment with regular breaks. However for boring tasks, we should put the music on whilst we are working.

 

What is your experience with music whilst you are working? Leave us a comment and why not also let us know what type of music you listen when you work.

 

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Article: To Succeed With Great First Impressions

Competence and Trust are the key factors that people look for when they first meet you. According to Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy, people ask two questions when they meet you, they are:

 

  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person?

 

Unfortunately, most of the time in the business world, we focus our energies on Competence. In her Book “Presence”, Cuddy says that most of us want to be seen as able to do the job at hand. After all, to move up in a business environment, you have to prove that you are smart and talented enough to do the job.

 

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However, according to Cuddy, trust or warmth should the most important factors we focus on. We base a lot of our decisions on whether or not we can trust someone enough for them to the job at hand, and this is no different in the business sector.

 

 

Although competence is important, focusing too much on showing how strong you are can lead people to mistrusting you. “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative,” Cuddy says. “A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”

 

 

There are ways to establish Credibility at business meetings and presentations. In our Effective Presentation Course, we focus on persuasive techniques and how to establish credibility. Positive attitude and effectiveness are just two easy ways to establish trust, warmth and credibility. However, explaining your background and emphasizing similarities between yourself and the client you are meeting or even at a job interview could help establish a connection with the person or people you are meeting.

 

 

We hope this article was insightful and can help benefit your business. For any other business related information that could boost your business , check out the business courses we offer.

 

 

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Article: Introducing Leadership Competencies in Star Wars

J.J. Abram’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens burst into cinemas last month like a force-choke out of hell, smashing most sales records as surely as the Empire smashed the rebels on Alderaan.

 

The remarkable cinematic success was exactly what the Star Wars franchise needed, and was a glowing confirmation that Disney’s purchase of LucasFilm in 2012 for over $4 billion was the right move.

 

I loved the film and everyone I’ve spoken to who has seen it so far agrees.

 

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Prior to me seeing the movie, over the Christmas holiday, I took the opportunity to have a Star Wars marathon for the first time since the second trilogy came out a decade ago, and it reminded me how much Star Wars characters impacted us. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and others have taken their place in our memories, much like James Bond or Superman have done over the decades. However, I believe the Star Wars’ characters remind us of the people we need in every season of our life and their certain characteristics are those which healthy leaders intentionally maintain.

 

So let’s look at Leadership Competencies in Star Wars. Why? Because it is more fun that way.

 

I’ve realised that writing about all of them in one long article, could be very discouraging to read, so instead I separated them in nine blog instalments which will be rolled out over the course of 2016 and will each focus on the importance of a particular competency of leadership: passion, humour, courage, integrity and trust, energy/vitality/enthusiasm, building a team, setting priorities, creativity, and vision. The idea behind this is to identify and define these components of character.

 

Our first blog will look at the Leadership Competency: Passion. This is perhaps is the most controversial subject in Star Wars between the codes of Jedi and Sith.

 

Stay tuned. I’ll look forward to your comments, challenges and opinions along the way.

Article: Time Management

The Most Important Time Management Technique

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Ever looked at your list of tasks wondering what to do first? Well, you are not alone.

 

 

The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923) suggested that the results and the causes of those results are unequally distributed in the ratio of 80:20. The Pareto Principle, more commonly referred as the 80/20 Rule, states that:

 

  • 20% of your activities will generate 80% of your success, or
  • 20% of a well time managed effort will generate 80% of the desired results.

 

Although the ratio 80/20 is not always this precise, it is used to put emphasis on how much is lost or how much can be gained with time management. It is not a surprise that identifying the critical 20% is the key factor to success.

 

A simple Time Management course can certainly help you to learn some tips and tricks and teach you using yourtime efficiently. But what can we do NOW to minimise our time wastage?

 

The key in identifying those critical 20% is by prioritising your tasks. You may use the Eisenhower Method to help you with that. It said that former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower used this method in prioritising his daily tasks.

 

To determine your priorities you will need to use a matrix, where you evaluate each task according to its Importance and Urgency. If you use this matrix then you will need to focus on Important tasks. If your tasks are:

  • Important and Urgent, then do them immediately
  • Important but Not Urgent, then enter them into your calendar to keep track of them
  • Urgent and Not Important, then delegate them to a competent person
  • Not Urgent and Not Important are time wasters, so minimise them

 

This is common sense but you would be surprised how much this method will positively affect your productivity. For more info, read our future blog articles, or come to our Effective Time Management Courses.

Three Tips for Truly Top Managers

Welcome Mat to Forest for ManagersEvery employee has an important part to play in a business. But there’s no doubt that a company’s success still very much depends on the people at the top. The number of people entering managerial roles has increased significantly, with managers taking on a growing range of responsibilities. But while managers think about keeping their team’s skills up to date, do they recognise how management training could benefit them? After all, managing people is a complex task, only slightly less demanding than herding cats. So here are three top tips for happier managers, more motivated staff and a healthier business.

 

Tip one: Engage your ears.

 

What makes your employees turn up to work every day? No, it’s not simply boredom or the need to pay the bills. Every one of us has individual motivations, interests and values. And these lie behind your employees’ choice to work at your company and not the place down the road.

 

Find out what interests your people and you’ll find fresh ways to boost their performance. You don’t need any special equipment. Just your ears. They can be very powerful tools when used properly, for example to find out what people actually think about their jobs. This is valuable information – so act on it. Identify ways to support your employees’ interests, for example sports-mad staff might jump at the chance of a company footie team with time out to train. What about listening out for changes to an employee’s family situation and recognising how a little more flexibility could make a huge difference to their busy day? Acknowledge what’s important to your staff and they’ll reward you with even more commitment.

 

 

Tip two: Lead the way – but don’t shoulder the weight.

 

Ever heard of the conductor who played all the instruments himself? Well that’s how crazy it is to be a manager and try to do everything yourself! You’re there to lead, whether that’s an orchestra, an assembly line or a department. You need to match your talent at what you do with a gift for delegation. This will help you manage your time better, improve your organisation’s performance and win the commitment of your staff.

 

 

Tip three: Put down the welcome mat

 

Ok, a ‘welcome’ mat on the floor outside your office isn’t actually necessary, but you’d be amazed at the impact of a friendly ’open door’ approach to your staff. When you’re busy conducting that orchestra, it’s all too easy to see visits from employees as a distraction. And that’s when communication breaks down. Regularly remind people that you’re happy to hear about any questions or concerns they might have. See these issues as a great opportunity to show your team how much you want your company to be a good place to work. Do that and your staff will help make your organisation even more successful.

 

 

Learn more great management secrets on our course What Good Managers Do: the First 100 days.