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What Call Do You Hear?

There is a song by Dan Fogelberg called “The Leader of the Band.” One of the verses goes like this: My brothers’ lives were Different For they heard another call One went to Chicago And the other to St. Paul And I’m in Colorado When I’m not in some hotel Living out this life I’ve

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Trying Safety Regulations

A parent in the school principal’s office was inquiring after her son. “Is he trying?” she asked expectantly. The principal smiled at her sardonically, “Ma’am, your son is the most trying boy in the school.” In the Armed Services of any nation, Training Safety Regulations (TSR) or their equivalent ensure that no harm comes to

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New Normal?

George Orwell’s Animal Farm springs immediately to mind. Look it up if you don’t know the story. What started out as a sort of odyssey towards a “new normal” for the animals lost its bearings and turned from the glorious liberty of Animal Farm back to the dreadful drudgery of Manor Farm. It was as

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Through No Fault of the State!

States, organizations, large corporate entities, medium size companies, perhaps even smaller businesses, are all afflicted by an almost uncontrollable tropism towards exercising more and more control, enacting more and more laws and regulations, producing more and more Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and so forth. They can’t help it. That’s how they are. Therefore, stop blaming

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IT’S ONLY AN EXERCISE!

“It’s ONLY an exercise! No need to get so serious about it!” Heard that sort of thing before? Ever said it yourself? How do you respond if you hear such a phrase, or smell the same attitude in the air? I get extremely irritated, my trigger finger starts to twitch, and I start reaching for

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TAO. Triggers And Overrides.

The Chinese character romanized as Tao or Dao means “The Way”. It came to my mind this morning and the phrase “Triggers And Overrides” appeared before me. Triggers are of course basic, natural, archetypal responses to thoughts about discernible events. Emotions are triggered by the thoughts, spawning more thoughts and actions including speech, physiological and

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Hardworking? Or just plain Slothful?

“Don’t work hard, work smart.” “You have to work hard to get ahead.” “Lazy people are more likely to become successful.” “Multiple Streams of Income.” “Make Money with No Money.” Do those statements sound familiar? Do you swear by any of them? Perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you believe in the quality of Diligence and have

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Singapore’s Foreign Worker Problem?

Yes, Singapore’s Foreign Worker Problem, which really isn’t a Foreign Worker Problem at all, but a Fallacy Of Entitlement Problem, and which happens to be our biggest FOE, the enemy of our continued success. Yet another round of discussions, debates, assertions, suggestions and other uselessly sanctimonious vows to improve the lot of Foreign Workers, whether

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Job Protection?

Many governments around the world are acting to protect jobs, to varying degrees of success, that I can see. Protecting jobs is laudable and necessary, especially in times like these, during a pandemic. When you think about it, it’s actually throwing the spotlight on something many governments, corporations and companies have been trying to do,

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It’s too “Agrarian” for me!

I saw this on LinkedIn’s “Today’s news and views” column just now. Does the farm industry need workers only now? Hasn’t there been a shortage of farm workers, just like healthcare workers, even from more “agrarian” times? And, speaking of “agrarian”, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people, whether in

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Does Your CV have great CV?

I was once asked to deliver a talk to some undergraduates on “How to Ace the Interview”. I told the person who asked me to do it that I don’t focus on “Acing the interview” but I focus on “Acing Yourself”. I think the undergrads liked the talk, and there was a line of students

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LITE: Leave It To Experts

I was passing someone talking on his cellphone and heard the phrase “…but I’m not an expert, so I’ll leave it to the experts…” Having some of my own business to mind, that’s all I remember hearing before I was out of earshot. We’ve all heard this being said in one form or other and

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Care for your people? Throw them to the wolves!

When we read books or attend courses or learn a thing or two from the sagely erudite, have you ever been confused by apparent contradictions from the same source? What about apparent contradictions from similar but different sources? Take these four passages, three from “The Illustrated Art of War” and one from “Genghis Khan and

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Great Concept! Now, DO it well!

Some years ago, someone told me of a new way of teaching students at a certain establishment. There would be no textbooks and very few lectures. Students were to deliver presentations at the end of each day, and the lecturer would then summarise and give inputs as well as grade each student’s work for the

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Sell? Why?

I was reading about Brexit and Charles de Gaulle’s Last Laugh on Geopolitical Futures when this came to my mind. George Friedman talks extensively about the “crisis of the exporters” which basically says that the seller is actually slave to the buyer. In other words, if your buyer can’t buy, you’re in trouble if your

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Black Friday?

Yes, with a question mark. Not being an American, I have never paid much attention to Black Friday. I never thought it would figure much in Singapore, but it apparently has to some degree. Today’s local newspaper had a four-page spread featuring Black Friday sales at Robinsons. It caught my eye because Robinsons started out

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You’re Confused? Or Just Refused? Appreciating Appreciative Inquiry.

Confused? Really? There used to be a television series called “Lost in Space” which first aired in the mid-1960s. One of the characters was the “B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot” usually known only as “Robot.” The Robot is memorable for two phrases: “Danger, Will Robinson!” and “Does not compute!” It is

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Playing to Strengths? Here’s a more Excellent Way!

Playing to Strengths. Indeed. The Character First! definition of Truthfulness is Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts. Various gurus would have told you by now that you need to be playing to strengths and not correcting weaknesses. Of course, they are right. How right? Let’s take a closer look, shall we? We are told

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“Beesywork” Good…busywork baaad…beesywork good…busywork baaad…

Very Busy “But I’m very busy,” you exclaim. “With what?” you might be asked in return. Busywork is no doubt the bane of productivity at the workplace. Then again, what IS “busywork” anyway? Dictionary.com says “…work assigned for the sake of looking or keeping busy…” and Merriam-Webster says “…work that usually appears productive or of

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We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow we lost. So, what did we do right?

What Nokia’s boss is reported to have said during the press conference announcing Nokia’s takeover by Microsoft is making its way around. Reading it, and the comments following, confirms again that phrases like “Nothing succeeds like success” need to be applied judiciously. We need to know the context, the background story and, in this case,

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