Category Archives: Personal Musings

Your Road to Success

on the road to success
on the road to success

It has been said that the road to failure is strewn with good intentions. What then, lies along the road to success?

More importantly, what lies along the road to your success? One would hope that it should be full of achievements, learnings, leadership and good, old-fashioned results.

How often have you heard that someone has climbed up the ladder of success on the backs of people they have destroyed?

On the other hand, there are those who wonder why they are not successful in their careers despite the fact that they are top performers and know their work inside-out. Actually, it is not such a mystery. In the working world, by the time you have been promoted a few times due to your work excellence, you will need to develop other skills. People management, political savvy, negotiation skills and many other soft skills suddenly become the deciding factor between getting that next promotion, and being passed over.

In life, success had many measurements. Success in your career, success in your love life, success in your personal growth, success in your spiritual life and so on. More money, more friends, more influence, more power, more peace, more joy – how would you measure success?

No matter the measure, do the ends justify the means? This is a question many leaders face on a daily basis. If you can achieve the results you want, but someone gets hurt along the way, do the ends justify the means?

Where is the line between a necessary sacrifice and a convenient escape?

If the only way for you to look good is to make someone else look bad; then something is clearly wrong.

As you think about your road to success, you need to think about the view from the top. Or at least, think about what you will see when you look back along your journey. Would your back-trial be filled with betrayals, back-stabbing, vicious quarrels and simmering hatred? Or would it be filled with camaraderie, shared achievements, strong friendships, and superlative results?

Over-Powered Power Point

Presentations are really interesting. Or rather, frustrating, if you are the one creating it for someone else. As an employee, whether you are a lowly executive or a high powered manager, you would have had the dubious honour of being asked by some higher-ups to produce a Powerpoint deck.

Despite all the millions spent by corporations to train their executives in “effective” presentation skills, something seems to have slipped through the cracks. They say that public speaking ranks as one of the greatest fears of all times. Yes, right up there ahead of fear of falling, fear of getting fat and fear of getting whatever.

I guess that this must be the reason why executives seem to feel the need for POWERpoint. They would tend to load their slides with loads of information. No, not text. We are a progressive company. We communicate via images. Text, graphics, animations, videos and so on. It becomes a crutch on which to lean on. With so much on the slides, the audience is so busy reading it, they might ignore the foibles of the presenter, right?

Don’t you miss the good old days when a presenter walks on stage and the only prop he had was a smile and a spiffy tie? OK, I am too young to have seen those days, but you get the picture.

Can some one please remember to tell all the trainers to tell all the executives that a PowerPoint slide deck is a Presentation Aid. Most presentations nowadays no longer require the presenter. It is so loaded with stuff, why bother to listen to what the presenter is saying?

Don’t you just miss Steve Jobs?

Misadventures and calamities shape our lives…

I missed the MRT Breakdown Saga. Recently, the train system had a major outage. On that day, I had to stay a little later than normal to complete some budgeting work, and when I got to the station, the train door just closed.

Later, I took a taxi home after listening to an announcement of an hour’s delay. Then the next day, the papers were rife about how people had to walk on the tracks, how a window was smashed… It was like “Wow! I missed that!?”

Or it might be “Whew! I missed that.”

This has gotten me to think about the mis-adventures in our lives. If I were trapped in the train, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours later; what would have been going through my mind?

Knowing my, I will most likely be cursing some people, cursing some things, or grumbling about bad luck. Worse, I might need to pee…

Would I have enjoyed the experience? Unless Miss Universe were to be pressed up tightly against me, I strongly doubt that.

Yet, when I learned that I missed this “saga”, there was a twinge of something. A little itch that could not be scratched. The Hokkien has a saying for this, roughly translating to “backside itchy”. Asking for trouble.

I think back on all the “bad times” that I have had. I haved learned a lot and grown a lot through them. Caning when young for failing Chinese, “O” Levels, first break up, 2nd breakup… and of course… National Service. We groused, we grumbled and we cried through much of it. But in the end, we are who we are today, in part due to these. The good, the bad and the ugly.

I just hope that I can remember this, so that the next time I am faced with an “incident”, I will remember all the times when it seemed that I was at the end; and have come out of it. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, even when I cannot see it.

Yes, even when I refuse to see it. I hope I can remember this.

My Tribute to Steve Jobs

For those of us who lived during the time when personal computers had yet to exist (there was such a time?), Steve Jobs was not a legend then.

Those were the days when there were many, a legion of innovators and trail blazers who created an industry from a geek hobby.

But Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were like Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Bill Gates went “commercial” and Steve Jobs stayed true to the path of the trailblazers. Frankly, the world today would really not be the same if not for these two gentlemen. The PC would have remained a toy if there were no Bill Gates, but the PC would not have become so much a part of our lives without Steve Jobs.

While Bill Gates brought the PC to new heights for work, Steve Jobs brought it deep into our lives and our imagination. In a speech in 2007, Steve Jobs made a cheeky statement that if not for his dabbling in caligraphy, proportioned fonts would not have come to the Mac, and since Microsoft just copied everything they did, then the PC would not look as good today.

While it may be that we might have gotten to where we are today without Steve Jobs, but the journey would have been much, much longer; and so much more boring.

As Steve Jobs retire to relax, recuperate and enjoy his own time; we will always remember his contributions. He has made work more fun. He has made life more fun.