Friday, December 18, 2009

The Power of Internet Community

There are growing populations of internet communities world wide. Recently I created a news group “Glückliche Arbeitswelt” (WWW: Wonderful Working World). Within two weeks we almost reach 500 members und 400 articles. By Christmas or latest by New Year we will reach more than 1000 members.

Our target is to reach 120.000 people within one year or the latest 2 years, under the condition that most of the group members are willing to bring 2 or more members within one week upon arrival. Why is that goal meaningful for the economy and for the society? Because we share the opinions that happy people will generate more performance than unhappy people.

For all German speaking people I would like to invite you to join one of the most interesting news groups in Germany, maybe one of the most valuable one for you.

Thank you.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gratitude (another Story)

In an internet Forum we discussed that the gratitude has the power to heal the soul. And people can do daily practice to initiate the feeling of gratitude. One example is to write down every day all the reasons why we should be grateful.

Then I asked in the forum: “Why should we need reasons at all? Is the fact that we live not reason enough to be grateful?”

Live brings so many unexpected reasons. Here is one. I went today to my dentist and was in hurry. I found a parking lot some where. The parking lot requires parking disk. However, somehow I could not find my parking disk in the car. So I decided to take the risk of paying fine.

But after I got out the car, I realized that I had parked in a completely wrong street. Am getting old :-) So I jumped in to the car and drove to the right address and found a parking lot right in front of dentist house. What a luck! But also there a parking disk was required.

I rang at the door. A nurse came out. I asked her if there is any parking disk available to be borrowed. She went to her car and said, here is an extra parking disk. Please take it away, I have a plenty of those at home.

Is this not a reason of gratitude?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Distribution List

When I was in China, I got once a month an email from a colleague in Germany, because I was not taken away from the large distribution list. The contents of the emails were not really relevant to me, but I was happy to receive the emails from Germany, which did not happen to often.

Today I met her at a farewell party of a common colleague in Germany and I suddenly realized that I did not receive any emails from her for long time. I said to her: “I missed your regular emails.” She replied: “I changed my job a year ago and the new job does not require me to send such emails to a large audience.”

I smiled and responded: “That is pity. But could you please send out nevertheless monthly emails and put me on the distribution list, regardless of contents.”

We laughed. :-)))

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Get Cheaper Petrol? (Billiger Tanken)

Today while I was refuelling the car I recognized that the gas station was pretty empty. The clerk was little bored and I tried to start a small talk with her and said: “Quite empty here, isn’t it?”

She responded: “Yes, because yesterday the Petrol price was low. And all people have refuelled already.”

This was an interesting statement. When I refuel the gas, the price is usually relatively high and I have to painfully learn that the day before the price was low. So I was very curious and asked the lady: “How do people know, when the Petrol price is low?”

To my big surprise she said: “Usually Monday is a good day to refuel your car.” This is exactly what I am going to do in the future. Who said “ask and you will get”? This guy is a genius!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Writing as Self Coaching

In his book “Unter Vier Augen: Coaching für Manager” (coaching for managers) Wolfgang Looss mentioned that there are many alternatives to resolve your issues before you call for professional coach: conversation with yourself, with books, with your life partners, with your friends and colleagues, conversation with your bosses, depending on your specific situations.

One possibility for conversation with your self is writing. This is the most effective way for my self coaching. When I have an uneasy feeling or when I face challenges I write it down my thoughts and feeling. To make it interesting and maybe valuable some time I write down in form of stories and some times I publish it on my blog.

If I do not like the story, I change a little the course of the story, so that I feel more comfortable about it. By modification of the story, I shift my feeling about the situation. By shifting my feeling, I changed literally my realities. It takes me about one hour to write a story. I think it is a relatively effective alternative to a coaching session.

As wonderful by-products, you, as my blog reader, can enjoy the stories I published at my blog. Is it not amazing? ;-)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Glückliche Arbeitswelt - Wonderful Working World (WWW)

Today I have got an idea to create a forum about wonderful working world. Lets see if there is any interest.

(In German: Heute habe ich eine Idee, ein Forum mit dem Thema "Glückliche Arbeitswelt" zu schaffen. Mal sehen, ob es Interesse dafür gibt.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Darwinismus in der Job-Jagd

I promised myself to write in German some day on my blog. Here is the fist one. For people who do not speak German, please refer to a similar text Darwinism in Job Hunting
Liebe Bewerberinnnen und Bewerber,

in der heutigen Arbeitsmarktsituation ist die Massenbewerbung vielleicht nicht die erfolgreichste Strategie. Denn die Recruiter suchen nur einige wenige Top-Bewerber, mit denen ein Gepräche geführt werden soll. Die restlichen tausende Bewerbungen werden höflich zurückgeschickt, mit einer Bemerkung, dass die Absage nicht an Ihren Fähigkeiten liegt, sondern lediglich nur daran, dass Ihr Profil einfach nicht zu der Stelle passt.

Und die Recruiter meinen es ernst. Sie suchen nicht den stärksten oder besten oder klügsten oder schönsten Bewerber, sondern den geeignetesten, ganz nach der Logik des Evolutionisten Charles Darwin: „The fittest survives.“

Darum stellen Sie für sich fest, ob Sie ein Elephant mit einer langer Nase sind oder ein Nilpferd mit einem großen Mund. Suchen Sie sich die Stellen aus, bei denen die Wahrscheinlichkeit sehr groß ist, dass Sie zu einem der Top-drei Kandidanten gehören. Top im Sinne „der Geeignetste“. Und nehmen Sie sich Zeit und geben Sie sich Mühe, dass Sie eine der besten Bewerbungen schicken. Best, auch ganz im Sinne „der Geeignetste“.

Sie können das, da Sie sich ja nur auf einige wenige Stellen beschränken. Sie sparen damit Zeit für die Recruiter und für sich selbst und erhöhen gleichzeitig Ihre Chance auf eine Anstellung.

Viel Erfolg bei der Job-Jagd!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How to Deal with Uncertainty in Organisational Changes?

In my 18 Years career in the industry, I got about 20 Bosses. The company I worked for changed the owners and names for four times. Yesterday I made a friend and what he told me broke all my records, he got this year alone already 6 bosses in a row.

I asked him: “How do you deal with the uncertainty of the organisational changes?”

He smiled and answered with a lightness: “I do not really deal with it. The uncertainty just does not exist any more.”

I was bluffed: “What do you mean, exactly?”

He smiled again and said: “Well, in the past I was always seeking for advices from my boss, when there is an organisational change. Recently, I realize that it was just not possible. My boss lived in uncertainty himself, and his boss does not really know what his next job will be and if he would have a job himself within the company at all.”

“So you lost completely the orientation.” I added.

He responded: “Until I changed my strategy. I set my own goals. There are two parts. First from what I know in the current situation what should I do to add value for the company, this is related to create either more sales or to reduce more cost. And second, what should I do to create for me more career chance within the company and outside.”

I said: “That sounds interesting. What is the outcome of that strategy?”

“The results are that I know at any given time of organisational change what I should do and feel really empowered.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Client Oriented Coaching Approach (COCA) by Wenyue Ding

Yesterday a coaching colleague asked me a very fundamental question: what is your special and unique coaching approach (Auf Deutsch: Coaching Ansatz). At that time I was unclear. This morning I got an answer: coca! Client Oriented Coaching Approach. (Copy Right Notice: All Right Reserved. Please refer to the origination when you use this name.) (Auf Deutsch: Klienten Orientierten Coaching Ansatz: KOCA)

Coca is based on three believes:

1) Coaching is vehicle: Coaching is nothing else than a tool to bring SOMETHING from A to B. The original meaning of coach is vehicle. Therefore all the tools and methods are allowed in the coaching, which meet this purpose. The only question remains: is this specific method or tool effective and efficient? There is no dogma.

2) Beyond the Boundary of I: in the traditional coaching approaches there are two parties involved: the coach and the coachee (client), as separated entities. However, this view limits us from the fact that coach and coachee build actually a system with very special relationship. They stay in an energy field. Coaching is about to bring this energy field to somewhere.

3) Time and space are illusions: Once it is clear where this energy field should go, then the way of coaching can be obtained. Sometimes face to face sessions with systemic questions and answers(see "Beratung ohne Ratschlag" by Sonja Radaz) can be the most effective way, some times to tell a story is the simplest approach, sometimes email communication can work wonderfully. Some times meditation can reach extra ordinary results. To realize the enlightment it can take a single question at this moment or a whole life of suffering. So the coaching contract should be more focused on the clear defined outcomes. The duration or the ways are secondary questions.

Therefore to select a right coach it is important to know and feel if you can come along with him/her and if the coach has the wisdom and flexibility to chose with you the most cost effective and results oriented way for your very special issues.

Friday, November 20, 2009


When I was at swimming pool two weeks ago, I came to the idea to test how long I could hold my breath in the water. So I started with 45 seconds for the first time, 50 seconds for the second time. And after some practice I could reach 90 seconds. I was very proud of my achievement and tried again and again.

Then the pool supervisor came to my place and said with a very angry voice: “Do you enjoy yourself?”

I did not understand why he was so upset and told him: “I am just practicing to hold my breath as long as possible.”

He said: “What do you think how it was looking like for me?” At the moment I realize that I was floating at the surface of the pool with the back upside, head below water, arms and legs hanging in the water. Yes, it looked like a dead body, specially, when I stayed in the water for long time without any movement.

For me I was enjoying the practice how long I can hold my breath. But for the pool supervisor I was a dead body he was responsible for. And what would be the consequence for him if this really happen?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ask the Right Questions

One of the best ways to redirect your or some one else’s attention is to ask a right question, because the universal conscience is trying to answer all the questions which are posted on to it. Let me give your some examples:

1) When you need an advice, write down for example “how do I find the best marketing strategy for my new service XYZ within one week?” When you put this question clear for yourself, then your mind start already to search for the answers.

2) In a conflict situation within a meeting, when two people are fighting each other to argue who is right, ask both of them “what is the right statement that you both can be happy with? Then suddenly both of them start to think about how to answer your question.

3) In the coaching situation, when your client talks to you about a dilemma “If I do A, it will be disaster, if I do B, it will be catastrophe. Then you can say: “The question here is, what is the situation C.” Then the client will look for situation C. After he finished, you can ask: “What is the situation D?” und so on.

4) In an on-line news group coaching, I posted a question “How do you come to the orders? Four people answered the question with a lot about what they have done to get the orders. However, my real question is “how do the orders come to you?” Maybe the orders can come to you without any efforts from your side.

Ask and you will get. Ask for the right thing you will get the right thing, Ask for the wrong thing, you will get the wrong thing, independently, where you put the question: on your mind, on paper, on the web, to other people. The universal conscience will get it and immediately work for it. Did I get your full attention? :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Best from Anthony Robbins

Change your state, change your life, instantly!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Market Segmentation of Coaching in Germany for Newcomers

When you decide to enter into the coaching business in Germany, please read the article "Grau grau ist der Coachingmarkt" by Cordula Ehms. Obviously, the reputation of the title coach is not as good as it should be.

If you would like to know the market trend in Germany, here is an article: “Markt und Trends im Coaching: Der Coaching-Markt professionalisiert" by Klemens Lange.

From both articles above and from the answers to the question I posted on the news group Coaching at XING my conclusion is that only a small percentage (<10) of Coaches do earn their income from coaching alone. The majority are doing something else, for example training, consulting, therapy etc.

There are also uncountable coaching approaches in the market. A systematic frame concept with a three dimensional “magic” cube is provided in “Rahmenkonzept für den Überblick über Coaching-Ansätze und Coaching-Ausbildung” by Harald Geißler.

The market requires more and more coaches with special competences other than pure process coaching. Therefore, in case you want to enter into the coaching business, be prepared that you offer other services for a special area in addition to your coaching offers. And it will help you to market your coaching services.

How is the market segmented? And here is my trial which is not based on any scientific research. I would segment the market for the coaching newcomers in four segments:

1) The high end
The clients are successful entrepreneurs, doctors, artists, top politician, top managers (CEO). They are looking for coaches with long coaching reputation, spiritual maturity and competencies in some special areas. The honorary paid can be expected between 500 to 1300 € per hour. The clients are usually self payers. exMarketing strategy here is, long enough in the coaching business, publication of books, to be invited for speeches for important conferences. So be patient and work hard and long enough if you want to enter this market.

2) The mass market
Here is the lion share of the market. The clients are usually large, multi-national companies. They are looking for coaching company with a large pool of coaches, so the decision maker, usually personal developers, will have easy time to select the right coaches for their needs. The honorary for the coaching company would range from 200 to 300 €. The clients are company payers. Your marketing strategy as newcomer is to cooperate with those well-established coaching company. Certainly the coaching company will charge their fees.

3) The new market
The new market is coming from the small and medium size business. The decision makers are usually the company owner. They are looking for competent coaches with low prices between 100 to 150 €. The clients are usually company payers. Also, the clients are more and more willing to the online coaching services. Your marketing strategy here is the reference. Talk to your friends if they can recommend you to any one who might need coaching. Do a nice web site, write a blog, do volunteer job for online networking groups. Join reference groups among your coaching colleagues. Write news articles. Answer to online questions.

4) The low end
These are the self payers. These people are more open-minded for online coaching through emaile, telephone coaching, skype coaching. They are willing to pay a coaching services between 30 to 100 € depending on the topics. The clients are self payers. The key marketing strategy here is web site, newsletters, blogs. Internet marketing is a topic itself and I am still need to figure out how to do it. But if you understand it, the potential is unlimited, because you are not bound to the locations where you live and work. And this is an efficient way to reach people international.

Acknowledgements: I got lot of advices and insights from members of the news group coaching from XING. Thanks to all the experts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Version of Good Boss and Bad Boss

In good manager and bad manager I concluded that good managers make the bad employees good and the bad managers make the good employee bad. Here another definition of good boss and bad boss in international companies with lot of locations world wide. Here you go:

 Good boss is located remotely, but still talk to you very efficiently
 Bad boss is sitting next to you, but never talk to you at all

Would you agree? Do you have your version of the definition of good boss and bad boss? Please post here as comments.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Brain on the Web

In one of my NLP training session I learnt that we do not only have one brain sitting insight the head, but also other brains, one sitting near our stomach, one sitting near our heart. They function autonomously and control a large part of our feelings, actions and thoughts.

Today I discovered that we all have at least one more brain: the brain on the web. Let me give you an example.

I was thinking if it is the right time to start my coaching business which I planned for long time. I posted to a networking community called Coaching about what is the chance to sustain to become a full time professional coach. To my surprise, more than 10 professional coaches responded to my question with highly valuable and relevant answers, suggestions and advises. More than 690 clicks on the article thread within 4 days. Today I am smarter on this topic than few days ago.

If you ask the right questions to the right target audiences on the web, I am certain that you will get the answers virtually for any cases. So is the web part of us or is the web outside us? I would argue that we do not stop ourselves by the boundary of our body. The web is part of us. And I am grateful that internet made this part of us more accessible to us and that I am more and more aware of my brain on the web. I commit to use my web brain more wisely :-) in the future.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Moments of Decision

Yesterday I came back from a short business trip within Germany. It was late and I was not in the mood to cook for myself. So I decided to go to a famous fast food chain. The reason I went there is the simplicity. It does not take much time to order, to get the food and to eat.

After finishing the food I realise that I was not very happy. Back in my mind I made a decision, not to go that fast food chain any more. However I could not tell the reason why.

Granted that I am a person with a very conscious mind of living healthily. Granted that I act consequently according to certain principles in life. But some times I decided to go to a fast food restaurant. Sometimes I decided to drink a beer or a glass wine or others. It was never an issue for me. Why did I decide not to go to that fast food chain any more, probably for the rest of my life?

Why? The food tasted always well. I went there since my twenties after I arrived in Germany. And yesterday, I got a clear feeling that it did not taste any more. It tasted awful. The taste of the food there may not change at all.

But my taste changed. This is the entire reason of my decision.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everything Is Easy

My guitar teacher once told me: „If you practice guitar correctly, it should be easy and it should not take long hours. Why? If you practice in a wrong way, the more you practice the more difficult for you to unlearn the bad habits.“

When I think back, I realize that all the major mile stones in my life were coming without any struggles:

1. I was nominated for a university exchange program to Germany without any efforts from my side.

2. I got my first job without lengthy recruiting process. I contacted a former PhD student of my PhD Professor. And that was it.

3. I met my wife coincidently in my friend apartment in Cologne. I wrote her a letter. Few years later we got married, until today, 25 years later.

4. The chance to go back to Shanghai as Expatriate came without any efforts from my side.

In contrast I put a lot of efforts, energy in some projects which did not succeed as I would have wished. My conclusion is, if you do the things in the right way, it should be easy. It should come naturally to success.

When I observe how people work in some companies, I found out that people who work long hours and unhappy are usually people who often create cost of non-quality. They try to fight in all fronts and try to maximise ambiguous benefits. It is doubtable that they create more value overall for the company and for the customers than other people in the company.

Life should be easy, if your mind, body and soul are in perfect alignment.
Life should be easy, if you extend your boundary as broader as you can image.
Life should be easy, if you have complete clarify about what you want to achieve.
Life should be easy, if you are certain that you will eventually achieve your goals.
Life should be easy, if you live your passion and dreams.
Life should be easy, if you take time to enjoy it.
Life should be easy, if you love everything around you including yourself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laughter at Youtube

Have you ever thought that Youtube could be a fantastic market research tool? I am interested in success training and checked the videos of some renowned trainers. To my surprise the clicks of the top videos of top success speakers are between 100,000 to 1,500,000 compared to some top adult videos with clicks between 1,000,000 to 10,000,000.

I am also interested in videos about meditation. There the clicks are between 100,000 to 1,000,000, so similar range as success trainings. If I look at classic guitar the best videos got 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 clicks.

Now guess what is the most click video I ever found on Youtube? It was a baby laughing with more than 94,000,000 clicks. The video is titled Hahaha. This brings me to an idea of business: get people to laugh or get people to be happy :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three Dimensions of Luxury

When people talk about Luxury, they usually talk about money and all the nice, expensive things money can buy: cars, jewelleries, houses, resorts, yachts, cigars, champagnes, golf clubs and parties. Money is really a good thing. However it is just one dimension of luxury.

The second dimension of the luxury is the time. People who have money, but no time to enjoy the life, because they have to spend all their time to earn the money, are actually poor people. Real luxury therefore starts with abundance of time. Women understand it better than man. They sometime just take hours shopping, not necessarily to buy anything, but to enjoy the time.

The third dimension of the luxury is the emotional freedom. You are free to go to an expensive restaurant, but also free to choose to go McDonalds for a junk food. You are free to get close to a friend, but also free to be happy without him or her. You are free from any negative emotions, but also free to accept them, when they are there occasionally. You are emotional independent from your spouse and kids, but free to love them deeply. You are free to make your boss or customer successful, but also free to leave them, if you decide to.

When you reach all three dimensions of luxury, then there is nothing you will regret when the time comes for you to leave the world, with an eternal smile on your face, completely free.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Darwinism in Job Hunting

In current down turn of job market the employers can enjoy the luxury to find the right candidates with nearly 100% FIT of a given profile. And a lot of people apply for jobs which do not FIT well to their profiles with the hope that if they send CVs to a large enough number of companies, some one might consider them. This is the wrong strategy.

What is the right strategy? First you need to define your own species. You need to make yourself clear enough what exactly you are good at. Are you an elephant with a long nose or a hippo with a big mouth. If you do not know, then do not apply for any jobs. We say do not compete, if you do not have competitive advantages.

The next step is to find job offerings which exactly require those unique strengths. Apply for jobs only where you will land on the short list, meaning you are one of the top three candidates. How can you land on the short list? I have a couple of head hunting friends they all told me that the key word for head hunting is FIT.

The same applies for you as job hunter. Study the job description very carefully and try to understand each and every sentence. Your job is to rewrite your CV such that exactly FIT to the job description. Certainly you should not lie. However, you can emphasize your experiences which is relevant to the job and leave things out which is irrelevant. Since you only apply for jobs you can be short-listed you have more time to prepare your CVs. So take time.

If you are invited for an interview, the firs step is done. Now the focus is to prepare a list of potential questions your interviewers would ask. Put your feet into the shoes of your interviewers. Then think exactly how you would answer those questions. Some times I prepared 100 potential questions and answers. Usually only 10% of those questions were asked.

Experienced interviewers always ask some follow up questions such as

- How did you do that exactly?
- Can you please tell me an example?
- Tell me about the person you were dealing with?

If you hesitate, they might think you did not tell the truths. Be prepared for follow up questions. Here again, since you only focus on few job application, you have time to prepare. Take the time.

Job hunting is a not a battle, it is a war. You enter into a war only, if you see a great chance to win, because if you lose there you may die. It is about the survival in a tough job market. The evolutionist Charles Darwin said: "In the struggle for survival, the FITtest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Perspective of a Wise Man

Yesterday night I happened to meet an old friend here in Singapore. I remember that we have not met for more than four years. He was happy, relaxed and in three weeks he will reach an important mile stone: turning to 50. A big party was planned in Phuket, Thailand with more than 30 people from different continents of the world.

The last time I met him he was at a critical point to decide the next career steps. There were two options to choice:

1) To go to a small size company with higher and more challenging responsibilities. The risk factor would also be bigger.

2) To go to a bigger company with smaller responsibilities and doing similar job as before. The risk factor would be smaller.

He talked about those two real options in full details and said: “I did not make up my mind clear yet, but I still have two weeks time to think about it.”

Then he stopped talking. I realized that he actually asked my options without directly asking. He was very successful and determined. Probably he was too proud to ask. At that moment I knew how to give him advice without hurting his feelings.

I said: “My friend, let me ask you a question. Suppose you are now at age 60 and you are very successful in every aspects of your life.” His eyes radiated and I got his attention. “When you look back, how would you (old and wise) judge the decision of the young man at his life transforming moment? For which decision he would feel more proud, more satisfied and happier?”

My friend smiled and I knew that he made a decision in his mind.

Friday, October 9, 2009

7 Steps to Realize Your Dreams – Any Dreams

Step 1: Be crystal clear about your dream

Dreamers seem to be creative people and creative people tend to wander with their ideas, wishes and desires. However, if you are serious to realize your dreams, you need to focus only on one big thing. Being clear about this for a long enough time is the starting point of the realisation. There you gather sufficient energy which will be transferred to the materials. Your dream will be materialized.

Step 2: Ask the big WHY question

People are uncertain about their dreams because their dreams do not pass the big WHY test. Why do I have that dream? Would I approach that dream even I lose all my money or lose all your friends? Would I feel passion and love to approach the dream? Would I do every thing possible to achieve it? After asked all the questions: would I still like to approach the dream with 100% certainty? If the answer is yes, then the rest is just technique.

Step 3: Visualize the end results

Use your imagination to visualize what it looks like when the end results are achieved. Create a space in your mind and put all the elements of your dream into it. Be generous because in your mind really nothing is limited. Where are you positioned in that space? Do you feel really happy about the end results? If not, what should be changed to make you absolutely happy? Then change it. Remember, in your mind nothing is limited. You can revise your end results several times until you are absolute comfortable.

Step 4: Ask how to finance the project

Now this is the key part: you might first separate your dreams from the question how to finance it. Because it is so overwhelming that would become the blocking issue to act further. Google’s dream was to develop the best search engine in the world. And in the first years they did not have any revenue. The big money comes later. Youtube still lose money today. Think about that there are people in the business of giving away money. There is enough money in this world. What could be the models of financing the project to realize your dream?

Step 5: Generate continuously ideas to realize the big dream

The quality of your ideas is proportional to the quantity of your ideas you generate. Make a habit to generate ideas. Some ideas are just stupid, but that is the nature of ideas. Write down any ideas you can find. And manage your idea pool well. Sometimes my ideas are generated in my dreams in the night. Then I woke up and wrote down the ideas. Some ideas are coming from other people, people who are different than you or even people you dislike. Take any ideas from any sources. Speak with people in different industries. Do some thing unusual. The idea to write this article is inspired by a friend in a conversation about her career development.

Step 6: Sort out the best ideas that you can do immediately and do it

Ideas will only have impact if you act on it. Try first to sort out some cool, great ideas and act on it, immediately. Then see the results. Then adapt and change courses if you see fit. Act on ideas every day. Through your action you will generate more interesting, more useful ideas. And the most relevant fact about action is this: as long as you are acting toward your dream, you will imprint your dreams even more into your mind. And as long as you are acting toward your dreams your means will grow, your capability will grow and your determination will grow and your certainty will grow.

Step 7: Enjoy the life such, where possible, as if your dream was already realized

In fact the realization of the dream is not the state of the outside of you, it is inside you. It is your state of mind. Therefore to feel like if you already realized your dream is the most effective way to get there. What would you feel and think? How would you behave? Would you be more powerful? Would you be more loving? Would you be more generous? Would you have more fun? Just feel, think and behave like it. Remember, our mind does not need any time and space to go from state A to state B. Change your mind once, every thing else will follow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Sunday afternoon my newly bought used BMW broke down. It was only two and half years old and it should not happen. But shit happens. What would you do in this situation?

I stopped the car and immediately called ADAC. Thanks to my wife who applied for me the ADAC membership before I arrive in Germany from Shanghai. The ADAC angel came within 20 minutes and checked my car for failure. Then he suggested that the car should be picked up and sent to car shop.

I waited another 20 minutes. The truck came and the driver very professionally loaded my car into the truck. And we drove to the shop. Since it was Sunday the shop was closed, so we parked my car and I took a taxi home.

Monday morning I rode the bike to the shop and explained the mechanic the situation. He started the engine and said that he needed some time to check up. Two days later, he called that the car was finished. I was happy and went there to pick up my car with the consciousness that I might be surprised with the invoice.

And I was really surprised when he said that BMW took over all the cost on goodwill. I am not sure how many people are involved in the whole process. But at least I would like to say thanks to the following people:

- My wife who applied the ADAC membership for me
- The ADAC person at the service centre who took my call
- The ADAC angel who checked my car
- The ADAC driver who picked up my car
- The receptionist at the repair chop
- The capable mechanic who repaired my car and negotiated the cost with BMW
- The BMW service personal who received the call from the mechanic
- The manager who decided to take over the cost to make a customer (me) happy
- Some one from the BMW finance department who will book the cost to the right account
- Maybe many more…

Is this not a reason for gratitude? Think about how many more people in the world are involved to make our whole life comfortable? Uncountable! Is this not a good reason for gratitude?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

0+ Technique

During my first guitar lesson in Germany, I learnt something very valuable that deserve a dedicated blog entry. I called it 0+ technique. The good news is that you can apply this technique to virtually everything important in your life: music instruments, sport, management, solving conflict, romance, etc. You might ask what is it?

My guitar teacher told me that I use too much wasted energy and effort to play guitar. I should just re-start with minimum movement, tension and energy. I should begin with state 0, then gradually add the movement and pressure which is required to create the sound. That way no energy is wasted. And I can move my hands much easier and quicker and smoother.

I understand the principle very well. In Taoism you could call it 无为 which could be translated into effortlessness. And it says 无为而无不为 which means from the state 0 you have to potential to do everything. It is also the principle of any meditation. You bring you body, soul and mind to the state 0 from which everything is possible.

In today’s global competitive environment a lot of managers are overwhelmed by the amount of the challenges they are facing. But in stead to come back to the state 0, they are trying to work 120%, 140%, 160% with little or negative effects. Most efforts are wasted in things which do not contribute to the bottom line or the top line long term. They just keep busy to show their perceived values in their company.

Another good example comes from the area of romance. Good seducers always are doing it with little efforts. A small talk without visible intention can have the biggest impacts, easy going, with zero pressure at all.

0+ technique is a way of life. It is in contrast with 100+ technique which you always do more than 100% for what ever reasons. I firmly believe that in the long run, we can only survive and strive if we understand and apply the power of 0+, because what really counts in the future is the level of creativity and innovation. These are born naturally in the state 0.

Competitive Kids in China

Last Saturday I started my first guitar lesson in Germany and realize the difference between teaching methodologies in China and in Germany.

In China the teachers are more focused on progress of students. There are 10 levels and students have to pass the examinations to reach those levels. The guitar lessons are built to prepare students to pass the examinations as soon as possible.

In Germany the teachers are more focused to the basic technique. There is no pressure to pass any tests. The students can take time enjoying the practice and create great awareness of the playing itself. Teachers build a solid foundation for their students first.

Generally, in China the kids are facing much stronger competition which is reflected in everything they do. There are 10 levels for English, 10 levels for Piano, etc. Parents spend a fortune for education of their kids to send them to foreign schools or abroad. So teachers are under high pressure to deliver results.

Therefore I sometimes observed that most kids did not really have fun playing music instruments, but took the lesson, because their parents wanted them to do. Poor kids.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Second Profession for the Second Half of Your Life

People in our age may start to think about the following question: what would I do in my second half of the life?

Just take an example: I worked in Telecommunication Industry for last 18 years and can hardly image to continue in that industry for next 18 years until I would be able to retire officially. Even if I would like to, my employer with best intention may not be able to keep me that long.

A colleague of mine, a highly capable female professional decided two years ago to be a Yoga teacher. And now she seems to be extremely happy with that decision.

During today’s lunch I opened this discussion with few colleagues. I started saying to a colleague: “You are maintaining an image of a perfect detective with you cool look, a long coat, analytical capability and communication skill.” He laughed: “There might be a market for coaching for second profession for the second half of the life for you. But detectives are absolutely not what I would do.”

People with our experiences are extremely valuable when we focus on our strengths. And generally education in its broadest scope can be one of the areas you might want to look for opportunities. In that industry your value will increase when you get older, provided that you never stop adapting and learning new things.

Another growth industry will be something I would call “how people spend their leisure time?”. Think about how often you go to massage in China compared how often you go massage in Germany. Productivity will grow, efficiency will increase. People will work generally less time with more results. They will generally have more money and have more idle time. What are they going to do with the extra time and extra money? There is a market from macro economy perspective.

Then we have some well known growth industries such as alternative energy and health care. If you are working in one of the related industries, you are lucky and can try to move to one of the hot spots for your second half of your professional life.

It is your life and you absolutely deserve the best out of it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vacation for 3.5 €

Since I am in Germany I decided to go swimming every Saturday. It takes me 15 minutes to drive to the public swimming pool. I usually swim in the in-door pool for 30 minutes, non-stop. Then I go to the out-door area for one hour, enjoying the sun shine und the whirlpool. It gives me a feeling of vacation and the cost is only 3.5 €.

Changing life is as easy as like that, if you are open minded. A single shift of mind, a small decision, a phone call, a google search, a conversation with a smart person, who has different life focus than you, can fundamentally renew your habits, revolutionize your life style and change the people you interact regularly.

Other small things I am doing is practice guitar daily (still looking for a guitar teacher nearby) and I also registered for Salsa course (still missing partner) and probably Hip Hop some time later (right now there are only couses for teens, I was not sure if I should join them :-) . Enjoying life is some thing I learnt from a good friend in Shanghai. I really appreciate to meet that friend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Never Give Up Your Dreams

Dreamers sometimes feel dissatisfaction with their reality. Lets suppose you have high ambitions to become financially independent, to find a perfectly fitting partner or to earn you life with work you absolutely love. And all of sudden you lost your job. The gap of your dreams and your realities are becoming bigger that sometimes you may consider giving up the dreams. Don’t do it and here is the reason.

When you give up your dreams, you give up your hope. When you give up your hope, you do not take any action. When you do not take any action, your chance to change your life is almost zero. In contract, when you do hold your dreams, you see the hope. When you see the hope, you take the actions. When you take the actions, your have the chance of improve your life. And you attract all the resources, energy and information you need to realize your dreams.

The potential of a person can not be measured by his smartness, knowledge and money, but by how big his dream is and how long he can hold his dream. People who have dreams can not fail. They only can die. Because any setbacks and any unfavourable circumstances will make them stronger and more confident that they will eventually realize their dreams.

Dreams are born in your heart and they will only die there.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to Germany

On 31 July I was informed that my expatriate contract in Shanghai would not be extended. I moved immediately to a service apartment for a month and then moved back to Germany finally, while my second daughter still needed to stay and to finish the high school in Shanghai. There are lot of moving, packing, un-packing, finding apartments, finding a job back to Germany. But we made it. The transition phase is now ended, fortunately. Good news is that our cat survived all the stress and settled down again in the new apartment in Shanghai with my second daughter and my wife.

While I am now in Germany, I really appreciate the life here. Compare to Shanghai Germany is clean, quiet and peaceful. People are more reliable, predictable and polite. No one would take your right in the public traffic away. I also registered my car within only 20 minutes almost without waiting time. There is no need to rush, at all. No internet censure. You can sit nicely in your garden under the sun, drinking your bear, talk about any topic you like, without thinking about your work, your internal and external competition, your boss, your colleagues, your expatriate contract extension.

During the transition period, I focused on two things daily: practising guitar and jogging. Those two activities kept my soul and body fit and centred. I also visualised my long term goals regularly, that way every thing I experienced became a special meaning. Or I assigned unconsciously a special meaning to every thing I experienced. And I learned that my family really care me. They are my core team.

Life is full of surprises. Life is full of challenges. I believe that challenges are sent to people who can handle them in order to grow spiritually. This is the positive intention of any difficult event.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Had a Dream

July 9, I experienced a couple of events that I would rate them as unfairness.

- A friend who deserved a large pay raise got only a salary increase of few percent.

- An Ayi (house keeper) who was challenged by her employer that she charged the battery of her electro bike in the employer’s house quitted the job with anger.

- An employee who works in a large company could not claim back the difference of transportation expense, because he was not informed about the budget raise.

- A landlord who was offered a house leasing contract with less favourable terms than the standard rejected the contract.

At that night I had a very strange dream. I was about to enter into a shop and the owner requested me to pay 50 Mao entry fee. This is really unheard. You never pay entry fee for a shop. But I had to go in for some reasons. So I paid the entry fee and told owner that I will put this story into my blog.

After I finished the shopping, the owner paid me back the 50 Mao and in addition he gave me another 50 Mao and asked me: “Please just do not write any thing about this in your blog.” At that moment I woke up and could remember the dream clearly.

Since the internet, people having power could do less unfair things because they are afraid of bad publicity.

And I have a dream that all unfairness of the world will be cleaned up one day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Way to Mastery

The week before summer vacation, my guitar teacher requested his students to practice playing guitar three hours daily during the vacation. They should do it in three different time of the day with one hour each time to improve the efficiency.

“Three hours a day? That is impossible”, complained one student.

“I already have difficulties to practice one hour per day now”, said the other.

My guitar teacher smiled and asked: “Do you know how long I practice when I started guitar lessons at age of four?”

He paused and waited for the reaction of his students. They were quiet and curious to learn what their teacher has to say.

“Four hours a day, at age of four.” He emphasized his age.

The students who complained felt ashamed, but were still reluctant to commit the three hours.

The teacher continued: “Four hours a day is just for the beginning. After some experiences my practicing time increased to eight hours a day.”

“Waw.” The students opened the mouths and eyes wildly.

“After some more experiences I increased my practicing time to twelve hours a day.”

By that time I realize how my guitar teacher can work 16 hours with a regular job at the government institute and a full time guitar teaching job.

The room was filled with silence. No one was able to make any tone. The teacher went on: “I know you all want to play the instrument well. You want to make a difference in your life. And you want to have fun playing it. However, any remarkable achievement is tightly linked with efforts and persistence, some times with pain and suffering. This is the way of mastery, maybe the only way.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The True Love

Lisa finished her Yoga practise and her mind was completely clear. She was determined to tell Tom today. She had struggled for this decision already too long.

Tom was sitting in the living room with a book in the hand. It was the bestseller about the man-woman relationship “Man are from Mars and woman are from Venus”. As Lisa sat next to Tom, he lifted his head and looked at her with a slight suspicion.

“Tom. I really appreciate all your efforts to make our relationship work. But don’t you see that your efforts during these 5 years were all for nothing?”

“Yes. Lisa, I realise. But I am the person who never gives up. If I set a goal, I will just persistently move forward until its victory.”

Lisa unconsciously raised the voice: “Victory? Who’s victory? You can not win here. Do you know why?”

“I know. Because my heart is not here.”

“Where is your heart?” Lisa asked, although she knew the answer.

“My heart is in my dreams.” He looked down.

“And your heart is with her. All the five years. I am not blind.”

“I can not change it. I can change my behaviours, my attitudes, but not my feeling. I am sorry.”

“Don’t feel sorry. I appreciate you to make all the efforts. Five years ago I asked you to stay because of the children. Now, they are out of the house. And you are free to leave.” She pointed to the door. Her voice was calm and determined, but warm and loving.

Tom looked at her again, surprised to watch her calm expression and realized that she was completely serious. A feeling of sadness emerged in his heart. He could not control that the tears came down from his eyes. He knew that she loved him, so much that she would give him the freedom to approach his happiness. He moved to her and hugged her so closely that she had little difficulties to breath. She cried and kissed him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Raise Children Effectively? Continued

Last Friday we went to an India Restaurant at the Hong Mei Entertainment Street to celebrate for my second daughter Katharine receiving the school certificates. We are all very proud that she ended up with the second best student at her level. We are proud because she was not always liked that as her sister.

After she graded from primary school to high school (Gymnasium), she was pending between the score of 2 to 4 (with 1 the best and 6 the worst). My wife tried to help her to be better and educated her to be more disciplined. We knew that she is intelligent and talented in many ways. But my wife and she struggled for a long time. And one day I decided to try a new method that I learned from leadership training: making the change seems to be easy.

One day in a very casual atmosphere I spoke to Katherine: “Look. Would you try one thing for me? Try to improve only one point in only one subject, what ever subject you would like to chose, while remain the scores for all other subjects the same during the next semester.” It sounded for her to be easy to achieve, so she promised: “I will try.”

By the end of the semester, she improved one point not only in one subject, but in three subjects. We were very happy. We did not make more ambitions goal for her, but told her: “That is great achievement. For the next semester, would you try only to improve one point for only one subject you chose, based on your current performance.” She confidently said: “Yes. I will try.”

During all the semesters she continuously put more efforts. And the result today is really impressive with the average score of 1.3. In addition she has a great interest and talent in music and playing well guitar.

I believe that because of the pressure in the industries the management often set too high goals for people to fail, not to achieve. And while people fail, they develop a habit of failing and lose confidence in achieving. Since they can not meet the goals anyhow, why should they bother even to make any efforts?

What we can learn from Katharine is to make changes or improvements seem to be easy, so we can succeed and we have the ambition to overachieve, not because of the pressure coming from outside, but because of the inner drive to be the best we can be!

Friday, July 3, 2009

House Leasing Termination

After two years leasing of a house within a compound in Hong Qiao, Shanghai, we decided to terminate the contract and started to look for an apartment. There are a couple reasons for it.

The house is little old, built in 2002. The windows are not tight, so it is cold in winter and hot in summer. We had to switch on the air condition all the time to keep the temperature under control, which cost money and was not environment friendly.

There are also other reasons for us to leave. The compound is not particularly well managed. When I use the gym, there is always something missing, water, water cups or towels. I had to call the service personnel to get them.

Then there was a problem with the club house. Some private drivers of the compound tenants slept on the sofa of the club house during the day. And the management decided to create a small, closed room within the club house to let the drivers sleep there. And now the club house looks really awful.

When the service person heard that we are leaving, she came to us and politely asked us to stay and ensured us that her management will consider any conditions we might have on our mind. We could take another house nearby etc. And I got the sense that she really wants us to stay, because there are already several other empty houses they are looking for tenants for.

I could also sense that when the situation continues with the leaving tenants, the management may think to cut number of employees for the compound. And we do really like the service personnel. They are nice, polite and available and do everything we ask for. We also observed that the compound management does not put his heart to manage the compound, but instead taking care of his private business.

I feel sorry for the employees there and think about some large companies where the management made mistakes and employees had to go. The world is not fair and far from perfect. And I would like to call for actions for all managers to take more responsibilities for the people below them, because their fate is dependent on your competence, dedications and decisions. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

People From Countryside

Last Saturday, I was underway with a taxi. A bicycle came unexpected crossing the road, so the taxi driver had to break strongly. He screamed: “Another guy from countryside! Once from countryside, always from countryside!”

I could not say with 100% certainty that this guy really is from countryside. He was well addressed and looked pretty like a city boy.

As we stopped at the crossing waiting at the left turn lane, the light for the left turn changed to green, while the light for strait forward traffic remained red. The car before us did not recognise the change and stayed there.

“Another guy from countryside”, I joked to the taxi driver. He laughed and said: “The car is from good brand, an Opel. He may not be from countryside. I do not understand, people who can afford Opel can not drive.”

Over the weekend, a building during the construction in Shanghai failed down. I am ashamed that such thing can happen in Shanghai. I never heard anything like this happened anywhere in the world. I am not sure how the Shanghai Chinese would think about it. They might say that the building was built by people from countryside.

That phenomena stimulated me to think about some groups of people in Germany who blame the foreigners, when the unemployment rate is going up. Or when something in the company went wrong, we tend to finger point other organisations.

But studies show that when we face a problem, 80% of the issues can be addressed inside the system. When people are young they try to fix the world, when they are getting older and wiser they tend to fix themselves. Maybe I am just getting older :-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Do You Believe in Destiny?

Here is a real life SMS (short messages via mobile phone) communication:

Friend: “Do you believe in destiny?”

Me: “Yes. A destiny YOU have created.”

Friend: “Do you mean my characters?”

Me: “No. Your predominantly habitual way of thinking.”

Friend: “I see…”

Me: “Read the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne.”

Friend: “Just ordered the book on line.”

A SMS communication like this probably changed one person’s life, forever. More than 25 years ago I decided to enter into Telecommunications, because I believed that this is the area that has huge impact on people’s live.

More for the Secret:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to Become Smarter?

I seldom receive any SMS (short messages via mobile phone), so I was positively surprised to get an SMS from a friend asking: “How can I become smarter?”

This is a really good question and my immediate reaction was: “Read a lot, talk often to smarter people and take on challenging assignments.” After responded the SMS, I thought it might helpful to find some examples.

Read a lot books. My daughter Sophia is very smart. I believe that the key reason for her smartness was that she read a lot books during the early years. She could finish reading a book within one a two days. And she already read thousands of books.

Talk to smart people. I knew some self improvement trainers often interviewed hundreds of top people to get insights how those people are successful. Afterwards they become star trainers, because they unconsciously apply the methods they learned from the interview for their daily work and life.

Take on challenging assignment. There are people who were not particularly smart from their scores at the school or at the university. But they are keen to be successful in their professional life. So they create their own business or apply for challenge jobs. Since the job is so demanding, they have to work enormous amount of time, meet and resolve unbelievable problems. Afterwards, they are able to respond sharply and quickly to any challenges.

Smartness is less a question of genes, but a question of deliberate practice.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Guitar Teacher and His Time Value

Since June 2008 I have started taking guitar lesson every Saturday. My teacher Mr. S is 24 years old, very talented in playing guitar and in teaching. He is always calm and patient and never gets angry.

26 years ago I also learnt playing guitar in Germany for one year and then stopped, since I was too busy with the study. When I think back, that time Mr. S was even not born. Now, he had learnt playing guitar well, had become a teacher with around 100 students. Time changes everything.

Mr. S has a regular job at the government institution. I could never figure out what he is doing there. My impression is though that the job must be boring, because he gives 40 hours of guitar lessons per week in addition to his regular job. He does it well and has fun obviously.

As a guitar teacher he works for a music school. Since the demand for leaning guitar is growing recently (talking about recession), he was asked to teach additional students. Because it is impossible for him to spend more time, he came to me und asked if I would be willing to take a large class instead of one on one lessons, so he can add more students.

The deal is structured like this. I would pay only half the price and would stay double the time with him. So the price per hour would be only one fourth. It sounds a good deal for me. He will take up to 8 students in the large class, so the total income for the school as well as for him per hour would be also doubled. This is a truly win-win situation.

The moral of the story: there is a limit of how much time you can work per week, even for a talented and ambitions Chinese like Mr. S. If you want to get more done, you have to increase the time value.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3 Ways to Quickly Learn Any New Subjects: Visual, Auditive, or Kinaesthetic

In today’s dynamic environment you may need to often change job, move to other industry or location, or enter into completely different business as before. Quickly learning a new subject becomes the chief skill for your career, your financial success and your level of happiness. So what are the most efficient ways to learn a new subject?

The answer is “It depends”. You have three different main channels of learning: the visual, the auditive and the kinaesthetic. Most likely you have developed a preferred channel of learning a new skill. For lot professionals due to our current education system the preferred channel is visual.

If you are a visual type, you may want to start to collect as much as possible reading material for the subject. Thanks google you can find tons of documents, presentations, graphics, photos and videos on internet. Scan quickly all the materials you can find out. Then start to ask yourself a simple question: what do I want to achieve at the end of the reading journey? Be specific about your goals. The next step is to select top three materials which you believe will lead you quickly toward your goals. Then start to read and often pause and test if you have already achieved some of your goals. Revise your reading strategies, when you have the feeling that you are off the track.

In case you are auditive type, the best way to learn is to talk with the best experts in this area. Ask around: “Who are the best experts in the area?” Then schedule a time with them one by one by saying: “I spoke with a lot of people and found out that YOU are the expert in this subject. I want to learn more from you. Would you mind to spend one hour with me to talk about it?” Usually he or she will agree. And then before you go to the first expert, prepare a list of precise questions what you like to have answered. Before you go to the next expert, prepare another list, because then you already know a lot. At the end of an interview you can ask the expert: “Who else I should talk to be beneficial for me?”

Should you are a kinaesthetic type the best way is “learning by doing”. Volunteer in projects related to the subject or take seminars where there are role plays or where you can work on case studies. If you are lucky to be able to work on projects, speak with the project leader: “I am new in the subject and have a lot to learn, but my skills are communicating with people, I am good at influencing people to give their best, (or what so ever fits to you), may I use my skills to add value to the project, while I can learn?” If you meet a good project leader, then he and you will quickly figure out how to place you to contribute to the project, while you can learn.

Even though you may have a preferred learning channel, you can still combine the different learning methods to activate simultaneously all three main channels, visual, auditive and kinaesthetic. This holistic approach will deliver you the best learning results.

In case you have unlearnt to use one of the main learning channel, starting to play a music instrument will reactivate it, because you have to use your eyes to see the notes, while you are using your ears to listen to the music and playing the instrument with your hands. The best thing in practicing music instrument is that you learn while you are having fun. And having fun should be the key motivation for learning anything!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to Raise Children Effectively?

On Friday 12, my first daughter Sophia finished the high school (Abitur) at the German School Shanghai. The whole family went there for the celebration. Sophia got the best scores at the school and received in addition three awards in Physics, in arrangements for different activities and for the competition of best foreign schools.

After the celebration some parents came to my wife and me and asked: “How do you raise your children?” This was a very good question. Honestly we never thought about it before. It is like to ask a slim person, how she keeps her body slim. Most likely she just does not know, because she was slim for the entire life. Sophia got always the best scores.

But when we reflected our experience with Sophia’s education, we may want to mention one thing that contributed most to her success. Sophia tried to do a lot of things in early years including writing creative texts, designing web sites, playing theatre, playing piano, participating technical camps and participating reading competitions.

During the course of years, she some times shifted the interests. What so ever jumped into her mind, we always encouraged her to do. When she was successful, we were happy with her. When she wanted to do something else we said that’s fine to try something new. For selection of university and subjects we never had any preoccupation and instead asked her to explore herself what she really likes.

So what did we really do in her development? Not much. We leave her in free run, encourage her to try new things and play some role models ourselves. And we are extremely happy with the results and the little time we have invested.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Noodle Soup and Birthday Surprise

As a born Chinese I usually celebrate my birthday in a very simple way. My wife cooks some noodle soup for us all and we eat together. Noodle should symbolize a long life. No birthday present, no birthday cake and no “happy birthday” song. I am a happy person and we are a happy family. There is nothing extra needed.

This year when my birthday arrived, I did really not expect anything from any one, except the noodle soup. I stood up as usual at 6:45am and went to the kitchen. As I saw near my noodle soup (with an extra baked egg) a heart constructed with rose blossoms and in the middle of the heart a CD “The best guitar gems”, tears almost came down from my eyes.

I start to understand how much emotion can be hidden in the word surprise. Why don’t we just do a little more to our customers, employees or bosses than expected? Why shouldn’t we surprise them? It will make a huge difference and it costs little time and money. All you need is to have a heart to those you really care about.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Coaching for Talented Leaders

Why do talented leaders still need coaching? They are smart people. They have skills to lead big organisations or companies, driving excellent results, and they even have coaching capability to help others to be better. Why do they still need coaching for themselves?

The answer is pretty simple. Although talented leaders know how to behave in almost all the situations – theoretically - they some times miss the perspectives from others. They are so focused leading other people and can sometimes not clearly see themselves in the equation. Therefore they need a mirror.

Good coaching provides them other party’s perspective, a mirror that should reflect exactly how they appear to others. Therefore excellent coaches do not teach. They ask questions instead of giving instructions. Those questions will lead to more clarity and insight about how the person being coached really is, how he thinks, behaves and acts.

Personally I coach regularly 3 to 4 people whom I really respect and admire. And I have people coaching me on regular basis. Some times we coach each other on different subjects.

It is really a rewarding activity for the coach and for the person being coached, because while you get to know yourself better through different perspective, your goals and purpose of life will become crystal clear, you will feel happier.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Feeling of Importance

All human beings are looking for a feeling of importance. This is the main reason for most people working hard, getting up the corporate latter, learning a new skill, buying a bigger care, a bigger house, entering into a religion group. It is the same feeling of importance for most of the bloggers to write persistently on the internet.

So if you want to make friends in your working environment, there is only one rule you ought to follow: always rise in other people the feeling of importance and never hurt it.

Here a negative example: when a boss asked the employee about his aspiration, the employee answered: “I want to take over your job in two years.” It may sound that the employee had high ambition, but he may not make friend with his boss. Why? Because he unconsciously hurt the feeling of importance for his boss. The boss may think, do you really believe that my job is so easy to handle?

Honestly I made similar mistakes several times. And I really regret it now. It is good to rise my own feeling of importance. But there is no need to hurt feeling of importance of others at the same time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Call for Creating a Culture of Talent Development

In many companies, talent development is considered privilege for elites. They invest only in the high potentials and leaders. The vast majority will be ignored for trainings or other development opportunities.

In contrast, some high performance companies take talent development more seriously. They invest more money to cover most of their employees, if not all. They apply the principles of sun shining: it should reach every corner on earth.

Recently I read two books by and about Barack Obama “Audacity of Hope” and “The Change We Can Believe in”. One of Obama’s policies is to take care of the majority of the American population in terms of education, health care, tax benefits, because those are the people who build the backbone of United Stated.

What is the backbone of a company? The 80% of people who actually do the work. Those people need to be developed. They are the real assets of a company whose value need to be increased, year over year.

There is an urgency to create a culture where talent development is on every one’s agenda and on management top priority. This is not only a long term issue. This is not only a strategic issue. It is short team and tactic. The whole surviving and striving of a company in today’s highly competitive environment are based on people, on their knowledge levels, skills and motivation to do and be the best they can.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Select Your Leaders Wisely

A Company is NOT run under the principles of democracy. And the leaders are selected top down rather than bottom up. So what is your freedom to choose your leaders, your managers or your bosses?

You freedom to choose the leaders is by the time you decide to accept a job, an assignment or a project, because at that time the leader is already appointed. But you can only choose, if you have developed valid options. And I believe you will always have options, if you are a talent.

What are your criteria to select your leaders? The most important qualities of a good leader are integrity, character and judgement. However, too often the company’s leaders are selected based on the relationship and loyalty to their bosses.

Therefore you have the responsibility to carefully select your leaders before you accept a job. This is your power to influence and your right to exercise. When enough talents are doing so, it will become a voting system for selecting leaders from bottom up, because if not enough good people like you follow the unqualified leader, then he will lose power and eventually disappear.

Every one has the ability to change the world, just by changing his thoughts, actions and behaviours. You, me and many others are able to collectively improve the leadership culture in the corporate life. We should do it, because we deserve the best leaders.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Internal Competition Can Kill Team Work

When managed well, internal competition can be used as a tool to burst sales, improve productivity and inspire innovation. This is the case, when there is NOT a zero sum game, when the rules are clear and when all the involved members buy-in the competition idea before it starts.

However, in most cases I know, internal competition can be a strong de-motivator. People start to hide the information, try to be the first to report the team progress to the boss, try to claim the credits for themselves and to blame others for errors. They do not support and tend to mistrust each other.

In other words internal competition can be a killer of team work. However, many managers still design the work such, consciously or unconsciously, that internal competition is not only possible, but encouraged, when the boundary of the tasks are overlapping for two teams, when the objectives are set unclear or not set at all. The situation is even more dramatic, when the reward system is arbitrary and when there is favouritism in place.

Therefore be careful when ever you think to introduce internal competition. Last warning: competition in the form we know is based on the consciousness that there is lack of something, it is not enough for every one so we have to fight to get our share. This is the consciousness of poverty.

A much power tool is to practice the consciousness of abundance. There is enough for every one. Our imagination is unlimited. Our ideas are unlimited. We are geniuses in some way. Our productive work loads can be unlimited. And we can give as much as we want and will be able to create even more, while we are giving.

If we focus collectively on creating a bigger pie instead of fighting for our share, then we can make internal competition irrelevant and our work more fun.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Merci, 谢谢, Danke, Thanks

From the amazing book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne I learnt an important aspect of life I should never underestimate: the gratitude.

So I thought it is the right time for me to express my sincere thanks to you, my dear reader. You are not just some one from France, China, Germany, USA and many other countries. You are a very special person whom I feel connected with, not only through the internet, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually, because I am a strong believer that there is no coincidence.

I am grateful that my texts have value for you, I am grateful that the internet, google, blog, Personal Computer and telecommunications made all these possible that you and me are connected in some way. Thanks also to all those countless people who work on these technologies.

Merci, 谢谢, Danke, Thanks!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Changing Life Forever

There are two ways to change life. One of them is called life changing moments. The other is called life changing habits.

Life Changing Moments

Some of my life changing moments are

- Met a passionate mathematic teacher so I started to love mathematics
- Passed the University Entry Examination so I entered into one of the best Universities in Shanghai
- Selected to the student exchange program so I could study in German
- Fall in love with a girl secretly who is interested in philosophy so I started to be interested in philosophy, religions, success teachings
- Met my wife so I am married for 23 years
- Kids were born so I enjoy the real family life in its full abundance
- Finished the PhD so I got a job in Germany
- Moved back to Shanghai so I rediscover the whole new aspects of life

These are things that revolutionized my life. Some of those things I planned. Others just happened without slightest hints in advances.

Life Changing Habits

Some examples from my life

- Run on the treadmill twice a week, 30 minutes every time
- Do sit ups twice a week, 120 times per session
- Read books on the subway to the office 30 minutes every working day
- Meditate in the taxi or in the buss on the way to the office 20 minutes every working day
- Take the guitar lesson every Saturday, 30 minutes
- Get the hair cut every two weeks and enjoy the massage at the hair salon
- Practice guitar every day after the dinner, about 30 to 45 minutes
- Join the dinner and talk with my wife, when she is late for dinner
- Wash-up dishes at every weekend
- Write down any title ideas for blog, when ever it comes into mind
- Write blog entries twice every week
- Say thanks to the taxi drive every time, independently of his mood
- Smile to the receptionist every time I pass by the reception of our office
- Make sincere compliments to any one around when there is a good reason
- Coach regularly colleagues or friends for any professional, management issues
- Go monthly to the gathering of the German Expat Community in Shanghai

These are the things which make evolutional change of my life. Add, delete or modify any of those things will shift my life’s focus, consciously or unconsciously.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Selective Memories: Improve Your Live Instantly

Years ago I learnt a method to improve my achievements. It is called success book. It tells you to write down every success during a day, big or small. That way you are much aware of your success. You can also create a love book or happiness book.

I know a woman who is very bright. She tells every small or big positive aspect of her life to everyone she likes, when she bought new shoes, new clothes, new jewelry, when she started to learn a new language or new music instrument, when she visited a new bar or restaurant, when she tried a new spa or ate a delicious cake.

On the other side when something negative happened to her, for example a car accident, she tried to remember the good side of it, e.g. the guy was nice or fortunately the cost of the repair was all covered by the insurance.

From above two examples I realize that maybe initially what happened did not really change. But if you emphasize the positive side of the reality, the positive side will have more weight to you. You select the things to remember you like. By any time of your life, it is not what you really have experienced, but what you can remember, will make up your (subjective) reality.

At the second stage however, when you get used to focus on the bright side of your life, your mood will be better, you will have higher energy level and you will have better judgment and make better decisions which will change your quality of live, improve your efficiency and increase your level of happiness.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Motivation Factor Number ONE: Sense of Purpose

On the way to the office this morning, I observed 2 elderly people, maybe aged at 70, standing next to the traffic light, directing the flow of the walkers crossing the street. The temperature was 31 °C. Both of them wore a sign: Volunteer.

Then I observed some young, nice dressed ladies in the air-conditioned office building with the best views to the Huangpu River, got bored for what they have to do, waiting for the clock to reach 5:30pm, so they can enjoy the night life in Shanghai.

So I start to question myself what really motivate people to work, not just to do an ordinary work, but a job with passion, independently on how much one gets paid for. I reflected to my own 23 years working experiences with all the emotional ups and downs and came to the conclusion that people need strong sense of purpose to work with passion.

For me the purposes are

1) When the work has a component of personal development, either for me or for other people.

2) When the work really creates values, either for the company, other people or for myself.

If none of the above exists, I tent to switch off my light and fire. I will still do a job well. But I may not go the extra miles.

I am pretty sure that every one has his own sense of purpose. The manager’s task is to find it out and to design the job for the subordinates such that it makes sense (of purpose) to them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Good Manager and Bad Manager

On the shuttle bus back to home my human resource colleagues and I discussed about what is the definition of a good or bad manager. I offered the following definition that surprised them and also myself. See if you would agree or disagree:

Good managers make from bad employees good employees.
Bad managers make from good employees bad employees.

Let me give you an example. Some years ago I was about to hire an employee and before the final decision I called his current manager and asked, how would he rate this employee’s performance from the scale 1 to 5 with 1 the highest. He said 3 to 4 the best cases. He told me the reasons about his judgment and I listen carefully. Finally, I asked him what he would recommend me to do to make this employee grade 1 by end of this year. He hesitated and said: “You do not really want to do so.” Meaning, he is hopeless, do not even try.

At the end I trusted my instinct and hired him. First, I figured out, what he is really good at. Second, I figured out, what would motivate him. Then I called him for a meeting and told him: “I see in you great potential to grow in the organization, because you always create a positive environment. When you focus on your strengths and do the things you can do best, I see for you the possibility to take over my job, when I move on.”

During the whole year I tried to reinstall his reputation by giving him responsibilities he could handle well and he liked to do. We had constant feedback sessions about how to improve the performance and the perception of other people. By end of the year, his achievements are recognized by a lot of people, including my boss. This employee got a deserved promotion.

I remember a statement by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Treat them as they are, they will become worse. Treat them as they should be, they will become better.”

Monday, May 4, 2009

Leaders, Experts and Running Dogs

In a large company, there are three eminent ways to position yourself: leader, expert or running dog. And there are other 80% of people who positioned themselves some where in between, they can be put in any position, moved around, sent to any location and laid off, when necessary.

: one who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal.
Advantages: Leaders live up their dreams, they create constantly gaps between themselves and their followers. They are innovative, positive, full of energy. They drive themselves, others and the company to some places where they never have been before.
Risks: Some times they can drive other people crazy and themselves to get a heart attack. Another risk is described by a Chinese proverb: we can not have two tigers on one mountain. I have seen again and again: a new leader stepped in and the old one have to leave. As a leader, you often have to be prepared for new challenges.

Definition: one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject (Merriam Webster Online)
Advantages: who ever the leader is in a group, experts always have the save harbor, because all leaders need people to work, to produce results, to develop products, to create marketing materials, to sell and to deliver. And experts do not form any threats to a leader. They have no chance or ambition to replace the leader.
Risks: When market or technology shift, expertise can become obsolete. So open your eyes and mind and continuously renew and improve your expert areas.

Running dogs:
Definition: one who blindly follows someone else's orders (Merriam Webster Online)
Advantages: Running dogs are much better off than their reputation. As long as the leader is in charge, running dogs are more than save. Since they usually do not have strong characteristics, they are protected by the leaders. Running dogs have usually high level of skills. They are generalists who can do any type of works pretty well.
Risks: When the leader leaves, running dogs are likely to lose their jobs, since they did not develop skills to survive without the leader. And some times they have opportunity to be promoted, when their leader step up. In this case, there is a chance of failure, since they never know how to lead and drive others.

How are you positioned in your company, a leader, an expert or a running dog? Or some where in between? Do you want to change your positioning or do to want to strengthen your positioning? See also Your Value as Expatriate.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Emotional Write Offs

Are you an investor? Do you feel some times that you hold an investment too long, an investment which gets you nowhere, but you can’t just get rid of it, because it cost you already too much money, time and energy?

The same can happen with your emotional reality. Here an example. Let say you fall in love with some one who has absolutely no bridge to your emotional world. You tried to date with her, make presents, send flowers, send letters, emails, sms, make phone calls, say nice words, make compliments, take care of her where ever possible. But there is absolutely no response and no return. You get mad and can not concentrate on your work, but have to think of her, knowing with the certainty that it will get you nowhere.

What would you do? You say to yourself: “Stop. I made a terrible mistake in this emotional investment. And now I have to write off this investment.”

Close your eyes and start to imagine, that every thing from her is getting out from your body, your heart, your mind, slowly, but surely, away from you, to a far destination, that you do not know and do not care. Imagine that you can absolutely live in peace and harmony with the remaining pure YOU.

Say to her in your mind: “Good bye and good luck.”

Practice this more times, until nothing of her is left. Then you completed the write-off of your emotional investment. It is really as easy as like that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Negotiate Salary with Your Boss?

The toughest negotiators will hesitate, when they need to negotiate the salary with their boss. Why? Because negotiation has always two goals simultaneously: 1) achieving your negotiating target and 2) keep the negotiation partner fairly happy. Have you ever tried to negotiate your salary increase with your boss? It is tough. But there is a way to make it easier. Here is how.

1) Increase your negotiation power

Prepare your negotiation long before it happened. Build your negotiation power during this time period. There are four different type of negotiation power.

Relationship power
If you have bad relationship with your boss, don’t even think to negotiate. The best way is to leave him as soon as possible. Find a boss who appreciates your talents and your contributions. Try to build as good relation as possible with him by communicating frequently, by finding ways to be more useful to him, by being a positive and likeable person, so that your boss enjoys your presence.

Performance power
Get things done and get things done quickly with high quality. Do everything possible to exceed your annual goals. Do not just stop when you hit your goal. Set new goals, but communicate this with your boss often. He might not know what you are doing exactly.

Knowledge power
Get the knowledge from human resource department about the salary band for your position. Get the benchmarking from the market. Understand the process exactly of the salary increase from human resource department. Understand the average and the maximum of the salary increase. Not all the information is available to you. But please try to get as much information as possible.

Argumentation power
Prepare arguments why you should get salary increase. Articulate your value to the company is far greater than the average. Articulate that you are underpaid compared to the market and compare internally.

2) Ask for what you want

Some people enter into the office of their boss just to ask a salary increase. This is not enough. You have to ask the salary increase of x % or y € per month. And tell the boss your reason for asking exactly that amount.

3) Develop well your options

I believe here is the key for success. Always start a negotiation with an option in your bag, an alternative offer or other career possibilities. The option should be real, which means you really would consider the option, if your negotiation fails. But there is no need to mention it during the negotiation. If you decide to take the option, just take it. Do not use it as threat. No one likes that. To have an option is the way to build your confidence and inner strengths in your negotiation process.

Do not start any negotiation, if you did not prepare a walk away position.

5) Focus on the benefits for your boss

Try to understand the benefits of your boss, when you are successful with your negotiation. The cardinal reason for the boss to increase your salary is to keep you motivated in the future, so you can perform at the same level or better. But there are other reasons such as fairness, willingness to support and develop others or building stronger employee relationship. Find out his red button you can push to make him move.

Last remark
during the economic down turn, negotiating salary with your boss may become obsolete. You might be happy to keep your job and to keep your current salary level. But this is an excellent time to start preparing to increase your negotiation power. It takes time, maybe one year. And hopefully the economy will start to grow again.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fair Workload Distribution

There are people overloaded with work of 12 to 16 hours a day. And there are people who are actively looking for jobs, opportunities to contribute, ways to use their talents and to actualize themselves.

Why can’t the busy people pass on some tasks to the work-seeking people? There are basically two reasons: willingness and ability.

Willingness: some people love to work so much that they just want to keep the current situation; Some would feel insecure, losing power and control, if they would give away some work to others; Few unconsciously want to destroy their health, because they do not love themselves enough.

Ability: some people are lack of ability to delegate. But vast majority of hard-working people are lack of ability to find others with the right skill sets to delegate the work to. Those free people might exist within the company or somewhere in the world. But they are just not accessible for the busy people.

What if we can create a web based workload distribution platform. It could exist in corporate intranet or in the internet. People can trade the work items like they trade books, furniture or cars at eBay. And they can bid the work by using a auction system. Organizational barrier would be reduced to a minimum.

Two main obstacles need to be removed. One is to standardize tradable work items and the other is to standardize qualifications to those tradable work items. Most likely the knowledge work will be on the internet first, consulting, writing presentations, writing reports, teaching and training works, etc.

I would predict that by 2050 there is a growing population of freelancers who are making a life with this type of work, in every corner of the globe. And there will be focused small and medium size company who will provide only services at the internet. Multi-Nationals may still exist. But they will have small amount of fixed staffs to keep the company competitive and flexible enough for changes. They will manager those freelancers and small companies dynamically online to run their company.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Enjoy as Long as You Can

When I moved from Research to Sales Department during my earlier career, I was so worried because there was not much to do for me. I could not withstand the psychological pressure, so I went to my boss and told him: “I see that other people are so busy, but I do not really have much to do.”

He smiled and answered in a very soft ton I can still remember today: “Wenyue, enjoy the time as long as you can.” After few weeks the situation was getting better and better. I was busy and happy to be able to contribute.

One or two years later I was more experienced. The work flowing to me was much more than I could actually handle, even with hours of over time. And I went to my boss again and protested that it was just too much. He smiled: “Enjoy, as long as you can.”

Three years later, there was a deregulation in the telecom industry and our company made loss and it was acquired by other firm. In the phase of transition my working time became idle. I remembered the words of my boss, enjoyed the time and started to learn English.

During the years, there were ups and downs in the economy, in the telecom industry and in our company. I developed a strategy to balance the extreme busy time and extreme free time.

When I got too much to do, I just tried to focus on those things, which only I could do myself and tried to delegate what others could do as well. I was not always successful, but it certainly helped.

When I got not much to do, I treid to help other people, to build some new skills such as public speaking, creative writing which would be beneficial to my future professional life.

In a large organization, there are always people who are extremely busy and there are always people who are extremely free. For an individual professional there are times he is very busy and there are also times he is free. How too manage the fluctuation is an art which not every one can master. But please remember the advice of my boss:

Enjoy as long as you can :-).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Worst and Best Case Strategy for Any Change

There is a strategy you can apply as a manager for any change in your professional and private life. I called this Worst and Best Case Strategy. It starts like this:

1) Ask yourself, what would be the worst case in this situation. Then find a person whom you know as the most negative, pessimistic one. Ask his/her view. Also a negative person has a great value here.

2) Accept that the worst case can really happen. When it happened, in which way can you accept it and re-organize your professional/private life in peace with it? How can you get out the most from this case?

3) Then use all your imaginations to define the best case. Talk with a most positive, creative, dreaming friend you know. Ask his/her view. Ask what all you can do to achieve the best case.

4) Your job is to do everything to improve the worst case and do everything to get as close as possible to the best case.

5) What finally comes out by your efforts might be some where between the worst and the best case. So you can be happy that the worst case did not happen and you are motivated to continue your efforts, because you have still room for improvements.

6) The best thing here is that you always focus on the actions and do not worry about uncertainties and possibilities.

A smart strategy, isn’t it?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Are Your Employees Really Looking For Most?

I meet weekly a manager for lunch to discuss management issues we face. And here is the conversation once we had:

I: “What do you think is the most important thing all employees are looking for?”

He: “hmmm...”

I: “They are all desperately looking for recognition.”

He: “How do you come to that conclusion?”

I: “Why do you think they work hard until late night? Why do you think they come to ask for promotion or salary increase? Why do you think they are sometimes lack of motivation?”

He: “They want to earn recognition, claim for recognition and strike for recognition.”

I: “But why do we pay so little attention to giving recognition?”

He: “Because we do not get enough recognition ourselves, so why should we give to others? We are more often beaten up than recognized.”

I: “Yes. This is the turning point. Even we do not get enough recognition, there are no logical reasons why we should not give it freely and generously to others. It is for free in most cases and there is immediate return. The more you give recognitions to others, the more you will receive from others. It is similar like love.”

He: “This is really a great conversation. Thanks.” :-)

I: “You are a quick learner.” :-)