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Archive for February, 2008

When even the small things can make a very big difference


As a follow-up on the Double As blog post, I was on the phone almost 3 weeks ago talking to a cousin of mine and simply asking her about how she was doing. She was basically tasked to take care of her three nephews, all boys, as her sister – the boy’s mom – had to work overseas. When the boys had a chance to visit their mom, she mustered all her memories and told me about how difficult it was raising the kids. And now that the kids were temporarily away, she felt a bit of ease from the responsibility and that somehow it was really tiring. As I was listening to her stories, I realized all the hard work she had to put in raising those kids and how sometimes she felt like giving up. When she was done telling her stories, I ended up telling her how what she has done to those kids had a positive impact in their lives and the lives of thousands if not millions of people worldwide. She was surprised with what she just heard. All along, she didn’t realize that her “stressful unwanted” responsibilities had that much impact. She was trying to figure out what I was saying. Then I told her about my perspective. You see, raising kids, just like everything I can think of, is all about perspective. Some people think of it as a responsibility, I think of it as an investment. Whether we sow seeds of good or bad deeds, somewhere, somehow, we’ll get some return. That’s for sure. Some kids grow up to be world changers, other end up in the dumps. But there is more to it than that. Apparently, those kids – us included – would have the opportunity to touch and influence a thousand or more people throughout their lives. Now, what does that have to do with our responsibilities as parents (or even foster parents)? Whatever we do to those kids will impact the next generation and they will, in turn, decide how to change the world. As I was telling her about my perspective, I started citing one of his nephews and how he has become an influencer, touching the lives of more than a million Filipinos worldwide. Apparently, his nephew (who happened to be mine as well) won a model search competition and has managed to secure an talent contract with one of the media conglomerates in the Philippines. That being said, a face which used to be only familiar among relatives and peers has now become a public figure. With the media conglomerate’s reach of more than 200,000 Filipino subscribers in the United States alone and all across Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Australia, imagine the impact of this face together with his story worldwide. That being said, she realized how what she had done for the kids did have an impact – not just in the lives of those kids but in those that they manage to influence in their lifetime. So, don’t fret. Who knows that the small act you do today – for your kids, staff, or just about anybody, even the people you don’t know – will have a profound impact on the world tomorrow. You might be growing the next Albert Einstein or the next Winston Churchill right across your living room watching TV

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Empowering individuals with a Double A (a.k.a AA)

February 21, 2008 2 comments

Question: What comes to mind when we say “Double As”?
Answer: A pair of pocket-sized batteries probably from Energizer

I was reading the introduction of Ron Clark’s book The Excellent 11: Qualitites Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children when I happen to notice a very important note which he had made – understand the importance of the value of appreciation. In today’s challenging and fast-paced work environment, organizations compete on the basis of efficiency and productivity. But I believe that the success of any organization lies in the human resource. Leading the organization in the next wave of changes requires a lot more than the usual budget, strategy, innovation and creativity (although these are still necessary ingredients to succeed). And this is where the importance of the double AA come in. People need a dose of appreciation and affirmation on a daily basis. This is the cheapest and one of the most effective form of rewarding your employees. The person who receives appreciation and affirmation will feel valued and will eventually be motivated in their work, thus, increasing employee productivity. This also helps build a productive and positive work environment. I believe that the Asian culture is not used to this kind of employee motivation. Most of the time, our way of thinking is that employees are hired to work hard. Recognizing them for something that they are expected to do can get way over their heads. But that in itself is counter-intuitive in a sense that the more an individual realizes that his or her work has value, the more motivated he or she becomes.

Try it out. Appreciate and affirm somebody from your team (or even anybody you know) today and see how it changes them. With the double As, it’s not just the Energizer bunny who can keep going … and going…

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Leadership Lessons from Raising Kids


Proverbs 22:6(KJV) says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

I normally hear this from Christians raising up their kids. The scripture specifically mentions the way we should raise our kids.It says “train” and not just “teach.” More often, we simply teach our children how to live but not train them. Training requires skill. When you are a trainor (as I still am), you must have the appropriate skills to be effective because while teaching the concepts, you are also showing them how to do it. This is what differentiates teaching from training. Our children might be hearing our teaching but not seeing it being done. Then we are not training them. The proper way is to teach AND do. And training requires repetition.Which means you have to make it as a part of your system as if it were a habit. Talk about training our kids how to pray, respect elderly, go to church, etc. Now this is what the scripture means by “training up a child.”

But what does this have to do with leadership? In organizations, we sometimes hear management being frustrated at their employees’/subordinates’ performance. Top executives have become too engrossed with day-to-day operations. All they ever do is send memos (emails included) and deliver speeches during anniversaries, expecting the subordinates to be fired up and be enthusiastic. What’s worse is that management expects a lot from their employees but their staff don’t even know what and how to do what they are supposed to do to meet those expectations. It’s like throwing a child in a pool and expect him to be an Olympic gold medalist. It doesn’t make sense. What they have forgotten is that they need to “train up” their subordinates. Which means teaching and doing as well. And this takes time, not to mention effort. That is why mentoring and coaching plays a vital role in the success of an organization.

If we are managing an organization, let’s consider how the scripture defines raising up kids. After all, don’t we treat our organizations as such?

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