Courageous Leaders Don't Make Excuses...They Apologise

Posted by Genius tribes on 9:28 AM
I came across this in one of the Forbes article and I thought it will be something good for sharing.
The authors, Doug Guthrie and Sudhir Venkatesh, make a really clear and well-reasoned case for the positive power of admitting and apologising for one’s mistakes. He mentioned in a point that :

We are frequently taught that leaders, especially aspiring leaders, should hide weaknesses and mistakes. This view is flawed. It is not only good to admit you are wrong when you are; but also it can also be a powerful tool for leaders—actually increasing legitimacy and, when practiced regularly, can help to build a culture that actually increases solidarity, innovation, openness to change and many other positive features of organizational life.

I couldn’t agree more. Followers look to see whether a leader is courageous before they’ll fully accept that person’s leadership. If they see courage (and taking full responsibility for actions and admitting and apologizing for mistakes are two of the five key indicators of courage), it feels safe to ‘sign up.’ People need courageous leaders in order to feel there’s someone to make the tough calls and to take responsibility for them – they need to know that the buck truly does stop with the leader. With a courageous leader, people feel protected – not that they’re helpless, but they know the person in charge really has their back.

And courage begets courage: your followers are more likely to make their own tough decisions and to take responsibility for them when you model that behavior. You have their backs – so they’re much more likely to have yours.

Because so many of us have a hard time apologizing, I thought it might be helpful to have an ‘apology primer.’ Here you go:

I’m sorry: this is the core of a genuine apology. “I’m sorry.” or “I apologize.” It’s the stake in the ground to communicate that you truly regret your behavior and wish you had acted differently. No apology is complete without this.

Stay in the first person: Many, perhaps most, apologies run off the rails at this point, when the apologizer shifts into the second person, e.g., “I’m sorry….you didn’t understand me.” Or “I’m sorry….you feel that way.” Suddenly, you’re no longer apologizing for your actions; you’re telling the other person that you regret their actions or feelings. A true apology sounds like, “I’m sorry I….” or “I’m sorry we…”

Don’t equivocate: Once you said what you regret about your actions or words, don’t water it down with excuses. That can blow the whole thing. The former manager of my apartment building once said to me, “I’m sorry we haven’t gotten back to you about your security deposit, but you have to understand we’ve got hundreds of tenants.” I definitely didn’t feel apologized to – in fact, I felt he was telling me I was being inconsiderate to hold him accountable! Just let the apology stand on its own. “I’m sorry we haven’t gotten back to you about your security deposit.”

Say how you’ll fix it. This seals the deal. If you genuinely regret your words or actions, you’ll to commit to changing. This needs to be simple, feasible and specific. “I’m sorry we haven’t gotten back to you about your security deposit. We’ll have an answer to you by this Friday.”

Do it. I know some people who don’t have a hard time apologizing, but seem to have a hard time following through on their apologies. If you apologize and say you’re going to behave differently, and then don’t – it’s actually worse than not having apologized in the first place. When you don’t follow through, people question not only your courage, but also your trustworthiness.


Next time you’re clearly in the wrong, take deep breath, put aside your self-justification, your excuses, your blame, your defensiveness, and simply apologize. Being courageous in this way is generally scary in anticipation. But it feels great once you’ve done it….to you, and to those you lead.


Internal Branding: Your culture is your brand

Posted by Genius tribes on 11:35 AM
Three weeks ago, I spoke to a conference of young managers organized by one of a MNC engineering company in Selangor. Range of topic covered is the need for need for employee branding and why you shouldn't let your culture evolve by itself. Instead you should play a role to design it intendly.

Building a brand today is very much different from building brand 30 or 50 years back. How it was done is by having buch of people sitting in a room, deciding what will be the brand positioning and then spend lot of money on advertising telling people what their brand was over and over again.

We are in a different world today. With the explosion of internet bubble,today we are connected to each and everyone.Companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire by email or with tools like Facebook.

Advertising can only get your brand so far. If you ask most people what the “brand” of the airline industry as a whole is (not any specific airline like AirAsia or MAS, but the entire industry itself), they will usually say something about bad customer service or bad customer experience. If you ask people what their perception of the Proton auto industry is today, chances are the responses you get won’t be in line with what the automakers project in their advertising. (Yeah , they still proud of never ending story power window).

So what’s a company to do if you can’t just buy your way into building the brand you want? What’s the best way to build a brand for the long term?

In a word: culture.

Anyone who has been through a branding process knows very well that the hardest part of the whole branding process is not coming up with a tagline, logo or the color of choice,It’s getting to your company’s DNA—what is at its heart—its values, vision, passion and purpose. That’s your culture. When you get to that, you can create your brand. If not, everythings that you say or promise will not fit into the picture.
Before you embark on a branding campaign, take a reality check. Have you uncovered your company’s DNA? Defined its culture? It’s values, vision, passion and purpose? Is it real, honest and yet still a little aspirational? Your brand must be rooted in reality with room to reach toward the future. Clearly defining your company culture is your first step in building a brand.
Building the culture/brand really is everybody’s business, and companies that understand that have a real advantage. That’s why it’s important to engage your employees in your branding process—asking them to help define your values, vision, passion and purpose. Getting their input and buy-in is critical to the success of your brand. You all need to get behind the same values, vision, passion and purpose. It’s critical to a cohesive, productive and engaging workplace.

Here are some of the details that we shared during our conference.




Hardworking or Hardly Working

Posted by Genius tribes on 7:28 AM
 Life is more that working 8 hours a day. Here is a compilation of words that shared by participants during our leadership workshop.
During the activities participants was welcomes to share what they
Activity : Participants are welcomed to share their opinions on below article and as a future leader in a corporation what Leadership Code that they will practise to overcome these issues.
  1. By working faithfully 8 hours a day you may eventually get to be boss & work 12 hours a day.
  2. Never mistake activity for progress.
  3. Just because it works that doesn’t meant it’s right.
  4. They will remember how poorly the job was done long after they’ve forgotten how quickly it was done. ( Personally i love this ;)  )
  5. The hardest lesson to learn is that learning is a continual process
  6. Failure to plan on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part
  7. You can’t make a fact out of an opinion by raising your voice. ( Bosses who raised their voices to make sure you stay and finish your task. Fear management )
  8. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
  9. If you can’t get all of your work done in 24 hours, work nights! 



ReTHINK : Think Different

Posted by Genius tribes on 9:01 AM

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
I was led to an interesting questions by my participants during my recent innovation leadership workshop. It's pretty interesting to share with the tribes on some of the thought.
Question : How much effort does it take to Think Different and why don't many people spend time doing it despite the fact that it is important for an organization ?

I prefer to refer to an interesting article in Harvard Business Review http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/09/begin_to_think_differently.html written by

Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen

Jeff Dyer is the Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy at the Marriott School, Brigham Young University; Hal Gregersen is a professor of leadership at INSEAD; They are the authors of the The Innovator’s DNA.

Let me break it down for you and this is some of the interesting details in the Harvard article.Neither Steve Jobs nor Apple nor any other high-profile innovator or company has a corner on the think-different market. In fact, our study of over 5,000 entrepreneurs and executives shows the opposite: almost anyone who consistently makes the effort to think different can think different.

That's an interesting point to begin with as it give you a blip of hope that eventually your effort in thinking differently will pay off. That lead me to another question which in return i will ask you, are you ready to THINK DIFFERENT.
Now let us look at the second point.

Innovators (of new businesses, products, and processes) spend almost 50% more time trying to think different compared to non-innovators. In other words, non-innovators do occasionally think different (answering "at least a little bit" to questions like "I creatively solve challenging problems by drawing on diverse ideas or knowledge" to hit the 48th percentile in our global database). Yet compared to innovators, they just don't do it as often. Generating new business ideas that make a positive financial impact takes time. Innovators who spend more time thinking different (scoring in the 70-80th percentile) consistently engage in associational thinking by "agreeing"or "strongly agreeing" with questions like the one above and they deliver innovative results more frequently than those who don't. It's that simple.

This a point that i much as it boil to one important thing. The frequency of your effort in being committed to Think Different. It's not an one time thing to do but instead a continous effort to think out from the box.

If thinking different can make such a positive difference, why don't more people spend more time doing it? Researchers at Harvard Medical School opened our eyes to one compelling answer. Sixty to eighty percent of adults find the task of thinking different uncomfortable and some even find it exhausting. When adults must connect the unconnected through associational thinking, it wears them out. Why? Because most adults have lost the skills they once had (just watch almost every four-year old who relishes the chance to think different. And all of us were once four-year olds). We don't lose this skill because genetic coding automatically shuts it down on our twenty-first birthday. Instead, most of us grew up in a world where thinking different was punished instead of praised (at home or school). So while roughly one-third of anyone's innovation capacity comes from their genetic endowment, two-thirds of it is still driven by the environment.

These are the points that should be carefully considered. As a leader do you provide the environment for the culture to thrive. It is clear that most people able to do this as they choose to put in time and effort., more than ever, you’ve got to do something radically different to make a mark.

Do you?



66 Famous Failure of People Never Give Up

Posted by Genius tribes on 1:15 AM
Event : Ignite leadership training
An excerpt from our leadership training module


Whenever we attempt to do something and fail, we end up doing something else or producing something else. You have not failed; you have produced some other result. The two most important questions to ask are: “What have I learned?” and “What have I done?”

Failure is only a word that human beings use to judge a given situation. Instead of fearing failure, we should learn that failures, mistakes and errors are the way we learn and the way we grow. Many of the world’s greatest successes have learned how to fail their way to success. Some of the more famous are:

Whoopi Goldberg was a high school dropout and survived on welfare. To make ends meet, she worked as a bricklayer, bank teller and makeup artist, applying makeup & dressing the hair of corpses in a mortuary.

Fredrick Smith got a C for his term paper proposing “an express delivery service” when he was studying in Yale university. He started Federal Express Corp in 1971 but only managed to deliver 6 packages – 4 were from the operations testing its system and 2 from real customers – in its first run.

Simon Cowell was expelled at 16 with just two O-level passes. He eventually dropped out of high school and worked as a mailroom boy at his dad’s employer, EMI.

Charles Dickens once worked in a London factory pasting labels on bottles of shoe polish.

Brad Pitt dropped out of university, just 2 credits short of a journalism degree, went to Hollywood where he worked outside a fast food restaurant in a giant chicken costume.

Li Ka Shing, one of the world’s richest tycoons once sold plastic flowers for a living.

Akio Morita & Masaru Ibuka, founders of Sony first released a rice cooker through their company in 1945. This was how it looked like. Yes, a complete disaster. The cooker burnt rice instead of cooking it and sold less than 100 units.

George Orwell went to Paris, eager to make a living from freelance writing. He barely survived by teaching English, eventually pawning his possessions and working in a hotel as a janitor.

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything” and he was also fired from his first 2 jobs for not being productive enough. Perhaps that’s why he failed 2,000 times before inventing the light bulb.

Tom Hanks dropped out of Sacramento State University and worked as a bellhop at a Hilton Hotel.

Michael Bloomberg was fired as a partner from Salomon Brothers in 1981 when it merged with another company. He took the merger proceeds to startup Bloomberg financial information network and became the New York mayor in 1991.

Colonel Sanders, founder of the world renowned Kentucky Fried Chicken chain got his first social security check of $99 at age 65. He had a small house, a worn out car and was pretty much broke. But that didn’t stop him from approaching restaurant owners, offering his popular chicken recipe free, in exchange for a percentage of the pieces of chicken sold. 1,009 restaurant owners rejected him before he got his first yes.

Eminem failed 9th grade 3 times and dropped out of high school at 17. When his girlfriend broke up with him and took their newborn away, he attempted suicide.

Soichiro Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a engineering job. He was jobless for a while and started making his own scooters at home. Encouraged by his neighbours, he later setup his own company – Honda Motor Corporation.

Salvador Dali was expelled from an art academy in Spain for not letting his professors critique his paintings.

Jackie Chan dropped out from grade school after the 1st year and was sent to the China Drama Academy where he trained for 19 hours a day. He used to be a stuntman in Bruce Lee’s movies.

Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout but was clever enough to buy someone’s product for $50,000, rebrand & licensed it to IBM & other computer companies for billions.

Albert Einstein started speaking when he was 4 and only learnt to read at 7. His teachers and parents thought he was intellectually challenged, slow witted and anti-social. He was also expelled from school and couldn’t get into the Swiss Polytechnic Institute in Zurich.

Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as an on-air evening news anchor and was told she wasn’t fit for television.

John Grisham‘s first novel was rejected by 16 agents and 12 publishing houses.

Dr Seuss’s first book was turned down by 27 publishers.

Arnold Schwarzenegger went for “The Incredible Hulk” TV series audition, but lost the lead role to Lou Ferrigno because he was “too short and too thin”.

Charles Darwin failed a medical course in University of Edinburgh and was often criticised by his dad for being lazy and too dreamy. He wrote “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”

Ralph Lauren dropped out of college after his sophomore year and worked as a part-time stock boy in a department store.

Isaac Newton was an average student. When he was put in charge of running his family’s farm, he let sheep escape and fences to fall down. In the end, his uncle took over and sent him off to Cambridge.

Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 painting in his lifetime for just 400 francs. But that didn’t stop him from completing 800 works worth millions today.

Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union used to work in the fields of a Russian village.

Michael J Fox dropped out of high school and went to Hollywood to venture into TV acting. But instead, he was $30,000 in debt and had to live in a garage without a telephone & furniture.

Winston Churchill failed 6th grade and only passed the entrance exams to Royal Military Academy on his 3rd try. He was defeated in every election until he finally became UK’s Prime Minister at 62.

Amitabh Bachchan, an award winning Indian actor known for his rich voice was rejected for an announcer’s job with All India Radio because his voice was “unsuitable”.

Charlie Chaplin was a street urchin, danced for money and was sent to an orphange for destitute kids. Hollywood studio chiefs rejected his act, thinking that it was a little too nonsensical to ever sell.

Sidney Poitier was told to “stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something” during an audition. He went on to win an Oscar and became one of the most respected actors ever.

Stephen King’s first book was rejected 30 times. He threw the manuscript away and almost gave up. His wife retrieved the script from the trash and encouraged him to resubmit.

Abraham Lincoln fiance died. He suffered a nervous breakdown. He also failed in business twice and was also defeated in 8 elections. But all that didn’t stop him from before becoming the 16th president of United States.

Tom Cruise was denied a role on the TV show “Fame” because he wasn’t “handsome enough”.

Steven Spielberg was rejected by the a famous film school 3 times. Years later, he was conferred a honorary doctorate and seat on the board of trustees of the same school for his achievements.

J.K Rowling divorced less than a year into her first marriage, moved with her baby to Edinburgh, Scotland. She survived on welfare in an apartment infested with mice and wrote in cafes to help her baby fall asleep. Oh yeah, her novel “Harry Potter” was rejected by 12 publishing houses.

Claude Monet suffered from nasty cateracts but still came up with beautiful paintings. Unfortunately, his impressionist painting style was mocked by the then artistic elite, the Paris Salon.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He was also made bankrupt many times.

Mozart was dismissed as a court musician in Salzberg with “a kick in the pants”.

Charles Schultz, the cartoonist behind the Peanuts comic strip had every cartoon he submitted for his school yearbook rejected. Even Walt Disney said “no” to his application for a job.

Marilyn Monroe’s modeling agents thought she should consider being a secretary instead.

Rabindranath Tagore, the 1st non-european Nobel Laureate for literature, was home schooled. He was later sent to England for formal schooling at 17 but didn’t complete his studies.

Elvis Presley’s high school teacher gave him a C & told him he couldn’t sing! That’s not all. He was also told by the manager of the Grand Ole Opry that he “ain’t goin’ nowhere” and “ought to go back to drivin’ a truck” before being fired from one of his earliest performances.

Mark Victor Hansen & Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for The Soul was rejected a total of 140 times.

Harrison Ford was told by a vice president of Columbia pictures that he wouldn’t make it in the business. 15 years later while Ford was having lunch at a Columbia pictures’ commissary, he received a namecard from the same guy, with the words “I missed my bet” written on the reverse.

Elizabeth Arden dropped out of nursing school. Her first attempt to sell face cream was a flop too. But she held on, changed her name and founded a new beauty brand.

The Beatles were told by a recording company that they “don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out”.

Beethoven’s teachers thought he was hopeless on the violin and would never succeed in composing. But he went on to compose some of the best symphonies while being completely deaf.

Dustin Hoffman couldn’t get acting jobs in New York and ended up as a janitor and an attendant in a mental hospital.

Luciano Pavarotti couldn’t read music but still became one of the world’s greatest tenors.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

George Lucas’ first film in 1971 was a flop.

Henry Ford was bankrupt 5 times before he founded the Ford Motor Company.

Mahatma Gandhi fled the courtroom due to stage fright in his first law case.

Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage due to stage fright at a comedy club. He went back the next night, completed his set to laughter and thunderous applause.

Babe Ruth had 1,330 strikeouts – ironically a major league record – almost double of his home runs of 714.

Hillary Clinton failed the Washington D.C. bar exam. Undeterred, she took the Arkansas bar exam in the same year and passed.

Wilma Rudolph was paralyzed in 1 leg due to polio and told by doctors she would never walk again. She later won 3 olympic gold medals in track and fields.

Ulysses S. Grant used to be a farmer, real estate agent, customs official and store clerk. His last 2 occupations? A general and 18th president of United States.

Sylvester Stallone was expelled from 14 schools in 11 years. His university professors discouraged him from an acting career and his screenplay for “Rocky” was also rejected by all but one company who would only buy it on condition he would not act in it.

Martin Luther King was once ostracized by his family for not pursuing a merchant career.

Pierce Brosnan dropped out from school at 16, ran away from home to work as a fire eater in a circus.

Barbra Streisand’s first broadway performance was opened and closed on the same night.

Billy Joel, disillusioned by the failure of his first album, spent 6 months playing bar piano in a lounge under a different name.

Cynidi Lauper was told by doctors in 1977 she couldn’t sing again because of her badly damaged vocals. In 1984, she won a Grammy.


Dyson leadership : overcome your failure

Posted by Genius tribes on 1:01 AM
Event : Ignite leadership training

Inspiration story on failures that we shared in our recent leadership training. Successful people look at mistakes as a results or outcome not as failure. And the very first point you fear of failure, you already failed.

James Dyson, the founder of Dyson company can is the perfect example to teach us on on how to overcome your fear. Bill Cosby had sum up all that has been said for overcoming failure by simply stating that "In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. "

Failing 5,126 Times

Inventors are, by definition, failures. They fail far more often than they succeed. British inventor James Dyson was passionate about engineering, design, and vacuum cleaners. Yes, vacuums (there’s a passion for everything). In 1978, he became frustrated with the performance of the vacuum cleaners on the market that lost suction as they picked up dirt. The problem was in the bag: it got clogged as it sucked up dirt and, as a result, would lose suction. Supported by his wife’s salary as an art teacher, Dyson spent five years toiling on his idea, and on his 5,127th attempt, a working version of a dual-cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner emerged.

“I wanted to give up almost every day,” Dyson said. “But one of the things I did when I was young was long distance running, from a mile up to ten miles. I was quite good at it, not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learned that the moment you want to slow down is the moment you should accelerate.

In long distance running, you go through a pain barrier. The same thing happens in research and development projects, or in starting any business. There’s a terrible moment when failure is staring you in the face. And actually if you persevere a bit longer you’ll start to climb out of it.”3
Most people would have given up after the first few fits and starts, but Dyson plugged away. He reveled in failure, because that’s what engineers do—they tinker, they test, they try out new ideas. They get a kick out of it. If you don’t get a kick out of something, then do something else, because the odds of breakthrough success are against you. “I don’t mind failure.

I’ve always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they’ve had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative,” Dyson said.

Dyson is so proud of his 5,126 failures that he memorialized his tribulations in a small brochure that comes with every vacuum cleaner his company sells—the Dyson Story. Although it took five years to build the product, that step was just the beginning.

Dyson would face multiple rejections from established global companies such as Hoover, whose shortsighted executives saw only the immediate profits they were making from the sales of bags for vacuum cleaners. Hoover executives passed on Dyson’s invention, even though they admitted that it worked nicely.

Dyson has said that anger and frustration are prime motivators—as is necessity. Since no company would buy his invention, Dyson sold it directly to consumers, and not in the United Kingdom but Japan.

The Japanese became enamored of the Dyson’s styling and functionality. The Dyson did eventually become a hit in the inventor’s home market and reached the rank of bestselling vacuum cleaner in the United Kingdom, outpacing the cleaners offered by manufacturers that had once rejected the idea. Hoover would later make a blunt admission: an executive said the company should have bought Dyson’s idea and crushed it so it would never see the light of day.

That way Hoover’s dominance would remain intact. For many leaders, innovation—new ideas that improve people’s lives—is not and will never be part of their company’s DNA.

A Forbes reporter once asked Dyson why a lot of companies say they want to hire innovators but end up hiring “company men,” people who had been doing the same function at other companies for years. According to Dyson:

The trouble is you have human resource departments and headhunters, and you have to fill out forms, and then they try to recruit people that match what’s said on the forms. I fight against it all the time, this idea that when you take someone on, you take someone on who’s had experience in your field. There’s a horrible expression, “hit the ground running.” I hate that idea. In some cases, they might be perfect for you, but in most cases, the person’s probably had the wrong sort of experience, and you’ve got to retrain them. So I much prefer to hire people straight from university, or people who have been working in another field but did some interesting work. It’s very difficult to get recruiters to think that way.

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