Posts in category: Efficacy

Ambiguity can be a strength too

Ambiguity can be a strength too

We hear a lot about the importance of precision in communications, especially in technical domains where ambiguity can lead to costly or deadly mistakes. But precision and ambiguity are two sides of the same coin. In the right context they can be equally powerful and...
Pragmatism an undervalued strength

Pragmatism an undervalued strength

Pragmatism seems to be somewhat undervalued these days. And yet it is a powerful antidote to the plethora of fads and trends promising easy fixes and quick answers to every aspect of our existence: how we eat, work, think, feel and play. At the end of the day, surely...
Ideals vs perfectionism

Ideals vs perfectionism

I have on a few occasions heard this said with derision and disdain: “Ideals (and values) just hold us back.” I think a lot of the time this is because they have confused Ideals with Perfectionism. Ideals give us a grand vision to strive towards. There is no illusion...
Watering sustainable behaviour change

Watering sustainable behaviour change

Trying to change behaviour with brute force, punitive means is like watering a sandy hydrophobic garden bed with large buckets of water. On the face of it, the bed looks watered. But in reality the bulk of the water simply runs off the top of the bed. There is little...
Inclusiveness and mental dexterity

Inclusiveness and mental dexterity

Practising inclusiveness keeps our brains flexible and supple; ready to meet new challenges more effectively and constructively. Inclusiveness requires that we maintain: A temporary suspension of immediate judgement and categorisation. We give ourselves the permission...
Indicating and (maybe) not turning

Indicating and (maybe) not turning

If you drive, you would be familiar with the practice of waiting for a driver indicating to change lanes or turn to actually execute the move. We wait because sometimes, an indicating driver doesn’t make the move in spite of the indicator. People don’t always do what...
No one succeeds on their own

No one succeeds on their own

We (and the media) often celebrate a loud and charismatic leader as The One championing a movement. We forget the masses of behind-the-scenes individuals that enable this one leader’s success. We as a society have an unhealthy obsession with the idea of The One. We...
Optimal anxiety

Optimal anxiety

I found this in one of my notebooks recently. Basically, a level of anxiety is needed for us to perform at our best. Hence “Optimal Anxiety.” Too much comfort will keep us stuck. Too much anxiety — ie abject terror — will trigger our fight or flight...
How to become more innovative

How to become more innovative

You want to be a doctor? You go to medical school. You spend the specified amount of time and money. And you become a doctor. It is a straightforward path. You want to be innovative? That route is nowhere near as direct or clear. No matter how attractively packaged...
Scanners and divers

Scanners and divers

“Our culture respects specialists. People aren’t called ‘Renaissance men’ any more; they’re called ‘dilettantes’ or ‘jack of all trade,’”  — Barbara Sher in I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was. This is amply demonstrated in typical job ads. The...
Get Sh*t Done!

Get Sh*t Done!

Read Niall Harbison’s Get Sh*t Done!: From Spare Room to Boardroom in 1,000 Days Bought it late one night, fell asleep reading it. Highly readable. Full of wisdom and insights from real hands-on experience. One key takeaway: We are crippled by the fear of...
Let them win

Let them win

Some people just need to win. They are defensive, touchy, fearful, controlling. They need to justify everything in their favour; to make everyone else wrong. And to make sure that everyone knows they are right. You know what? Most of the time, it is ok to just let...
What drives a closed mind?

What drives a closed mind?

What would compel someone to be so rigid, inflexible and exclusive with their thinking that they end up disrupting discussions and alienating themselves from groups? I noticed these unhelpful and disruptive behaviours from someone in a group ideation session recently...
Pink flamingo legacy

Pink flamingo legacy

Don Featherstone invented, inventor of the pink (plastic) flamingo died this year aged 79. This brought to mind the idea of legacy. What do we leave behind? What do we want to leave behind? I’m conflicted too. On one hand, it would be so cool to have invented a...
When is good enough is good enough

When is good enough is good enough

We all get taught that attention to detail is important. The devil is in the details. Perhaps because so much of our work is detail-oriented; with lists to tick-off and spelling to check. And yet we also know that in the real world, sometimes good enough has to be...
Making an impact vs overnight fame

Making an impact vs overnight fame

The Internet gives us all a global voice like no other technology before it. We just don’t know who we may move with our stories, our thoughts, our comments, or our presence/work. Our individual voices matter; to the people they need to matter to. It may be much...
Doing matters

Doing matters

The same applies to business ideas and inventions. If we don’t get off our backsides and do something, our brilliant idea is...
Behaviour change and anxiety

Behaviour change and anxiety

Change is hard. Anxiety is inevitable involved. I drew this graph to show the anxiety level I feel whenever I change out of an old habit into a new one. I think this also applies to group anxiety whenever change happens in an organisation. What do you think? Does this...
Thoughts on a Matisse sketch

Thoughts on a Matisse sketch

This is Henri Matisse’ sketch Birdcage on the Terrace 1945. It is good to see even a great artist had “lazy” moments! We see completed works of great artists so often that we can forget that these pieces are only a portion of the sum total of their work. For...
Beliefs, assumption and acceptance

Beliefs, assumption and acceptance

Why is it so hard for us to see beyond our own prejudices, to remain centred in our own humanity when confronted with people outside of our comfort zone, and be more authentically accepting of differences? Some people get terribly irrationally upset over interracial...
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