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Posts from the ‘management’ Category

My Take On Life of Pi — A Lesson in Life (and also Leadership & Management)

“Above all.. Don’t lose hope” Pi Patel (from Life of Pi)

Think you have a hard life? A difficult tasks? A very demanding client?

Be resourceful. Human beings are very resilient by nature.

Dig down and dig deeper inside your mind.

Leverage your experience.

Chase your goal(s)!

Pi Patel utilized his knowledge and applied it to survive his ‘adventure’ being drifted in the ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger.

Had he lost his hope during that long 227 days, he would have literally..  died.

I know it’s a fictitious character; however I truly believe that the story resonates with most of us in living our own ‘adventure’.

Pi Patel did not know that it would take 227 days to finally reach the shore. He persisted nevertheless (with the ‘help’ of Richard Parker, the Bengal Tiger).

We can a learn a lot from the story..

1. Know your goal (Stay alive and reach the shore).

2. List down your resources (Food and other supplies).

3. Test your assumption in dealing with the problem — to see whether it deliver the intended solution (how to co-exist in the small boat with tiger — again how to stay alive)

4. If the first test fails then try again (first attempt did not deliver the result, the tiger could not care less about Pi pissing the boat to mark his territory — the tiger pissed back at him; he persisted and tried again with different ways)

So are you still floating or drifting in your own Pacific ocean?

There will be the day when you reach that shore.

Until that day comes, enjoy the scenery.. The flying fish, the starry nights , the majestic whale..

All the awe-inspiring sights!!!


The Checklist

We always talk about striving to be more productive i.e. to produce more out put with the same amount of input (or even lower input).

I have also learned that being busy does not necessarily mean that you are actually being productive.

One simple question that you need to always ask yourself: does this activity get me closer to my goal(s)?

Today, I just started one new habit and hopefully I can follow through it consistently until the rest this year (..and even beyond).

A checklist which should be ‘The Checklist’ that I need to do on a daily basis.

This checklist contains all activities which are related to my area of professional responsibilities as well as personal development/interest/responsibilities that I MUST DO ON A DAILY BASIS.

I have really put all my thoughts to this list and it might grow if needed.

The rationale was that we all tend to “play it by the ear” when it gets to daily activities. ‘Firefighting’ can be so urgent and so ‘engrossing’ that we overlook the ‘daily steps’ that we need to ‘walk’ to reach that 1000 miles destination. By the time you know it, it’s already ‘End of Business Day’ and we have not actually done anything to get ‘closer’ to our goal(s).

Having written this, I just ticked one of the items in my checklist for today. It FEELS GREAT!

Call A Friend..

I am not talking about one of the options that the contestants of “Who Wants To Be Millionaire” have when faced with tough questions (although the idea is a bit similar).

This is post is about ratcheting your brainpower and judgement — how to compliment your limited resources (i.e. experience or brain capacity) with your trusted network.

Like it or not, we have to agree to and accept to the fact that “hard facts” are hard to get by in this part of the world.

How do we make sound judgement then when we are facing the ‘unknown’ then?

Yep. You guess it right. Ask your trusted network for their experience. As much nuanced it might sound.. Well it’s still much better than plunging in and sailing to uncharted territory.

So, if you’re drawing up business plan here in Indonesia.. How can you tell whether you’re being realistic or overly optimistic? Simple. Get a sounding board. Call a friend.

Goals (Better To Be 5 Months Late Than 5 Years..)

I like to read.. Well, let me rephrase that, I am CRAZY about reading..

I always thought that writing would come naturally if you love to write. All those stimulating words, sentences, stories, concepts etc would become an integral part of me..

Just like a great chef, I thought that I would be able to use all those ‘ingredients’ instantaneously inside my head amassed from all those stacks of books and pdf files for a great ‘gourmet’ writing.

So that anyone who would care to ‘taste’ my fine ‘meal’ would be ‘heartily fulfilled’.

That was the plan back then.

Now, it has been around 5 years since I talked  myself into building my capability to write both technical writing such as white paper etc. as well as to write more of free-wheeling ideas such as this blog.

This brings me to the point of how important it is to have a clear goal (or even better clear goals) in your life. .. And make sure you have your goals in writing; so that you can always revisit those goals and review them.

I know that we are already almost halfway in the fifth month of this year; however it’s never too late to have your specific goals now (surely better than realizing that you are already in your fifth year of having unrealized dream).


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Hey I Know That.. (What is Original Thinking?)

How many times or how often have you come across a situation when you say,”Hey, I know that..” or “I’ve thought of that..”

So, does it matter whether your thoughts or ideas are truly original?

Let’s take a step back? Has there ever been a truly original idea?

A different way of looking at the same things may even be considered as original.

The way I blurted out  my thought in this blog without substantiating it with empirical data or even anecdotal examples… Would it be considered original?

The more I ponder about it, the more I think that what matters is the ACTUAL impact that you bring about.. by making it HAPPEN.

So, next time that you hear someone explains a seemingly new idea to you, you should be able to tell her / him: “Hey, I have tried that and it works like this…”

Enjoy your long weekend folks (to my fellow Indonesians)

On Leading …

“You have to be able to lead yourself to lead others” a thought to myself..

Can you convince yourself to take that cold shower at 4AM in the morning to prepare for that important presentation in the morning?

Can you beat the inertia to lace up those running shoes while everybody is still asleep?

Do you actually ensure every single point in your To Do list gets done today?

Do you beat yourself even harder than you beat others (metaphorically speaking) when your plan doesn’t go as your plan?

Lead yourself.. Lead from within.

How Do You Envision Your Year End?

By nature an introvert is a dreamer.. At least that’s what I think personally..

We’re natural day-dreamers who love to dream BIG. Perhaps that’s one of the main reasons why it comes as second nature to us to be planners. Corporate planner, financial analyst (who build financial model), software programmers, you name it..

Personally, I am using all sorts of models and approaches to have this little ‘exercise’ in envisioning the future.

But somehow the one approach that is closer to my heart is by simply imagining what sort of impact that I will impart to all those people who are close to my heart.

Happier family? Smarter kid(s)? ..from personal perspective

Stronger and more efficient team? Mutual respects? World-class project performance? …from professional perspective

Imagine the pictures inside your head.

Smiles. Laughters. Tears of joy?

Let’s go and make it happen.


In case, anyone is wondering, I ran my first 5K run this weekend. and clocked in 31 minutes. Not bad.. Will run my next 2nd 5K run next month.

What Gives You The ‘Buzz’?

The year was 2006. I was asked that very same question by my then-future-boss..

“Do you find it fun to tweak the spreadsheet.. and build your own financial model?”

“..or do you find it much more challenging to deal with people? For example, you will need to sell your ideas to people.. and you will also negotiate with business partners..”

You get the idea how it went.. I hope.. 🙂

Basically, I was probed to elaborate my interest and my motivation to join the company and to actually ‘pick’ two different available positions. As you can guess from the conversation above, the nature of the two jobs are widely different. One is more of an analytical-left-brain type of a job whereas the other one is a much more of a people-facing or customer-facing  type of job which requires more interpersonal skill (in hindsight, even interpersonal skill requires strong analytical thinking – to think on your feet on how to actually respond or react during the interaction)

I went for the option which requires more ability to deal with ambiguity: the one which deals more with people.

Does it actually give me the ‘buzz’ to deal with people? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.  

Little that my then-future-boss knew, it did not actually gave me more ‘buzz’ to deal with people compared to building/constructing my own financial or business model (at the time, though).

In hindsight, it was a good decision that shaped my professional-self.

There are gurus or experts out there who argue to play to your strength… I can’t agree more with this piece of advice: to play your strengths.

But do we actually know our real strength? Is it possible that we consider one particular competency (e.g. interpersonal skill) as our weakness simply because we lack the exposure in that particular area.

So, it did give me the ‘buzz’ and still does.. I mean, to deal with people.

Play to your strength (but be really aware of what your strength is; if not be ready to take the plunge like I did 🙂 )

I Have Seen It All Before ..

“I have seen it before.. and it works this way…”

Well, how many times have you heard this type of comment when you are attempting to improve / change something (read:status quo)?

All the time? Most of the time? Seldom?

I guess it very much depends on the common attitude towards change.

Now, how to deal with that? I mean, how to deal with the resentment towards change?

Somehow, “Switch” (the book by Heath Brothers just crosses my mind..

In it, the authors argue that you need to appeal to the logic (the elephant rider)  and the emotion (the elephant); you also need to provide the supporting infrastructure (by clearing the path for the elephant to get through) to change things when change is hard.

So, we just need to identify the steps how to appeal and address those three critical factors. .. and DO it.

Go Wednesday!

P.S. Take your time to read McKinsey Quarterly article below especially on the point of “Challenging Assumption”. Somehow it relates to my point of challenging the status quo. Have a great Thursday!

What is Your Standard?

I only read International Herald Tribune and The Economist for both my daily and weekly news respectively. Why? Both of these printed media have a high standard of journalism. (Well, you can argue about this..)

At the very least, I take a 30 minutes run every other day in the morning.

I only drink the best ground coffee.

I only have high-resolution picture inserted in my presentation.

I scrutinize every single detail of calculations in any spreadsheet.

We all have our own standards and / or rituals to maintain that ‘standard’.

I am inspired by Tony Robbins (in his youtube video) on having a standard in order to follow through / persist your goals (

The point is that when you have a high standard then you will chase that standard.. No matter what..

Yes, I acknowledge that we should not chase perfection and we need to be biased towards actions.

We just need to strike the right balance between getting a high standard and being practical.

This week just began.. Keep pushing your standard!