the square

If you find yourself having way too many wandering thoughts and distraction, here’s a tip.

Draw a square (or circle if you like) on a piece of paper and figuratively speaking, put your thoughts there. Like Dumbledore and his Pensieve, only less fancy.


Broaden the Decision Frame to Make Effective Decisions

Narrow frames, which pretend that knowledge is complete.

A broad decision frame takes into account
(1) multiple objectives – not just the most salient one at the moment;
(2) multiple alternatives – not just the first option that lands on the table; and
(3) multiple outcomes that could arise in the near and long term – not the expected state of the world.

Common training, common experiences, and frequent interaction all have the effect of leading to shared views on problems.

Although shared views can be beneficial because they facilitate communication and coordination of efforts, they can be harmful when they perpetuate narrow perspectives on a decision problem.

Ironically, a like-minded group is a poor source for new objectives, alternatives, and future scenarios, but more confident in its ability – the consistency of perspective across colleagues leads each individual to feel validated and confident in his or her view of decisions.

A group that starts a brainstorming session without first asking each member to generate his or her own views on a problem risks having a specific view emerge early in the discussion that then frames everyone’s view of the problem.

Techniques for Broadening the Decision Frame

Formal techniques:

  • Considering multiple attributes and alternatives
  • Assessing and weighing future states of the world
  • Using "all four cells" to make accurate predictions
  • Barriers to adopting quantitative techniques

Informal techniques:

  • Informal techniques for broadening the search for information
  • Informal techniques for using a broader set of attributes and alternatives in decisions
  • Informal techniques for broadening diversity of perspective
  • Unfortunately, classic brainstorming can undermine the independence of thought to the extent that early suggestions can entrain everyone’s subsequent ideas. Thus, the best group techniques preserve initial differences in perspective by having individuals think about a problem alone (this stage is often called a "nominal" group), but then pool the information so that others can react to it.

Limitations to Broadening the Frame

Practical limits on broad frames:

  • Elaborate techniques, such as multiattribute choice processes, are time-consuming and risk "analysis paralysis" (How do you know when you have reviewed enough attributes and alternatives?)
  • Recommendations that involve soliciting objectives and alternatives from many different parties risk introducing conflict, politics, and negotiation.
  • More comprehensive processes may increase confidence and satisfaction with a decision, but, if the processes make obvious stark tradeoffs, they may dampen satisfaction with a final decision.

–> Blinking rather than thinking.

More on Handbook of Principles of Organizational Behavior: Indispensable Knowledge for Evidence-Based Management, 2nd Edition

what do i like?

Someone asked me what I like (to do in my free time) today. I said I like to stay at home. As long as, in no order of important or preference, there’s a bed, a book, a laptop with Internet, food, my husband, home is truly a paradise. I can spend 48 hours on weekend at home happily, rested and contented.

Now thinking about it, why am I having so many shoes if I’m not going out?

Producer or Performer



You show a tendency to use the internal skills — what we call habits of mind — that producers apply to everything they do. They include:

  • Empathetic imagination: seeing blockbuster potential in the needs and wants of others
  • Patient urgency: operating simultaneously at multiple speeds and time frames
  • Inventive execution: bringing together creative thinking and operational prowess
  • Taking a relative view of risk: accepting immediate losses if they lead to a better future
  • Leadership partnership: looking for others with complementary skills that enhance their own

However, you are also comfortable in the role of a performer, working in an environment where the parameters and rules of engagement are established.

Corporate environments need both producers, who have the ability to imagine entirely new products and business models, and performers, who can navigate known systems to optimize opportunities. Performer opportunities abound in business (and greatly outnumber openings for producers), so many people with producer potential get drawn into a performer mind-set. It is distracting to try to fulfill both roles; it is better to pick one approach, and look for a partner who can complement you.

If you want to see how far you can go as an innovator, try to get involved with a new opportunity at your company and approach it as a producer would. Question standard approaches to a problem. Imagine what different designs to the pricing or business model of a product might yield. Look for a performer who can help it get the recognition and support it needs to come to life.

Are you a Producer or a Performer?

Managing changes

managing changes
managing changes

Project17: Justin Milano – Four Pillars for Entrepreneurial Success


  • Understand fear and anxiety, and their differences.
  • Fear is about what’s happening right now. It powerfully colours judgement.
  • Anxiety is chronic, worrying about things that can probably go wrong in the future. It hijacks creativity.
  • Decisions are made based on choices going through an emotional filter. Your emotions affect your decision making.
  • Learn to master yourself and your emotions to be a leader.
  • The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship
  • Fear -> Anxiety -> Burnout -> Depressed -> Overwhelming -> Start blaming on people and things.
  • Learn how to prioritise your workload
  • Cultures of Fear:
      – Scarcity: not enough money, time, support
      – Aversion: not feeling right. having the wrong experience: guilt, upset, inexperienced, overwhelmed. When the world doesn’t show up the way your expected, you feel resistant
      – Unworthiness: I’m not enough. Understand the company’s failure is different from your personal failure. It’s important to unwind these 2 things to maintain the identity of yourself.
  • Be considerate about cultural sensitivity, eg:
      – Asia: you cannot fail
      – America: fail fast, fail often, fail cheap.

Common Purpose: Global Leader Experiences 14 – 17 Feb 2017


  • You don’t have to agree with people, but you have to understand them.
  • Words are culturally interpreted, not by their face values; therefore, bear different meanings and impact on different people. In multi-cultural environment, understand that English is not everybody’s first language.
  • Cultural upbringing also has an impact on how people act in a group.
  • Cultural Intelligence is:
      – Understanding that there are different cultures and beliefs
      – Be open and not telling people that they are wrong because of the things they believe in are different from what you know
  • The willingness and openness to communicate and talk it out, rather than give it up and go away.
  • The art of questioning: as a leader, ask questions and help people help themselves. Don’t always give suggestions and solutions. Empower people and ask good questions so people can form their own solutions.
  • Simply by sailing in a new direction, you could enlarge the world – Allen Curnow
  • If your actions inspire others to do more, dream more and achieve more, then you’re a leader.
  • Leadership is about love:
      – You have to work with people
      – There must be a why
  •  Feel the fear and do it anyway.
  • When you pitch, focus on the long-term outcomes.
  • When giving feedback, say: It’d be better if…


Me and the phone

If I’m not answering the phone, it’s probably I’m doing one of those things:

  • Chilling out by the beach reading a book, or hiking, or walking. The phone is (accidentally silent) and in my bag.
  • Doing something that has nothing to do with the phone: swimming, cooking, showering, sleeping, … and it doesn’t cross my mind that I have look at the phone to see if someone’s been trying to get in touch with me.
  • Being at someone, and enjoying their company.
  • I’m tired and is having a zone-out.

The reason I’m writing this out is because I’ve grown ignorant about my phones. Paradoxically, I’m guessing it’s come out of the nature of my ‘digital’ job that I’m required to be wired in almost every seconds on constant comms and happenings on the Internet, through emails, plus social media etc.

I might have got a couple of new ‘friends’ on Facebook that I met once in an event and will probably never see them again, but I’m losing personal connections from a good sit-down conversation. I know what people are doing on Facebook and ‘like’ it, but I actually don’t go further and talk to them.

I spend time browsing stuff on Instagram, then I realise it doesn’t add any value to my life. Tomorrow, all the stuff I’m seeing today is pushed down by something else. That’s the life cycle of social media. So what’s the urge to look at it now?

Emails are demanding and onerous. Blogs and online readings are endless. Like seriously, everybody is banging on creating content. More stuff to read, less time to do other things.

I don’t know what I’m whining about. I get that people get upset when they can’t reach me. But I’m upset with myself if I’m glueing my eyes onto the phone all the time. Saying ‘I’m not looking at the phone because me-time’ is too pretentious, but it is what it is, sometimes.

Being in a digital role at work, I love the connectedness and everything wonderful technologies and the Internet have given us. However, being an introvert, I hate it when connectedness sets the expectation that I have to always be available to reply to a text at all time, or react to things when they happen. I feel like it’s trying to pull me away from what really matters to me (when I’m not at work).


16 Feb

Admittedly, I haven’t been writing for a while, academically (working on my thesis) and contemplatively. It feels hard to express my feelings in words nowadays. I could feel the world in my head and I think I could probably pour words out when I sit down. But in fact, I stare at the screen, blanking out not really know where to begin.

I don’t think that’s strange. You lose touch with fluency when don’t practice.

My mom and sister left 6 weeks ago. My parents-in-law left yesterday. There’s an obvious emptiness in the home, right now right here.We walked into the house after coming back from the airport yesterday, there seemed to be an emptiness that was just waiting to suck us into is space, chew us, then swallow us. We will be locked in this emptiness in a long while now. I could tear up any time now just by thinking about it. I guess it comes from guilt, the guilt I knew I would always have, but I stubbornly and recklessly committed to. You know, I felt grateful for having such an unconditional love, despite being terrible and snappy at times.

I could tear up any time now just by thinking about it. I guess it comes from guilt, the guilt I knew I would always have, but I stubbornly and recklessly committed to. You know, I am grateful for having such an unconditional love, despite being terrible and snappy at times.

My head says it is going to be ok, this state of vulnerability will soon be gone. Yet my heart is aching, paradoxically devouring the sadness.

Right in this very moment, I am missing my mother, my father, my sister and my in-laws very very much.


Learnings From Marissa Mayer’s Struggles At Yahoo

A great great read.

  • Being successful at a successful company isn’t the same as being successful at an unsuccessful company
  • Be a student of history
  • Blogging has never been successful
  • A failed strategy well executed still fails
  • Spend more time developing the strategy