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

Handling more work

To start, note which of the four p’s holds the most opportunity for development. Find that section and pick one strategy (or more) to implement. Be willing to experiment. Make adjustments until you determine the strategies that really help you claim your time. And don’t give up — you owe it to yourself to have the time and energy for the activities and people that matter most.


Planning is about using structure and rituals to stay organized. Consider how you relate to structure and ritual in general. Do you enjoy processes? If so, you’ll be excited to try new ideas. Or do you cringe at the thought of too much routinization? If that’s the case, then find the balance of just enough structure without feeling bogged down in it. Below are organizing strategies and rituals that can yield fast, tangible results.

• Schedule power hours. Align your energy with things that require focus. Are you a morning person? A night owl? Block out two to three 90-minute blocks (“power hours”) on your calendar each week during your most productive times. You may end up scheduling over these blocks, but you have a better shot at keeping them if you’ve consciously put them on your calendar. If you work on weekends to catch up, use the same idea of power hours to set up guardrails between the personal and the professional. Go to a private room or close your door during power hours.

• Use look-ahead rituals. As your role gets bigger or your life gets more complex, it gets harder to work and live without more intentional planning. Looking-ahead rituals can build space into your schedule. On an annual basis, populate your calendar with future vacation blocks, key events, doctor’s appointments, etc. Get in the habit of scanning for upcoming travel, key deliverables, or especially intense periods every month or every week. For a daily scan, look ahead and pick one meeting for which a little prep work will go a long way.

• Be explicit about white space. When a free hour emerges, all too often we fritter it away or we’re paralyzed by all the possibilities of what we could do — and then we kick ourselves later for not using the time well. So decide in advance how you want to use free time. Create two lists of free-time activities: a “Productive White Space” list and a “Restorative White Space” list. When choosing an activity from the list, ask yourself: How much time do I have? What is realistic to accomplish? What would be most satisfying?


People is about how you relate to others. Are the people in your life a source of positive energy, motivation, and support? Or do they drain your time and energy? Below are some tools for increasing the support you receive from others while also setting clear boundaries and reducing the amount of energy you spend on interpersonal issues.

• Create a delegation table. Explicitly map out who owns what on your team, since job titles don’t always make it obvious. Have a one-page snapshot you can look at so you’re less tempted to jump in and do things yourself. Let go of the need to control, and work to shift accountability to others. Your delegation table can include activities and requests both at work and at home.

• Know your confidants. The old adage “it’s lonely at the top” is true. Who acts as a sounding board when you need to think out loud? Who is the best cheerleader when you need a pep talk? Build a network of support, and your daily life will be a lot easier. Read more about finding the right people to help you achieve your goals here.

• Say no, but enforce boundaries with grace. As you grow in your career, things you once agreed to do (or even enjoyed doing) may become interruptions or drags on your time. Don’t put up a wall when saying no. Be gracious and acknowledge the person asking. Say something like, “I appreciate you reaching out,” “It’s so good to see you,” or “I hear your sense of urgency.” Be clear about your boundaries while showing that you want to find the best solution to the problem: “It would be better for Steve to resolve this, as he’s closer to the issue” or “You’ll get a speedier outcome by going to Kate on my team.”


Priorities is about intentionally deciding how to spend your time. Consider how you feel about prioritization in general: Are you ruthless about what matters most? Or do you love keeping your options open? The tough thing about time is that it is finite. Accept that you have to make choices.

• Take a trend-line view. The phrase “work-life balance” inherently sets us up to fail because no day can be perfectly balanced. So take a trend-line view. Reflect on the past six months or the past year. Rather than thinking of things as being in competition with each other, look at all the parts of yourself that you’ve gotten to express. Do you feel satisfied with the way you’ve allocated time to different areas of your life? Perhaps you’re doing pretty well but need to work on accepting the peaks and valleys. Or maybe something is wildly off and it’s time to name the issue and do something about it. A quick way to get an overview of time allocation is to color-code your calendar. Assign a different color to the 3–5 domains you want to track. Conduct periodic reviews to see if the colors are distributed the way you think they should be to achieve satisfaction and performance.

• Use a snapshot or scorecard. Write down what matters most to you. Laminate your list, and then carry it in your bag or post it next to your computer as a reminder of your priorities. Engaging in a lot of activity does not always mean doing work that is meaningful and adding value Speaker and author Pat Lencioni talks about having a “rallying cry”: a thematic goal that answers the question, “What is most important right now?” Within the context of an organization’s goals, it’s usually the one at the top of the list. Check out The Advantage for work and The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family for home.

• Name the trade-off you’ve chosen. Once you’ve made a decision to say yes to something, name the trade-off that inevitably comes with that choice. Owning when you say yes and no will make you feel less like a victim and give you a greater sense of personal power and choice.


Being Present means paying attention to the people in front of us, focusing on the tasks at hand, and managing our emotions in the moment. It requires us to notice and tolerate feelings of discomfort so that we don’t engage in reactive patterns of distraction, perfectionism, procrastination, or rumination. Mindfulness is a popular strategy that I support. Other tips for increasing your ability to be present include the following.

• Accept and then act. Having trouble doing the less enjoyable things on your to-do list? Write down one thing you are resisting or procrastinating on. Now, accept that you need to do it. Say to yourself: “I know I don’t like to do this, but I am wasting energy resisting it. I accept the discomfort and the responsibility.” As with exercising — a challenge for many of us — the first 15 minutes are the hardest and require that we tolerate discomfort before getting into a flow. Acceptance does not mean being complacent. It’s exactly the opposite: Accepting the difficulty diffuses our angst and frees up our energy to do something about it.

• Give yourself permission. Have you finally gotten to the gym or done something nice for yourself, only to find that you couldn’t enjoy it because of the guilt you felt from being away from the office or your family? It’s important to recognize, name, and tolerate the discomfort of guilt. Notice it and remind yourself that your own self-care is important. As you give yourself permission more often, you may need to renegotiate with others. Let them know when you are or are not available or ask explicitly for their support.

• Set a statute of limitations on people frustrations. Ruminating, fuming, or burning energy on tension with others? Set an explicit time limit for being frustrated. When the time is up, stop and shift to a more constructive action. Having negative conversations with yourself in your head, gossiping with others, or venting only drains precious energy. Go have a direct conversation, make a request, or make the conscious choice that it’s not a battle worth fighting right now.


Resolutions 2017


  • Finish my thesis
  • Get a driving license
  • Complete 1 x Coursera course
  • Get 1 x Google certification
  • Start doing speaking engagements
  • Read more books (more than 5)
  • Plan for the B project


A look back at 2016


Feb – Got my Google Double Click Studio QA Certification. Attended Auckland Service Design Jam.

Mar – Got my thesis proposal approved. Completed the pioneer Co.Starter programme at AUT.

Apr – Got my PRINCE2® Foundation certification – thanks to A. Gada and TBWA.

May – Joined the show business (new job).

July – Launched the new website at work.

Aug – Completed the draft for the literature review for my thesis.

Sep – Rolled out the new Digital Signage system at work.

Oct – Finished the last paper at uni.

Nov – Saw Priscilla and Billy Elliot. Too busy at work.

Dec – Finished the team recruitment at work.

Along the way, I’ve also been working on my thesis, dodging questions about having kids and reading way more books than I had planned for the year.