A successful long-term relationship is a matter of perspective. This is true whether in business or personal life.
So often, many of us get fixated on what is “wrong” with another person or what that person has done that we think is inappropriate. We get myopic on another person’s weaknesses and forget the positives.
While self-reflection for improvements and/or helping others become a better person are essential to individual growth, we need to make sure we don’t lose an important perspective — that most people around us in our lives are there because we at one time found them to be capable, attractive, sincere, interesting, among many other such very positive traits. A deceptive element of negative thinking is that it tends to block out all the positives of the past. A negative thought sometimes screams so loud in our head that nothing else can be heard. However, we have the control to not let that happen, to keep things in the proper perspective. It’s really up to you.
People can’t really “fix” another person. We can influence with our support, honesty, and even sternness. In business we learn that it is much more effective to empower people’s strengths than to try to fix their weaknesses. In our personal lives, it is important to remember at least five positives for every negative thought about a friend, brother, wife or co-worker. Whenever I do that, I don’t lose perspective on how lucky of a person I am for those who I have around me.
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Vietnam is one of the few places I regularly visit without any Starbucks coffee shops. This is somewhat interesting given the coffee giant’s success in the different Asian markets.
Instead, there is already a high-end coffee chain called Highlands Coffee, which ironically was started by a Vietnamese-American (Viet Kieu) from Seattle. David Thai was born in southern Vietnam and immigrated to Seattle with his family when six years old. Growing up he witnessed the successful story of Starbucks develop. After a few entrepreneurial ventures, he moved to Vietnam to start his own coffee brand.
Vietnam is the world’s second largest producer of coffee, only trailing Brazil. The French brought coffee here in the mid 1800′s and was readily adopted. After almost two centuries, coffee is a definite part of the Vietnamese culture now, preferred in servings from single-cup filters/brewers mixed with condensed milk. In the sweltering heat of Vietnam, these served in ice are incredibly refreshing with quite a boost
Highland Coffee has been a strategic success with stores in key retail locations. Larger international brands have already approached Thai about a possible deal for his chain. The offers haven’t been compelling enough to date and according to Thai, this is “his baby and he believes in its extensive potential”. I’ve met him a couple of times and his passion for his business is undeniable.
Others are now following Thai into Vietnam trying to build companies that would be eventually attractive to global brands as possible future acquisitions. Vietnam, with its young population of 90 million, has a promising future as its economy grows. New e-Commerce, outsourcing, mobile gaming companies are springing up by foreign and Viet Kieu entrepreneurs looking for high-risk, high-reward opportunities. Whether the successful ones eventually sell or continue to operate their businesses on their own, more power to them all for being opportunistic.
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I’m on a Southeast Asia trip, starting in Ho Chi Minh City before going to Singapore. I’ve always enjoyed visiting this office for the warmth and enthusiasm of the team members. All the corporate travelers have learned a lot from the team here.
One thing that I’d like to incorporate into our office back home is a short nap time after lunch. I know other cultures also allow for this at the workplace. It makes so much sense. All studies show that short naps really help people stay alert and productive. Highly successful people tend to know how to take breaks and work in bursts. Whenever, I’m here, I too try to take a short nap after lunch even for 10 minutes. I find it very rejuvenating, especially since I’m usually already tired from traveling such a long distance.
In the office, the staff members bring stuffed animals to be used as pillows, and either lay on the floor underneath their desks or nap in their chairs. One social analyst named Mai is nice enough to share her stuffed cat whenever I’m in town. As a visiting executive, I get to lay down on a couch in one of the conference rooms. Someday, maybe I will plot down under my “hot desk” here. It would be interesting if I napped under my desk in the Seattle office after lunch. Wonder what the reaction would be there?
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As a business leader, I’ve had to take many different tests to analyze how I operate. What kind of leader am I? What’s my tendencies under pressure? Am I more analytical or emotional? Am I more extroverted or introverted?
While I’m not particularly proud of this, I’ve scored in the very top percentage of executives seeking control and power. Yikes. Apparently, my “charismatic style” can make me a very destructive force within an organization without proper process and structure. If leveraged properly, however, these traits can mobilize an organization to do great things. Properly harnessing my strengths and overcoming my weaknesses to benefit our organization is a continual and deliberate effort.
What I haven’t spent much time trying to understand is how my need for control and power affects my family, especially my immediate family. All the potential for being destructive apply to my personal life as well. I can be overbearing, judgemental and very intense when dealing with my wife and children. A person who needs as much control as myself do not try to get his way subtly.
I’ve read a lot of books on being a corporate leader, but not one about how to deal with my own personality in trying to be a part of a family. The latter is a lot harder in my opinion. Awareness with the desire to be a better family member is a starting point. But there are a lot more steps to go that I’m sure a lot of people (entrepreneurs, corporate leaders) like me struggle with.
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I was privileged to be a part of a wonderful wedding of two delightful people. He’s a stylish man from Calcutta, India and she a beautiful woman born in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was a destination wedding in the warmth of Cabo San Lucas with the temptation of tequila everywhere. Almost 50 guests trekked to Mexico from four continents to bear witness and provide support to this endearing couple.
Most of us were bi-cultural and at least bi-lingual, and we celebrated the multicultural wedding of these two who are simply in love — and beloved by so many. As a frequent traveler, I sometimes bemoan how small the world is becoming: Starbucks in Paris, Shanghai and Seattle; Wholefoods on High Street Kensington; American-style trip malls throughout Europe. But there have been so much good as well to internationalization: Proper fusion of foods; greater awareness and tolerance; multicultural families; among so much more.
Years back, Olga interviewed with me for her first job after graduating from University of Washington and controlled the interview from the start. She was capable and engaging. I met Shane through Olga and we immediately bounded from our “old-world” principles and through Patron shots. Our friendship grew to the point we had a pre-bachelor party planning weekend in Las Vegas before finally deciding to go to Southeast Asia for the actual bachelor party. Not to be outdone, we finally all descended upon Cabo to celebrate them, to celebrate families, and to celebrate life with tequila .
The happy couple
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This trip to the UK was primarily to present to the London financial analysts in the SDL PLC Analysts and InvestorTeach In event. As a leader of one of the acquired Alterian divisions (Social Intelligence), I got to be one of four presenters.
Overall, the presentations went well as most analysts reacted favorably in their reports.
Each person has different presentation style, and I’m very fixed in the way I want to present. My style is as a story-teller. It would be difficult for me to present any other way. That is not to say that what I present is inaccurate or exaggerated. I’m careful with my data and message. What I mean is that I make sure all the speaking points lead into one storyline with a plot. This makes my general message more easy to understand for the audience. It also keeps me focused on the storyline which helps me be more relaxed and confident.
I’m fortunate in that I’m very passionate about what we do at SDL Social Intelligence. That makes the story telling very easy. Much of story telling is the enthusiasm and passion you bring into the story. At SDL Social Intelligence, we are doing some very cool predictive work with the social media data set that is being validated every day in the market. How could you not be excited about that? Anyway, that’s my story.
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Again, I’m at a cross road with this blog. I’ve spent the past couple of years writing mostly about my observations of life and incorporating some learning into business lessons. I’ve always thought my topics were too broad and personal to have wide appeal, which has been basically true. However, once in awhile, I get comments from people who obviously have read my posts and are opinionated about my point of view. Meeting those people are very motivating and always restart my writing after long breaks. Thank you.
I’m going to continue to resist making this blog just about my industry or company. I can do that on my company’s website. I want to continue to expose my thinking as an individual and how to affect oneself and others. I will continue on with this blog perhaps being even more personal than before. If you connect with my thoughts here, then you will be connecting with my authentic self. As boring as that may sound, for the few of you who read a post every so often, I hope I can bring some insights and enjoyment.
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