Finding potential leaders and developing them require investment in time and resources. It goes beyond “training” programmes.
Each future leader is unique and flourishes best in a different way. We need to give each of them the due attention and cater to their individual development needs according to their uniqueness – not “one size fits all” approach.
Furthermore, the type of leaders we develop reflects the type of leaders we are, so we need to “walk the talk” and be authentic. As leaders, we need to keep learning and continuously improve to be better role models.
The leaders of tomorrow were planted yesterday. If we do not plant today, do not be surprised if we get no leaders in the future.
A few years ago I wrote about authentic vs authenticated. And recently I found this quote that summarises my thoughts succinctly, albeit using different vocabulary, but the idea is similar.
Sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same. (Oswald Chambers)
A few weeks ago during a HeForShe mentoring session, I discussed leadership attributes with my mentee. I asked her what she would like to be known for, 10 years from now.
And in the past few days, I thought some more about these attributes and reframed my thoughts to be more succinct. Here is my list: competent, visionary, and kind.
These attributes reflect the leaders who inspire me and the leader I aspire to be.
This morning, I got up early and went for a 10K run around the park. I decided to wear my slow shoes (Adidas PureBoost), instead of my fast shoes (Asics SortieMagic), because I did not feel like running fast.
First few kilometres went well but I somehow went a faster than I planned. By seventh km, I felt tired already and was unsure if I could finish 10K.
I thought, “Maybe a fast 8K is enough for this morning?”
But as I completed 8K, I glanced at my old faithful Casio digital watch and was surprised that I was around 50 seconds ahead of my normal 8K time mark. By now I told myself, “I ran too fast. If I run at a slower pace and focus on keeping running, I may be able to finish the next 2K.”
So I paid close attention to my breathing and focused my run one step at a time. I tried to relax a bit, but kept myself going. Eventually, I forgot about my tiredness and finished the next 2K.
As I stopped the stop watch, I was even more surprised than 2K ago. I slowed down much less than I planned. I finished the run at 59 minutes 20 seconds – my fastest time.
Amazed and elated.
A couple of mornings later, I put on my fast shoes and tried to replicate the achievement. It was an epic fail. I focused too much on the time target that I failed to sustain a good rhythm and was exhausted at 40:27.
I am not into races at all; in fact, to date I have never enrolled in one. I just wanted to know “what if ..”, so curiosity drove me to try again.
Seven days after my 59:20 run, I went out in late afternoon with my SortieMagic. This time I focused on the journey: my breathing and my rhythm. Fixing the technique took care of the time.
I do not see any reason to go faster than 58:27, so this is my current personal best and maybe for the foreseeable future.
I did not grow up drinking coffee, but during college years, I started drinking coffee out of necessity and I eventually grew to love the taste. Lately, I am enjoying coffee more and here I share a few things that I do in the hope that they can be useful for others.
Years ago, I saw in a film documentary that coffee tasters tested the coffee brew at cooler temperature. Out of habit, I kept drinking my hot coffee at brewing temperature. But roughly a couple of years ago, I tried drinking my hot coffee a bit later after it is brewed and I learned that I enjoyed my coffee better when it has cooled down.
And with good coffee ground, the difference was more noticeable.
I can drink coffee in a hot state; I am used to it. But when it is a few degrees cooler, my tastebud can taste the richness of the coffee better. Fruity beans show forth their colours and chocolatey beans make me wonder if somebody sneaked in some cocoa beans in the bag.
Yes, it is that much better for those who wait.
We do not need to imitate everything the experts do, but it helps to understand why they do things they do.
I typically brew the coffee manually in a cup. Similar in style to French Press, except without the “press”. I gave away my French Press a very long time ago and have learned the necessary technique to drink from the cup as is.
Coincidentally, waiting for my hot coffee to cool down a bit has a positive side benefit, besides helping me enjoy the taste of my coffee better. This technique reduces the floating coffee ground, since there is more time for them to sink to the bottom of the cup.
Obviously using French Press or coffee filter might be nicer, but this method means there is only one thing to wash. So there is pro and con to it. And I am used to drinking coffee this way for years, so it works fine for me. But be warned, this method is not for everybody.
One thing to note. The “body” of the coffee is different when you drink coffee this way versus using filter. (By “body”, I am referring to the mouthfeel of the liquid. Similar to the way you recognise the “body” of a wine.)
Obviously, there is more than one way to accomplish something. We need to know when to be dogmatic and when to be flexible.
I have always bought ground coffee until recently. A few months ago, I started buying whole beans coffee after I bought a coffee grinder, the Hario PRISM.
PRISM is a hand-wound manual grinder. It takes me a few minutes to grind enough whole beans to make my cup. It is not hard work, but still it takes effort and time which turns drinking coffee into a more deliberate activity than before.
Sometimes I wish I had bought a coffee machine that could grind the beans and spits out the liquid hot coffee for me. But that thing tends to be noisy, so I think I will stick with the manual grinder for the time being.
But manual grinding is not for everyone.
So far for me, manual grinding is turning into some sort of relaxing tactile ritual.
Obviously, there is more than one tools to do a “job”. And sometimes, a tool can serve more than one “job”.
Well, that's it for now. There is still much to learn, so maybe I will post more on this topic in the future.
Here's to a nice cup of coffee.
Recently I wanted to install a new piece of software in my personal Windows laptop which had about 20 GB of free space. Unfortunately, the new software needed at least 100 GB.
So I went to the application list and checked each of the installed software on the machine. I removed all of the applications that I did not need anymore, but that did not get me much additional free space. Seemed fishy.
Then I went to check the disk usage for each of the folder group at the root. The Users folder was large, but I recalled that I recently purged a lot of files prior to this due to some other activity. So next I dissected the size of the sub-folders in Users folder.
The AppData sub-folder was huge. And I just uninstalled many applications. Something is definitely fishy.
I painstakingly checked each sub-folder within AppData. Turned out it contained sub-folders from all applications that was ever installed and uninstalled on the machine. This machine is 7 years old and started life as a Windows 7 and now runs the latest Windows 10. It has seen a lot of experimentation and application try out, so there were a lot of application data folders to remove. Manually.
In the end, I had about 105 GB of free space. In other words, I freed up additional 85 GB of space out 256 GB storage capacity. All this time, one third of the space was filled with junk.
If it were my house' living room, I would have noticed it when a third of the space is junk and would get rid of it. Some people like to keep things around in their storage or attic or cellar thinking those might come to some use sometime in the future. But even they would not keep junk / trash around as in the case of my Windows laptop story.
Yet in this digital age, mobile devices and computers comes with bigger and bigger storage. It is easy to assume that when the storage space is full, we had it filled with things we digitally need and therefore we need to buy additional storage or new computer or new mobile phone.
But before we do that, verify first if we truly use everything that fills up our digital storage.
Even if we have the financial means to buy more storage or new device, it is a good habit to clean up the digital junks in our life from time to time. Be it in our computers or our mobile phones.
At work this can happen too
Yesterday I met with the Server team to discuss migration plan to the incoming new infrastructure. My team planned to decommission some applications, but less than two years ago, we already cleaned up our applications as part of server consolidation clean up.
Turned out my team had been monitoring that some applications were not used at all recently. And nobody in the Application teams knew who the business owners were, due to staff turnover and missing documentation. So the Server team turned off those applications and waited for who would shout.
So those applications will be backed up and archived but not migrated. If somebody shouts post-migration, we will find out why they need the unused application.
Even in business, digital junk exists and we need to vigilantly clean it.
“Encouraging people to borrow money so they can buy things they don’t need is not robust. Creating products that are designed to be thrown away after a few uses rather than treasured and handed down is not robust. Selling people products that harm them is not robust.”