Entries from July 2009 ↓

Technology and performance of Athletes

Were the athletes of the older days better than today’s?

At the Rome event last week, only in swimming out of 32 events, 20 new world records we established. Is the physical competence of the athletes that made the difference? How much of the progress may be attributed to the improvement of the equipments and technology?

On the New York Times issue of this week, I read with great interest the debate on these issues and the ban of high tech material by the various Olympics commissions.

To my opinion, the events do not in any way minimised the performance of the great Micheal Phelps who I had the great pleasure in watching at the last Olympics in Beijing. It is normal that Phelps is out performed by others.

The technology race started with full-body suits in 2000 and progressed to the polyurethane-laced suits that helped Mr. Phelps at the 2008 Olympics. This year’s models are made almost entirely of polyurethane to reduce drag; they add buoyancy, and they squeeze the body into a streamlined shape.

Paul Biedermann, the German, swam with the latest swimwear; Mr. Phelps, with last year’s model. Mr. Biedermann didn’t just beat the American in the 200-meter freestyle, he annihilated him, finishing a body length ahead and lowering the world record, set by Mr. Phelps last year, by almost a second, an eternity in pool times.

Fresh Fish for sales


Recently I saw that the progress in quality of Fresh Fish sales. Stationed in different locations at different times fresh fish is sold in different locations of the island by a roaming truck. What a difference from the ‘Banian’, fish monger who travels on his motorcycle carting his lot of fish in his doubtfully clean basket at ambient hot temperature!

I gathered from my wife that over the radio there was again some talk on fish farming. Whilst it may be true that 6 kgs of wild fish are required to breed 1 kg of farmed fish the question to be asked is: are the 6kgs of wild fish used to make the feed consumable in form and taste to the population? On the other hand it is rumored that the feed used contain elements that are unsafe from health, some even mentioned pork meat? As far Ferme Marine de Mahebourg is concerned, after inquiry, I was assured that the feed used are to the standard of the EEC which stipulates that the farm uses feed that are natural , non toxic and animal free.

According to the FAO the share of farm fish in the world consumption is increasing. However it is necessary to regulate Fish Farming to norms that are eco friendly and to adopt practices that are development sustainable. As such, I am sure that the government who’s role is to be the watchdog has to ensure that operator’s abide to rules that are set.

Surprisingly enough, you must have heard or even seen TV documentary on the infamous breeding of Pengasius in Vietnam and in the Mekong area, and yet the European Community is still authorising the import of the fish in its territories. Is it a case of a few infamous producers that are creating adverse publicity to the healthy industry?

Mauritius is a relatively large Ocean country and its future may well be exploiting its sea potential of which Marine Fish Farming is one of them.

Leader = Linker

I am a regular reader of Dick McCann since 2003 through my link with Team Management System . This month he wrote an article on leadership which together with his colleague Charles Margerison, they have developed in the 90’s. I fully subscribe to the idea that a leader is after all a communicator and needs to create links at all levels.

I would like also to highlight the summary of Dick McCann on the 40 years of Popular leadership which is well documented. The references provided are treasures for the keen reader on leadership and provide sources for further studies.

I would encourage you to enrol in one of the Team Management Systems seminar to enhance your leadership skills.

Leadership Through Linking

By Dick McCann

Copyright © Dick McCann. All rights reserved.

Popular leadership theories over the past 40 years or so have been developed based on the identification of two particular phases of development of followers and associates. Blake and Mouton back in 1964 proposed five management styles based on the dimensions of initiating structure relating to the task and initiating consideration toward the individual. Low, medium and high leader behaviors on these two dimensions created the various styles. Although the conceptual clarity of the model was appealing, extensive subsequent research demonstrated that the leadership style which was most effective was not necessarily a high-high on each dimension. It all depended strongly on the situation and the challenge.

Fiedler then proposed that leadership style is a constant characteristic of each person. The challenge was therefore to match the leader and the situation. Subsequently Vroom and Yetton took the idea of a flexible leadership style further and developed a model where the appropriate style depended on the type of problem addressed. Further research by Hooijberg confirmed that were indeed strong associations between a manager’s behavior repertoire and effectiveness – suggesting that a portfolio of behaviors is the most desirable and achievable skill set.

Leadership models such as those developed by Hersey and Blanchard have also been very successful in identifying appropriate leadership styles based upon two phases of development of followers, resulting in the dimensions of Supportive and Directive leadership behavior. The idea is that most people will respond to a leadership style that has various combinations of supportive and directive behavior, depending on the situation they are in.

Supportive behaviors include:

  • Listening to problems
  • Encouraging and reassuring
  • Facilitating followers’ problem-solving and task accomplishment
  • Setting work in context
  • Praising task accomplishment

Directive behaviors include:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives
  • Defining priorities and deadlines
  • Giving precise instructions on unfamiliar tasks
  • Checking and supervising
  • Clear role accountability

A similar variant of this situational-developmental approach was proposed by Schein, but with a situational variable of organizational development. Each phase of an organization’s life requires a different set of responses from their leaders, depending on the organizational life cycle – young, midlife, mature, declining or rejuvenating. This focuses attention on the necessity for leaders to adapt their leadership style to the culture of the organization they lead.

However it is not only the life cycle of an organization that influences the ‘situation’. Organizational values are equally important. Some organizations value Compliance where organizational objectives are determined by senior management and rolled throughout the organization without question. Such a culture often discourages risk-taking and even the acceptance of responsibility but such an authoritarian, directive leadership style can well be effective in delivering results. Other organizations will value Empowerment and encourage the appropriate challenging of assumptions about how to do things better, thereby creating openness and confidence and an adaptive approach to leadership.

These various approaches to leadership are all dependent on ‘the situation’ and are often grouped under the heading of ‘contingency theories’. More recently they have also been grouped under the heading of transactional leadership. Such approaches assume effective leadership involves the exchange of reinforcements that are based upon established theories of social exchange, such as that of contingent reward: “If you do this for me/us, I/we will do this for you.”

By contrast, transformational leadership styles result in considerably enhanced effects on followers (Bass and Avolio). They argued that transactional – transformational leadership represents a leadership paradigm which is now supported by evidence gathered from all continents. This paradigm views leadership as either a matter of contingent reinforcement of followers by a transactional leader or the moving of followers beyond their self-interest for the good of the group, organization, or society by a transformational leader.

Transformational leader styles are not an alternative to transactional behaviors but an enhancement designed to produce increased levels of satisfaction, efficiency and extra-effort. Many studies have confirmed the efficacy of transformational leader styles in bringing about superior outcomes using independent indicators (for example, Podsakoff et al). Others have also found that managers who were better managers differed significantly from weaker managers in their use of transformational leader styles.

The Linking Leader

In the 1990s Charles Margerison and I viewed successful leadership as skill set that is primarily about relationships. Excellent leaders monitor and develop relationships among their followers and ensure that this emphasis is rolled down from their direct reports to the bottom-most layers of the organization. For us, leadership is about Linking – a set of behaviors arising out of acquired skills that encourage the coordination and integration of followers, thereby creating a unified team that knows where it is going and how to get there.

Our model is a multi-level leadership model tailored to meet the needs of team leadership. It identifies three levels of Linking that have differential effects on outcomes such as satisfaction, effectiveness, results, and extra effort. The model is cumulative in that the successful implementation of any level depends upon the level below being effectively implemented.

The three levels are shown in the Linking Leader Model below.

The outer six skills – the People Linking Skills – are the level 1 skills of successful team leadership, but they aren’t the sole domain of the team leader. The must be also be implemented by everyone in the team. These People Linking activities relate directly to the initiating consideration for the individual dimension of Blake’s grid or the Supporting dimension of the Hersey and Blanchard models. It is not surprising that the activities identified in our research align with the work of previous leadership researchers.

Level 2 skills are the five Task Linking Skills of Objectives Setting, Quality Standards, Work Allocation, Team Development, and Delegation. These relate directly to the initiating structure relating to the task of Blake’s grid or the Directive dimension of the Hersey and Blanchard models. Task Linking Skills tend to be the responsibility of the more senior members of a team who may supervise more junior team members. Such team members would be expected to successfully implement both People Linking Skills and Task Linking Skills.

Level 3 skills are the two Leadership Linking Skills of Motivation and Strategy. They relate specifically to transformational leadership skills. The team leader must implement all three levels of the Linking Leader Model in order to be fully effective.

Let’s examine briefly what I think is the most important of the Linking Skills and one that is often poorly implemented. It sounds simple but very few people do it well. It is Communication.

Communication as a cybernetic process

When we interact with others, we translate our model of the world into words and use these to attain our outcomes. These words and the supporting communication aids (tone, tempo, and body positions) very much reflect our own views of the world. Therefore when people try to communicate, there is potential for conflict to arise, as different models of the world are interacting. When opposites come together, there is a great potential for things to go wrong and the discussion or conversation may well be doomed before the first word has been uttered.

Communication is a cybernetic process, ever dynamic and constantly changing. When Person A transmits a message it travels in a forward arc to Person B who responds, and a return message is received by Person A. The response arc contains a variety of messages, verbal and nonverbal and should affect what Person A transmits next. The success of communication lies in extracting meaning from the response arc and reformulating a new forward arc that moves the conversation in the right direction. In cybernetic theory this is called ‘adaptive control’. By constantly varying the content and delivery of the transmitted message a rapport loop can be quickly established between conversing parties. This is known as the technique of ‘pacing’.

Communication loop

Cybernetic processes are governed by the Law of Requisite Variety which, stated simply, says that in any process operating systemically, the elements in the system that have the greatest adaptability or variety are those that gain control. In other words, if Person A constantly adapts their forward arc (based on the information from the response arc), they will be able to influence the results of the interaction.

Pacing is a technique for temporarily modifying your model of the world so that it matches the other person’s. This matching shows the other person that you understand ‘where they are coming from’. Unless you take time to establish ‘a pace’ early in the conversation, the chances of a successful interaction occurring are markedly reduced. Equally the person you are communicating with needs to pace you in the same way. When a ‘pacing partnership’ is established communication flows freely and successful outcomes can be generated in a surprisingly short time.

There are two types of Pacing – ‘strategic pacing’ and ‘operational pacing’. Strategic Pacing involves setting a strategy for the way you intend to structure an impending conversation, using all the knowledge you have about the other person’s model of the world. Operational Pacing is the technique to use when the conversation is actually in progress. For further information on these important concepts have a look at To help people understand and implement the concepts of Linking we have written a personal development e-learning module. This module discusses the 13 skills of Linking in much more detail and also enables you to fill in a profile questionnaire relating to another person you would like to influence. The resulting Pacing Skills Profile will give you specific tips to implement when you communicate with this person.

Exclusive offer to Learning Exchange Members

Team Management Systems is offering a free Linking With Others e-learning module (retail USD$50) to all Learning Exchange Members. Simply to receive your module. Please note that you must register before August 28th 2009 and the offer is limited to 1 module per member.


  • Blake, R.R., and Mouton, J.S., (1964), Houston, Texas: Gulf.
  • Fiedler, F.E., (1967), New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Vroom, V.H., and Yetton, P.W., (1976), Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • Hooijberg, R., (1996), ‘A multidirectional approach toward leadership: An extension of the concept of behavioral complexity, Human-Relations, 49(7), 917-946.
  • Schein, E.H., (1992), (2nd ed.), San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Hersey, P., Blanchard, K., and Johnson, D.E., (2007), (9th ed.), Prentice Hall.
  • Bass, B.M., and Avolio, B.J., (1993a), ‘Transformational leadership and organizational structure, International Journal of Public Administration Quarterly, 17.
  • Podsakoff, P.M., MacKenzie, S.B., Moorman, R.H., and Fetter, R., (1990), ‘Transformational leader behaviors and their effects on followers’ trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors’, Leadership Quarterly, 1(2). 107-142.

Learnings from OBAMA’s address to Africa

Barack Obama has delivered his first speech in sub-Saharan Africa as US President, stressing Africa’s importance for the world, the vital role of governance and the challenges of conflict and corruption. Here are key excerpt from the address to parliament in the Ghanaian capital Accra on 11 July 2009.

I was busy attending to pressing family matters when Obama gave his African directed speech. On the suggestion of one of my regular blog reader, you will find in blue print the questions suggested by me to the topics raised.

Reading through his speech gave me the opportunity to evaluate the position of Mauritius in respect to the points he raised.


I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – as partners with America on behalf of the future that we want for all our children.


It is easy to point fingers, and to pin the blame for these problems on others. Yes, a colonial map that made little sense bred conflict, and the West has often approached Africa as a patron, rather than a partner. But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.

In my father’s life, it was partly tribalism and patronage in an independent Kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career, and we know that this kind of corruption is a daily fact of life for far too many.


Development depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.

How is Mauritius doing on Governance? Inadequate would be a fair answer. Better transparency from both authorities and the private corporate bodies.


Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers… No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end. … Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.

How does Mauritius fare on Corruption? Much has to be achieved. I sense without proof that petty corruption is still practiced and the mentality has not progressed much either on the part of the recipient of the bribe or the payer. Recently I was discussing on this issue with an old friend based in Singapore. He told me that  Mauritius   is still reputed amongst the Singapore corporate environment as a corrupt country, a 20% cut of project has to be inbuilt.


As Africans reach for this promise, America will be more responsible in extending our hand. By cutting costs that go to Western consultants and administration, we will put more resources in the hands of those who need it, while training people to do more for themselves. That is why our $3.5bn food security initiative is focused on new methods and technologies for farmers – not simply sending American producers or goods to Africa. Aid is not an end in itself. The purpose of foreign assistance must be creating the conditions where it is no longer needed.

Do you in Mauritius use aid to build out capacity to do without it in the future?


Yet because of incentives – often provided by donor nations – many African doctors and nurses understandably go overseas, or work for programs that focus on a single disease. This creates gaps in primary care and basic prevention. Meanwhile, individual Africans also have to make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease, while promoting public health in their communities and countries.

How serious is the case of Mauritius in preventing spread of disease and for making worthwhile our trained nurses to stay and work in our country? I would like to know that is the % of the budget of the Ministry of Health is dedicated to prevention? Are we treating our doctors and nurses correctly and fairly for them to pledge their service to the nation?


Now let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at war. But for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

These conflicts are a millstone around Africa’s neck. We all have many identities – of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st Century. Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division.

How are we in Mauritius attending to harmonious living between the different socio-cultural groups ? I sense much underground conflict. Is meritocracy overruling the balancing of ethnic groups in nomination to jobs?

Comics Strips Reading

Have you tried reading comics from your iphone ?

This is now possible and it is becoming fashionable in North America. The world is definitely become nomad. There again is yet another feature you are able to perform on your mobile phone. I had the chance to sample reading comics recently whilst Olivier was in town. It was pretty cool. My grand children Shawn and Jake who are 8 and 6 got glued to their uncle’s iphone.

Reading comics reminded me of my tender days where I used to read PIPO, PIM PAM POUM, Blek le Roc for entertainment and Illustrated classics for more serious material.It was through reading illustrated classics that I enhance my interest in reading.

May I wish Olivier good luck and success in his new venture?

Reflexion Dominicale

Jn 6,1-15.
Après cela, Jésus passa de l’autre côté du lac de Tibériade (appelé aussi
mer de Galilée).
Une grande foule le suivait, parce qu’elle avait vu les signes qu’il
accomplissait en guérissant les malades.
Jésus gagna la montagne, et là, il s’assit avec ses disciples.
C’était un peu avant la Pâque, qui est la grande fête des Juifs.
Jésus leva les yeux et vit qu’une foule nombreuse venait à lui. Il dit à
Philippe : « Où pourrions-nous acheter du pain pour qu’ils aient à manger ? »
Il disait cela pour le mettre à l’épreuve, car lui-même savait bien ce
qu’il allait faire.
Philippe lui répondit : « Le salaire de deux cents journées ne suffirait
pas pour que chacun ait un petit morceau de pain. »
Un de ses disciples, André, le frère de Simon-Pierre, lui dit :
« Il y a là un jeune garçon qui a cinq pains d’orge et deux poissons, mais
qu’est-ce que cela pour tant de monde ! »
Jésus dit : « Faites-les asseoir. » Il y avait beaucoup d’herbe à cet
endroit. Ils s’assirent donc, au nombre d’environ cinq mille hommes.
Alors Jésus prit les pains, et, après avoir rendu grâce, les leur distribua
; il leur donna aussi du poisson, autant qu’ils en voulaient.
Quand ils eurent mangé à leur faim, il dit à ses disciples : « Ramassez les
morceaux qui restent, pour que rien ne soit perdu. »
Ils les ramassèrent, et ils remplirent douze paniers avec les morceaux qui
restaient des cinq pains d’orge après le repas.
A la vue du signe que Jésus avait accompli, les gens disaient : « C’est
vraiment lui le grand Prophète, celui qui vient dans le monde. »
Mais Jésus savait qu’ils étaient sur le point de venir le prendre de force
et faire de lui leur roi ; alors de nouveau il se retira, tout seul, dans
la montagne.

J’ai reçu le vendredi soir un email d’une amie que j’ai eu l’occasion d’en prendre connaissance juste avant la lecture de l’ Evangile de la multiplication des pains. Dans son courriel, elle me suggérait de voir un youtube qui traite d’un phénomène rare. Je vous laisse les soins de visionner cette video.

Miracle ou pas, cette histoire d’Argentine pour ma part ne fait que de renfoncer ma croyance dans la présence divine dans l’eucharistie.

Jésus se trouvait au pied du mur en quelque sorte devant cette foule à nourrir. Les moyens humains étaient notoirement insuffisants et des voix sages se sont élevées pour couper les ailes du miracle. Devant une foule de cinq mille hommes comment faire ? Il y a là un jeune garçon qui a cinq pains d’orge et deux poissons, mais qu’est-ce que cela pour tant de monde ! Marie Noelle Thabut nous propose dans ses pensées « Paroles de Dieu pour un dimanche » : devant les faims qui tenaillent notre monde, il y a deux réponses possibles : celle de la raison, d’abord, qui calcule et parle de charité bien ordonnée et puis de l’autre qui s’entête à croire de l’humilité, de la douceur, de la patience, on peut faire de grandes choses. Il faut être un peu fou, peut-être, mais l’amour ne l’est-il pas ?

Devant ce témoignage invraisemblable du sang du Christ retrouvé dans l’hostie consacrée je choisi contre la raison pour une intervention Divine pour nous démontrer son amour.

Merci Seigneur pour tes manifestations qui nous aident a augmenter notre foi.

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Beyond the Age of Innocence

I am almost  through with Kishore Mahbabani’s book Beyond the age of Innocence. This book is a call to the Americans to rebuild their trust to the world. Kishore’s reading of the actions of America post the fall of the Berlin’s wall and the conduct of its foreign policies –or should I call non action in some areas-is most insightful.

The book structured in chapters treating topics as:

How America benefits the world

How America has harmed the world

America and Islam

America and China

The nature of American Power

Managing American Power

The Way Ahead

Adam Luck of The Standard in Hong Kong in his book review wrote:

I n the early hours of May 8, 1999 a B-2 stealth bomber from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri dropped five 910-kilogram satellite-guided bombs on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three journalists and wounding 20 others.

If the explosion was heard across the capital of the former Yugoslavia, the reverberations were felt across China as anti-American marches and riots paralysed Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou. In Chengdu the residence of the United States consul general was stormed and set alight.

For the distinguished Singaporean diplomat and scholar Kishore Mahbubani, reaction to those events should have been a wake-up call for America in its relationship not only with Asia, but the world beyond.

No coincidence then that the cover of his book Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World sees a face-off between the Asian tiger and the bald eagle, America’s national symbol. But his is no exercise in Washington bashing. Rather Mahbubani is unashamedly pro- American as he seeks to explain the root causes of the antipathy much of the world’s population has toward the superpower, arguing that America must shape up to the challenges of the 21st century – not least China and Islam.

Mahbubani says: “The US is the greatest power of our time.

It affects the whole world so if it manages policies that are good for the world, everyone benefits, but if they are handled badly then the whole world suffers.

“Sadly Americans can never step outside there own skins and see how the rest of the world perceives them.”

On September 11, 2001, little more than two years after the NATO-led attack on Belgrade, designed to force Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo, America was on the receiving end. Mahbubani, who is married to an American, was in Manhattan when the planes struck the World Trade Center towers. It was the critical spark for his book, he says.

“I was shocked at how bewildered Americans were, they were not even aware that the US was doing things that had annoyed the world. The ignorance was amazing,” Mahbubani says.

“I wanted to explain what people in Asia and the rest of the world thought: `How can America promote human rights for everyone except for Muslims?”‘

Mahbubani is quick to add the coda that these sentiments are not his own. Instead he describes the US as the acme of human development, a nation that has “conquered the world with its ideas (and) values.” He believes the merit- based structure of American society has given hope to hundreds of millions from countries where class, religion, ethnicity and gender are constant barriers to people. Such has been America’s success at globalization, he argues, it has helped create a global middle class – or “America’s children.”

However, globalization has shrunk the world and brought its problems to America’s doorstep. Thus, an “age of innocence” is over and the US and the world are in the same boat. Now when it makes a mistake, it is held to account in the court of global public opinion.

Mahbubani says: “The bombing of the embassy in Belgrade was seen as deliberate by the Chinese people. I do not know of one who thinks otherwise. If you have that kind of reaction you have real problems.

“Look at the spy plane incident over Hainan Island. Even in Hong Kong – which is not necessarily seen as sympathetic to Beijing – China was seen as being in the right.”

This is not the only time that Mahbubani refers to the former British colony. In the book he warns America against using Hong Kong democracy and Taiwanese independence as sticks with which to beat Beijing.

He says: “It would be good to see Hong Kong and Taiwan succeed as autonomous entities but it is best if they do not enter into a confrontational position with China. If it is between 1.2 billion people and eight million in Hong Kong there is no doubt who will come first. Hong Kong people will have to be patient when it comes to democracy.”

This utilitarian approach can best be seen in Mahbubani’s barely qualified admiration for Mao Zedong and unqualified praise for Deng Xiaoping, who he calls “one of the world’s greatest leaders” for setting China on the path to capitalism. What will shock readers more perhaps is his evident admiration for the Cultural Revolution.

He says: “We all hope that this could have been achieved with far less destruction but when you are trying to get rid of feudalism it is very difficult.”

His reasoning is unlikely to win support in many Hong Kong households with bitter memories of this passage in China’s history, but Mahbubani is not apologetic: “Yes, I do try and weigh up the benefits and costs. If you looked at the number of people who lived in absolute poverty in China and the China of today you would see that people have real hope now.”

To this end he cites the global institutions that America has helped foster and he believes have helped create a world of comparative peace and stability.

In the immediate aftermath of World War II and with civil war raging in China, America, writes Mahbubani, helped set up many of the multilateral structures that persist to this day, including Asean, which he believes has helped to prevent war across the region.

Some would be tempted to cite Vietnam and, further afield, Korea but it is clear that Mahbubani sees them as America’s justified bid to fight off communism.

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Security Council are also cited as proof positive of America’s benevolent intentions throughout the ensuing Cold War, where successive presidents helped keep in check the malign influence of Soviet-sponsored communism.

Born in 1948, Mahbubani, like many of his generation, faced a polarized choice between capitalism rather than communism, and once he had rejected the latter was rewarded with the opportunity to live the American dream.

From a poor Hindu family who fled Pakistan in the aftermath of partition, he was plucked from poverty by a Lee Kuan Yew program designed to promote young talent. His distinguished diplomatic career eventually saw him become Singapore’s ambassador to the UN.

From that perch he saw the implosion of the USSR. But Mahbubani believes that America made a catastrophic mistake then by withdrawing into itself. This created a vacuum in regions such as East Africa and states such as Afghanistan and Pakistan in which extremism could breed.

Now Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, in Singapore, Mahbubani believes this isolationist mindset was also directly responsible for the Asian financial crisis in 1997, which saw the US-controlled IMF refuse to bail out long term allies such as Indonesia and Thailand.

The clear implication is that the ensuing popular discontent, particularly in Indonesia, has helped fuel anti- Americanism, spread Islamic extremism and encouraged the terrorists to ever-baser acts.

Nevertheless, Mahbubani believes all is not lost.

He says: “It matters a lot what dream you buy. If you are a young Pakistani or Bangladeshi and if you are given the choice between Osama Bin Laden and the American dream – your choice makes a huge difference to the world we live in. The fact that many still want to buy the American dream cannot be denied. But if they start choosing Bin Laden then we are in huge trouble.”

From Kyoto to Iraq, however, Mahbubani believes America is now making the wrong choices, even if they are well- intentioned.

Instead it must face up to the consequences of its policies, take heed of the world community and lead by positive example in all spheres.

Nowhere is this more important than in relation to China.

Mahbubani is in no doubt that China is shaping up to be the next global superpower and America’s attitude towards this challenge will help shape the 21st century.

How Asia will change the world is partly the subject of his next book, he says.

“We are at a crossroads: if China believes the US will not block its way then it will become a responsible stakeholder in the future. But if the US is perceived as trying to stop it, China will become embittered.

“The US must get the policy right and right now because if they get it wrong we will all suffer for decades to come.”

The above document though written in 2006 still holds…however let us see the new policy of America with President Obama as well as the evolution of the relationship of America with the world.

Transformational Coaching

I spent some time today reading the ‘heart of coaching’ introduced to me by my very good friend Rita from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to whom I spoke today on Skype. Her company based in Malaysia covering the Fareast regularly runs training seminars and certifies trainers. Thomas G Crane the author of the bestseller ‘Heart of Coaching’ is one of her regular speakers and trainers.

Three chapters of the book are offered by the Author, free of charge as a teaser, which are just enough to get you excited to read on.

Book Description

This is the 10th year and the 4th version of this book being a vital resource for those who are willing to develop coaching as a contemporary leadership skill. It presents the powerful process called Transformational Coaching as a comprehensive and systematic way to plan, organize, and conduct coaching conversations. It de-mystifies into easy to understand and follow steps, thus making it a communication tool for leaders and their teams to coach in all directions – Up toward one’s Boss, Down toward one’s Direct Reports, and Laterally to one’s Peers. Huge benefits accrue to the organizations where this becomes a cultural norm…and a true “coaching culture.”

In the spirit of keeping “The Heart of Coaching” a vibrant and contemporary resource for our readers, we offer this Third Edition where we do several important things. We have deepened the connections between Emotional Intelligence and the art and practice of coaching. We added “setting organizational context” to the expectation-setting portion of the conversation so that coach and coachee both clearly address the “big picture” framework of Vision, Mission , Strategy, Key Objectives, and Core Values.

We added more effective ways for both coach and coachee to explore their individual roles as “co-creators” of the situation they are discussing. We added the powerful step of clarifying the “vision for success” as framing for the contemplated action planning. We also remind the coach to acknowledge overall progress of the coachee as they support them in enhancing their effectiveness over the long haul.

Lastly, we have (in chapter 9) clarified the distinctions between the two primary coaching genres – Executive Coaching and Collegial Coaching. It is important to clearly understand how external coaching relationships and processes are different than the internal coaching relationships and processes between people working side-by-side as colleagues.

As coaching is yet another of my favorite subject, looks like I shall purchase the book soon; if I have the permission from my wife as she has been complaining about the storage of the numerous books I have. May be I shall have to purchase a ‘kindle‘ the e-book soon.

Story Telling

A leader is not a leader if he does not have followers. Communications is the prime activity of great leaders. He maintains leadership by communicating, nurturing and developing but more importantly move the followers to the common aim.

Since early childhood, I have been encouraged to tell stories and communicate. I am much amused to see my grandchild Jake who is presently with us on holiday telling creative stories. I am encouraging him. Let us hope that he could turn into a great communicator and leader.

Story telling is one of the ways; here are some thoughts by Stephen Denning

Why Story?

The right story can energize, inspire, and connect with people’s personal values and goals.

  • When Lou Gerstner, then CEO of IBM, had to persuade skeptics that IBM could become a major player in providing e-business services, he did it in part by telling stories about IBM’s future in web-based services.
  • To explain why his firm passes on savings to customers, James Sinegal, CEO of Costco, tells a story about acquiring four million pairs of Calvin Klein jeans and selling them for $22.99 when they had sold fast at $29.99. “It was tempting to make a quick $28 million in profits, but that’s how we keep faith with the customer.”
  • When Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, was asked about his best leadership attribute, he said knew how to tell stories.

Telling the right story at the right time is an essential leadership competence to get business results.

Knowing the Right Story

A transformational leader has to know what kind of story to tackle which business challenge. Different business challenges require different narratives.

  • To communicate complex ideas and motivate others to action, a leader needs a springboard story—one that can get an audience to launch into action. This story needs to embody the change idea, be true, be told in a minimalist fashion, and be positive in tone.
  • Stories that transmit knowledge and understanding tend to be negative in tone. They are about problems. They are told with context, or explanation.
  • Communicating who you are and so building trust in you as an authentic leader involves a story that focuses on a turning point in your life. It has a positive tone and is told with context.
  • Transmitting values are carried by stories that are like parables, revealing a conflict between two values.
  • Generating high-performance teams is suited to narratives that move people to see what they have in common.
  • Although conventional management techniques can’t deal with the rumor mill, narrative stories can neutralize rumors by satirizing them.
  • Future stories can help organizations to move forward and grasp opportunities in an integrated fashion. Such stories tend to be short and evocative.

Each leadership challenge requires a story with a different narrative pattern. Mastering the relevant narrative pattern for the leadership challenge at hand thus becomes a critical competence for transformational leaders.

Transformational leaders not only tell the story—they embody the story. The power of narrative rests on a foundation of personal integrity and authenticity. Storytelling can reveal who you are and connect you with other people, but its effectiveness depends on whether what you reveal resonates with listeners.

Great leaders engage with followers and create a connection that inspires people to raise their sights and elevates their values and goals, essentially by communicating through narrative.

So, dear blog reader, I do encourage you to join a Toastmasters cub to hone your communications and leadership skills.