The Best Advice I Ever Got



The Best Advice I Ever Got



In the March 21, 2005 issue of Fortune Paul Vivek shared the “The Best Advice I Ever Got”


“The best advice I ever got was from an elephant trainer in the jungle outside Bangalore.


I was doing a hike through the jungle as a tourist. I saw these large elephants tethered to a small stake. I asked him, ‘How can you keep such a large elephant tied to such a small stake?’ He said, ‘When the elephants are small, they try to pull out the stake, and they fail. When they grow large, they never try to pull out the stake again.”


That parable reminds me that we have to go for what we think we’re fully capable of, not limit ourselves by what we’ve been in the past.”



Stuck in a Hole



Coaching and Mentoring

Stuck in a Hole



In an episode of The West Wing, the White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry tells Josh Lyman in the following story. In the story, Spencer is describing his character’s relationship with Josh Lyman as a mentoring one.


“A man was walking along a sidewalk when he fell into an unprotected hole. He could not get out. A doctor came along and he cried out for help. The doctor wrote him a prescription, threw it into the hole and continued walking. Then a priest came along and he cried out again. This time, the priest wrote down a prayer, threw it into the hole and continued walking.

Finally, a friend came along. His response was to jump down into the hole to comfort the man. The man said ‘What was the point of that? Now we are both stuck down the hole.’ ‘Ah’ replied his friend ‘but I have been here before, and I know how to get out.”


The Mexican Fisherman



The Mexican Fisherman

Author Unknown



The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. 

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. 

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” 

The American then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” 

The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.” 

The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” 

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.” 

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the 
processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you will run your ever-expanding enterprise.” 

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” 

To which the American replied, “15 to 20 years.” 

“But what then?” asked the Mexican. 

The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.” 

“Millions?…Then what?” 

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”              

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”




Stone soup



Stone Soup

There was once a village struck by famine and the people there were starving.

Children ran around on spindly legs, and as for animals, their ribs were sticking out so pathetically it was hard not to cry.

A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village. As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows.

The stranger smiled and asked, “Why are you all so frightened? I am a simple traveller, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal.”

The villagers grew wary when they heard this because who could feed one more mouth when they did not have enough for their own stomachs?

“Please go away. We do not have food for you. There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “We are weak and our children are starving. Better keep moving on.”

“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.”

The villagers watched suspiciously as he built a fire and filled a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulled a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffed the brew extravagantly and exclaimed how delicious the stone soup is.

“Ahh,” the stranger said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage – that’s hard to beat.”

Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot.

“Wonderful!” cried the stranger. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef. Then a villager remembered that he had some onions in the corner of his kitchen. A mother of three offered a few carrots she had hidden away against a crisis. Someone else poured in a handful of lentils.

Slowly, slowly, the soup grew thick, delicious and nourishing until there was a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share.

The villager elders offered the stranger a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell it and travelled on the next day.



New Year’s Resolution Strategies


New year's Resolution post


New Year’s Resolution Strategies


According to the University of Scranton: Journal of Clinical Psychology (Research Date: 1/1/2014), only eight (8%) percent of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution.  The study also found that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions.  To help you keep your resolution this year consider the following six suggestions.  

1.    Write it

2.    List it

3.    Plan it

4.    Visualize it

5.    Post it

6.    Share it

New Year's Resolution Strategies



Write it down

The first step to a successful New Year’s resolution is writing it down.  Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and state your resolution.  By writing or typing your New Year’s resolution, you make a stronger commitment to it than just thinking or saying it.   Written words are more powerful than thoughts which come and go, and often get interrupted.  When it is written, you can see it and it becomes more tangible and real to you.   

Also, when you write your resolution it will force you to clarify exactly what you want.  If you do not write down your goal, it is only a wish. 

List the benefits

After you write or type your New Year’s resolution, list the benefits of achieving it.  List what you will get out of sticking to and achieving your resolution.  Listing the benefits will help provide motivation.  Knowing what you will get by achieving your resolution will provide inspiration throughout the months.  For example, if you resolve to get into better shape, you may list being healthier, having more energy, or feeling good about yourself.  If you plan on saving more money, you may list what you will be able to do with the savings (e.g. take a trip, down payment for a house, etc…). 

Plan it

Do not try to accomplish too much too quickly.  It may become overwhelming and you may get discouraged.  Often times, people create a lofty resolution, but it is so lofty they get frustrated and quit within a short period of time.  Many New Year’s resolutions have ended by March 1. 

If you do decide upon a challenging resolution, create a plan of how you will achieve your end goal.  Break your resolution down into smaller segments.  If you want to stop smoking, plan on gradually reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.  If you want to save $2000 by the end of the year, plan on setting aside $6 a day.   

Your segmented plan will act like mile markers on a highway.  You can focus on each mile marker as it comes up and not get discouraged by looking down the long road ahead.  It will also enable you to see how far you have come and how far you need to go.  

Visualize the Outcome

One of the best ways to develop a commitment to your resolution is to visualize the end result.  By visualizing the end result, you get a mental picture of exactly what you want the results to look like.  You see yourself successfully reaching your goal.  If you want to get in better shape, create a mental picture of yourself wearing your favorite swimsuit in the summer.   Knowing and seeing the outcome will also help motivate you during the course of the year.    

Post it

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a saying that can apply to your resolution.  You want to keep your resolution at the forefront of your thoughts.  Therefore, after you write your resolution, post it where you will see it regularly.  Regularly seeing and reading your resolution gives you a constant reminder of what you want to achieve.  When you read it on a regular basis you begin to focus your attention on it. 

Post it on your refrigerator, on your computer, at your desk at work, or anywhere it gives you a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish.  If you post your resolution, you can read it and think about throughout the day.  The more you see it, the more you think about it, and the more it will matter to you.  You will give your subconscious a clearer image of what you want to accomplish.  It will become something that you think about constantly.  It will be kept at the forefront of your thoughts. 

Share it

Share your resolution with others.  Sharing your resolution with others, benefits you in several ways.   First, you develop a deeper commitment to accomplishing it.  If people know about it, they may ask you about it during the course of the year.  If they do ask, you want to be able to tell them how successful you have been.  It puts a little pressure on you to keep it up.  Subconsciously you do not want to admit that you were not able to keep your resolution.  On the other hand, if people did not know about it, it is easier to quit.  No one would ever know you failed to keep your resolution.  It is the easy way out, but it will not help you reach your goal. 

Also, by letting others know about your resolution, they can cheer you on and support you if you find it challenging to keep it over the course of the year. 

Also, share your progress.  Let people know how you are doing with your resolution.  Keep them apprised of your progress over the year.  Social media is a great way to let people know how well you are doing.  Another nice thing is that your success may encourage and inspire others to try or stick to a goal of their own.

There is a little pressure on you when you share your resolution, but a lot of benefits.

, December 29, 2014. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: .

Performance Management System


Performance Management System – Best Practices for Successfully Measuring Results


In every organization, a performance management system is critical to the success and effectiveness of the business.  While many companies reference performance management as a key competency, few have robust approaches that enable both manager and employee success.  In this article, we’ll discuss the key components or an effective performance management system so that you can better identify gaps in your own processes and implement best practices that will continually enable continuous performance improvements in your organization.

Components of a Performance Management System


The foundational aspects of a robust performance management system include:

  • Clear Role Definitions and Performance Expectations
  • Continual Performance Reporting
  • Frequent Performance Coaching
  • 360 Degree Feedback Approach to Performance Improvement
  • Performance Appraisal or Performance Review process
  • Performance Improvement Planning / Performance Development Planning



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Dealing with Poor Performance

 Lack of Ability, or Low Motivation?


Article from


For every hundred men hacking away at the branches of a diseased tree,
only one will stoop to inspect the roots.

– Chinese proverb

Are individual members of your team performing less well than you’d hoped? If so, this proverb can take on great significance. To figure out what’s causing the performance issue, you have to get to the root of the problem.

But because employee performance affects organizational performance, we tend to want to look for a quick fix. Would a training course help Ted? Or should you move him into a different role?

These types of solutions focus largely on the ability of the person performing the job. Performance, though, is a function of both ability and motivation.

Performance = Ability x Motivation


  • Ability is the person’s aptitude, as well as the training and resources supplied by the organization
  • Motivation is the product of desire and commitment

Someone with 100% motivation and 75% ability can often achieve above-average performance. But a worker with only 25% ability won’t be able to achieve the type of performance you expect, regardless of his or her level of motivation.


Diagnosing Poor Performance

So, before you can fix poor performance, you have to understand its cause. Does it come from lack of ability or low motivation?

Incorrect diagnoses can lead to lots of problems later on. If you believe an employee is not making enough of an effort, you’ll likely put increased pressure on him or her to perform. But if the real issue is ability, then increased pressure may only make the problem worse.

Low ability may be associated with the following:

  • Over-difficult tasks.
  • Low individual aptitude, skill, and knowledge.
  • Evidence of strong effort, despite poor performance.
  • Lack of improvement over time.

People with low ability may have been poorly matched with jobs in the first place. They may have been promoted to a position that’s too demanding for them. Or maybe they no longer have the support that previously helped them to perform well.


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Enhancing Ability


1.                Resupply.

2.                Retrain.

3.                Refit.

4.                Reassign.

5.                Release.



Improving Motivation




1.                Setting of performance goals.

2.                Provision of performance assistance.

3.                Provision of performance feedback.


Leadership is developed from within….

Leadership is developed from within; from within our hearts and our minds


Leaders are not born, they are developed.  They are developed from within their own hearts and minds.  Great leadership is determined by the ability to inspire trust, loyalty, respect and commitment in others.

Although leadership does often require action, it is not about action.  Leadership is about being.

Being sincere

Being honest

Being compassionate

Being optimistic

Being supportive

Being courageous

Being humble

Being empathic

Being flexible

Leadership starts in our hearts and minds with our character and who we are, and then it is eventually displayed in our actions.  Leadership is about first tapping into and examining our qualities, beliefs, and character and then exhibiting them to others.

Leadership is not about our actions, it is about whom we are and what is reflected in our actions. 



Leadership is a very complex process that involves communication, planning, decision making, motivation, as well as several other key elements.  It is a capacity to influences others to accomplish a goal or objective, and directs them in a way that makes the group more unified.  In its basic terms, leadership is about the ability to inspire trust, loyalty, commitment, and create cohesiveness among team members.