Thursday, December 27, 2007

Honesty is The Best Policy

“Honesty certainly leads to goodness, and goodness leads to paradise. Truly, a man keeps speaking the truth until he is inscribed as being true through and through. And lying leads to going wrong, and going wrong leads to hell. Truly, a man lies and lies until he is inscribed as being a liar through and through”

~Muslim, 4.2012–13: 2607. S~

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Leadership: 4E

4E's in Full

Here’s the big idea. Leadership in the networked world is the same as it was in the time of Genghis Khan. The process - which we call the 4 E’s of Envision, Enable, Empower and Energize - is the same. The principles are the same.


Leadership depends on having a unique vision, making strategic choices, finding the right tools & people to do the job, and designing and enabling an organization to get it done.
Leadership is about understanding people, and about getting people pointing and acting in the same direction. The unique role of a leader is then to provide the energy and commitment to see this job through, and ensuring execution is perfect. Leadership is about listening, and making a real "connect" with others. It is a process.

We call this process the 4 E’s of Envision, Enable, Empower & Energize. The framework has been developed by studying historical Leaders (live ones are notoriously difficult to summarize in a complete fashion, as things change so quickly), the current literature, and from personal experience of leading multinational & multicultural organizations across the world.
The sidebar on “Historical Examples” summarizes how the first 4 E’s apply to two very different Leaders – Mohandas Gandhi and Genghis Khan.


India’s political and religious independence, based on spiritual renewal of her people, and on the equality of Hindu and Muslim. Abolish castes.


South African ambulance corps. Indian "Constructive Program". The Ashrams. The Congress charter. "Swadeshi" = home industry.


Discipline & freedom, for self and followers. "Satyagraha" = peaceful protest. "Swaraj" = Indian Independence. Love. Respect.


He walked the talk – Gandhi was the program. The "Salt March". He fasted. His charisma. His disregard for self - no fear - prison. His words.


To stop the Mongol tribes fighting, and to preserve their nomadic lifestyle. To live off the land. Realize their longstanding dream of “conquering the World".


The compound bow & short stirrup. The "Yasa" legal code. Merit based army units of 10, 1000, 10000. Peacetime “Pony express” links.


Genghis trusted Locals running conquered cities. He promoted on merit. He was generous, very loyal, and very frank.


He personified strong & clear Mongol values. Genghis always led from the front. He was charismatic. Either surrender and maintain your way of life, or be slaughtered….
... are always looking for specific things to do “next Monday”, to make things happen.

The 4 E’s framework applies equally to Leadership in different cultural backgrounds – important to Leader’s of today’s’ multicultural Enterprises. But before examining the 4 E’s in detail, there is a simple set of fundamental truths about all Leaders to review.

  • Leaders always create (and need) change

  • Leaders always create (and need) followers

  • Leaders have a rock-solid value system, which is congruent with their followers.

Leaders and Change

Without a need for change, the concept of Leadership is meaningless. Leadership is not an abstract, Platonic concept - it is a practical activity, with a specific goal in mind. The situation in India pre-independence almost demanded that someone (like Gandhi) arose to lead and organize the cause. In the 4 E’s framework, Change is central to the strategic choices made at the Envisioning stage.

Leaders and Followers

Leaders are quintessential change agents, but they can’t do it alone – they still need the help of others to get things going. They find ways to create groups of followers, so they can together change things. We are not talking of manipulation or of mischief when we write "Leaders create followers". We mean that the job of a Leader is to encourage people to get things done. There is symmetry and symbiosis between Leaders and followers. Both need each other.

Without followers, there are no Leaders. In this sense, Leadership varies by situation, as a good Leader in one circumstance may not be successful in another. A classic example of Leadership varying by situation is Winston Churchill, who succeeded in wartime and then failed in peacetime by loosing a General Election. He was unable to reflect people’s post-war needs.
By contrast, Charles De Gaulle was a strong wartime Leader, who also managed to reflect the needs of the populace in peacetime. He still held his own views on the future of France – so succeeding as a Leader in both situations. Followers must follow willingly. Coercion should certainly not be in the Leader’s tool kit. Trust between Leader and Follower is essential to this willingness. Even Genghis enjoyed fierce loyalty from his troops – a loyalty he returned in full.
Our definition is built on the notion that Leaders can only really get other people to do things that are latent within them. To note Genghis again, the Mongol tribes wanted to stop their internecine, tribal genocide – but needed him to show the way.

Finally, with this process orientation to Leadership, we believe everyone can train, develop and enhance their Leadership skills. This is true regardless of the size or complexity of the Enterprise. And, because everyone can train, the results can be measured. You can’t have Leader’s without followers, and you can’t have followers without Leaders. Paradoxically, therefore, the Leader is also a follower, in the sense of reflecting the wishes of others. Leaders and followers are thus fully interdependent.

Leaders & Values congruence

The Leadership job starts with a thorough understanding of the follower’s needs, aspirations and concerns, which needs excellent listening and facilitation skills. Most importantly, it starts with a thorough understanding of the value systems of all constituents. The Leader’s value system must be congruent with that of the followers if the relationship is to prosper.
Leaders must first understand and then communicate their own value systems if they are to be trusted and followed. Leadership comes from within us, in the sense that deeply held values and principles provide the road map for the way we lead, and the way other people respond. It is always the Leader’s personal value system that sustains them in their quest, whether they are a person of impeccable moral fiber, or quite disreputable. On the negative side, without a clear sense of his or her own personal values, the Leader-to-be can get hopelessly lost, falling foul of inconsistency and insincerity as he struggles to handle the constituents.

From the perspective of the total organization, the creation and Leadership of a value system for the Enterprise, which is in total synchronization with the values of its constituents, will be very powerful indeed. This needs a sense of balance in dealing with multiple constituencies and interest groups, whilst also achieving the Enterprise goals. Constituencies include employees, shareholders, customers and members of local communities. Often the very best (and longest lived) business Enterprises takes specific note of all their constituencies in their mission and strategies. It is with this in mind that we include values and culture in the Envisioning step of the 4 E’s.

Ideas and Values

Let us now connect these thoughts on Leadership into the world of ideas. First, what is an “idea”, and what is a “value”, and what is the connection?
Idea: a thought to be presented as a suggestion, a thought about or mental picture of something such as a future or possible event, a realization of a possible way of doing something or of something to be done.

In today’s parlance, an idea tends to be thought of as an innovation, That is, an idea that can be practically executed and which creates value. So, we can all have ideas, and they result in changes, to a greater or lesser extent. They can be incremental, substantial or transformational innovations – all are needed in any Enterprise to keep it moving forward. Clayton Christensen (in the “Innovator’s Dilemma”) calls the latter innovations “disruptive” – technologies like the printed press, and the internal combustion engine, which changed everything [iii]. He also made the point that large Enterprises tend not to “disrupt”.

Values: the accepted principles or standards of an individual or a group.

What is interesting is that ideas lead eventually to values, if they are big enough. As we moved from hunting to agriculture, one assumes someone had the basic idea that not killing people was “good”. Later, the idea of the rule of law came along, and then liberal democracy. Both eventually became values in “civil society”. The idea of “markets” surfaced, and the values of “capitalism” took hold. On the other hand, Marx thought of the idea of “communism”, which lasted a while but never became an endearing value.

Values emerge over time, and get consensus over time. Ideas can be born at “Internet speed”, but values take time and energy to create and to take hold in an Enterprise [iv]. Put another way, ideas are fast, and values are slow. Ideas sometimes lead to powerful values, but not always. So what is the relevance to Leadership, and to change?

It is ideas that motivate people, but values that bind them together. When a Leader communicates, he or she must be clear whether the subject is ideas or values. Now this may sound simplistic, but how many times do we hear politicians claiming an idea as some kind of deep, culturally significant value?

On the other hand, how often do business people refuse to discuss values, as something too intangible and emotional in a commercial context? If more business Leaders would discuss values, and their development, one wonders how many more enduring Companies there would be – a point especially true for the “New Economy” high speed Enterprises. Values are also deeply related to strong brand equities – a point to which we will return in another article. One aspect of a change Leader’s job is thus to understand this difference in meaning and impact between ideas and values, and the difference in their speed.

So, let us summarize to this point by offering our definition of Leadership.

"Leadership is the energetic process of getting other people fully and willingly committed to a new and sustainable course of action, to meet commonly agreed objectives whilst having commonly held values".

Now we will set out this process of Leadership in actionable steps.
The 4 E’s
In each of the E's (Envision, Enable. Empower and Energize) we are working with two axes. At one side, we are working with Operational parameters – the strategies, the tools, the measurements. At the other side, we are dealing with Organizational and people issues. We will symbolize this as a growing grid.

Step 1: Envision
Leadership starts with having a vision, then developing a plan to achieve it. It is based both on data assessment and intuition, hope and fear. It is a noble challenge. A vision of the future is the key to getting started as a Leader. Without one, go back to square one.

Envisioning starts with having a clear view of the external world. It drives the formation of the mission of the Enterprise, and builds clear, mutual goals. In day-to-day work, it is helpful to distinguish between verbal objectives (the mission), and numerical objectives (the goals).
A vision that is likely to come true has to take account of the culture of the Enterprise. For example, a slow moving bureaucracy is not likely to succeed as a “New Economy” Enterprise without significant cultural change. The Leader then has a choice – mold the vision and strategy to the capabilities and values of the culture – or change the culture to achieve a different future for the Enterprise. A decision either direction will have enormous consequences for the change program undertaken.

A vision could be a grand view of a Country’s future, or a major Corporation’s – or it could be a picture of what one wants to achieve in the family, or amongst a group of friends. In all cases Leaders are seeking a vision of change that is needed.

It often seems that the word “vision” has fallen into disrepute – we all have drawers full of unexecuted visions. In our view, a vision is an operational strategy, reflecting choices of what to do and what not to do, with hard goals. It is not “fuzzy and warm”. It is essential.

Step 2: Enable
The Envisioning step forces decisions on choices – strategies, in other words. Leaders must then decide what methods or tools will be used to Enable the objectives, and to encourage the right kind of action.

There are essentially two kinds of enabling mechanisms – both built on innovation. The first mechanisms (along what we defined as the “Operational” axis) include tools, technologies, and business methodologies. “A better mouse trap” is always a good enabling mechanism to bring about change. In every case, the tools and tactics used must meet the needs of the strategic choices defined earlier. On methodologies, in today’s “New Economy” terms, this also would be time to review one’s business model, to check its competitive advantage or pitfalls.

The second set of enabling mechanisms (on the “Organizational” axis) includes processes and structure. It also means ensuring the Enterprise has the right people and the right skill sets to get the job done. These all require building on the Enterprise’s culture and values. This could mean the deliberate elimination of counterproductive values or structure - but there will always be a structure and a set of processes in place.

David Hanna, an ex-colleague who now works with the Covey Leadership Center, once wrote, "Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results that it gets" [v]. I prefer "Every Enterprise is perfectly led to get the results that it gets". Leadership is the key. Serendipity or chaos is not usually an enabler, except for the briefest moment.

Step 3: Empower
Given a clear vision, strategy and enabling tool kit, the third step of the Leadership process is empowering people to achieve the goals. There is a ”deal” between the Leader and his or her followers. The followers and the Leader have a contract, for success and failure, reward and sanction, on both sides. Both are given mutual freedom, yet held mutually accountable. Both are thus empowered [vi].

We do not subscribe to a “free for all” empowerment. It is a deal:
“You deliver this, and I deliver that. You will get more space, the better you do. The more I meet your needs, the stronger Leadership position I will be in. Together we will therefore be better able to accelerate the changes we have agreed to make”.

Said another way, effective empowerment provides the space to get the task completed, the space to innovate, and the feedback mechanism to both improve results and to motivate the organization.

Again, there are two sides to empowerment. On the “Organizational” axis, the team needs to be given the training to get the job done. This is self-evident. The empowerment must also bring rewards to all parties, and sanctions or challenges for improvement.
On the “Operational” axis, both Leaders and Followers need to be able to measure progress against the goals, in a transparent way, which also encourages dialog and continuous improvement.

Combining these thoughts, one of the fundamental, empowering (and energizing) roles of a Leader is to teach. This includes both practical work topics, and Leadership skills. On-going 360º feedback and measurement studies by Marshall Goldsmith [vii] and others show that Leadership skill can improve over time. The data also suggests that training in Leadership development can positively impact other aspects of on the job performance.

We view this as another expression of the point made earlier that the mission of the Enterprise must take into account its values and its culture. A Leader must therefore work hard to understand how national culture affects the way people react – all constituencies, but especially employees and customers. That being said, bending to the local culture without thought to the Enterprise’s “culture in the making” will lead to inconsistency and chaos. As ever, the Leader’s job is one of thoughtful balance. From personal experience, the most practical Leadership approach across a multi-cultural group is one of facilitation. After much personal trial and error, it seems the best facilitation includes thoughts and approaches from both Western and Asian cultures.

For example, “Westerners” tend to be very open with exposing their innermost ideas, and even their value systems – the cult of the individual, one supposes. On the other hand, “Asians” tend to be reticent in so doing – not wanting to disturb the group. In fact, depending on the situation, both actions can be helpful for a Leader facilitating a group.

Empowerment via facilitation-Asia & The West

Start with (and stick to) the Vision -Asia

Let go of your own power -Asia
Have patience -Asia

Listen for what is not said -Asia
Build Interdependence via process-Asia

Set out clear ground rules up front -The West
Expose your own value system, first -The West
Build an empowerment “contract” -The West
Get all the issues out -The West
Stick to the process over time-Asia & The West

Another example is that of listening. A “Westerner” tends to assume that what is being said is all that needs to be heard. On the other hand, “Asian” culture puts emphasis on the context with which things are being said – or, put another way, what is not being said. A good meeting facilitator will sense when things need to be drawn out of the group which are not immediately obvious, in order to move ahead. Leaders must do the same. The notion of facilitation is thus a classic one of blending the best of “East and West”. Facilitation skill provides a wonderful Leadership tool kit to address cultural sensitivity.

Trust via empowerment
The overall impact of empowerment is to build trust. There are many ways to do this, all of which are as applicable to networks as in any other context. A word of warning – trust is not something a group can just agree to have. It is built over time [viii].

Step 4: Energize
So, the goal is clear, the plan is in place, and the troops are both motivated and armed. Still, there is an essential ingredient missing. The Leadership role demands the skills of energizing the organization to act.

In fact , whilst we hope every member of a team "Energizes" others, one could argue that this Energizing step is a very personal one. By contrast the previous 3 steps usually involve shared actions by the entire team.

Looking at the 4 E’s grid, on the “Organizational” axis we summarize the issue as “individual success”. For the members of the team, probably the maximum energy will result from the combination of winning (in the marketplace) and achieving a sense of personal success and satisfaction. The more energy the team generates, the more energy the Leader has – in a virtuous circle of reinforcement.

On the other, “Operational” axis, we see that continuous communication and course corrections are the key activities of the Leader. This includes “walking the talk”, consistency, continuous communication with the team, personal persuasiveness and clarity. The Leader is a kind of motor for the change – the moment he or she flags or shows a lack of resolve, the team will loose energy, and results will suffer.

One classic energizer involves expressing the vision and goals in a "story", which builds understanding and the desire for action in the followers. A great example of a "story" is John Kennedy’s "put a man on the moon and return him home safely by the end of the decade". This energized an entire nation, its military and its industries. He stuck to the script, and even after his death, the mission was accomplished.

Phil Harkins does an excellent job of reviewing the impact of “Powerful Conversations” in his latest book. We see his insights as very helpful to the energizing phase of Leadership [ix]. The Leader’s "story" takes careful note of the audience's perceptions, so he or she will be an excellent listener and judge of others. The story is expressed simply but powerfully, and it is repeated often. The Leader energizes the vision, the enablers, and the empowerment.
A critical activity of the Leader is also to provide feedback on progress, and to “course correct” as needed. There will be many mid-course corrections, to reach the goals whilst taking account of new information, roadblocks, issues and plain mistakes along the way. The vision remains constant – somebody once said “Just when you are fed up with saying it that is when he or she gets it”! A Leader cannot afford to stop saying it.

... and step 5: Execute
Strictly speaking, this is not a step, but a “surrounding” concept for the other 4 E’s. Outstanding execution and follow through applies at every stage of the Leadership process.
We have sometimes been challenged that we should add yet another “E” to the framework – Emotion. There has been much written about Emotional Intelligence (developed by Daniel Goleman [x]), and it is an important concept. The concept includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and self-motivation, empathy, and social deftness. All are fundamental to excellent, personal Leadership skills.

In the 4 E’s framework, however, we believe that emotional intelligence fits inside the energizing role of a Leader, rather than as a separate focus. We are helped to this conclusion by the many studies that demonstrate that successful Leaders have had a varied and challenging career. This puts them through their “Leadership training paces” at each stage, en route to becoming a world class Leader. By contrast, individuals who have not had the opportunity to build long-term programs, or who have spent all of their time in focus area, tend not to make the best Leaders. This breadth of experience, and the challenges associated with such a career, not only serve to broaden the Leader’s skill base, but also help his or her emotional development. We believe there are thus three sequential stages in any Leader’s personal development, which allows them all to be better energizers:

  • Learning the basic strategic and communication skills and how to use them

  • Exhibiting Leadership behaviors in a day to day context – “walk the talk”

  • Getting comfortable with the Leadership role

The last point is where “emotional maturity” and “emotional intelligence” come most into play. That is where Goleman’s work fits. It is no use just having all of the Leadership theory in your head – you must have the maturity to be able to use it and energize others.

iThere are so many books on Gandhi, it is difficult to choose. Other than Gandhi’s own writings (which should not be missed) my favourites are:Nair, Keshavan 1994. “A Higher Standard of Leadership”, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.Dalton, Dennis 1993. “Nonviolent Power in Action”, Columbia University Press, New York.
iiFor a thorough biography, see Ratchnevsky, Paul 1991. “Genghis Khan – His Life and Legacy”, Blackwell, Oxford.
iiiAn up to date exposition on the power of ideas is Godin, Seth 2000. “Unleashing the Ideavirus”, Do You Zoom Inc., New York. To explore the implications of disruptive technology on business, see Christensen, Clayton 1997. “The Inventor’s Dilemma”, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.
ivTo study the impact of time on the creation of value systems, read Brand, Stewart 1999. “The Clock of the Long Now”, Basic Books, New York.Related is Fukuyama’s work on social disruption in the 20th century. Fukuyama, Francis 1999. “The Great Disruption”, The Free Press.
vHanna, David 1990. “Designing Organizations for High Performance”, Addison Wesley.
viA very practical approach to Empowerment is in McLagan, Patricia & Nel, Christo 1995. “The Age of Participation”, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.
viiWhilst Goldsmith has written many books and articles, an excellent all round edition is the Drucker series of which he is editor. This includes his comments on measuring Leadership development. Goldsmith, Marshall , Hesselbein, Frances & Beckhard, Richard, 1996. “The Leader of the Future”, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Goldsmith, Marshall , Hesselbein, Frances & Beckhard, Richard, 1996. “The Organization of the Future”, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
viiiA clear and practical handbook on the subject of building trust is Shaw, Robert Bruce 1997. “Trust in the Balance”, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
ixHarkins, Phil 1999. “Powerful Conversations – How High Impact Leaders Communicate”. McGraw.

Source: Leader Values

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Every Number Has Challenges

Studies of small families (three or fewer members) finds that members are more likely to be close to each other than large families, but also more likely to feel lonely than members or large families.

~Kirby, 2000~


Niven, D. 2006. The 100 simple secrets of happy families: What scientists have learned and how you can use it, England: Capstone.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Race of Wisdom

Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous. Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for God loves those who do good.

~Translation of surah Ali Imran verse 133-134~

* For more interesting facts, enjoy reading about "Wise Man" by JHEAINS.


Procrastination is the thief of time

~English Proverbs~

You are supposed to do something now but you postpone it to another day and it may eventually get underdone


Majdah et al, 2006. English proverbs & sayings: Student's study companion, Shah Alam: Cerdik Publications Sdn Bhd.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gender Equality

Gender equality is an issue of development effectiveness, not just a matter of political correctness or kindness to women.

~Dato' Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil~
Minister of Women, family and Community Development, Malaysia

Monday, October 29, 2007



Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Abraham Lincoln

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.

Anne Frank

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Life, Death & Hereafter

Life is an amazing journey.
Death is a reminder.
Paradise is the place of true beauty and happiness...
our future home, insya-Allah.
'Salam Ramadan el-Mubarak'
"Salam Eidul Fitri'

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Family

Didi 80

  • It's OK to be right when everyone else is wrong

  • Fatigue is family enemy

  • Calm questions get answers

  • Experience help but shouldn't dictate

  • Everyone is equal but different

Niven D., 2006. The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Family: What Scientist Have Learned and How You can Use It, England: Capstone

Monday, September 10, 2007


"To be a leader means to be able to move masses."
-- Adolf Hitler

"Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand."
-- Colin Powell

"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."
-- Bill Gates

"No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it." -- Andrew Carnegie

Monday, August 20, 2007


A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue
we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once
for its justness and its sincerity.
~Robert Hall~

We all respect sincerity in our friends and acquaintances,
but Hollywood is willing to pay for it.
~Hattie McDaniel~

Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value
than the most talented hypocrite.
~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ten Leadership Qualities

#535 Innovative Leader Volume 10, Number 8 August 2001
Ten Leadership Characteristics
by Danny CoxMr. Cox, a professional speaker in Tustin, California (phone 800-366-3101; email He is author of Leadership When The Heat's On (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1992).
No organization can rise above the quality of its leadership. Because leadership is a position that must be earned day in and day out, there are important personal choices that both new and experienced leaders must make on a regular basis.
Effective leaders are, first and foremost, effective people.Personal ethics can't be separated from professional ethics. Therefore, the character of the leader is essential. The following list of ten characteristics is a valuable guide for leadership. In addition, it results in a quality life.
1. A high standard of personal ethics leads the list. Honest Abe Lincoln, who walked miles to return a customer's change, is a classic example of how personal ethics are reflected in professional conduct. Decisions made under pressure and/or temptation separate the great ones from the impostors.
2. High energy. Great leaders are not exhausted by dealing with petty issues. These people know right from wrong as well as the difference between what's truly important and what's merely interesting.
3. The ability to work priorities shares equal importance with setting priorities. Many brilliant priority lists end up in the landfill of life. The difference between setting priorities and working them through is the difference between a dreamer and a doer.
4. Courage. The willingness to take risks and accept responsibility for the outcome is a consistent quality among effective leaders. Either you or your fears will control everything you do. An organization will be no bolder than the leader.
5. Committed and dedicated hard working leaders will eventually develop dedicated and hard working organizations regardless of who they start with or the experience they bring to the job.
6. Unorthodox leaders have an urge to create and don't have the patience to wait for a phone to ring before acting. Effective leaders are innovators who bore easily and prefer shaping tomorrow to repeating yesterday.
7. Great leaders have the goal orientation to make tough decisions. Goal orientation produces a drive and energy that shield us from the pain of the task. Keeping an organization focused increases efficiency.
8. Inspired enthusiasm is like the pilot light on the oven. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious. People look to their leaders for enthusiasm. The inspiration level of the organization is directly proportionate to the enthusiasm of the leader--be it high or low.
9. Level-headed people make realistic leaders who respond to problems rather than simply react. A leader who can stay cool under pressure inspires confidence among those in the organization and empowers them to do the same.
10. The desire to help others succeed is the mark of a truly great leader. Synergy is created when a leader truly invests his or her efforts in the success of others. Zig Ziglar says it like this,
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care about them."
Whether you're trying to increase your own effectiveness as a leader or are trying to develop leadership talent within your organization, keep studying the characteristics of those you consider to be great leaders.Remember that leadership is an art, not a science, and the difference between a genuinely effective leader and a short-term motivator can be found in the personal decisions an individual makes when choosing how to live his or her life. Long-term commitment to the principles described above will produce an effective leader and, over time, an inspired organization.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Be Happy II

"The bitter and the sweet come from the outside, the hard from within, from one's own efforts."


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
~Albert Einstein~

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Family in Trouble

A family with a drinking problem is always a family in trouble.

Marcia Laswell & Thomas Lasswell, 1991
The home is actually a more dangerous place for American women than the city streets.
Dr Antonia C. Novello, former US Surgeon General, 1991

Friday, August 10, 2007

Think First

We can do everything, but we can't stop others to think, and evaluate us.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Best Among You II


Khalid ibn al Walîd (RadiAllahu Ta'ala anhu) narrated the following hadith:
A Bedouin came one day to the Holy Prophet (sallallahu 'alahi wasallam) and said to him,
'O, Messenger of Allah! I've come to ask you a few questions about the affairs of this Life and the Hereafter.'
- 'Ask what you wish' said Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alahi wasallam).
Q: I'd like to be the most learned of men.
A: Fear Allah, and you will be the most learned of men.

Q: I wish to be the richest man in the world.
A: Be contented, and you will be the richest man in the world.

Q: I'd like to be the most just man.
A: Desire for others what you desire for yourself, and you will be the most just of men.

Q: I want to be the best of men.
A: Do good to others and you will be the best of men.

Q: I wish to be the most favored by Allah.
A: Engage much in Allah's praise, and you will be most favored by Him.

Q: I'd like to complete my faith.
A: If you have good manners you will complete your faith

Q: I wish to be among those who do good.
A: Adore Allah as if you see Him. If you don 't see Him, He seeth you. In this way you will be among those who do good.

Q: I wish to be obedient to Allah.
A: If you observe Allah's commands you will be obedient.

Q: I'd like to be free from all sins.
A: Bathe yourself from impurities and you will be free from all sins.

Q: I'd like to be raised on the Day of Judgement in the light.
A: Don't wrong yourself or any other creature, and you will be raised on the Day of Judgement in the light.

Q: I'd like Allah to bestow His mercy on me.
A: If you have mercy on yourself and others, Allah will grant you mercy on the Day of Judgement.

Q: I'd like my sins to be very few.
A: If you seek the forgiveness Allah as much as you can, your sins will be very few.

Q: I'd like to be the most honorable man.
A: If you do not complain to any fellow creature, you will be the most honorable of men.

Q: I'd like to be the strongest of men.
A: If you put your trust in Allah, you will be the strongest of men.

Q: I'd like to enlarge my provision.
A: If you keep yourself pure, Allah will enlarge your provision.

Q: I'd like to be loved by Allah and His messenger.
A: If you love what Allah and His messenger love, you will be among their beloved ones.

Q: I wish to be safe from Allah's wrath on the Day of Judgement.
A: If you do not loose your temper with any of your fellow creatures, you will be safe from the wrath of Allah on the Day of Judgement.

Q: I'd like my prayers to be responded.
A: If you avoid forbidden actions, your prayers will he responded.

Q: I'd like Allah not to disgrace me on the Day of Judgement.
A: If you guard your chastity, Allah will not disgrace you on the Day of Judgement.

Q: I'd like Allah to provide me with a protective covering on the Day of Judgement.
A: Do not uncover your fellow creatures faults, and Allah will provide you with a covering protection on the Day of Judgement.

Q: What will save me from sins?
A: Tears, humility and illness.

Q: What are the best deeds in the eyes of Allah?
A: Gentle manners, modesty and patience.

Q: What are the worst evils in the eyes of Allah?
A: Hot temper and miserliness.

Q: What assuages the wrath of Allah in this life and in the Hereafter?
A: Concealed charity and kindness to relatives.

Q: What extinguishes hell's fires on the Day of Judgement?
A: Patience in adversity and misfortunes.

The Best Among You

White Flower

Hadith - Bukhari's Book of Manners #286 and Ahmad

Abu Huraira, r.a., said, "I heard Abu al Qasim (the Prophet saaws), say:

The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding.'

Hadith - At-Tirmidhi 5287, Narrated Abu Kabshah al-Anmari

The world has only four types of people:

1. A man whom Allah provides with property and knowledge, in which he fears his Lord and joins ties of relationship, acting in it towards Allah as is due to Him, this man being in the most excellent station.

2. A man whom Allah provides with knowledge but not with property, who says with a sincere intention that if he had property he would act as so and so does, their reward being equal.

3. A man whom Allah provides with property but not with knowledge, in which he acts in a random manner ignorantly, not fearing his Lord respecting it, or using it to join ties of relationship, or dealing with it in a right way, this man being in the worst station.

4.A man whom Allah provides with neither property nor knowledge, who says that if he had property he would deal with it as so and so does and has this intention, the load they have to bear being equal."

Hadith - Tirmidhi

"The most perfect of the believers is the best of you in character, and the best of you are those among you who are best to their wives."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Ten Rules of Good Followership

1. Don’t blame your boss for an unpopular decision or
policy; your job is to support, not undermine.

2. Fight with your boss if necessary; but do it in private,
avoid embarrassing situations, and never reveal to others
what was discussed.

3. Make the decision, then run it past the boss; use your

4. Accept responsibility whenever it is offered.

5. Tell the truth and don’t quibble; your boss will be giving
advice up the chain of command based on what you said.

6. Do your homework; give your boss all the information
needed to make a decision; anticipate possible questions.

7. When making a recommendation, remember who will
probably have to implement it. This means you must know
your own limitations and weaknesses as well as your

8. Keep your boss informed of what’s going on in the
unit; people will be reluctant to tell him or her their problems
and successes. You should do it for them, and assume
someone else will tell the boss about yours.

9. If you see a problem, fix it. Don’t worry about who
would have gotten the blame or who now gets the praise.

10. Put in more than an honest day’s work, but don’t ever
forget the needs of your family. If they are unhappy, you will
be too, and your job performance will suffer accordingly.

By Col Phillip S. Meilinger in The Ten Rules of Good Followership

Friday, July 06, 2007


Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.

~Warren Bennis

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.

~John Kenneth Galbraith.

It's amazing how many cares disappear when you decide not to be something, but to be someone.

~Coco Chanel

Monday, July 02, 2007

Qoutes by Socrates

The Temple of Poseidon

Friends, why do you scrape every stone to gather wealth,and take so little care of your children,to whom one day you will relinquish it all?
Socrates (469 - 399 BC)

'To find yourself, think for yourself'
Socrates (469 - 399 BC)

A good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death.
Socrates (469 - 399 BC)

Source: Socrates Qoutes

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.

Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.

Envy is the ulcer of the soul.

Source: Socrates Qoutes

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Men of Mercy

A merciful man will be merciful to his beast.

~Old Proverb.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Past, Present & Future

The Past Was Perfect
The Present Is Tense
The Future Continues

~ Prof. Madya Dr Azahari Ismail

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Developing Family Strength

Family and Community Development @ eCitizen

The importance of strong families and the impact they have on the quality of life in communities and the nation are becoming more obvious every day. The home sets up a pattern that spills over into all other aspects of our society.

Dr. Nick Stinnet, expert in family life who retired from the University of Nebraska, identified characteristics of successful families in his Family Strengths Research Project. The patterns found to be important included:

Strong families appreciate the uniqueness and contributions of each family member--expressing feelings of appreciation in words and actions. Family members tell each other they are special. In the hurry of daily responsibilities, we often forget the importance of letting people know how much they are appreciated. It's so easy to take each other for granted, especially in families.

A teen sharing what she liked most about her parents said, "I like it when they do something special just for me. It's not my birthday or a special occasion but a time when it's unexpected. It's really a surprise and makes me feel so special." The need to be appreciated is a basic human need.

Think of what you can do to express appreciation for each member of your family. A special note or letter is one approach. A "date" with your son, daughter, or spouse also sends, in a special way, the message that you care. A gift "selected to match" a loved one is another way to say "You're special." Remember, "It's not the biggest things with all their pomp and show, it's the little special things you do that help people grow."

Strong families spend a lot of positive time together in work and play and enjoy being together.

Activity overload is a major family challenge of our day. There are so many things to do and so little time to do them all.

Dr. Stinnett reported: "Our study found that strong families intentionally cut down on the number of outside activities and involvements in order to minimize fragmentation of their family life." Special time with the family or family members doesn't come easily. You must take the time or you can end up with only leftover time--a time you are tired, irritable, cranky, or exhausted. You need to schedule time for your family when you are fresh and have something positive to share. The ability to enjoy your family, with humor and playfulness, comes more easily to some than to others. Some parents find it hard to leave a carpet unvacuumed or a messy desk at the office in order to relax and enjoy each other or their children. They feel it blackens their characters not to be above reproach at the office or not being a perfect housekeeper. Yet, time taken to spend happily with your family pays much bigger dividends than housekeeping tasks.

The desk and the carpet will be cluttered many more times but the moments to enjoy your family are never the same again. In our hectic paces of living, it is so easy to put things off and to say that one of these days we will do it. And it never happens. One of these days often means none of these days. If you want to build a stronger family unit, you must take some quality time when you have the energy, the inner peace, and the patience to give your best. You need to incorporate into busy schedules special times to share fun, special, and uplifting kinds of activities.

Effective Communication

The greatest gift I can receive from anyone is to be seen by them, to be heard by them, to be understood by them, and to be touched by them." This quote by Virginia Satir expresses the keys to good communications in families.

How wonderful it is to have someone see your side of things and to really understand how you feel. However, if we're not careful the needs and pressures of the moment often block this type of understanding.

"He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs" is a song that contains an important key for improving communications and strengthening relationships. Families that are strong have developed an ability to look beyond each others' faults and to see their needs. Family members don't do this every time, but they consistently put forth an effort to hear what the person is saying and feeling.

Strong families have quarrels and don't always agree, but they have the confidence to get things out into the open and to talk about them. Solutions that consider each person's needs are discussed and, hopefully, implemented.

Providing opportunities for all family members to share their concerns is important. A good practice is a family council, scheduled regularly, where individual and family concerns are shared with an open discussion of issues and possible solutions.

Touch is an important aspect of communications in families. A hug or squeeze, an embrace, a touch of the hand can communicate in many ways when words seem empty.

The next time things get tense and everyone is trying to speak simultaneously, pause for a moment. Try to put yourself in the other person's place and hear what is being said and try to experience what the other is feeling. Realization that someone understands and cares eases a lot of tension and goes a long way in building strong families.


Commitment is a positive quality that constantly appears in strong families. They share the kinds of experiences that make the family more attractive than other groups. Strong families are committed to helping and promoting the happiness of each other.

Commitment also comes from an active involvement in setting family goals. Each person has a chance to share what he/she thinks is important. This kind of involvement brings with it a commitment to see that the goals are met.

Teenagers are more willing to go along with a family vacation if they have some say on where and what is planned. This holds true in other areas. You need to take the time to make an effort to get input from each member of the family involved in a planned trip. When you do this, you are saying "You are important and what you have to say counts." This process takes time and some flexibility but the benefits are worth the efforts. Commitment is a vital factor in developing a sense of unity among family members.

Religious Orientation

The families in Dr. Stinnett's study share a high degree of religious orientation. In addition to attending to religious ocassion as a family, they often pray together and read the Kitab and other inspirational books. They share a set of common values. In their daily activities, they apply the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." They share the belief that there is a Supreme Being that is a guiding force.

Families that have developed these five characteristics discussed are better able to meet the challenges of today. The unity they have developed makes it possible for them to draw upon the resources of each other as they are needed. They become a strength to one another.

Source: The Fun Place: Developing Family Strength by Dr. Nick Stinnent

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Create The History

Petronas Twin Tower, Malaysia

We cannot change the history, but we can create the new one.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Murni Melati Ahmad's Personal Web Pages
Be Pro-Active
Here, Covey emphasizes the original sense of the term "proactive" as coined by Victor Frankl. You can either be proactive or reactive when it comes to how you act about certain things. Being "proactive" means taking responsibility for everything in life. When you're reactive, you blame other people and circumstances for obstacles or problems. Initiative, and taking action will then follow. Covey shows how man is different from animals in that he has self consciousness. He has the ability to detach himself and observe his own self, think about his thoughts. He goes on to say how this attribute enables him. It gives him the power not to be affected by his circumstances. Covey talks about 'Stimulus and Response'. Between Stimulus and Response, we have the power to choose the response.

Begin with the End In Mind.

This chapter is about setting long-term goals based on "true-north principles". Covey recommends to formulate a "personal mission statement" to document one's perception of one's own purpose in life. He sees visualization as an important tool to develop this. He also deals with organizational mission statements, which he claims to be more effective if developed and supported by all members of an organization, rather than being prescribed.

Here, Covey describes a framework for prioritizing work that is aimed at long-term goals, at the expense of tasks that appear to be urgent, but are in fact less important. Delegation is presented as an important part of time management. Successful delegation, according to Covey, focuses on results and benchmarks that are to be agreed in advance, rather than on prescribing detailed work plans.

Think Win/Win

Think Win-Win describes an attitude whereby mutually beneficial solutions are sought, that satisfy the needs of oneself as well as others, or, in the case of a conflict, both parties involved.
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.
Covey warns that giving out advice before having empathetically understood a person and their situation will likely result in that advice being rejected. Thoroughly listening to another person's concerns instead of reading out your own autobiography is purported to increase the chance of establishing a working communication.


Synergize describes a way of working in teams. Apply effective problem solving. Apply collaborative decision making. Value differences. Build on divergent strengths. Leverage creative collaboration. Embrace and leverage innovation. It is put forth that, when this is pursued as a habit, the result of the teamwork will exceed the sum of what each of the members could have achieved on their own. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Sharpen The Saw

Sharpen the saw focuses on balanced self-renewal. Regaining what Covey calls "productive capacity" by engaging in carefully selected recreational activities.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Think Positive

Cloth Sun Flower

"Do all the good you can,By all the means you can,In all the ways you can,In all the places you can,At all the times you can,To all the people you can,As long as ever you can."

-John Wesley

"Everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices you've made in the past." -Deepak Chopra

"Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life."

- Harvey Mackay

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

-Albert Einstein

"Be wise in the use of time. The question in life is not how much time do we have? The question is what shall we do with it."

-Anna Robertson Brown

"Love What You Do.Do What You Love."

-Wayne Dyer

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."

-Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Leadership is all about a leader who handle the ship. Some people said that, we cannot have more than one leader in one ship. But, why not? Everybody is a leader- at least for their own self. Everybody is a follower - no matter how 'big' we are, we are the follower of god. However, only the best follower can be the best leader.

As a leader, we must know our destiny. As a leader, we must always be prepared and knowledgeable. As a leader, we must aware with our strength, and weakness. As a leader, we must be creative, inovative, open minded, energetic, and ready to transform ourselves for the betterment during our journey to success.

The ship might have a million of brilliant leader, but only one would become their captain. As a leader, we must know how to choose the best leader and become the best follower to achieve our goals.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Leader & Manager: Differences in Perspectives

Red Squirrel

Managers think incrementally, whilst leaders think radically. "Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing." [2]. This means that managers do things by the book and follow company policy, while leaders follow their own intuition, which may in turn be of more benefit to the company. A leader is more emotional than a manager . "Men are governed by their emotions rather than their intelligence" [3]. This quotation illustrates why teams choose to follow leaders.

"Leaders stand out by being different. They question assumption and are suspicious of tradition. They seek out the truth and make decisions based on fact, not prejudice. They have a preference for innovation." [4]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Definition of Leadership

House defines "leadership" organizationally and narrowly as "the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members".[1]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Crux of Leadership Development

Abandoned baby polar bear is 'better off dead' than raised in zoo?

“The crux of leadership development that works is self-directed learning: intentionally developing or strengthening an aspect of who you are or who you want to be, or both.”

~Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee

Primal Leadership (Harvard Business School Press)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tailor Feedback to the Person

Be sensitive. If the person's life orientation is to prevent disaster, stick with suggestions for improvemnt to help them achieve that goal. If individuals will be devastated by negative feedback, accentuate the positive aspects of their performance.
~ John H. Zenger & Joseph Folkman

Zenger, J.H. & Folman, J. 2004. The Handbook for Learders: 24 Lessons for Extraordinary Leadership,United States: Mc Graw Hill. (p. 42).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Push The Self to Improve

Orang Utan

Possesing even one strength causes performance ratings to imrove drastically.
~ John H. Zenger & Joseph Folkman

Zenger, J.H. & Folman, J. 2004. The Handbook for Learders: 24 Lessons for Extraordinary Leadership,United States: Mc Graw Hill. (p. 24).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Find Trustworthy Sources of Feedback

It's easy to get blindsided by our own weaknesses.
We need people we can trust who will tell us the truth about ourselves.
Don't shy away from giving good feedback to others.

~ John H. Zenger & Joseph Folkman

Zenger, J.H. & Folman, J. 2004. The Handbook for Learders: 24 Lessons for Extraordinary Leadership,
United States: Mc Graw Hill. (p. 42).

Friday, May 11, 2007

Treat for Success

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse,
but if we treat them as they ought to be,
we help them become what are they capable of becoming.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not to Know...

Scientific name: Ailurus fulgens

Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse

~African Proverbs

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Smile & Change

Some people grin and bear it. Others smile and change it.


Monday, May 07, 2007

The Real Fault

Is the tapir an endangered species?

The real fault is to have faults and do not try to mend them


Friday, May 04, 2007

New Definition of Management

The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.
~Agha Hasan Abedi

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Key of Developing Great Leadership


Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weaknes, but by the presence of clear strengths. The key to developing great leadership is to build strengths.

~ John H. Zenger & Joseph Folkman

Zenger, J.H. & Folman, J. 2004. The Handbook for Learders: 24 Lessons for Extraordinary Leadership,
United States: Mc Graw Hill. (p. ix).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Leadership vs Character

Meerkat Manor

Everything about great leadership radiates from character

~Dave Ulrich

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Best Leader

Avena Fatua Wild Oat

Start with what they know. Build with what they have.

The best of leaders when the job is done,

when the task is accomplished,

the people will say we have done it ourselves

~ Lao Tze

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.

~Samuel Butler