Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Thursday, 13 October 2016
If you watched the presidential debate last Sunday, chances are you didn't learn much about the issues facing the United States. The debate was especially vitriolic - so much so that CNN dubbed it the "scorched-earth debate." If you just listened to what the candidates said, there wasn't much of anything new. But if you watched their body language closely, both candidates revealed more about themselves than they bargained for, and not in a good way.
Here are some of the body language goofs we can learn from:
1. Refusing to shake hands makes you look weak.
Breaking with many years' tradition, the candidates did not shake hands at the beginning of the debate. It was subtle enough that you could easily miss it, but if you watched closely, you could see Clinton saying "Hello, hello," coldly to Trump and then turning away before he could approach her to shake hands. He wound up taking an awkward step away from her as she turned to face the audience.
Might it be because Trump had assembled several women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and giving them prominent seats at the debate? The move appears to have gotten under Hillary Clinton's skin.
2. It's still rude to point.
We were all told as children not to point at other people and it's still good advice. Hillary Clinton has been "a pointer". But she appears to have had some coaching and during the debate she did not point at Trump even once. He, on the other hand, pointed at Clinton over and over and over. It did not play well.
3. Smiling at the wrong moment makes you look smug.
Hillary smiles so much that she had what is referred to simply as "permasmile." Smiling, of course, is powerfully positive body language but too much of it is a bad thing. Perhaps because of coaching, Clinton has not had a constant smile pasted to her face lately.
But during last night's debate, whenever Trump came out with a particularly harsh criticism, Clinton responded with a huge grin. The effect on those watching was to make Clinton seem smug, especially combined with her frequently raised chin, another sign of feeling superior.
It's a simple rule: Save the smile for times when a smile is called for.
4. No matter how threatened you feel, don't clasp your hands in front of you.
How many times have we seen this in our country? Royalties, ministers, religious scholars have all committed this cardinal sin in body language in public.
If you're under attack and feel intimidated, it's natural to assume a defensive posture, making yourself small and perhaps clasping your hands in front of you. But when you clasp your hands in front of you, it tends to look like you're trying to protect your private parts, making you appear even more defensive and weaker, as Trump did during the discussion of his lewd audiotape. It's not a good look.
5. Pacing is always a bad idea.
Clinton would often walk over onto Trump's side of the stage and sometimes into his space. That's exerting dominance. Trump was clearly rattled as a result. To get away from Clinton's encroachment, he walked toward the back of the stage, grabbed the back of his chair and began pacing in an almost threatening way. In self defence as well as law enforcement, pacing is one of the top three pre-assault indicators.
Obviously, Trump would not physically attack Clinton on national television, but his walking around behind her appeared threatening played very badly as this Twitter exchange shows.
Thursday, 6 October 2016
Monday, 19 September 2016
According to a survey done by badbossology.com and Development Dimensions International, a majority of employees spend 10 or more hours per month complaining - or listening to others complain - about their bosses or upper management. Even more amazing, almost a third spend 20 hours or more per month doing so.
While the survey results might initially be perceived an indictment of bad managers, I also see it as indictment of whiners; 10-20 hours per month is a lot of time. If people have that much time to waste, they should go back to school and get another degree, and then get another job if everything is so awful.
But back to original question: I have a simple, yet effective strategy to reduce “whining time.” Encourage your direct reports, colleagues, and peers to ask these four questions before making a public comment:
1. Will this comment help our company?
2. Will this comment help our customers?
3. Will this comment help the person that I am talking to?
4. Will this comment help the person that I am talking about?
If the answers are “no,” “no,” “no,” and “no,” I have a suggestion that doesn’t require a Ph.D. to implement.
Don’t say it.
We often use “honesty” as an excuse for dysfunctional disclosure. But we can be totally honest without engaging in useless negative disclosure. For example, while it is normal to believe that some of our co-workers may be jerks, we have no moral, ethical or legal obligation to share this view with the rest of the world.
Train everyone to think before speaking and to ask themselves, not just, “Is this comment what I believe?” but also, “Is this comment adding value?”
Teach everyone to focus on saying and doing things that add value, and to just leave out the rest.
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
What did you do on Tuesday, 19 April 2016? Life as usual? So did most Malaysians and the rest of the world.
What many people didn't know was that, on 19 April 2016, China was rolling out its new gold-backed yuan. Nobody in Malaysian media talks about it. Why would they? This story won't sell their papers.
The actual truth was, China has been quietly accumulating a significant amount of gold bullion in recent years. They are now the top producer and top consumer of gold in the world. They are believed to keep all of their domestic production, plus import significant amounts from other nations. In addition, they have been buying up gold mines around the globe at steep discounts and bringing home gold they had stored in London, New York and Switzerland.
After accumulating all of this gold, along with their close ally Russia, many believe they will eventually break the metal free from the price manipulation undertaken by the banks/governments in the United States and United Kingdom. Once price discovery moves from West to East, they will allow the price to float to free-market levels and the value of all the gold they have been accumulating will skyrocket.
Removing the gold price suppression will be accompanied by wholesale dumping of U.S. treasury bonds and test the world’s faith in the US dollar debt-based fiat currency system. This will give China, Russia and others a greater influence in world financial markets and better stability in their currencies. It may give them a considerable strategic advantage over the United States, a nation that many believe no longer has the gold that they claim. Indeed, with a lack of a comprehensive audit and unwillingness of officials to allow one, many believe the gold is no longer in Fort Knox.
Now we move to the really interesting part of this story. Not only has China been accumulating huge amounts of gold (on and off record), but they also launched their own international gold trading platform on the SGE. It has become the largest physical gold exchange in the world, with an estimated 52 times more physical gold withdrawals versus the predominantly paper exchange of the COMEX.
Fast forward to the first week of 2016 and China is warning foreign banks that they must participate in Yuan-based gold price fixing or lose their Chinese gold import rights. This first-ever Chinese benchmark is set to launch in April of this year and could be a game-changer for gold prices moving forward.
If you believe that the gold price has been suppressed in order to maintain faith in fiat money and allow governments to continue deficit spending to secure their power, it is logical to conclude that gold prices may rise sharply as the disconnect between paper and physical pricing intensifies. And it would make sense for China, Russia and other BRICS nations to push for such a transition, as it would diminish the dominance of the United States in global trade and finance, leveling the playing field.
What has that got to do with you, you say? CEO of JP Morgan Chase has ominous warning of economic tragedy on horizon.
Monday, 9 May 2016
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Decision-making overload is a common experience among managers. But you can process choices more efficiently and achieve better outcomes by using a checklist:
- Write down five company goals that will be impacted by the decision. This helps you avoid the rationalization trap of making up reasons for your choices later.
- Write down at least three realistic alternatives.
- Write down the most important information you are missing.
- Write down the impact your decision will have a year from now.
- Get buy-in from a team of at least two (but no more than six) stakeholders. Hearing different perspectives reduces your bias, but bigger groups have diminishing returns.
- Write down what was decided as well as why and how much the team supports the decision. This increases commitment and helps you measure results.
- Schedule a follow-up in a month or two to make course corrections.
Adapted from “A Checklist for Making Faster, Better Decisions,” by Erik Larson