Saturday, October 15, 2005

In "The Window and the Mirror"; In Humility and Will: Teams and Level 5 Leadership

OK ... back to work. I've started receiving emails inquiring what happened to my blog that had not been updated for 6 weeks. I really appreciated them, actually ... at least somebody is missing my postings, but dude! Bloggers need vacation too!

Six weeks ago I discussed how "teams and good performances are inseparable: You cannot have one without the other ..." But actually there's also something more to it. "We were lucky, to live in such a community where the concern for the environment is quite high..." I've heard them saying. "It forces us to be aware of what we use and what we discharge, and this puts us in an advantage in today's environment where energy prices is constantly climbing."

Harvard Business Review, September 2005 / Best of HBR 2001
Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve

"... Compare Bethlehem Steel and Nucor, for example. Both steel companies operated with products that are hard to differentiate, and both faced a competitive challenge from cheap imported steel ... (Yet) Bethlehem Steel's CEO summed up the company's problem in 1983 by blaming the imports: 'Our first, second, and third problems are imports.' Meanwhile, Ken Iverson and his crew at Nucor saw the imports as a blessing: 'Aren't we lucky; steel is heavy, and they have to ship it all the way across the ocean, giving us a huge advantage.' Indeed ... Iverson went so far as to speak out publicly against government protection against imports, telling a gathering of stunned steel executives in 1997 that the real problems facing the industry lay in the fact that management had failed to keep pace with technology.

... The emphasis on luck turns out to be part of a broader pattern that we have come to call 'the window and the mirror'. Level 5 leaders, inherently humble, look out the window to apportion credit--even undue credit--to factors outside themselves. If they can't find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck. At the same time, they look in the mirror to assign responsibility, never citing bad luck or external factors when things go poorly. Conversely, the comparison executives frequently looked out the window for factors to blame but preened in the mirror to credit themselves when things went well.": Jim Collins, coauthor "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

... in new languages, new cultures, and new friends ... in paperworks, confusions, frustrations, and well ... fun!! Ieper: Third Month

Welcome to Europe. Where children's merry-go-round plays "Fuck Me Like a Whore" as a background music and where Brussel's dark alleys and certain Germanic "lifestyle" could make New Orleans, Cancun, and even the walletjes look like some humble theme parks.

Where life is almost all about savoring (when you're not doing bureaucracy papers), and where "moral" stands for the culture of caring for the weak and the future generations and has less to do with sticking your nose in something none of your business.

Where I still struggle to answer the seemingly simple question: 'Where are you from?'

Someone once told me that "home is where your heart is". But my heart does not belong to a specific location or a specific person within a location. It is with the people, the experience, and the enjoyment of the things that I do. I don't really own a "home" that I crave to return to. But in many corners of this planet, I have someone who will gladly meet me in hour's notice.

This is my curse, my blessing, ... my life.

Some think that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and some think that the grass is greenest on their side of the fence (hence a taller fence is needed). It's just hard to appreciate life until you walk on someone else's shoes, isn't it? But I've walked the footsteps of many strangers, and I've learned that there is no grass that is greener or greenest; they all simply have different shades of green.

... eastern Italian Alps: and the journey concludes ... for now.

Friday, October 07, 2005

in Chiantis, ancient towers, nude statues, vineyards, olive trees, rolling hills, and mighty mountains ... Under the Tuscan Sun, Italia!

... then we were off for a week of Tuscan relaxation staying in a beautiful farm 'La Presura' in Chianti... visiting Firenze, Sienna, San Gimignano, Pisa, Lucca, and of course, the garden of Toscana: the Chianti's vineyards and rolling hills ...

'La Presura'




San Gimignano

Sunday, October 02, 2005

in beautiful cities, french wines, and french food: we started the trip through Paris and Geneve

After spending the night in Sheraton CDG (the best airport hotel I've ever stayed in, right in the terminal), I met a friend the next morning and we began our journey.