Monthly Archives: July 2018


Pad Thai salad at Another Hound, Bangkok. (Love the color). Recommend this @ your staff kitchen. Simple to prepare.

Do you come back from work and say:

“Honey, guess what!!?? We had pad Thai at the office cafetaria today.”

Or would you rather say:

“Honey, guess what we did at work today?”

Humans thrive on novelty and achievement. Not just free food.

Office cafetarias exist because  of convenience for colleagues to come together and collaborate. And create.

What do you think?


Check out the chicken wings. Do you have that in your office canteen? You do? Ok. Im filling out the job application. 😀👩🏻‍⚕️

If you still still think discovering your purpose or your ‘WHY’ is too touchy feely, listen to the podcast interview by Jacob Morgan of “The Future Organisation” with Tim Munden is the Chief Learning Officer at Unilever.

Company background
Unilever owns several brands including Dove, Ben and Jerry’s, Knorrs, Walls ice-cream. Unilever is found in over 100 countries with more than 160,000 employees.

Tim talks about putting 14,000 of Unilever employees of all levels through a workshop involving the discussion of their personal motivation WHY and linking that to their learning and development needs, bringing the whole self to work.

From the “Future Organisation” website,
Tim’s career started to have focus when someone asked him two questions:
1. What do you really love?
2. What do you want to learn about?

Tim’s advice for managers is to know how to answer– what is the purpose of our business? Keep asking why, why, why. Go on the journey with the senior leadership team.

Also, ask yourself what is the business case of the potential of all of your people. All the passion and energy. What is the price of not doing this? The well-being of employees, not just physical but mental.

Tim’s advice for employees is to make sure you challenge your own humanity, don’t check it at the door. Don’t be shy to bring yourself to work.

His main challenge at Unilever? Getting people to collaborate and share knowledge in a way that creates new learning. These sessions are part of the process to get there as well as reverse mentoring. Partnering older people with younger ones and have young ones teach the older ones.

What You Will Learn In the Episode:

● What Unilever is doing to help their people find their purpose
● Why do companies need to focus on purpose?
● What learning looks like at Unilever and how it has evolved over the last 25 years
● How to create a culture of curiosity and hunger to learn at work
Link from the episode


Jack Ma: Life is not about what you are able to do, but what you should be doing.
Author: 丁翔

Image credit: Simon Sinek 2013

In “Start with Why” and “Find your Why”, Simon Sinek and team talk about the importance of finding our motivation, our “Why”.

  • Why we get out of bed?
  • Why we do what we do? Get into university or find a job. Paying the bills is not a good motivator.
  • When you can find your why, it resonates with your gut.

The process requires thinking of specific experiences and people in our life that have shaped who you are today. People who have been most influential in your life.

Some memory prompts:

  • Think of a day at work, activity when as you headed home, you said to yourself, “I would have done that for free”. What happened that day that made you say that?
  • Think of your worst day at work – the kind of day you hope would never be repeated again. What happened?
  • At school, what was an experience, subject you loved?
  • What was a pivotal moment in your life when you realised nothing would ever be the same?
  • What have you accomplished that you’re really proud of? (Who else was involved? Was there someone who helped you, cheered you on.)
  • Was there a time when you gave of yourself to help someone else, after which you felt very good – like it was something meaningful?

Possible themes

  • To believe in people so that they can in turn believe in themselves
  • To provoke people to think differently so that they can be awakened to new possibilities
  • To inspire others to build skills and have a clear sense of vision so that they can accomplish much for themselves and their families, their communities.
  • Inspire growth in people to serve a higher purpose
  • To seek a life of passion, meaning and intensity, and be fully alive by inspiring others to forge an authentic, creative and unique path.

I have found the MBTI, Myers Briggs Type Instrument very useful in understanding the motivation or Why underlying my personality type.

Before you start thinking about the “WHAT” – type of organisation you want to work for, or create, start with WHY.   After you’ve discovered your why, the WHATs are products, services and job functions we perform. HOWs are values, guiding principles and actions.

There are several useful websites if you want to understand the tool without paying for it just yet:






种瓜得瓜 Sow what you reap
By 丰子恺 Feng ZiKai

Chinese ink painting
Singapore National Gallery

Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. Steve Jobs

Jack Ma: The world is not about what you can do, but what you ought to do.
马云:世界不是因为你能做什么,而是你该做什么. Book by 丁翔

Carl Sagan once told the story of early astronomers who looked up into the sky with their primitive telescopes and observed the planet Venus. It puzzled them greatly because Venus had no observable surface. Not at all like the Moon or Mars, it appeared just like a featureless, flat disc in the night sky.

“What on Earth could possibly explain that?” they asked.

“Well, suppose it was covered in clouds.” “Yes, that would explain it, since clouds obscure everything beneath them.” So they continued, “What surface conditions are needed to make clouds?”

“Well, heat, which we know Venus has because it’s close to the sun, and water.”

Clouds of orchids at the Singapore Garden Festival, Gardens by the Bay. 21 Jul- 3 Aug 2018

That made sense, so they continued, “What kind of surface do you get when you have heat, light and water?” “Well, tropical rain forests, for one thing.”

That made perfect sense, so they concluded that the surface of Venus was covered with tropical rain forests

As it turns out, the temperature on the surface of Venus is 900 degrees Fahrenheit and the clouds are made of sulfuric acid.

Which brought Carl Sagan to his point. “Observation: featureless disc. Conclusion: tropical rain forests.”

How far wrong we can go — in just a few short steps! The conclusion of those astronomers may seem silly to us, now that we know more about the conditions on Venus. But the process they followed in making their mistake was one which most of us easily follow. In the study of logic, the process is called inductive reasoning.

Observe particulars, derive generalities from them.

Source: Quoted from John David Hoag

Goldman Sachs | Careers Blog – 2017 Back-to-School Reading List

Bill Gates recommends:

Mark Zuckerberg recommends:

Elon Musk recommends:

Can’t finish all of them? Start a book club at your school or company.

Not sure how to form a book club?
Check this out:
“A year of reading :a month-by-month guide to classics and crowd-pleasers for you or your book group”
By Elisabeth Ellington, PhD & Jane Freimiller, PhD. – National Library


Photo of cactus taken by himself
From left: Kalancho “Mother of Thousands,” baby toes, lawyer’s tongue, romeo wax agave, ghost enchevera

Incredible 9 whom anyone need in their network

A – Adorers
Your fan club. Maybe its your mom. But if everyone starts praising you, time to expand your network.

B – Back, people who cover your back, @ work when you go on leave.

C – Clients/ Community of practice/ professional association/ expertise

D – Dream
People who can help you achieve your dreams. Or listen to your dreams however impossible.

E – Emotional support or confidante
Goes without saying that you should pick someone who will not blab around.

F – Faith/ Fun/ Family. Some friends are fun to be around, but disappear when you are in trouble. Recognise them for their worth. Do not confuse the two.

G – Grapevine or office gossip before it becomes official. Who is getting transferred?

H – Hot off the press/ Information
They may even be weak ties but have access to information outside your usual circle or field of expertise. People who are aware of job openings in your dream company.

I – Influence
Innovation, Mentors, Champions, provide support or resources eg Boss, HR, Finance

The more fortunate you are when these 9 overlap, the more enjoyable your worklife will be.

Who are the people you need in your network? What about you? Are you playing any of these roles?

(Recently the following has been making its way through Whatsapp. I am sharing it here not knowing who the author is. This was sent by a former colleague TSL.)

Lexophile describes those with a love for words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish,” or “To write with a broken pencil is pointless”

An annual competition is held by the New York Times to see who can create the best original lexophile.

Some of these phrases need an understanding of science and cultural metaphors. An interesting way to teach students from a non Anglo-Saxon culture the idioms.

What careers do you think suits a Lexophile?

The last one is a reason to be humble and not smarty pants.


No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

If you don’t pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

When chemists die, they barium.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.

I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

A will is a dead giveaway.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

For more jokes to lighten your day:
Creating communities through laughter.


Still on Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft who in 2014 at a Conference of Women in Computing.

When asked what advice he had for women seeking a pay raise who are not comfortable asking, Nadella replied,

good karma. It’ll come back. Long-term efficiency solves it.”

Backlash from many angry women at the implied advice to just bide your time.

So was Nadella right? Or its better to put your hands up and negotiate?

Asking for a pay raise may not be the best answer. Nadella was caught by surprise and his answer was not complete. (Don’t listen to what he says, watch what he does /did.)

When I researched deeper into Nadella’s background, he gave what he deemed as actually good advice.

What if you feel the system is rigged against you with bias and exclusion?

My earlier post “How to ask for a pay raise?” Suggests knowing your value and worth.

Competence aside, Nadella’s road to CEO underscored the importance of good collaborative skills and finding mentors.

Nadella found one in Doug Burgum, who became his champion, grooming Nadella to become his successor in the business solutions group. In the Black recounted, “Doug Burgum, who ran Microsoft’s business solutions group and is now governor of North Dakota, became a mentor.”

Burgum groomed Nadella to be his successor. In 2007, at Burgum’s last customer conference at Microsoft, he lavished praise on Nadella in front of an audience of thousands and then handed the keynote off to him. But right after the conference, Ballmer stepped in, reshuffling the staff. He decided that Nadella would be more valuable running a different group, the engineering arm of Windows Live Search, later known as Bing.

Although Bing was an underdog in the search engine world, Nadella honed an outsider perspective at Bing, and led him to his next mentor. Netflix CEO and then-Microsoft board member Reed Hastings invited Nadella to shadow him at Netflix meetings. Nadella did so on and off for about a year.

“Oh, my God, I learned so much,” remembers Nadella. “One of the things I felt was a big handicap for me was, having grown up at Microsoft, I’d never seen any other company.”

His Netflix adventure was shortened when Nadella was given control of Azure, Microsoft’s web-tools division that competes with Amazon Web Services, he leveraged the experience to make a case for his promotion to CEO.

“Netflix pivots very quickly based on new data,” ValueAct’s Morfit recalls Nadella telling him. “He thought that was very interesting compared to the bureaucracy Microsoft had built up.” Morfit, a major investor who had a big say in the Microsoft successor was more inclined in bringing an outsider to the position. Nadella ticked that box, with his Bing, Azure and Netflix experience.

Networking outside of Microsoft helped him gain an “outsider”-“insider” mentality. Breakthrough ideas, research shows, generally come from those at the fringe, not those in the centre.

Perhaps memories of these experiences floated in Nadella’s mind that day in 2014 when he answered that karma and taking a long term perspective into your career journey. Where one day, everything seems to fit together.

Azure, reported in Fast Company, posted 93 per cent revenue growth in the most recent quarter in 2017.

🥕Who would have thought a small step in a non descript technology could be a game changer for your career?
🥕 Are you stuck, like Cinderella, in an insignificant part of your business?
🥕Are you spending time grooming mentors, champions and advocates?
🥕 Do you know your niche?

Nadella is no business martial arts expert like Balmer and Gates. But he knows what he is good at. He is a cloud computing expert and can articulate his strengths as the solution Microsoft needs for such a time like this.

🍒🍒Take courage. Do not be a “Know it all”. Be a “Learn it all”.

“When you’re offered a seat on a rocketship you don’t ask, ‘What seat?’ You just get on,” Sheryl Sandberg recounting the advice given by Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google

Future of Microsoft and cloud, growth mindset

Why Microsoft Got It Right With New CEO Satya Nadella