The last 2 years have seen tremendous upheaval in all aspects of life.  With the COVID-19 imposed physical distancing and abrupt shift to mandatory remote work, organisations have no prior experience or thought-through policy to manage remote employees. Many were forced to experiment and adapt HRM processes on the go.  

What type of leadership is required for the Pandemic transformed new workplace? What kind of leaders are needed? What is the role of a leader that remains unchanged? What is the role of a leader that needs to change?

a) More than ever, leaders need to articulate an inspiring shared vision of possibilities. With much changes in a VUCA world, a leader does not command commitment but recruit people who want to be part of this shared vision.

This starts at the recruitment process of recruiting a leader who wants to get others involved in the process of seeing beyond today’s challenges and uncertainties and contribute to a brighter future.

b) Selection – Hire people with diverse backgrounds, but with “cultural complements”, and embrace the espoused values, not just people you find likeable. Observe how the leaders behave, not the values they talk about.

c) What behavior gets rewarded? During performance Review and goal setting, how are behaviors assessed? Is feedback shared consistently? Is the feedback weighted based on the status of the speaker? Does the leader build trust in organisation? During performance appraisal, are there clear behavioral standards? Or is this a political and fear-based environments.

d) Developing. What is the employees feedback with regards to professional development, feedback assessments, or engagement surveys? Do they believe that these are irrelevant, do they tie back to what the organization actually reinforces and rewards. Is there a “safe learning environment” to help employees grow?

e) Does the leadership “encourage the heart”? Kouzes and Posner (2017) and appreciate their contributions? Does the leadership celebrate the values and victories and create a spirit of community.

f) Reward and Recognition.  Fairness and Equity seems a big concern with the Gen Z. Do leaders maintain high expectations about what individuals and teams can accomplish? What is the criteria to become a manager, director, vice president? What are the expected behaviors that earn a person said title? What technical and leadership skills are needed? These are all expressions of culture and values, but too often they are perceived as random.

Do leaders celebrate values and victories? These celebrations are not only about achievements, but even entrances and exits or promoting workplace altruism. Leaders do not need a title. They can be from all levels of the organisation or those who are encouraged to exercise personal leadership. By enabling this shared responsibility, leaders set the tone.

For more ideas on how other organisations conduct performance appraisal: Others

Sent to me via whatsapp, author unknown

Love this poem ❤️

I feel I want to go back in time ⏰

Not to change things, but to feel a couple of things twice..

I wish I was a Baby 👶 for a while…

Not to be walked in the pram but to see my Mother’s smile

Some times,
I wish I could go back to school 🏫

Not to become a child but to spend more time with those friends, I never met after school..

I wish I could be back in college…

Not to be a rebel but to really understand what I studied

I wish I was an Apprentice at my work 🖥

Not to do less work but to recall the joy of the first pay cheque

I wish I could marry 💑
again all over…

Not to change the partner but to ‘feel’ the excitement and ceremony better

I wish my kids 👨‍👦 were younger….

Not because they grew fast but to play with them a bit more

I feel I still had some more time to live…

Not to have a longer life but to know the appreciation and resources I could share with others. It will be well.

Since the times ⏰ that have gone can never return,

let’s enjoy the moments as we live them from now on,
to the fullest..

Let’s Celebrate our Life – Every Moment, Every Day…… 😊❤️

“The Great Realisation” by Tom Foolery (aka Tomos Roberts)

“Tell me the one about the virus again, then I’ll go to bed”.

“But, my boy, you’re growing weary, sleepy thoughts about your head”.

“That one’s my favourite. Please, I promise, just once more”.

“Okay, snuggle down, my boy, but I know you all too well.

This story starts before then in a world I once would dwell”.

“It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty,

Back before we understood why hindsight’s 2020

You see, the people came up with companies to trade across all lands

But they swelled and got much bigger than we ever could have planned

We always had our wants, but now, it got so quick

You could have anything you dreamed of, in a day and with a click

We noticed families had stopped talking, that’s not to say they never spoke

But the meaning must have melted and the work life balance broke

And the children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone

They filtered out the imperfections, but amidst the noise, they felt alone.

And every day the skies grew thicker, ‘till you couldn’t see the stars,

So, we flew in planes to find them, while down below we filled our cars.

We drove around all day in circles, we’d forgotten how to run

We swopped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks ‘till there were none

We filled the sea with plastic because our waste was never capped

Until, each day when you went fishing, you’d pull them out already wrapped

And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us why

It’s best to not upset the lobbies, more convenient to die

But then in 2020, a new virus came our way,

The governments reacted and told us all to hide away

But while we were all hidden, amidst the fear and all the while,

The people dusted off their instincts, they remembered how to smile

They started clapping to say thank you and calling up their mums

And while the car keys gathered dust, they would look forward to their runs

And with the skies less full of voyagers, the earth began to breathe

And the beaches bore new wildlife that scuttled off into the seas

Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking

We’d grown so used to bad news, but some good news was in the making

And so when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside

We all preferred the world we found to the one we’d left behind

Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new

And every simple act of kindness was now given its due”

“But why did it take us so long to bring the people back together?”

“Well, sometimes you’ve got to get sick, my boy, before you start feeling better

Now, lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that we can do

And who knows, if you dream hard enough, maybe some of them will come true

We now call it The Great Realisation and yes, since then, there have been many

But that’s the story of how it started and why hindsight’s 2020”

Wade and Shane (2020) uncovered a pre-COVID-19 digital transformation failure rate of 87.5 per cent. (Wilcocks, University  of London Subject Guide, p226)

Four main reasons why digital transformation fails: 

  • Lack of strategic digital leadership and investment prioritisation
  • Lack of large scale project management capability
  • Unrealistic expectations, limited scope, poor governance and underestimating cultural barriers. (Wade and Shane, 2020)
  • Lack of detailed digital strategic vision

Ross et al (2019) suggest five building blocks (really organisational capabilities) needed for digital success.

First, shared Customer Insight where Schneider Electric experimented and placed digital offerings before customers to learn what they find valuable and involved them in co-creation.  

Second, build an operational Backbone such as LEGO simplifying 13 interdependent global supply chain process with standardisation, integration of processes into other business functions and process automation. 

Third, building a Digital Platform is a technologically-enabled business model that create value by facilitating exchanges between producers and consumers, data and infrastructure (IMDA, 2021). API (Application Programming Interface) linkages allow seamless exchange of data. 

Fourth, build an accountability framework e.g Spotify has project managers that retain ownership throughout a component’s lifecycle. Metrics that record progress and release software continuously as well as collaboration built on trust. 

Lastly, build an External Developer Platform, e.g. DBS Bank in Singapore offers its outside partners more than 200 API digital components e,g, customer spending patterns, to develop synergies and complementor, collaborating with competitors.

“Desirable Difficulties”, first coined by Psychologist Robert Bjork.

Increasingly, I find myself unable to focus, distracted by many possibilities. Creating a podcast, learning Zoom, MS Teams, Collabultra, Kaltura. Skype? Not any more.

As an educator in Covid-19 world, I have had to learn new tools, and suddenly a world of technology tools to engage my students emerged. I can now ask Questions, and my students will respond via “Chat” function. They are not as shy as I thought, but not willing to be rude to interrupt a class with their hands raised. Chat function is different. I can choose to look at their comments when I’m ready. They’re not interrupting anyone.

Soon I began to discover other tools such as “Wooclap”, “Padlet”, “Nearpod”, “Mentimeter”, “” “Google Forms”, “Kahoot”. And I’m able to test their learning, instead of having my students be passive. Open your mouths, let me pour the knowledge in.

Gamification, the new best friend of Education. Where teachers can set up friendly competitions to test knowledge of their students. But what if in the midst of all that fun, students are merely clicking at answers. Not processing them through pen and paper.

First, struggle helps. Move aside rote learning.

Cognitive Psychologist Nate Kornell found that students who struggle to generate an answer on their own, even a wrong one, enhances subsequent learning.

(P85- Kornell and psychologist Janet Metcalfe tested sixth graders in the South Bronx as well as repeated an experiment on students at Columbia University found that “being forced to generate answers improves subsequent learning even if generated answer is wrong.

Second, solve unexpected problems.

Education Economist Greg Duncan, a foremost education professor in the world opined that focusing on “using procedures” problems worked well forty years ago when the world was flush with jobs that paid middle class salaries for procedural tasks like typing, filing and working on an assembly line. Increasingly jobs that pay well require employees to be able to solve unexpected problems, often while working in groups.

Third, broad application to different scenarios

These shifts in labor force demands means knowledge needs to be durable but also flexible – sticky and capable of broad application – known as “interweaving”. We need people who can hunt for and connect contextual clues.

Dedre Gentner, Northwestern University Psychologist and one of the world’s foremost authority on analogical thinking, ie practice recognising conceptual similiarities in multiple domains or scenarios that seem to have little in common on surface. Analogical thinking takes the new and makes it familiar. As well as take the familiar and apply under new light and allow humans to reason through problems they have never seen in unfamiliar contexts.

Example explaining light as billard balls or Einstein explaining relativity using train travel.

Fourth, MORE

Creativity researcher Dean Keith Simonton showed that the more work, eminent creators produced, the more duds they churned out, BUT also the higher the opportunity of a “supernova success”. Thomas Edison held more than a thousand patents, BUT rejected for more.

There is a chinese saying, the more you do, the more mistakes you make. Do nothing, no mistakes. As leaders, when we pick out mistakes, rather than applaud those who try, we inadvertently, encourage a “Fixed mindset”, rather than a “Growth Mindset”.

We learn who we are, by doing, by trying new activities, building new networks, finding new role models. – Hermina Ibarra, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD

Her timeless advice: Test and learn vs Plan and Implement. Which among my various selves should I start to explore now? Create tiny experiments for yourself today.

Plan experiments from technological innovation to comic books. That experience is not wasted. Be willing to learn and adjust as you go. Allow mental meanderings and personal experimentation. Accept interdisciplinary exploration and diverse experience building.

#range #specialist #generalist #experiment #problem solving #21st century competency #competency

Chihuly glass sculptures are often seen as chandeliers in hotels and palatial homes.

Chihuly has now pivoted outdoors with the recent covid and partnered with prestigious gardens such as Gardens by the Bay to display these magnificient glass bursts of passion outdoors.

How about you? Are you pivoting to new partnerships? Rethinking your business model? Finding new outlets to display your talent while still retaining the essence of who you are?

Catch them in Singapore Gardens by the Bay from 1 May to 1 August 2021. See you there.

Yesterday my neighbours T&D gave me a box of Alphonso mangoes which they acquired from Little India- Tekka Market ahead of India’s lockdown. Good thinking.

I was the lucky beneficiary as they know I like the lovely fragrance of Alphonso. But I declined saying I will only take one or two as they spoil easily. Not to be deterred, the resourceful T gave me suggestions of pressing them to juice, making lassi – Indian yogurt drink.

I decided that I shall cut one immediately. To my surprise, I realised that the firm Alphonsoes are already ripe. Unlike Thai mangoes which are sour when firm, Alphonsoes are sweet when ripe.

I have been keeping them past their shelf life, no wonder the previous box had to be thrown away.

Recently, someone, on hearing that I was taking another certification reflected. You dont need another course. Its time to just do it.

Why do we hoard? We hoard to store for a rainy day. Some items are perishable, and cannot be hoarded. They spoil or past their prime. We say No to chocolate cake. I dont like chocolate, its too heaty for my body. Extra calories with no enjoyment. I say no to alcahol and cigarettes. I say no to risky behaviour that I will regret at leisure. I say no to losing my temper.

I say yes to …

What am I saying yes to…

Do it. As Nike yells!

Now! My self-coach is yelling.


Thank you T & D for your message in the mangoes!

#mango #now #TIME #procrastinate #validate

“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” John Cage

Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more. – Andy Warhol

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” – Andy Warhol

Today, I’m bored. (Most times, I’m boring). I’m an accidental Warhol fan and took his advice.

Embrace the place where life happens

I started with the most boring, unimportant and urgent task, cleaning my car windshield screen. A cleaner in the building walked past and asked if I was bathing my car. “Just as we need to bathe everyday, the car also needs daily bathing”, he shared.

Purpose and meaning to the ordinary

Very wise advice, “bathing” is indeed a boring but essential activity. That simple connection of our shared activity of cleaning. Perhaps that was how he saw meaning in his work. Zen of everyday living.

People’s opinion

When I put attention to something, it becomes more important and more interesting. I am going through the book of Psalms which used to bore me. Recently I started reading it with the help of Ms Seah Jiak Choo’s video and resources of CS Lewis and David Pawson and fellow educators.

Going through it together, albeit virtually somehow made it interesting for me. Although I read the same poem everyday, I chew on each word, its meaning and significance in my life and greater context. No surprise, this is the year of the ox. Chew on it.

CNY Salad at HV restaurant with Bel, 2021

Boredom could be a sign of anhedonia or fatigue and burnout. If thats you, seek help and rest.

Putting the ordinary on the Pedestal

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Christmas Tree I donated at Singapore Botanic Gardens for the Singapore Garden City Fund. I didnt see the tree at night but someone spotted it on PM’s FB.

Very purposeful project which brings joy for park visitors this season.
Thank you to the teams at NTF Hospital and Jurong Hospital for decorating the tree. Thank you to all healthcare and essential workers.

What a beautiful morning with my friend A and our husbands. Walk and breakfast at Casa Verde.

In BMGC, we discussed companies such as McDonalds adapting their menus for different religions (Culture), such as not having beef burgers in India where cows are holy and Hindus do not eat beef.

Tomorrow is the Hindu celebrations of Festival of Lights. Yesterday, I was at Dunlop St, Little India and took a photo of this beautiful dancer wall mural. Interestingly a box of paneer (cheese) sits at the bottom of the photo.

Happy Holidays as you look around Singapore to catch sight of how companies both MNEs and local companies create value.