Monday, February 27, 2006


Six Principles for 21st Century Leaders
By Prasad Kaipa

In my 15+ years of work with organizations and senior executives, I have found six principles, derived from spiritual literature, to be quite helpful in coaching executives to become successful in these times of great change. These six principles are interdependent and describe a cycle that when followed can help you develop new competencies and achieve higher levels of success.

The essence of these principles is self-knowledge. The more you practice the principles, the better you begin to know yourself.

Clarity of Intention

Intention is critical to achieving success. You may have an idea of the results you want and the direction you're heading when you take on a project, but most often you lack clarity about your goal, let alone knowledge of how to measure success if you achieve it.When the intention is not clear, attention drifts and leads to confusion. In such circumstances, you often end up compromising your own efforts and receive less than what you desire or even deserve. Without a crystal clear intention, you rarely experience a sense of accomplishment even if your more general intentions are fulfilled.To increase your clarity of intention, ask yourself the following questions:
What is it that I really want?
What evokes passion and joy in my heart?
How passionately do I feel about it?
What am I willing to give up (sacrifice) to achieve the desired goal?

If I have more than one intention, which one should I first attempt? These questions bring to the surface some of your assumptions and passion, helping you to prioritize your intentions (and hence your actions). Finally, exploring your intention creates a pathway to discovering your unique purpose in life. When you are aligned with what you want at head, heart and gut level, chances are your actions are also aligned, and you increase the likelihood of achieving the results you're seeking.

Constant practice helps you to stay focused on what you want until you get it.


Awareness is of two kinds: self-awareness and the awareness of the world around you. When you develop self-awareness – of both your competencies and weaknesses, you gain a better understanding of who you are and what you want, and equally important a clear picture of who you're not and what you don't want. Developing a deeper awareness of where others are coming from and remembering that you're also a player in creating the situation, you may be able to relax and become interested in others and their point of view.Awareness is dynamic. It is about continually being vigilant against complacency. You need to continually and dynamically reassess where you are with respect to where you were and where you want to go.There are four mental processes that act as enemies to awareness.

Personal Expectations and Standards

Everyone has their own set of standards and internal expectations. You pick them up from people whom you respect and like the most. Whatever their standards are, you attempt to live up to them even though your competencies and passion might not allow you to reach those expectations and meet those standards you unconsciously picked up. Only by becoming aware of those standards can you do something about them.

False / Incorrect Knowledge

You sometimes assume things about yourself and others that are plainly not true. Because you didn't face any challenges when you first assumed them, you sometimes take it for granted that they must be true. And if you get some proof that you might be right in one extreme condition, you may think that your assumptions are universally true. This is the source of your misidentified and incorrect knowledge. Once you have such knowledge, you rarely verify that in the real world and it becomes a block to awareness.

Wild Imagination (and attachment to it)

There is time for dreaming and fantasizing, and there is time for focusing and getting things done. Unfortunately, imagination can at times be so seductive that you're unwilling to accept that it is fantasy–not reality–and then it becomes a block to awareness.

Memory of Past Successes and Failures

Faulty memory can also trap you into believing that your memory is right and the new data is wrong. And often past successes are bigger blocks to awareness than past failures. Of course, failure is a stepping stone to success if you can learn from it, but it is not commonly done.

Developing and practicing awareness requires becoming mindful of your own thoughts, feelings and body sensations. They give you early warning signals if you pay attention. You can become aware of your own thought processes by using reflective or contemplative practices, writing a journal regularly and continual examination of your intentions. Most awareness is tacit, but you can learn to pay better attention to your body signals, pains and pleasures, and energy shifts. They tell you to slow down your actions and reflect on the meaning of those body signals. The more aware you are of yourself, the sharper your senses become in observing your surroundings.


While clarity of intention and awareness set you onto the path to success, empathy and compassion helps you to gain the support of others.Empathy is the foundation for emotional intelligence. By being kind and empathetic, you allow yourself to build lasting relationships with your colleagues, employees and customers. When the situation has conflicts and divisiveness, the attitudes of warmth and affection can diffuse the tension. At that point, it is possible to become open to the idea of further exploration for an amicable solution.The practice of empathy requires demonstrating openness, mutual respect and trust in your relationships. Deep listening–not just to the words but the meaning behind the words–is the foundation for an empathetic relationship. Sharing from the heart and feeling the pain of others nurtures relationships. Empathy begets more empathy and is the source of a creative partnership.


While empathy opens the door, appreciation welcomes you in. By appreciating and acknowledging others, you increase their state of happiness. They, in turn, reciprocate and contribute happiness back to you and others they touch. Appreciation is also about self-acceptance, as you can only appreciate others to the extent that you can appreciate yourself.

Self-acceptance accelerates the process of self-development. Unfortunately, most people rarely appreciate who they are and what they receive. Appreciation is not flattery, but rather a genuine acknowledgment of a person's contribution. Honest appreciation lets others know that you honor and respect who they are. It also boosts morale and amplifies what gave rise to that appreciation in the first place. Make it a ritual every day to find something positive that you have done or some contribution that you have made to others. Even if the work you have done has not yet produced the desired result, appreciate the steps you have taken so far. Similarly, appreciate what others do in their struggle to achieve the results they want. Be authentic when you give such feedback. Then you and the other person can discuss how to improve the efforts and get the desired results later on.

Stretching Beyond Your Own Limits

Your free will to take actions that stretch you beyond your comfort zone gives you the ability to change the course you're on. To do this, your intentions must be clear, active and flexible. In this stretch mode, you become immensely creative and passionate. Without such passion, you wouldn't even attempt to stretch in the first place.

Yes, stretching beyond your own perceived limits requires risk-taking, and people are naturally uncomfortable about taking risks and facing the possibility of failing. So-called 'failures' often create mental blocks and boundaries, most of which are self-imposed. By learning to stretch beyond your comfort zone, you begin to break through these mental barriers and discover your untapped potential. When you know that you're appreciated and not judged, you have an easier time to stretch beyond your limits.

To practice the principle of stretching the limits, find opportunities to learn and be vulnerable. Vulnerability does not mean being weak. It is about being in the state of not knowing and hence being open to learning. Your ability to learn is directly proportional to your ability to be vulnerable.The key is to be willing to fail and then ask questions instead of making assumptions. Practice telling the truth when you're not sure of what the implications may be.

Doing this serves to create an environment of nurturing and caring in which other people can also let their guard down and discover themselves to be bigger than they ever imagined.

Letting Go of What Doesn't Work

While the first five principles can get you to the edge of success, success eludes those who do not know when to let go and move on. By learning to let go of your old mindsets, you begin to discover new possibilities and new approaches. Letting go doesn't mean giving up; it means not worrying about the result while continuing to perform the action. That posture gives you the freedom to act in a relaxed yet focused manner and frees you to be more natural in order to bring out the best in yourself.

Letting go is also about flexibility and good judgment. When you know what to let go of and when to do so, you can take responsibility for what you can hold onto and for how long you must do so.The Cycle of the Six PrinciplesIntention provides the direction and focus for your actions. Awareness gives you the capacity and intelligence to go after your goal.

Empathy helps you to build partnerships with others, and appreciation is the key to motivation and productivity. Stretching beyond your perceived limits helps you to grow and meet challenges, and letting go of your attachments assures not only success but also accomplishment. And when you succeed in what you have undertaken, it is time to go back and clarify your intentions all over again as you set new goals. By practicing these six principles with self-awareness you can achieve not only success, but also self-discovery.

Prasad kaipa is the principal of The Kaipa Group, an executive leadership and business transformation consultancy.

Copyright © 2006 by Corporate Training Magazine Inc.All rights reserved.

"We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears."-François de la Rochefoucauld, French writer, 1613-1680

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Ping: A Frog in Search of a New Pond by Stuart Avery Gold

"While Ping's dreams got bigger, the pond got smaller."

In the tradition of Who Moved My Cheese? Here is a parable about change, overcoming obstacles, and making a leap of faith.

This simple, inspirational tale follows the journey of Ping, a frog in search of a new pond, preferably one good for long-distance jumping. Along the way he meets Owl, an insightful teacher who shares his wisdom, encouraging Ping to take an inner journey before pursuing his goal.

Ping represents everybody who has encountered a setback, needs to take a risk, or is struggling with the challenges of change -- that is to say, he is all of us. Owl is the mentor who helps him find meaning and leap to new heights. The adventure they embark on together is both engaging and revealing.


Excerpt from Ping: A Frog in Search of a New Pond


What matters is that you believe the following tale is true.

Personally, back at the beginning I had my doubts. And who wouldn't have some doubts when they first find out that the adventures described in these pages are, in point of fact, the transformative journey belonging to one of the pond's most enduring creatures . . . a frog.
Now for those of you who have just rolled your eyes, please don't be put off -- there is so much to learn. Despite the many bad things going on here on planet Earth, there are many good things happening too. And one of them is that there are still stories that can thrill the spirit and soar the soul.

This is one of those stories.

Long before you and long before me, long before there was the quicksilver of WiFi, broadband, streaming video, DVD, and VCR, long before there was television, movies, radio, and even books, there were stories that entertained, educated, motivated, and inspired. And while some stories passed down through the centuries were meant to soothe and calm and perhaps put the listener to sleep, this is a traveler's tale, meant to awaken the way within, showing the true purpose of the life journey is far more than a mere traveling to survive. Here is your invitation to leap at life's opportunities as shown through the heroic actions and revealing insights of one Ping the frog.

To verify this story I interviewed dozens of people, Asians and Westerners, Tibetan lamas and Zen masters, Burmese teachers and Taoist practitioners, cramming notebooks full before setting ink to paper. Some of the interviews took me to Japan, and some to China, and some to certain sages here in the United States. But alas, only a few knew Ping's remarkable tale, and fewer still could recount it from beginning to end. After all, this took place some time ago.

But the story still haunted me and I was still hopeful, so I spent many more months conducting research until, finally, blessedly, I was able to nail down an accurate record of the facts, which is how I can come to you vouching for this story's authenticity. And whether any of my efforts were worth it, is, of course, up to you to decide. After all, if history has taught us anything, it's that some stories are for telling. And some stories are for believing.

And the story of Ping the frog?

Well, that is a story forever . . .

Copyright © 2006 Stuart Avery Gold


For 1/10/06

From Iconoculture's Research Desk

What was top of mind for Americans in 2005? The word we were noodling on most? Tsunami? Nope; that was number 6. Filibuster? Number 4. Fact is, among the 7 million people who hit Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, the most sought-after word veered much closer to the heart of our national conscience. According to, we were most curious about "Integrity."

It's not the first time the daily news has sent Americans scrambling for definitions - in 2004, the most popular was "blog." But with integrity, we can't help wondering, were Americans really clueless about the word's meaning, or did they just need a refresher? Or perhaps they thought there were new shades of integrity for politicians, sports heroes and even the media? Contends Merriam Webster president John Morse, "I think the American people have isolated a very important issue for our society to be dealing with" (AP 12.10.05.)

We've seen the quest for integrity driving people's behaviors, too. In fact, it shows up in five of Iconoculture's Macrotrends. We've reported on ethics-seeking business leaders, professional sports teams, and even the CIA struggling to amp their organizational integrity, and move the needle on public perception. With this stir of I-word interest, we're not expecting mass recitations of a dictionary-perfect definition. But when it comes to evaluating people, companies, products, or whatever, we're betting most consumers know integrity when they see it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The Top 10 Stories of 2006

By David Bathstone

You don't expect easy answers from the WAG. So I chose not to review the top stories of 2005. Any hack can do that. It's much more fun to feature what I project will be front page news in 2006. Ok now, look deep into the crystal ball...

1) More Boomers will stay on the job Fully 43% of the workforce is eligible to retire in the next ten years according to Business Week. But I anticipate that many boomers will want to stay engaged at work. In equal fashion, companies will beg boomers to delay their retirement as experienced managers and skilled workers become more scarce. Imagine...gray will be hip again.

2) Shareholders with a conscience will make waves General Motors could not ignore Kurt Kerkorian in 2005 when he took nearly 10% stake in GM and took target at its dysfunctions. With less toned muscles, expect a rising swell of social investors to use shareholder leverage to lobby management to make changes. Example: Green Century Capital Management, formed to put equity behind environmental ideals, owns shares of ConocoPhilips and ExxonMobil with the intention to keep management at the respective oil companies accountable.

3) The reason Y Companies will be eager to discover what drives 20-somethings today. It's not just how much generation Y spend, but how much they influence what other people spend - one in three consumer dollars according to one UK study. If I may cut to the chase, Generation Y cares about experiences, participation, and living for the Now. Delayed gratification does not resonate for a generation with an uncertain future.

4) White collar workers will tread water...and grow restive In 2005 corporate profits grew nearly 15 percent from the previous year. That is twice the pace of growth in compensation for employees. And what growth there has been in compensation has mostly concentrated at the top of the management food chain. Put simply, the salaries of most white collar workers are treading water, growing roughly at the same rate as inflation. While jobs were being cut, white collar workers kept quiet. As the economy grows, expect more boldness.

5) Corporate investment gets its groove back One financial theme dominated business over the past four years: cost-cutting. That trend will change in 2006. Capital spending will increase dramatically, especially in the areas of research-and-development and technology capacity. A survey of CFOs conducted by Barron's business review shows that 66% of CFOs plan to increase capital spending in 2006 by and average of 9% above 2005. Nearly half of the CFOs plan to increase their R&D investments. Caveat: Don't expect these investments to lead to a big jump in new jobs.

6) Healthcare benefits will stay sick More companies will demand that employees take control of their health care spending in much the same way employees took over management of their retirement funds. Healthy young people are ideally suited for these plans; of course, they are not the ones who usually need health care. I anticipate more corporate executives to join a growing movement of health care reform activists. Unfortunately lobbyists have bought the farm already, and the sheep won't say a bleating thing. Sadly, I expect nothing to change in 2006...only rising frustration.

7) Sweating out sweatshops Last April, Nike, Gap and Patagonia joined with five other clothing retailers and six grassroots anti-sweatshop groups to form the Joint Initiative on Corporate Accountability & Workers' Rights. The project establishes a single set of labor standards for apparel factories around the globe. Although a living minimal wage for each locale still may be far off, history is moving toward more universal guidelines. That trend will gain more momentum in 2006.

8) Ma Bell may have to live in a shoeTraditional telecom companies are in deep trouble. I am turning to the cable company for my high-speed internet access. I make most of my U.S. calls on cell phone, and I use Skype for my international calls. I may even get a Skype phone this year and then the cost of my calls will approach zero. I am THIS close to dropping phone service into my home. I don't see a glimmer of hope for the telcos.

9) Excessive executive pay...enough already Shareholder activists will target excess executive pay big time in 2006. Nearly 90 percent of institutional investors believe that U.S. executives are vastly overpaid, according to the survey results of a recent study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. The final straw may be the latest exposé that many U.S. companies are secretly reimbursing executives for taxes they incur on salary, perks, and stock awards. Governing boards are starting to understand that executive greed damages employee morale and shareholder return. Expect a spate of boardroom conflicts.

Redefining retirementWritten by Carl Dierschow on 2006-01-04 17:56:39

Thanks for the great column, David, but I'd be even more courageous with your first prediction. I think we're on the verge of completely redefining the word "retirement". I see many older workers who have left full time employment, and now have shifted their focus to different kinds of contributions to society. If they need to work a bit to make some cash, fine, but that's no longer their focus. These people are incredibly valuable, but they're not "retired" in the traditional sense. They've learned that there's huge value (to themselves, and to others they care for) can come from following their passions. Which may well mean moving out of the traditional "workforce".

Everything ChinaWritten by Sarah Bell Haberman on 2006-01-04 11:51:47

In response to your top stories of 2006, I thought you would be interested in letting your readers know about this informative business radio series on China: American Public Media's "Marketplace" announced an ambitious series of live broadcasts from China Jan. 9-20, 2006, covering China through the stories of everyday Chinese citizens who each in their own way are influencing the global economy. Host Kai Ryssdal will present all three Marketplace shows with teams broadcasting from Shanghai, Chongqing (the world's largest city with 31 million people), and other locations throughout the country. Please contact me if you're interested in covering the broadcast, posting the information on your Web site and/or interviewing Ryssdal when he returns from China in late January. The following news release provides more information, including a summary of program topics. Sarah Bell Haberman (612-372-6441)

Employee OwnershipWritten by Wade Hudson on 2006-01-04 11:47:46

In the current Mother Jones Gar Alperovitz writes, "More people are now involved in some 11,500 companies wholly or substantially owned by employees than are members of unions in the private sector." I predict that this trend will continue, hopefully including firms that are controlled by employees on the basis of one person, one vote.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Good Company, Inc.: Bono's Red Revolution

Consumers with a conscience will soon have a new choice when looking for guilt-free shopping opportunities. American Express, Gap, Giorgio Armani and Converse are joining forces with Bono to sell their wares under the Product Red brand and dedicate some of the proceeds to fighting HIV/Aids in Africa. The initiative is expected to raise tens of millions in the next 18 months for programs targeted on women and children, but is also part of a revolution in marketing that other companies will study closely.

Product Red will be launched in the UK next month with an Amex credit card that contributes 1 per cent of what is spent up to $8,800 and 1.25 per cent on anything more. It will be followed by Gap T-shirts made in Lesotho, wraparound Emporio Armani sunglasses with a Red logo, Converse sports shoes made with African cloth and further products to be announced.

...Product Red [allows retailers] to bathe in the halo effect of Bono's star status and the satisfaction of doing good in Africa. And rather than spend millions on conventional advertising, the companies involved hope that customers will flock to them through the buzz generated by the campaign (including the free media coverage).