Innovation is Everybody’s Business: How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Today’s Hypercompetitive World


innovation.jpgBy Robert B.Tucker  (2011)

In this book, the author mentioned about mastering the 7 essential I-Skills you need to become indispensable. You need to understand the 4 I-Skill Principles :

1. Innovation isn’t about something you do after you get your work done. It’s how you do your work.

2. Innovation is about more than inventing new products. It’s about figuring out how to add value where you are .

3. You can innovate in any job, any department or any organization.

4. Innovation is about taking action.

You need a strategy to develop your innovation. Here are 4 critical components to design that strategy :

  1. Identify where you are and where you want to go.
  2. Learn the business side of your organization.
  3. Understand your company’s culture.
  4. Pull it all together.


These are the 7 I-Skills
1. Embrace the Opportunity Mindset
– You add value to every task and every project.
– Noticing is essential to opportunity discovery.
– What would it look like if you did the reverse? When you do this on purpose, you embrace what I call the opportunity mindset. You make it a point to notice not only what is but what could be.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Learn to consciously shift your perspective.
2. Think small.
3. Listen for “there’s got to be a better way” mutterings.
4. Pay attention to happy accidents.
5. Look for problems customers have that aren’t being solved.
6. Look for opportunities to eliminate non value adding work.
7. Think big.
2. Become an Assumption Assaulter
– Blast away at personal, organizational, and industry notions that block progress.
– Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

How to invoke this skill?
1. Remember that innovation often begins where assumptions end. So talk back to the voices in your head that emerge out of defeatist, sustainer, and dreamer modes of thinking. Cultivate a questioning mindset. Asking questions is the most powerful spur to jump-start new thinking.

2. If you don’t like the choices on the table, ask yourself (and others) what a third or fourth choice might look like.

3. Cultivate a Passion for the End Customer
– Everything you create is your product and every product has a customer.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Understand the business you are in.
2. Develop empathy for the customer.
3. Strive for a big picture perspective.
4. Take on the customer’s problem.
5. Treat your boss like a customer.

4. Think ahead of the curve
– Notice trends, anticipate threats, and discover hidden opportunities.

How you need to think ahead of the curve?
1. Audit your information diet.
2. Think of yourself as the eyes and ears of your organization.
3. Build your information and support networks.
4. Seek out forward-thinking, idea oriented people.
5. Master the art of deep dive.
6. Develop your point of view on key issues.
7. Connect the dots.
8. Give people permission to give you bad news.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Monitor trends close at hand.
2. Learn to separate fads from trends.
3. Don’t wait for senior management to come to you and explain how they think you and your department can help them invent the future or implement a new culture.

4. Start observing trends and applying them to your life and work with penetrating questions.


5. Become an idea factory
– Scarcity creates value ; value creates indispensability.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Take the time to inspect your idea factory now. Do it now and periodically in the months and years ahead. Look not just the ideas you are generating, but at what is happening with those ideas. If you’ve gotten bogged down by the minutia of tactical execution, shift consciously into Innovator Mode. Reread your personal innovation strategy and coax yourself to come up with ideas to move you forward.
2. Become conscious of when an issue you must deal with, a decision you must make or an opportunity you wish to maximize would benefit from unitasking.

3. Know yourself in terms of the time of day and specific locations that often produce a flood of ideas.

4. Do plan to take a Doug day. Put it on the calendar and take it seriously.

6. Become a standout collaborator
– Galvanize teams and departments to get new initiatives done.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Have an eye on the bigger picture. Keep an eye on reputation, results and residuals.

7. Build the buy-in for new ideas.
– You need to have powerful methods to build buy-in for new ideas example by doing your homework, let others think it was their idea, customize their communication style, make it safe for buyers to say yes, focus on benefits and overcoming resistance, use the power of stories, cross boundaries to build support for your idea, be persistent.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Try to anchor your idea in as many places inside the company, and with as many customers that are important outside the company.
2. Ask yourself whether
– your idea is aligned with sphere of influence, track record and overall reputation?
– Is timing right?
– Have I sown plenty of seeds and educated influential people on the merits of making this change?
– Who has actually used this idea and what have the results been?
– What info or expertise do I need to obtain to accomplish this goal?

Mark Twain once said, “I’m all for progress. It’s change that I don’t like.” Learn to enjoy the journey from idea to implementation because your idea quest will almost always end up someplace that you didn’t quite expect.


Dare to be different


DaretobedifferentBy Sandro Forte (2008)

When you want to present, you can consider the “Two Jobs” Presentation.

Job A
1. $19,000 pa
2. Company car

Job B
1. $18,000 pa
2. Income protection (50% of salary)
3. Death in service (2X salary)
4. Critical illness (2X salary)
5. Personal pension
6. Private medical insurance
7. Company car.

Which of the 2 jobs would you consider more attractive?


Dare to be different Part 1


Daretobedifferent By Sandro Forte (2008)

We live in an ever-changing environment and nothing changes more than life itself. To cope with this change and to capitalise on it, we must, above all else, be consistent and persistent.
-> Understand the nature and art of being consistent.

-> Being able to deflect any thought that’s likely to make you stop being consistent.

-> Having “inside” knowledge around the best tools and techniques needed to make being consistent easy to achieve.

-> Having an all-consuming passion to be consistent about your primary goal That is often the number one reason why you are alive.


You need to have a specific and credible Primary Goal. You need to adopt MindChangers, which is a set of tools emerged from the world’s number one business associated with winning- the World of Sports.

MindChanger tool called Fast Forward

I’d like you to talk to yourself. In a moment, set this book aside and talk to yourself. Talk about what you expect to achieve. Do this now for a couple of minutes before reading on..

This time, I want you to do the same thing but assume it’s a year into the future and you’re looking back, reminding yourself what’s already happened – as if it has. So put the book down and do this again but now talk in the past tense..

If you were to do fast forward regularly – and it’s more fun with someone else- you would start to change your beliefs automatically.

  1. Write down your primary goal
  2. Write down a list of other goals – short, medium and long-term
  3. Commit at least 10 of these goals to Mindchanger flip cards and read them briefly each day. Create one Mindchanger flipcard for each goal.
  4. If you don’t already have one, design an introductory script format which you will use at every first meeting. Learn it by heart.
  5. Make 10 calls using the Dynamic Phone Path and make every third call a social call to a friend, old client or contact.dynamic.jpg

    Step 1 : Apology
    Hello, is that Michael? Michael Turner?
    Hello.. I’m so very sorry to be ringing you out of the lue like this.
    (Who is it?)
    My name is Sandro, Sandro Forte from the Forte Group. Is this a good time to speak with you?

    Step 2: Promise
    I’ve recently taken on Mary West as a client and your name came up in conversation a couple of times, hence the promise to call to offer you my help, given I make it a professional business practice to work with the friends and families of my clients before anyone else.

    Step 3: The Message – core reason for the call.

    “I am currently helping individuals to improve their personal wealth in ways which realise more disposable income. Would more funds for you to spend or retain as you choose to be useful?” It’s useful to note the phrase ” That’s exactly why I am calling” when faced with any objection.

    Step 4 : “Meeting place” Do you know the Axis Office building? May I suggest we meet there next week so that I may have the opportunity of introducing myself and sharing some beneficial ideas as I have already done with your friend Mary? What time of the day suits you best?

  6. Find out the best credit card, loan and mortgage offers available and carry a few application forms with you. Hand them to your clients where appropriate. Better still, build relationships with a bank manager, lawyer, accountant and the other professionals who could add value by offering discounts on their services, without committing you to any work.
  7. Call your top 20 clients and ask them to help you build your business by introducing you to other people like them.


Real Tips, Real Money


realtips What financially savvy folks know about money that others don’t (2003)
By Leong Chan Teik, Leong Sze Hian and Dr David Tay

It has been a few months since I last read. This book may be published more than 10 years ago, with some information outdated. However, it does provide some real insights on some financial areas about money.

  1. Avoid the kiss of debt
    Overspending can be undoing of everything you have worked long and hard to achieve, and in some cases lead to total devastation.
  2. Broken Nest Eggs
    Economic slumps hurt everyone, but perhaps none more so than retirees or those approaching retirement especially those who have made wrong financial moves with their savings.
    – Do not concentrate investments in one asset class.
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  4. How able are you able to fork out cash in an emergency?
    Calculate your liquid assets to net worth ratio. Liquid assets include shares and unit trusts while net worth is all your asset minus liabilities.

    Rule of thumb : The ratio should be 15% or more.

  5. >

  6. How able are you able to repay debt?
    Calculate debt to asset ratio, which is your total debt divided by total assets. (Assets include properties)

    Rule of thumb : The ratio should be below 50%.

  7. >

  8. How much can you afford to have your assets decline before you become insolvent?
    Work out your solvency ratio, which is total net worth divided by total assets. The lower the ratio, the higher the chance of bankruptcy.

    Rule of thumb : The ratio should be 40% or more.

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  10. Don’t be slave to numbers.
    A ratio by itself actually means very little. For example, if a person spends 50% of take home pay on personal development and educational course fees, does it mean that the person is not prudent?

    It is the integration and analysis of one’s current financial situation and future plans relative to one’s financial goals and concerns that really matter, rather than benchmarking with financial ratios, which may do more harm than good.

  11. >

  12. Bet on leaders who are desperate to be No.1.
    When investing in a company, find out the character of the leaders, their psyche, their determination to succeed beyond just being decent corporate stewards. Avoid successful Asian enterprises which start losing their lustre after the deaths of their founders. The decline happens because the new bosses lack the drive and hunger to be No.1.
  13. >

  14. When should stock investors cut their losses?
    Sell if the stock falls to a level representing a loss of up to 20%. Sell if there are signs that business fundamentals are worsening. Sell a stock when it has become the market’s darling. Sell when a stock or sector has too large a representation in your portfolio. Sell when you see more potential for gains elsewhere.
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  16. Usefulness of lifelong protection from whole life policies.
    Someone’s mother had a heart problem and was hospitalised for nine months before she died. Her bill was about $750,000. Everyone in the family had to cough up $100,000 each. If you don’t have insurance, it is your family who have to pay.
  17. >

  18. Cash is not always king.
    Cash grows at a lacklustre pace compared to long term investments in blue chip stocks.
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  20. Respect your elders
    If being nasty can cost you friendships, consider what is at stake if you are a potential beneficiary of a large inheritance. In one case, a widower had willed most of his assets initially to his only child, a daughter, but in his final years, made a complete U-turn. He left all his money to charities and hospitals here and in India. The daughter got nothing. She challenged the will but was unsuccessful.





Bite-Size Einstein


‌einsteinBite-Size Einstein : Quotations on Just About Everything from the Greatest Mind of the Twentieth Century (1996)

This is an interesting book of which Einstein expresses his thoughts on various topics.

On Art and Music :

  1. 1.True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist. I can feel this urge in Ernst Bloch’s work as in few later musicians.

2. One flower is beautiful, a surfeit of flowers is vulgar.

3. Music does not influence research work, but both are nourished by the same source of longing, and they complement one another in the release they offer.


On Ethics and Morality :

  1. The foundation of all human values is morality. To have recognized this is the unique greatness of our Moses. In contrast, look at the people today!
  2. Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty ; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.
  3. Nothing will benefit human health and increases the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.


On himself :

1. With fame, I became more and more stupid, which, of course, is a very common phenomenon. There is far too great a disproportion between what one is and what others think one is, or at least what they say they think one is. But one has to take it all with good humor.

2. Yesterday idolized, today hated and spit upon, tomorrow forgotten, and the day after tomorrow promoted to Sainthood. The only salvation is a sense of humor, and we will keep that as long as we draw breath.

On life :

  1. Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
  2. Make friends with a few animals. Then you will become a cheerful man once more and nothing will be able to trouble you.
  3. People are like the ocean; sometimes smooth and friendly, at others stormy and full of malice. The important thing to remember is that they too are mostly made of water.

On Philosophy :

1. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

2. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

3. Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.






Inferno By Dan Brown (2013)

This is my first time reading Dan Brown’s book, although a few years I did watch the movie Da Vinci Code. His plot is much more complicated, with lots of twist, science and its not yet easy to guess the plot even coming three quarter of the book.

A billionaire geneticist named Bertrand Zobrist created a vector virus to alter about 1/3 of the earth’s population DNA to render them sterile. The virus attacked human fertility so as to control the world’s overpopulation issue and limited resources.

Robert Langdon, an American university professor was tasked to help to find the virus before it goes out of hand. However all was too late. In the end, it seem that several individuals agree that it may not be a bad thing after all.

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. This means “In dangerous times, there is no sin greater than inaction.”




One Word that will change your life


oneword.jpg By Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon (2013)

87% of us make New Year’s resolutions every year. While these resolutions are meant to be good and well-intentioned, they are built on a flawed foundation. The most important part of life change is a change of the heart.

The authors discovered that the solution to failed resolutions and unrealized goals, is to find a single word that would be the driving force for the year. No goals. No resolutions. Just One Word! You developed a One world theme for the year, it became a one word vision for everything.

One word creates laser like focus that last. There are 3 steps to provide an easy framework for finding the One Word :

  1. Prepare your heart by looking in.
  2. Discover your word by looking up.
  3. Live your word by looking out.


Prepare your heart : Look in.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Take the time to sharpen the axe makes the task successful. Detach yourself from the business and stress of life to prepare.  Find a place with no distractions or interruptions. Out of silence comes power.

Ask 1) What do I need? 2)What’s in my way? 3)What needs to go?

Too often, we focus so much time on getting our One Word that we miss the real power – the why behind the word. Discovering the why happens when we look at the past, present and future?


Discover your word : Look Up

Prayer should be your first response – not last resort. Get a God word, not just a good word. Boldly ask God for the word; be open and willing to listen for that still, small voice and wait for God to reveal your word to you.


Live your word : Look out

Step outside your comfort zone. You may immediately see some areas of opportunity in which you could improve. That is the low hanging fruit. You may be tempted to think that this is going to be easy. Yet the difficult areas of life change are often revealed later.

First, post your word in prominent places so that you can see it on a regular basis. You can share it with others – you ensure your growth. What gets your attention gets your focus. You don’t win or lose with One Word. Whatever you experience throughout the year, that’s what is meant for you.