“Studies show that 40% of the anxiety felt by people in the world is focused on things that will never happen. Apparently 30% is related to the past which we cannot change, 12% to other people’s criticism and 10% to health.

It is a very curious reality that only 8% of the time do we really worry about concerns that need to be faced in the here and now.”

Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing, Festival of Thought, Singapore

Even as we approach news of tightening circuit breaker till 1 June 2020, and thoughts of what ifs scenarios. If I can give you a penny for every time I hear the word “Covid 19”, turning on the television and see higher infection numbers. How can I bring the positive into the negative. Instead, every time I hear the word, I put myself into a meditation retreat with the acronyms. Try it for your self. Come up with your own.

C = Connect

Safe distancing doesn’t equal social isolation. Connect with friends, neighbours, family via technology. Connect with your emotions, understand its ok to feel fear, anxiety. Connect with your body. Breathe.  This too shall pass.

O = Options

What are your options? What can you control? What resources, medical, financial aid, healthcare are available?

What you cannot control? Other people’s thoughts and actions.

V = Values

Where is your compass? What values guide your actions and activities?  How will you want to emerge from this?

I =Inspire

What inspires you? What meaning and purpose can you draw strength from?

D = Do

It takes 21 days to form a habit. What activities can you meaningful engage in? Form a routine? What is within your control? What is outside your control? Example, people’s opinions. Do what’s within your ability to control.

“Just as one would try to understand the landscape before setting out on a journey, one needs to understand the culture of an organisation before embarking on organisation change”, Gary Bolles, Singularity University.

The same can be said of examining its talent strategy and competencies, at an organisation’s growth phases. Greiner’s model predicts 6 phases and 5 crises that organizations go through. By identifying what stage the organization is in, a recruiter or coach can better determine staffing needs for the organization to get to the next phase.

According to Greiner, organisation growth is not straightforward, and unless the organisation changes, it will not be able to get on to the next stage.

Phase 1: Growth through Creativity

Greiner found from his research that at the birth of organisations, its founders are usually “technical or entrepreneurial oriented”. Energies are focused on making and selling a product. Communication among employees is informal.

However, as the company expands, more employees are hired, they cannot be managed only through informal communication. There’s a need for more formal communication and professional managers to take over the management responsibilities that founders find “burdensome”. At this point, a crisis of leadership occurs as founders often resist letting go.

Coaching and staffing needs to move to stage two: the organization’s founders to be less hands-on and provide more direction.  Greiner suggests bringing in professional functional business managers (e.g. marketing or finance manager) “compatible with the founders and who can pull the organization together.”

Phase 2: Growth through Direction.
With capable functional managers, growth continues through a functional organizational structure with specialized roles like marketing and human resources.

At some point, with increasing workload, the professional managers begin to ask for more control, such as a marketing budget, while founders may struggle to let go. A crisis of autonomy emerges where work and authority needs to be delegated to lower levels.

Coaching and staffing needs to move to stage three: Coaching skills for founders to empower employees and delegate responsibility, lower level managers to take initiative and make decisions independently.

Phase 3: Growth through Delegation

With more delegation in this phase of decentralistion, more products introduced, with more divisional managers, the management find that they lose touch with what’s happening in the organisation.

At this point, a crisis of control results, managers face difficulty coordinating all divisions operating independently, and how to get different divisions to work better together.

Coaching or staffing needs to move to stage four:

To achieve greater coordination, more employees are hired at headquarters (HQ) to standardise processes and harmonise companywide programmes, such as Six Sigma. The ability to implement processes and programs for efficiency, standardisation, cost savings, corporate look. This brings stability and consistency to the organization.

Phase 4: Growth through Coordination

With more employees hired to implement companywide programmes, soon the centralised HQ becomes too focused on efficiency and bureaucracy and loses the ability to innovate and conquer new markets. This phase ends with a Red-Tape Crisis as the organisation becomes unresponsive to needs of the local customers.

Coaching or staffing needs to move to stage five :

Organization needs to develop better people managers and introduce more flexibility, staff engagement and team-work to develop evolutionary growth.

Phase 5: Growth through Collaboration

Finally, overcoming the red-tape crisis, L&D professionals like Britt Andreatta recommend that the organisation adopts a more flexible agile approach (e.g., team work, matrix structure) with emotionally intelligent leaders.

But soon the very mature business runs out of ideas on how to add products to its portfolio and faces a growth crisis.

Coaching or staffing needs to move to stage six :

Managers who can participate in the globalised market and network outside the organisation for opportunities through external partnerships, such as strategic alliances and acquisitions, outsourcing for efficiency and even new ideas using Blue Ocean Strategy.  [Greiner suggests providing sabbaticals for employees, moving managers in and out of hot-spot jobs etc to connect better.] Networking for ideas is an important skills set.

Phase 6: Growth through Alliance

Recently, the Greiner model was updated to include the 6th stage or growth through alliance. In “Network for Advantage”, INSEAD Professors Professors Henrich Greve and Andrew Shipilov explore how organisations such as Samsung have unlocked value through such partnerships.

A crisis is not long in the horizon when the organisation may face a new challenge, a crisis of identity. Paul Petrone suggests for the organization to continue on its evolution, it “needs to reinvent  its vision and mission and partner with organizations that best further that”.

Relevance of the Greiner model

Greiner’s model has relevance for recruiters and career coaches to understand that change is inevitable for the organisation to grow. Consultants or coaches implementing change management programs are to examine best practice vs best fit vs to the organisation’s growth stage. Inability of management to adopt a new style to deal with these crises will result in firm’s failure to move forward.

Organisations can go through these phases peacefully and without crises when leaders recognise the tension and the “change management” needed to be put in place.

What do you think about Greiner’s model for growth? Does it reflect the stages which your organisation has gone through? Give me some comments.


If the many inventions and technologies first appeared in China, why did the Scientific Revolution take place in Western Europe 6 centuries later, rather than in China?

I finally put away my 10 volumes of Joseph Needlam’s “Science and Civilisations of China“.

Do not mistake First appearance vs Adoption. Structure eats culture, strategy and creativity for lunch.

How do we design teams, companies and nations to nurture #loonshots, most important breakthrough ideaa whose champions are written off as crazy.

#Loonshots – how to nurture crazy ideas that win wars, cure diseases and transform industries” by #Safi #Bahcall.

The Bush-Vail Rules
1. Phase separation: seperate the loonshot  from the establishment
2. Dynamic equilibrium: seamless exchange between the two groups.
3. Critical mass: a loonshot group large enough to ignite
4. Spread a system mindset
5. Raise the magic number

Keep your eyes on SRT: Spirit, relationships, time

Purpose feeds spirit and spirit is the engine that keeps us going. It steadies us for the battles ahead. Safi Bahcall, physicist, Founder and CEO of biotech startup

#goodreads #strategy #futurism #china #OD #structure #systemsthinking  #disruptiveinnovation #NLB #future #Loonshots #Bahcall


Photo credit: JK: Shanghai, Dec 2019

This was forwarded to me via Whatsapp from my Chinese Toastmasters Club by 刘月梅。If you are the original author, please let me know via comments so that proper attribute can be returned to you for the hard work.

Personally Ive not tried any of these sites except Youtube. I like Quora for datascience topics. Vault and Wetfeet for careers related matters. Singapore National Library app remains my favourite for eBooks.


*Love to read? In need of any book* (.pdf) relating to any subject/field or topic?
Go to:
You will get access to millions of  books you need, for free.
Unlimited downloads.

You may browse by title or author, etc.
Currently 274376478 books are available for free and every minute, around 50 new books are added to the database.



*ONLINE EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT* -Tuft University -Univesidad Politechnica, Madrid -Utah State University -University of Michigan -Nore Dame University


■ (
■ AllTheWeb (
■ AltaVista (
■ Ask Jeeves! (
■ Excite (
■ HotBot (
■ LookSmart (
■ Lycos (
■ Open Directory (
■ Google (
■ Mamma (
■ Webcrawler (
■ Aol (
■ Dogpile (
■ 10pht (

■ AnyWho (
■ InfoSpace (
■ Switchboard (
■ (
■ WhoWhere (

■ ABC News (
■ CBS News (
■ CNN (
■ Fox News (
■ New York Times (
■ USA Today (

■ CBS SportsLine (
■ CNN/Sports Illustrated (
■ (
■ FOXSports (
■ NBC Sports (
■ The Sporting News (

■ (
■ kidsDoctor (
■ MedExplorer (
■ MedicineNet (
■ National Library of Medicine
■ Planet Wellness (
■ WebMD Health (

*JOURNALS* Multidisciplinary – African Journal Online – directory of open access journal – South African Journals. – Open Access Journal Search Engine – Lund University – Free Scientific & Medical Materials – Access & Publication

ACADEMIC SEARCH/WEB RESEARCH TOOLS/REFERENCE MANAGERS – Multidisciplinary – Digital Bibliography Library Browser – Live Search Academic – USA government for Science – Computing & Information Sciences – academic social network/collaboration – Multidisciplinary – Voc & Tech Education – Stanford physics information retrieval system
hsystemv – Social Science Research Network.     M.Ravichandran.VKR PHARMA KRISHNAGIRI


When I first read “What got you here, won’t get you there“, I thought it was the best coaching book.

As luck would have it, Marshall Goldsmith was invited as the keynote speaker at the Singapore Management Festival. My colleague Stephen was also in the audience, and encouraged me to take a photo with Goldsmith and ask him to sign my book. Thank you Stephen. Thank you Goldsmith. I did not have the courage to sign on to be one of Goldsmith’s coaches.

Talk about Planned Unplanned.

Why is behaviour change so difficult? Even when we acknowledge the need to change what we do. Triggers examines the external factors (or ‘triggers’) – both negative and positive – that affect our behaviours.
The book also offers some simple, practical advice to help us navigate the negative and make the most of the triggers that help us to sustain positive change.

Marshall Goldsmith is a world-renowned business educator and coach, recognised in 2013 as one of the Top Ten Most Influential Management Thinkers in the World – and the top-ranked executive coach – by Thinkers 50.

A trigger is any stimulus that reshapes our thoughts and actions. If we do not create and control our environment, our environment can control our behaviour.

1. Measure important behaviors 

To make progress toward any goal, it helps to track our behaviors. Monitoring and accountability are the keys to behavior changes, “If you want to eat more healthily, get more exercise, track your spending.”

Every evening, Goldsmith reviews a 40-item spreadsheet consisting of every important behavior he hopes to achieve, including the number of words he wrote; the distance he walked; and the number of nice things he said to his wife, daughter, and grandchildren. He reviews this list with someone he employs to phone him.

2. Ask yourself DAILY active questions on the items.

Did I do my best to …

“The [Daily Questions] announce our intention to do something and, at the risk of private disappointment or public humiliation, they commit us to doing it”.
They are a ‘commitment device” and force us to articulate what we really want to change in our lives”. After 10 consecutive days of saying “NO, I did not do it”, the question is whether we are serious in wanting to make the change?

Am I willing at this time to make an investment in a positive behaviour change? “The [Daily Questions] announce our intention to do something and, at the risk of private disappointment or public humiliation, they commit us to doing it.

Daily Questions focus us on where we need help, not where we’re doing just fine. Humility to recognise that we need a simple structure, even writing down the items every day. It helps us take action one day at a time and reduce our objectives into manageable twenty-four-hour increments”.

3.  Recognise our environment can be a trigger

Most of us go through life unaware of how our environment shapes our behaviour. If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us. A simple way is to set reminders of our goal. In my case, the example he gave about how being around his mean neighbours one evening, triggered his behaviour to behave likewise.

I have willpower and won’t give in to temptation. We not only overestimate willpower, we underestimate the power of triggers in our environment that lead us astray. Especially when I am tired, I tend to eat carbohydrates or engage in mindless net-surfing to relax.

When we make plans for the future, we seldom plan on distractions, even though this may trigger our behaviour. Example, lunch with friends who turn up late and I get upset, because I don’t like such behaviour. I could have anticipated this, and plan how to effectively use the 20 mins when my friends are late.

4.  Get Accountability -we need a coach and feedback

Myth that I have the wisdom to assess my own behavior. Goldsmith is of the view that we are inaccurate at assessing ourselves. He pays someone to call him every day to hear him go through the 40 items question and answer. As a top coach, if he is willing to admit that he does not have the discipline and self control. “Self-discipline refers to achieving desirable behavior. Self-control refers to avoiding undesirable behavior”.

Feedback—both the act of giving it and taking it—is our first step in becoming more mindful about the connection between our environment and our behavior”. Sometimes we give ourselves an excuse. Today is a special day. If we really want to change we have to accept that we cannot self-exempt every time. In my case, tracking how often I eat carbs, even though I know I should not. Tracking caused me to realise its every day, and sometimes its twice a day, not just a special day.

5. Avoidance as a measure

To avoid undesirable behavior, avoid the environments where it is most likely to occur. Or as Judge Ruth Bader suggested, sometimes pretend to be a little deaf, especially when someone made an unkind remark at you.

This is not a book for the unmotivated.  His book answers the “HOW to change”. He does not attempt to answer the “What to change and WHY”. I guess I need to read it with “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

Sometimes the negative can be a positive motivator. Photo in the Book of Goldsmith in Mali with the Red Cross, where the Red Cross had to do a triage on starving children, measuring their arms. Only those between ages of 2-15 yrs old would be given food. Picture reminded him of how blessed he was, to be born in the US, and not to get upset with inconsequential stuff. The photo is a trigger for positive behaviour.

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (2015). Book Length: 272 pages

Other resources by Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith

I kind of miss President Obama. His eloquence. I’m reading a book “The gift of the Gap – how eloquence works” by David Crystal.

Danny Yung’s Tian tian xiang shang 天天向上 exhibition at Raffles City, Singapore. Photo by me. Phrase means daily self improvement. Always looking up.

Another great book which I will review soon is “Talk like Ted” by Carmine Gallo; on the art of Storytelling.

Back to Crystal’s book. He describes Structure as essential to a good speech, using strings of pearls to connect ideas.

Obama’s victory speech in 2008 had an effective 41 words and 4 word punchline.

If there is anyone out there
Who still doubts
         That America is a place
          Where all things are possible
Who still wonders
          If the dream if our founders is alive in our time
Who still questions the power of our democracy,
Tonight is your answer.

Parallelism with “who still”. Chunking works with your telephone number and with speech.

Shakespeare invented it first. (All literature students know its called poetry. You have it in most cultures. Including Chinese and Japanese.)

Power of threes and fours.

Churchill used it.

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
In war: resolution
In defeat: defiance
In victory: magnanimity
In peace: goodwill

More than four, opines Crystal, the sequence loses its unity. And rhyme, I add.

Order, order, order
Before and after

☆Campaign, problem, challenges, new dawn
☆From the general and abstract, to the particular and concrete.
☆Invite the audience by repeating a catch-phrase; several times. Eg Yes, we can.
☆Appeal for action

This is our chance to answer that call.
  This is our moment
   This is our time

To put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids
To restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace
To reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth

    That out of many, we are one
     That while we breathe, we hope

And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us
That we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people. YES, we can

☆Obama’s word on dream links in spirit Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

Political eloquence has its critics. Lloyd Bentsen, criticising the Ronald Reagan administration, using alliteration:

America has just passed through…… an eight year coma in which slogans were confused with solutions and rhetoric passed for reality.

For more pearls, gems and precious insights, read Crystal’s book. He’s a Professor of Linguistics and broadcaster, amongst many literary achievements.

In “So you have been publicly shamed” by Jon Ronson, p102, he cites the famous Stanford Prison experiment and interview by Dave Eshelman, the “evil guard”.

Dave explained his actions saying that the first night was boring. “So I thought I’d get some action going”. In his mind he decided to channel sadistic southern prison warden Strother Martin from the movie “Cool Hand Luke” which he had just seen. “I thought I was doing something good at the time.”

Doing something good.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. A quote by one of my lecturers in political science at INSEAD.

Somehow this quote haunts me today as it usually does, after a class teaching ethics.

In his book, humorously written, Ronson provoked the thought of people who do evil, under the impression that they are doing public good. Think online shaming.

Many investigative journalistic stories especially the one on female developer Adria Richards vs Hank, where she publicly called out on a group of guys at the PyCon conference for not being respectful to the community. He lost his job as a result. The online trolling community attacked her company and she lost hers as a result…. The downward spiral had its rippling effect.

Chinese historian Shima Qian who compiled 史记 in 86BC, concluded that while those who do evil will suffer evil. Those who do good may not necessarily be rewarded.

He did not elaborate. But I suppose that we need wisdom while doing good. The good you do may not really be good.

Life is like a camera

Focus on what’s important
Capture the good times
Develop from the negatives

If things don’t work out,
Take another shot.

(Seen outside Victoria’s Cafe in Lake Taupo)


Photo source credits: Himself taken at Lake Taupo