How Not To Be Evil Working For A Big Company

Corp

Global corporations get a bad rep. They are easily derided as sinister, sometimes even called psychopathic. It follows that those that work for them share similar characteristics. But is it possible to imagine an alternative? Below is an excerpt from a speech I gave to newly hired graduates in a global corporation which tries to do just that: Continue reading “How Not To Be Evil Working For A Big Company”

Bored of Films? 11 Foreign Films I Love

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Napoleon As Management Guru?!

Napolean

Yesterday, I attended a talk on Napoleon by the British Historian Andrew Roberts at the School of Life BusinessWise conference. Napoleon of course is known to some as one of great military commanders in history. But this time, Andrew Roberts instead focused on his broader leadership style and character. This is what I took away from the talk:  Continue reading “Napoleon As Management Guru?!”

A Man In A Woman’s World

woman world

I gave the speech below at a conference for Women Global Leaders in Germany back in 2013. It’s a five minute read.

“I must say I feel daunted speaking to an audience consisting solely of women. A question that springs to mind is whether as a man I can see the world from the eyes of women. I would think I may have advantage as I am from a minority group. Growing up in the UK with dark skin did make me stand out. Often it would elicit racial abuse. So I have often felt negatively affected by being different. In some ways, that has spurred me on. It has given me the mentality of “I’ll show you society” and” I’ll be as good as anyone else”. However, in the process of trying to measure up to the standard set by society, it has at some level forced me to repress something of myself and feel the opinions of the “other” is more important than myself. Continue reading “A Man In A Woman’s World”

Doubling My Productivity

Bundesarchiv_B_145_Bild-098967,_Aufnahme_der_Bundesrepublik_in_die_NATO

Since the start of the year, I’ve been tracking my every work activity using an app called Toggl. What surprised me was the amount of time I spent on just two activities: email and internal meetings; neither of which are particularly value-added or productive. The problem with an email habit is that I have the itch to check every 10-15mins, which interrupts my flow, and time is needed to gather momentum again on any piece of work. Moreover, my inbox is a list of other people’s priorities, not mine [1]. Continue reading “Doubling My Productivity”

Could You Fly To Mars?

Celestia_mars

The challenge for a manned mission to Mars is neither cost nor technology, but coping with solitude. Imagine being stuck with the same people for two or three years in a confined space with minimal food, entertainment and contact with Earth. Jason Stuster, a NASA research consultant, who studied the diaries of explorers to remote regions on earth such as the Antarctic found that many would fall into depression or suffer psychoses (think Tarkovsky’s movie “Solaris”)[1]. Continue reading “Could You Fly To Mars?”

11 Ways To Improve Your Work/Life From Books I’ve Read Recently

1. Demote the importance of email. Your inbox is other people’s priorities (Craig Jarrow, Time Management Ninja)

2. To make networking successful, follow up is everything (Jayson Gaignard, MastemindTalks)

3. Scaling requires grinding it out and pressing each person, team, group, division or organization to make one small change after another (Robert Sutton, Hayagreeva Rao, “Scaling Up Excellence”)

4. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do (Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”)

5. Unless you give at least forty-five minutes to careful, fatiguing reflection (it is an awful bore at first) upon what you are reading, your ninety minutes a night [of reading]] are chiefly wasted (Arnold Bennett, “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day”)

6. The acid test for creativity is simply stated: has the domain in which you operate been significantly altered by your contribution? (Howard Gardner, “Five Minds for the Future”)

7. Keeping things “just in case” indicates a lack of trust in the future…Good things cannot easily come into your life if you block the flow of energy by persistently clinging to outdated clutter (Karen Kingston, “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui”)

8. Judging is what the mind does, I discovered. But what you can begin to do is write your judgments down and question them. That will give you a sane and happy life (Byron Katie, “Who Would You Be Without Your Story”)

9. Great presenters have the ability to tell you something you already know, in a way that gives it new and more powerful meaning (Jon Steel, “Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business”)

10. What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do (Timothy Ferriss, “The 4-Hour Work Week”)

11. “Politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think” (Patrick Lencioni, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable”)

Bilal

 

My Optimised Morning Routine

I’ve been obsessing over my early morning routine this year. The time between waking up and leaving the house for work. Research shows that we have a certain capacity to make decisions over the course of the day, so ideally you want to conserve your decision capacity for the important stuff. Hence having a clear and regular routine with minimal decision points is ideal. It’s as if you can do it in auto-pilot. That’s the key over-arching principle. In fact, my routine requires no decisions to be made. Continue reading “My Optimised Morning Routine”

Hipster Oxford: The Cowley Road

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Raising Boys

Zimbardo

I attended a talk by Philip Zimbardo a few weeks ago. He’s an accomplished psychologist known for his famous Stanford Prison experiment, where randomly selected students were assigned roles of prison guards and prisoners in a mock prison. Within days, the guards engaged in psychological torture and many prisoners passively accepted it. The experiment showed that the situation, rather than personality, caused the change in behavior.

But on this occasion his talk was on masculinity. Continue reading “Raising Boys”