One of my major goals in life is creating a community where people can express our similar visions of life. I have always thought creating my own projects and potentially turning it into a start-up would be an option, a very challenging option but worth it to show my vision to the world. In order to succeed as much as possible, I have always felt the need to constantly be learning. I like to learn to grow my projects, to become a better person and to be happy on what I value. One of my learning curves is reading. Constantly reading and learning is very important and it was mentioned in Mr. Chee Chew’s presentation. I was able to come across his presentation because I was trying to learn the principles of Google from the book “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg and Seattle IT Japanese Professional gave me the opportunity to learn directly from Mr. Chew.The major parts that I believed were important in the presentation were East Asian leaders and the culture difference from Westerns, team building, psychology and the priorities matrix.
East Asians have a very distinctive culture than American culture. I personally felt the difference growing up and working in both Japan and the United States. Sarcasm was one huge difference that Mr. Chew has pointed out. Japanese, in my experience also, do not use sarcasm as much and most do not even bother using it at all during work. It is also hard for many Japanese to stand up to their superior even if they think it is right. It comes from a great culture of respecting elders and others. It is for respecting the face of others, never to shame others or to be ashamed. Challenging authority can feel like you are being disrespectful to the Japanese. But it can be done in a very respectful way and is considered very courageous. And to climb up the corporate America ladder, sarcasm and expressing your opinion is very important. It is a key for gaining respect from others and being a leader. You cannot just be in the corner working on your task if you want to climb the corporate ladder. You have to engage with co-workers and communicate well. Know what your co-workers are working on and be able to help them when they need a hand. That is what leaders do well. Know about his or her peers very well and how to communicate with them.
Knowing what each person’s view and what motivates them is very important as a leader. Each person on your team grew up from a different background, has different views in life and has different things they get excited about. In order to maximize your team’s productivity, you must get to know each person and motivate them in different ways. Motivate them in ways that are most appropriate for each person and customize your interactions with each person. Your teammates also has to make different sacrifices in order to be a successful team. The team that knows each other the most and can find a middle-ground of sacrifices will have a better chance of succeeding. It is also better to have a good understanding of yourself to communicate well with others. A person with high EQ will have a better understanding of themselves and others.
Mr. Chew has also mentioned that EQ can be trained through the course of your life. And understanding psychology can play a major role developing ones EQ. Learning triggers through
psychology can really help ones growth. I believe that Japanese need to learn inner psychology the most because most of their action comes from external factors rather than their internal. Japanese society has a very strong way about always fitting in. Fitting in with the society is very important for the Japanese and plays a large role in the external factor. This will make it very hard for the Japanese to turn off their lizard brain and follow their gut. Most Japanese hate to embarrass themselves and hate to fail very strongly especially in public. It is very shameful to them and hard to get over. I can tell you that if there is a mixed culture at a party, the typical Japanese will never be one who starts dancing or who becomes silly and ice breaks the party. Japanese has also had the culture in the Age of Civil War when ones defeat equals ones death. It is over in one try. That is where the term “hara-kiri” comes from. That culture explains some of the reasons why Japan has one of the highest committing suicide rates. Failure is not an option to many people in Japan.
None of us like to fail and we try not to fail as much as possible. But we must be willing to risk failure to grow and learn. Learn from our failures and simply move on. We have to accept failure and keep taking risks to grow. To take risks, we have to learn to control our emotions outside our comfort-zone. When we can control our emotions outside our comfort-zone, we will have an opportunity to grow. It is hard for most people to go out of their zone and we will have to sometimes purposely push ourselves somewhere outside of that zone. Continuing to train outside of your zone and expanding your EQ will have a big impact on your success.
Setting priorities and taking action will also have a big impact on succeeding. But you will have to know which priorities to take care of first. Many leaders tend to focus on priorities that are urgent and high in importance. But the most important priorities that leaders need to focus on lies where it is not as urgent but important. Because when you focus too much on the most urgent and most important problems, you will not be able to sustain growth for your team or yourself. You will always be stuck working on the urgent and important problems. And if it is very urgent, someone in your team can take care of it. We tend to keep pushing back the less urgent but high priority problems. We know we would like to increase our communication skills, personal development issues or invest in team infrastructure but always put it back. When you keep putting off those problems that you know are important but not as urgent later on, it always snow balls and becomes a larger problem in the end.
There are many ways to view your own life or projects and there is never one answer. But to achieve your personal challenges and the higher the challenges are, the more you will need to grow and have a better team. To grow, you will need to be constantly curious, failing and learning. We will have to know well about our priorities and know which ones to work on. Knowing yourself and being able to control yourself is also one of the keys to success. Pushing yourself out of your comfort-zone and understanding about others views can help you achieve your wants in many ways. We can achieve more by constantly learning, thinking and growing with other teammates.
Here is interesting diagram that Mr. Chee mentioned during the talk