Thursday, September 16, 2004

Formula for success and happiness

Business Times p.B1
Thursday, September 16, 2004

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Formula for success and happiness?

SOMETIMES many good things happen to you at once. I am here in breezy Zamboanga City with my colleague Jackie Galvez doing something I love doing-facilitating a Strategic Thinking and Planning with Balanced Scorecard. We just had a scrumptious dinner of adobong pusit and now we're eating durian and I am reading a fantastic book (Wisdom for a Young CEO by Douglas Barry) while watching Sex in the City on HBO here at Garden Orchid Hotel in our spacious and clean room and exchanging text messages with my sons Ronjie and Adrian and my best friend, Gigie PeƱalosa. Blessings.

As we persist with our Journey on Entrepreneurship later, we'll discuss more about Balanced Scorecard as a framework for communicating your strategic intent and plans across all functional areas down to the last level of employees and for managing and measuring organizational, functional and individual performances. The problem with this vision-mission-values-strategic goal thingy is that, instead of providing you with a roadmap to success, they almost always end up in the filing cabinet or the bulletin board because there are no measurable implementation plans. Later.

Meanwhile, teenage author Barry cites Sanford Weill, chairman and CEO of Citigroup, thus: "I don't think there is a magic key [to success] that works for everybody. I can share what I have always tried to do and hope that might be helpful." Mr. Weill shared his insights in a letter to Barry: have a bias toward action, do homework, treat people with respect, make people part of what's happening, reward people for their contribution to success, uphold that family is critical to success, keep them informed and involved.

And my friend and fellow mountain climber Seli Vicente of Benpres Corporation has this to share about our recent climb to Mt. Maria Makiling in Laguna. He describes two types of climbers. One type is somebody who gets excited by unknown challenges and exhilarated by the experience.

The other is one who wants to know all the details of the trail and the climb in advance and would abhor surprises. Both enjoy their climb and feel the same high in reaching the peak. No specific formula for a successful climb.

High school senior and author Barry wrote: "Is it lonely at the top? Not according to the CEOs I heard from! Great CEOs recognize that they couldn't do their jobs alone. They depend on others to help make their company prosper-and this includes every single person who is a part of the organization. A great CEO listens to others, feels their concerns, delegates authority and nurtures the company's talents. They say it's all about people."

Seli says that he has a better appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates after the climb and of what they can, cannot, willing and not willing to do. He says that he needs to first validate with them his perceptions and assumptions about them; then, he could use this knowledge to build better working and personal relations whether they are his peers, boss or subordinates.

He cautions about disturbing the natural balance of things and the natural food chain when venturing into uninhabited places like mountains. He says respect is the magic word to preserve nature and enjoy it for a long time to come. He concludes that although there is thrill in discovering the unknown, it is still a lot better, safer and more beneficial to prepare a game plan for such adventures. Successful achievement of goals and respect for the rights of others go together.

My own random list would include, but not limited to: read books, use the Internet, do what you love and love what you do, see the Philippines, go mountain climbing, know the people around you at a deep-enough level to understand them (you don't have to like them), eat more fruits and veggies, keep in touch with family and friends at all times, watch less TV and don't take the very early morning or the very last flight.

(Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., loves traveling, reading and writing, eating and cooking, doing her favorite work and having fun with family and friends. You can e-mail her at

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