Thursday, August 31, 2006

We are healed by doctors we trust

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 31, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
We are healed by doctors we trust

MY younger brother, Dr. Prof. Jess Ramos of UP Diliman, recently escaped death on the basis of trust. Late June he was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney and tumor in the colon. His right kidney, including some parts of his artery, was found diseased and only 20 percent of his left kidney was working. He was given a choice of three months to live or take a chance at surgery (he might go while under the knife or shortly thereafter or he might live a long healthy life afterwards).

We—Jess, our youngest brother Jing, myself and our mom—had several discussions. Jing wanted him to have surgery. I simply told Jess to pray hard and ask God what He intends him to do. Jess said that he feels he could trust his doctors and is willing to take the risk. He didn’t know Drs. Antonio Comia and Dennis Serrano previously.

Jess said that when he talks with them during their rounds, they seem to be very knowledgeable and genuinely caring. (Unlike one of his doctors who, one rainy day, immediately ordered a dialysis for everyone in the Infirmary Ward. If it were a joke, it was a sick one.) Two months after his surgery, Jess is recovering beautifully with one kidney intact and a clean colon. Jess is profuse with praise and gratitude for his doctors and the nursing staff at UP-PGH. Plus the moral support of relatives and his fellow faculty at UP-Diliman College of Arts & Letters, who contributed not only cash but also prayed hard in his behalf. (May I ask our pious readers to include Jess in their prayers.)

Indeed, a doctor-patient relationship stands solidly on trust. (After all it is He who heals us, but uses our doctors to do the job.) I remember a time in the past when my mother tearfully begged me to transfer her to another hospital or get another doctor because she didn’t trust her doctor. “Whenever he visits me, he greets me without looking at me; pokes at my body with his instrument; mumbles something to his assistants; writes on my chart; then leaves without saying anything to me. He is not a good doctor. I don’t feel safe with him.” Her favorites are Drs. Josie Isidro and Joey LapeƱa of UP-PGH.

Two doctors I personally trust my life are Lourdes Hospital’s Dr. Michael “Pogi” Carandang and Unciano’s Dr. Merriam Quirante.

Who is your doctor? Who is your children’s pediatrician? Why and how did you choose them from among thousands of other doctors? Charles H. Green, in his book Trust-based Selling, writes, “Most people will choose the pediatrician who seems to care as long as he or she is within an acceptable range of expertise. And, they will frequently use the word trust to describe their decision.

“The pediatrician selection process is not unlike the decision face by a corporate buyer charged with selecting a law firm, an enterprise software vendor, a reinsurance company, a construction firm, an automotive die-cast supplier, a tax accountant, an audit firm, a telecommunications network or a financial advisor.

“In such cases, trust plays a key role. Specifically, trust is used to ‘cut through’ otherwise enormously complex issues. Given the luxury of choice, such buyers strongly prefer to buy whatever it is they have to buy anyway from someone they trust.”

OK, sometimes we buy on the basis of purely technical specifications, or price or, occasionally, one seller is overwhelmingly superior in the technical realm.

Charles continues, “As buyers, we tend to give at least four levels of answers to the question of motivation in buying: the product and its characteristics or features, a solution to a problem, a good business partner and a person we can trust. The first three answers are purely rational and impersonal—and they assume a relationship with the seller that is somewhat at arm’s length. The fourth—a person we can trust—is far more powerful. This level is personal, not purely rational, complex, involved with the seller, sometimes even messy—in short, human.”

Moje is a consultant on human resource and organization development. She could be reached at

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Trust brings back Balikbayans

Learning & Innovation – August 24, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Trust brings back Balikbayans

We have had several relatives and friends on nostalgic trip back here as Balikbayans very recently—Jennifer Aquino, Delia and Awe Aquino, Auring de la Rhea and Venus, Bobby, Jordan and Jason Tiamson, among others. A dear friend Edith Cabalu just left to accompany her Balikbayan granddaughter, Camille, back to California.

When Balikbayans come here, they are always brimming with joy at the prospect of coming home and their luggage is crammed with pasalubongs. And when they go home, they usually carry only a small piece of luggage because they have given away most everything they brought in, including some of their personal belongings like clothes and shoes and cosmetics.

While here they are interested mostly in reuniting with long-time-no-see relatives and friends, visiting interesting sites and memorable nooks and crannies of their childhood or salad days, and pigging out on Filipino foods.. They do go shopping, especially at the Duty Free Shop, to buy more goodies for their friends and relatives.

I notice in recent times, that many Balikbayans do real shopping here. Meaning, they shop to bring home back to where they now live. Most Balikbayans now go home with packed luggage. They used to bring home delicacies like dried fish and squid, dried fruits, especially mango, atchara and mango chutney (yes!), Choc-nut, Chippy, patis, bagoong and other native delicacies. They also bring home bags and sandals made of local materials like abaca.

Of late, Balikbayans have discovered Boy Bawang, Nagaraya, Tiendesitas, Market Market! and 168. And have rediscovered Liliw in Laguna, Greenhills, Tutuban, Ylaya, Ille de Tulle (Ilalim ng Tulay in Quiapo, Manila) to their hearts and pockets delight. A new item in their suitcase are tons of prepared mixes for cooking Filipino food with that distinctive Filipino taste—sinigang sa sampaloic, sinigang sa bayabas, sinigang sa kalamansi, kare-kare, etc. Our kababayans abroad might look and talk like their neighbors, but inside, they are very much Filipinos. As Dr. F. Landa Jocano would say, at the end of the day when the Filipina removes her make-up (Lancome powder, O’real eye make-up, Estee Lauder lipstick), the real Filipina comes out. They speak very good English outside the home, but inside most Filipino homes abroad, the lengua franca is still Filpino or Cebuano or Ilocano.

These products are available in Asian and Filipino stores abroad, why bother to buy them here, lug them thousand miles back to their adopted homes, hurdle stringent customs and security restrictions?

The answer is “trust.”

After being away for 15 years, my niece Jennifer was delighted to find a variety of quality products here at very low prices. She brought home two suitcases of clothing items, Boy Bawang, Nagaraya, banana chips, dried mango and food mixes. Where she now lives in Berkeley, California, independent of her parents, Gemma and Joven, her neighbors would resent her if she cooks tuyo and daing, so she skipped those. But she had a fill of them while here. She particularly enjoyed dining at Gerry’s Grill and Dencio’s.

Edith says her daughter in Los Angeles, Joyce, have asked her to buy a long list of things from here; some of which are even made in the USA, yet are sold cheaper here

Mommy Auring had a Barong Tagalog for her son, Anthony, and party dresses for all her grandchildren in San Diego tailor-made here. She said, “there’s nothing like a dress made especially fit to your measurements. Tailor-made clothes are not so affordable there; they normally settle for off-the-rack ones.

At the base of all that is “trust.” Our Balikbayans are coming back again and again because they are willing to invest their trust in our country and people and because we, who choose to stay here, are doing our part of the trust equation by coming up with quality products, beautiful and livable communities, authentic communication, and upholding our Filipino traditions.

(Moje consults on human resource and organization development and could be reached at

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rain, rain, please stay

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 10, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Rain, rain, please stay

THANK God for the continuous downpour that is cooling the air especially at night. My trees are also looking fresh and the jackfruit tastes even sweeter.

The downside is that the pitter-patter of rain and the cool air is always making me drowsy and lazy. Rather than miss a column, let’s have some laughs from favorite misquotes of Mary Rau-Foster.

“I have opinions of my own—strong opinions—but I don’t always agree with them.” —Political Leader

“Not only is he ambidextrous but he can throw with either hand.”—Football coach and sports analyst

“We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?”—Former CEO of carmaker

“Please provide the date of your death.”—From an Internal Revenue Service letter

“I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version.”—Military officer in hot water

“Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything.” —One time novelist

“The road of good intentions is paved with Hell.”—An optimistic person

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”—A philosopher

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”—A brilliant lawyer

“Antidotes are what you take to prevent dotes.”—An aspiring doctor

“Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly.”—Batman Costume warning label

You can subscribe to Mary’s essays for free weekly e-mails at http:/ every Monday. These essays are also good for your bulletin boards. Mary’s book Motivating Moments is a guaranteed morale booster, as well as thought provoking and inspirational.

And more misquotes from

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”—Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” —Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”—The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

“But what . . . is it good for?” —Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”—Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”—Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”—David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.”—A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”—H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”—Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in Gone With The Wind.

“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.”—Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”—Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”—Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

Moje consults on human resource and organization development and could be reached at

Thursday, August 3, 2006

The enemies of trust

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 3, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
The enemies of trust

“WE have all seen individuals fight lonely battles of truth in otherwise corrupt organizations only to leave in disgust when the final cards were being played,” write Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau in their book, The Trusted Leader.

“You really can’t be a trusted leader in your organization, or in your part of larger organization, unless an environment of trust exists beyond your office walls. Sure, you can be an island of trust in an otherwise untrustworthy world, but what good is that? If you’re the last bastion of open, honest communication and the free flow of information, you’ll quickly become a target. Your position, while just and heroic, just won’t hold.”

Who or what are the enemies of trust? These enemies—and they are many—are individuals consumed with ambitions to move upward while flattening colleagues or undermining teamwork. They are organizations where the culture punishes dissent, hides conflict and kowtows to hierarchy. They could also be situations like crises and systems such as a compensation system that inadvertently reward unproductive behaviors.

So, specifically who or what are these enemies?

Galford and Drapeau identify them as inadequate communication, misbehavior and situations not remedied or addressed. Specifically, they are:

• People with unhealthy levels of need for promotion, power or recognition
• People whose personal agendas are at odds with those of the organization
• Volatile personalities and/or class A Jerks
• A corporate history of under-performance
• Pulling a “bait and switch”
• Behavior of controlled vengeance
• Inconsistent messaging
• Complicated situations
• Unintended consequences
• Endless management reorganizations
• Rapidly changing situations
• Misplaced benevolence
• False feedback
• Elephant meandering undisturbed in the parlor
• Inconsistent reactions or standards
• Excessively strict or inflexible standards
• Scapegoating
• Taking away part of the everyday
• Paralysis in the face of difficulty
• Incompetence, perceived or actual
• Failing to trust others
• Your own sweet self

Organizations will always experience exciting or exasperating times. Sometimes, though, some seemingly simple decisions that are left hanging give rise to a host of “rumors” that complicates things. Employees hate a vacuum, especially in communication. And so they start to speculate to fill in information that is not there or without anything solid to grab, employees will over-read into any shared information they find.

Mergers and acquisitions, though they bring positive changes for the organization, could spell trouble to some employees. They start fearing for their jobs and make decisions based on those fears, rather than on what is good for business as a whole.

In many organizations I consult with, one thing that employees complain about is the seemingly never-ending reorganization. When I ask for an organizational chart for the organizing part (remember POLC? Planning, organizing, leading and controlling) of our Supervisory Development Workshop, for example, nobody could provide for an updated organization chart. They say that an updated organizational chart is their own continuing science experiment.

“Change in and of itself has no direct link to the level of trust in an organization, but the way in which change is viewed, handled, communicated, and positioned does.”

To attend the Taiwan Summit on Globalization of Human Resource 2006 in Taipei this September 22-23, please go to or email for details.

Moje consults on human resource and organization development and could be reached at