What should leaders keep in mind in the time of crisis to make an impact?

My keynote at RMIT Webinar: “Leadership Mindset In Difficult Times” on 20 May, 2020.

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Hello everyone,

 

Thanks RMIT for inviting me to share with the young talents. 

I will start my sharing about mindset by telling 4 stories which reflect mindset messages.  

1. A choice is always available for you (Bế Thị Băng)

 

Born as a normal girl in the highland, she grows up like other normal kids. Then she got an accident. The container truck hit the back of her motorbike, the wheel clamped on the motorbike and her right leg and dragged her along the road. Waking up after surgery, Bang was shocked to learn that one of her legs had been cut. 

At that time, Bang was only 24 years old. Just got a job. The skype seems to fall in front of her eyes. 

Last year, she was the winner of crescent moon contest by her impressive dance performance. (You can watch here). What else can she do? She can swim and she is a dentist and married a German professor

Talking about her disadvantage, Bang expressed: “I tell myself that whether we are disabled or healthy, we have the right to equality and to live and be confident with ourselves.”

 Similarly, it’s not your fault if you were born poor or some accidents happen to your life or prone to mental illness. But it is your responsibility to figure out how to deal with your situation.

No one else can heal your emotional wounds but you. No one else can fix your toxic relationship with money but you. No one else can make you stop addicting to social media/phone but you. 

That isn’t to say you have to do it all by yourself. You should seek out help if you need  a coach/mentor and get financial help when your luck is down. But for better or worse, at the end of the day, it’s all on you.

 

2. No one will believe in you unless you do (Ritesh Agarwal)

Ritesh Agarwal was born in Rayagada, India – a city where most people  make no more than 10 dollars a day. He grew up very poor and he struggled for 18 years. He did not go to the university and he had no career according to his neighbor. At some point, he was kicked out of his own apartment with 50 cents in his banking account 

He knows that his life is hard and well aware of it. He did not chase money but try to solve the issue that made his life and other lives better. He observed that the hotel owner did not make a lot of money so he took the biggest risk of his life to promise to bring more customers to the hotel. Then he came to the hotel to change the lightbulb, bed and put water and painting to increase the standard of the hotel and then took pictures to put one on the internet and Change the name OyO hotel. Finally,  more customers came to the hotel and OyO became the largest hotel chain in the world 

He received a Thiel Fellowship that paid him $100,000 over two years to create a startup.

He raised $25 million (Rupees 150 crore) from San Francisco-based Greenoaks Capital and existing investors Sequoia, DSG Consumer Partners and LightSpeed Ventures. 

He became the youngest billionaire in India with a hard childhood thanks to an elegant solution to the problem with the guts and fortitude to build.

There are enough people who tell us that we are not good enough, why do we want to tell ourselves that negative thought?  Your thoughts are a catalyst for self-perpetuating cycles. What you think directly influences your feelings and behaviors . So if you think you’re a failure, you’ll feel like a failure. Then, you’ll act like a failure, which reinforces your belief that you must be a failure.

Listen to what you believe and do your best to bring solutions to the issues that you discover. 

Consistently learn and improve until you get it. When you can do it once, you can do it again and again. No one will believe in you unless you believe in yourself.

3. See the world as it is, not as you wish it would be (Boyan Slat)

Boyan Slat is a Dutch inventor and the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.

In 2011, at the age of 16, while Slat dive in Greece, he found there were more plastic than fish in the ocean. Instead of complaining and being angry, he decided to devote a high school project for deeper investigation into ocean plastic pollution and why it was considered impossible to clean up. He later came up with the idea to build a passive system which uses the circulating ocean currents to his advantage. Then he presented at a TEDx talk in Delft in 2012.

Slat discontinued his aerospace engineering studies at TU Delft to devote his time to developing his idea. He founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, and shortly after, his TEDx talk went viral after being shared on several news websites.

Then he received all of the awards you can think of such as the Champions of the Earth award of the United Nations Environment Programme, Forbes “30 under 30” list In 2016, a Thiel Fellowship receiver, European of the Year,  Dutchman of the Year 2017.

 In 2018, Slat was awarded the Leonardo da Vinci International Art Award and Euronews award “European Entrepreneur of the Year”.

If he just showed his judgment on everyone else with rage  for throwing trash in the ocean—well, no one would have listened to him. Then the ocean will appear with more trash and plastic and other waste and hundreds of species in the ocean will disappear.

It is easy for us to judge, criticise and comment behind the screen with the air conditioner but it takes guts, hearts and brains to act like the problem solver.  

Action speaks louder than words and when you see the real ugly world as it is, not as you wish it would be, you come up with a solution which gradually influences others with the actions. 

4. Lead by example then people will follow

 

This is the last story that I want to share today. 

As an entrepreneur, I suffer a lot from Coronavirus pandemic. However, instead staying at home and crying, I chose to be different and meaningful to my life and others.

I want to build a stronger culture, improve myself and others who go with me as this pandemic is just one of the worst events that happens to our life and we have more unexpected events in life. 

I started a plank challenge in my company to encourage people to exercise and lose weight ;and daily meditation to help our team mind stronger and focus their concentration on things that matter the most. 

The Result was great, my team works better and faster online even though we suffer a lot from the beginning. I lost 5 kg and gained more muscles. At first, it is weird that my team will meditate with me in the morning, now that is the first thing they do in the morning with me.  

Secondly, when I saw the old man crying on the street with the lottery ticket. I feel really bad, I also want to help him and many miserable lives on the street But my resources and capacity are limited.  

Therefore, I want to initiate a project or platform that helps not only the youth but also the less fortunate one with automatic mechanisms. That’s why GIVE IT BACK was born to support the youth to accomplish more via mentoring 1 on 1 models as well as give a chance for them to give it back and share the difficulties with those less fortunate with their capacity. You can see the value cycle in this project and the youth know that they are lucky and impactful at the same time. 

I ,as a founder, invest my time and money to execute the project but mentors give their free valuable time to mentees. Mentees help the poor via their real action (money).

I can do nothing to support these people and be fine but I chose to act to help my people and the youth. Thanks to that, people follow me, support me and achieve more with me.

The question for you is what are you willing to suffer to make your life and other lives better?

Whether we like it or not, life is hard to predict and happen as we wish. What we can control is our thoughts and actions we have. Therefore, Choose wisely what mindset you should have and avoid 

 

I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka/whiskey, and then we can have a party.”

 

Thank you

WHY DO WE NEED TO BE RESILIENT TO LIVE A SUCCESSFUL LIFE?

The Slight Edge was a book given to me on the very first day of my career. It was a gift from my first boss which is why I appreciate it as much as I do. 

The core message is simple but meaningful and readers must know how to reflect upon it for themselves, otherwise The Slight Edge is in danger of becoming just another book on the shelf. 

THE SLIGHT EDGE PHILOSOPHY 

According to Jeff Olson, the edge is the “door” that determines whether or not you will be successful. The secret in being successful in life, says The Slight Edge, is the “Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time that ultimately leads to success”.

The problem is that not many people continuously choose to take these actions, which are easy to do, as they are also activities that are easy to skip. This is the main reason that leads to the difference in 5% of successful people compared to 95% of failure.

IF THEY ARE SIMPLE, WHY DO PEOPLE FAILTO IMPLEMENT THEM?

It is simply because these small actions do not have an immediate effect on your life when you decide not to do them. 

We are living in the world of “on-demand” service of a 4.0 technology revolution, in which with just a click you can get whatever you want. We do not have to wait to get what we want. We tend to be less patient, we want to get to the result without making progress or efforts. This 4.0 lifestyle makes it easier to give up or stop doing something if it is not convenient for us to do. 

As Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity states, “the observed gravitational effect between masses results from their warping of spacetime.” If your daily choices are productive, it will help you move upward, so that your lifeline will be on the upper half (only 5% of people achieve this). Unless your line is downward and your position is at the lower part (95% fall into this category). 

WHAT MAKES OTHERS SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE? 

 

  • SELF-DISCIPLINE

 

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.

This is my favorite motivational quote by Jerzy Gregorek which clearly defines the philosophy of “The Slight Edge”. He subsequently won four World Weightlifting Championships. His journey towards his successful career was not easy, it took time and effort to overcome the “old” him from being a political refugee to the champion of World Weightlifting. 

This quote is not only true to weightlifting athletes but also applicable in every aspect of life. The only way for the weightlifting athletes to lift up the heavier weight is to constantly choose to push a little bit more weight than the last time. The progress leads you to the edge of “what you can’t do”. Taking a step far away from the “what you can do” edge by working harder and harder than what you did yesterday will benefit you in the long-run. “By making it harder for yourself today, you make it easier for yourself in the future.” This simple principle reminds you of the “heavyweight” of small decisions that we choose to do every day. 

 

  • “KEEP MOVING” SPIRIT 

 

Do you recognize that the word “extraordinary” is the combination of extra and ordinary? 

When ordinary people leave their comfort zone and continue practicing doing more and more (extra) simple things every day, at some point, they will become extraordinary. If we do not repeat the small actions such as daily workouts, we might stop ourselves and bounce back to the new comfort zone. When we feel like we have enough and no new challenges are taken, this results in procrastination.

 

  • REFLECT 

Not many people know how to truly reflect. You read, learn, listen… What’s next? 

If you do not spend time practicing and apply what you have read, learned and listened into actions, will this be your knowledge? 

If you just keep doing… What’s next? 

When you keep doing without looking back on what you have done, you don’t leave space to adjust and improve the process, you cannot increase your productivity.

You are working extremely hard just to live day by day… So what’s next? 

Without talking with your inner self, it is hard for you to realize the reason why you are doing what you are doing. Do you truly live or just simply survive? 

Daily reflection may help you explore your true self, empathise with yourself after every experience. Don’t stop moving forward by asking yourself: “what’s next?” Simply spend 1% of your 24 hours (15 minutes) to focus on reflection, you will be amazed. 

 

  • TIE YOURSELF TO THE GOALS 

 

After 10 years of working on my own business, startup and many projects, I have witnessed the change in young people. They are the next generation of leaders, but they do not have much of an environment to grow, to challenge their assumptions, to release their potential, to contribute to the development of our country. That is the reason why I want to give young people a chance to practice and to learn how amazing they are if they keep trying hard and consistently every day. 

During this time, I had a chance to hold a lecture at some universities and worked with many mentees. I have realized that IQ is not a strong measurement of one’s ability. My best mentee does not get a high score in school or achieve a high IQ score, most of them have the normal or even “not very special” in the beginning. But what makes them different? 

  • Self-discipline/ Resilience 

Most of my best mentees that I am extremely proud of, do not have a particularly special talent on the very first day. They are not confident in themselves. They do not know what they want, what their strengths are or what their weaknesses are. Whenever they are asked to give their opinion, they are shy and hesitate to give their ideas. The only thing inside them that makes me believe and become their mentor is their actions, not words. Day by day, they take actions to overcome their “not perfect” parts, they do not prevent themselves from exploring and learn more to make whatever difficulties become their strength. 

Their resilience ability ties to their passion and patience to achieve the long-run goal. Resilience is to choose to look forward, day by day, not only in weeks or months but in years, many years.  Resilient people see life as a marathon, they see what they are doing in the long run. To be resilient, they need to have the ability to deal with the problems and have the ability to stand up and start again after every failure.

 

  • GROWTH MINDSET 

 

This idea is generated by Carol Dweck – a researcher at Stanford University. People with a growth-mindset do not see themselves with a potential that can be explored and fostered. They are not afraid of failure, they keep their head high to move forward because they believe that their ability is just the starting point of their potential. That is the reason why life cannot knock them down easily. When life gives them lemons, they will sit down and make their own lemonade. They see whatever challenges that life gives as a gift to learn and to be a better version of themselves. Thus what we need to do is keep teaching our inner child to learn how to be more resilient every day.

It is important to keep in mind that your behavior comes from your attitude toward things. Every piece of advice will be meaningless with a fixed mindset, instead of a growth mindset. Because when you keep the fixed mindset, you will see that your ability cannot change and try to prove that you are right, instead of learning from mistakes.

Why do we need to hide our weaknesses instead of fixing them? 

Why do we have to maintain the relationship that we think will raise our self-esteem instead of spending time with people who challenge yourself? 

Why do we need to compare ourselves to others instead of developing their potential? 

The passion for developing yourself when you are not enough is the key to the growth mindset. That is how successful people think and spend their life.

2019 Vietnam startup investment look back

Just some of my random notes about world startup investment and Vietnam so please make sure that you double check when I use my article.

Six years ago, Aileen Lee – founder of Cowboy Venture created the term “Unicorn” to illustrate the start-up companies which have the value of over $1 billions. 

At this time there were not many companies which were worth a billion dollars. Thus “Unicorn” was the dream name for many start-up since this term was introduced. However, the industry landscape has changed dramatically. The world of venture capital has been blooming, there has been a huge amount of money invested in the start-up company. 

In recent years, the number of “Unicorn” has increased exponentially. Total investment in the unicorn companies is up to 1.1 thousand of dollars. 

 

An analysis about 326 unicorns in the world

  • Overview about “Unicorn” in 2019

According to CB Insights of Unicorn of Unicorn Tracker – the company does research about the unicorn according to their industry, valuation and country. 

ByteDance is currently the largest unicorn with the valuation of 75 billion dollars. The China-based company operates many products such as: Vigo, Toutiao, TopBuzz and more, but the most special raising platform which is currently used by many millennia’s: TikTok. ByteDance uses AI to adjust the content to fit with the customer behavior. 

Source: Pixabay

Expert estimates that in 2019, there are more than 100 unicorns will conduct IPO – (The Initial Public Offering), including Uber and AirBnb. Recently, Lyft and Pinterest have conducted IPO. Another Unicorn is Zoom Video – an online video call platform is also in the IPO process, with the stock price increasing at 120% since its impressive release in the middle of April. 

  • Unicorn start-up by industry 

Internet Software and Service and E-commerce are the most popular industries with many potential start-up. On-demand services such as Uber, Didi  Chuxing and DoorDash attract more investors to invest in this area. 

  • Unicorn start-up by geography 

Over a half of unicorns come from the USA, but China has many start-up companies which have high value. While most of the unicorns come from 6 countries: USA, China, UK, India, Germany and Korea, other countries in the world have 32 unicorns approximately 10% of total unicorn in the world.

  • Unicorn by the valuation
    Uber, Wework, AirBnB and ByteDance have the largest amount up to 30% of total unicorn worldwide.  

According to the pyramid, there are 280 unicorns at the bottom – unicorns which have value from 1-5 billion dollars. The sum of those are 461 billion dollars, as 43% of the total unicorns. 

  • Vietnam Startup Investment Overview vs world investment

In 2019, the amount of capital flowing into technology startups in Vietnam accounts for 18% of all of Southeast Asia, while that of Singapore is 17%. However, as a whole, the remaining startups only raised US $ 670M, much less than in 2018 (nearly US $ 890M). This fact shows that the start-up race has entered the stage of refinement, many emerging industries have also led to the recession of many old and expensive businesses of investors.

In January 2019, Momo successfully raised funds  in the Series C 100 USD from Warburg Pincus funding. Momo is the first payment-app with more than 12 million users in Vietnam. 

In January 2019, Lefair – an ecommerce site which sells boutiques, has called for $7 million in the Series B from GSShop and Belt Road Capital Management. This success has helped the company total investment round to 12M USD. However, they just announced to quit the Vietnam market on 2020.

In February 2019, Elsa has raised fund successfully $7M USD Series A from Gradient Ventures – the specialized fund for AI of Google. Now, the total investment for the company is $12M. 

In March 2019, Tiki raised $75M from NorthStar Group and are the top 2 players in the e-commerce Vietnam market. Tiki is on its way to focus on increasing its service quality and user experiences. 

In April 2019, Jio Health has raised $5M Series A from Monk’s Hill Venture. 

In May 2019, Uber has failed since its first stock issues, which causes the loss of $6.5B. 

In June 2019, Logivan – 4.0 logistic service, which connects the shipper and the empty returned truck nationwide, raised successfully $5.5M from Matrix Partners, David Su and Alpha JWC Ventures. 

In August 2019, Wework – the largest co-working space US-based, which has an unpredictable fate. Although Softbank has invested $10B in Wework, they have stopped working with each other. 

In August 2019, KiotViet – a start-up providing software solutions for POS managing, announced receiving $6M Series A from Jungle Venture.  

In September 2019, Compass – a real-estate buy and sell start losing its direction, although Softbank has invested $450M and later fundraising $775M.  

In October 2019, Scommerce – logistic provider with 4 business units: GHN Express, Ahamove, GHN Logistic and GIDO has received $100M from Temasek – Singapore government investment fund. 

In November 2019, Softbank poured $500M into Fair – a car leasing company which is revolutionizing the car-as-a-service concept. However, Fair has failed and cut 40% of employees in the not “Fair” way. 

Also in November, Sendo announced its raising fund successfully with total investment in Series C is $61M from EV Growth, Kasikornbank, SBI Group, BEENOS, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Daiwa PI Partners and Digital Garage. 

This month, Lozi has also raised $10M+ from Smilegate Korea. 

Vnlife – mother company of VNPAY has become the second unicorn in Vietnam after VNG with $300M investment of Softbank Vision Fund and GIC Singapore 

In December 2019, Telio – Vietnam’s first B2B platform has raised $25M Series A from Tiger Global, Sequoia India, GGV Capital, and RTP Global.

In January 2020, OYO – a hotel booking start-up received $1.5B from Softbank has lost 65000 rooms and cut off 3000 employees. 

The world 2019 economic climate has significant slowdown, however Vietnam’s economy is growing.

Vietnam economic growth is projected to decrease in 2020

Collected from many sources:  Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist, WEF, May 2019, ESP Capital

DESIGN THINKING – PERFECT TOOL TO PUT YOUR PLAN INTO ACTIONS

Is your planning technique effective? 

 

Do you find yourself always exhausted, racing to meet your deadlines at the last minute? Do you plan your life carefully and keep track of time well, but still struggle to get your job done on time? Don’t be surprised if you are, because you are not the only person in this world who fell into the planning fallacy mindset without realizing it. 

 

The Planning Fallacy was first introduced by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979. They proposed that human beings are not very good at estimating time, costs and risk to complete certain tasks, even if we have the right experience in doing such tasks. This results from only focusing on a prediction, based on specific elements of a plan, rather than the distributional data. This leads to tasks not being completed on time because the individual underestimates what is needed for the deadline to be met. Furthermore, we can be overly optimistic about ourselves, in that we believe that we have enough time to complete tasks. Consequently, this means that the individual makes excuses for poor time-keeping. 

Design thinking is one of the most effective ways in which a person can overcome this struggle in planning and executing what has been planned. Design thinking is a human-centric concept to help people design their own solution by digging into the root causes and solving them. It is time to spend your time tailoring your own plan for the new year. 

 

STAGE 1: EMPATHIZE – WHO ARE YOU?

Understanding yourself is easier said than done, but it is time to take a seat, to have a self-talk, to identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as to clarify your short-term and long-term goals. 

There are 4 questions you should ask yourself. Try to answer as honestly and clearly as possible:

  1. What strengths make you proud of yourself? 
  2. What weaknesses make you lose your opportunities? 
  3. Now, what do you want to change? 
  4. What is your dream for the future? 

 

Do not answer in general like “I want to improve my English level” instead, make it specific and measurable like “I want to achieve IELTS 6.5 in the next 6 months”. The more details you give, the deeper you will understand yourself. Such types of answers will make your plan more practical and more suitable to yourself, therefore making it easier for you to implement the plan. 

 

TIP: Consider asking your parents, your relatives, your co-workers or whoever in this world that you believe understands you, and ask for their opinions. This will help to avoid a subjective understanding about yourself or an illustration of yourself that you created. 

The goal for this stage is to dig into who you are, to learn and to explore more about yourself. 

 

STAGE 2: DEFINE – WHAT DID YOU DO? 

After learning about yourself, your next step is to reflect on what you did last year by answering the following 3 questions: 

 

  1. Which goals/tasks did you complete in the last year? 
  2. Which goals/tasks did you plan but fail? 
  3. Which goals/tasks did you reschedule ?

 

Next steps: List down all of the reasons both subjectively and objectively that you think led to the failure of task completions. This will enable you to find a method that avoids procrastination in implementing the plan in the new year. There are many methods to help solve your procrastination and to reschedule the task completion on time, which may come from internal or external factors. For example, you may feel that if  sharing your plan on social media or with close friends will motivate you to achieve your goals. Or you may challenge yourself with punishments and rewards. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure that it will boost your must-do attitude meaning that no delay or procrastination is allowed. 

STAGE 3: IDEATION – WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

In this stage, you should keep calm and relax, let your mind wander to write down your goals: what do you want to improve or what you want to change? Where do you want to travel? How many books or what kinds of books do you want to read this year? Do not forget to think about your dream. Just write them down in your journal or whatever place you feel safe. Don’t worry if it may look a little bit messy on your paper, I will help you arrange it later. 

One important note you should bear in mind is that your techniques should help you to overcome your procrastination, which you have listed in the ‘Stage Two: Define’. Ideation will be the foundation to enable you to implement the method successfully, thus try to make it as precise as possible. 

STAGE 4: PROTOTYPE – PUT YOUR GOALS INTO PLAN 

Design thinking is the solution-orientated and action-orientated step in which you must focus on finding actionable solutions. Thus this stage is the most important in the planning process. In this stage, you will put all your goals and activities into a detailed plan. 

  • Categorize your goals and actions:

The first step is to divide your goals into 3 smaller categories: 

  1. Personal Development: The goals or actions that will help you nurture your personal growth.
  2. Study/Work: The goals and actions that will lead you to your career path.
  3. Family/Friends: The goals and actions that will strengthen your relationships. 

The more correctly categorized and prioritized these goals are, the easier the next steps will be. 

 

  • Strategic plan 

 

These previous parts will be evaluated again in time length and importance in order to categorize them into short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. This step requires a lot of effort and careful thinking so as to avoid mistakes. The following is one technique that I find easy to apply. 

Firstly, start with the axis of abscissas, you put all the goals in this axis. Arrange these goals based on its level of importance and affection to yourself. 

After that, you will use the axis of ordinate to evaluate the difficulty level, time and effort in each goal. The more difficult the goal is, the more time you spend, thus you can move this goal to a higher position. 

For example, if your goal is to achieve IELTS 6.5 in 2020, to me it is a medium difficulty level and it is also important. Thus my graph will be like this:

As you see the strategic plan graph divides into 3 parts:

Part 1 – Short-term and easy goals that you can finish in 3-6 months 

Part 2 – Medium-term and average difficult goals that take longer time about 6-18 months to complete. 

Part 3 – Long-term and difficult goals but not urgent goals which you can finish in 2-3 years. 

Put your goals into these 3 sections and the goals, which are in the Part 1 area, are prioritized in your detailed plan. 

 

  • A Detailed Plan

The detailed plan includes 2 important numbers: deadline and key result.

  • Key results: A plan is nothing without clear and measurable outcomes because they help you estimate the desired results and avoid giving up in the middle. 
  • Deadline: Give yourself specific time of completion in the goals. There are many apps which can assist you as the reminder like: Evenote, Wunderlist, Calendar,… These apps will help you stick to your goals and complete them on time. 

In terms of the medium-term and long-term goals, you can break them into smaller activities and put them into your detailed plan. This action will make sure that you are following what you have planned and start doing it from now. 

STAGE 5: TEST – CONTINUOUS PLAN IMPROVEMENT

The plan is just what you write down on paper. That’s why to make this plan come true, you need to invest your time, money and effort. There is no perfect plan in the world and you should test, do, learn and test again, as to which method fits with your style. You might not be able to change your goals but you can change the way you take action in order to achieve your goals. Be flexible and be prepared because there will be uncontrollable factors coming from the external environment, as well as from yourself, that may cause failure in implementing your plan.

 

I hope that you can stay focused on what you are about to do, always believe in yourself and always try your best to be a better you. Remember that if you plan it on just paper, next year you will be in the same state as you are right now but you’ll be one year older. Be strong and brave, take action, and challenge yourself! 

I hope all your plans come true as you expected.

Listen with empathy to be the leader

Let’s emphasize straightforwardly in this case.

What do people react when receiving information in both working environment and social relationship?

They prefer to be a passive hearer or an active listener. That’s your choice. It is clear that hearing is simply a natural ability of human, while listening is definitely a learned skill in order to transform information into meaningful messages. Someone has rightly said that “Hearing is through ears, but listening is through the mind”.

Why is it important to possess good listening skills?

Let me tell you a story about two energetic staffs. When being assigned the same task, they perform in two different ways which embody two different types of the level of listening ability. Candace always shows her comprehensive listening skills. As I saw that she always concentrates and pays attention to whenever we have a meeting for our next campaign. She prepares to actively listen and learn, and then thinking about this topic critically. She takes note carefully the key point after meeting and carries out effectively. Moreover, information selection is one of her strengths. Mainly because she thinks that the key concepts are much more important than the whole of argument in the meeting to answer the questions of What, Who, When, Where, Why and How.

On the other hand, Simon is quite different from Candace. He is a kind of passive listener. An active listener is the one that receives message from speakers, then analyses and responds to strengthen the mutual understanding. A passive one is different because he receives information without analysing, and stops at receiving information but keeping asking many times. It is reasonable that asking questions is a measure to make sure the instructions are understood and be clear,however, without taking note drives him to be difficult to remember the guidance delivered before.

Conversation with Consul General of France Vincent Floreani

When it comes to listening skills in social relationship, there are two ways that people are going to react when their friends tell them a story on a day hanging out. One of which is that people tend to dig deep into the storytelling to figure out the problem when their friend is confronting. They analyse the issue together and help the friend overcome feelings of pressure. Otherwise, people are not interested in that story, as a result, they show their no inspiration to continue the conversation. Somehow they still respect their friend’s story, but they do not react or do not respond anything, just only “Oh!”, “Really?”,  “Seriously?” for example.

Derived from two situations conveyed above, who do you think that they possess a good listening skills? So to review how to be a comprehensive listener, I am going to list these levels of listening to enhance your skills effectively and efficiently. There are five levels of listening that need to be considered.

Ignoring

Ignoring is the lowest stage of listening – not listening at all. It means that people usually interject a remark into the conversation with someone when they are speaking to others. They do not listen to at all with this person, then starting a new conversation with other one.

Pretend Listening

Pretend listening is easily explained in face-to-face talk. People may nod their head or other gesture to portray that they are listening, but they are not giving their full attention to the conversation. They are able to hear what others say but they do not show their impression.

Selective Listening

This stage is a beginning level of an active listener. People tend to pay attention to the speakers when they discuss about aspects that they are interested in; however, not all. They are probably the one that says “So, what’s your point?”. They are more likely to go straightforward to the thing that is important to them and interrupt the conservation when they realize that thing is not amusing anymore.

Attentive Listening

An attentive listener spend their time and attention on listening to other people. They have a tendency to respond according to their own experience. Instead of putting themselves in others’ situation, they listen and explain with their own perspective.

Empathic Listening

This is the top level of listening because those who are empathic listening are more likely to pay their full attention to gain the information and respond to develop the understanding in a conservation. It can be referred as the hardest to accomplish this level. However, to give a truly listening is not complicated.

Regarding to Clinical psychologist Kevin Gilliland, to practice to be a skilled listeners, people should following suggests:

Be curious: you’re more favor in listening to what the other says, rather than formulating your response.

Ask good questions: avoid asking yes/no type questions, which are closed-ended. You need to concentrate on questions that invite people to elaborate.

Don’t jump into a conversation too quickly: you should consider easing into the conversation when speaking to someone.

Anchor yourself to the subject and don’t get distracted: you should avoid unrelated topics to distract from the subject.

Stop making up stories: a  lot of information which is missing is not a good idea for those who want to listen to your stories.

Don’t make a big deal out of being wrong: If you’re good at admitting fault, this should be a fairly easy tip for you.

Dalai Lama once said:

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

In order to be the leader, we not only need a vision to inspire the team but also need the great ears of listening with empathy to feel the pain and recognize what is not shared on the vocal conversation.  

The world will be more peaceful when we stop talking about each other, start listening to each other and collaborate with empathy thanks to listening.

Opening Speech of Final round of Lead the Change 2018 competition

My honor guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is such a pleasure and honor for me to be here and mark the final round of Lead the Change 2018 competition.

As mentioned before, I dream of the Vietnamese young generation with good English and soft skill, great attitude and mindset. UEH Connected was founded with that dream and we have incubation programs and activities that attract not only the Vietnamese but also the foreigners.

Mr Cong-Thang HUYNH, Mr Rick Yvanovich, Mr Eddie Thai, Ms Nguyen Phi Van,Mr Mike Tran, Mr Gaku Echizenya, CG Kyle Nunas & CG Mary Tarnowka –
Lead the Change is the new way of leadership incubation which we used it as a tool to bring the youth abroad. We are proud to share that we brought 32 young Vietnamese to Singapore in July of this year for intensive training
Lead the Change 2018 competition is also a good tool for us to nurture talents with good ideas and potential; and equip them with training, mentorship, networks to open their mindset so that they can lead the change to drive Vietnamese economy.
We have 800 qualified applications this year from more 40 universities and organizations. If someone follows us from the beginning will recognize that it is the big transformative journey for the youth. They came to us with a big dream without necessary skill and right mindset. Through 8 intensive trainings and 8 mentoring sessions covering from business plan, finance to how to make the pitch deck and presentation. They are now totally different and stronger than they were before our competition. You can read hand writing feedback to feel what I meant.
And we can not do it alone without any support. We would like to express our thank you message to
  • Consul General of US Ms Mary Tarnowka  – our good friend
  • US Consulate General
  • Startup Campus from Korean Goverment (Ms Dorothy & Mr Collin),
  • KIMC (Mr Ted Kim),
  • Consulate of Italy,
  • ITP (Information Technology Park) under National University
  • University of Economics Ho Chi Minh city,
  • Arizona State University,
  • RMIT and
  • Ms Nguyen Phi Van – Founder & CEO Retail & Franchise Asia​
  • Mr Rick Yvanovich – Founder & CEO của TRG International​
  • Mr Kyle Nunas – Consul General of Canada
  • Ms Ngo Phuong Thao – Founder  Anbooks
  • Ms Thi Anh Dao – CEO Isobar Vietnam
  • Mr Eddie Thai – Partner 500 Startups​
  • Mr Gaku Echizenya – Chairman of Navigos Group
  • Mr Warren Eng – Leaders create Leaders
, many judges, mentors, trainers of 5 rounds and especially my Lead the change team who spent months for this project and making it happen with me. I know that my thank you message here is never enough for what you have contributed to this community and competition but history will remember you all. 😀
There’s an old African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” But We can not be slow in this 4.0 industrial revolution, we have to go together further quickly.
Thank you for going together with us and making us stronger day after day.
Hope you will have a great day!!!
Thank you,

5 ways to advance your life and enterprise with a growth mindset

Why do people imply staff performance related to mindset?

When I assign the same task to two of my new energetic staff, they perform in two different ways, which embody two different types of mindsets. Vincent’s mindset is about guarantee. He sometimes has no idea dealing with failure and also be afraid to change when receiving feedback from others to improve his performance. He takes it personally and sometimes she is displeased. Vincent requires his benefits before doing something.

Youth training in Botanic Garden, Singapore

On the other hand, Jules expects to receive feedback from the senior when making mistakes. To cope with a failure, she dares to change and improve her ability to accomplish well later on. She perceives challenges as ideal opportunities to fail and to learn. If she encounters something that is quite troublesome, she will endeavor to overcome somehow. After all, you can know that who has the fixed mindset and who possesses the growth mindset in this story.

What is Mindset?

If you refer to someone’s mindset, that means their thoughts and beliefs drive them into habits and the way they commonly think about issues. The mindset orients our disposition or attitudes to handle situations. The mindset has much influence on what people think, how they feel, what they perceive and what should they react. In other explanation, the mindset shapes your belief and your belief shapes your attitudes. People have various mindsets of the same thing due to perceiving in different ways.

The book called Mindset: The new psychology of success written by Carol Dweck, who is a psychology professor at Stanford, is one of the most prominent psychology and individual development books nowadays. The book reminds me vividly of my personal experience.

The Fixed Mindset

People with the fixed mindset believe basic qualities like talents are fixed traits. They view failure as permanent. They are more likely to give up when facing an obstacle. When they feel criticism as a personal attack, they seem to quickly give excuse and explain.

Their behaviors are shaped by innate ability and their priority always is validation and achievement. The insight of people having the fixed mindset is that better performances. They are less likely to take creative risks. They choose easier tasks and put in minimal effort.

The fixed-mindset people don’t allow others be better compared to themselves. If their colleagues try new things and succeed, fixed-mindset people feel threatened. They are afraid that success will put pressure on themselves to do more. Safety is their choice.

The Growth Mindset

People with the growth mindset believe new abilities can be developed by practice. They consider challenge which is just an issue need to be faced, resolved, and learned from. It is possible to say that growth-mindset people can all adapt, progress and experience without any fear of being painful.

Most people are not perfect, and they should suffer from losses and hardships to be stronger and more at peace than ever before. The growth mindset doesn’t mind to show their imperfections as they think that weaknesses are not the problem. The problem is just only the person who cannot accept these weaknesses belonging to them. The imperfections should be recovered since that helps people to improve their adequate development.

Personal performance is good, but the process of how to bear the failure is much more important. The growth-mindset people assume that it takes time for development and achievement. They aren’t convinced of being talented. They strongly believe in the determination of learning from time to time, arduous working and toil to get an accomplishment.

How do you know that you are a fixed-mindset person or a growth-mindset person?

Let’s emphasise straightforwardly in this case. What do people react when receiving a course of work? With the fixed mindset, it will be: “People will finish it with no mistakes. People should avoid being a failure. People simply lose interest or temperature when facing challenges. People think about the inputs for themselves rather than the outputs for others.”

In contrast, with the growth mindset, it will be: “People make mistakes, and it’s not a problem. People need to have feedbacks, even constructive criticism. People get ready to undergo current trouble. People are excited to try to do something beyond what they’ve mastered. People make an effort to figure out the measures of solving issues better than they did.”

5 Significant Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections

Even if you demonstrate your best traits of a great person, but you hide from your deficiencies, you will never be excellent in most cases. You are unable to overcome the fear of weaknesses. Of course, fear can hold you back. Have you ever thought that fear is an obstacle distract you from building your strengths? Grasp an opportunity to discover yourself, uncover imperfections hidden and deeply understand yourself. This will be a premise to change the weaknesses towards your strengths.

2. View challenges as opportunities

The growth-mindset people consider each challenge is an opportunities to grow stronger. We continuously determine who we are and what we are able to achieve after enduring troublesome issues. In fact, people might not control events that occur to them, but these unanticipated events serve as a big deal to test truly your characteristics. Thus, it is grateful for welcoming opportunities to learn and to improve.

3. Replace “to fail” with “to learn”

Have you ever heard a quote of Samuel Beckett? “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

It’s not a shame to share your failures with each other. When you make a mistake for your goal, you haven’t failed, you are learning. You learn from the bad experience for yourself instead. You shouldn’t think you’re a loser, think that you’re a learner and then an achiever.

4. Redefine “genius”

A genius is a person who suffered from a whole host of challenges, hardships, losses, and toils. You should redefine that the genius is shaped by hard-working, not only natural ability. The fixed-mindset people believe in talent or intelligence. However, the growth-mindset people only recognize improvement and development throughout the experience. You will be a genius if you mobilize your resource and stretch on your way.

5. Learn from others’ mistakes

It is better to combine our mistakes and the mistakes of others to learn. That will be valuable information for you to tackle the problems that push you up. People sometimes share the same weaknesses, which is a chance to empathize and adapt it to your case. It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others. Learn from others’ missteps and travel down on the bumpy road that helps you be more better.

Advancing the youth’s success with 21st century skills

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” — Will Smith

I have been traveling around Asia to share my experience, idea, skills and mentoring many young startup. I have been asked many times which skills need to be developed and how to obtain them. As the world is changing so fast, technology like AI, IoT, robot will soon take over many current jobs. What should the youth prepare?

We clearly foresee that entrepreneurship acts as our central comparative advantage. Nothing else can give us the necessary leverage to remain an economic superpower sustainably. It is undeniable that the need of 4Cs including Critical thinking (and problem-solving), Communication, Collaboration and Creativity is a integral part in the global society.

Critical thinking

In fact, a person cannot learn well without thinking well. As I know, graduates in Vietnam specifically or Asia in general are lacking of autonomous learning whereas researching and marshallings are foundation courses of educational system in international colleges and universities. International schoolchildren learn to filter out unnecessary information and choose the reliable one. Yet Vietnamese youth do not have this important skills because of their lazinesses in exploring and thinking leading to being unable to absorb pertinent knowledge and gain fulfillment after graduation. They complain about the Internet-based references are unreliable and misleading. And the reason is that they do not sift data or even estimate resources they had.

In addition, they figure out a problem with irrelevant questions which make others are fed up due to their insufficient thinking well before asking. The process of making such inquisition helps you to deeply understand to problematic aspects that you endure. You want to exercise critical thinking, let ask the questions whenever you discover or discuss new information. Let start with 5W1H: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Such questions regulate your decisions. I definitely underestimate those who are not able to making decision. Even it fail or you make a mistake or fall short of a goal, you have not failed, you have learned.

Communication

The ability of communication effectively which means that you communicate what think and feel. You are going to convey clearly a message and inspire someone to do better, good communication helps you to do it. There are several ways to communicate well among individuals throughout face-to-face conversation, digital channels or teamwork. People who get involved in a casual conversation will not grasp your thoughts or ideas properly unless you make an effort to practice communicative skills on a daily basis. In each case, you have to learn how to share information, how to present in public and how to make a request effectively and efficiently.

You sometimes make the same mistakes that you demonstrate excessive information, or you explain ambiguously with unfamiliar words. If you ramble on, your listeners will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want. A good communication means saying just enough – don’t talk too much or too little. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly.

Collaboration

In 21st century, collaboration is of significant importance among community. We are now living in multi-society where people from different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities. We tend to integrate ourselves into this community to achieve a defined and certain purpose in global society. Therefore, Vietnamese youth should learn collaborative skills in order to work effectively with a particular group of people and lifestyles. You should learn interactive methods and empathy while working in a team to get a higher level of productivity, to share responsibility instead of devolving it to others.
Vietnamese people are woefully inadequate this skills since I assume that they are afraid of taking responsibilities and endeavoring to gain results. They have a preference for being secure and unwilling to take risks. Personally, I properly appreciate those who dare to change and shoulder duties which aim to lead their members and thrive their organization. I consider that they are inspiring leaders, and I always advocate them to become more genius.

Creativity

Creative skills is to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connection between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.

Of course, critical thinking can support people to master creative skills. If you have ideas but do not act on them, you are imaginative but not creative. However, Vietnamese citizens, particularly young people, are not accustomed to innovation. They might be wounded when they demonstrate different ideas from others and get negative judgement. A judgment is just an opinion of someone else, and you should not mind to limit your ability.

It could be a culture of Vietnamese people as they cannot be accepted if they alter something new. They are able to speak up but they keep silence, they want to debut their products to public but they do not, and then still living in imaginative world instead. It is not alive. It is a glimmer. Get your ambition which means to stretch on your own way and be creative in order to compete internationally.

It’s 4Cs that I want to mention to enlighten those who are still get stuck in common issues in my country. When young generation acknowledge the need of 4Cs and master these skills, we will account for the prosperity of Vietnam to be a worth-living place in the world. Are you contributing to be a pivotal part of this development?

Still procrastinating? Start the new day right with a productive mindset

Do you suffer from the so-called symptoms of procrastination? Here are some things you can do to help improve your workflow

Procrastination is a bad habit. It directly affects the success of your career and your life.

The sages of ancient Greece used one word to talk about the state of hesitating or not being sure whether to act or not. They used the term ‘Akrasia’, which basically means procrastination. One of the biggest reasons that prevent young people from succeeding in any endeavour is Akrasia.

To address this problem, you have to understand that you’re suffering from procrastination. Try to overcome it with specific plans.

Are you a procrastinator?

The common ‘symptoms’ of procrastinators are as follows:

  • Lack of motivation. If you’re not working for your goal, you will find some excuse to get rid of the tasks at hand. Without deadlines for completion, all the things you must do will be delayed.
  • Lack of clear objectives. Procrastinators underestimate the difficulty of their job. One cannot visualise how to solve the work to the extent that the tasks remain stagnant. Such people often do not know how to use effective tools such as to-do lists, notes, and reminders, and tend to avoid all unwanted work. Procrastinators often prefer doing things that offer short-term satisfaction than long-term value.
  • Lack of assertiveness. If you cannot decide what to do, you will simply push back decisions and re-schedule tasks for a later time. Procrastinators are often worry about perfection in the way they work, to the extent that nothing gets accomplished.

Rescue yourself from procrastination

Do you suffer from the so-called symptoms of procrastination? Here are some things you can do to help improve your workflow:

  • Make a plan every day. When you have a plan, you need to stick with it and make sure nothing can slip out of your schedule.
  • Take advantage of tools. Use a “to do list” for example. Note down everything you need to do during the whole day. Or, you can try various apps that help you through reminders and task lists, so you don’t miss the important things.
  • Set priorities. You need to know which things need to be resolved first, so you can avoid delaying something you don’t like.
  • Split your projects into smaller tasks. When you divide tasks into smaller ones, you can more easily create a timetable with specific deadlines. Solving these will be easier than vaguely aiming to finish a big project. This way, you can keep track of accomplishments and then reduce the pressure on yourself when you tick off tasks from the list. Set a time limit for each job — this helps you become more willing to finish each task.
  • Reward yourself. You can kick the procrastination habit by incentivising yourself for achievements. It does not have to be expensive or big-ticket. This can involve eating out with friends, a delicious meal, a satisfying drink, or anything that can make you feel comfortable and satisfied. You will become better-motivated this way, and it helps create joy in your work. Still, reaching your goals is, in itself, a great experience.

Life is a river. It never stands still. It always changes, for better or worse. So every day, we must ask ourselves:

Am I looking forward to this new year?
Am I feeling better, happier and more prosperous than last year?
Had I been a better person today than yesterday?
If the answer is “No”, you might need to do things differently to welcome the new year with better perspectives.

7 lessons for young Vietnamese entrepreneurs

You will face a lot of challenges as an entrepreneur; Here are some things that can help you overcome these

Having done many projects – some of which were failed ones while others made considerable progress – I have gained myself a few life lessons that I think would be valuable for young people.

1. Observation

Observation skills are the first thing we need to work on. I am talking about the observation where you learn by watching things happen around you, and you analyse them.

When attending a networking event, how can you tell who is important to approach?

Let us suppose that you want to open a restaurant. Now imagine yourself setting foot in a trashy Pho diner with dirty tables, and the rude staff – would you find yourself feeling annoyed? If not, then, do you think you could operate a good restaurant of your own?

When you observe, you can learn how a lot of things need to be done correctly for setting up a successful startup.

2. Self-discipline

As you launch your startup, there will be no one to supervise you. Hence, you need to plan your schedule carefully, be strict towards yourself to avoid days where you feel like not going to work and oversleeping because you are too tired or, just simply, unmotivated.

When you are the boss, not only do you work for yourself now but you also work directly with your business partners. Being the boss, you have to be an ideal model for your employees to look up to. Especially when you are the one to set up a startup, during its first period, you are expected to deal with and solve all of the unexpected problems. Without discipline, your system will most likely to not run smoothly.

Having a self-disciplined life guarantees you a physically healthy body and a flexible mind. In contrast, an ill body accompanied by a tired mind will prevent you from being productive. Spend at least 30 minutes per day on exercise to get in shape.

A self-disciplined lifestyle helps us have enough energy to face and cope with business challenges.

3. Getting used to rejection

Rejection could come and knock on your door at any time when you invest in a project or found a startup. Back to days when I first started my business, I was turned down at least 30 times before getting my very first client. You must accept the fact of being rejected and take that as a normal part of the process. What needs to be done here is that after every rejection, you figure out the reasons that lie behind it and prevent it from happening in your next attempt.

In order to become a businessman or a businesswoman, bear in mind that you will have to face a lot of bad news coming from many sources: your investors, your staff, customers, and so on. If you let the negative thoughts distract you, you shall waste a large amount of time, nothing will get done, and no lessons will be learnt.

4. Right attitude

There are some problems in younger generation: throwing rocks at people that are better than them; looking down on others’ talents and hard works, and spreading rumors about someone they know nothing about because of envy. You will never can be a better version of yourself if you do things like these.

When you face bad things in life with a positive attitude, you will gain life lessons, which seem to be small and not worth paying attention to but in fact are very valuable.

Humility is a good way to help your soul flourish. Humility helps us fight against greed, braggadocio and narcissism – all of which are cancerous to Vietnamese’s values.

5. Being fluent in at least one foreign language

The world is getting flatter and flatter, and if you do not know its lingua franca, which is considered to be English, then your job opportunities are very limited.

Learning a new language is like working out. In order to be muscular, we have to work out every day. Spend at least 5 minutes to practice your English skills, turn this language into a tool helping you step up in the career ladder.

People who speak English fluently tend to be more confident. According to a survey, a person who knows how to speak English earn 30 per cent more than those with the same job but do not speak English.

6. Daily reading

Vietnamese people read approximately one book a year, stated Mr. Hoang Le, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Publishers Association. Vietnamese people spend only VNĐ 40,000 (US$ 1.76) on books every year, meanwhile an average Chinese person spends VNĐ 200,000 (US$8.80) and people from developed countries spend around VNĐ 4 million (US$176).

Reading is a way for us to gain knowledge, learn skills and experience things for free. Reading could also provide us with a deeper understanding of our jobs, life, better thinking habits and therefore helps us grow. As a result, we are more equipped and become confident when holding conversations, have better control over the way we behave and improve our conflict solving skills.

7. Keeping promises

Young people have to get rid of the bad habit of being late. Try to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance for every kind of meeting.

Once you promise someone something, make sure to do your best to keep your word. I promised to help a Vietnamese French man recruit his team and sort out the red tape and bureaucracy during his first time coming to Vietnam to do business. I tried my hardest to assist him and expected nothing in return. Later on, thanks to him, I met a lot of now very big clients of mine.

So bear in mind the word “trust” and do not let anyone down once they have put their trust in you.