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We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Persistence, Art and Happiness

One day, my husband and daughter were coming up the stairs to our front door.

She asked him "Are you happy Baba?"

He thought hmmmm why is she asking me this (she was 4 years old at the time).... but he answered...... "yes, I suppose I'm happy."

Ross, my husband is not one to make unequivocal statements.

So she said "Great! I'm happy too! Its a happy day!" and bounded up the stairs to tell me "Mama Mama, its a happy day, we're all happy!"

That was such a wonderful episode, I hope you can have one too like that.

What prompted her?

Well, if the truth be told, she got so much candy at Halloween that year, that she got to eat it one piece at a time, one day at a time. It lasted till the next Halloween, and we still had some left, that's how much candy she collected that year.

So I had said to her "If its a happy day, you can have two pieces of candy."

She is the daughter of parents who met at college in the first day of our Philosphical Logic class, both graduates with honors in Maths, therefore she is both logical and pragmatic, so she asked

"How do I know its a happy day?"

I said "If you, Baba and I are all happy, then its a happy day."

You don't have to use candy,.... but its really something wonderful to have your child ask you if you are happy.

We have never forgotten it.

So click on the link above and find out more about bringing happiness into your life.


I have the following posted on the wall behind my desk, on the right of the framed poem Üpon this Gifted Age - see the June 11 2006 blogpost - and to the left of my monitor screen.

Developing Persistence

- finish a project ahead of time

- Notice your thoughts about stopping a task, and make a conscious effort to dismiss them. Focus on the task at hand.

- Find a system that works and actually use it. Begin using a time management aid of some sort (daily planner, pda)

- Set a goal and create a plan for sticking to it

- When you wake up int he morning, make a list of things that you want to get done that day that could be put off until the next day. Make sure to get them done that day.

These exercises were developed by Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia for working on Persistence, they are part of a longer list in an experiment he conducted to see what happened when people could choose to work on their weaknesses or strengths. You can read about the experiment (but I warn that you will enjoy it more if you are an engineer or statistician) in a paper entitled "Strengths and Weakness" at


I have copied the rest of the exercises here - I hope he doesn't mind, I think they are thought provoking. Choose one that you'd like to do. And put it up next to your computer screen. Here are his instructions - some are localized to the University of Virginia context, but I'm sure you can adapt it. You'll have to read the paper to find out the hypothesis and results of the experiment.

Jon Haidt:

You do NOT have to use these activities! You can design whatever activity you think will work for you, as long as it allows you to EMPLOY one of your strengths, or WORK ON one of your weaknesses.

1. Curiosity and Interest in the World
a. Ask question in class
b. Discover new places
c. Explore the stacks in the library; browse widely, or pick an interesting looking book each day, and spend 20 minutes skimming it.
d. Eat something new that you never otherwise would have tried
e. Go to a meeting or hear a speaker

2. Love of Learning
a. Discover one new place in C’ville every day
b. Read a newspaper other than the Cav Daily
c. Go to a professor’s office hours without a question
d. Ask a question in class
e. Go to an online search engine like Ask Jeeves-ask a question and explore sites you never otherwise would have discovered
f. Every day, read a chapter of a book that is not an assigned class text
g. Read a book about something you’ve always found intriguing but never found the time to learn more about

3. Judgment, Crit. Thinking and Open-Mindedness
a. Go to a multi-cultural group or event.
b. Play devil’s advocate and discuss an issue from the side opposite to your personal views
c. Take a hall/suitemate out to lunch who is different from you in some way.
d. Go to a different church or religious event
e. Every day, pick something you believe strongly, and think about how you might be wrong.

4. Creativity, ingenuity and originality
a. Keep a journal, work on a picture or poem
b. Submit a piece to a literary magazine or newspaper
c. Decorate a notebook or your room
d. Pick one object in your room and devise another use for it rather than its intended use
e. Find a new word everyday (perhaps at dictionary.com) and use it creatively every day.
f. Change your profile on IM daily

5. Social Intelligence
a. Meet one new person each day by approaching them
b. Go into a social situation in which you would normally feel uncomfortable and try to fit in
c. Whenever you talk with someone, try to figure out what his or her motives and concerns are.
d. Encounter someone by themselves and by being friendly, include them in your group

6. Perspective (Wisdom)
a. Get a quote a day online
b. Give advice to an upset friend
c. Think of the wisest person you know. Try to live each day as that person would live.
d. Look up prominent people in history and learn their views on important issues of their day and/or find a significant quotation that they said.

7. Valor
a. Talk in class (if you don’t normally)
b. Go against peer pressure or social norms
c. Stand up for someone even if you disagree with him/her.
d. Ask someone out or to dance
e. Introduce yourself to a stranger next to you in class
f. Speak up for an unpopular idea (if you believe in it)

8. Industry diligence and Perseverance
a. Finish work ahead of time
b. Notice your thoughts about stopping a task, and ignore them. Focus on the task at hand.
c. In class, resist daydreaming and distractions.
d. Plan ahead- use a calendar for assignments and tests.
e. Set a high goal (e.g., for exercise, or studying) and stick to it.
f. When you wake up in the morning, make a list of things that you want to get done that day that could be put off until the next day. Make sure to get them done that day.

9. Honesty, Authenticity and Genuineness
a. Refrain from telling small, white lies, to friends (including insincere compliments). If you do tell one, admit it and apologize right away.
b. Monitor yourself and make a list of every time you tell a lie, even if it is a small one. Try to make your daily list shorter every day.
c. At the end of each day, identify something you did that was attempting to impress people, or put on a show. Resolve not to do it again.

10. Zest, Enthusiasm, and Energy
a. Go out of your way to become more involved in an organization you are already a part of
b. Take up a greater interest in one of your classes, i.e. volunteer for a class activity
c. Do something because you want to, not because you are told.
d. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast, to give yourself more energy during the day.
e. Do something physically vigorous in the morning (e.g., jog, push-ups)

11. Kindness and generosity
a. Leave a huge tip for a small check.
b. Do a random act of kindness every day (a simple, small favor). Make it anonymous if possible.
c. Be a listening ear to a friend. Ask them how their day was and actually listen to the answer before telling them about your own day.
d. Send an e-card to a different friend each day.
e. Pay the whole tab when you are out with friends.

12. Capacity to Love and be Loved
a. Tell boyfriend/girlfriend/sibling/parent that you love them
b. Send a loved one a card or e-card to say that you were thinking about him/her.
c. Give loved ones a big hug and a kiss
d. Write a nice note where someone you love will find it sometime during the day. Do this in a new place, or for a new person, every day.

13. Citizenship and Teamwork
a. Volunteer at Madison House
b. Take on added responsibility within an organization you are already a part of
c. Pick up litter that you see on the ground
d. Clean your suite, hall, or lounge (anywhere communal)
e. Organize a hall/suite dinner
f. Do your share in a group work/as a facilitator

14. Fairness Equity and Justice
a. Allow someone to speak their peace while keeping an open mind by not passing judgment
b. Stay impartial in an argument between friends despite your beliefs (be the mediator)
c. Notice when you treat someone based on a stereotype or pre-conception; resolve not to do it again.

15. Leadership
a. Organize something special for your friends or suitemates one evening.
b. Organize a study group

16. Modesty
a. Don’t talk about yourself at all for a full day.
b. Dress and act modestly, so as not to attract attention to yourself.
c. Find a way in which someone you know is better than you. Compliment him or her for it.

17. Self-Control and Self-Regulation
a. Set aside 2 hours (or other designated amount of time) and ACTUALLY study in a quiet place.
b. Work out four days a week (if you don’t already)
c. Clean or organize your room. Every day, make sure that you pick up whatever mess you made during the day.
d. Leave something unfinished on your plate that you usually regret eating afterwards.
e. When something upsets you, attempt to block it out of your mind and instead focus on the good things in your life.
f. Make a resolution to not gossip. When you feel the urge to talk about someone behind his or her back, remember your resolution and stop yourself before you talk.
g. In the evenings, make an agenda for the following day. Stick to that agenda.
h. When you get overly emotional about something, calm down and calmly consider all of the issues again.

18. Caution, Prudence and Discretion
a. During a conversation, think twice before saying anything. Weigh the probable effect of your words on others.
b. Think about the motto “Better safe than sorry” at least three times a day. Try to incorporate its meaning into your life.
c. Before you decide to do something important, reflect on it for a moment and consider if you want to live with its consequences 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 year later.

19. Forgiveness and Mercy
a. Think of someone that you found it very hard to forgive. Try to see the situation from their perspective. Then consider, if you had been the one to do the offensive act, would you have expected to be forgiven?
b. Keep a journal, and every night, describe someone who made you mad, or against whom you have a grudge. After writing about the grudge, describe why you are resistant to forgiving them. Then look at the situation from that person’s point of view, and forgive the person.
c. Make contact with someone who has made you mad in the past. Let them know that you forgive them, or just be kind to them in your conversation.
d. When someone does something that you do not understand, try to fathom his or her intentions in the actions.

20. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
a. Go to a museum (e.g., the Bailey) and pick out a piece of artwork or a display that has aesthetic value and touches you because of its beauty.
b. Write down your thoughts about a piece of art, or something beautiful you see around grounds.
c. Take a walk with a friend and comment on something pretty that you see
d. Attend a concert and enjoy the sound for its musical value. Or pick out the most moving music you know of, and listen to it appreciatively on headphones every night. Or ask a friend to recommend the most beautiful music he or she knows.
e. Keep a journal, and every night, record something you saw during the day that struck you as extremely beautiful, or skillful.
f. Find something that makes you happy, in aesthetics or value, a physical activity or an object, and let it inspire you throughout the day.
g. Visit the Fine Arts Library and browse through the art books.

21. Gratitude
a. Keep a journal, and each night, make a list of three things that you are thankful for in life
b. Every day, thank someone for something that you might otherwise take for granted (e.g., thanking the janitor who cleans your hallways).
c. Keep a record of the number of times you use the words “thank you” in a day. Over the course of the first week, try to double the number of times that you say the words.
d. Call a parent/sibling/friend each day and thank him/her (e.g., for helping you to become who you are, or for always being there for you.)
e. Send someone a “thank you” e-greeting.
f. Leave a note on your roommate/apartment mate suitemate/hall mate that thanks them for something about them that you appreciate.

22. Hope, Optimism, and Future-Mindedness
a. Keep a journal, and every night, record a decision you made that day that will impact your life in the long run
b. When you are in a bad situation, turn it around to see the optimistic side of it. You can almost always find some good in a situation, regardless of how awful it seems at the time.
c. Make a list of bad decisions you have made. Forgive yourself and move on in life realizing that you cannot go backwards, only focus on the present and future.
d. Notice your negative thoughts. Counter them with positive thoughts.
e. Reaffirm yourself that you can and will succeed at whatever you put your mind to.

23. Spirituality and Sense of Purpose, and Faith
a. For five minutes a day, relax and think about the purpose of life, and where you fit in..
b. For five minutes a day, think about the things you can do to improve the world or your community.
c. Read a religious or spiritual book, or go to a religious service every day
d. Explore different religions. You can do this by going to a library, looking on the Internet, or asking your friends about their religions.
e. Spend a few minutes a day in meditation or prayer.
f. Invest in a book of affirmations or optimistic quotes. Read a few every day.

24. Humor and Playfulness
a. Every day, make someone smile or laugh.
b. Learn a joke and tell it to your friends.
c. Watch a funny movie or TV show.
d. Read the comics
e. Learn a magic trick and perform it for your friends

End of quote from Jon Haidt http://wsrv.clas.virginia.edu/~jdh6n/Positivepsych.html

Finally, there's an interesting class on Art Therapy being conducted this spring by Lani Geritý's class at NYU. Check out the description! Bring Art into your life and Happiness too. Persist!


Just Do It!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour - we have received the gift of the iPod

Music has come back into many more areas of my life thanks to the iPod!

Hearing more music when I'm reading or exercising, just makes me want to play more music. Its wonderful.

I've played the piano since I was six years old. Blessed with good sight reading (I can read most music and play it right away) it means I can play lots of things (without practicing) just for the pure pleasure of making music. It is such a treasured gift that makes my life rich beyond anything money can buy - the arts have so much to give us, why don't we weave it in more to our customer connections?

This poem is my inspiration....

Upon this gifted age in its dark hour
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
of facts..
They lie unquestioned, uncombined.

Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom to weave it into fabric

Edna St. Vincent Millay

I'm working on a project that started on Thursday June 8 to begin to build that loom.... not for everyone or everything, but in an area that I care deeply about, health!

Seven reasons why global ethics should be part of the way you communicate.

Tom Venardos is a colleague of mine at the Institute of Management Consultants and we co-authored an article back in 1998. He wrote an excellent book on Consulting Success Using Higher Performance Standards (1997).

I re-read it today and decided that it is worth reviving, so I'm posting the link above and you can read the beginning of it here to decide if you want to see the rest... if you do, click on the title above.

Seven reasons why global ethics should be part of the way you communicate.

Communication World; 8/1/1998; Fung, Mei Lin and Venardos, Thomas

Professional consultants, companies and organizations that compete internationally will undermine their long-term profitability, professional development and client business if they fail to properly address and practice global ethics. These ethics include honesty in communicating with others, respect for differences, trust that others will engage in truthful transactions, and expectations that other people will keep their word. By observing global ethics and standards, professionals demonstrate their willingness to play by international rules and develop their business potential. They also show their sound and dependable character and reputation, their accountability and predictability during business transactions, their interest in long-term relationships, their potential as leaders in the global marketplace, and the uniformity in their professional life.

Consultants who choose to ignore or downplay global ethics in their practices are negatively affecting their long-term profitability, their professional development, and client business. Practicing global ethics is a must in today's diverse and global marketplace. Furthermore, it makes good business sense. based on our international experience we will illustrate a few concrete examples of global ethical issues, personal awareness along with a life-long learning approach to show how to make consulting practices more successful.

Some of the examples will be based on experiences all consultants encounter: learning about obvious social-cultural subtleties and differences, paying attention to current changes in various societies, being sensitive to unspoken or unwritten needs of the client, and promoting goodwill through use of high standards and professional communication.

What Is Meant by Global Ethics and Standards

Global ethics and standards exist in various forms and realities. These ethics include basic human interactions: respect for differences, trust that our counterparts will work with us in a truthful manner, honesty in communication with others, and expectations that each of us will keep our word and maintain credibility. The essence of global ethics and professional standards is based on self-understanding, tolerance of differences, appreciation for the unique, and curiosity of the unknown. Without the personal quest for experiencing new frontiers, and working with other professionals who have their own perceptions of us and ours of them, our professional life would be mundane.

To read more, click on the title above.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

For Chinese Readers - Welcome to Customer Connections

For English readers, to read it in English, please click on the title of this post. Under the Chinese version, you will see the English version.


作者简介:冯美玲早期是CRM先锋, 曾同Tom Siebel及Marc Benioff共同就职于Oracle,后在Intel服务5年, 她擅长于“客户生命周期”管理和研究。在国际和国内的CRM及呼叫中心行业都享有极高的声誉。


来到第一家银行的客户感觉到,“不错,有改观,至少他们没因为对我采用GST哲学而多收税(GST 在国外是国家征收的附加税),那他们对我微笑的时候,我也同样回馈以笑容。”

第二家银行更认真地考虑了如何让客户忠诚,他们想如果选择客户方便的地点提供多种银行服务的话,对客户来讲会非常便利。因此,他们在购物中心设立了分支银行,同时提供尽可能多的服务种类,包括退休计划、家庭贷款、各种抵押、存款证明等各种银行业务,从地点上他们覆盖了所有的购物中心、大型超市和商业中心等。另外,他们还投入大量的资金建设了网上银行,满足客户无需同柜面人员沟通的需求。这种自助银行的服务甚至沿用了好多年!大多数人不认识这家银行中的某个职员,他们之间的沟通主要是通过陌生的信函方式收取账单,或者该行的信用卡(即使有时他们已经申请过一张了)。 这家银行认为,我们获得的客户忠诚度,是通过对客户提供众多的便利,对于其它银行来说无法付出同样的成本来实现的。
这三家银行中的一位副总裁同他上了年纪的寡妇母亲同住,他过世的父亲给他的母亲留下了一笔资产,供日常开销,这样老人在经济上不用依靠孩子。但是,事实上,这位老人高兴时经常给孙子们送各种各样的礼物,娃娃、自行车、国际橄榄球比赛等等。 老人的钱存在第一家银行里。有一天,银行给这位老奶奶打了个电话,“阿姨,您那么多的钱放在账上有些浪费。。”老奶奶说“浪费,怎么讲?我用这些钱来买牙膏牙刷和衣服,还有,什么时候我想看到孙子们的笑容时,我就给他们个小礼物。这不是浪费呀!”银行的女职员善意地说,“我的意思是这些钱可以变得更多,您能用赚来的钱给孙子们买更大的礼物。”这位老奶奶后来跟他们签了10年期的2万元的存单,她觉得10年里让她再挣出1、2千元钱是件乐事。但这位老奶奶已经85岁高龄,而这笔钱对她来讲,意味着她在临终前应该用它来尽情享受生活的。副总裁认为,第一家银行虽然对老人非常友善,但失去了对他们的信任,因为银行让老人买了根本不适合她的产品,而且他们从来没考虑到,“我们是一家人,现在倒好,我得来‘收拾’残局 - 我母亲的帐上没有足够的钱来保障她日后10年的日常开销。我的银行 – 上面讲到的第三家银行,决不会这样做的。”


如今的商战有些像救火,有时候你可能会自言自语,“我放弃为正义而救火”,因为“差不多就行了”更容易做到。记得这个故事 - 建造“砖的房子”。如果你经常被告诫,为公司利益做事情,但同时违背了客户的利益时,那么,你应该自问,是否你是在浪费着你的时间,你的热心和努力在建造着一个稻草或者木棍的房子呢?

——Mei Lin Fung(冯美玲), 美国加州

文/冯美玲 译/希曼

行动纲领: 增加客户推荐
你们公司什么样的客户最有可能帮助你对外推介产品和服务呢?这些客户就是你们 “公司的促销员”。那么,如何才能找到他们呢? 很简单,直接问他们:从0-10,选择一个数字表示你会帮助我们做对外推介的程度,数字越大表示帮我们推销的可能性越高?那些选择 9 或 10 的客户就是你要找的“公司的促销员”。


“公司的促销员”是最有价值的客户资产,因为他们能够帮助你们“扩大”客户群。因此,千万不要把你们的“公司的促销员”用于个人私利的目的,而应该永远出于积极的考虑: 你在要求你的“公司的促销员”所做的每一件细小的事情之前,一定要确信这样做的目的是能够为他们个人带来好处且巩固他们的声誉,你和他们之间的每一次互动本身应该即是一次良好的客户体验。

要关怀好你的客户是非常不易的,但也是有所回报的。开始阶段,可以从那些对你的产品和服务非常关注的客户着手:公司的促销员! 马上去专注于改善他们同你们公司的每一次体验吧,你们会很快发现更多的客户间的推荐,这过程当中你们始终重视这些重要客户的体验,同时也会感受到的他们对你们公司的感激之情。把这些体会应用于公司的其他客户,你们的“公司的促销员”就会源源不断。

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Answer to How is Yes - Acting on What Matters

In evolution, they talk about the "Missing Link". For me this book by Peter Block (see www.peterblock.com for more) is a Missing Link that I have been looking for. Reading the book was a chance to literally and figuratively sit on the grass in the sun, by a stream and feel all my connections to the universe resonate:

"All nature sings and 'round me rings,
the music of the spheres."

For a bit of a taste, here's an excerpt of an interview with Block by the Executive Director of Staff Development, the whole interview can be read by clicking on the title link above). The subtitles are directly from the article in the Journal of Staff Development, written by Dennis Sparks.

Intrinsic motivation

JSD: Something else you discussed in your book may also help explain the problem. "(T)he whole idea that bosses should motivate their people ties us all in knots," you wrote. "Instead, bring your employees together and stimulate the right conversation. This is an important role for any boss--to support the communal pursuit of what matters. Let this be motivation enough."

Block: I think the idea that bosses will motivate employees is a mistake. It's more important to ask what motivates us than to wonder what motivates others. For me what is motivating is intimacy, full self-expression, idealism, and people talking about their experience with others listening deeply to what they are saying. This releases enormous energy. It's interesting that at meetings or learning events people often display far more energy during the breaks. I want that type of energy to be the norm when we work together.

A life worth living

JSD: There's a clue to how that energy is generated in your views about the power of creating. You wrote, "As soon as I begin to discuss what I want to create, I am in the position of cause, not effect." Later you write, "Citizenship means that I act as if this larger place were mine to create, while the conventional wisdom is that I cannot have responsibility without authority. That is a tired idea. ... I can participate in creating something I do not control."

Block: That's an argument against the conventional wisdom. Creativity is an expression of our freedom, and it gives us a reason for being alive. Most people say they are not responsible for their work because they do not control it. I'm trying to push back on that by saying it's a defense against being responsible, against being accountable for the well-being of the whole.

I believe I can care for anything I choose to care for, and I'm not limited by my position. For instance, I can leave this room and walk out into my neighborhood and invest my energy in things that matter to me. Will I affect change? I don't know. Will I be acknowledged and rewarded and appreciated for what I do? I don't know. But that's just a barter mentality, a view that I should only invest in things from which I reap a return. The world is more than economics.

We are human beings who can invest in what matters to us. It is possible through my language and commitments to create a world that matters to me. Out of that comes a sense of having lived a life worth living. It also means I don't have to wait to do something that matters.

Activism breeds strength

JSD: You've written about the social nature of transformation. "All learning is social," you say. "It is with our peers that we will ultimately find our voice and change our world. It is in community that our lives are transformed. Small groups can change the world."

Block: I don't accept the view that it is only great men and women who truly make a difference in the world. Where does that leave the rest of us? Establishing a community around us can have tremendous impact on our emotional and physical health and on our capacity to perform. Strong communities with high rates of civic engagement have healthier children. Being activists in the world, feeling that we are not alone in the world, knowing that we have something to offer the world, is good for our communities as well as ourselves.

This book has so much for CRM practitioners and people who are working on developing relationships. It reminded me of the different roles that are necessary to develop customer relationships with value and integrity.

The engineer - sort out the HOW (feedback loops)
The economist - work out the MONEY (who pays what to whom and why)
The artist - imagine the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE as a LifeCycle (anticipating, welcoming, engaging, culminating, extending the relationship)
The social architect - design the ECOSYSTEM

Read this book.

The Answer to How is Yes by Peter Block.

Here's the Amazon link.