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The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Are you a Critical Thinker?


Do not believe everything the professors and experts say. Over the years, I often ended my talks with this phrase. Actually, I mean to say Think critically - different words. Nowadays you hear it a lot in Vietnam: critical thinking. The skill set that helps you to evaluate your own and others opinionswith reason. What makes it important? Decision making requires sound reasoning. Fact-based decisions are generally better than opinion or belief-based opinions. Believing what you hear or read without examining and exploring its credibility, factualness, logic, validity and relative importance can lead to wrong decisions. Without critical thinking in science: no progress; no research in business: deciding or gambling?; no innovation. Still, many people mistake critical thinking for criticizing, or giving negative comments, using bad words. Of course critical thinking can lead to a negative conclusion. But if so, it should always be accompanied by a constructive recommendation. Whatever the outcome, the judgment or recommendation must always be based on reason and facts. If it isnt, its not a product of critical thinking. More on page 7
Prof. Loek Hopstaken Email: loek@hopstaken.com Mobile: 090 888 9450

7th year, no. 4 September 9, 2013


This magazine was first published in March 2007. It is digitally distributed among my Vietnamese and Dutch business & private associates. Purpose: to keep them informed about my activities in Vietnam and overseas This amazingly attractive and energetic country has rapidly conquered my soul, and become my home away from home. Loek Hopstaken

In this issue:
Critical Thinking (1) Activities Ever killed an idea? Bosch & Kahneman Sales the wrong way Sales Managers Critical Thinking (2) Vietnam-Holland Contact information; Clients 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

There is always a well-known solution to every human problemneat, plausible, and wrong.
H.L. Mencken

Love truth, but pardon error.


anonymous

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Leadership lessons from a legendary band leader Running a highly productive orchestra for nearly 50 years is a unique accomplishment. The more when you realize that the mans legacyca. 2,000 compositions, 10,000s of hours of recordings, live and in the studiois still being treasured & collected around the world. In the history of American music Duke Ellington is beyond category. As often the case with great leaders, Ellington was a weak manager. He always needed someone to organize things. What can we learn from a black leader who nevertheless succeeded in keeping his orchestra recording & performing around the world for half a century? A half century known for the worst economic crisis (the 1930ies) and World War II? Running a jazz band means building a team out ofin this casestars: highly gifted, often eccentric individuals. It means not only Band leader Duke Ellington at the piano & generating enough income in ortrumpet star Rex Stewart (1939) der to pay them well enough to keep them from quitting. Not only to inspire & challenge them, to make them feel respected by their leader & colleagues. Not only having clear rules, providing a learning environment, a creative culture and giving compliments in public. So what makes Ellington a source for learning about leadership? He refused to give up living his dream.

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. Alexander Pope
After completing a project its good to celebrate. One of my favourite ways to do so is, after a good dinner, spending a few hours in Tran Manh Tuans Sax n Art jazz club on Le Loi: cocktails & fine, live jazz.

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Have you ever killed an idea?


Innovation depends on ideas, but even more on how we deal with ideas. Nolans 16 ways to kill an idea are very effective. If you have ever tried to win people for an idea, chances are you have encountered one or more killing attempts by others. Ignore it. Dead silence intimidates all but the most enthusiastic. See it coming and change the subject. Scorn it: Youre joking of course, etc. Get your thrust in before the idea is fully explained or it may prove practicable after all. 4. Laugh it off. Ho, ho, ho, thats a good one Joe. You must have sat up all night thinking that up. If he has, this makes it even funnier. 5. Praise it to death. By the time you have expounded its merits for five minutes, everyone else will hate it. The proposer will be wondering what is wrong with it himself. 6. Mention that it has never been tried. If it is new, this will be true. 7. Oh, weve tried that before. Particularly effective if the originator is a newcomer. It makes him realize what an outsider he is. 8. Find a competitive idea. This is a dangerous one unless you are experienced. You might still get left with an idea. 9. Produce twenty good reasons why it wont work. The one good reason why it will is then lost. 10. Modify it out of existence. This is elegant. You seem to be helping the idea along, just changing it a little here and there. By the time the originator wakes up, it is dead. 11. Try to chip bits off it. If you fiddle with an idea long enough, it may come to pieces. 12. Make a personal attack on the originator. By the time he has recovered, he will have forgotten he had an idea. 13. Score a technical knockout; for instance refer to some obscure rule. 14. Let a committee sit on the idea. 15. Encourage the author to look for a better idea. Usually a discouraging quest. If he finds one, start him looking for a better job. 16. Accept it, but do nothing with it it prevents the originator taking it to somebody else. From: Open to Change, by Vincent Nolan (1981)
(we can add: bureaucracy, real or imagined laws and rules, fear, narrow mindedness ...)

1. 2. 3.

How to sell your idea, or how to prevent or fend off attempts to kill your idea 1. Keeping it secret, test your idea to make sure its useful & practical. 2. Collect arguments to support your idea. Include time & money. 3. Select your audiencethose who will benefit and/or may invest. 4. Present your idea to this audience in this sequence: A. problem statementmake it easily recognizable for your audience B. problem analysistransparent & clear; include factors like time & money C. predict what will happen when the problem will not be solved D. conclusion, including the urgency of the problemone-liner if possible E. state your idea, describing it as a solution to the problem (A).

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Uplifting Managers @ PACE


In June & July I had the pleasure to deliver 5 days of management training to a new generation of Vietnamese managers of BOSCH Vietnam. The program: Management Basics & Team Management. An example of a non-Asian multinational investing time and money in staff development. Also overseas. BOSCH Vietnam is run by its energetic Managing Director, Mr. Vo Quang Hue.

When you focus on cost reduction, quality decreases. When you focus on quality, cost decreases.
anonymous
President Obama handed the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 individuals for their outstanding achievements. One of the recipients was Dr. Daniel Kahneman, the 2002 Nobel Prize Winner for Economics. His recent book is a worldwide bestseller. Its about how you & I think, focus and decide. Revealing! Buy it, read it, and learn from it. Brilliant!

Its our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
Albus Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling)

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Salesthe wrong way


The global crisis is affecting the resort market in Vietnam. It has become a fighting market. A few weeks ago a lady called who offered us a free stay in a 5 star hotel. We decided to accept her invitation for a meeting. It was worth my time: a few days later I would deliver a sales training (see page 6). This is what happened: The lady asks: Do you know our resorts? No, mam. Have you ever visited our website? No. Ok After this uneasy opening, a 10-minute presentation on a tablet. Colorful pictures of beaches with palm trees, tropical sunsets, decorated rooms, rich buffets, accompanied by elevator music. Im getting bored, sit back and suppress a yawn. The music irritates me. Fantastic, isnt it? Hmmm. My body language doesnt register. The lady then introduces a male colleague: smartly dressed, expensive tie, fast talking. Apparently hes the one who must close the deal. The sales man doesnt talk about beaches, rooms and food, but assumes that I am now warmed up and willing, ready to discuss the various deals he has for us. With lightning speed, he explains different options. If you buy 6 nights per year for a period of 5 years you pay x, but if you buy 10 nights for 10 years you pay y. And so on. He displays a contract with many forms to fill in. Its your choice. Im not good in this kind of sales math. So after ten minutes I decide to end this ordeal. We get up and leave. Politely of course. The free night in a 5 star hotel? This was a midweek deal, to be used within 10 days, in Dalat. I dont think many prospects in Saigon would be able to take advantage of this offer. So whats wrong? No one asked us what we expect from a holiday. They assume we want to buy. They are not interested in us, only in our money. No one attempts to establish even a basic relationship. Besides, the tablet presentation with that awful music, the lady who was supposed to bring us in a buying mood, the sales guys mathematics. The silly free offer. When I first came to Vietnam, Vietnamese told me that establishing a solid relationship was Step One. Excellent advise! I have done so many times, and its very, very true. So why do so many Vietnamese sales people keep doing the opposite?

Stop selling. Start helping. Zig Ziglar

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Uplifting Sales Supervisors

JulyBinh Quoi, Ho Chi Minh

Sales is a companys lifeline. It connects its customers in a mutually beneficial relationship. Sales in Vietnam however is all too often a product-oriented activity, with the sales people focusing on the benefits of the products, followed by a long and complicated discussion about discounts and special deals - see page 5. Sometimes this works, but only some prospects eventually buywhen the price is low enough. Sales in Vietnam is changing: many companies discover that product-orientation & discount discussion seldom results in win-win, let alone lasting relationships or customer loyalty. What works better, is relationship-oriented sales. First build a relationship, paving the way for sales. Then: sell, deliver & nurture the relationship. This is relationshipfocused selling. Interestingly, this style of selling used to be a typical Asian tradition but got lost in the copy/paste of US sales talk. Soft sell, the traditional & successful selling style befitting Vietnamese culture, was abandoned. I have seen sales course materials based on out-dated product-oriented sales techniques, once adopted in Vietnam as the new thing from the USA: hard sell. $$$-focus. Result: sales became much less effective. When I deliver a sales or sales management course I train sales managers & sales representatives to build trust and to maintain their commercial relationships.

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Critical Thinking: a cultural issue?


Recently RMIT Vietnam conducted a survey about critical thinking among its students in HCMC and Hanoi. One of the topics: where do they think critical thinking should be demonstrated? Not surprisingly, on the list of places not to demonstrate critical thinking are: at Vietnamese universities, in Vietnamese workplaces, with colleagues, with classmates, with friends. Places to demonstrate critical thinking: at our university (= RMIT), in the workplace overseas, in multi-cultural workplaces, at the family business. It is obvious that the current student generation is well aware of the need for critical thinking, but is also well aware of its boundaries. It may be less obvious for some readers that we are also looking at a cultural issue: the 2,500 year old Confucianist dictates are still very much alive in the minds and life of Vietnamese. Indirect communication, loss of face & causing loss of face are complex issues. All the more when you have been indoctrinated in following this doctrine from the age of 1. Bottom up communication in hierarchies is hard. This survey however gives me a reason for optimism: the current generation is waking up. Amittedly, it is limited to an exclusive RMIT population. Yet, its a signal: these students appear to have a healthy sense of reality. Their major barrier: dealing with their cultural heritage. To deal with this, understanding the sources & impact of own culture is a good starting point. Realism also means: patience. Perhaps a whole generation. Meanwhile, the study & practice of critical thinking skills is one way to speed up the process. In Amsterdam I bought several text books on the subject: exploring a new field.

The power of positive comments


In The Ideal Praise to Criticism Ratio (Harvard Business Review), Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman submit that to motivate the team, the optimal ratio is five positive comments for every negative one. This is because the mind seizes on the negative comment and is most affected by it. Therefore senior managers would do well to follow the principle of the four Ps: Praise in Public and Punish in Private. That is, if one wishes to think in terms of punishment at all. So a simple well done or I agree with that followed by maybe we can do this a bit differently next time, with an explanation how, garners respect and lifts morale. It is not about giving false praise, but positive reinforcement and constructive feedback that stems from genuine care and support. From: The Importance of Language in Becoming a More Effective Manager, by Aoife Gorey (Profiles Internationals Workplace 101August 29, 2013)

If you want to know what a man is like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. Sirius Black (J.K. Rowling)

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

The Dutch Vietnamese Connection


2013: 40 years of diplomatic relations. September 5 Dutch entrepreneurs, investors and Vietnamese met in The Hagues illustrious Bel Air Hotel. Purpose: to attend keynote speeches by experts, and discuss Dutch Vietnamese collaboration. The forum was hosted by the Vietnamese Embassy, and supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Vietnam Chamber of Commerce (NVCC), and the Netherlands Trade Promotion Council (NTPC). Moderator Mr. Alphons van Gulick, CEO of Nedspice, presented Ms. Fabienne Fortanier (ING), Mr. Vuong Binh Thanh (Chairman op An Giangs Peoples Committee), Mr. Christiaan Reeberger (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Nguyen Dinh Chien (Ambassador Permanent Representative of Vietnam to PCA & OPCW), and the newly arrived Vietnamese Ambassador in The Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Van Doan (left; the day before the event Mr. Doan had been presented to H.R.H. King Willem Alexander.) The main theme of the briefing on the past, present, and future of Dutch-Vietnamese business relations, followed by Q&A. After the briefing a reception was held to celebrate the 40 years of diplomatic relations, and Vietnams National Day of Independence. This offered a good opportunity for all to network and lay foundations for future collaborations. In the early 17th century the East India Company started sending ships to India, the East Indies, China and Vietnam. Dutch EIC seaside cities were Hoorn, Amsterdam, Enkhuizen, and Medemblik. Next to Medembliks port stands Radboud Castle. It has witnessed those ages of sea trade between Asia & The Netherlands. September 7 my longtime business associate & friend Thomas de Lange and his fiance Miss Hue chose this historic landmark as the location for their marriage. Thomas is CEO of both Jobs4Everyone (Vietnam) and CityNetEvents (South East Asia). The couple lives in Ho Chi Minh City.

There is a wisdom of the head, and there is a wisdom of the heart. Charles Dickens

7th year, no. 4

The 29th Dutch Vietnam Management Supporter

Loek Hopstakens Clients


In Vietnam: a.o. business field Tan Thuan IPC (HCMC) Industrial development HCMC University of Technology Master of BA program RMIT (HCMC campus) Communication progr. Royal Business School (public courses) Courses & seminars Vietnam Airlines (RBS; ISM) International airline Vietnam Singapore I.P. (SPECTRA) Industrial park Petronas Vung Tau (SPECTRA) Chemical factory Nike (Tae Kwang Vina) (SPECTRA) Shoe factory Le & Associates Training & consultancy Training House Vietnam (Sacombank) Training & consultancy Ministry of L.I.S.A. (RBS) Civil Servants SONY Vietnam (RBS) Consumer electronics CapitaLand Vietnam (SPECTRA) Real estate Institute for Potential Leaders / PACE Courses & seminars Dalat Hasfarm (Agrivina) Pot plants, cut flowers Hoanggia Media Group Key to Success TV Show Fresh Green Earth Hi-tech agriculture Unique Design Interior Design ERC Institute Vietnam Business school Schoeller Bleckmann Vietnam Oilfield Equipment Robert Bosch Vietnam Electronics De Heus Vietnam Animal food Centre for Tropical MedicineOxford Uni. Clinical research Khue Van Academy Courses & seminars Training House Vietnam Courses & seminars Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Business consultancy HCMC Finance & Investment Company Investments Academy of Finance MBA (Un. of Gloucester) In The Netherlands, a.o. ING Bank Philips Heineken Yamaha Voerman International Damen Shipyards Wittenborg University of Applied Sc. Voortman Machinery Financial services Electronics Brewery Musical instruments Intern. relocations Ship repair wharfs IBABBA, MBA CNC-contr. machinery

Quotes
If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent. Isaac Newton I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there. Zig Ziglar

The DVM Supporter is published by Prof. Loek Hopstaken.

Email: loek@hopstaken.com or loek.hopstaken@gmail.com Mobile: 090 888 9450 Assistant: Ms. Vo Ngoc Lien Huong Email: jane.hopstaken@gmail.com Mobile: 090 888 9451