Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 21

The Importance of Self-Discipline

During the 1960s, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted the marshmallow test with four-year-olds in the preschool at Stanford University, to assess each preschoolers ability to delay gratification. Each four-year-old was given one marshmallow. They were told that they could eat it immediately or, if they waited until the researcher returned in 20 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.

Some kids in the group just couldnt wait. They gobbled down the marshmallow immediately. The rest struggled hard to resist eating it. They covered their eyes, talked to themselves, sang, played games, and even tried to go to sleep. The preschoolers who were able to wait were rewarded with two marshmallows when the researcher returned. Twelve to fourteen years later these same kids were reevaluated as teenagers.

The differences were astonishing. Those who had been able to control their impulses and delay gratification as four-year-olds, were more effective socially and personally. They had higher levels of assertiveness, self-confidence, trustworthiness, dependability, and ability to control stress. Their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were 210 points higher than the instant gratification group!

A key difference between successful people leaders and those who struggle to get by, is self-discipline. As Confucius wrote, The nature of people is always the same; it is their habits that separate them.

Win-Win Negotiation Agreements

Take the classic fable of the two sisters, quarrelling over a single orange. The sisters, who focus too much on cooperating with one another, cooperatively agree to cut the orange in half a compromise agreement. One sister uses the juice and throws the rind away; the other sister uses the rind and throws the juice away, and then they realize too late that both sisters would have been far better off by giving all the juice to one sister and all the rind to the other sister. This is what is meant by win-win negotiation agreements, which are described as outcomes that improve upon mutual settlement by identifying ways that both parties receive better outcomes than by simply compromising on the issues at hand.

Source: Why negotiation is the most popular business school course

The Best Bosses Shield those Who Work for Them

Annette Kyle managed some 60 employees at a Texas terminal where they loaded chemicals from railcars onto ships and trucks. In the mid-1990s, Annette led a revolution that dramatically raised her units performance through a host of changes, including better planning, greater responsibility at the lowest levels, improved and more transparent metrics, and numerous cultural changes. She personally sewed no whining patches on workers uniforms, for example, to discourage the local penchant for complaining and auctioned off her desk to workers for $60 because, as she explained it, I shouldnt be sitting behind a big desk. I should be contributing to team goals however possible.

This transformation virtually eliminated the penalties that were levied when ships arrived at the terminals dock but (despite considerable advance warning) workers werent ready to load them. These demurrage charges, which cost the

company $2.5 million the year before the revolution, were down to $10,000 the year after. Previously, it had taken more than three hours to load an average truck. Afterward, more than 90 percent were loaded within an hour of arrival. Surveys and interviews by University of Southern California researchers showed that employees became more satisfied with their jobs and felt proud of their accomplishments. I asked Annette how she could make such radical changes in her giant company. She answered that her boss shielded her from top-ranking managershe found the resources and experts she needed but never discussed these moves with senior management until they succeeded.

Always let your boss have the first say

A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke.

The Genie says, I usually only grant three wishes, so Ill give each of you just one.

Me first! Me first! says the admin clerk I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world. Poof! Shes gone.

In astonishment, Me next! Me next! says the sales rep. I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life. Poof! Hes gone.

OK, youre up, the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, I want those two back in the office after lunch.

Management Lesson: Always let your boss have the first say.

Where is the Glass?

John Sunderland, the former CEO of Cadbury Schweppes, often responded with a parable when an executive argued that the business could increase either margins or sales, but not both. Sunderland would remind the executive of a time when people lived in mud huts and struggled to get both light and heat: Put a hole in the side of your hut, and you let the daylight in, but also the cold; block the opening, and you stayed warm, but sat in the dark. The invention of glass made it possible to have both light and heat. He would then ask, Where is the glass?

Skipping Design Research Can Be Costly

Skipping design research can be costly. For example, high-end German automobile manufacturers were stunned when U.S. customers would not buy cars without cup holders. While drinking coffee in the car seemed unthinkable to Europeans, it wouldnt have taken much design research to learn how important it is to U.S. car buyers. The manufacturers, forced to retrot, created some of the most complex, expensive, unreliable and least user-friendly cup holders ever produced. Design research ndings are not typically assembled in the form of data and reports but are instead stories and characters, often captured on video. Such ndings resemble and evoke real experience more powerfully than data and reports can, vividly conveying the desired emotional connections between people, products and services, and they help a company to triangulate these findings with appropriate technologies and economic objectives.

Wheres the Brown M&M in Your Business?

In its 1980s heyday, the band Van Halen became notorious for a clause in its touring contract that demanded a bowl of M&Ms backstage, but with all the brown ones removed. The story is true confirmed by former lead singer David Lee Roth himself and it became the perfect, appalling symbol of rock-star-diva behavior.

Get ready to reverse your perception. Van Halen did dozens of shows every year, and at each venue, the band would show up with nine 18-wheelers full of gear. Because of the technical complexity, the bands standard contract with venues was thick and convoluted Roth, in his inimitable way, said in his autobiography that it read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages. A typical article in the contract might say, There will be 15 amperage voltage sockets at 20-foot spaces, evenly, providing 19 amperes.

Van Halen buried a special clause in the middle of the contract. It was called Article 126. It read, There will be no brown M&Ms in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation. So when Roth would arrive at a new venue, hed walk backstage and glance at the M&M bowl. If he saw a brown M&M, hed demand a line check of the entire production. Guaranteed youre going to arrive at a technical error, he wrote. They didnt read the contract. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show.

In other words, Roth was no diva. He was an operations expert. He couldnt spend hours every night checking the amperage of each socket. He needed a way to assess quickly whether the stagehands at each venue were paying attention whether they had read every word of the contract and taken it seriously. In Roths world, a brown M&M was the canary in the coal mine.

Like Roth, none of us has the time and energy to dig into every aspect of our businesses. But, if were smart, we wont need to. What if we could rig up a system where problems would announce themselves before they arrived? That may sound like wishful thinking, but notice that its exactly what Roth achieved. Surely, you wont be outwitted by the guy who sang Hot for Teacher.

Wheres the brown M&M in your business?

My Friend Phillip and the Lifetime Pass

Over the years, the recommendations of my friend Phillip have led me to work with three of my favorite clients. I am certain that my relationships with these three clients have helped me meet many other wonderful people. Needless to say, I owe Phillipa lot. Without him, these relationships wouldnt have happened.

Phillip is bright, friendly, and inspiring. Sometimes his ideas pay off in a huge way. He is very successful. But this brilliant, creative, friendly man has a bit of difficulty when it comes to small commitments. These little behaviors are annoying thingslast-minute cancellations, missed phone calls, and the like. While they do disrupt my life a little bit, its nothing really major that would make me back out of the relationship. Phillip always apologizes for these minor defects. I always accept his apology. When I take all the good things and weigh them against the times hes let me down, he is so far ahead on the great stuff that he gets a lifetime pass. And, I tell him so. When I do, he feels good and I feel better for forgiving him for being a chair. To this day, we are friends. I am his friend because when I consider someones actions, I ask myself: Am I better off or worse off because of having this person in my life?

With Phillip, the answer has always been, and will always be, in his favor. Phillip has been such a good friend and having him in my life has been such a good thing that I am grateful. This will always override any of his negative behaviors. Thats a lifetime pass. How many people do you have in your life to whom you have given a lifetime pass? Is the number high or low in your opinion? Most people want a higher number.

Source: Just let it go!: Being realistic about what we can and cannot change by Marshall Goldsmith | Leader To Leader, No.58, Fall 2010

the time management 'rocks in bucket' story

Use this time management story to show how planning is the key to time management.

Start with a bucket, some big rocks enough to fill it, some small stones, some sand and water.

Put the big rocks in the bucket - is it full?

Put the small stones in around the big rocks - is it full?

Put the sand in and give it a shake - is it full?

Put the water in. Now it's full.

The point is: unless you put the big rocks in first, you won't get them in at all.

In other words: Plan time-slots for your big issues before anything else, or the inevitable sand and water issues will fill up your days and you won't fit the big

issues in (a big issue doesn't necessarily have to be a work task - it could be your child's sports-day, or a holiday).

Effective Delegation of Work

Effective managers and leaders know that they can climb greater heights and achieve remarkable goals only if they delegate work to the good, able and talented people around them. The logic is simple if they are able to rope in more brains and bodies to do the tasks, they are able to get more things done within the same time frame. Having these tasks out of the managers' hands will free up their time and allow them to concentrate on value-added jobs which befit their status and qualifications. The ability to delegate work is therefore a vital asset that all good leaders and managers should have. Other than time management, effective delegation of work may take the pressure off work stress and substantially improve the work life. As we shall discuss, delegation is not about farming out work and forgetting about it altogether. For the delegation of work to be effective and to result in win-win situations, there are certain myths worth clarifying.

The Wolf and the Shepherd

A Wolf had been prowling around a flock of Sheep for a long time, and the Shepherd watched very anxiously to prevent him from carrying off a Lamb. But the Wolf did not try to do any harm.

Instead he seemed to be helping the Shepherd take care of the Sheep. At last the Shepherd got so used to seeing the Wolf about that he forgot how wicked he could be. One day he even went so far as to leave his flock in the Wolf's care while he went on an errand. But when he came back and saw how many of the flock had been killed and carried off, he knew how foolish to trust a Wolf as he exclaimed. I have been rightly served; why did I trust my sheep to a Wolf? Moral: Delegate your task wisely, and only to people you trust.

Quotable Quotes: Guidelines for bureaucrats: (1) When in charge, ponder. (2) When in trouble, delegate. (3) When in doubt, mumble. ... James H. Boren Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and dont interfere as long as the policy youve decided upon is being carried out. ...Ronald Reagan Do not delegate an assignment and then attempt to manage it yourself you will make an enemy of the overruled subordinate. ... Wess Roberts Big things and little things are my job. Middle level management can be delegated. ... Konosuke Matsushita If you are having as much fun running a big corporation as you did running a piece of it, then you are probably interfering too much with the people who really make it happen. ... James Burke The finest plans are always ruined by the littleness of those who ought to carry them out, for the Emperor can actually do nothing. ... Bertolt Brecht

Lessons in life: Companies have risen and fallen because they have entrusted the wrong CEOs and successors with the management duties. Many great family businesses had been ruined at the hands of the children or grandchildren who took over the helm, based on who they were rather than what they could do. When businesses failed, CEOs rightfully took the brunt. The people responsible for delegating the management duties should not be spared either. A proper delegation should be viewed as a sharing of responsibility, and not a passing of the baton. When a leader assigns tasks to the other team members, it remains his responsibility to monitor and ensure that the members complete the assigned tasks. Along the way, when the members face difficulties and hurdles, the leader should step in to assist and advise. Of course, for any delegation to be effective, the leader must empower the members and confer on them a certain

amount of authority and resources necessary for the tasks at hand. What we are saying is that the leader cannot assign all his functions, powers and authority, and still expect to be called a leader. He would be a consultant and not the person-incharge. A skillful delegation should therefore lead to a happy solution for everyone. The CEO has time to look at the overall direction of growth, strategic plans and policies of the company, while retaining the top spot and top salary. The deputy CEOs and departmental chiefs have the necessary powers and authority to run the show, and make decisions within their portfolio. The middle managers, supervisors and heads take charge of the day- to-day operational activities, and are empowered to make decisions within their scope of work. Since delegating work plays such an important role for successful CEOs, why are most of them not doing it, or not doing enough? Why do we see CEOs attending to routine low-level tasks and even chairing meetings on totally operational matters? There are various reasons why we - CEOs, leaders and managers avoid delegating our tasks and responsibility. Here are some reasons and the ways to get around them:1. Do not trust employees with the responsibility. Even the most skillful manager will have this nagging feelingthat the person tasked with the job cannot carry it out in the way he wants. Maybe the manager is a perfectionist. If so, the problem lies with the manager having expectations that are too high and onerous. It could also be that the manager does not have a habit of giving clear instructions on what the task entails. Although managers should not have to resort to holding the staff's hands in every matter, it is always advisable to clearly define the tasks and leave no room for doubt. Ultimately, the questions that we should ask ourselves are these If we do not trust the staff, why do we employ them in the first place? If they don't have the skill, why don't we send them for further training? 2. Only we know best. While it is true that experience is what earn the managers their position, nobody can claim to be a walking encyclopedia on all matters. The workers doing the factory-line, front desk jobs day in and day out, are the only people who know the work and the problems faced at the back of their hands. 3. Work faster on our own. If we have done a piece of work before, we can do it again faster and better. We

can continue taking on the same assignment and after the hundredth time, we may complete it twice as fast. Think then, if we train another person to do it, will that person not be able to arrive at the same achievement over time? We are freeing up more of our time to do other work and duties, and on the whole, complete all our work in a much shorter time. 4. We lose our control. How much control do we want? Are we really concerned about the process or the outcome? We can work with the employee to come up with a mutually agreeable process, but it is the outcome that we are targeting. By assigning the job, we risk losing control over the little bits of how the job is done although we can continue to maintain control over the important aspects of the job by spelling out the expected output and performance targets as well as quality control checks and standards. 5. We lose our authority. This again depends on how you view the word authority. We may not have direct supervision over groups of employees. They will report to their immediate supervisors. However, these supervisors are now under our charge, and our authority is in effect extended. It is akin to changing our authority from a parent to a grand-parent. In a typical family structure, the grand-parent status is the most revered and respected. 6. We lose credit and recognition. This is a sore point which most managers have. Assigning jobs means letting other people take the credit for jobs well done. Can this be true? If we believe in the concept of teamwork, won't the achievement of a team accrue to every team member, including the leader of the team? If our employees steal the limelight for an accomplishment, will some light not be thrown onto us as well for our good leadership and management? Good managers should also be professional enough to acknowledge that the staff who do the work ought to get most of the praises. Nowadays, performance incentives are tied to the team and not individual efforts, and the people leading successful teams are those who are most valued. 7. Employees are not committed. This is where the delegation skills come in. In explaining the tasks, managers should let the employees see how the tasks fit into the overall scheme of things. Let them know the expectations and rewards. Let the employees be the ones raising their hands to volunteer for and commit themselves to the project.

8. We cannot keep track of developments. We mentioned that after parceling out the tasks, our duties do not end there. We have to continue to monitor the progress of the tasks. Usually, this is done by having reporting officers submit detailed status updates on what they have completed and how much of the work is outstanding. This will give us a gauge on whether the work can be completed on time. We are after all responsible for the final outcome and while we should not micro manage the work process, we should not lose track of its developments.

Workaholics with No Balanced Life

There is no indefinite job security. Market conditions fluctuate so fast that workers would rather play it safe by working into the good books of the employer. What better way to do that than to be the first person to step into the office and the last to leave. What started out as pure work enthusiasts end up being workaholics. Workaholics' lives center around work and nothing else. Workaholism was a topic we used to joke about, but as people became more conscious of leading balanced lifestyles, it had changed it status to a medical problem and was labeled Work Addiction. Work addicts are in a different class. Many do not work for the monetary rewards, promotion or recognition; they work because they just cannot stop working. Bosses naturally love to employ these people since their engines can run even without fuel. The problem is that their engines don't last. Like a machine, they lose touch with the social aspects of life and have little regard for friends and family. They 'burn-out' at an early age, and are often ill and depressed. How do we tell that a person is addicted to work? What can we do to help them lead a balanced life? Story:

The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog

One winter's day, during a severe storm, a Horse, an Ox, and a Dog came and begged for shelter in the house of a Man. He readily admitted them, and, as they were cold and wet, he lit a

fire for their comfort, and he put oats before the Horse, and hay before the Ox, while he fed the Dog with the remains of his own dinner. When the storm abated, and they were about to depart, they determined to show their gratitude in the following way. They divided the life of Man among them, and each endowed one part of it with the qualities which were peculiarly his own. The Horse took youth, and hence young men are impetuous, headstrong, and obstinate in maintaining his own opinion. The Ox took middle age, and accordingly man in his middle age is fond of work, devoted to labor, and resolute to amass wealth and to husband his resources. The Dog took old age, which is the reason why old men are so often peevish and ill-tempered, and, like dogs, attached chiefly to those who look to their comfort, while they are disposed to snap at those who are unfamiliar or distasteful to them. Moral: Man's life is predestined. Man by nature loves to work. Quotable Quotes: It's true hard work never killed anyone but I figure why take the chance? ... Ronald Reagan For workaholics, all the eggs of self-esteem are in the basket of work. ... Judith M. Bardwick When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is duty, life is slavery. ... Maxim Gorky

One of the saddest things is that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can't eat ... nor make love for eight hours. ... William Faulkner There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. ... Logan Pearsall Smith Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. ... Brian Dyson [browse collection of quotes and quotations] Lessons in life: The social problems arising out of this compulsive behavior are plenty. We mentioned health as a major consequence. Workaholics have a tendency to neglect their health. They delay seeking medical treatment for their sickness and prefer to spend their day working in office than recuperating at home. Sometimes, it may be delayed so much that the sickness becomes incurable. Common ailments are blood pressure and heart problems, caused mainly by the work pressure they put onto their shoulders. Besides physical condition, the emotional aspects of a workaholic

have to be considered. The moment he hits home, he would be too tired to give any attention to his family members and loved ones. He may be listening to his children, but his mind is somewhere else, probably thinking of the uncompleted assignments and projects. With little emotional bonding within the family unit, it is a matter of time that he splits ways and the spouse files for divorce. There are telling signs of work addiction. Look around your office or place of work and if you spot someone with several of these symptoms, they are either already workaholics or have the potential to be:

Works extraordinarily long hours. Always in a hurry. A perfectionist. Does not like to delegate work. Likes to stay in control. Emails you in the middle of the night. Wants everything done urgently and quickly. Impatient and has a low tolerance for mistakes. Always talking about work matters. Does not socialize unless forced to. Routine is home office home and nowhere else. Possibly temperamental and hostile. Takes little care of personal health and hygiene. Goes to work when on medical leave. Does not take vacation leave.

Within this broad generalization, there are also those who choose to overwork themselves. We shall deal first with the true blue workaholics i.e., those who take their work seriously and cannot kick the habit of working. Such people have to progressively understand that work is never-ending. Rather than undertake the work alone, they should learn to delegate and farm out the work. Bosses often pile work on workaholics because they can produce results. A person has but two hands

and there is a limit as to how much work he can handle. It is therefore useful to learn how to say No and to reject work. If attention is spread too thin among all the assignments, quality is adversely affected and it would not benefit the company. Devote more time to relationships. Be convinced that success in life is incomplete if it is only a success at work but a failure at home. The second group of workers intentionally put themselves in that position of a workaholic for various reasons:1. The pretender He works hard only when his bosses are looking. One Japanese bank manager we knew had this daily routine. He would leave his computer on, switch to a password-protected screensaver mode, and sneak out of the office at about 5pm. He had his dinner, shower, booze and returned to office at 8pm. He then worked till midnight and returned home after that. His boss would leave the office at about 11pm, and was always pleased to see this manager at his desk even at that late hour. 2. The opportunist There is a rosy opportunity, a managerial position that is recently vacant and up for grabs. This person has been eyeing it for a long time and decides to become a work addict overnight to prove to the management that he has the cut for the job. He makes a lot of 'noise' while at work just so that people know that he is working hard. 3. The insecure At the other end of the spectrum, instead of a possible promotion, this person senses a threat to his position. He may get fired because he handled something badly or there is a new employee who is better qualified. The feeling of insecurity motivates this person to work. 4. The procrastinator He sits on files, drags his feet. Close to the deadline, he suddenly wakes up to the reality that his career is on the line if he does not complete the assignment. During this last stretch of the race, and

so close to the deadline, he has no alternative but to work doubly hard. 5. The escapist Family unhappiness causes him to stay out of the home. With nowhere else to go, he stays in office for as long as he can and dives into work to keep his mind away from his marital problems. Curing the habit for these lot of people will depend on the reason for them wanting to work long hours. A good boss should encourage his employees to have a balanced life. The best way to do that is to be the exemplary figure. If bosses leave the office right after office hours, openly talk about their golf and other social hobbies, and party away on weekends, the workers are likely to follow suit.

Self Help, Perseverance and Success

A startup business crumbles after 2 years and needs a couple of million dollars of funds to keep it afloat. Entrepreneur A seeks financial help from banks, negotiates scheme of arrangement with creditors, and when all these don't materialize, he prays that a white knight will come to his rescue. Entrepreneur B adopts a similar approach with banks and creditors. However, instead of waiting for help, he goes out to look for the white knight. He spends months sourcing and researching, speaking to contacts, traveling to meet potential investors, and finally manages to find parties willing to inject funds into the company. Company reinvents its business and Entrepreneur B is back on his road to success. Attitude is what distinguishes the struggling entrepreneurs from the successful ones. Story:

Hercules and the Waggoner

A Farmer was driving his wagon along a miry country road after a heavy rain. The horses could hardly drag the load through the deep mud, and at last came to a standstill when one of the wheels sank to the hub in a rut. The farmer climbed down from his seat and stood beside the

wagon looking at it but without making the least effort to get it out of the rut. All he did was to curse his bad luck and call loudly on Hercules to come to his aid. Then, it is said, Hercules really did appear, saying: Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and urge on your horses. Do you think you can move the wagon by simply looking at it and whining about it? Hercules will not help unless you make some effort to help yourself. And when the farmer put his shoulder to the wheel and urged on the horses, the wagon moved very readily, and soon the Farmer was riding along in great content and with a good lesson learned. Moral: Self help is the best help. Heaven helps those who help themselves. Quotable Quotes: Why potential buyers even look at projections prepared by sellers baffles me ... I never give them a glance, but instead keep in mind the story of the man with an ailing horse. Visiting the vet, he said: 'Can you help me? Sometimes my horse walks just fine and sometimes he limps.' The vet's reply was pointed: 'No problem when he's walking fine, sell him.' ... Warren Buffett A terrace nine stories high Rises from a handful of earth; A journey of a thousand miles Starts from beneath one's feet. ... Laozi Problems can only be solved by the people who have them. You have to try and coax them and love them into seeing ways in which they can help themselves. ... John Harvey-Jones Great works are performed, not by strength, but perseverance: yonder palace was raised by single stones, yet you see its height and spaciousness. He that shall walk with vigour three hours a day will pass in seven

years a space equal to the circumference of the globe. ... Samuel Johnson Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. ... Plutarch There are no secrets to success: don't waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence. ... Colin Powell [browse collection of quotes and quotations] Lessons in life: Many successful entrepreneurs owe their success, not to a hand of God, but to their own hard work, perseverance and determination. Certainly other factors chip in too, such as help and support from spouse, family and friends. We cannot do without charity and help from people, but the difference is in the attitude. The life stories of some of the world's greatest entrepreneurs are always inspirational reads. We are familiar with the Forbes list of wealthiest persons. Ingvar Kamprad, listed as the 4th richest in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$33 billion, is the Swedish founder of home furnishing chain IKEA. His first business started when he was a young boy, buying matches in bulk and reselling them in smaller quantities to his neighbors. From matches, he went on to sell pens, fish and ornaments on his bicycle. At 17, with the little money his father gave him, he founded IKEA, an acronym from the initials of his name, Elmtaryd (the farm where he was born) and Agunnaryd (a nearby village). He operated out of his home and sold goods by mail order. When the business grew, a store was opened and furniture was added to the list of items sold in IKEA. What got tongues wagging the most is Kamprad's frugal lifestyle. Despite being a billionaire, he hardly wears business suits, flies economy class, eats at cheap restaurants and drives an old Volvo car. This, it seems, is the

image he wants to project, one of modesty and humility. It is his way of telling us how much he values the hard work that is put into earning the money. A reminder to us that tomorrow's success depends on our continued perseverance today. For the record, his INGKA Foundation aimed, at promoting innovations in architecture and interior design, has an estimated net worth of $36 billion. This makes it unofficially the worlds largest charitable organization compared to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a net worth of approximately $33 billion. Speaking of which, we knew that Warren Buffet, ranked 3rd richest, with a net worth of US$52 billion, recently committed a huge charitable donation of about US$30 billion to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warren Buffet is another extraordinary businessperson who leads a simple and frugal lifestyle. Like Kamprad, he started his first business at a very young age of 6. He made money through reselling 6-packs of Coca Cola and chewing gum. At 11 years of age, he bought his first shares. He delivered paper for the Washington Post and made $5,000, enough to buy a 40-acre farm. After being rejected by Harvard Business School for being too young, he went into Columbia. It was there that he learned invaluable investment lessons from his mentors Ben Graham and David Dodd. Buffet married Susie Thompson and their first home was a threeroom apartment rented for $65 a month, not in a good state and with mice running about. The bed their new-born daughter slept in was a made-shift dresser drawer bed. Full of confidence in his investment philosophy, he built his reputation over time as an astute investor, who focused on the management of the company rather than its bottom line in deciding whether to invest in it. The small house he bought in Omaha for $31,500, nicknamed Buffett's Folly, is still the house he lives in today. Since he took control of Berkshire Hathaway, the shares in the holding company had risen from about US$8 a share to today's US$118,800. His sound strategy is simply to buy well managed businesses and he adopts a hands-off approach. He sets annual goals for these managers and urges them not to lose the shareholders' money. If the goals are met, he doesn't think there is a need for further interaction. In his reports to shareholders he admits to all the mistakes he had made in the reporting year, as he believes that without that it would

be a sales document. Other than good management, he looks out for businesses with durable competitive advantage in sectors that he understands. Since the days when he bought his first share at US$38 and sold at US$40 (only to learn later that it went up to US$200), he had learned the virtues of patience in investment. With a buy-andhold strategy, he is able to tide over market volatility and correction. A critic of the overly luxurious lifestyles of the super-rich, Buffet was not surprisingly hesitant when his company bought an aircraft and subsequently the Executive Jet. His ideal happy life is eating popcorn while watching football games in his sweats in front of a bigscreen television. To bring home the point of cutting unnecessary spending, his advise to young people is to stay away from credit cards and to invest in themselves through learning and education. In his interview with CNBC on The Billionaire Next Door program (November 20, 2006), he shared his secret for success: If people get to my age and they have the people love them that they want to have love them, theyre successful. It doesnt make any difference if theyve got a thousand dollars in the bank or a billion dollars in the bank Success is really doing what you love and doing it well. Its as simple as that. Ive never met anyone doing that who doesnt feel like a success. And Ive met plenty of people who have not achieved that and whose lives are miserable.