Archive for June, 2016

What is Frontier Research?

Frontier Research is built around its founder, Amal Sanderatne’s, belief that time is our most valuable resource and his views on how to make better use of it. He believes it is essential that individuals maximise their time, in the ways that are important to them.

In the beginning…

Before setting up Frontier, Amal had experienced different work environments: some very rigid, some more flexible.

 There were some where the work was very exciting and he was very passionate about what he did, but it was very demanding and simply precluded the possibility of having too much of a life outside of work. There were others where he had very little actual work to do, with little motivation, clocking in a set eight hour day but with much of that time spent idle. Then there were others which were very well paid, but with very little underlying purpose to it.

The kind of work Amal  wanted was hard to find and this search for a better way to work was the core reason for setting off on his own. He aimed to craft the kind of career he wanted for himself and then later to the team that he hired.

Fulfilling work, in a life-first environment!

In a nutshell, the core idea behind Frontier Research is to enable our team to engage in fulfilling work at times that are best suited for them, in a life-first work environment

“Life first” is easy to explain, and for Amal that means putting Health, Family and Friends before work. However, it’s hard to capture in words what “fulfilling” work is, but at its core, it can be judged within the following framework:

Truly fulfilling work can be found at the centre of these 4 attributes. In short, it is about finding work that has meaning, through providing something the world needs. As Richard Branson said, “Great businesses are places where problems are solved and lives are improved”.

Right now with all our work, we find fulfillment by helping our clients create time in their lives by providing them the information that matters to them in less time.

Putting all of this together, we’ve come up with these belief statements to help us shape our corporate culture:

“We believe time is our most precious resource.

We believe in work that enables people to live better by using their time better.

For our team, this means enabling them to engage in fulfilling work at times that are best suited for them, in a life-first work environment.

For our clients, this means getting them the information that matters most to them in less time, through time efficient research and information services”

The Moral Bucket List – Week 2

Some of us have had the privilege of meeting truly wonderful people. Those who are selfless and possess impeccable character.

We all want to be like that. The good news is, we can! This week, we share a few more points from “The Moral Bucket List”:

 

THE DEPENDENCY LEAP We master certain skills and experience adventures and certain challenges on our way to individual success. This individualist worldview suggests that character is this little iron figure of willpower inside. But people on the road to character understand that no person can achieve self-mastery on his or her own.

People on this road see life as a process of commitment making. Character is defined by how deeply rooted you are. Have you developed deep connections that hold you up in times of challenge and push you toward the good?

ENERGIZING LOVE Dorothy Day led a disorganized life when she was young: drinking, carousing, a suicide attempt or two, following her desires, unable to find direction. But the birth of her daughter changed her. That kind of love decenters the self. It reminds you that your true riches are in another. Most of all, this love electrifies. It puts you in a state of need and makes it delightful to serve what you love. This gift of love overcame, sometimes, the natural self-centeredness all of us feel.

THE CALL WITHIN THE CALL We all go into professions for many reasons: money, status, security. But some people have experiences that turn a career into a calling. These experiences quiet the self. All that matters is living up to the standard of excellence inherent in their craft.

THE CONSCIENCE LEAP In most lives there’s a moment when people strip away all the branding and status symbols, all the prestige that goes with having gone to a certain school or been born into a certain family. They leap out beyond the utilitarian logic and crash through the barriers of their fears.

 

Join us next week where we explore how these enlightened people view life.

For more like this, visit the New York Times.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Moral Bucket List – Week 1

Some of us have had the privilege of meeting truly wonderful people. Those who are selfless and possess impeccable character.

We all want to be like that. The good news is, we can! Starting this week, we’re going to share how we can all improve our character using “The Moral Bucket List”:

 

ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all. A few years ago I realized that I wanted to be a bit more like those people.

It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful.

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light.

But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.

I came to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born — that the people I admired had achieved an unfakeable inner virtue, built slowly from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments. If we wanted to be gimmicky, we could say these accomplishments amounted to a moral bucket list, the experiences one should have on the way toward the richest possible inner life. Here, quickly, are some of them:

THE HUMILITY SHIFT. We live in the culture of the Big Me. The meritocracy wants you to promote yourself. But all the people I’ve ever deeply admired are profoundly honest about their own weaknesses. They have identified their core sin, whether it is selfishness, the desperate need for approval, cowardice, hardheartedness or whatever. They have achieved a profound humility, which has best been defined as an intense self-awareness from a position of other-centeredness.

SELF-DEFEAT. External success is achieved through competition with others. But character is built during the confrontation with your own weakness. Dwight Eisenhower, for example, realized early on that his core sin was his temper. He developed a moderate, cheerful exterior because he knew he needed to project optimism and confidence to lead. Over a lifetime of self-confrontation, he developed a mature temperament. He made himself strong in his weakest places.

 

Tune in next week for more points from the Moral Bucket List!

For more like this, visit the New York Times.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The 10/10/10 Rule For Tough Decisions

Life is full of difficult decisions. If only there were a way to make them easier. Well, there is!

It’s called the 10/10/10 rule. Here’s how it works:

 

It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re facing a thorny dilemma. Blinded by the particulars of the situation, we’ll waffle and agonize, changing our mind from day to day. Perhaps our worst enemy in resolving these conflicts is short-term emotion, which can be an unreliable adviser.

That’s why the folk wisdom advises that when we’ve got an important decision to make, we should sleep on it. For many decisions, though, sleep isn’t enough. We need strategy.

One tool we can use was invented by Suzy Welch, a business writer for publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek and O magazine. It’s called 10/10/10, and Welch describes it in a book of the same name. To use 10/10/10, we think about our decisions on three different time frames:

  • How will we feel about it 10 minutes from now?
  • How about 10 months from now?
  • How about 10 years from now?

10/10/10 helps to level the emotional playing field. What we’re feeling now is intense and sharp, while the future feels fuzzier. That discrepancy gives the present too much power, because our present emotions are always in the spotlight. 10/10/10 forces us to shift our spotlights, asking us to imagine a moment 10 months into the future with the same “freshness” that we feel in the present.

It’s not that we should ignore our short-term emotions; often they are telling us something useful about what we want in a situation. But we should not let them be the boss of us.

To be clear, short-term emotion isn’t always the enemy. (In the face of an injustice, it may be appropriate to act on outrage.) Conducting a 10/10/10 analysis doesn’t presuppose that the long-term perspective is the right one. It simply ensures that short-term emotion isn’t the only voice at the table.

 

The next time a difficult decision comes along, remember to think about you’d feel about it both in the present and the future!

For more on making decisions and beyond, visit fastcompany.com.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Global Economy in May

Global markets were gripped by uncertainty last month, as rising risks threatened to tip the global economy into recession. Concerns over a ‘Brexit’ remained, as polls remained inconclusive in the run-up to the referendum. Many, including the OECD have weighed in, saying a ‘Brexit’ would harm the economies of both the UK and the EU. However, markets in the UK remain relatively convinced that there will not be a ‘Brexit’.

Another avenue of risk comes from the US Presidential election, in particular the possibility of a Trump Presidency. Many are concerned over Trump’s often contradictory policy statements, with one analyst calling him the ‘ultimate tail risk candidate’.

To make matters worse, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has been see-sawing on whether to raise interest rates at its next meeting in June. Markets initially saw higher chances for a rate hike, after the release of the minutes of the Fed’s April meeting. However, a weak jobs report in early June saw expectations dip once again, with many expecting no hike even through July. Analysts say that the dollar holds the key to a rate hike, which serves a self-defeating dynamic to the Fed’s data-dependent approach. Yet, hike or no hike, some say that Asian markets should not worry, as a 25bp hike will not cause market disruption.

Chinese markets remained on the radar, as many were concerned with the credit boom in China’s debt-laden economy. Others were concerned that China’s plan to ease its debt burden with debt-to-equity swaps would actually make it worse. It could dilute the value of existing shares, while placing much of the cost on the government. Investors were also concerned about renewed weakness in the Yuan, as the US Dollar rises and capital outflows accelerate, while capital inflows fall.

Oil markets bucked the downward trend and saw prices rise above $50 a barrel, spurred by supply outages across the world. Many analysts, such as Goldman Sachs, revised their expectations for oil prices, noting that the supply glut had vanished sooner than expected. Yet, the OPEC itself expects prices to fall once again as its members raise production and offset the drop in non-OPEC production. To many, however, the higher prices do not amount to much unless the rally shows it has staying power.

Turn Your Goals Into If-Then Statements to Account for Roadblocks

We all set goals and we all face setbacks to those goals.

This week, we’ll show you how you can use an “if-then” plan to prepare for just such setbacks:

 

With any goal, pitfalls are usually inevitable. To stay ahead of setbacks, give your goal an if-then plan.

We’ve talked about this concept before in terms of building your willpower. To connect the impulsive part of your brain with the calm, methodical part, use an if-then statement to control your behavior. For example, you might say, “if I feel angry, then I will count to ten.” Similarly, you can use if-then statements to safeguard your ambitious goals against any potential setbacks.

If-then plans work well because a specific situation is defined in the ‘if’ part: if people subsequently find themselves in that situation, they will be reminded automatically of their good intentions.

The key is to make your “then” statement actionable, specific, and, as Thompson suggests, positive. Simply saying, “If someone brings pizza, then I won’t eat it” won’t do much good. But something like, “If someone brings pizza, I’ll treat myself to hummus and crackers” is a lot more effective.

 

So, if you want to stay ahead of those setbacks, then you’ll need an if-then plan!

For more on achieving your goals and beyond, visit Lifehacker.com.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!