Archive for November, 2016

Are We Really Your Best Choice?

This week on Friday Focus, we continue to implore more on the “Frontier way”. Here’s why we help all stakeholders make the best choice suited for them.


“Are we really your best choice? Isn’t either X, Y or Z a better option for you? Why don’t you check with them first?”

Sometimes we give bizarre responses, like the above, when a client approaches us to do something outside of our focus areas. For many, it is a notion that’s a little difficult to comprehend, but this comes from our core values that guide us in what we do:

In particular a core value we have is we help all stakeholders make the BEST CHOICE, even if it is not with Frontier.

We believe it is the right thing to do, to help team members find better jobs, and our clients better business partners, if Frontier is no longer their best choice.

As our business grew, we have built our “brand” and “relationships”, not only about the specific work we carry out, but in a general perspective that we could be trusted and good at a variety of things. However, we don’t really want this developed comfort and familiarity to be something that wins us business. If someone is better than us at a certain job, we believe that we are only adding negative value by trying to do the same. We want to be the best. Ideally, “the only ones.

Our values could sometimes be confused as “new-averse” due to our discomfort in robbing someone of business they do better.

We are, however, definitely willing to venture into unexplored waters looking for new things that no one else does.  We are experiencing change in the way we do things and we do not shy away from opportunities to rapidly experiment with new ideas.  But we do not take anything head on just because there is a simple opportunity for us when we are well aware that there is someone who could do it better.

We apply the same values to our internal stakeholders. Recruits and current team members are constantly allowed to question if, “Frontier is the best choice for them?” We allow and often encourage and guide them to make that choice, providing direction into understanding what suits them best.

For us, it’s not all about saying “YES”, but to make sure the client chooses the most optimal solution possible – even if it’s not with us.


For more on the Frontier Way, visit our blog.

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

Recruitment, The Frontier Way

This week on Friday Focus we take a look at an article from our own blog on how recruitment works at Frontier.

Candidates often ask us what the recruitment process at Frontier is like and whether it is as contrarian as the culture at Frontier. 


While specifics for roles differ, the underneath captures what everyone has to go through, including interns, on whose recruitment we place as much weight as on longer term posts. The key take away from this is, it is very hard to get any sort of position at Frontier. There is a range of tests/interviews you need to take part in that would take a lot of your time, and even at the final level, after going through many hours of your time and ours, you still have a high chance of being rejected. This can be the cause of hard feelings by some, but in our view has been essential to our success.

As you may know from past blog posts, the work environment at Frontier is very independent and democratic. And this philosophy extends to the recruitment process as well.

The initial stages would have any new candidate sitting through multiple tests/questions. Some are done online, in keeping with our largely remote work culture. The tests done would be dependent on the role for which she is being hired. An economics related hire would face economics related testing and equity related hire would face capital market related testing. Most interviews happen after this stage. Very often we try to schedule recruitments at a time we can blind test similar candidates. I.e. Tests are often given for which the answers are sent to the assessors (which include Amal, our CEO) without the candidates’ names on the answers. This is to assess the tests separate from the identity of the test taker without any sense of bias.

However, towards the end of the process, each candidate will have to be given the go ahead by every team member, including current interns. A new candidate will only move forward if he receives unanimous approval from the team, a question which is put to them on an anonymous basis, so they can answer it freely.

Further, at Frontier, prestigious qualifications and pedigree count for much less than how a candidate performs at our own tests. Almost all judgement is carried out based on performance during the in house tests that every candidate will be put through. Even those who have failed in the traditional sense but do well at the tests will find themselves on similar footing to those who have perfect CVs or perfect grades.


For more on the functioning of the Frontier way, visit our blog.

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

Frontier experts take on national television!

Since of late, two of our very own, Shiran Fernando and Travis Gomez, have been in the limelight with frequent appearances on mainstream media. Frontier’s YouTube channel compiles these appearances to assist you in understanding the economy better, with insights on a variety of topics including the much debated budget 2017 and the current talk of the town, “the real estate market”.

Both provided informed opinions  on popular stages known to be informative and perceptive. Here’s Vice President, Travis Gomez, discussing the real estate market and the outlook for the construction sector on Channel Eye’s Business Today:

While Lead Economist, Shiran Fernando, was a panelist on TV1’s “Face the Nation”.  Shiran contributed to the discussion with his views on the current status of the economy and its direction forward, emphasizing on “The Budget for 2017”.

Energy: The Leader’s Edge

Human energy is our most critical resource. That’s why this week we’re going to be discussing the HPI Corporate Athlete® model:

[The HPI Corporate Athlete® model was developed by the Human Performance Institute and is built on the sciences of nutrition, exercise physiology, and performance psychology]


In today’s 24/7 world, the constant pressure to perform means organizations are asking more of their employees than ever before. The demands on employees’ energy inevitably exceeds capacity, resulting in sub-optimal performance, lower productivity, and disengagement. With proper training, though, this need not be our fate.

The Human Performance Institute uses a multidimensional model of high performance that helps leaders and their organizations learn to meet the ever-increasing demands in their lives, without sacrificing their health and happiness. The model is a Performance Pyramid.

At the top of pyramid is the purpose, or mission, we strive to achieve in our lives (not necessarily just our career). In this “spiritual” dimension, we help leaders understand, build, and grow character. Here leaders learn to lead their lives from “the top-down” and coach their employees to be mission-driven (as opposed to just working hard) in all they do.

The next level down in the pyramid is the mental dimension. Leaders are taught how to be laser focused in how they work, as opposed to being scattered in their efforts (e.g., by multitasking, etc.). Time management alone only takes them from being physically absent to physically present. Only through the management of energy can they become fully engaged and productive.

As we continue down the pyramid, we enter the emotional dimension. For peak performance, leaders are taught how to access what we call opportunistic emotions (e.g., positive, challenged, glass half full, etc.) versus survival emotions (e.g., negative, pessimistic, glass half empty, etc.). This is how to become more emotionally resilient.

The final dimension and the Performance Pyramid’s foundation is the physical dimension. It is important to recognize that physical fitness increases one’s energy capacity, nutrition fuels the brain with glucose, and sleep is the key to recovery.

Leadership, both personal and professional, is an energy game. Just like professional athletes, though, business leaders need to train on purpose properly and regularly to achieve the results they’re after. By building The Leader’s Edge, it’s possible for business leaders not only to address their challenges but also to thrive.


Leadership is as much about energy as professional athletics and now you too can become a better Corporate Athlete® using the framework above!

For more on the HPI Corporate Athlete® model and beyond, visit the Huffington Post.

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


With Donald Trump as the President Elect of USA, global markets reacted adversely initially, with emerging market equities and currencies moving down, but the panic seems to have faded and most markets are making a turnaround. Yet, it looks like the uncertainty created by the election campaign throughout October and the looming US Federal Reserve December rate hike, will continue. Markets and traders now assign a below 50% chance for a rate hike in December, even though it was high as 70% after commentaries made at  the November meeting of the Fed. The month ended with the uncertainty causing the S&P 500 to go through its longest losing streak since 1980.

The risk-off sentiment in recent weeks caused significant capital outflows from emerging markets (EM). But analysts think that such outflows from India and other EMs represented a short lived phenomenon and that their improving economic fundamentals will allow them to weather the impacts of the Fed hike. China’s yuan reached a six year low in early October, owing to continued outflows and a reduction in exports. In addition, uncertainty roiled Thailand following the death of the country’s King, who was seen as a pillar of stability amidst the political concerns of the country. Meanwhile, Philippine’s stock market reached its lowest since May due to the political uncertainty created by the rash statements of President Duterte.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Brexit continued to be on the headlines as a High Court ruling dictated that the government would need the parliament’s consent on proceeding with the exit from the EU. This saw the pound rebounding from the 31-year low reached during the month to record the best weekly performance since 2009.

Oil prices continued above the US$50 mark for most of October, but started to decline after the market began to lose confidence in an OPEC production cut; the promise of which had caused the rally in prices. OPEC talks in Vienna did not lead to any clear commitments, with analysts pointing to disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Expectations of oil prices returning to the mid $40s was proven right in the past week, which saw the largest weekly drop since January, aided by a record .

A Harvard philosopher’s argument for not loving yourself just as you are

This week on Friday Focus we take an insightful approach into whether choosing to celebrate and love ourselves just the way we are, is a smart choice.

Maybe being content with how and what you are, is simply a re-enforcement of habits; negative and positive.


“The common assumption most of us make about the self is that our goal as individuals is to look within, find our true selves, and try to be as authentic and true to ourselves as we can be,” Puett says. “But this assumes we have a stable self.”

By contrast, much of the Chinese philosophical tradition derived from Confucius envisions “the self” as more of a messy product of habit than a clearly-defined inner essence. “From a very young age, we’ll form patterns of responding to the world. Those patterns will harden and become what we mistakenly call a personality,” adds Puett.

So if we love ourselves and embrace all our little flaws and idiosyncrasies, we’re actually just hardening these ruts of behavior.

Occasionally, we might notice that we’ve formed an unhealthy habit and train ourselves to behave differently. But Chinese philosophers argue that we fail to notice most patterns we form, and the “insidious” ones can be the most harmful.

And so these thinkers argue that we should constantly strive to behave differently, even greeting people or smiling in a slightly different way. It doesn’t matter whether you’re behaving “better.” It’s the variation that’s important.

“Start using slightly different tones of voice, look at people in a slightly different way,” says Puett. “When you do this, you start to realize very quickly the degrees to which we’re rutted creatures.”


For more on self-improvement, visit Quartz.

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