Archive for June, 2017

The Equation of Happiness

How would you define happiness?

This week, we break from our usual format and bring you a video!

 

Click here to see Mo Gawdat, an Executive at Google, describe his “equation of happiness” on Channel 4 News.

 

“Happiness is not about what the World gives you […], happiness is about what you think about what the World gives you” – Mo Gawdat

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“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek: Useful Insights by Amal Sanderatne – Week 2

Last week, we looked at whether it was enough to have a great WHY and why it is so difficult to describe your companies WHY.

This week, we return to our blog, for a few more of our CEO, Amal Sanderatne’s handpicked insights into Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with why’:

 

“WHY” people need “HOW” people to succeed

“WHY types have the power to change the course of industries or even the world, if only they knew HOW.

WHY-types are focused on the things most people can’t see, like the future. HOW-types are focused on things most people can see and tend to be better at building structures and processes and getting things done

HOW-types don’t need WHY-types to do well. But WHY-guys, for all their vision and imagination, often get the short end of the stick. Without someone inspired by their vision and the knowledge to make it a reality, most WHY-types end up as starving visionaries, people with all the answers but never accomplishing much themselves.”

Bill Gates, for example, may have been the visionary who imagined a world with a PC on every desk, but Paul Allen built the company. Steve Jobs is the rebel’s evangelist, but Steve Wozniak is the engineer who made the Apple work. Jobs had the vision, Woz had the goods.

“HOW” people can be successful Entrepreneurs but not change the course of industries.

“Although so many of them fancy themselves as visionaries, in reality most successful entrepreneurs are HOW-types. Ask an entrepreneur what they love about being an entrepreneur and most will tell you they love to build things. That they talk about building is a sure clue that they know HOW to get things done. A business is a structure—systems and processes that need to be assembled. It is the HOW-types who are more adept at building those processes and systems. But most companies, no matter how well built, do not become billion-dollar businesses or change the course of industries. To reach the billion-dollar status, to alter the course of an industry, requires a very special and rare partnership between one who knows WHY and those who know HOW.”

The exercise of trying to figuring out the “WHY”  and  “HOW” helped me understand and prioritize what I need to do for myself and frontier.

At the end, after reading through the book, what I realized is that it’s not about incorporating a WHY into a purpose statement as I was originally trying hard to do, but rather about communicating that WHY in a broader way through all our communication as well as making sure the HOW happens and is reflective of the WHY.

 

And there you have it! So, next time just remember to ‘Start with why’

For a recap of these insights, visit our blog.

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The Global Economy in May

The month of May was characterized by political risks affecting markets. Scandals over Russian involvement in the Presidential election and the removal of the FBI director affected the Trump administration, with some politicians even invoking calls for impeachment of President Trump. However, major US equity benchmarks continued their upward movement with only minor impact from the political scandals. Some argue that this is because the ‘Trump Trade’ has been replaced by a liquidity trade fueled by rising inequality and higher profits for firms.

Amidst its usual political uncertainty, emerging markets continued their positive run so far this year, raking in over $20 billion in non-resident portfolio inflows for a third consecutive month in May according data from the Institute for International Finance (IIF). Data from IIF and Dealogic point to over $100 billion in such inflows so far in 2017, driven by nearly $100 billion in sovereign debt issuance by EM countries in the period. EMs were, however, affected by Moody’s downgrading of China’s sovereign credit rating and the fresh political scandals affecting Brazil’s President Temer. Analysts have begun to throw into doubt the sustainability of the EM’s bullish run, citing high valuations of equities and the upcoming US interest rate hikes. In the meantime, Frontier Markets seem to have gained investor interest in the first few months of the year, with increased fund inflows, fueled by political uncertainties elsewhere.

In Europe, markets did celebrate the victory of Emmanuel Macron over the populist Marine Le pen, but now the question remains how he will use a probable parliamentary majority to push through his ambitious reform promises. It is a question well highlighted by the delays facing President Trump’s reform agenda, despite having a republican majority. However, Europe continued to face a number of uncertainties, including the continuation of the European Central Bank’s debt buying program, overcoming Italy’s banking sector problems and finding a suitable compromise with the Greek government on its debt repayments.

But after the June 8th general elections, the future of the Brexit negotiations in the context of a hung parliament in Britain is going to be a major uncertainty. The Conservative Party’s coalition partner, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland, is likely to push for a ‘softer’ Brexit. The situation is also likely to make the Sterling Pound volatile, after losing  its gains over the last two months on election night.

Oil prices reduced from its mid-$50s height to below $50 during the month due to doubt over the OPEC’s production limitation agreement. Prices did rise as the agreement’s extension to March 2018 came to being, but the market was not impressed by it. Analysts were concerned that oil markets are headed for a supply glut despite the OPEC agreement. Prices have dipped below the $50 mark by early June, helped by the isolation of Qatar by Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, which could unravel the OPEC agreement.

“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek: Useful Insights by Amal Sanderatne – Week 1

Last week, we looked at our CEO, Amal Sanderatne’s thoughts on Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with why’ and how that related to finding Frontier’s WHY.

This week, we go into more depth with Amal’s handpicked insights from the book:

 

To fully grasp Sinek’s concept we need to identify the WHY, HOW and WHAT in a COMPANY. The following extract from the book helps us visualize these elements:

“Sitting at the top of the system, representing the WHY, is a leader; in the case of a company, that’s usually the CEO (or at least we hope it is). The next level down, the HOW level, typically includes the senior executives who are inspired by the leader’s vision and know HOW to bring it to life. Don’t forget that a WHY is just a belief, HOWs are the actions we take to realize that belief and WHATs are the results of those actions. In this rendering the HOW level represents a person or a small group responsible for building the infrastructure that can make a WHY tangible. Beneath that, at the WHAT level, is where the rubber meets the road. It is at this level that the majority of the employees sit and where all the tangible stuff actually happens.”

Why is it so Hard to describe “WHY”?

  • The Brain makes it hard

“The Limbic brain comprises of the middle two sections and is responsible for all our feelings, such as trust and loyalty. This area of the brain is responsible for all human behaviour and all our decision making. It is where our emotional connection takes place, and it has no capacity for language. It is this disconnection between these areas of the brain that makes it so difficult to articulate our feelings.

  • Because it’s a “Founder’s Why “ and the company is just one way of expressing it

Shows Bill Gates as someone whose “WHY” in life is to remove obstacles to ensure that everyone can live and work to their greatest potential. Now he still believes that if we can help people, this time those with less privilege, remove some seemingly simple obstacles, then they too will have an opportunity to be more productive and lift themselves up to achieve their great potential.

A comment I have is, this is a look-back, historical way of bringing everything together. I don’t think Bill Gates ever thought about his WHY when he started Microsoft or would articulate his current WHY the same way as Sinek has implied his “WHY” is now.  But it’s not a criticism, because again, it is something inherent, not something that can be communicated easily.

Is it enough to have a great “WHY”?

No.

 

Next week, we’ll go over two more of Amal’s insights.

Visit our blog for more like this.

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

“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek: My Reflections by Amal Sanderatne

WHY do you do what you do? It’s an important question that many struggle to find the answer for. In the words of Simon Sinek – “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

This week, we return to our blog, to share our CEO, Amal Sanderatne’s thoughts on Frontier’s WHY:

 

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” – Simon Sinek

Inspired by these words I’ve been trying to improve Frontier’s purpose statement in relation to it, to incorporate WHY Frontier exists, but found it quite difficult to pin down one clear reason.

Then, I read the book. Though it was badly written and very repetitive it was only after reading the book, with its specific examples that I understood the reason why articulating it was so hard and in fact that it is not important to “directly” put it into a grand “purpose statement”.

The real message for me is the importance of communicating your “WHY” in different ways as opposed just having it written in a document, giving it primacy in your communication and with that taking the actions (the HOW’s) needed to realize the “WHY”.

In a small segment of the book, he talks about where this fits in a public declaration “The vision is the public statement of the founder’s intent, WHY the company exists. It is literally the vision of a future that does not yet exist. The mission statement is a description of the route, the guiding principles—HOW the company intends to create that future.”

Thus for me, what I could try to say is I that I believe in the primary value of time as our most precious and finite resource. Therefore, I believe that anyone dealing with me or Frontier should be making the best use of their time. And we must strive to ensure that this belief is reflected in our HOWs (the way we do things) and that this is communicated properly to all stakeholders.

 

Next week, we’ll go over, in more detail, some of Amal’s thoughts on Simon’s book ‘Start with why’.

For more like this, visit our blog.

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