Sunday, December 30, 2007

Using the Compass AE for Collaborative Brainstorming

We recently guided a small startup in a brainstorming session

Through the use of Compass AE, their project team built Tangible Vision first. After hrs of debating, they connected with it in term of the goal, strategic specifics, specific objectives, and how the team operate as a team. They lead with the Tangible Vision and came up with their own Tangible Vision that they will be pursuing soon

There will be more on this company later.

December 30, 2007
Bright Ideas
Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike

IT’S a pickle of a paradox: As our knowledge and expertise increase, our creativity and ability to innovate tend to taper off. Why? Because the walls of the proverbial box in which we think are thickening along with our experience.

Andrew S. Grove, the co-founder of Intel, put it well in 2005 when he told an interviewer from Fortune, When everybody knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin’. In other words, it becomes nearly impossible to look beyond what you know and think outside the box you’ve built around yourself.

This so-called curse of knowledge, a phrase used in a 1989 paper in The Journal of Political Economy, means that once you’ve become an expert in a particular subject, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what you do. Your conversations with others in the field are peppered with catch phrases and jargon that are foreign to the uninitiated. When it’s time to accomplish a task open a store, build a house, buy new cash registers, sell insurance those in the know get it done the way it has always been done, stifling innovation as they barrel along the well-worn path.

Elizabeth Newton, a psychologist, conducted an experiment on the curse of knowledge while working on her doctorate at Stanford in 1990. She gave one set of people, called tappers, a list of commonly known songs from which to choose. Their task was to rap their knuckles on a tabletop to the rhythm of the chosen tune as they thought about it in their heads. A second set of people, called listeners, were asked to name the songs.

Before the experiment began, the tappers were asked how often they believed that the listeners would name the songs correctly. On average, tappers expected listeners to get it right about half the time. In the end, however, listeners guessed only 3 of 120 songs tapped out, or 2.5 percent.

The tappers were astounded. The song was so clear in their minds; how could the listeners not hear it in their taps?

That’s a common reaction when experts set out to share their ideas in the business world, too, says Chip Heath, who with his brother, Dan, was a co-author of the 2007 book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. It’s why engineers design products ultimately useful only to other engineers. It’s why managers have trouble convincing the rank and file to adopt new processes. And it’s why the advertising world struggles to convey commercial messages to consumers.

I HAVE a DVD remote control with 52 buttons on it, and every one of them is there because some engineer along the line knew how to use that button and believed I would want to use it, too, Mr. Heath says. People who design products are experts cursed by their knowledge, and they can’t imagine what it’s like to be as ignorant as the rest of us.

But there are proven ways to exorcise the curse.

/// When building the Tangible Vision, our process focuses the implementers on the importance of knowing what is the outcome and its effect before ever developing it.

In their book, the Heath brothers outline six hooks that they say are guaranteed to communicate a new idea clearly by transforming it into what they call a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. Each of the letters in the resulting acronym, Succes, refers to a different hook. (S, for example, suggests simplifying the message.) Although the hooks of Made to Stick focus on the art of communication, there are ways to fashion them around fostering innovation.

To innovate, Mr. Heath says, you have to bring together people with a variety of skills. If those people can’t communicate clearly with one another, innovation gets bogged down in the abstract language of specialization and expertise. It’s kind of like the ugly American tourist trying to get across an idea in another country by speaking English slowly and more loudly, he says. You’ve got to find the common connections.

/// We will touch on this point in a later entry.

In her 2006 book, Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine and What Smart Companies Are Doing About It, Cynthia Barton Rabe proposes bringing in outsiders whom she calls zero-gravity thinkers to keep creativity and innovation on track.

When experts have to slow down and go back to basics to bring an outsider up to speed, she says, it forces them to look at their world differently and, as a result, they come up with new solutions to old problems.

/// It is all about understanding the big picture

She cites as an example the work of a colleague at Ralston Purina who moved to Eveready in the mid-1980s when Ralston bought that company. At the time, Eveready had become a household name because of its sales since the 1950s of inexpensive red plastic and metal flashlights. But by the mid-1980s, the flashlight business, which had been aimed solely at men shopping at hardware stores, was foundering.

While Ms. Rabe’s colleague had no experience with flashlights, she did have plenty of experience in consumer packaging and marketing from her years at Ralston Purina. She proceeded to revamp the flashlight product line to include colors like pink, baby blue and light green colors that would appeal to women and began distributing them through grocery store chains.

It was not incredibly popular as a decision amongst the old guard at Eveready, Ms. Rabe says. But after the changes, she says, the flashlight business took off and was wildly successful for many years after that.

MS. RABE herself experienced similar problems while working as a transient zero-gravity thinker at Intel.

/// What a title!?

I would ask my very, very basic questions, she said, noting that it frustrated some of the people who didn’t know her. Once they got past that point, however, it always turned out that we could come up with some terrific ideas, she said.

While Ms. Rabe usually worked inside the companies she discussed in her book, she said outside consultants could also serve the zero-gravity role, but only if their expertise was not identical to that of the group already working on the project.

Look for people with renaissance-thinker tendencies, who’ve done work in a related area but not in your specific field, she says. Make it possible for someone who doesn’t report directly to that area to come in and say the emperor has no clothes.

/// It is not what the consultants say. ... it is how they say it.

Janet Rae-Dupree writes about science and emerging technology in Silicon Valley.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Strategist as a Fisherman (1)

Each body of water has its risk and rewards. The good fisherman usually have the skill and the gear to match that body of water. He must also understand the risk that comes with that body of water for that chosen moment.

The great Jiang Tai Gong (the author of The Six Secret Teachings) possessed the strategic skills
and experience to help the ruler of Zhou to overthrow the Shang dynasty of ancient China, believed in the following five concepts:
1. Understanding the big picture;
2. Targeting the big fish (not a batch of shrimps);
3. Establishing a position of strategic advantage;
4. Creating the bait that enables the big fish to come willingly;
5. Waiting patiently until the circumstances ripen.


Does your plan includes the following five grand points?
* Is your plan based on the grand setting of your competitive arena?
* Is your plan focused on a bigger target or a smaller target?
* Is the initial stage of your plan based on establishing a strategic advantage?
* Is your plan focused on getting people to complete the team willingly?
* Does your plan include situations that enable you and your team to get a minimum of two steps closer to the goal?

If your plan does not include those five points, you need our Compass AE methodology to get your team "strategizing" as a team?

"One who excels at warfare, seeks victory through the strategic configuration of power, not from reliance on men. Thus he is able to select men and employ strategic power." - Sun Tzu’s Art of War Chapter 5: Strategic Power (Sawyer's translation)

When a Compass team builds and connects with their Tangible Vision, they see the critical path that leads to the completion of the goal. They can also collaboratively configure the strategic influence that allows them to completes the goal effectively.

Does your project process focuses on that feature?

Copyright: 2008 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Dao of the Chinese Strategy Mindset

Utilizing Art of War (AoW) principles with an abundant of resources against inferior competition does not mean the implementers are great strategists

Competing and winning in an underdog situation where the resources are low and the competitions are strong, is impossible. A Compass team of high achievers understands the need of the Tangible Vision.

There are so many reasons why a strategy fails and many reasons why a strategy succeed. If you're interested in this viewpoint, the Chief Architect will elaborate on this topic later.

After reading many global strategy classics and implementing tons of project plans, Collaboration360 Consultants developed a strategic process that enables the implementers to understand the total objective from a geometric view.
fyi- Ancient Daoist like Wang Xu emphasizes this process of thinking in his writings.

If one's unable to see and adjust to all the situations relating to their endeavors, there is no sympathy for the loser. One can learn all the history he/she wants. If it is not applied properly in their game plan esp. against a world class opponent. The penalty is usually defeat.

Presume you have read Sunzi and other strategic classics. DO you think you can recite and practice any or all 300+ lines of Sunzi writings immediately? Unlike ppl from other strategy forums where they spend time talk about strategies, tactics and tricks. This Chief Architect believes in the practice of concepts in terms of habits.

Reciting lines of Sunzi are for street corner philosophers and arm chair generals who never stain their hands in hi-risk projects and street fights.

Before one can perform the practice of concepts as a habit, he becomes conscious aware of his surroundings. Develop your state of conscious awareness and extend it. At that point, you can strategize better than the masses.

Copyright: 2007 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright


From Gulf War to Global War on Terror. A Distorted Sun Tzu in US Strategic Thinking?

Dec 2007, Vol. 152, No. 6
By Charles Chao Rong Phua

It is claimed that Sun Tzu’s precepts were applied in US strategy for both the First Gulf War and the ongoing Global War on Terror. General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the US and coalition forces in the Gulf War, was a student of Sun Tzu and employed tactics from The Art of War to secure victory. In the latest war in Iraq and Afghanistan, former CENTCOM Commander, General Tommy Franks, was reported to be a devotee of Sun Tzu and often found quoting him. However, the results differ. The Gulf War was a short and victorious war while the Global War on Terror (GWOT) is long and hitherto inconclusive. This essay does not seek to judge the success of the GWOT, but rather understand why the results of the US application of Sun Tzu are so different, given McNeilly’s claim that Sun Tzu’s influence is growing in the US military amongst the higher-ranking officers, to the extent that an essay competition in Sun Tzu’s name has been inaugurated at the National Defense University


The use of individual quotations from the AoW book as a source of fortune cookie-like proverbs and not seeing the general coherence of the text has been criticized by many scholars of Chinese history

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season Greetings From The Collaborative View

Collaboration360 Consultants recommend the following list of sites to purchase quality gifts: (The name says it all.) (Great gear for the electronic aficionado.) (Pretty Good Privacy encryption software for the security-driven professional.) (A1 quality stand up desks for the performance-driven professional.)
UltraEdit (A great text editor and other superb s/w tools for the
for the performance-driven techie.)
Of Course Lion Source (Great Chinese Lion Dance items as souvenir gifts.)
Red Blossom Tea (Quality tea for the hardcore tea lovers.)

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What makes a Good Risktaker? (1)

Efficient Strategy development is about balancing the goal and the objectives.

The following set of questions determines the type of goal pursuer that you are and
the type of risk that you are willing to take.

Regardless of your fishing style, what body of water do you prefer to fish at, the pond? the lake? the river? or the ocean?


The pond is for the low achievers who prefer low risk and small catches. It is greatly affected by small climate change. For those who want more risk and a larger catch, they might choose the lake.

The river is for the greater risk takers who are willing to wait or go with the flow of the water. The X factor is the climate effect (constant change). Finally, there are those who love a wide variety of catches, a fast velocity of change and the constant dramatic change of climate, prefers the

The choice of the "body of water", its grand settings, and seasonal climates determine the proficiency level of
achievement, difficulty and risk. This is "The Dao of the Fisherman". This is also "The Dao of Strategy".

Always remember this rule: "The greater the catch, the greater the risk, the greater the reward for the strategist. . . . Always follow the Dao."

So what type of fisherman
(strategist) are you?


When building the Tangible Vision, it is important to know the risks that lead to the grand rewards.

In future articles, we will focus on how does goal setting and risk applies to the Compass AE process.

Copyright: 2007 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360 Consultants).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright

Monday, December 17, 2007

Learning Leadership from The Amateurs

There is nothing like the non-professionals who have never done any dirty work from the ground level, telling the amateur professionals how to be a leader.

If those five virtues ("wise (zhi), trustworthy (xin), humane (ren), courageous (yong) and strict discipline (yan)") of leadership are not embedded in the conscious of the readers, they will rarely do the right thing.

One cannot read something and understand it immediately. They need to study it from a content perspective first. To get the tangible view of the greater picture, it is important to understand it from a context view. Learning, experiencing and finally leading with proper leadership is a difficult process for most amateurs.

# # #

December 16, 2007
The Newest Mandarins

Lei Bo is a philosophy graduate student in China whose faith is in history, and by habit he considers the world using the thousands of classical passages that live in his head. Three years ago he was studying in an empty room in the School of Management at his university in Beijing when students began to amble in for their class on Sun Tzu's "Art of War," a work from either the fifth or the fourth century B.C. Lei Bo decided to stay. He had taken two courses on "The Art of War" in the philosophy and the literature departments, and was curious to see how students in business and management might approach the same subject. The discussion that day was on the five attributes of a military commander. Sun Tzu said in the first chapter of the book, "An able commander is wise (zhi), trustworthy (xin), humane (ren), courageous (yong) and believes in strict discipline (yan)."

The students thought that a chief executive today should possess the same strengths in order to lead. But how did the five attributes apply to business? Here they were stuck, unable to move beyond what the words suggest in everyday speech. Even their teacher could not find anything new to add. At this point, Lei Bo raised his hand and began to take each word back to its home, to the sixth century B.C., when Sun Tzu lived, and to the two subsequent centuries when the work Sun Tzu inspired was actually written down.

On the word yong (courage), Lei Bo cited chapter seven of The Analects, where Confucius told a disciple that if he "were to lead the Three Armies of his state," he "would not take anyone who would try to wrestle a tiger with his bare hands and walk across a river [because there is not a boat]. If I take anyone, it would have to be someone who is wary when faced with a task and who is good at planning and capable of successful execution." No one ever put Confucius in charge of an army, said Lei Bo, and Confucius never thought that he would be asked, but being a professional, he could expect a career either in the military or in government. And his insight about courage in battle and in all matters of life and death pertains to a man's interior: his judgment and awareness, his skills and integrity. This was how Lei Bo explored the word "courage": he located it in its early life before it was set apart from ideas like wisdom, humaneness and trust. He tried to describe the whole sense of the word. The business students and their teacher were hooked. They wanted Lei Bo back every week for as long as they were reading "The Art of War."

Scores of men and women in China's business world today are studying their country's classical texts, not just "The Art of War," but also early works from the Confucian and the Daoist canon. On weekends, they gather at major universities, paying tens of thousands of yuan each, to learn from prominent professors of philosophy and literature, to read and think in ways they could not when they were students and the classics were the objects of Maoist harangue . Those inside and outside China say that these businessmen and -women, like most Chinese right now, have caught the "fever of national learning."

Scholars, however, are cautious. They revel in the possibility of being able to study the classical texts without an ideological tether. But they warn that this kind of learning cannot be rushed and does not lend itself to easy adaptation. The classics are not simply primers on how to succeed or lessons in the glory of the Chinese nation. Having survived the ravages of the Maoist era, when Confucius' call to "revive the spirit and the practice of the earlier rites" was derided as "an attempt to reverse the course of history," the classics must not lose their distinction in the hullabaloo of the market economy or under the pressure of globalization.

These scholars are also doubtful that the "fever of national learning" will last. They see it as a political event, staged by party leaders to celebrate national pride. But students like Lei Bo and many of his classmates and friends discovered the joy of reading classical texts long before the political rally began. One friend became enamored with books when he was a toddler, and by the time he was in junior high, he was poring over intellectual and political history from the 11th and 12th centuries. Another was drawn to the sound and beat of classical poems ever since he could remember, and so now he is studying Tang poetry in graduate school. Lei Bo's journey was more tortuous. (Unlike his two friends, whose parents are factory workers and farmers, his father is an environmental scientist and his mother, a librarian.) After being steeped in Marxist education, Lei Bo took a sharp turn in college while he was pursuing a degree in chemistry. He became disenchanted with communism and was deeply suspicious of any political philosophy that encouraged fixation on a single goal without any regard for the grim consequences this could have. He aired his displeasure on a Web site, which led to a brush with the public-security police.

It was readings in Western philosophy that saved him from more serious trouble. Translated works were widely accessible in China when Lei Bo was an undergraduate. Habermas, Heidegger, Arendt, Popper, Foucault and Derrida were all popular then, and now Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss have been added to the list. Chinese men and women, especially the educated young, are book-hungry, and writings in Western political philosophy offer them several ways out of the firm grip that Marxism has had on their reasoning and their judgment. Lei Bo latched on to Heidegger, who alerted him to the importance of historical thinking and historical imagination; his writings convinced Lei Bo that any experience is inseparable from its past and future.

This, however, does not mean that Lei Bo avoids the more pressing subjects of the day. Now in China, he says, it is the students in law and the social sciences who call for more personal freedom, and it is also this group that sees great promise in the concept of democratic government.

But students studying history and philosophy seem to ask more questions. They want to know whether there is an appropriate way to pursue the idea of freedom; whether this chase, which is often complicated by the tangles of human relationships and life's unwanted circumstances, can become a test of one's interior strength. Learning the texts, for them, is learning to think. Lei Bo and his friends, for instance, found resonance in Confucius' description of freedom at the age of 70: "I was able to follow what my heart desired without overstepping the moral bounds." They thought that this was perhaps the most perfect freedom one could experience.

In speaking with Lei Bo and other students, I've been struck by the clarity of their convictions about China's past and future. They understand why Confucius described himself as a transmitter and not a creator and why he said that he "had faith in antiquity." History does not just provide actual lessons from the past, but, more important for the students, history gives them the chance to consider the right and wrong of human judgment even though the deeds were done long ago. And for this reason, they are taking the long view of their country's future and are reluctant to put their hope in any sort of quick fix or in any ideal, even one that is as appealing as democracy. They want change but are not ready to consider drastic corrections, not until they have absorbed what is stored in their history and cultural tradition. They are not utopians. They want reforms but, for now, only as measures to check the totalizing tendencies of their state. And, some of them ask, was this not the intent of the founding fathers when they wrote the American Constitution?

Annping Chin teaches in the history department at Yale University. Her most recent book, "The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics," has just been published.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Assess the Grand Situation ( Material covered from the C360 Presentation on Applying Sun Tzu (Sz) Art of War principles to the Global Economy)


To master the Sun Tzu's (Sunzi) Art of War (Chinese Strategy Mindset), it starts with the understanding of Chapter 1 "Assessments" (aka Estimates, Calculations, etc)

Step 1: Assess from the Field Level
  • Disposition (of the Implementers) - Identify and assess the situation(s) before the conflict even begin.
  • Strategic Advantage- Identify and assess the momentum and the timing within each identified macro cycle.
  • Weaknesses and Strengths- Identify and assess the best match-ups.

Step 2: Assess from the Field Level (2)
  • Terrain- Identify and assess the obstacles.
  • Nine Grounds- Identify and assess the tactical situations.
  • Nine Variables- Identify and assess the technical realities of the mission.

Step 3: Assess the Top View (1)

  • Planning Offensives- Identify and assess the Tangible Path that enables the completion of the mission promptly.
  • Marches - Identify and assess the strategic leadership challenges of the mission.
  • Maneuver for Advantage- Identify and assess the deployment before and after each identified situation.

Step 4: Assess the Top View (2)

  • Use of Competitive Intelligence- Identify and assess the current state of competitive intelligence.
  • Waging the Operation- Identify and assess the tangible costs and consequences of launching the plan
  • Use of Influence- Identify and assess what influences can be or are in play and what influences are available.

If you are interested in the basics of our Strategic Assessment process, please contact us. Thanks!


Copyright:2007 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Preliminary Outline of Future Speech: Applying Sun Tzu Concepts (Ancient Chinese Strategy) to the Global Economy)

Later this week, I will be doing a presentation on Applying Sun Tzu's principles (Ancient Chinese Strategy Mindset) in the Global Economy.

Following is a preliminary outline of my speech:


  • Personal Introduction
  • Who is Sun Tzu (Sunzi)?
  • Who has been using it?
  • Mentioned in the news media
  • Number of books published

Six Principles of Sun Tzu (Ancient Chinese Mindset)

1. Winning All Without Fighting
2. Avoid Strengths, Attack Weaknesses
3. Deception and Foreknowledge
4. Speed and Preparation
5. Shaping the Opposition
6. Character-Based Leadership

* from Sun Tzu and The Art of Modern Warfare by Mark McNeilly

Assessing the Grand Situation (Initial Stage)

  • Identifying Strategic and Tactical Variables

The Benefits of Strategic Positioning

  • Secure Positional Advantage
  • Focus on Long Range Objectives and Strategic Matters
  • Influence the opposition to grind

Recommended Translations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War
  • Sun Tzu Art of War by Dr. Ralph D. Sawyer’s
  • Sun Tzu and the Art of Warfare by Dr. Roger T. Ames
  • Sun Tzu and The Art of Business by Mark McNeilly
Other Matters
  • Questions and Answers
  • Summary


Appreciate your comments and questions.


Copyright:2007 © Collaboration360 Consultants (C360).
Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright.