Category Archives: Work

Pump up the Tires

Bicycle pumps by matsuyuki Was totally washed out at the end of yesterday – it has been an intense few weeks with several large projects all going on at once, many 18 hour work days and two trips abroad later it is perhaps no surprise that I was ended up a tad exhausted.

I hate having the wind taken out of my sails like that! It is such an anti-climax after the hard work that I had been putting in. What caused this sudden turn in the weather at my back? I finished one of the big projects – got it all signed off – and next thing I know my voice had given out and a hacking cough has appeared out of nowhere. This morning I delivered the baby to the nursery and then came home and slept (in between coughing fits).

All of which goes to show that the idea that working more than 40 hours a week is counter productive is quite correct – I worked almost eighty hours of overtime in the course of three weeks last month. And now that the big hurdles are cleared and the adrenalin levels begin to lower, what do you suppose has happened to my productivity?

Reading Strategists and Writing to Them

I’ve been doing a lot of interesting reading recently in a bid to continue improving how I go about living my life. There has been a fair amount of pay-off from the changes I’ve been making over the past couple of years, between marriage, a baby and of course the move to Japan!

Among the various sources of inspiration and advice I’ve been following is the excellent blog of Sebastian Marshall, a most fascinating chap who is pursuing the goal of becoming the most skilled strategist of our era. A lofty goal, but one I have little doubt he can achieve. I had a most interesting discussion with him on Skype last week about Eastern vs Western mentality and business practice that was illuminating.

Sebastian encourages his readers to make contact with him and many good articles and pieces have come out of that, so I decided I should also step out of the shadows and get in touch, hence the reason I ended up having a call with him. His review of what I’d written in my email was very positive too, so positive in fact that he decided to publish it on his blog.

In that article I mention a few items I have been reading and would like to give a slightly broader review and pointers on each of them…

A Brief Trip to Seoul

By Wednesday last week it was clear that there was no one else available to make the journey to Seoul and help our partner there give a demo of our Workforce Optimization suite to a new potential big client. This did give me a great opportunity to catch up with the same guys who worked with me on our last big WFM project; the one that took me to Brazil for a week and gave me almost two months without sleep. This time though working with them would give me the chance to catch back up on a night’s sleep away from the baby!

I was not totally keen to go, I admit, as my Mum is in town visiting and it is still worrying to be separated for any length of time from Wife and New Baby after recent events, but needs must. As it turned out, the guys didn’t really need my help at all, other than to demonstrate that we care enough about this deal to send me along and show we are keen on supporting our partners.

Some quick notes on my thoughts on South Korea after this my third visit…

The Japanese say that Koreans have Italian hearts, meaning that they are warm and romantic, that is certainly true – the welcome I receive there is always huge – but they have a work ethic and drive that defy’s belief to go with it.
Everything in South Korea revolves around business, in the newspaper you will find important business page articles in the main news section and every other item will mentions the potential business impacts of any story if there are any. These guys care deeply about growing their economy and are focusing all their energy on it.

There is a large amount of fear and ignorance (among otherwise very bright people) about the situation in Japan – many seem quite convinced that the food is radiocative and Tokyo is not a safe place to be. Curiously, the disaster is always referred to as the “earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster”. This is slightly distressing to me, as a much more accurate description would be “earthquake and tsunami disaster (and accompanying, distracting Fukushima accident)”. I doubt though that SK is unique in seeing it the other way around… the media drive to play on people’s fears about nuclear power to sell papers is surely still as strong elsewhere. I think I convinced one guy at least to put his plans for a Tokyo trip back in place, with a promise of some guided tour time and the assurance that I think it is safe enough to live here with my two month old child!

Lastly, on my “night off”, I awoke twice out of dreams. Once I was dreaming of an aftershock and the other I was dreaming of changing baby’s nappy. There seems to be no escape, even in the arms of Morpheus!