Leadership Lessons from the New York Yankees

New York Yankees

Maintaining a competitive position for eight decades is a rare feat. Yet since 1921, the New York Yankees have been in the World Series 40 times and have won 27 times. What enables them to win decade after decade?

Here are 14 leadership principles that represent the Yankees’ best management practices. These are divided into three factors that represent keys for building a dynasty—leadership, processes, and culture.

Leadership Foundation

  1. Cultivate ownership values from the top down. Winning owners bring to their teams a passion to win, an opportunistic spirit, and an ownership mindset.
  2. Hire the best frontline managers you can find. Since team performance is influenced by their decisions, field managers should possess all the professional, citizenship, and leadership competencies to create excellence.
  3. Formally recognize your informal leaders. They are the individuals who excel at their job, inspire others to excel, and who display behaviors that bring credit to the team. They are respected as leaders by their teammates.

Processes for Developing a Dynasty

  1. Set the bar higher than your people have ever seen it have clear standards. Everyone must be clear as to what constitutes winning. All players must accept that individual accomplishments are subordinate to the team goal. Use spirited rivalries to stimulate internal excellence.
  2. Make organizational competences the heart of your appraisal process. Competencies are the observable and measurable skills, values, and behaviors that contribute to enhanced performance. Competencies must be clearly defined as the basis for assessment.
  3. Make everyone on the team a talent scout. Expand your scouting field by instilling talent assessment and scouting as an organizational value.
  4. Create a balance of superstars, stars, and solid performers. Dynasty teams develop around a blend of players at varying performance levels—superstars, stars, and solid performers.
  5. Establish your talent strategy and fill in the gaps. Identify and retain superstars, or acquire them from your competitors. Make sure your “battery” (key positions) has star and potential star backups. And ensure that everyone is at least a “solid player.”
  6. Create a solid farm system. Minor league teams feed talent up. Young talented players are developed, their skills are honed, and they learn team values.
  7. Pay your people based on their actual and potential contribution. The Yankees use this assessment as the basis for player salary decisions.
  8. Make the superstar the focal point. Superstars are in short supply. Cultivate your own superstars and strategically hire your competitor’s superstars.

Design Your Culture for Success

  1. Scout for a diverse talent pool in unconventional places. Consider talent from all sources and translate this diversity into on field box-office success.
  2. Celebrate your history, heroes, and legends. Create traditions of excellence. The Yankees are an American success story that has captured the imagination of people worldwide.
  3. Boldly promote your tradition of excellence. The Yankees associate the Yankee brand with winning to become an employer of choice.

Recommended Reading on the Yankees and Leadership

Posted in Business and Strategy Management and Leadership

MYANMAR: The Best Sights, Destinations, and Experiences (ASEAN Travel)

Best Sights of Myanmar

Mandalay, Bagan, Inle, and Yangon—these names all conjure up the wonder that is Myanmar, at least in a traveler’s mind. Now, you have the freedom to venture a little farther as well. With recent reforms easing restrictions in this proud country, it is finally time to see what Myanmar has been hiding away all these years.

Myanmar: At a Glance

Experience the Best Attractions of Myanmar

  1. Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, Yangon Architecture 101: Former capitals are full of old glory and great architecture, and Yangon is not far behind. Spend the day marveling at the colossal reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, the gold-hued Botataung Pagoda and Sule Pagoda, the Burmese Yangon City and the colonial-styled Supreme Court.
  2. Bogyoke Aung San Market, Yangon Hunt for Bargains: The Bogyoke Aung San Market (sometimes known by its British name, Scott’s Market) is a sprawling old handicrafts bazaar of around 2,000 shops. Spend the day alongside locals, haggling for colorful Shan shoulder bags, and interesting bits of local arts and crafts, jewelry, ancient antiques, and lacquer ware.
  3. Mohinga, Rice noodles served with fish soup It’s All Rice: Rice, in all its forms, is a staple in the distinctive cuisine of Myanmar. Rice noodles served with fish soup, known locally as mohinga, are a favorite breakfast dish, and are usually eaten on special occasions.
  4. Mandalay Hill, Myanmar Get a Bird’s Eye View: Climb up Mandalay Hill for an all-encompassing view of how flat Mandalay really is. You will see the Irrawaddy twisting across the land from up here, while you help a local monk brush up his English. This hallowed spot is where Buddha once prophesied the founding of a great city.
  5. Inle Lake Boating, Myanmar Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Surrounded by greenery and marshes, cool morning mists, villages of houses on stilts and floating gardens, the Inle Lake is usually pretty. You can get around the lake on a motorized canoe, or ask around if you want to float about on a traditional flat-bottomed Intha skiff.
  6. Myinkaba Age-old lacquer, Myanmar Art Lessons: Bagan, in the Mandalay region, brims with graceful ruins of old temples, pagodas, and stupas. Between Old and New Bagan, the village of Myinkaba boasts an age-old lacquer ware tradition; you can spend hours rummaging through excellently crafted cups, plates, and boxes, wondering just how many you can fit into your luggage.
  7. Bawbawgyi Pagoda, Thayekhittaya Wander through Ruins: Thayekhittaya or the ‘Fabulous City’ a Pyu capital of long ago, was destroyed almost as long ago by Chinese invaders, and today, it has been nominated for a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Rumble through the ruins among the overgrown bush on an ox cart, and explore the Bawbawgyi Pagoda, one of the oldest in the city, and the Leimyethna Pagoda, with Buddhist relief carvings.
  8. Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon Pagoda Sunsets: Make your way up to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon as the sun begins to set, the golden spires of the temple light up, monks glide past and local residents trickle in to pay their respects as the sky takes on various colors of pink, oranges and blues. Look for a quiet spot, settle down, and enjoy the peace of the evening.
  9. Mount Popa, Myanmar Find Your Spiritual Side: Go forth and find your holy spirit at Mount Popa, an extinct volcano and the abode of 37 nats or local spirits, once so important that the early kings were rumored to consult them on crucial matters. The solitary peak is covered in stupas; the statues at the base are of the spirits.
  10. Irrawaddy River, Myanmar I am with Stupa: Sagaing lies along the Irrawaddy River, across the only bridge that spans it. It is dotted with white and gold pagodas that shimmer away in the sun, and if you clamber up the tree-hung stairways past ancient monasteries that lead up to various viewpoints, the spectacle of stupas is something else.
Posted in Music, Arts, and Culture Travels and Journeys

Legendary Primatologist Jane Goodall on Spirituality

Legendary Primatologist Jane Goodall on Spirituality

British anthropologist Jane Goodall is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, which promotes wildlife conservation and research, and a United Nations Messenger of Peace. As the world’s foremost primatologist and expert on chimpanzees, Jane Goodall observed Tanzanian apes for over 50 years and revolutionized mankind’s knowledge of chimpanzee behavior.

In the May-2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Jane Goodall discussed her spirituality:

… amazing moments—when you seem to know something beyond what you know and to understand things you don’t understand—can’t be understood in this life.

When asked if she believes in God in an interview published in the Sep-2010 issue of Reader’s Digest, Jane Goodall said,

I don’t have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I feel it particularly when I’m out in nature. It’s just something that’s bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it’s enough for me.

Jane Goodall is a dedicated vegetarian and advocates the vegetarian diet for ethical, environmental, and health reasons.

Farm animals are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent? Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat.

In ‘Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey,’ Jane Goodall tracks her ambitions and accomplishments as one of the world’s foremost primatologist to her childhood roots, tenderly inviting young readers to follow in her spiritual footsteps. In the first chapter, she writes:

'Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey' by Jane Goodall (ISBN 0446676136) I do not want to discuss evolution in [depth], only touch on it from my own perspective: from the moment when I stood on the Serengeti plains holding the fossilized bones of ancient creatures in my hands to the moment when, staring into the eyes of a chimpanzee, I saw a thinking, reasoning personality looking back. You may not believe in evolution, and that is all right. How we humans came to be the way we are is far less important than how we should act now to get out of the mess we have made for ourselves. How should the mind that can contemplate God relate to our fellow beings, the other life-forms of the world? What is our human responsibility? And what, ultimately, is our human destiny?

Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom

Your Employees Cannot Read Your Mind

Your Employees Cannot Read Your Mind

You must communicate your expectations of your employees very clearly. Do not suppose that your employees know what you want them to do. Alas, they cannot read your mind. You may get annoyed, angry, and upset when they do not do what you expect them to do, but they cannot instinctively know what you want.

If you see an employee doing something wrong, it is your responsibility to let him know of what they have done wrong, explain the impact of their behavior, and suggest that they correct. Often, your employee might not have a clue that he is doing something the wrong way, and unless you point it out, he may never know. The fact that you know does no good unless you clearly spell it out.

Communicate. Be verbal. Praise the positive and tweak the negative. Explain the goals of the organization and convey the goals and actions of each employee to help to the company achieve its objectives.

Posted in Management and Leadership

Advice to Entrepreneurs: Nike’s Phil Knight on the Importance of Marketing

Entrepreneurism is not just about implementing a creative or inventive idea. Rather, entrepreneurism is about the quest for a way to turn some aspect of that idea into a product or service that potential customers are willing to pay for. Here is advice from Phil Knight on the importance of marketing. Phil Knight is the founder of Nike, the corporation that is engaged in the design, development and worldwide marketing and selling of footwear.

  • Phil Knight, founder of Nike On the importance of marketing: the product is almost important marketing tool. What I mean is that marketing nets the whole organization together. The design elements and functional characteristics of the product itself are just part of the overall marketing process. Everything spins off the customer. And while technology is still important, a customer has to lead innovation.
  • Whether you’re talking about the core consumer or the person on the street, the principle is the same: you have to come up with what the consumer wants, and you need a vehicle to understand it. To understand the rest of the pyramid, we do a lot of work at the grassroots level.

'World Changers: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business as We Knew It' by John A. Byrne (ISBN 1591844509) Source: “World Changers: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business as We Knew It” by John A. Byrne. John A. Byrne is chairman and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media Inc., a digital media startup Byrne was previously executive editor and editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.com and founding editor at Fast Company. Byrne is the author or co-author of eight books on business, leadership, and management, including Jack: Straight from the Gut with Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric. In “World Changers,” John Byrne presents potent advice on entrepreneurism and fascinating insights into what it takes to succeed as entrepreneurs from successful business luminaries such as Apple’s Steve Jobs to HARPO’s Oprah, from India’s Ratan Tata to Brazil’s Eike Batista. John Byrne concludes that the three distinguishing characteristics of successful entrepreneurism are the opportunistic mindset, an ability to embrace risk, and sense of independence, control and urgency.

Recommended Reading

Posted in Business and Strategy Leaders and Innovators Management and Leadership

Thought Experiments

Thought Experiments

A thought experiments is a procedure of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things. Thought experiments consist of the use of hypothetical examples and counterexamples to prove or refute philosophical analyses or theories.

When contemplating imaginative suppositions, thought experiments are used to consider variations of an existing thinking or a line of reasoning. To use a thought experiment is to reason about an imagined scenario with the intention of confirming or disconfirming some hypothesis or theory.

The most interesting thought experiments are those which not only refute an existing theory but also suggest a new one which they lend rational support.

Thought experiments are employed to consider the implications of theories and to investigate the boundaries of concepts. They are well-structured exercises of the imagination in which test cases are envisioned with a view to establishing their conceptual coherence or their compatibility with some proposed theory.

Some academics passionately oppose the theoretical use of thought experiments as substituting imaginativeness for reality, but since philosophical argument is often concerned to ascertain exactly what is possible, it is hard to see how philosophy could do without thought experiments altogether.

The most famous examples of the use of thought experiments are,

For further reading, see “Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy” by Melanie Frappier, Letitia Meynell, James Robert Brown or “Thought Experiments” by R. A. Sorensen or other books on the use of throught processes.

Posted in Mental Models and Psychology Philosophy and Wisdom

Value Investing: Judge a Business by What its Worth to its Owners

Value Investing: Judge a Business by What its Worth to its Owners

The key to successful investing is not picking big winners; it is avoiding big losers. Learn from the mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable but every savvy investor should at least try to make original ones. In a lecture at the Stanford Business School on 18-Apr-1990, Warren Buffett said,

The strange thing—it’s a real contradiction—is that if a business is earning a given amount of money and everything else is equal, the less it has in assets, the more it’s worth. You won’t get that in an accounting book. The really desirable business is that one that doesn’t take any money to operate because it’s already proven that money will not enable anyone to get a position within the business. Those are the great businesses.

There can be a fine line between opportunity and trouble when a once-strong business goes into permanent decline. Equity holders won’t benefit if debt levels in a company produce a bankruptcy or a massively dilutive refinancing in the near term.

Investors also tend to fail because they use contemporary experience to deduce ad infinitum into the future what is clearly a one-time growth ramp of a product. People are steadily way too optimistic and undervalue just how competitive the US economy is in these types of things. Fortunes can be made by investing in cyclical businesses if you have a deep consideration of the industry and you’re buying at maximum cynicism.

Two-thirds of all acquisitions are failures and a wide range of accounting shenanigans that can occur when one company acquires another; it’s remarkable how frequently investors get excited about big acquisitions or roll-up stories. Overlook the market, other than to take advantage of its chance mistakes. In the 1998 annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders, Warren Buffett said,

The business is wonderful if it gives you more and more money every year without putting up anything—or by putting up very little. And we have some businesses like that. A business is also wonderful if it takes money, but where the rate at which you reinvest the money is very satisfactory. The worst business of all is the one that grows a lot, where you’re forced to grow just to stay in the game at all and where you’re reinvesting the capital at a very low rate of return. And sometimes people are in those businesses without knowing it.

Focus on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. There’s a righteous cycle when people have to uphold challenges to their ideas. Any gaps in thinking or analysis become resounding quickly when smart people ask good, rational questions.

Recommended Reading on Warren Buffett & Value Investing

Posted in Investing and Finance

25 Tips for Office Etiquette

Professional Office Etiquette

  1. Do not approach a colleague from behind him or from the side, where he cannot see you entering.
  2. When you call on somebody impromptu, ask if now is a good time to talk.
  3. Seek an appointment: ask what would be a convenient time for you to call on a colleague.
  4. Do not leave a voicemail when you know the recipient is out of office. Do not call your colleague in the first place.
  5. Less is more … well unless you are still doing all the wrong things.
  6. Show respect and courtesy.
  7. Time heals all wounds … regardless of how you feel right now.
  8. 'The Etiquette Edge: The Unspoken Rules for Business Success' by Beverly Langford (ISBN 0814472427) Keep personal telephone conversations, and emails, brief and at a minimum.
  9. Keep your personal and shared workspaces clean and neat at all times.
  10. Do not email during the weekends.
  11. Do not respond to emails during the weekends.
  12. Do not carbon-copy unnecessary people in your email.
  13. Check your spelling and your grammar before sending an email.
  14. Do not wear headphones or earphones in the elevator or hallway.
  15. 'Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career' by Dana May Casperson (ISBN 0814479987) Do not play with your phone, check email, or text in the lobby or elevator.
  16. Do not touch your colleagues’ food in the office fridge.
  17. Taking ownership of failure builds the foundation for success.
  18. Adhere to the company dress codes.
  19. Monitor the volume of your conversations.
  20. It is okay to say no.
  21. The boss and the customer are always right.
  22. Manage your own emotions.
  23. Think of the needs and the opportunities of your organization before you think of your own needs and opportunities.
  24. It is OK to fail. If what you have tried is working, throw more fuel on the fire. If not, pull back.
  25. Have a small set of well-thought goals. Having enormous goals can actually undermine confidence.

Recommended Reading on Professional Office Etiquette

Posted in Education and Career Management and Leadership

Zen Buddhism is Like a Philosophical Iceberg

Great Buddha of Kamakura, Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism is a variety of Buddhism that developed as “Chan” in seventh century in China and permeated east into Japan to become known as “Zen” Buddhism.

Zen Buddhism is rooted in the principles and wisdom of the historical Buddhist philosophy, Zen places less prominence on theory and studying texts than do other varieties of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism places far more emphasis on practicing meditation to gain direct experience of one’s true nature. The distinguishing characteristic of Zen Buddhism is that it gives principal meaning to meditation and to the concept that the world is beautiful, when experienced through the senses that are not eclipsed by desire and want.

Zen Buddhism is like a philosophical iceberg: roughly all of the values are beneath the surface. On the whole, Buddhism is predicated upon the proposition that desires and attachment happen to be the principal grounds of suffering, and that deliverance from suffering comes from one detaching the misapprehension of a substantial self and one losing desires and attachments. This principle are infused and embedded in Zen texts.

The Zen texts also take from the Madhyamika discipline of Buddhist beliefs the anti-realist assertion that there is no objectively correct and authoritative perspective on anything. These assertions are highlighted—not argued for—in the Zen literature by use of koans (puzzles.) Zen Buddhist monks meditate upon koans as a way of disposing of the notion of dependence on reason in their pursuit of enlightenment.

From the time when it arrived in the West in the late nineteenth century, Zen Buddhism has appealed to academics, philosophers, truth-seekers, and practitioners who like its unique paradoxes, its emphasis on philosophy rather than holy practices or dogmatic beliefs.

Further Reading on the Zen Doctrine

Posted in Faith and Religion

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Various Research Methods

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Various Research Methods

Experimental Method

Advantages of Experimental Method:

  • Precise control possible

Disadvantages of Experimental Method:

  • Artificial setting typical
  • Causal conclusions possible
  • Intrusiveness typically high
  • Precise measurement possible
  • Complex behaviors difficult to measure
  • Theory testing possible
  • Unstructured exploratory research difficult

Correlational Observation

Advantages of Correlational Observation:

  • Relationships between variables can be found

Disadvantages of Correlational Observation:

  • Causal conclusions impossible
  • Precise measurement usually possible
  • Control of variables difficult
  • Intrusiveness usually low
  • Many participants required


Advantages of Ethnography:

  • Unfamiliar situations can be described

Disadvantages of Ethnography:

  • Control of variables impossible
  • Complex behaviors can be described
  • Precise measurement difficult
  • Intrusiveness low
  • Investigator bias possible
  • Participants treated humanistically
  • Causal conclusions impossible

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Questionnaires


Advantages of Questionnaires:

  • Data collection efficient

Disadvantages of Questionnaires:

  • Causal conclusions impossible
  • Attitude or opinion can be measured
  • Self-reports difficult to verify
  • Unbiased sample selection difficult
  • Response rates low when mailed

Naturalistic Observation

Advantages of Naturalistic Observation:

  • Realistic setting helps generalization

Disadvantages of Naturalistic Observation:

  • Control of variables impossible
  • Intrusiveness low
  • Data collection inefficient
  • Investigator bias possible

Archival Research

Advantages of Archival Research:

  • No additional data collection required

Disadvantages of Archival Research:

  • Causal conclusions impossible
  • Rare behaviors can be studied
  • Appropriate records often not available
  • Nonmanipulable events can be studied
  • Data collected by nonscientists
  • Data usually correlational at best

Case History

Advantages of Case History:

  • Rare cases can bestudied

Disadvantages of Case History:

  • Control of variables impossible
  • Complex behavior can be intensively studied
  • Data often based on fallible memories
  • Investigator bias highly likely
  • Causal conclusions impossible
Posted in Education and Career Mental Models and Psychology