Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Americans prefer to grow out of their problems.

This is an interview CNBC had with the legendary founder of Tiger Asset Management, Julian Robertson. A few days ago, I was working on a NaviMap of how we would probably be getting out of the present funk. I was exploring using to present that NaviMap but I am not ready to do so yet. For the expert reader, that NaviMap is presented after this interview. For the rest please be patient for it to become available on

You would need to click on the NaviMap to see the details in each box. Quickly, it details how the Americans plan to grow themselves out of the mess they are in. Can they do it? The only other way is to bite the bullet as suggested by Julian Robertson. Political leaders are incapable of summoning such courage. They will just have to accomodate each other so that the Americans can use the growth strategy. The helping countries will exact the heaviest price from America for this. Would the US be willing? Who knows? The bill hasn't arrive yet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

G-20 meeting is about fashioning the "Limits of Growth"

This is one of the simplest NaviMap. A reinforcing loop between Box 1 and Box 2. The story is textbook. More economic growth (box 1) creates more employment opportunities (box 2) which contribute to Box 1. This describes a virtuous cycle.

A basic rule of NaviMap is that no virtuous cycle lasts forever. Eventually a limit will be reached (box 3). This can be quite a few things. In the present financial crisis, it was a massive loss of confidence and the overly unregulated and free market that allowed it to happen.

As the G-20 prepares to meet in Pittsburg, they will have to work on Box 3 so that we achieve an acceptable limits. Each economy will desire a different level or type of Box 3. The Americans the main player will have to listen and accomodate the wishes of the others especially China because the US position is secured through global confidence.

The final limits will be a pull back from pre-crisis. There will be more checks and balances; more regulations; taxes perhaps; aligning pay with performance; more long term and less short term. The result would be a slower rate of economic growth overall but at a more sustainable pace.

The environmental impact aside, most nations will have to balance their population growth with the new limits. The best way to do this would be through comparative advantages among countries.

Monday, September 14, 2009

7 Habits: Where is Habit #7 - Sharpen the Saw

Related posts

Habit #7 (box 10), Sharpen the Saw is quite unlike the six earlier habits. How to make improve your skills and abilities in the first six habits is the purpose of Habit #7.

All virtuous cycles eventually reach limits of growth. This is a basic truth about reinforcing loops. Box 10 or Habit #7 is the secret of how to exceed the natural limits of growth. Any effective and successful person practising the first six habits would have on their own eventually realize they have to sharpen their saw.

The first three habits are foundational to the entire 7 Habit system. Note that there is no promotion arrow going from the virtuous cycle consisting of box 3,4 and 5 but it receives from box 6.

What is missing from Covey's book is how to sharpen your saw. He has left that to us.

7 Habits: Linking up the 6 habits

All except Habit #7 are shown above. The point of interest here is the positive influence from Box 6 on the right to Box 3 on the left, i.e., If we own the second virtuous cycle formed by Habits #4, #5 and #6 then it woudl help to encourage and support the virtuous cycle formed by the first three habits. Thinking win-win (box 6) will certainly encourage more proactive thinking and behavior (box 3).

7 Habits: The second three habits

Related posts:
The 7 Habits in one picture
7 Habits: The first three Habits

The next three habits: Habits #4, #5 and #6 also form a virtuous cycle like we saw earlier in the first three habits. Unlike the first three habits, it is clearer that the seeding of this virtuous cycle begins with Box 6 (Habit #4, Think win-win).

Without Box 7, (Habit #5,, Seek to understand first), it would be nearly impossible to discover opportunities for synergies (box 9). Progress depends a lot on the ability to listen patiently and well (box 7).

Stay with these three habits and enjoy the virtuous cycle.

Monday, September 7, 2009

7 Habits: The first three habits

Wikipedia on the 7 Habits

The flow of developing the 7 habits begin with Habit #1, "Be Proactive" as in Box 3. For quite a few people they would probably like to get on with it to acheive results soonest possible. That would be Habit #2, "Begin with the end in mind" as in Box 4. We can much more easily visualize the desirable outcomes from Box 4 than in the more abstract Habit #1. Aren't we more motivated with rewards than some logic necessity or philosophical neatness?

As these three Habits occupying Box 3 to Box 5 form a virtuous cycle, we can begin with any of them. The choice is personal, start with the one that makes sense to each of us. Do not stay there and quickly act to have activities in the other boxes. The idea is to run the loop than to stay in a place, so that each box can reinforce the one next to it and achieve synergy.
One very important point. Look at the NaviMap on the left which discussed earlier. Box 2 punishes Box 5 and Box 3, making it harder to initiate this virtuous cycle from these two boxes or Habits. It is smarter to jump start it from Box 4.

Before the 7 Habits: Addiction risks

Related: Before the 7 Habits
Didn't plan to have this entry. It is here because of an article on AsiaOne on addiction.

All virtuous or vicious cycles eventually stop. Virtuous cycles will encounter "limits of growth" and vicious cycles often end in death or destruction.

The loop between Box 1 and Box 2 is a vicious cycle. All of us are destined to die but if we look at the causes of death, a large portion of it is due to our bad habits (e.g., eating habits, smoking and alcohol) contributing to a premature demise.

Box A is has a resident "?". In the interest of brevity, we will not identify "?" These are the countervailing influences that stop peope from going overboard with their addiction so that Box 2 is "addiction obstacles" rather than "addiction".

For many, the secret of overcoming breaking this vicious cycle is discovering what is in box Box A for them. There are many possibilities ranging from their conscience, sense of responsibility to their religious faith.

The "7 Habits" isn't the only way to success but is an excellent and systematic approach. It is not helpful unless we are able to over come the vicious cycle above (see 7 Habits: The beginning is the hardest)