Best leaders are listeners

We always know that listening is one of the most important skills for effective communication, and for leaders, this skill is even more crucial – because of the following reasons.

1. We must understand others before leading others: Leadership ability begins with understanding others. We cannot connect and motivate our staff if we don’t know their concerns and needs. The best way to start is to spend time to really listen to them. This is the first and most important responsibility of a leader.

2. We must listen to simplify the problems: The Cherokee – native American people – have a wise saying: “Listen to the whispers – so that later you don’t have to listen to the screams”. Effective leaders care about the small things. They also don’t forget to listen to their intuition. More importantly, they always pay attention to read between the lines – to listen to what people don’t say. This requires them not just to listen effectively but to possess a skill to understand others and a learning mindset when accepting feedback or criticism. Leaders must know how to listen to what they need to listen – not what they want to.

3. We must listen to build trust: Employees will only be motivated to understand and buy in our messages when they see that we can truly listen, understand, and respect them. Otherwise, if they feel that we don’t really listen, they will slowly lose their trust and the leader-employee leadership will deteriorate. For a leader, nothing is worse than losing the trust of his or her people.

4. We must listen to improve the performance for the whole organization: Car manufaturer Chrysler’s ex-President wisely said: “The difference between a large company and an ordinary company lies within the group of leaders who know how to listen.” It means the ability to listen must be practiced at all levels of the organization: employees, colleagues, customers, suppliers, and even competitors.

There’s an interesting survey, saying that we can listen to only half of what others say, truly pay attention to only half of what we listen, understand only half of what we truly pay attention to, believe only half of what we understand, and remember only half of what we believe. If we use this “formula” to our daily work, we have:

Total duration in which others talk to us: 4 hours

  • We can listen: 2 hours
  • We truly listen: 1 hour
  • We understand: 30 minutes
  • We believe: 15 minutes
  • We remember: no more than 8 minutes (of everything that others tell us)

When we have more power, a common problem is that we become less patient toward our staff. We want them to work fast, think fast, and get the results fast. This “fast” mindset sometimes causes us to forget to listen. When we don’t listen, it means we don’t care and this is when our leadership ability is seriously affected.

Adapted from “Leadership Gold” by John C. Maxwell.

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407/2 Su Van Hanh, Ward 12 – District 10 – HCMC

Tel: +848 3868 0687

Fax: +848 3863 2539



It all begins with an intention

The first week of 2017 has passed. What have you done so far? Maybe you have looked at the journey you’ve been through in 2016 to mine the golden lessons. Maybe you know exactly what you want to do in 2017. Maybe you’ve figured out your goals for the next 12 months.

Almost everyone has big goals when the New Year begins, but near the end of the year, nearly 90% of the goals don’t get achieved. Why?

1. Because you want to have the achievements immediately with strong will, but you can only maintain that will in a short time because we all have limited will power. The truth is, everything needs time to mature.

2. Because you want to do too many things at the same time, so you have to jump from one thing to another. Our biggest problem is the lack of focus, so we can only finish things half-way.

3. Because you spend too much time on planning, but not taking early actions. Plans are just plans, because when we start to do, the plans will change. The better way is to just act, then the most feasible plans will appear.

4. Because you want to have the results but don’t want to follow through the process. Only the whole process will determine the quality of the results. And sometimes, what people see is only the last 5% of the whole journey of effort.

5. Because you want to change yourself too much, creating stress for yourself, but your mind and body don’t accept. We all have many bad habits, preventing us from changing. If the change is enforced too strongly and quickly, our negative emotions will make our effort seem counter-productive.

6. Because you don’t follow through and check our progress, and you don’t have ways to measure it. Only by measuring our progress, we can know how to improve.

7. Because you don’t have a partner to support you with the same goals. The partner will help us maintain our energy and motivation when needed, and will be the one to check our commitment and discipline.

8. And most importantly, because you don’t know why you need to achieve those goals. Only strong reason is enough for us to keep our focus on one direction and not to be distracted by the seductive surrounding.

No matter which reason you’re facing, you need an important key to begin and maintain your good habits, so that you can take little steps to achieve your goals. That key is “intentionality”. In his book “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”, John Maxwell put intentionality as the beginning of growth. He said, growth doesn’t accidentally happen, to grow we must be intentional on growing.

Being intentional means knowing exactly what we want to achieve and take actions every day toward that, no matter how small the actions are.

Being intentional means imagining how far we can go, and take little steps toward that.

Being intentional means taking actions now, don’t wait, don’t procrastinate.

And being intentional means overcoming our own fears by good preparation, and always being ready to take the opportunities.

All great things begin with a desire, and start with small steps. You will need the support from your growing partners. The Mastermind Group program is a new model of learning, which will help you achieve your goals with the support from other members from different experience and background, with the spirit of harmony and effort. Moreover, the Mastermind Group program will be conducted by Stephen Khor from ELTD Leadership Training Company. Mr. Khor is certified John Maxwell trainer, coach, speaker of John Maxwell Team – with more than 10,000 members worldwide – and Six Seconds’ certified practitioner.


407/2 Su Van Hanh, Ward 12 – District 10 – HCMC

Tel: +848 3868 0687

Fax: +848 3863 2539



Branding and Life

What do we mean by Brand? Brand applied to marketing means a name, team, sign, symbol or design or a combination of these items intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers to distinguish it from those of its competitors.

So, in a personal sense, branding is who you are from inside to outside. In another words, your brand is what people think of you when you aren’t in front of them. When I say your name to people, what do you want them to immediately associate your name with? Your brand is the set of beliefs consumers hold about you and that is also your brand image.

Most artists autograph their masterpieces. Surprisingly, art critics don’t need to read the name of the artist. They know his or her identity, simply based on the subtle nuances of shade, technique, color choice, style and medium. Likewise, the defining statement of your work should be so distinguishable that people who observe your work should be able to attribute it back to you. Your “ Purpose ” is the autograph of your work.

In your business, what is the process you have found that results in properly focused action and consistent branding? Do you know your why? If so what is it? Who in the business world do you think represents a person who has built a brand with consistent, properly focused action?

In 1995, opportunity arose and I moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, working as a Chief Engineer with Mitsui Construction International Company. It was in Vietnam that I realised there were many more people who needed help.

I began to ask questions, what is my purpose here? How can I help others effectively? What can I offer them? I discovered I needed to further equip myself and grow myself through continuous learning. Now; I have to know myself in order to grow myself.  Growth doesn’t just happen, it has to be intentional. At that time I became very interested in the subject of Leadership and Personal Development. I started attending many seminars, workshops, and training schools and later became a Certified Trainer, Coach, Speaker, and Teacher. I started to grow in my purpose and build my character.

Friends, do you know what you need to do to improve? Do you know how you need to improve? Do you know why you want to keep improving? You need to know your gifts and talents and pursue your dream. Though you cannot go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and determine a brand new course for him or herself. Success is a journey and not a destination.

Let me ask you do you feel you are pushed by your past or pulled by your future? Your answer will determine what brand you are going to create for yourself. I encourage you to begin building your brand with authenticity, and rooted with valued based leadership. It is through this heroic journey that you will create your “Lifebrand” to fulfil your calling.