Monday, January 29, 2007

Investment Strategies in Global Market - Jim Rogers -1 of 4

1. Just as U.K. was the strongest economy in the 19th century and the U.S. in the 20th century, China will be the strongest economy in the 21st century.

2. The Chinese are the ‘best capitalists’ in the world. They invest over 40% of their income. In contrast U.S. invests less than 2% of their income. In fact today there is negative savings in the U.S.

3. Even though China is a growing economy there will be setbacks.

4. Jim Rogers sees problems in real estate at the end of the year in China.

5. The biggest development possible is the interaction of China and India and their becoming friends. This will create Asia into a powerhouse.

6. Jim Rogers has a daughter, 2 years old, who has a nanny who teaches her the Chinese language. If one wants to succeed in the 21st century one will have to learn the Chinese language.

7. The U.S. dollar was the reserve currency for 60 years. Today the dollar is depreciating against other currencies. The U.S. economy is slowing down. It is the largest debtor nation in the world. The debt today stands at 8 trillion dollars. The increase in debt is taking place at the rate of 1 trillion dollars every 15 months.

8. In the 80s and 90s there was a great market for bonds. It peaked in 2003. Now it is in decline on account of a rising interest rates scenario. For the next 15 years bonds is not the place to be in. Stocks are extremely expensive in the West. In India too the valuations are a concern and the Sensex would also operate in a trading range.

9. Today one needs to be in the commodities market. That’s the place to be for the next 10-15years.

10. India is just developing. 25 years ago people didn’t understand what mutual funds were. Today everyone is buying stocks and mutual funds.

11. Worldwide there are over 70,000 mutual funds for shares whereas there are fewer than 10 for commodities.

12. Historical analysis has shown that there is an inverse relationship between stocks and commodities. When stocks do badly then commodities do well and vice versa.

13. The shortest bull run for commodities lasted for 15 years while the longest lasted for 23 years. The average bull phase would therefore be about 19years.

14. The whole analysis revolves around demand and supply. There has been no gigantic oil field discovered in the last 35years. The last lead mine was discovered around 25years ago. Current exporters like Malaysia and Indonesia and other exporting nations will soon start importing oil. Oil fields and mines will deplete. When the supply is affected and the demand in commodities will rise then this will lead to a bull phase in the commodities market. Those who have raw materials and other natural resources and can manage them well will own the future world.

15. The Saudi oil reserves were estimated in 1979 to be about 245 bn. barrels. From 1988 till today the Saudi government has consistently quoted the oil reserves figure at 260 bn. barrels. It’s always the same even though one knows that since 1979 63 bn. Barrels have been consumed per annum. Every oil producing country is experiencing depletion of oil reserves. So there’s something wrong in reporting the figure of 260 bn. barrels of reserves as constant.

16. As commodity prices go up, bonds become less attractive. It takes a long time to bring in the extra capacity for commodities. For instance it takes a long time to discover oil reserves or a lead mine. But once discovered then the capacity lasts for a long time.

17. In all major developed countries stocks are not doing well since 1999. Maybe there are extraordinary conditions in India but Jim Rogers will not purchase stocks in India. He is more bullish on commodities. He owns gold but he is more bullish on other commodities. For instance agricultural commodities like sugar which has tripled in the last 3 years but is still 80% less than its all time high. Jim is also bullish on coffee and cotton. The best opportunities are in agricultural products like wheat, maize, soya etc.

18. There is more money to be earned in commodities themselves rather than in commodity stocks ie. Companies involved in commodities. For instance natural gas has tripled in the last 3 years whereas Enron which was in natural gas went bankrupt.

19. There are no stable currencies today. The Canadian dollar is strong. Canada has had a balanced budget for the last 8 years and is rich in natural resources. Jim doesn’t expect the Euro to last beyond 15 years. The Singapore dollar is very reliable today. The Australian and New Zealand economies are natural resource based and are sound. Though it is difficult to believe but Jim feels that Brazil will do better than many countries in the future since it has large natural resources.

20. When dealing with a broker it is better to have segregated accounts. One is also less likely to lose in the commodity market because the commodity brokers have to put up the money the same day while the stock broker has 3 days.

Pls Note : Above mentioned suggestions are totally the views of the respective Guru / Author and it does not guarantee any success / failure. Please invest by thinking through all the options available in the market and the decision should be purely yours. The Guru / Author does not expect / want / require any share of your Success / Failure.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Leadership - Robin Sharma - 3 of 3

49. Run towards what you are resisting and embrace change as growth.

50. We organize our lives around our fears. To avoid fears is to avoid growth.

51. What you run away from runs towards you. Fears you do not climb become walls around you.

52. We limit ourselves by our fears. On the other side of every fear - door is a precious gift. One’s highest potential. To be human is to have fears.

53. The top fears of people are :
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of success. This fear comes from our childhood. What would people think if we became too successful ? Fears are one’s shadows. Fears need to be brought from one’s sub-conscious to one’s consciousness.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Most people do not feel good enough. Deep down they feel they are frauds. Most people who are arrogant are insecure. Truly humble people have worked through their insecurities.
  • Fear of not having enough. Happiness is an act of will. It comes from one’s inner life and not from the satisfaction of the senses. Happiness is an inside job.
  • Fear of loss. Of losing control. Of not being in control. Of being insignificant. Of not having made a difference. Of death.

54. Stay hungry. Nothing fails like success. You are most vulnerable when you are most successful. You fall in love with yourself. It’s easy to become complacent.

55. Culture shapes behaviour. Create a culture of leadership. Robin’s company has the following practise : Always respond with “It shall be done”.

56. The ways of building culture are :

  • Culture is built like conversation. Talk about culture all the time. Need to have conversations about it. What do we stand for - our values etc. More people will gradually understand and buy into it.
  • You get what you celebrate. If someone is entrepreneurial and gets rewarded and becomes a hero then everyone knows what behaviour is expected. Leadership is what you do in the dark. An airhostess was asked by a customer in flight to get some iced tea. There was no iced tea on board the aircraft. But the airhostess calmly said that she would get a teabag and melt some ice cubes and get a slice of lime and prepare iced tea in a few minutes. The boss of the airline who was on the aircraft saw this interaction. The airhostess did not know the boss. Nor did she know he had seen her do this. At the next opportunity of a meeting, the boss narrated the incident and rewarded her. She became known as the ‘iced tea woman’. Behaviour rewarded is behaviour repeated.
  • Rituals also help in creating a culture. Systems and processes which are religiously followed. Like the meeting every morning for 15 minutes where people talk about the values of the organization and reflect on them.
  • Build culture through Training and Development. Usually companies cut the training budget when they are not doing well. The signal being given is that we are not interested in you growing. The best companies inculcate values through training.

57. Always go the extra mile. They have a ‘shall be done’ attitude. They do the same things but expect different results.

58. The world class audit. This is an audit which one conducts on one’s own life. It envisages 7 forms of success which are essential for any person viz. I-Inner Life, H-Health, F-Family, C-Career, E-Economical, C-Community, A-Adventure, I-Impact. When conducting the audit on oneself one needs to do the following : Assess one’s current status on each of these areas/parameters on a scale of 0-10. Then state the reason why you have given yourself this score for each of the areas/parameters. To increase your score in each of the areas/parameters you will now state 3 action steps for each area/parameter which you will practise over the next 90 days. For instance where Inner Life is concerned an action step could be “Meditate every morning for 20 minutes for 5 days in a week”. Things that can’t be measured cannot be improved.

59. Most people spend so much time planning for their summer holiday but hardly any time planning their lives. Each day is a platform for choices to be made. One needs to be focused on one’s priorities. A person who chases 2 rabbits catches none.

60. Make the time to think. Leaders are more thoughtful and reflective.

61. You become what you talk about. When you verbalize your thoughts and feelings and concerns it brings about clarity.

62. Some action step suggestions for each of the 7 life areas could be the following :

  • Inner Life - Meditation, Silence, Reading great authors. Reading great authors is like having conversations with extraordinary minds. They pull you into considering new possibilities.
  • Health - Exercise, Diet, Massage.
  • Family – Have a meal together, Become developers of one’s children, Show them what is the best in Art, Philosophy, etc.
  • Career – Set standards which are world class, plan one’s day in the morning for 15 minutes. Things that get scheduled get done. Get a mentor.
  • Economic – Get a Financial Plan done. Work with a financial Advisor.
  • Community – Build a support group. Build a system to help advance one’s life.
  • Adventure – Every 7 days inject one new fun thing to do.
  • Impact - Being kind to a stranger every week.

63. Tactics to show leadership.

  • Set a personal philosophy and precise goals. What do you want your life to stand for ? Nobody wants to experience the feeling that one has got to the end of one’s life and feels that one has betrayed oneself. We are continuously experiencing an Integrity gap. The Integrity gap refers to the following principle : The greater the gap between who you truly are inside and how you present yourself to the world, the less fulfillment you will experience. Life wants you to win. Therefore one needs to work towards congruence. Leadership is based on the laws of life. We experience pain when we are not in alignment with the laws of life. For instance ‘the hand that gives is the hand that gathers’ is a law of life. If one doesn’t follow the laws of life then one will not be able to experience sustained happiness. If one doesn’t like oneself what is the use of the Ferrari one possesses. What does one want said about oneself after one dies ?
  • Do the difficult, first thing in the morning. Build self-discipline and self-control. Robin Sharma gets up at 4am every morning. Do what you don’t like doing. Finish what you started.
  • Continuously improve at least 1 % each day.
  • Make time to think. Make time to get lost. Robin Sharma gets his best ideas when skiing. Ideas are ingredients of success.
  • Build human connections. Business is about people and relationships. A Corporation is just a stamp on some legal document but its value lies in its people. They are the intellectual capital of the Corporation We need to grow their abilities.
  • The formula for excellent relationships is “Real Apples Need Excellent Fertilizer”. The ‘R’ stands for Relationships. Relationships are most important. Business is about human beings. Everybody is good. A child has an uncanny way of getting into a person and connecting. Why do we treat animals better than human beings ? Dogs give unconditional love. Dogs see the best in you. Dogs are patient with you. Everyone wants to feel special. The ‘A’ stands for being Authentic. The importance of being human and removing the mask. When you are vulnerable people fall in love with you. The ‘N’ stands for Nice. Become the kindest person you know. Being kind is not a weakness. It’s the greatest strength. It gives rise to the Echo Effect. Whatever you give to the world comes back to you. Anyone can go to work and pretend that one is strong. It is difficult to be humble. Model the behaviour you want to see in others. Put people first. The ‘E’ stands for being Ethical. Manage your brand. Lead by example. Nothing more important than one’s good name. The ‘F’ stands for Fun. Laughter elevates energy and is contagious. It increases the passion in one’s work because work becomes fun. It helps to build a healthy work culture and helps in collaboration. Relationships are most important. We need to align the audio with the video.
  • The main regrets which people have at the end of their lives are :
    - They have not done enough of reflection.
    - They have not taken enough risks.
    - The deeds they didn’t do and the love they didn’t give.
  • Questions unlock the unknowing. How old would you be if you knew how old you are ? Select a partner and sitting in front of your partner seeing eye-to-eye keep on asking the following question viz. What do you need to improve in your life? Answers have to be given in one – liners viz. I need to improve……The question keeps on being asked and the answers keep on being given without any repetition of answers. This exercise can be done as long as one wants. When one finds it difficult to find an answer then that is possibly a hint that a precious gift is lying behind the door. One needs to push ahead. After one has finished then the process is reversed viz. your partner asks the question and you answer. The other question which one may attempt in a similar manner is : ‘What do you want to hear said about you at your funeral?’
  • Best practices for personal leadership :
    # Be devoted to continuous learning. Have to continuously work on one’s insecurities and fears. If I try I might, if I don’t then I won’t. Don’t know which book will influence you. Use one’s commute time to read. Let one’s car become a college on wheels. What you surround yourself with is what you will become.
    # Get up early and have a Holy Hour. The initial effort to leave the old thoughts and habits is hard because of gravity. If one is trying something new then one needs to stay with it for at least 30 days continuously. We all have the ability to adapt. We also need to take 60 minutes for ourselves. During this time we could think, do the treadmill etc. Through this we get a psychological start over everybody else. Most people do not get up early. The way we go through the Holy Hour will infuse our entire day.
    # Leaders do what’s right not what’s easy. ‘If everybody was satisfied with themselves there would be no heroes.’ Mark Twain.
    # Make your health your number 1 priority. You don’t want to be the richest person in the graveyard. Health is taken for granted till you lose it. Very few express gratitude for one’s health. Those who do not make time for exercise will make time for illness.
    # Balance work with one’s family. If one’s family life is strong then one is more successful at work. One needs to work on one’s family while one is growing in one’s career. What’s the point of being on top of the mountain but alone in a graveyard ?
    # Leave your leadership footprint. Nurture your legacy daily. Find a cause greater than you. When you were born people were happy. When you die you will be happy while people are sad. Most of us struggle for legitimacy. For looking good. This needs to shift to wanting to leave a legacy. We should not reach the end of our lives knowing in our hearts what we could have been but never were.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Leadership - Robin Sharma - 2 of 3

21. The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live - Norman Cousins.

22. Adults are children in grown up bodies. Leaders need to learn from little children. Children are passionate. If leaders are passionate then this feeling cascades through the entire organization. Children are fearless. The limits which leaders put on themselves are not the limits of the world. Children are curious. Children ask. Leaders must realize that success is a numbers game. One needs to continuously ‘ask’. “SW x 3” means “Some will, Some won’t, So What”. One needs to fail one’s way to success. The only real failure is the failure to try. And if one thinks about it there is no ‘trying’. Either one does it or does not do it.

23. Failure is the price of ambition. Through failure one gets to greatness. Most great businesses have failed more than the average ones. Failure is the highway to success.

24. If you are not failing at least once a week then possibly you are not reaching higher.

25. There are other things which leaders can learn from children. Children are open. They can connect. They find it easy to create relationships.

26. How do you self-remember ? All of us were children. We need to capture the qualities of the child we once were. What would the child you once were think of the adult you’ve become?

27. No matter how long you live it won’t be for very long.

28. Leadership is not a popularity game. It’s not about doing what’s easy. It’s about doing what’s right. We are too bothered about being judged. Or about what people are thinking. We are too afraid of conflicts.

29. Everyone is a leader. Everyone can show leadership behaviour and thinking no matter what one is doing in the organization. Even if one has a world-class strategy one needs people to implement it. Leadership is all about creating a culture of leadership.

30. Do good by your people and they will do good by your customers.

31. Business is relationships.

32. Show personal leadership. Organizational leadership needs personal leadership. Before one attempts to make others feel good one must feel good oneself. One needs to work on one’s insecurities.

33. Leadership is about success and significance. Leadership is about big ideas. Taking social responsibility. About leaving a legacy. About doing good by your people.

34. One needs to not only do one’s part but also make a difference. It’s about absolute, personal responsibility. Every time one blames one’s boss one is giving up one’s power.

35. Language shapes meaning. One can tell whether an organization’s culture is a victim culture or a leadership culture by examining the language used.

36. Problems reveal genius. They offer opportunities to evolve. Only those who are dead have no problems. Don’t play victim.

37. Practise small daily acts of greatness. Everyone wants to feel great and appreciated. Listen with empathy.

38. Leadership is flawless execution around the fundamentals. Leaders are consistent.

39. There are 4 reasons why people don’t change :

  • They are afraid of failing.
  • They experience fears. Fear of being laughed at, fear of losing etc.
  • They do not have faith. Don’t believe it will work. People who are cynical are those who have been hurt. They don’t want to get up.
  • They don’t think it is fun.

40. Transformation happens one step at a time. The 1% wins. The Power of a Start.

41. The Law of Diminishing Intent states that the more time elapses between commitment and action the less becomes the probability of doing something. Leaders act.

42. One needs to do something to move it forward today. Only 1%. One little change leads to a chain reaction. The Power of a Start.

43. The first step in Transformation is Awareness. Better awareness leads to better choices and better choices leads to better results.

44. Price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret.

45. The swan effect is when we see and admire the swans beautifully moving in the water. So smooth and graceful. What we do not see is their effort of paddling under the water.

46. What difference did you make ?

47. A mistake is a mistake only if it is made twice. One is expected to make mistakes as part of one’s learning. But one must learn from one’s mistakes. If one does not learn from one’s mistakes the first time then it really is a mistake if committed the second time around.

48. Leadership is about awareness.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Leadership - Robin Sharma - 1 of 3

1. Most people come to the end of their lives regretting that only a small part of their lives have really been lived with their full potential.

2. The real meaning of ‘Guru’ is ‘Dispeller of Darkness’.

3. Every dream starts small. Wal-Mart the largest company in the world started with just one store. Fedex carried just 15 packages on its very first day of business. Today it carries 1.1 million packages per day.

4. One needs to take one day at a time. Individuals become extraordinary by taking one day at a time.

5. ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari’ was self-published. Robin’s father and Robin sold copies out of the back of their car. For Robin’s first seminar only 23 people turned up of which most were family members.

6. Leaders need to be philosophical. They need to take time to think and reflect.

7. Pain has been the greatest teacher.

8. Fears are life’s way to help you grow. If you are a human being you must have fears. Need to run towards things that continuously frighten you.

9. Whenever one attends a seminar take copious notes. Through this more parts of the brain get used, retention increases and one becomes an active learner. Beethoven used to say that by writing down everything, he didn’t feel the need to read it again.

10. At seminars one needs to show up 1000%. The Echo Effect - Life returns what you give to it.

11. The competitive advantage of an organization should be an ability to grow leaders faster than competition.

12. In a leadership culture people behave like leaders. People take responsibility for results. Everybody shows leadership behaviour but knows his/her role in the organization. Everyone feels empowered.

13. One could look at each department as a small business within the organization. For instance the man in the Mail Room can consider himself the chief of the Mail room business where every other department and employee in the company invests and therefore the Mail room becomes accountable for delivering results to the whole organisation.

14. Most people need to feel appreciated. They need to feel great. They need to buy-in to the leader’s dream. They need to see how they can contribute to it.

15. People need to be themselves at work. They need to celebrate. They need to be proud of what they are doing. They need to have fun. Only when work becomes fun can an organization become a great place to work in and people will start giving off their best.

16. The whole of life will be defined by the small contributions one makes.

17. The choices one makes today will determine one’s tomorrows.

18. Your days are your life in miniature.

19. A lady who used to earn her living through washing clothes used to collect the coins she earned and deposit some of them in the nearby bank on a regular basis. These would be her small contributions. Nearing the end of her life the bank informed her that she had nearly a quarter of a million dollars. And wanted to know what she intended to do with the money. Besides wanting to give money to her family, she decided to set up a scholarship for ‘poor children who can still dream’. One needs to dream. She dreamt of seeing the first child who had used that scholarship pass out before she died. Her dream was fulfilled. She died at the age of 90 years.

20. Leadership is inspirational. No matter what your role is, one can make an impact and achieve something of significance.