Vol 14, Issue No. 02 – February 2014

To plan or not to plan

To plan things is good but too many plans (excessive planning) take us away from nurturing “dealing with uncertainty” skill, which is equally important for a happier life.

Being perfect as a performer in the corporate world brings yet other challenges in our personal lives.

Do you remember the carefree days of childhood, where spontaneity was the key to life? As we go through various phases of formal education, we were stressed upon acquiring more organizing skills in our life. Little did some of us knew that we would go to the other extreme, where our life would be controlled by our self-created schedules! Every minute of our time would be controlled by a certain plan. It surely keeps us on top of things, but in our pursuit to achieve perfectionism we are losing out on one thing – LIFE!

Planning skills and scheduling activities is one of the basic requirements of being successful in the corporate world. However, lets evaluate ‘over-use’ of this skill when it comes to uncertainties that life manifests in our personal journey’s. I have observed two extremes – people who don’t plan at all and people who plan excessively. People who live randomly and people who thrive on over-scheduling as they cant live with ‘uncertainty’. Who do you think is naive in the long term?

I am all for ‘planning’, ‘making agendas’ and ‘making action points’ as long as we do not become a slave to scheduling. Sometimes its important to “go random” to keep creativity/innovation and risk taking alive and kicking.

“No man is an island entire of itself” ~ John Donne. No schedule/planning can be 100% accurate when it comes to relationships and people handling. We have to work along with people who may not be on the same wavelength to our plans, and that’s where the dilema’s comes in.

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Featured Articles
Top 10 Worst things to Say to Angry Customers 

You may have great products but you can still have customer service problems caused by bad weather, equipment failures, or human error. While you can’t control external events, you can control what you say to upset customers. Certain phrases will serve to either diffuse or enflame.  After over 20 years of speaking at conferences and training teams on customer service, here are my top ten worst things to say to unhappy customers (from least offensive to worst), along with tips for regaining trust.

10. “Want the good news or bad?”When customers hear bad news they tend to catastrophize. They become so focused on the obstacles that they don’t see the bigger picture. So when you have both good news and bad to deliver, begin with the good. That way they begin with the proper perspective.

9. “Bear with us.”To customers, that phrase comes across as an order. It also implies that your service is something to be tolerated. When problems occur, it’s better to express appreciation than give orders. Instead, say: “We appreciate your patience.”

8. “We can’t…”
Customers don’t want to hear what you can’t do. You need to move quickly to, “Here’s what we can do…”

7. “It won’t be here until…”
Similar to phrase #8, the wording here is negative. Instead, word your message positively with, “It will be here as soon as…”

6. “Yes, but…”
The word ‘but’ negates whatever precedes it. Responding to a customer with, “Yes, but…” means you’ve started an argument. Instead, replace but with and as in, “Yes, and…”

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10 Bad Reasons to Avoid Risk

When you’re in charge of running a company or a team, it’s easy to convince yourself that playing it safe is the responsible choice. Going out on a limb may be the last thing you want to do.

But you need to take risks if you want to do more than just scrape by—especially in today’s economy. The truth is, risk avoiders are also opportunity missers. Hoping that sales will get better or conditions will improve is the wimp’s approach.

You can’t wait for everything to be perfect, because it never will be. You have to take action—accept risk and make things happen. Following are 10 common risk avoidance excuses that may be holding you back:

Excuse # 1: “The timing isn’t right.” Business plans sit in boxes or on hard drives as their creators wait for the right conditions: more funding, free time, better economic conditions. And plenty of existing businesses remain less successful than their leaders would like because they are hoping that tomorrow conditions will be just a little bit better for advancing their goals. In addition, many leaders fail to solve problems or correct mistakes because, in their minds, the timing isn’t right. But when you’re bootstrapping a business, a mistake can be even more costly than not leveraging a chance for advancement.

Excuse # 2: “I tried that once, and it didn’t work.” Those words are most often uttered in reference to marketing. Perhaps you’ve been there: You allocated a large part of your marketing budget to producing a television commercial, for instance, but barely noticed any increase in your business. Or, maybe you offered an online deal to new customers only to realize that the discount you advertised was a little too generous and wouldn’t allow you to make any profit. Your one-time marketing failure has convinced you not to try again. Yes, marketing can be expensive, and it’s hard to accurately predict how customers will respond. But without proactive long-term and consistent marketing, businesses die. Avoiding investing in marketing—or even cutting back on it—because one campaign didn’t produce the desired results is a risk you can’t afford to take.

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Editor’s Choice

Book of the Month / Previous Workshop / Psyche’s Realm

Why Is God Laughing?: The Ultimate Intelligence

by: Deepak Chopra


In this refreshing new take on spirituality, bestselling author Deepak Chopra uses a fictional tale of a comedian and his unlikely mentor to show us a path back to hope, joy, and even enlightenment—with a lot of laughter along the way.

Meet Mickey Fellows. A successful L.A. comedian, he’s just a regular guy, with his fair share of fears, egocentricities, and addictions. After his father’s death, Mickey meets a mysterious stranger named Francisco, who changes his life forever. The two begin an ongoing discussion about the true nature of being. Reluctantly at first, Mickey accepts the stranger’s help and starts to explore his own life in an effort to answer the riddles Francisco poses. Mickey starts to look at those aspects of himself that he has hidden behind a wall of wisecracks all his life. Eventually Mickey realizes that authentic humor opens him up to the power of spirit—allowing him to finally make real connections with people.

After taking the reader on a journey with Mickey, Chopra then spells out the lessons that Mickey’s story imparts to us: ten reasons to be optimistic, even in our challenging world. Chopra believes that the healthiest response to life is laughter from the heart, and even in the face of global turmoil, we can cultivate an internal sense of optimism. Rich with humor and practical advice, Why Is God Laughing? shows us without a doubt that there is always a reason to be grateful, that every possibility holds the promise of abundance, and that obstacles are simply opportunities in disguise. In the end, we really don’t need a reason to be happy. The power of happiness lies within each of us, just waiting to be unleashed. And Mickey Fellows’s journey shows us the way.

ISBN-10: 0307408892
ISBN-13: 978-0307408891

A Glimpse of Intek’s Previous Workshops

Psyche’s Realm: A Warning To Optimists

Introduction of Optimist

Are you so blinded by your optimism that it’s keeping you from making real progress in your life? Could the very fact that you are so positive in your outlook be a liability rather than an asset? That could all depend on whether or not you are making the best use of your current reality.

Optimism is a tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. To use Oscar Wilde’s very practical example, “The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!” I have generally considered optimism to be a good thing and an attitude that everyone should try to have or develop. This belief is still valid, but recently I discovered that it could be just as much of a drawback as pessimism if it is not handled properly.

The bubble bursts
It was last Christmas that my father bought me a book by Jim Collins titled “Good to Great.” At first I dismissed it as just one of those business books that’s full of impractical theories and analysis, but when I finally got round to reading it I was astounded by its simplistic wisdom and practicality.

One chapter in particular, entitled “Confront the brutal facts” is what broke my long held views on optimism. There is a story in this chapter about Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest ranking United States Military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War. During his eight year imprisonment from 1965 to 1973, Admiral Stockdale endured severe torture and led his men with courage in order to ensure that as many of them survived as possible.

Many years after the war he was asked by the author of the book, Jim Collins, which men did not make it out of the war prison. His answer was surprising. He said “Oh, that’s easy, the optimists.” Wait a minute; I thought the optimists are always the ones who make it? Admiral Stockdale went on to say that “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

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Cross Cultural Awareness

Global Non-Verbal Signals – Ghana & Kenya

  • Western-style greetings are used here, but be aware that Ghana consists of a multitude of ethnic groups, thus each group has its own unique culture, customs and language.
  • Traditional or native greetings vary among the various ethnic groups.
  • With foreigners the most common greeting is the handshake with a smile.
  • Gifts need not be expensive; the thought is more important than the value.
  • If invited to dinner at a Ghanaian’s home, you are not expected to bring a gift.
  • It’s generally common to wait for a woman to extend her hand first.
  • Take time to enquire about people’s health, family and jobs. To rush a greeting is extremely rude.
  • Maintain eye contact during the greeting.
  • Titles are important. Use the honorific title plus any academic or professional title and the surname.
  • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
  • Young children are taught not to look adults in the eye because to do so would be considered an act of defiance.
  • Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis. The younger generation will tend to do so rapidly.
  • Ghanaians enjoy entertaining in their homes and you should accept any invitation as a sign of friendship.
  • Dress well; Ghanaians place a lot of emphasis on how people dress. You may need to remove your shoes.


  • The most common form of greeting is the handshake, however some local tribes show greetings by gently slapping palms and then gripping each other’s fingers which are cupped.
  • When greeting someone with whom you have a personal relationship, the handshake is more prolonged than the one given to a casual acquaintance.
  • Close female friends may hug and kiss once on each cheek instead of shaking hands.
  • When greeting an elder or someone of higher status, grasp the right wrist with the left hand while shaking hands to demonstrate respect.
  • Muslim men/women do not always shake hands with women/men.
  • Do not bring alcohol unless you know that your host drinks.
  • Do not begin eating until the eldest male has been served and started eating.
  • Gifts should be given using the right hand only or both hands. Never use the left hand.
  • Always ask permission before you take a photograph of a local resident.
  • It is a sign of respect to lower your eyes when greeting someone of a higher status or someone who is obviously older than you.
  • In general, Kenyans give gifts for events of significance in a person’s life or days of religious significance.
  • Kenyans table manners are relatively formal.
  • Men should wait for a woman to extend her and first.
  • To rush a greeting is extremely rude. Take the time to inquire about the other person’s general well-being, family, and business in general.
  • Titles are important. Use the honorific title plus any academic or professional title and the surname.
  • Wait to be invited before moving to a first name basis.
  • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.



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Editor-in-Chief: Zaufyshan Haseeb


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