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27 Dec 2016

Secret Art of War 三十六计

Everyone knows the Art of War 孙子兵法 by military strategist 2,500 years ago Sun Tzu. Not many know that Sun Tzu's grandson, Sun Bin 孙膑, was one of the creators of another military classic, called Secret Art of War 秘密兵法, now known as The 36 Stratagems or 三十六计.

The 36 Stratagems details the exact tactic to use in 6 different situations. The first step is to assess your current situation and next is to select one of the 6 stratagems in your situation and apply them accordingly.

Many Chinese believe that The 36 Stratagems provides answers to all the world’s problems. In fact our company Asia Coaching Training has since 2013, offers free 30-minute consultancy to our selected clients.

The 36 Stratagems book is so secretive that until today, no one knows the author of this book. The form that we see today was only officially published in 1941. In short, although it is an ancient book, it is also a modern book.

In the business world, the most common tactic used by many is stratagem no. 31 “Beauty Trap” or 美人计. Note that this stratagem is classified under “Desperate stratagems” meaning you only use beauty trap when you are very desperate. Beauty trap is not to be used in normal situations. So the next time you see a beauty lady knocking on your doors to promote a product or service, know that the vendor is very desperate. That’s why you never see Apple or Google employing pretty ladies for they are not desperate!

Another commonly mis-understood stratagem is the last one “Escape is the best” or 走为上计. Many people would escape or give up at the first opportunity. Like in sales, many salespeople don’t follow up with prospects that say no to their proposal. Since this is the last stratagem, it is only to be used when you have exhausted all the 35 stratagems and hence the meaning is “If all else fails, escape is the best”.

Whether you are new or experienced in business, management and sales, if you too want to make this year a year of winning, not whining, come for this course that has taken 2,500 years to make.

*** This course qualifies for PIC (Productivity & Innovation Credit), where you can get 40% Grant. Hurry! Limited seats, register now! Details at here

18 Dec 2016

How I Move From Failure to Success in by using Win to Fight

Like most people in the corporate and business world, I used to behave in a competitive and driven way. People that know me know that I am one that go all the way to fight to win. Whether it is in business, people management, social or family, I am always goal driven and will go to great lengths to get what I want. Although I am not the extreme 'winner takes it all' and ultra aggressive guy, I am always ready for battles and believe that to win, I must fight hard until I win.

But I fail. This method of fight hard to win is not working. Feedback from my working partners reveals that they find it tiring to work with me. My friends confide in me that I am too short-term oriented. Although I may achieve what I want, the achievements often come at the expense of relationships and friendships.  I have few duplication of success and each project is getting more and more difficult. Most importantly, I am not happy inside.  I fail.

In 2010, after learning about the Art of War by a 2,500 years-old Chinese ancient military strategist called Sun Tzu (written as Sun Zi in pinyin or 孙子兵法), I decided to dwell myself deep into this subject. I soon started to conduct seminars and talks for corporations and organizations on this Sun Tzu Art of War. To walk my talk, I decided to convert my method of 'Fight to Win' to Sun Tzu's method of 'Win to Fight'.  By 2012, I achieved success and from then on, I only win to fight, not fight to win.

Fight to win is the typical method of plan hard, work hard, push hard and never let anything to happen to chance. Obstacles along the way are to be overcome with all means, and the motto is 'the end justify the means'.  It is about being hard on people with little heart with people.

Sun Zi's Win to Fight method is the exact opposite.  You don't fight to win. You win to fight. What does this means? This means that you don't go to the battlefield and fight to win. Before going to the battle, or better still, without going to the battlefield, you already won. You win without fighting hard or you win without fighting (不战而胜).

How can I win before the fight? There are two ways: win myself first and win others' hearts.

I win myself by fighting with myself. I fight hard to win over my own weaknesses. For example, my biggest weakness is afraid to take risk and as such I become overly conservative or 'kiasu' (meaning afraid to lose).  To win myself, I overcame my weaknesses by doing detailed cost-benefit analysis of all projects before commencing them. In this way I am prepared for the outcome of the project even before I start it. Whatever the outcome of the project I have already 'won' because I have calculated the odds and prepare myself to increase the odds of success.

The other way is to win people's hearts. The most obvious is in leadership and people management.

In the past when I fight to win, I would tell my staff the goals they are supposed to achieve. I pushed them hard, followed up with them closely and take no reasons as excuses for failure. When I changed my leadership and people management method to win without fighting, I no longer tell my people my goals. Instead I find out what are the goals of my people. For example, the goal of my temporary staff is to get into an overseas university of her choice. So I helped her to enrol in the right overseas universities and once she got in, I helped her to prepare herself for studies in the foreign land. When my staff know that I care for her life's goals more than I care for my own company's goals, she connected to me immediately. I won her respect and she sees me as a friend, not a boss. She naturally asked me what she can do to help me as a friend. I told her my company's goals and link achieving my company's goals to achieving her personal goals. I asked her to help me set up a proper prospecting system and close more sales so that I can release her early for her overseas study. She went all the way in her work and by the 3rd month, she helped me to achieve more sales that I originally asked for!

In dealing with my clients, I win to fight. I ensure that my company's training and coaching programs have distinct benefits as compared to the competitors. For example, we focused on practical applications and provide free consultancy and referrals in addition to training. When my prospects and clients see that I truly care for them and go all the way to help them achieve their goals, they give me not just one-time business but also future and referral business.

My friend, you too can achieve more success if you win to fight and not fight to win. Use the Sun Zi's Art of War method and you'll join the ranks of people over the last 2,500 years that win and win big. Happy winning!

Written by Andy Ng, Chief Trainer Coach at  Contact Andy at 65-8201-4347 or email to today!

11 Dec 2016

5 Shocking Facts I Discovered from my China Trip

I have not been to China since 2005, and in particular, have not been to Guangxi province since 1986. Needless to say my recent trips to China have been real eye openers and the following are the 5 shocking facts that I find interesting about China:

1. Despite China having severe labour shortage problem, things get done
Everywhere I go, be it banks, restaurants, office, factories or hotels, there are not enough people working. Service is slow but we can get things done.

Often there will be just 2 people working in a small eatery that sits 30 people. The bank branch that I visited to open my bank account has only 3 people working: a security guard that doubles up as the internet banking advisor, a bank manager working behind the counter, and a counter girl who helps customers in all banking matters.

Despite having staff shortage, things do get done, provided one has no language barrier issues. Service standards become not important, as what can you expect from staff that multi-task?

2. Mobile Payment and Advertisements are Everywhere
Cashless payments are retailers and restaurants, including small eateries, as as common as people walking on the streets.  Other than Alipay, there is WeChat payment and other mobile payment methods.

But there is no Android or Apple pay.

3. People are Very Driven
The people in China may not appear to be enthusiastic, but they appear to be very driven to me. They display self-motivation and go to great lengths to get things done, including getting waivers from top levels on certain rules.  I wonder if this drive is driven by the high cost of living with a relatively low salary, or it is the desire of the Chinese to get ahead to make up for lost time

4. Construction is Super Fast
Everywhere is construction and the speed of construction is so fast that even the locals were shocked by the speed.  Tour guides would tell you to take a picture in front of this hill, and invite you to come back one or two years down the road to take picture at the exact spot with one difference: the hill would be replaced by a residential or office building in 1 to 2 years time!

On average, it takes one year to build an underground mass transit line with 15 stations and shopping malls with 3 levels of basements would take 2 to 6 months to build. Unbelievable but true!

5. High Growth is Taken for Granted
Having rapid growth in the economy since 1980 means that the average Chinese takes high economic growth for granted and expect things to be fast moving.  Most countries in this world are used to low or no economic growth and expect things to move slowly. But not in China: expecting the unexpected is the norm.

By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer Consultant with