Who am I?

LETS SEE HOW FAST YOU CAN SOLVE THIS:

I am a five letter word.

If my first letter is removed i come above you

If my first two letters are removed I am still around you

HINT:  I am used for your comfort

 

 

 

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Leadership Lessons from Migratory Birds

“The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed time; and the turtledove, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming.”                                                                                         — Jeremiah (8:7)

Last weekend, I saw 2011’s first set of southern hemisphere-bound migratory birds.  It looked like a flock of geese and the grace at which the birds cut through the horizon was spectacular. The sight is one of the benefits of people like me, who frequent places that are along the route of these migrant flyers.

Geese in a V-formation

Birds follow a regular migration schedules.  They fly south from late September to December, during the season of the Amihan (the northeasterly winds).  They head back north from March to May, during the season we call the Tag-init.   Understandably, they fly towards the warmer regions during the cold winter of the north and came back to their breeding grounds during spring-time. They do make brief stopovers in certain fishing grounds and swamplands in the Philippines, but do not stay for long in these places.

One can almost be certain whether a flock of birds is about to make a stop-over or is still set to fly a longer distance. Those that are set to land on the swamps and stay a while to eat and rest will break from their flying formation, while those that will continue to fly away retains their distinctive V-formation like those of a group of fighter planes we see in the movies.

The V-shaped formation serves two important purposes:

One reason is that the V formation allows each bird in the flock an unobstructed field of vision. This allows flock members to see each other and communicate while in flight. I am sure that the fighter pilots have learned this technique from a study of the birds’ flight patterns.

The other reason is that the V-formation conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds that follow the leader have an easier flight. The leader breaks the wind resistance, and the birds following can fly more efficiently.  Without the V formation, most migratory birds will never have enough energy to make it to the end of their long migration.

But are the birds following the same leader all the time during the migration?

The answer is no.  It is not the same bird that leads the formation. Every few minutes, one of the birds from the back of the flock will break away, fly to the front, and take over, giving the previous leader a chance to move back and take a break.

Is there something that humans can learn from the migratory birds?

A lot of things have been written about what humans can learn from the behavior of the birds. One of those I particularly liked is that of Tanveer Naseer a business coach and writer who wrote about it in one of his blog posts; (http://www.tanveernaseer.com/migrating-geese-a-lesson-in-leadership-and-collaboration/).  I quote verbatim below that part of his article that refers to the lessons we humans can learn from the migratory birds (which in his case are the Canadian geese).

1. Leadership is about helping others, not just yourself

When the Canada geese travel in V-formation, the lead bird’s job is not simply to guide the other birds as to which direction to fly. Rather, the lead bird’s primary role is to help reduce air drag so that the flock can fly for greater distances without expending more energy.

The same approach applies to the role of leadership, where the function is not to get others to simply do your bidding, but doing whatever is in your abilities to help others succeed in reaching the shared goal.

2. Everyone has the ability to lead

There was a recent survey I read about where the majority of respondents related leadership to a title; that to be a leader in an organization, one had to be a CEO, director, manager, etc. Now if we look at how the geese designate who will take the front position, we see that each bird is given a turn in leading the formation. For the geese, it’s not a question of their position in the pecking order. Instead, it’s a matter of which bird has the ability in that moment to offer the support needed by the rest of the flock for them to reach their destination.

In looking at the behavior of how geese migrate, we can appreciate that leadership is not a position; it’s a disposition that people can exhibit regardless of whatever formal title they might carry in their organization.

3. You can accomplish more working together than working apart

Scientists have found that when geese fly together in the V-formation, they can cover 70% more distance than if the birds were to fly alone. Given the long distances geese have to travel in the spring and fall, it’s clearly advantageous for them to work in a collaborative fashion, with each of them taking turns to reduce air drag while the others rest.

While some in management positions might prefer to focus on maintaining the leverage they have over their employees, the reality is that their business won’t go very far unless they work together with their team and foster an understanding that there’s a shared goal between the company and its employees. As with the geese, pooling the strengths and abilities of a company’s workforce will allow businesses to cover more ground than if they were to leave internal silos in place.

4. Working together means having each other’s back

If you’ve seen the Canada geese flying in V-formation, you’re probably familiar with the fact that it’s hardly a static formation, like what you’d see with fighter jets at an air show. Instead, it’s constantly shifting and changing. This is a result of the fact that the birds in the flock are taking turns flying in the lead position in order to give the other birds a chance to rest near the back of the line. This also ensures that the flock evenly distributes the workload so that they can easily make the long journey to their target destination.”

Similarly, when leading a team or group of employees, it’s important that there’s an understanding that everyone on the team has each other’s back and that the workload will be shared to make sure that no one wears out before the team can reach their objective.

For the Canada geese, the act of flying in V-formation has certainly been vital to their ability to migrate over vast distances as the seasons change. As with so many other examples in nature, this behavior can also serve as a valuable reminder for businesses on how to approach leadership and team collaboration.

 So, aside from the four lessons discussed above, what do you think are the other things we could learn from the migratory birds? Share them to us in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Pure Gold – A Reunion Story

 

Very recently, I became a golden girl. Turning 50 has its perks. You care more about substance rather than form. Men still take a good look at you and respectfully, smile. I like this. It used to be winks, or long glazed stares that make you either uncomfortable or could make you stare back. You think it matters? Perhaps two decades ago, when we sought some attention at an age when we were neither too young nor old enough, it could have meant something.

But it does not matter anymore, not at all, not now when I am half a century old!  Isn’t this grand?  I used to think, wow, when I’d get to this age, will I be wearing long skirts and tie my hair in a tight bun? What will it be like? Will there be many unwelcome changes? Surprise! It feels good. I only need to lose a few pounds; otherwise, it feels so good. It makes you thankful, that you have reached this ripeness of age.  It is very similar to knowing what you want and getting it. You understand what contentment is and know its cousin satisfaction.

The knowledge that you have gone through so much and have learned as much makes you slow-nod your head in quiet understanding. I remember thinking how ancient this age would probably be like. Now I throw my head back in laughter because my thoughts were as lacking in finesse as the age I was in when I thought them.

Would I wish to go back to my youthful days? To what? To be clumsy and awkward again? To be reckless and uncaring again? Should I turn back the hands of time and relive certain memorable moments? The thought took form when, one magical weekend, a group of childhood friends gathered together, after 33 years of being apart. A fluke! That the friend who put up a facebook page is named Jesus.  Jesus Betia, Jr.

And yes, what a gift for a golden girl! Is it possible to relive our youth, minus the awkwardness, the confusion, the curiosity, the ignorance or was that arrogance, too?! Yes it is!

After only a few months of filling the page, we were able to plan something quick. All eager, all missing one another, we set a date. This was not easy because some lived in the U.S., others in Canada, Japan, and scattered in the Philippine Islands. But, when people decide to do something and commit, the wheels of the universe also start turning and things happen.

Nobel cor. Edison St., Makati

We once lived in a street called Nobel. We always mention Edison in Makati to let people know where this is. If it were not enough, you have to say Buendia and add Bautista. Those who know the main avenues would easily know where it is. Some would volunteer knowing all the other streets in Barangay San Isidro named after inventors: Marconi, Bell, Morse, Galvani, Faraday, etc.

The family friends we made include the Santoses, the Dys, the Betias, the Borromeos, the Evangelistas, the Mallaris, and the Patrimonios. The families became close not just by the proximity of homes, but by the friendships formed among the children and the parents. More intimately, there’s Angie, Tere, Mercy and Dothy, Danny and Rey, Lynn, Jesus, John-John and Con-con, Jun, Rey Dy, Matt, Ate Fely, Winnie and Siony, Boy P., Ponggie, Al, Mabeth, Beng and Elvie, Juan, Ellen, Judith, Daday, Mico, Gino, Nino and Ana. Of course my own beloved siblings, Cynthia, Bobby and Badong. And there were some more, much younger, but Nobel-Edison youth still.

For many years, in our case ten, we not only lived next to one another, we played the best of games on the street where we lived. There were times when rainstorms flooded the streets and you would think we’d be staying indoors, but we waded in the murky waters instead. No flood would stop the Nobel-Edison children from playing.

Play was a serious matter. It meant gathering the best players for each patintero team, cops and robbers (we used to say Touching Rubber) team, even soccer/football, Chinese garters, jackstones, skipping rope, hide and seek and whatever other games we could play.

There were no personal computers yet, no laptops, no cellphones, and so we had time to sweat on the street, to run in wild abandon, to scream, squeal our delight at winning whatever game we decided to be engrossed in for the day. As if we had all the time in the world! But yes, we gave our games the time. Despite our assigned household chores, or being required to sleep after lunch, the games had to be played.

We were children, ages 7 below, till we grew up to 17 below. Those who were older than us, had other things going for them, aside from being the despotic rulers of our magical world. They were the commanders, the older brothers and sisters who were blessed to have us to run to the stores for this or that.

Alas, nothing lasts forever. We parted ways and lost touch. Although there were times we would recall, sometimes teary-eyed and achy-heart, wondering where we could find our childhood friends again, whether we would see one another ever again.

But believing in our hearts that this day would come, it does! Facebook Assisted Reunions! Though so far apart and three decades later, we find our GOLD.

 

We found our gold in the friendship we picked up from where we left off....

Gold is the friendship that has not been ravaged by the many years of being apart from one another.  The true mark of friendship is simply picking up from where we left off and it was clear, in our warm embraces, our hugs and kisses, it was reuniting the children in us once more.

The apartment where we used to live is now the Bombo Radyo Bldg

The apartment building where we grew up, is now the Bombo Radyo Building. The noise it now makes may equal ours backthen. We trekked “our street” one more time and posed for photos. We felt its power, this great street, which witnessed us win and lose, laugh and cry, fight and make-up, and then laugh some more. It was there where we learned more than what our schools taught us.

We learned not to be lazy from the grand old men Mr. Ben Dy and Mr. Pol Santos who were up before any of us, before sunrise in fact. We learned to be tough women, from Mrs. Mary Santos and my own mother, who were strict disciplinarians. Mrs. Santos being a Navy Man’s wife who easily handled six children and my own Nanay, Pat Palomo, an ex-army nurse, widowed and raising four difficult kids.

We learned cheerfulness from Atty. Estela Betia and Tito Jess who often smiled at us kids and asked how we were. We learned kindness from Mrs. Dominga Dy and Mrs. Mallari who seemed to never raise their voices more than two notches above a whisper. Capt. And Mrs. Evangelista taught us what it was like to have many visitors every day! He was the barangay captain at the time and his wife Amalia ably assisted him. Mr. and Mrs. Borromeo taught us how it was like to care for little children by carefully watching over them.

But most of all, we learned that no amount of time can erase the wonderful feeling of being friends, no distance will stop true friends from reuniting and that love which we know we share with our family members is the same kind of love we share with these very friends whom we have known in our innocence and pureness of hearts. What a great gift for all of us who made it to the first reunion. What a privilege it was to see one another again.

Reunions made us feel like kids again.

How many people get this rare privilege? What are the chances of hugging your best childhood friends after 33 years of being apart? How do you cram all the missing information in the two days that you’re allowed to be with them? So many more stories to tell, so many lessons to share, yet so little time. But the promise of sustaining and nurturing the gift is there, in our hands now, and hearts, too.

Now that we have been reunited, it marks the beginning of hopefully longer chapters in our lives, to stay connected, to continue our communication, to keep caring for one another. This for me, is finding pure gold.

 

 

 

About Stella Palomo Monteno:

 

 

 

Stella is a Cebu City based writer, advertising practitioner and television producer. She recently turned golden and decided to trace back her roots to where she spent her childhood years.. in the streets of Makati. Stella works as a marketing consultant of a beach resort in Cebu. But most of the time, she is  a secret poetess and a novelist taking forever to finish her first published epic novel! Stella’s email address is stellla_monteno@yahoo.com.

 

 

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SIGNS – Door Signs 1

I got this set of amusing signs posted at various doors from an email coming from Reynaldo Espanola. I am sharing this with you below.

 

Sign over a Gynecologist’s Office: 
 “Dr. Jones, at your cervix.”
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In a Podiatrist’s office:
“Time wounds all heels.”
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On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday’s Meals on Wheels
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At a Proctologist’s door:
“To expedite your visit please back in.”
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On a Plumber’s truck:
“We repair what your husband fixed.”
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On another Plumber’s truck:
“Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber..” 
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On a Church’s Billboard:
“7 days without God makes one weak.”
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At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee : 
“Invite us to your next blowout.”
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At a Towing company:
“We don’t charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.”
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On an Electrician’s truck:
“Let us remove your shorts.” 
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In a Nonsmoking Area: 
“If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.” 
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On a Maternity Room door: 
“Push. Push. Push.”
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At an Optometrist’s Office:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”
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On a Taxidermist’s window:
“We really know our stuff.”
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On a Fence:
“Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!” 
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At a Car Dealership:
“The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.” 
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Outside a Muffler Shop: 
“No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”
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In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”
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At the Electric Company
“We would be delighted if you send in your payment.
However, if you don’t, you will be.”
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In a Restaurant window:
“Don’t stand there and be hungry, Come on in and get fed up.”
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In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”
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At a Propane Filling Station:
“Thank heaven for little grills.”
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And don’t forget the sign at a
Chicago Radiator Shop:
“Best place in town to take a leak.”

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Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

 

Today, the world lost a creative genius.  Steve Jobs died at the age of 56.

Steve Jobs changed the way we interact with technology and in doing so, he changed technology. He left his mark in so many industries:

  • the personal computers industry with Apple II and Macintosh;
  • the music industry with iPod and iTunes;
  • the phone industry with iPhone and iPad;  and,
  • the animation and the movies industries with Pixar.

 

Steve Jobs: Visionary, Entrepreneur, Icon

The man did not finish college, but was able to build a computer empire, and became a multi-millionaire.

He was fired from his own company but came back a decade later to save it and turn it into one of the world’s most influential corporations. And when he may have realized that his time is near, he paved the way for a smooth succession process.

His resignation letter when he stepped down as CEO of Apple, reflects the confidence he has in the succession process and the basic strength of the company he founded, saved, and nurtured.

 

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”

“I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.”

 

This will not be the last of my blogs about Steve Jobs. In the near future, I will write about the lessons I got from him as a visionary, and entrepreneur and an icon.

For helping make the way we do things easier  and faster, THANK YOU STEVE JOBS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Win Customers

I had this in my notebook for a long time. I am not sure whether I got  it from a book I was reading or from an article in a website. What  I am sure though, is that this set of quotations captures what every brand man has to do to win customers.

Tell me what you think.

 

Don’t sell me clothes,
Sell me sharp appearance, style and attractiveness.

Don’t sell me insurance.
Sell me peace of mind and a great future for my family.

Don’t sell me a house.
Sell me comfort, contentment, investment and pride of ownership.

Don’t sell me books.
Sell me pleasant hours and profits of knowledge.

Don’t sell me toys.
Sell my children happy moments.

Sell good feelings, self-respect, happiness and solutions to my life’s problems.

– Michael LeBoeuf  in “How to win customers and Keep Them for Life”

 

Do you agree? Why?

 

 

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