Culture, reflection, and sharing the insights

Story category: Organization

Story tags: people, management, culture

As we are producing in Vietnam, we have been looking at the local culture here, and which things could be relevant in blocking perfect progress. You might think that this story is only relevant to readers from Vietnam. I think it is relevant. Next to learning something about another culture, you could use this story to reflect upon your own context to see where you might have barriers or areas of friction that suboptimize your progress towards perfection.  


The hard question: Are there things in our culture that make it harder to improve, solve problems, and learn?


No matter how well your work process is thought out, everybody will run into problems from time to time and your wonderfully well thought out brainchild (the process) might become obsolete one day. As the pace of change increases every day it becomes increasingly important to being able to keep up to stay competitive; this goes for organizations, but also for people making up the organization.


How do you best position yourself to improve, problem solve, and learn, and how do you facilitate others to do so?


Experience vs learning


Experience is important, but things in the past do not (always) apply to the future, and solutions for a certain problem and context do not always translate well to other problems in other contexts.


Of course, experience is important, but its also important to not just rely on experience but always look at the actual situation and understand that the experience you have might not be sufficient, that what you know is not all there is to know, and that what you know is a perspective you have seen from a certain angle (your angle is not the whole picture).


When you hear yourself or another person refer to experience, be vigilant not get stuck into “the box of experience”. Think outside the box and learn.


Sao mà làm được and bó tay


Sao mà làm được is a question (how can we do this?) that is not really a question but a statement that conveys that you think it’s not possible. This statement is a sign of a closed mind that focusses on barriers not on solutions.


Bó tay (hands are bound) is not a question but a straightforward statement of having no power or ideas to change anything about the situation.


When you hear yourself or another person state these things, it’s important to shift the focus from barriers to solutions.


Rảnh quá and nhiều chuyện


Rảnh quá (lots of free time) is a statement that is usually uttered to another person when they come with an issue, a solution, or an alternative way of doing something. This is a mind closer and stopper of creativity.


Nhiều chuyện (many stories) is a statement that means that somebody has too many requirements, demands, ideas, etc. Also, here we are dealing with an attempt to shut somebody down or preempt them from sharing thoughts.


When you hear yourself or another person state these things, it’s important to shift the focus from creating barriers to opening your ears and listening to whatever it is that the other person wants to share; shutting down others keeps you into the perspective you already have (your own).




Ego tells us we know everything. Ego tells us the other should listen to us, rather than us listening to others. Ego tells us its not our mistake. Ego tells us we already know. Ego tells us that we lose face when we are wrong.


We have done a story on ego mitigation, so here is the blitz version:


1.    Go into situations thinking you might be wrong/don’t have the full picture.


2.    Practice to see that there is always more than one answer to a question/problem.


3.    Ask earnest questions and listen!


4.    Separate problem from person 


Here are a few protocols to detach:


            •    Separate “problem” from “self.


            •    Look at “problem” and “self” from 3rd person view.


            •    Use roles to detach.


            •    Write your true intentions on paper!


            •    You’re feeling, and the observation of your feeling are two different things.


After sharing our reflection with the world, how about you let us know what you came across in your reflection on the topic. Love to hear from you!

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