Lead without a vision

That’s unacceptable. How can you lead without a vision? Then maybe you shouldn’t be a leader.

Well, it turns out that leading innovation requires different set of skills and mindsets than leading change. Leading change requires that the leaders have a vision, and are able to effectively communicate the vision and why it is important to change in order to reach that vision, and what it is in them for the people who need to adopt the change.

However, leading innovation requires that the leaders embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity of where the project might end up, accept the possibility that it may not work, be comfortable saying “I don’t know the answer” and encourage the co-creation of a future and vision together. Instead of leading with a clear vision, leading innovation requires having a clear purpose.

This is a great listen by Brené Brown and Dr. Linda Hill.

#leadershipdevelopment #leadership #leadinginnovation


During the 10 years of Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), many educated people were mistreated, tortured or executed. My father stayed in prison for a month due to a song he wrote. My mother almost committed suicide as she couldn’t take the physical and emotional torture any longer.
Luckily, the darkness didn’t last forever. One day, a person who mistreated them went to my parents and asked for financial assistance. Mom had no desire to lend him a penny. Dad, on the other hand, forgave the person for his wrongdoings acknowledging that he was brainwashed and he did it to survive. They provided the person what he needed. I learned to forgive others first hand. However, forgiving isn’t always easy, especially to those people who hurt you deeply.
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”.
❓ Who do you need to forgive in life and at work?
❓ Are you forgiving yourself?

#forgiveness #love #leadership

Be an empathetic leader

Empathy can be a word misunderstood. My understanding of this word and practicing of empathetic leadership have come a long way. What does being empathetic mean to you?

➡️. I used to think that it means that I put my feet into their shoes.

➡️. Then I learned that’s not enough, I also need to walk 2 miles in those shoes.

➡️. Then I realized even that is not enough. If I am physically stronger than the other person, my experience of walking 2 miles is different than theirs.

➡️. Empathy is that I can understand their experiences, emotions even when, especially when, their experience is different than mine. I choose to trust them and trust their experience. And I am here for them.

The following podcast from Brené Brown is a great listening on how leaders can help build a psychologically safe space by starting with building a brave space. Judgement/judging has to be suspended in order to be more empathetic.

#empatheticleadership #psychologicalsafety #trust #daretolead

Getting Out of the Jail

I lived in jail for long. Some of the bars are created by society, some of them by my own loving parents (with good intention to protect me), some of them by my teachers that I looked upon as a child, some of them by my friends and peers, some of them by my significant relationships…The strongest bars seem to be created by myself over time without even knowing about them – my own thoughts and views that were influenced by all people I know directly or indirectly, the books I read, the movies I watched…

I used this post-it drawing to remind me to get out the invisible jail every day and every moment. It could be some thoughts and expressions like “I don’t think I can….”, “I am not creative… (and other adjectives)”, “English is my 2nd language…”. Those are the bars of the jail that I want to break…for myself and others. Did I break free? I believe so, but the mental strength needs to be exercised regularly.

70%-80% of people, including men, have imposter syndrome. What jail might you be in?

A great book and a cup of coffee

With those two things besides me, it’s one of my favorite ways to spend a morning during weekends. Below, without any particular order, are some of the books I read during 2022. With each book, i made some conscious adjustments to live life fuller. What books do you recommend?

📖 Essentialism – The disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
📖 Untamed – This is how you find yourself, by Glennon Doyle
📖 The 4-hour workweek – Escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich, by Tim Ferriss
📖 Hell Yeah or No – What’s worth doing, by Derek Sivers
📖 Cues – Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication, Small Signals, Incredible impact, by Vanessa Van Edwards
📖 Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day, by Amishi Jha
📖 Before You Say Anything – The Untold Stories and Failproof Strategies of a Very Discreet Speechwriter, by Victoria Wellman
📖 The Earned Life – Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment, by Marshall Goldsmith
📖 Radical Confidence – 10 no-BS lessons on becoming the hero of your own life, by Lisa Bilyeu
📖 My life in full – Work, Family, and Our Future, by Indra Nooyi
📖 TED TALKS: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, by Chris Anderson
📖 The Storyteller’s Secret , by Carmine Gallo
📖 Communicating with IMPACT, Effectively Communicate Ideas and Achieve Greater Results,  by Patrick Donadio, MBA, CSP, MCC
📖 Wolfpack, How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game, by Abby Wambach
📖 10% happier – How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works: A True Story, by Dan Harris
📖 From Strength to Strength – Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, by Arthur Brooks
📖 The Ultimate Coach, by Amy Hardison & Alan D Thompson

Space is Grace

❓How much space do you have physically? I am not referring to whether you have a mansion or not.
❓How much space do you have in your head?
❓How much space do you have in your heart?

I had a great time talking with my friends Joy and Sheila and sharing our experiences on creating more spaces in our lives and achieving more.

Check out the YouTube video.

Become a reason that somebody is grateful for

Thanksgiving is a special day when we thank for everyone and everything we have in life…even to the challenges we may face. We are grateful for the opportunities they present to us.

What are you doing to become a reason that somebody is grateful for?

✅ When we are grateful for our families, are we the ones they feel grateful for because we unconditionally support them (including not spoil them)?

✅ When we are grateful for our friends, are we the ones they feel grateful for when they need support during their ups and downs and trust us keep their stories confidential?

✅ When we are grateful for our coworkers, are we the ones they feel grateful for because we always want to do the right thing for them and make them successful even when some conversations could be difficult?

✅ When we are grateful for our mentors, are we the ones who also mentor other people?

✅ When we are grateful for everything we have in life, are we the ones who make people still living in poverty or injustice be grateful for because we did our share to advance equality and equity around the world?

Be grateful, and also become a reason for someone who can be grateful for…

Connecting dots

It’s often said our vision in hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy connecting the dots when things already happened. We can discover the cause and effect which wasn’t clear then. Sometimes people wish they could have done differently knowing what they know now.

❓How can you detect/sense the connection before things happen?
❓How can you develop the ability of “hindsight” from the future looking at now?
❓How can you know now what you might know in the future?
Taking time answering these questions will help you get closer to connecting the dots that are happening or yet to happen. It gets you closer to be visionary.

Are you actively listening?

How often do you say “me too!” when someone shares something with you? On the surface, it feels that we are making connections because we share similar experiences. In reality, it diminishes the power of the other person and the focus of the conversation is moved away from that person to you.

Let’s play this:

Amy: “I am so tired today as i didn’t have a good night sleep last night.”
Bob: “Me too! I didn’t sleep well either! My toddler woke me up in the middle of the night…”
Sounds familiar? Because that’s the common listening style of many.

If you are actively listening, you might hear
1. Amy is tired now, a rest/break might be beneficial
2. Amy didn’t sleep well last night. There might be something bothering her; Or maybe the AC is down; or her neighbor played loud music at a late night party.
3. What can I do to support Amy?

How can you find out any of these might be true or not? Ask Amy! Try this, you will be amazed at how other people might appreciate you that you care. This isn’t about you!….at least not yet.

Regret Not

– How often do you feel regretful? The feeling of “should have”, “could have”, “would have” …
– What do you regret for?
– What do you do when you feel that way?

Do not leave until you leave

You are in a race, you saw the finish line, you are only a few steps away…you decided it’s time to stop and relax. Sounds unbelievable, right?

Many people do exactly that when they leave a job. They may feel it’s not their responsibility anymore…”I am leaving anyways…”. I trust you know the answer how to…cross the finish line with full speed.

What does AI mean to you?

Most people, especially technologists, would immediately think of Artificial Intelligence. However, it could also mean “Appreciative Inquiry”. How to use AI to have a SOAR conversation and implementation? It is important and critical to apply AI into any conversation to have a more meaningful and impactful outcome. The energy we deployed into the conversation can either support or break the communication.

Thanks to Jackie Stavros for her great research and insights on this topic.

Hope Yin

Hope Yin

Innovative Technology Executive / Influencer / Executive Coach