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Learning how to reinvent yourself every day

'Coach Kriengsak, what will be our topic for discussion today?"

"Khun Asok, what do you have in mind?"

"Since this is the start of the new year, I want to learn how to reinvent myself this year."

"Why's that?"

"Because the dynamics of change surround us. If you look at these things _ environmental, customers' needs, competitors, organisations' expectations, bosses' expectations, employees' expectations _ they are in the wind of change. In fact, I think I have to reinvent every day, not only once a year."

"Khun Asok, I like your idea of reinventing daily. It's true that all the things around us are changing every day. What do you plan to reinvent?"

He thought for a few seconds and produced a notebook.

"Coach, This is my action plan. I name it 'Open-5'.

1. Open my ears: Listen to others people more by asking everyone I meet: What are the new things you have learned that you could teach me today?

2. Open my eyes: Read more old and new books by asking myself: Which book do I need to read today in order to stay ahead of change?

3. Open my mind: Ask myself every day: What do I need to unlearn today? How does my ego prevent me from reinventing myself?

4. Open my notebook: I plan to reflect my daily learning by making notes every evening. What did I learn today?

5. Open my role: I think I can reinvent myself by learning from experience.

"That's a good list to me. But you seem to be struggling. What's troubling you?"

"Coach, the last one. You always refer to the 10/20/70 rule that says learning comes 10% from a classroom, 20% from a coach/mentor and 70% from experience. I want to reinvent myself from new experiences, but I'm not sure what to do."

I waited in silence for a few seconds to let him compose his thoughts.

"I am quite busy at the moment. I have two challenges. How do I create more time? How should I invest my time?"

"OK. That makes sense. Let's take one concern at a time. You cannot create more time. You can stop doing some things in order to have available time. The question is: what are the activities you can stop doing without having an impact on the business?"

"Coach, I spend an hour in the morning to go through four newspapers. I think I will get rid of two of them and read the daily newspaper summary instead. I think I can have 30 minutes more each day.

"I spend about one hour to double-check the figures and numbers from my direct report. This activity was appropriate when I was chief financial officer, but it's too much for a CEO. I think I will use the 20/80 rule. I will check only the 20% of significant data and trust my people to check the rest. I will gain at least 40 minutes a day."

"Khun Asok, let's move to the next question: how do you plan to use this extra time to invest in developing yourself?"

"Coach, I want to improve my listening skills. How do I do that?"

"Khun Asok, you're playing golf. If you want to improve your golf game, what should you do?"

"I have to play more. Ah! I have to practise listening more."

"To whom do you think you have to listen more?"

"My five direct reports."

"Then, what would be your plan?"

"I will meet one of my direct reports each day. But what should I listen to?"

"What do you think?"

"I think I will ask the questions in Open-5 to each individual."

"Khun Asok, I read from the book Made to Stick that quoted Col Tom Kolditz, who said: 'No plan survives contact with the enemy.' In your plan, what could go wrong?"

"Coach, there are two potential problems. What if someone doesn't talk? How do I prevent myself from dominating the conversation?"

"That's good, Khun Asok. What's your plan?"

"Coach, I will inform everyone that this is like a case study. It's my practice. Hence, the focus is not on them. The focus is that I am practising my listening skills. Hence, they can talk about whatever they want. Once people feel that their comments will not be judged, they will probably open up.

"To prevent myself dominating the talking, I will set ground rules and inform them in that I plan to talk 20% and listen 80%. I will limit myself to saying only a few words such as 'thank you', 'that's interesting' and 'please tell me more'."

Kriengsak Niratpattanasai provides executive coaching in leadership and diversity management under TheCoach brand. He can be reached at Daily inspirational quotations can be found on his Facebook fan page: Previous articles are archived at