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Tiger Mom as CEO

12 April 2011
Written by Tracey Swanepoel

What’s wrong with the “made in China” model?

Amy Chua a Chinese American and self proclaimed Tiger Mom (Buy this book here), recently set the cat among the pigeons with her manifesto on parenting the Chinese way.

Without mincing her words Chua cocked a snook at western parenting models which build self esteem, value learning through play, emphasize social skills and develop emotional intelligence.

In her view, play in any shape or form (be it play-dates, sleepovers, drama, art, TV, movies, parties, computer games and even sport) is a complete waste of time. Enjoyment is the result of mastery as opposed to being a pre requisite for it. This is something that she demonstrates in her pre birth decision to make each of her daughters master a musical instrument, to the extent of depriving them of food, sleep and shelter, should they fail to bend to her will.

Who exactly do you think you are?

03 February 2011
Written by Tracey Swanepoel

The unanswerable question.

My least favourite question in the world is “What do you do?” Are there some unspoken guidelines about how to answer this question? Are you supposed to define yourself in terms of the company you keep, as in “I work for X Bank”.

How much is enough?

17 November 2010
Written by Tracey Swanepoel

Probably a lot less, and a lot more than we think.

How much is enough? A million bucks? Ten million? A billion?

It's always a number (only the currency denomination varies). Somehow there's an unspoken recipe for happiness around (maybe it's only a Joburg thing).... it goes like this - make enough money and only once this is achieved are we free to focus on other aspects of our lives. Enough money will automatically result in a satisfying life - ultimate happiness is certain. Isn't it?

Meetings: Work? Or just a waste of time?

01 September 2010
Written by Tracey Swanepoel

Decision-free zones are drains on productivity.

"Are you lonely? Bored? Nothing to do? Well... no problem, just call a meeting! You'll get to sit around with your mates, get coffee and biscuits brought to you and discuss nothing of any consequence. Best of all, you don't have to do any real work and before you know it, it'll be time to head down to the pub."

I remember this poster from my early days in advertising and lately it has been playing in my head like an irritating, albeit relevant, ABBA "song worm".

It seems like meetings have become the holding pattern of corporate life - a safe, decision-free zone to hang out in, ironically at a time when we desperately need to land and tackle some very pressing issues.

Sitting through a particularly mind numbing meeting recently gave me the opportunity to reflect on the biggest culprits - the meetings that we all dread but grin and bear in equal measure, the ones that give all other meetings a bad name.

The South Africa that we could become

30 June 2010
Written by Tracey Swanepoel

World Cup lessons... strictly for the fans.

JOHANNESBURG - Vision, mission and strategic intent - the classic business school lingo which sees most people's eyes snow over like a faulty TV set.

The hyper analytical among us only make it worse by adding complexity in the form of graphs, maps models, and the like. Unless you work for a management consultancy or are doing your MBA, these potentially powerful concepts remain overused, meaningless buzzwords.

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