Lead a vivid life that does good

Tag: tuk tuk

How do you give warnings?

TukTuk Siem ReapOne of the first things you notice when you take a Tuk Tuk ride in Cambodia is the way they use their horns.

They beep as a warning.

Not out of frustration or anger, rather to let the scooter in front know they are there. To avoid a collision. To keep them both safe. They use the horn the way it was originally intended to be used. And it works really well.

In the west, we often sound our horn after the fact. In frustration and in anger. To show people how annoyed we are.

Same sounding horns.

Same form of communication.

But a radically different feeling.

I find it interesting that in our personal interactions we have a couple of choices in how we communicate warnings to people.

We can either provide gentle warnings, prompts, small beeps, to guide our teams and make sure we don’t collide. Or we can wait until everything comes crashing together and react after the fact, in frustration and anger.

Whether driving or communicating, loud bolshie statements really only give you the opportunity to vent.

They do little to guide or encourage the other person.

And therefore are ineffective.

2 lessons about leadership I gleaned while being driven through Phnom Penh.

Those of you who have travelled through parts of  Asian know how mad, crazy, radical their driving can be.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/54691916 w=500&h=282]
If you haven’t, watch this short video of a normal intersection at 6:30 at night.

At first we described it as ‘Organised Chaos’ and soon realised that it was best described as “Disorganised Order”. Everyone headed were they needed to go, in an orderly yet apparently disorganised way.

The drivers themselves were probably the most fascinating part of the driving experience. They’re a paradox of determination and grace. They wanted to get there first and fast, but were gracious as others pushed and squeezed their Tuk Tuk’s into gaps that moments before didn’t exist.

Disorganised Order,


Determination with Grace.

Disorganised Order, you don’t see that much in business or law in New Zealand. I wonder if it isn’t the essence of being truly entrepreneurial.


I have met plenty of determined people, and I have the privilege of knowing a lot of gracious people. Sadly, most often the determined people are not characterised by grace.

Determined with Grace, describes the leader I would like to be.

2 tips for being more generous and compassionate.

On a wet humid evening we sat outside on the bustling street corner, in the heart of the action, waiting to enjoy our meal. The restaurant we chose, our clothes and the colour of our skin screamed to the locals that we were wealthy foreigners to Phnom Penh, and almost immediately we were confronted with invitations to purchase or give. Girls the age of my daughters selling bags, young men selling books and a Mother with a young child simply begging. At first we engaged with them, then quickly learnt it was easier to ignore them and their need.

Later as we meandered along the streets we saw a young child (12 – 18 months) standing on the footpath. I glanced down to see her mother bent over a rubbish bag scavenging for food. As I walked past I realised it was the women who had begged from us at dinner. The woman and child I had ignored. I returned and gave her some money, she thanked me, and went back to scavenging in the rubbish.

I learnt some lessons that evening, learnings that have implications beyond the poverty encountered in Cambodia.

We must be prepared to give:
When I hit Cambodia I hadn’t formed this thinking, which meant each situation I encountered required me to make yes/no decisions. Soon the answer just becomes NO.

You can’t fix everything you see, so being prepared means having the forethought to know what you believe in giving to, and how much. And to whom.

This applies equally back home. Knowing what we will give to, helps when people knock on the door or telemarketers call. Importantly knowing what you believe in giving to, means you will give. If you’re not prepared the answer quickly becomes NO.

We must be ready to give:
If being prepared is a state of mind, then being ready is practical. For us it meant having small amounts of money available for donations. Whether running in the morning or on a Tuk Tuk, we had money to give without hesitation to make a small difference.

At home, I barely ever carry money, and therefore it is significantly harder for me to give without hesitation to make a small immediate difference.

I know a lot of people like me have a heart to give, to be compassionate and yet miss opportunities. So may you prepare your hearts to know when and how you will give. And then may you be ready to give without hesitation.

May you encounter the joy of making a difference.

Lesson 1 from Cambodia visit 2012: Being prepared to give.