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Thursday, 12 January 2012

Words of wisdom: Excellence

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential, the commitment and discipline are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Excellence is in the details.  Give attention to details and excellence will come.

Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.

Persistence is the twin sister of excellence.  One is a matter of time, the other, a matter of quality.

“It is the excellence of a man’s faith that he gives up meaningless work.” -- Prophet Muhammad s.a.w [Tirmidhi, Ahmad]

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Words of wisdom: Success

The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building - steadily building.

Success does not consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one a second time.

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius. 

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.

The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being a success.

Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.

Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.

For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.

Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.

Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.

Every success is built on the ability to do better than good enough.

Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.

Success will not lower its standard to us. We must raise our standard to success.

The best way to succeed in this world is to act on the advice you give to others.

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Words of wisdom: Management

"Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out."  (Stephen Covey)

"Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall." (Stephen Covey)

"I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people." (Thomas J. Watson, Jr)

"The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work." (Agha Hasan Abedi)

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Islamic finance unbound - expanding exponentially

While uncertainty continues to roil global markets, driving many investors into full retreat, one part of the financial sector is expanding exponentially:
Islamic-law-compliant financial assets have grown from about $5 billion in the late 1980s to roughly $1.2 trillion in 2011.

This asset class, which is characterised by shared risk between institutions and clients, avoided many of the most severe consequences of the global financial crisis that began in 2008. This resilience, along with several other key features, underpins the high performance and growing popularity of Islamic finance.
The global financial crisis adversely affected a small number of Islamic financial institutions as the real economy contracted and some issuers of Islamic bonds defaulted. But the risk-sharing inherent to Islamic finance made such instruments more resistant to the first round of financial contagion that hit in 2008. Leading economists, such as Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff, have suggested that Islamic finance demonstrates the advantages of more equity and risk-sharing over the conventional bias in favour of debt instruments.
Several distinctive features have made Islamic financial institutions relatively stable throughout the crisis. One such feature is that Islamic finance emphasises asset-backing, thereby ensuring a direct link between financial transactions and real economic activities. Institutions’ savings and investment returns are closely linked, because they are determined by the real sector, not the financial sector.
This creates a flexible adjustment mechanism, should unanticipated shocks occur. It also ensures that real asset and liability values are always equal, while prohibiting excessive leverage and several forms of complicated securitisation. Moreover, Islamic finance is more equitable: Lenders and borrowers share risks and rewards, which increases the focus on long-term goals and discourages excessive short-term risk-taking.
In short, Islamic financial institutions treat their clients like business partners. They therefore have strong incentives to evaluate financing requests carefully, and to assist borrowers in bad times, thus reducing the pressure to sell assets at “fire-sale” prices and minimising the likelihood of financial contagion. Finally, the Islamic financial framework protects deposit balances, and prevents excessive credit growth.
Islamic financial instruments are currently available in at least 70 countries, and today represent about 0.5% of global financial assets. But the prospects for continued rapid growth are strong. In its November 2011 ‘Global Islamic Banking Report’, Deutsche Bank projects a 24% compounded annual growth rate in Islamic assets over the coming three years. There are five main reasons for this forecast:
• Islamic finance offers savers and investors practical alternatives to conventional instruments.
• The quality of Islamic financial services is improving, and these services are not limited to particular clients.
• Conventional multinational financial institutions are increasingly offering Islamic assets, and there is growing interest in them in London, Luxembourg, and other world financial capitals.
• The commodity boom in some Muslim countries has generated surpluses that need to be allocated through financial intermediaries and sovereign wealth funds.
• Islamic financial instruments can comply with sharia – Islam’s moral code and religious law – as well as send signals of change compatible with recent developments in several Muslim-majority countries.
But realising the potential of Islamic finance requires strong supervisory oversight. Financial institutions need to enhance pre-lending screening and post-borrowing monitoring. It is also problematic that, in many countries, debt receives advantageous tax treatment, which favours leverage over equity and profit/loss-sharing arrangements. This should change.
Moreover, mortgages, mutual insurance, leasing, and microfinance are underdeveloped in Islamic finance; insolvency and bankruptcy procedures must be improved; and mechanisms to deal with “Islamic bond” defaults must be established. Finally, Islamic financial institutions must address concerns about liquidity-risk management, compliance with Basel III (the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s most recent global regulatory standard), international accounting standards, and corporate governance.
While recent reports emphasise the size and growth of Islamic financial assets and instruments, it is the quality of services, continued financial innovation, and sound risk-management practices that will ultimately define their success. By addressing its shortcomings, Islamic finance could encourage inclusive growth in many developing countries.
If Islamic finance can resolve key regulatory and corporate-governance issues, it has the potential to meet more people’s banking and investment needs, expand its reach, and contribute to greater financial stability and inclusion in the developing world. That is something that everyone should welcome.
(by Mahmoud Mohieldin, Managing Director of the World Bank/11Jan2012)
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