Strategy Sri Lanka- I feel I had missed them…

Communicate like Obama


Present like Steve Jobs

Negotiate like Donald Trump

Sell ideas like Richard Branson

Strategize like Tzun Tzu

Today it was a very useful day for me. Morning I attended a workshop organized by Strategy Institute held at Excel World. It was a last minute decision as the facilitators were good industrial experts. So I made up my mind attend this workshop.  One of the facilitator, Mr.   Lewie diaz is one of my favorite lecturer and although  I have heard about the other two facilitators, I did not get chance to study under  them. I cancelled my lecturing class in the morning and attended this workshop.  It was a fantastic and very useful one for me.  Lewis Diaz, Shehan and Yasus Hewage were the three conductors who facilitated the workshop. The topics were about “Communicate like Obama and Present like Steve jobs” Which was done by Lewie Diaz , Negotiation by Shehan and Strategy and Career Management by Yasus. I’ was  really impressed with the way they explained everything. At the end Yasus mentioned that “ you guys will forget once you go out of this class”,  but I don’t think I will forget the input I achieved  from the workshop, and decided to  put those in to practice.

“Communicate like Obama and Present like Steve jobs” Was the topic presented by Lewie Diaz, one of my favorite marketing lecturer.  It was about doing perfect presentation. He mentioned 8 rules that a good presenter should follow and it has got imprinted in my mind.  I thought of sharing them with you all. I was worried that I didn’t possess a note book with me to note down the  important points delivered  by them,  but as I was eager to take down them and I used my phone as a notebook.

Rule One – Break the ice –   imprinted

Rule Two – Body Language

Rule Three – Control Nervousness

Rule four – Vocal variety

Rule five – Use rhetorical devices

Rule six – Story telling and anecdotes

Rule Six – I missed this one J

Rule Seven – Be yourself

Rule Eight – Keep it simple

He mentioned many tactics under each rule which were perfect and I gained a lot of knowledge from his presentation today.  Each and every rule was further strengthened by suitable video clips, and these will be posted in my next post.

The next one was from Sheehan; he explained everything with more practical and it was really interesting as well, and at the last Yasas Hewage.  Some of my colleagues are working under him and always says that it was a pleasure to listen to Yasas.  Today I realized that it was simply true because the presentation given by him was really superb. At the beginning he raised a question for the audience asking why we were there. I replied saying “I want to build my own brand”, but he misunderstood my version assuming that I was talking about a personal brand for myself. What I really wanted was to build my own business in Sri Lanka. I learned a lot from him as well.

Now I have completed my CIM but I feel the people who follow CIM at strategy are lucky to get these people as lecturers. I thought in future not to miss any workshops organized by the above lecturers.

I am not going to forget what I learned and gained from this workshop.  I am also glad to state that I won a raffle book titled “Trout on Strategy” which is also very useful.  Today was a great day for me.

A good product from Dialog Axiata – WIFI Portable Router


For quite a sometime I was struggling without a proper internet facility at home. Initially I had around 4 connections from two service providers but it was not very useful to me.  Since I’m an iPhone user, I was searching for a wifi connection to my house.   During a workshop last month I came to know that Dialog is offering a portable wifi connection. Then I thought of calling the customer care to find more about the product details. Unfortunately I didn’t find time to call them and I forgot about it totally. Until last week I was using other pre paid internet option from other provider. Suddenly in the midst of a training programme I got a call from a Dialog representative asking whether I’m interested in their product. I told them that I’m looking for an internet solution to my home, and then the representative promised me that he will be visiting my office for further discussion. As promised he met me at my office and explained the solution. I was impressed with the product and decided to go for the connection. It is a very convenient product and wherever you go you can carry it with you. It suits for all outing solutions such as trips, parties etc etc  and you can carry this wifi router and access to internet. It’s a very worthy investment for me. If you want to get a connection quickly contact the below person. I like his customer service (quick and polite)

Kapil (National Sales Officer) – 0777332392

Loyalty Marketing – A Practical Outlook

Epitom Consulting, which has rapidly established themselves as a leader in conducting diverse Workshops and Training sessions, providing invaluable lessons to the corporate sector, has yet again offered a valuable lesson to decision makers, in providing an insight into the validity of Loyalty Marketing and how best to retain your customer base, in a 3 hour session scheduled to be held on the 17th of November at 5.30 pm at the Galle Face Hotel.

At an age, where Marketers are resorting to every strategy possible, to “retain” the customer by offering incentives and trying to outbid their competitors, yet without a thought to improving their products or services, they fail to realise that their strategies are short lived.

What is loyalty in marketing parlance? “This presentation strives to illustrate the traditional concepts of “Loyalty Marketing” and why these strategies alone prove inadequate to retain the customer in the long term,” said Ragulan, Founder / Director of Epitom Consulting. “It focuses on a more personalised approach showing how to retain the customer by establishing a relationship, rather than simply achieve a sale,” he further added.

Epitom has added yet another veteran in the industry to his already impressive panel of “Trainers”, and proudly introduces Mr. Ajit F. Perera, who counts over 45 years of experience and is a Snr. Marketer and CEO. He has acquired a wealth of knowledge and “Hands On” technical experience in respect of a vast & diverse range of products ranging from Telecommunications Equipment to Industrial and Electronic Equipment, Electrical Equipment, Computers, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment, Hardware, Consumer Products inclusive of domestic appliances, Office Equipment, & Engineering Tools, LPG equipment etc. enabling him to effectively market his product range. As a result, he is able to relate to, and guide participants in a wide area of disciplines.

This thought provoking session is aimed at helping participants differentiate between short term loyalty strategies currently adopted by many organisations, and formulate new strategies mixing the old with the new, which will help retain the customer in the long term.
An interactive session, it will encourage the participants to contribute their input of how they interpret the topic which would then be discussed on each area where Ajit will elaborate his thinking on the issues raised. This will enable the participants to directly relate to the issues, and analyse the validity of the new solutions presented.

For more details please visit

If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right

“If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right.”

It’s a year since we lost Simbutu. We miss him every single day. We miss the sound of his barking, We miss his greeting, We miss seeing his happy face. We miss him more than we could ever say.

But what comforts me is that the memory of Simbutu still lives on. And I want to make his memory something that will live on forever and bring positivity, hope and courage into the lives of others just as it has for ourselves.

This pandemic situation gave me the required time and opportunity to draft the memories of Simbutu in the most meaningful way. I can’t wait to share his story with all of you as a book.

A book for all pet lovers that gives life lessons from Simbutu’s point of view, a loving and loyal dog’s point of view! He will tell us how fortunate we are to be humans and how we can make our lives more exciting and empowering.

Though he is not with us physically, he has given us a purpose to create a Pet Community / Simbutu which now brings pet lovers, pet parents and animal lovers together.

Here is the story of his last day on the earth, exactly one year back, a story I have narrated from his point of view.



It’s been a few weeks now since Covid-19 has taken Sri Lanka by storm and shaken our tiny island to its core. The virus has left us rightfully worried, panicked and the daily patterns we were so accustomed to in shambles. To top it off, most areas across the island are experiencing curfews and lockdowns, disrupting all the norms that we once took for granted.

Everything sure does look bleak and dreary, what with shops and restaurants closed, schools closed, workplaces shut down and with no prospect of a nice family dinner out or a fun shopping spree. With people stuck at home, governments confused at what to do next and economies crashing, the future doesn’t look too rosy.

But wait a minute, haven’t we learnt that with every calamity that comes, there’s a lesson to be learnt and goodness to be seen? Yes, even with this Covid 19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, there is a sunny side to things and we have to learn to see it .

This Coronavirus has forced all of us, the rich, the poor, the affluent and the needy to stay at home, stay indoors and stay safe. It did feel like a holiday for the first few days, a welcome respite from the daily grind of life. But as the days go by and the future looking increasingly uncertain, staying at home is becoming difficult with every passing hour.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

If there’s one thing that this tiny virus has taught us, it is learning to take pleasure in the small things in our everyday life – the things we so often took for granted and the things we always overlooked. It has taught us – or rather – forced us to look and really focus at the normal aspects of life that we ignored for so long.

Every cloud does have a silver lining and I’m beginning to understand its true implications now. Take, for example, the government orders for workplaces and offices to close down and for whomsoever it is possible to work from home, to continue to do so. The time off my hectic work schedule has given me ample opportunities and the freedom of mind to make new plans for my business and also brainstorm innovative ideas for my company. I wouldn’t have been able devote time for this if I didn’t have the time I now enjoy away from work.

Staying home without work doesn’t mean being unproductive at all. We live in a day and age where there are countless possibilities so you need to grab hold and make the most out of it. If the circumstances allow you, work digitally, stay connected with your workplace and your colleagues online and you’ll see what a refreshing change it is to work from home. After all, you’re in a place where you can be at your element and let all those creative juices flow. And that’s precisely how the team at Epitom is working from home at the moment. We may not be connected physically at a workplace, but we are very much digitally connected, thanks to technology so we’re covering pretty much the same workload in a safer and more efficient manner.

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Image: The Pick a Book and Epitom Team, staying indoors, staying safe, staying connected and successfully managing to continue to take the company forward. 

With so much time on my hands, I was also able to get some much needed reading done too. Reading has always been a passion of mine but with work commitments, I wasn’t able to read as much as I would have liked to. Although I always made sure I made the time to squeeze in a book or two with my busy timetable, this curfew situation has given me ample time to read three great books and I have four more lined up on my to-be-read list which I’m really looking forward to.

Plus, with more time on my hands now, I’m finding reading even more enjoyable and more therapeutic than usual. Afterall, reading is the one thing that gives you a sense of escapism during these trying times at home.

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Image: Reading makes sure you fill in those long hours with something that is refreshingly beneficial for both mind and body. 

Speaking of books and reading, Pick A Book is still up and running, albeit in a different mode. Our PAB members together with our new Indian club members are staying connected online, discovering new books, discussing the books read and generally enjoying being part of an amazing book club and reveling in the joy that only literature can bring.

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Image – Session for PAB members in India and Sri Lanka

Another hobby of mine has been rekindled with staying at home during the curfew. Though I’ve always made time for some gardening with my busy schedule, I’ve more time on my hands now to thoroughly enjoy getting my hands in the soil. I’ve found that my gardening sessions these days have been more therapeutic and I’m finding immense joy working with nature. 

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Image: There’s no better way than giving back to Mother Nature, repairing the damage we’ve unconsciously caused by doing our part, even if it’s something as small as doing a bit of gardening. 

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Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my dogs. I enjoy the time bonding with them and pet lovers know how much joy, happiness and fulfillment pets can bring. Plus, there’s no denying the fact that my dogs are overjoyed that I get to spend quality time with them, and the way their eyes light up when they see me makes it all the more worthwhile. Usually, I’m home only after eight and I come all tired and drained out, meaning my dogs didn’t get to spend time with me as much as they or I would like to. Now, with extra time on my hands, I get to spend quality time with my pets – something that both my dogs and I desperately wanted.

Image: Me enjoying the extra time I’ve with my dogs. There are few things that are more rewarding than bonding with your pets. 

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Then, I’ve ticked one more thing off my to-do-list – an all-important one and that is getting back in shape. I’ve got my treadmill all up and working and have a workout schedule in place. We all know how important it is to keep ourselves fit and with me staying at home now, I’m starting to make simple workouts a habit of mine so that once everything is back and running again, I’ll still find time to keep doing my workouts. You don’t need expensive equipment to get fit. Simply going for a walk around your garden, or following a simple workout routine even without any equipment is going to do you a lot of good in the long run.

Image: There’s no better time than now to get into the habit of working out, staying fit and giving your body the care and attention it needs.

I’ve also started honing my mediocre cooking skills. Who knew that cooking could be this fun! I’ve been experimenting with my culinary skills and found that it’s actually quite fun whipping up a dish. Cooking is definitely one thing that I’m going to continue doing once everything is back to normal.

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Another thing this time off work and curfew has given me is the chance to further work on my first book. With more time on my hands, my mind refreshed and with newer perspectives, there’s a great deal of new information on my book. Within the given time period I have written more than 30 pages. Likewise, if you have always had a dream to work on a book or project, then this free time that you have in your hands right now is a treasure that you simply cannot waste. Use this time wisely; you’ll thank yourself later for it.

While it’s true that the worry of where this pandemic will lead to is there, it’s also true that this virus has taught us the value of enjoying the small things in life. There’s really no need to moan about how bored you are or how sitting about listlessly at home is frustrating when there are so many ways you can be productive. There’s no use in sitting around moping at home for things that we have no control over. Instead take this time off and see it as a gold mine from God – a chance for us to live our life truly. Be it gardening, reading or completing some project you’ve always put off, this is the time for you to get going. Use this opportunity to the best of your ability and you’ll notice how productive you can be.

It took a tiny, microscopic virus to bring us to our knees and then lift our heads and see what life truly meant, to learn to enjoy the small, simple things and to value family and friends. It taught us what compassion is, what humanity is. It took a virus to bind our feet and keep us home and truly value the time we spend with our family and to show us where our connections lie. It took a pandemic for us to realize that we have been treating this earth with contempt and it’s time now to learn to heal it and treat it with respect.

So, instead of taking this as a trial, take it as an opportunity to plan. Stay safe, follow the rules and stay indoors, plan the future, and, God willing, we can make it out of this together, having learnt some things that have truly added value and meaning to our lives.

My takeaway from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why – Chapter 8- Emergence of Trust

When we need to recruit someone, we run a newspaper advertisement or an online post mentioning the list of expected qualifications, skills, and other details and expect all the best candidates to apply and join the company. We never recruit people who believe in what we believe in. Sometimes we think we hire passionate people, but the question is whether they are passionate about what we are passionate about? Whether they believe what we believe in?

The best example is the Endurance story when Ernest Schakthelton recruited his 24 men who believed in what he believed in. His advertisement did not say “men needed for an expedition, minimum of five years experience, must know how to hoist the mainsail” etc. It did not even mention “Come and work for a great captain.”

Instead, it went like this.

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A leader might have a great vision, but having the right set of people who believe what the leader believes makes wonders! That’s how any organization can become successful.

This helped me put a lot of things into perspective – Simon Sinek illustrates a very interesting ‘golden circle’ in which he explains why some leaders and companies are capable of inspiring their employees while others cannot. At the very heart of this circle is the question why followed by how and what. This made me understand that while almost every company or leader has a very clear understanding of what they do and how they do it, a lot of people don’t place much value on why they do it.

“People don’t buy what you dothey buy why you do it.

The ‘why’ of why you’re doing something defines success. If you can find an answer to that, it’ll push you towards setting your goals and executing them more effectively. As a leader who influences others, you need to get to the bottom of why you do what you do. This also made me understand the value of communicating with candidates on a more deeper level. And this is precisely why I always ensure that I recruit people who are genuinely interested and passionate in the field they are looking to work in.

For example, whenever I work on recruiting cadidates for Pick A Book, I always put forward the question of whether the candidate is a reader. The reason I do that is because I personally feel that you need to feel connected to the cause you are working for. What is the point of working for an organization that is all about reading when you yourself haven’t picked a book in years. If this happens to be the case, then even the qualifications the candidates bring to the table becomes irrelevant to me.

It is the very same concept I apply when recruiting candidates for Simbutu which is my pet information platform. Since Simbutu is all about pets, the employees I hire should be pet owners or passionate pet lovers themselves. Because as an employee, if you don’t feel connected to the work you are expending time in, then it wouldn’t hold any value to you and if it doesn’t hold any value to you, then you wouldn’t be dedicated in doing what you’re doing.

As Simon Sinek rightfully said to ‘Start with Why’, thanks to this invaluable principle, I can proudly say that I have the best possible teams that are totally dedicated to the platforms they are working in. Since they are passionate about the cause themselves, I can see how it has translated into more efficient results, improved efforts and overall success.

Thank you Simon Sinek for your absolutely amazing tips in your inspiring bestseller!

Suggested Read

  1. Start with why
  2. Find your why

Not everyone right around you.. How to avoid toxic environment?

“People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely.” – Hans F. Hansen

Do you know that old saying about frogs pulling down other frogs to escape a pot of boiling water? As dramatic as this is, this scenario is so true in our lives as well. No matter who you are, there will always be a few people who will try to put you down, make you drown in negativity and force you to doubt yourself. This is what you call ‘toxic people’ and a common rule to go by is to avoid such people whenever and wherever possible.

The quality of your life will always depend on the people you interact with on an everyday basis. Some of them positively influence you while some others can intensify your stress levels and shoot you with negative vibes. According to research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, it has been concluded that being exposed to stimuli that cause negative emotions can trigger a huge stress response is this is precisely what happens when you’re around toxic people.

Talking about toxic people, who are they and how do you know if you’re surrounded by them? Read the below signs to see if you have toxic people in your life and if that happens to be the case, then carry on reading to know how to deal with such people.

How to recognize toxic people

  1. They cause you to be emotionally affected by their drama and no matter what the situation is, they leave a very negative influence on you when talking about people, situations, etc.
  2. You hate being around them and feel as though you’re stressed around their presence.
  3. You feel insecure and lack self confidence around them.
  4. You feel utterly exhausted when you’re around them or feel angry after your interaction with them
  5. You find yourself in a recurring cycle of trying to fix, rescue or care for them.

So, what can a toxic person do?

  1. They speak negatively about people all the time
  2. They will probably bad mouth about you to others
  3. They will criticize you in front of others
  4. They will play no role in your success
  5. They will trigger your mind against other people
  6. They will expend all their energy in complaining

Phew, these people are a handful, aren’t they? Which brings us to the grand and most important question –

How to avoid and deal with toxic people?

  1. Do not expect them to change – Toxic people are usually motivated by they own complex problems and they generally don’t care about how their behaviour affects others. So, expecting them to change is easier said than done. You can’t force toxic people to change and when you accept the fact that they are not willing to change, it becomes easier on you to let them go.
  2. Maintain boundaries – Toxic people have the power to drain you emotionally by constantly making you feel insecure, leading you to compromise and please them. This can be extremely exhausting and intolerable so when you start sensing anything like this, enforce some personal mental boundaries for yourself so you don’t end up draining unwanted energy on them.
  3. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into crises – Toxic people can make it seems as though they need you when they find themselves in a crisis.They could even deliberately create drama to attract attention and manipulate others so keep this in mind. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into their crises.
  4. Focus on the solution – Toxic people will make you feel angry, confused and sad but if you focus on this, you would end up being miserable yourself. Rather, turn your attention to clearing up the emotional challenges you’re facing without dwelling too much over it.
  5. Your weaknesses and difficulties should be yours alone – A toxic person can exploit your flaws and use it against you. You can avoid this from happening by learning to accept your weaknesses and by committing yourself to self-improvement. This way, even when a toxic person tries to highlight your flaws, you wouldn’t be manipulated by it.
  6. Know how to resist – When they feel ignored, toxic people will end up throwing tantrums. When this happens, don’t give in but remind yourself to resist as this will teach them that their old tactics will no longer work with you.
  7. Be wise in choosing your battles – Fights with toxic people requires tons of time and energy. It’s easy to be instigated but choose your battles wisely and save your energy and focus on building relationships that are genuinely healthy for you.
  8. Surround yourself with positive people – Removing toxic people from your life can be painful if they happen to be people you care about in some way. So to allow you to cope with that, be sure to build relationships with those who make you feel loved, happy and safe.