I was fortunate enough to hear So-Young Kang, Catalyst, Founder & CEO of Awaken Group, a multi-disciplinary Transformation Design firm, speak at the 2016 MBA CSEA Asian Conference. After hearing her speak, I purchased her book, Inside Out: Conversations about Leadership and Innovation in a New Global Economy. The book profiles 12 leaders based in Singapore and explores their values, thoughts on innovation, and opinions on leadership. Most of the leaders also addressed the problems Asian leaders currently face.
These leaders have a lot in common, but what resonated the most with me was that the leaders found it important to find work with meaning, take care of their employees (including their professional development), and look for employees who are curious and engaged.
Below, I have included a favorite quote of mine from each of the leaders profiled:
- Liew Mun Leong (President & CEO, CapitaLand Group): “Spend 25% of your time doing non-CapitaLand related work. Doing something outside your main core business broadens your thinking, enriches your mind, gives you new experiences; and I think, most importantly, it develops you as a person.”
- John Tan (Founder & Principal, Orita Sinclar School): “When you create for the world, the rewards are so much greater.”
- Shiao-Yin Kuik (Founding Partner, The Thought Collective): She feels successful when she has “done right by the people, for those that we serve and those that serve alongside us.”
- Ong Tze Boon (Chairman, Ong & Ong): “If you chase the measure, you won’t be happy. If you chase what you really want to do, then the measure will reward you dutifully.”
- Tai Lee Siang (CEO, One & Ong): “Adopt a ‘help your neighbor’ mindset; share with others; educate the next generation.”
- Lee Suet Fern (Partner, Morgan Lewis Stamford): Talking about clients, “it’s a huge privilege to be part of their lives, and sometimes, part of the resolutions to their problems.”
- Cheong Koon Hean (CEO, Housing Development Board): “There must be a shared vision and motivation. None of us can deliver on the vision alone.”
- Ban Seng Teh (Sr. VP, Seagate Technology): “People all like to be treated with respect and have their opinions heard. These values transcend nationalities.”
- Rebecca Chew (Principal & CEO, School of the Arts): “Play at work is when you are totally comfortable; you know yourself and you are truly honest with yourself—honest about your strengths and your weaknesses.”
- Daryl Arnold (CDO, Newton Circus): “Being happy and having huge amounts of energy is critical, and you can’t be happy and having huge amounts of energy if you’re unhealthy.”
- Ho Kwon Ping (Founder, Banyan Tree): “Business is simply a vehicle for making society better.”
- David Mayo (Chief Marketing Officer, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific): “If you worry about where the journey will take you—that’s all you’ll ever do—you’ll only ever worry.”